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Christmas Tree Mold Is Real!

12/14/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Christmas Tree Mold Is Real! Safe holidays are happy holidays!

4 Ways To Reduce Christmas Tree Mold Levels

Live Christmas trees may bring more than the fresh pine scent of the holiday season into homes.  With most trees cut in advance of the holidays and stored in a moist environment for fresh keeping, this makes them a likely mold source. 

Here are a few tips to help you cut the Christmas mold level in your home, without giving up the fresh tree:

  1. Limit The Time You Leave Your Tree Up

The longer the tree is inside of your home, the higher the mold level may be.  If those in your household are prone to mold allergies, but don’t want to give up the fresh Christmas tree, consider putting the tree up Christmas Eve and taking it down on New Year’s Day.  Try to keep a live tree in your home between 4-7 days at maximum.

  1. Wash Your Tree

Before bringing the freshly cut tree inside of your home, wash it first using the garden hose.  Set the nozzle to a hard-spray level to get into all of those little nooks and crannies of the trunk.  Then, wipe the trunk thoroughly with a solution of warm water and bleach (1 part bleach to 20 parts water).  Let it dry in the sun before bringing it inside of your home.

  1. Use an Air Purifier

Run an air purifier in the same room as the fresh tree.  Cleaner air is key during the holidays, and helps to reduce your mold exposure and lessen the effects of your tree allergies.

  1. Go Fake

The best way to avoid the mold infestation is to buy an artificial tree.  Unless you store your artificial tree inside of a sealed plastic bag, it will still need a good shaking outside when it’s brought out of storage each year to relieve it of dust.  Also, store all of your Christmas ornaments and decorations in plastic containers (instead of cardboard ones) to keep the dust off of them.

If you see signs of mold, call SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA today – (610) 352-0700.

Your Belongings and Mold Damage

Water and mold damage affect not only the structure of your home, but also your belongings.  SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA understands that your home is more than a structure.  Your family’s furniture, clothing, keepsakes and other belongings help to transform a house into a home.

Learn more about mold and what to do until help arrives by reviewing these mold damage tips.

Call SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA at (610) 352-0700 for all your cleaning, water damagefire damage and mold remediation needs! 

The Main Differences Between Mold And Mildew

12/14/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation The Main Differences Between Mold And Mildew If You See Signs of Mold, Call SERVPRO of Upper Darby Today – (610) 352-0700

Mold and Mildew Are Both Types of Fungi That Are Commonly Found in the Home.

They thrive in moist environments, spread easily, and live on various surfaces which makes them very difficult to get rid of. If left unattended, however, the harmful microorganisms can quickly affect large areas of your property and may even result in health problems and structural damage. While the two types of fungi share many common features, they pose different risks and respond to different treatment.

So, in order to come up with an efficient cleaning strategy and ensure the safety of your living environment, you need to understand the difference between mold and mildew.

What Is The Difference Between Mold And Mildew?

Mildew can be described as a specific type of mold. Mold is a fungus that contains multiple identical nuclei and grows in the form of black or green patches which penetrate beneath the surface of the affected material. Mildew, on the other hand, has flat growth that remains on the surface where it can be easily removed. While mold usually grows on food or inside permanent structures, such as walls and crawl spaces, mildew is to be found on damp surfaces, paper, fabrics, and various organic materials in your home.

Common Mildew Types

Primarily, mildew is a plant disease that causes great damage to crops and plants. It is classified as powdery and downy:

Powdery Mildew 

Mainly affects flowering plants and first appears as white or gray patterned splotches that gradually become yellowish brown or black as the fungus grows

Downy Mildew 

Commonly found in agricultural products, such as grapes and potatoes. Its appearance varies depending on the type of surface it grows on, but usually downy mildew starts as yellow spots that eventually turn brown.

Common Mold Types

Although the number of mold species that can live indoors exceeds 10,000, most household molds belong to one of the following five types:

Alternaria 

Grows on walls, in showers, around windows, under sinks and in various other damp places. It is often found in buildings that have suffered some kind of water damage. Alternaria mold can appear black, grey, or dark brown and has a wooly or down-like texture.

Aspergillus

The most common type of mold found indoors. It can look grey, brown, yellow, green, white, or black. Aspergillus mold usually grows on walls, insulation, paper products, and clothing.

Cladosporium

Unlike many other molds,Cladosporium can grow in cool areas. It usually appears on fabrics, such as carpets or curtains, and on wood surfaces, like cabinets and floorboards. It has a characteristic black or olive-green color and can cause a variety of respiratory problems.

Penicillium 

Can be found on various materials that have been in contact with water, including carpeting, wallpaper, insulation, and mattresses. It looks blue or green and produces strong musty odors. Penicillium spores spread very easily.

Stachybotrys Chartarum

Is often referred to as “black mold” because of its color, is the most dangerous kind of household mold – it produces toxic compounds called mycotoxins that can cause severe health problems. The toxic black mold has a characteristic musty odor and usually grows in areas that are constantly damp – around leaky pipes, inside air conditioning ducts where there is a lot of condensation, etc.

