The Environmental Hazard That Is Hoarding

Judging by the popularity of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, many of us have too much clutter in our homes. For about 2%-6% of the population, however, the clutter interferes with daily living.

Hoarding is now a recognized mental health disorder, in which a person accumulates excessive possessions and feels distress when parting with them. We have begun to recognize the emotional impacts of hoarding, but it’s important that we also think about how hoarding affects the environment.

Hoarding is a Community Health Issue

Hoarding can affect the air quality within a home. Many times, so much clutter builds up that it becomes impossible to properly clean. Irritants such as mold, dust, ammonia, and pet dander increase to unhealthy levels. That can lead to breathing problems for people who live in or visit the home.

The buildup of trash, food, and filth invites pests into the home. Fleas, rats, bedbugs, roaches, and the like may infest the property. The crowded conditions also make extermination more challenging.

Hoarding of all types can create exposure to disease, but animal hoarding is of particular concern. In such cases urine, feces, and sometimes even dead animals build up in the home. Diseases and parasites can spread to humans and become a threat to everyone in the area.

People who hoard often live in unhealthy conditions, with malfunctioning heating and cooling systems or broken appliances. They are too embarrassed to call a professional to help, so the situation only gets worse.

Emergencies and Disasters

Hoarding directly causes some emergencies. It may also prevent first responders from being able to help residents during an emergency or disaster. Additionally, hoarding puts neighbors at risk when it occurs close to other homes or apartments.

Hoarding creates a risk of fire due to clutter coming in contact with heat sources. Once a fire starts, the amount of flammable material causes it to burn hot and spread quickly. Burning materials may also release toxic fumes. Blocked pathways make it difficult for firefighters to enter the home. Residents also have trouble escaping, so many occupants die in such fires.

The weight of hoarded objects may weaken the structural integrity of the buildings that store them. Many homes are simply not designed to hold a lot of heavy things, like furniture and books. Spilled liquids, leaking roofs, or broken pipes may also damage the home. Over time, that can cause the building to collapse.

Pollution

Obviously, all that stuff has to go somewhere. The objects that were hoarded impact the environment whether a home is cleaned out, lost to fire, or collapses. Rotting food releases methane gas. Plastic takes a very long time to break down. It is filling our oceans. Smoke from fires releases toxins and carbon dioxide. Improper sanitation may lead to contamination of water and soil. In short, hoarding affects us all.

We need a clean environment inside and outside of our homes to be healthy. It is in our best interests to address hoarding, but it must be done with care and compassion. Simply throwing away everything in a hoarder’s home will not solve the problem. Doing so without permission may ruin your relationship. It will always cause distress. In fact, the experience can be so traumatic, it is thought to have led to the death of some people.

If you or your loved ones need help with hoarding, give Ecos Environmental and Disaster Restoration a call. We will work with the family, therapist, and person suffering from hoarding. You can trust us to treat you with respect and compassion. We’ll discretely restore your property to a safe environment.

Image: Pexels

 

 

Weather damage to property

How To Claim Insurance From Weather Damage To Your Property

Water damage, winter storms and spring thaws cause weather damage to your property. How do you file a claim due to that loss appropriately?

In 2015, winter storms led to about $3.5 billion in insured claim losses. Weather patterns shift, and increasingly, bring harsh conditions to areas that didn’t experience a severe level of weather activity previously. The good news is that most homes and businesses are properly insured and can receive coverage and compensation for losses through their insurance company.

Insurance Claims and Weather-Related Loss

Weather-related loss can occur in many ways. The most frequent causes of weather damage include:

  • Water damage
  • Sudden thaws leading to floods
  • Roof damage
  • Hail damage
  • Fallen trees
  • Freezing pipes
  • Sewer backup
  • Wind damage
  • Displacement caused by power failure

Your insurance company should cover most of these types of weather damage. However, your insurance company does not typically cover flood damage. Thus, you need to look into obtaining national flood insurance in the future, and the FEMA website offers a great resource for research.

In the event of liability, your home insurance typically covers liability. One of your first steps should involve contacting your insurance company, even when you think you are not at fault. So, don’t try to resolve the issue yourself. You pay the insurance company to help you in times like these.