How To Tell The Difference Between Mold And Mildew?

There are several crucial differences in the appearance and properties of mold and mildew that will help you recognize the type of indoor fungi you have discovered in your home:

Differences in Appearance

Typically, mold appears black or green while mildew looks gray or white. Yet, there are some more detailed specifics in the appearance of the fungi:

Mildew

Usually grows in a flat pattern and appears either powdery or fluffy. It can be easily identified as a patch of white, gray, or yellowish fungus that is lying on the surface of a moist area. Mildew usually turns black or brown over time.

Mold 

Usually fuzzy or slimy in appearance. It appears as irregularly shaped spots that can have different colors – blue, green, yellow, brown, gray, black, or white. Oftentimes, surfaces that are covered in mold begin to rot.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA Today – (610) 352-0700

Differences in the Effects

Both mold and mildew need to be taken care of in a quick and efficient manner as they can cause a lot of trouble over time:

Mildew 

Usually affects plants and crops. If it develops indoors, however, it can also pose health risks.

Mold 

Can result in considerable structural damage when left unattended for a long time. Prolonged exposure can cause a variety of health problems, depending on the strain of mold.

How to Prevent Mold and Mildew

The most efficient way to prevent mold and mildew in your home is to keep all the areas dry and moisture-free. Maintain a humidity level of about 40-50% inside the house (a dehumidifier provides the most advantageous solution for ensuring appropriate indoor humidity), have your heating and cooling systems regularly inspected, keep air ducts clean and in good condition, ensure good air circulation inside the premises, fix any leaks in the bathroom, kitchen or other areas.. Remove any mildew-affected plants and weeds as soon as you notice them in order to prevent mildew infestation.

How to Clean Mold and Mildew

The safest and most efficient way to get rid of a mold and mildew problem is to call a SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA.  Our highly trained professionals will come to your home to assess the situation and determine the extent of the damage and appropriate actions.

Mildew 

A surface fungus that can be efficiently treated with a commercially available cleaner and a scrubbing brush. Work in a well-ventilated area and wear a facial mask to prevent inhaling mildew spores, as well as to avoid breathing in fumes given off by the cleaning product you use. Clean all the surrounding areas carefully as well, to ensure that all the fungi have been successfully removed.

Mold

Mold, on the other hand, attaches to the affected materials with microscopic filaments that penetrate beneath the surface. The mold spores spread very easily and can quickly affect large areas of your property and result in permanent damage. Despite its characteristic musty smell, mold is only visible to the eye when the colonies start growing, so early detection and prevention is very difficult. Mold can have a very negative impact on your health, so DIY removal attempts are not recommendable.

Mold Remediation and Restoration

If you suspect that your Upper Darby home or business has a mold problem, SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA can inspect, assess and remediate your property.

Learn more about mold and what to do until help arrives by reviewing these mold damage tips.

Call SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA at (610) 352-0700 for all your cleaningwater damagefire damage and mold remediation needs! 

Take Action to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Delaware County Schools

12/14/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial Take Action to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Delaware County Schools For more information on HVAC and air duct cleaning, call SERVPRO of Upper Darby today, (610) 352-0700

What Actions Can You Take to Improve Your School's Indoor Air Quality?

Nearly one-fourth of the nation’s schools have one or more buildings in need of extensive repair or replacement and nearly half have been reported to have problems related to indoor air quality (IAQ).

The health and comfort of students and teachers are among the many factors that contribute to learning and productivity in the classroom, which in turn affect performance and achievement. Providing a healthy, comfortable environment is an investment in your students and staff.

What is Good Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Management?

  • Control of airborne pollutants.
  • Introduction and distribution of adequate outdoor air.
  • Maintenance of acceptable temperature and relative humidity.

Temperature and humidity cannot be overlooked because thermal comfort concerns underlie many complaints about "poor air quality." Furthermore, temperature and humidity are among the many factors that affect indoor contaminant levels.

Outdoor sources should also be considered since outdoor air enters school buildings through windows, doors and ventilation systems. Thus, transportation and grounds maintenance activities become factors that affect indoor pollutant levels as well as outdoor air quality on school grounds.

Facility Managers

Create a Healthy Indoor Environment

Facility managers in K-12 schools work hard every day to ensure a healthy, high-quality learning and teaching environment for students and staff.  The goal is to provide energy-efficient facilities that have quality lighting, comfortable temperatures, and good indoor air quality (IAQ) — all within a tight budget.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the average school building is 42 years old.  After 40 years a school building begins to rapidly deteriorate if it is not properly maintained. 

Taking a proactive approach to preventing IAQ problems will save your school significant costs in the long run.  With everyone working together, you may also be able to reduce the amount of time you currently spend on IAQ issues.

Negative Impact of Poor Indoor Air Quality 

  • Accelerate deterioration and reduce efficiency of the school's physical plant and equipment
  • Affect student comfort, the learning environment and attendance
  • Increase the likelihood that schools will have to be closed temporarily (for repairs) or permanently
  • Lead to costly repairs if maintenance and proactive measures are deferred.  Preventative measures will save money over time.
  • Reduce the productivity of teachers and staff due to discomfort, sickness or absenteeism
  • Increase the potential for long-term health problems among students and staff
  • Strain the relationship between administrators and facilities staff

Improving IAQ can reduce the number of student visits to the nurse's office, reduce absenteeism due to illness, and enhance the general health and well-being of all students and staff.

Air Ducts and HVAC Cleaning

Ventilation systems are often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality. Make it a priority to inspect the ductwork of your home or business.

If your HVAC has been operating for some time without attention, it could be circulating one or more of the following:

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Odors
  • Dirt and debris
  • Other contaminants

SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA offers both residential and commercial duct cleaning services.  Keeping the duct system clean can extend the life of the equipment, which in turn save you money and give you cleaner air to breathe.

However, duct cleaning is not always necessary. We will make recommendations about the best way to address any indoor air quality concerns. This can save you money and provide peace of mind on the health of your system.

  • The benefits of servicing your HVAC unit include:
  • Helps to restore peak energy efficiency.
  • May help to eliminate offensive odors.
  • Helps reduce the potential for mold growth.

For more information on HVAC and air duct cleaning, call SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA today, (610) 352-0700.

How to Remove Water Stains from Wood

12/14/2017 (Permalink)

Cleaning How to Remove Water Stains from Wood SERVPRO of Upper Darby (610) 352-0700

Methods for Removing Water and Heat Stains from Your Wood

Stains and marks made by liquid or steam are usually white or light-colored.  This means that they have not penetrated much more deeply into the furniture piece than through the waxed or polished surface.  When the stain is dark, however, it indicates that the liquid has penetrated through the finish on the wood, and possibly through to the wood itself.  If the latter is the case, you have more of a tough fix on your hands.

Those white, cloudy rings on your wood furniture do not have to stay there forever.  As with most stains, it helps to act quickly.  Try one of these methods for removing, or at least minimizing, stains on your wood:

Mayo and Ash Method

What You Will Need:

  • Mayonnaise (Not Miracle Whip)
  • Ashes (If not available, baking soda will work.)
  • Hair Dryer
  • Soft Cloths

Steps to Remove Watermarks Using Mayo and Ashes:

  1. Put a small amount of mayonnaise and ashes onto the whitened area of the wood and rub using a soft cloth, following the grain of the wood.
  1. As you are rubbing the area, use a hairdryer to add heat.
  1. When the mark is removed, wipe away any remaining mayo and ashes with a clean cloth.

Wax Paper Method

What You Will Need:

  • Wax Paper
  • Iron
  • Soft Cloth or Towel

Steps to Remove Watermarks Using Wax Paper:

  1. Preheat the iron to a low heat/warming setting with NO
  1. Place wax paper over the area with the white mark.
  1. Cover the wax paper with a towel.
  1. Place the iron over the area for a few seconds a time. Keep the iron moving to avoid creating a new heat mark.
  2. Repeat with a fresh piece of waxed paper until the mark is removed.

Iron Method

What You Will Need:

  • Cotton Cloth (A white t-shirt works well.)
  • Iron

Steps to Remove Watermarks Using an Iron:

  1. Preheat the iron to a warm setting (start at a lower setting and work your way up, as starting with too much heat can lead to additional damage).
  1. Place the cotton cloth over the marked area.
  1. Move the iron over the cotton cloth with NO Keep the iron moving at all times to avoid applying too much heat in one spot.
  1. Repeat until the mark is removed.

Toothpaste Method

What You Will Need:

  • Toothpaste (White, non-gel)
  • Soft Cloth or Towel

Steps to Remove Watermarks Using an Iron:

  1. Apply toothpaste onto a rag.
  1. Rub the toothpaste onto the white area with a soft cloth.
  1. You shouldn’t need to scrub very hard, or for very long to see results. To avoid causing any further damage to the furniture, it is best to concentrate your efforts only on the affected portions, because the toothpaste can wear away the finish.

Commercial Removers

There are also commercial removers available to remove marks safely from most finishes.  These products can be found at hardware and home improvement stores.

If All Else Fails

After attempting any or all of these methods, if the water stain is not gone completely, then it may have at least lightened enough to be less noticeable.  If all else fails, you can always sand the furniture down to the bare wood and refinish it.  (If you’re dealing with a prized piece, you may want to consult a pro.)  To prevent similar damage in the future, heed your parents’ advice – use a coaster!

Your Belongings and Water Damage

Water damage affects not only the structure of your house, but also your belongings.  SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA understands that your home is more than a structure.  Your family’s furniture, clothing, keepsakes, and other belongings help transform a house into a home.

If You Have Questions or Need Help, Call Us Today – (610) 352-0700

Contents Restoration

SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA specializes in restoring contents damaged by fire, water, or mold.  Our expertise and “restore” versus “replace” mentality can help you save money, while preserving precious keepsakes that cannot be replaced.  We pretest your contents to determine what items can be restored back to their condition before the water damage.