Your insurance company also has relationships with emergency contractors and clean-up experts who can step in to help you resolve the issue quickly and safely. ECOS Environmental has years of experience in doing just that. We can help you document the damage and repair through every step of the claim process.

Document and Prevent Further Damage

Waiting for the insurance company to step in? You still have a responsibility to prevent further damage to the property.

It’s normal to feel anxious and want to get started immediately. First, look around and access. Start taking photos, videos and notes about what you notice on your property. Where has damage occurred? What are the dates and times involved? What is the value of damaged materials and electronics in your home? Do you know the date of purchase? Keep track of receipts and records of any money spent.

The where, what, when and why becomes important as the insurance company reviews the claim. This scenario is where restoration and clean-up experts like ECOS Environmental really shine and offer support. When weather damage follows an emergency, our crews often reach the site faster than the insurance company can.

Keeping Up With Your Weather Damage Claim

Always contact your insurance company any time you notice weather damage or are accused of responsibility for damage to another’s property. Access and document the damage, gathering information. Additionally, keep a claim log about who you speak to regarding the damage, noting the status, date and time. Note every contact.

So, always check with your insurance provider before throwing out damaged items. Take photos before discarding if your municipality requires you to get rid of damaged materials for safety. This documentation process will also help you when it comes time to submit an inventory to the insurance company.

Sign up for text alerts from your insurance provider, so you can keep up with the status of your weather damage claim. This step will help you keep track of when an estimate becomes available or when a payment is issued.

Your home insurance policy should offer you the best possible coverage and support your best interests. Consequently, don’t take on extensive costs that you hold no responsibility for or cause more damage by resolving the issue yourself.

Always go through the proper channels. Contact ECOS Environmental to make sure every step in the claims and clean-up process is impeccably handled. You will come out on top safely, more informed and save more money.

Mold Remediation

Renovating: Dealing With Hidden Mold

Most folks know that mold needs moisture to grow indoors. You commonly find mold growth occurring after a flood, in a damp basement or as a result of your roof leaking. However, mold is sneaky, and many people end up dealing with hidden mold while renovating.

Experts suggest that hidden mold can be present in up to 60% of homes. When you see a bit of mold, you spritz, wipe and move on. However, the problem can be deeper than you assume. That cracked and leaking ceiling or broken pipe often leads to mold spreading. Out of sight, out of mind.

You Must Take Mold Seriously

Mold is different than concerns you may have with a house with old lead-based paint or asbestos. These are single contaminants that have definable and determinable health risks, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Researchers are still getting to know mold, but current findings reveal serious, long-term concerns for those with hidden mold.

Toxic mold exposure may pose issues with memory loss, trouble concentrating, insomnia and confusion. Mold exposure can contribute to symptoms of anxiety and depression. It can also cause upper respiratory tract symptoms in adults and children. Black mold is toxigenic, and symptoms of mold poisoning often occur as flu-like symptoms.

It is important to test for hidden mold through a certified inspector before you begin the renovation process. You should hire an expert renovator who is experienced in dealing with mold.

Dealing With Hidden Mold

Uneducated renovators and home and business owners who remain unaware of the mold effects and continue with renovation risk the health of others. You must understand what mold removal entails so that you don’t further contaminate or damage the structure and cause harm to those you care about.

Microbial air sampling is conducted if experts suspect mold. It’s not visible after the initial inspection. This type of sampling helps to locate hidden mold behind walls and other structures. A combination of moisture readings and surface or bulk sampling can help determine how far colonization may spread.

Mold remediation costs soar when you attempt to remove the visible areas of mold only to find more hidden. Some insurance companies now cap off what they will and won’t cover when it comes to mold. However, a certified expert gets the job done the first time and can afford more flexible payment terms. They also offer documentation assistance for insurance purposes.
cross contamination. Containing the area experiencing mold growth is important. Always practice safety measures, such as wearing goggles, a dust mask and rubber gloves.

Porous and Non-Porous Materials

Don’t treat contaminated porous materials with bleach. Bleach kills a large degree of germs,  but it doesn’t have the same effect on mold. Adding bleach adds moisture which encourages mold growth. The toxic nature of bleach may prove dangerous when not used with care.

Has mold infected porous materials, such as drywall, carpet and ceiling tiles? The best practice is to double bag and dispose of it. Containment helps prevent cross-contamination.

It’s safer to brush or scrub mold contamination off non-porous materials. Then, you will need to utilize a HEPA vacuum to stop mold particulates from taking to the air. Airborne particulates are a common way that mold spreads. You can spray anti-microbial solutions on non-porous surfaces to prevent mold growth.

Mold may be present in up to 60% of homes, and it’s difficult to determine how deeply mold may penetrate a structure. Hidden mold is more frequent in homes and businesses than you may suspect.

Avoid cross-contamination by focusing on mold containment. Contact ECOS Environmental today for thorough mold testing and removal assistance.

Flood Clean Up

Cleaning Up After Flooding 5 Steps You Need To Take

The floodwaters begin to recede. Understandably, you want to get back into your home or business to clean up and rebuild. However, rebuilding too quickly can mean you skip over significant damage and endanger those in the building.

Otherwise, persistent and hazardous issues such as infestations, mold growth and structural deterioration will present safety and health problems that can cost you more money in the long run. Don’t trust that flood water or materials damaged by flooding are safe. Here are the five steps you need to take after flooding to clean up.

1.Contact Professionals to Report and Assess

After flood water recedes, contact the professionals to report and assess the conditions following the flood. Do contact your insurance company as soon as possible, but also don’t neglect to contact disaster restoration professionals to assist with the documentation and restoration process.

ECOS Environmental is experienced with working with insurance companies and their standards. We will stay with you from start to finish. We know how to safely and effectively clean up all kinds of disasters and will restore your home or business with care.

People say that fire is both destructive and creative, but water seeps. It seeps through everything, including your ceiling, drywall, floors and walls.

2. Protect Yourself When Entering

There are some aspects of cleanup that you can safely DIY but never charge into a structure without it being cleared as safe by the experts and authorities.

Cracked foundations and broken floors obviously present hazards. Always turn the electricity off before going into a room with standing water. Also, don’t turn on electrical appliances while standing on wet flooring or carpeting. Never disturb mold, which can form within 48 hours of flooding.

Wear protective gear when you enter the building. Wear masks, waterproof boots and long sleeve clothing.

3. Start Cleaning ASAP

Begin the cleanup process once the building is cleared for you to enter safely. The degree to which you can contribute personally to the cleanup process depends on the degree of damage and concerns for potential health hazards. You don’t and shouldn’t do all the cleanup on your own.

Contact with floodwater and damaged materials endangers your life. It takes a long time, and you can’t work to support yourself and loved ones while cleaning up. If you DIY the cleanup, always wear protective gear. Only what is reasonable and safe for you and your health, such as wiping down surfaces and opening windows.

One of the first and easiest steps that you can DIY is to dry out the contents of the property completely. Focus on items that won’t retain harmful bacteria and mold. You will throw those items away. Many non-porous materials can be salvaged, so take the items outside to dry in the sunlight. Dehumidifiers and fans will help air out the property to prepare for restoration efforts.

4. Exercise Caution with Mold Damage

Where there is moisture, you will most likely find mold. After flooding, mold can quickly develop as soon as 24 hours after water comes in contact with a surface. Please wear a mask when you re-enter a building.

Soap and bleach can help address some mold issues, on the surface, but the problem area can “grow” deeper. Experts can offer you a free estimate and plan for addressing the damage.

5. Address Necessary Repairs Before Restoration

Part of the cleanup process means addressing the necessary repairs before you leap into the restoration process. The early stages of your cleanup efforts must focus on getting everything clean and dry while working with your insurance company and flood cleanup and restoration experts.

Following that, you should address the necessary repairs before restoration. Seal up all leaks and prevent further issues with moisture, especially for future prevention. If you are in a high-risk flood zone, you can investigate the possibility of elevating your home or installing a flood barrier after you take care of those must-do repairs.