10 Ways to Detox Your Home

12/14/2017 (Permalink)

Biohazard 10 Ways to Detox Your Home SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA (610) 352-0700

Create a Healtheir Home For You and Your Family

The average home contains hundreds of toxins, many of which we are unable to see, smell or taste. While these toxins may be tolerated individually and in small doses, problems can arise when one is exposed to them in combination or in larger doses. Everyone’s tolerance level is different depending on genetics, nutritional status and previous contacts with many toxins.

There are many things you can do to “detox” your home, some more practical than others.

Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.

1.    Take Your Shoes Off

  • Go barefoot or wear slippers to eliminate household dirt, pesticides and lead come in on your shoes
  • Place floor mats vertically by your entryways to wipe your shoes. This way more dirt and residue from your shoes stays outside on the mat

2.    Keep the Air Clean

  • Keep your windows and doors open as much as possible to ventilate.
  • Use green plants as natural air detoxifiers. Remove odors with baking soda.
  • Use fresh flowers or bowls of herbs like rosemary and sage to add a pleasant fragrance to rooms.
  • Have your air ducts and vents cleaned by SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA.
  • Get a portable air cleaner/purifier, especially for the bedrooms.

3.    Safer Cleaning Products.

  • Start replacing commercial cleaning products with safer, greener ones.
  • Don’t be afraid of DIY; there are many effective and safe cleaners that can be made out of non-toxic household staples like baking soda, plant-based dish soap, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide.

4.    Use Plastics Wisely 

  • Most plastics contain the toxic compound Bisphenol A, a hormone disruptor.
  • Choose products that are BPA-free especially when it comes to food containers
  • Do not use plastic containers in the microwave.
  • Choose baby bottles made from glass or BPA-free plastic.
  • Stay away from children’s toys marked with a “3” or “PVC.”

5.    Avoid Non Stick Pans, Pots, Bakeware and Utensils 

  • PTFE, a polymer used in nonstick cookware as well as in food packaging, can release potentially hazardous fumes.
  • PFOA, a chemical used in nonstick coatings, like Teflon, is a human carcinogen that many companies plan to phase out of their products. 
  • Replace your pots and pans with healthier alternatives that won’t leach chemicals into the air. Try glass, cast iron or stainless steel. 

6.    Remove Dust

  • More dust means more toxins. Dust your furniture using a microfiber cloth.
  • Mop all surfaces at least once a week.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, for your carpets. HEPA-filter vacuums capture the widest range of particles and get rid of allergens.

7.    Prevent Mold

  • Keep moisture levels to a minimum to stop the growth of mold and mildew.
  • Monitor the areas where mold most commonly grows (bathroom, kitchen and basement) for moisture accumulation or leaks.
  • Regularly clean surfaces where mold usually grows – around showers and tubs and beneath sinks.

8.    Purify Your Water

  • Filter tap water to eliminate toxins by using a carbon filter (pitcher, faucet-mount or dispenser).
  • Use a showerhead filter to remove chlorine and other potentially harmful chemicals.

9.    Check Radon Levels

10. Monitor Carbon Monoxide (CO) Levels

  • Leaks are most commonly found in leaking gas stoves, gas fireplaces, furnaces and chimneys and gas water heaters.
  • Use a certified CO detector to check your home for carbon monoxide leaks in furnaces and other home appliances.

Air Ducts and HVAC Cleaning

Ventilation systems are often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality. Make it a priority to inspect the ductwork of your home or business.

If your HVAC has been operating for some time without attention, it could be circulating one or more of the following:

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Odors
  • Dirt and debris
  • Other contaminants

SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA  routinely inspect the heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit (HVAC).  Keeping them clean can extend the life of the equipment. This can in turn save you money and give you cleaner air to breathe.

However, duct cleaning is not always necessary. We will make recommendations about the best way to address any indoor air quality concerns. This can save you money and provide peace of mind on the health of your system.

The benefits of servicing your HVAC unit include:

  • Helps to restore peak energy efficiency.
  • May help to eliminate offensive odors.
  • Helps reduce the potential for mold growth.

Call SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA at (610) 352-0700 for all your air ducts and ventswater damagefire damage and mold remediation needs! 

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)

12/14/2017 (Permalink)

Biohazard Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)  SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA (610) 352-0700

Learn About the Hazardous Waste in Your Home

EPA considers some leftover household products that can catch fire, react, or explode under certain circumstances, or that are corrosive or toxic as household hazardous waste. Products, such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides can contain hazardous ingredients and require special care when you dispose of them.

Safe Management of HHW

To avoid the potential risks associated with household hazardous wastes, it is important that people always monitor the use, storage, and disposal of products with potentially hazardous substances in their homes. Improper disposal of HHW can include pouring them down the drain, on the ground, into storm sewers, or in some cases putting them out with the regular trash.

The dangers of such disposal methods might not be immediately obvious, but improper disposal of these wastes can pollute the environment and pose a threat to human health. Certain types of HHW have the potential to cause physical injury to sanitation workers, contaminate septic tanks or wastewater treatment systems if poured down drains or toilets. They can also present hazards to children and pets if left around the house.

Some quick tips for the safe handling of household hazardous wastes include:

  • Follow any instructions for use and storage provided on product labels carefully to prevent any accidents at home.
  • Be sure to read product labels for disposal directions to reduce the risk of products exploding, igniting, leaking, mixing with other chemicals, or posing other hazards on the way to a disposal facility.
  • Never store hazardous products in food containers; keep them in their original containers and never remove labels. Corroding containers, however, require special handling. Call your local hazardous materials official or fire department for instructions.
  • When leftovers remain, never mix HHW with other products. Incompatible products might react, ignite, or explode, and contaminated HHW might become unrecyclable.
  • Check with your local environmental, health or solid waste agency for more information on HHW management options in your area.
    • If your community doesn’t have a year-round collection system for HHW, see if there are any designated days in your area for collecting HHW at a central location to ensure safe management and disposal.
    • If your community has neither a permanent collection site nor a special collection day, you might be able to drop off certain products at local businesses for recycling or proper disposal. Some local garages, for example, may accept used motor oil for recycling. Check around.
  • Remember, even empty containers of HHW can pose hazards because of the residual chemicals that might remain so handle them with care also.

Reducing HHW in Your Home

Consider reducing your purchase of products that contain hazardous ingredients. Learn about the use of alternative methods or products, without hazardous ingredients, for some common household needs. When shopping for items such as multipurpose household cleaners, toilet cleaners, laundry detergent, dish soap, dishwashing machine pods and gels, bug sprays and insect pest control, consider shopping for environmentally friendly, natural products or search online for simple recipes you can use to create your own.

Below are some ideas to get you started. Additional information is available from EPA's Safer Choice program.

Hazardous Waste Source Reduction Around the Home

Drain Cleaner

Use a plunger or plumber's snake.

Glass Cleaner

Mix one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in one quart of water. Spray on and use newspaper to dry.

Furniture Polish

Mix one teaspoon of lemon juice in one pint of mineral or vegetable oil and wipe furniture.

Rug Deodorizer

Liberally sprinkle carpets with baking soda. Wait at least 15 minutes and vacuum. Repeat if necessary.

Mothballs

Use cedar chips, lavender flowers, rosemary, mints or white peppercorns.

Silver Polish

Boil two to three inches of water in a shallow pan with one teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon of baking soda and a sheet of

aluminum foil. Totally submerge silver and boil for two to three more minutes. Wipe away tarnish and repeat if necessary.

SERVPRO of Upper Darby Residential & Commercial Restoration and Cleaning Services

SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA is a trusted leader in the restoration industry. We provide 24-hour emergency service and are dedicated to responding faster to any size disaster. With the training and expertise to handle your restoration and cleaning needs, we’re locally owned and operated and can respond immediately to your emergency.

Call SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA at (610) 352-0700 for all your cleaningwater damagefire damage and mold remediation needs! 

Facts About Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius L.)

12/14/2017 (Permalink)

General Facts About Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius L.) SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA (610) 352-0700

Knowing What to Look for Is the First Step in Identifying and Controlling Bed Bugs

Bed bugs can be hard to find and identify, given their small size and their habit of staying hidden. It helps to know what they look like, since the various life stages have different forms.

There are many bugs that look like bed bugs so an accurate identification is a critical first step to avoid costly treatment for the wrong bug.

There are ways to control bed bugs. Getting good, solid information is the first step in both prevention and control. While there is no chemical quick fix, there are effective strategies to control bed bugs involving both non-chemical and chemical methods.

Appearance of Bed Bugs

Adult Bed Bugs

  • About the size of an apple seed (5-7 mm or 3/16 - 1/4 inch long)
  • Long and brown, with a flat, oval-shaped body (if not fed recently)
  • Balloon-like, reddish-brown, and more elongated (if fed recently)
  • A “true bug” (characteristics of true bugs include a beak with three segments; antenna that have four parts; wings that are not used for flying; and short, golden-colored hairs)
  • Smelly, with a “musty-sweetish” odor produced through glands on the lower side of the body

Young Bed Bugs (Nymphs)

  • Smaller, translucent or whitish-yellow in color
  • If not recently fed, can be nearly invisible to the naked eye because of coloring and size

Bed Bug Eggs

  • Tiny, the size of a pinhead
  • Pearl-white in color
  • Marked by an eye spot if more than five days old

Looking for Signs of Bed Bugs

A more accurate way to identify a possible infestation is to look for physical signs of bed bugs. When cleaning, changing bedding, or staying away from home, look for:

  • Rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by bed bugs being crushed.
  • Dark spots (about this size: •), which are bed bug excrement and may bleed on the fabric like a marker would.
  • Eggs and eggshells, which are tiny (about 1mm) and pale yellow skins that nymphs shed as they grow larger.
  • Live bed bugs.

Where Bed Bugs Hide

When not feeding, bed bugs hide in a variety of places. Around the bed, they can be found near the piping, seams and tags of the mattress and box spring, and in cracks on the bed frame and headboard.

If the room is heavily infested, you may find bed bugs:

  • In the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, in the folds of curtains
  • In drawer joints
  • In electrical receptacles and appliances
  • Under loose wall paper and wall hangings
  • At the junction where the wall and the ceiling meet
  • Even in the head of a screw
  • Since bed bugs are only about the width of a credit card, they can squeeze into really small hiding spots. If a crack will hold a credit card, it could hide a bed bug

Bed Bug Behavior and Habit

Understanding the behavior of bed bugs (how they eat, live, and reproduce) will help you to find an infestation before it becomes established and to monitor for the presence of bed bugs after your home has been treated.

Bed Bug Feeding Habits

  • Prefer to feed on humans, but will feed on other mammals and birds as well
  • Will readily travel 5-20 feet from established hiding places (called harborage) to feed on a host
  • Primarily active at night, but if hungry they will seek hosts in full daylight.
  • Feeding can take 3-12 minutes.
  • The rusty or tarry spots found on bed sheets or in bug hiding places are because 20% of the time adults and large nymphs will void remains of earlier blood meals while still feeding.

Bed Bug Life Stages/Mating

  • Bed bugs need at least one blood meal before the individual bug can develop to the next of the six life stages
  • To continue to mate and produce eggs, both males and females must feed at least once every 14 days
  • Each female may lay 1 to 3 eggs per day and 200-500 eggs per her lifetime (6-12 months but could be longer)
  • Egg-to-egg life cycle may take four to five weeks under favorable conditions

Bed Bug Living Conditions

  • Bed bugs can survive and remain active at temperatures as low as 7°C (46°F), but they die when their body temperatures reaches 45°C (113°F).
    • To kill bed bugs with heat, the room must be even hotter to ensure sustained heat reaches the bugs no matter where they are hiding.
  • Common bed bugs are found almost anywhere their host can live.

Protecting Your Home from Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are great hitchhikers. They can move from an infested site to a new home by traveling on furniture, bedding, luggage, boxes, and clothing.

Although they typically feed on blood every five to ten days, bed bugs can be quite resilient; they are capable of surviving several months to a year without feeding.

SERVPRO of Upper Darby Can Help Keep it Clean

Keeping a clean, tidy and uncluttered house can save you a lot of time and money by drastically decreasing your chance of bed bugs in the first place.

You know SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA as a leader in fire and Water Cleanup and Restoration, but our professional residential cleaning services can also help with preventing a bed bug infestation.

Need Cleaning Services? Call SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA at (610) 352-0700

Bed Bugs: Get Them Out and Keep Them Out

12/14/2017 (Permalink)

Biohazard Bed Bugs: Get Them Out and Keep Them Out SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA (610) 352-0700

Protecting Your Home from Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are great hitchhikers. They can move from an infested site to a new home by traveling on furniture, bedding, luggage, boxes, and clothing.

Although they typically feed on blood every five to ten days, bed bugs can be quite resilient; they are capable of surviving several months to a year without feeding.

A Few Simple Precautions Can Help Prevent Bed Bug Infestation in Your Home:

  • Check secondhand furniture, beds, and couches for any signs of bed bug infestation before bringing them home.
  • Use a protective cover that encases mattresses and box springs to eliminate many hiding spots. The light color of the encasement makes bed bugs easier to see. Be sure to purchase a high quality encasement that will resist tearing and check the encasement regularly for holes.
  • Reduce clutter in your home to reduce hiding places for bed bugs.
  • Vacuum frequently to remove any successful hitchhikers.
  • Be vigilant when using shared laundry facilities. Transport items to be washed in plastic bags (if you have an active infestation, use a new bag for the journey home). Remove from dryer directly into bag and fold at home. (A dryer on high heat can kill bed bugs.)
  • If you live in a multi-family home, try to isolate your unit by:
    • Installing door sweeps on the bottom of doors to discourage movement into hallways.
    • Sealing cracks and crevices around baseboards, light sockets, etc., to discourage movement through wall voids.
  • Consider purchasing a portable heating chamber to treat any items that you believe may have bed bugs.
    • Be sure to read and carefully follow the directions if you use one of these units and be aware that they are not regulated by EPA or other federal agencies. 

Do-it-yourself Bed Bug Control

Bed bugs are challenging pests to get rid of, since they hide so well and reproduce so quickly. In addition, the egg stage is resistant to many forms of treatment, so a single attempt may not be sufficient to complete the job.

Treating bed bugs is complex. Your likelihood of success depends on many factors, including: 

  • Extent of the infestation.
  • Site-specific challenges.
    • Clutter.
    • Neighbors with infestations.
    • Ability of all of the residents to participate. 

Achieving complete control can take weeks to months, depending on the nature and extent of the infestation, and everyone will need to cooperate and do their part.

Identify the Problem

  • Inspect infested areas, plus surrounding living spaces, to determine extent of infestation
  • Correctly identify the pest
  • If you have bed bugs and live in an apartment, notify your landlord, because the units surrounding yours should be inspected.

Develop a Strategy

  • Using a calendar, map out each stage based on the recommendations in the following sections
  • Plan to keep records through the whole process – including dates and locations when pests are found
  • Leave time for long-term monitoring to make sure all of the bed bugs are gone

Keep the Infestation from Spreading

  • Anything removed from the room should be placed in a sealed plastic bag and treated.
    • Items that cannot be treated should be placed in a sealed plastic bag and left for an extended period of time to ensure any active bugs are dead (research shows variation in the length of time needed, but it can be as long as a year).
  • Empty the vacuum after each use.
    • Seal the bag and throw it out in an outdoor trash container.
  • Don't discard furniture if you can eliminate the bed bugs from it.
  • If furniture cannot be salvaged, discard it responsibly. Destroy it so someone else won't be tempted to bring it into their home. For example:
    • Rip covers and remove stuffing from furniture items.
    • Use spray paint to mark furniture with "Bed Bugs." 
  • Take steps to have infested items picked up as soon as possible by the trash collection agency.

Prepare for Bed Bug Treatment

Jumping straight into control is tempting, but won't work. Preparing for treatment is essential to getting successful control. It will also help by making it easier for you to monitor for bed bugs that haven't been completely eliminated. This preparation should be conducted whether you are doing the treatment yourself or hiring a professional.

Kill the Bed Bugs

  • Make sure the methods you select are safe, effective and legal. See What's Legal, What's Not for more information.
  • Consider non-chemical methods of killing bed bugs. Some will be more useful than others.
    • Heat treatment using a clothes dryer on high heat, black plastic bags in the sun or a hot, closed car (pest management professionals have other methods that are not suitable for non-trained individuals to use).
    • Cold treatment can be successful in the home environment if the freezer is set to 0o F. You must leave the items in the freezer at that temperature for four days. (Always use a thermometer to check the temperature, since home freezers are not always set to 0o.)
    • Reducing the numbers of bugs with these and other non-chemical methods is helpful, but is unlikely to entirely eliminate the infestation.
  • If needed, use pesticides carefully according to the label directions or hire a pest management professional.
  • Every few days after you complete your initial cleanup and control processes, carefully look for any evidence of bed bugs.
    • If you see bed bugs, that means that either the initial cleanup missed some individuals or that eggs have hatched (finding and removing or killing all eggs can be very difficult) and retreatment may be needed.
  • If repeated treatments are needed, consider using pesticides with different modes of action.

Evaluate and Prevent

  • Continue to inspect for presence of bed bugs, at least every 7 days, in case any eggs remained.
    • Interceptors (placed under the legs of furniture to catch bed bugs and keep them from climbing the legs; commercial and do-it-yourself versions available), traps or other methods of monitoring can be used.
  • Continue to implement preventative measures. 

Bed Bug Treatments That DO NOT Work

  • Switch sleeping location
  • Ultrasonic pest repellers
  • Dryer sheets and plant oil-based repellents
  • Moth balls
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • House cleaning materials
  • Most natural pest control products
  • Foggers
  • Most consumer pesticide sprays

SERVPRO of Upper Darby Can Help Keep it Clean

Keeping a clean, tidy and uncluttered house can save you a lot of time and money by drastically decreasing your chance of bed bugs in the first place.

You know SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA as a leader in fire and Water Cleanup and Restoration, but our professional residential cleaning services can also help with preventing a bed bug infestation.

Need Cleaning Services? Call SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA at (610) 352-0700

Protect Your Upper Darby Home from Sewer Backups

12/14/2017 (Permalink)

Biohazard Protect Your Upper Darby Home from Sewer Backups If you experience a sewer backup call SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA at (610) 352-0700

Don't Let Clogged Sewers Wreak Havoc on Your Home

Backed up sewers can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home and belongings. Learn about causes of sewer backups, what you as a homeowner are responsible for maintaining and steps you can take to protect your home against sewer problems.

Sewer Maintenance: Your Responsibility as a Homeowner

Homeowners may not realize that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their house or sewer lateral-that is, a privately-owned pipeline connecting a property to the publicly-owned main sewer pipeline (which is usually located in the street).

  • The sewer lateral is owned and maintained by the property owner
  • The property owner’s responsibility includes any part of the lateral that extends into the street or public right of way.

Common Causes of Sewer Backups

Aging Sewer Systems

The American Society of Civil Engineers indicates that the nation's 500,000-plus miles of sewer pipelines are on average over thirty years old. The increase in the number of homes connected to already aging sewage systems has also contributed to rapid increases in sanitary sewer backups, flooded basements and overflows.

Combined Pipelines

Problems arise in systems that combine storm water and raw sewage into the same pipeline. During many rain storms, the systems are exposed to more volume than they can handle, and the result is a sewage backup situation that allows sewage to spew out into basements and other low lying drains.

Tree Roots

Small roots of trees and shrubs make their way into sewer pipeline cracks and service pipe joints, and can cause extensive damage or blockages as they grow larger. The cost of the sewage cleanup may be the responsibility of the problem tree's owner. When the issue is a result of a combination of city and private trees, the costs are sometimes split between the city and the property owner.

Sanitary Main Blockages

 A blockage can occur in a city sanitary main. If the blockage is not detected in time, sewage from the main can back up into your home or business through floor drains. Typically, this happens slowly and there are early indications of a problem.

Prevent a Sewer Backups

Properly Dispose of Grease

Cooking oil should be poured into a heat-resistant container and disposed of properly after it cools off, not in the drain. Washing grease down the drain with hot water is not recommended. As the grease cools off, it will solidify in the drain or the sewer pipelines, causing the line to constrict and eventually clog.

Properly Dispose of Paper Products

Paper towels, hygienic wipes and feminine products do not deteriorate quickly and can cause a great deal of trouble in the sewer pipelines.

Maintain Tree Roots

If you have continuing problems with tree roots in your sewer lateral, you may want to consider having the tree removed or have a professional maintain the roots on a regular basis.

Replace Your Sewer Pipeline with New Plastic Pipes

Plastic pipe will prevent tree roots from entering your sewer pipeline is to replace your pipeline and tap with new plastic pipes.

Correct Illegal Plumbing Connections. 

It is illegal to connect French drains, sump pumps and other flood control systems to your sanitary sewer. Debris and silt will clog your sewer pipeline. Contact a plumber to correct any pre-existing illegal connections.

Install a Backwater Prevention Valve

This is a fixture installed into the sewer pipeline (and sometimes into a drain line) in the basement of your home or business to prevent sewer backflows. A properly installed and maintained backwater valve allows sewage to go out, but prevents it from coming back in.

What to Do If You Experience a Sewer Backup

Water from sewer system backups should be considered very dangerous. The water is grossly unsanitary and may contain bacteria and viruses that could cause serious illness. Special training and equipment is necessary to safely clean this type of contamination.

If you experience a sewer backup call SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA at (610) 352-0700

A failure to properly remove such substances can contribute to unhealthy and dangerous environments. SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA is trained to safely remove biohazards and dispose of them properly in accordance with OSHA and health regulations.

Equipped with the necessary safety apparatus and cleaning products, we can help transform these unhealthy environments back into clean, safe homes and offices.

What is a Biohazard?

12/14/2017 (Permalink)

Biohazard What is a Biohazard? Need Biohazard Cleanup Services? Call SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA (610) 352-0700

Biological Hazards and How SERVPRO of Upper Darby Can Help

Biological hazards, also known as biohazards, refer to biological substances that pose a threat to the health of living organisms – primarily that of humans.  This can include samples of a microorganism, virus or toxin (from a biological source) that can affect human health.  It can also include substances harmful to other animals.

Examples of biohazards include:

  • Human or animal blood.
  • Human or animal waste and body fluids.
  • Deceased animals.
  • Human remains.
  • Used intravenous needles/syringes.
  • Medical waste (used bandages, etc.).
  • Rotting food.

All of these substances can harbor bacteria (like E. coli) and viruses (like hepatitis and HIV) that can cause disease in humans and animals.  Biohazards may enter the body and cause damage if they are inhaled through breathing, ingested through swallowing or absorbed through breaks in the skin.

Biohazard Cleanup and Restoration

Exposure to biological and chemical contaminants can pose serious health consequences.  A failure to properly remove such substances can contribute to unhealthy and dangerous environments.  SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA is trained to safely remove biohazardous substances and dispose of them properly in accordance with OSHA and health regulations.  Equipped with the necessary safety apparatus and cleaning products, we can help transform these unhealthy environments back into clean, safe homes and offices.

Please refer to our Biohazard Emergency Tips - Until Help Arrives Guide and follow these tips to protect yourself and your property.

Need Biohazard Cleanup Services?  Call Us Today – (610) 352-0700

The decontamination of a home or business due to trauma, sewage backups, chemical spills, hoarding or other biohazards can be both dangerous and emotional.  Specialized training and experience is key when choosing a cleanup company to resolve these circumstances.

Common Biohazard Scenarios

Sewage Backups

Sewage backups and dark water intrusions are more than nasty, smelly deposits – these damages also introduce harmful microorganisms into a structure. We remove the sewage, contaminants, and moisture, and help ensure the structure is properly cleaned, disinfected, and deodorized.

Bloodborne Pathogens

We remove and dispose of bodily fluids, tissue and other potentially pathogenic substances resulting from accident, trauma, crime or death. Trained SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA Professionals clean, disinfect and deodorize the structure.

Methamphetamine Labs

SERVPRO of Upper Darby, PA  realizes many of the chemicals used in the production of illegal drugs such as methamphetamine are volatile and can leave harmful residues throughout a structure.  We follow federal and state guidelines to properly clean all surfaces.