Contact ECOS Environmental to guide you through the flood cleanup and restoration process from start to finish.

How to Go About Cleaning Up After a Critter Invasion

Wildlife should stay outside, but they don’t. Mice, squirrels, raccoons, bats and birds decide to take up residence inside in search of warmth, shelter and food. Nesting materials, food, oil, urine and droppings also create a draw for insects as well as encourage other critters to intrude upon your sanctuary. Before you know it, you end up with a critter invasion.

However, wildlife also has a tendency to roast in places that are hard to reach.  That makes it unsafe and unsanitary for home and business owners to DIY the issue. How do you go about cleaning up after critters enter your home or business?

Cleanup Assessment of a Critter Invasion

First, you need to send the professional wildlife technicians where the animals retreat. You must know what level of damage and contamination exist in order to know what the cleanup process will entail. For example, technicians will investigate the building materials and insulation in the attic and follow up with repair recommendations for your approval.

Some areas, such as crawl spaces, present safety and health hazards to owners wanting to assess structures for damage on their own. Grab your flashlight, mask, gloves, old clothes and sturdy boots to take a peek. For a deeper investigation, please call in the experts to protect your health.

Clearing Out and Cleaning Up After a Critter Invasion

The waste and damage left behind by animals can be hard to reach and difficult to handle for the standard vacuum cleaner. Sure, you could try to create a DIY biohazard suit, thinking that duct tape and heavy-duty garbage bags will do, but they won’t do.

It’s not safe to touch animal waste, and you can also breathe in the dust of animal droppings that may spread disease. Many owners will attempt to DIY critter cleanup because they fear it will cost too much money to hire experts. However, insurance typically covers damage done by raccoons and other wildlife. In the case that insurance is an issue, quality providers like ECOS Environmental will make the effort to provide cost-effective solutions for critter cleanup.

ECOS Environmental utilizes industry-leading equipment and techniques to clear out contaminated materials and make repairs. Advanced trade vacuums and breathing equipment allow us to get into those hard to reach places safely and efficiently. You don’t waste money on clean up gear you don’t need. You can focus on your life while the experts take care of the problem.

The cleanup process consists of what you would expect on the surface: removing damaged and soiled building materials, sanitizing, deodorizing and vacuuming. But to truly make your space livable and safe, serious restoration and prevention efforts must be put into effect. Rather than spraying Febreeze around the attic, ECOS Environmental would use an enzyme-based or other specialized cleaners to break down organic matter while deodorizing the area.

You need more than surface clean up and repair. Animals respond strongly to scent. Trace amounts of droppings can and will draw more critters back into entry points that have not been sealed. Then, you are back to square one and end up spending more money. Get vents, ductwork and insulation repaired or replaced. Seal up access points that critters can slip through and get into your building.

Professional Cleanup and Prevention Is Key

Raccoons, squirrels and mice sneak into businesses or homes for shelter. They may take up residence in an open chimney or inside walls, as well as in the attic, deck or porch. As you clean your gutters and do other household maintenance chores, make sure you make efforts to wildlife-proof the building and check for unexpected access points or damage.

Start with the foundation and look for signs of activity from animals. Any exit points for cables, pipes and vents present prospective entry points for wildlife. Also, look at where various building materials join, such as dryer exhaust vents, gaps in brick or window wells. Seal holes that are only a few inches wide with caulk or expandable foam.

You also don’t want to seal critters in with your wildlife proofing efforts. Place a cloth or loose insulation over suspect entry points before you seal up the holes. If you notice the materials have moved, then you will want to contact the professionals to further investigate.

ECOS Environmental has over 13 years of experience in critter cleanup and animal waste removal. Contact us for a cost-effective critter cleanup assessment of your space today.

 

Image: Pexels

Is There Sewage In Your Flood Water?

“It’s just water,” you think. What could go wrong if you just decided to dip a toe into the flood water and work your way to the other side? The water doesn’t look too deep or radioactive from afar.

That standing water looks passive enough, but flood waters pose various risks and may threaten you with injury, chemical hazards and infectious diseases. Don’t try to downplay the risks. Even if the current won’t carry you away, you still need to worry about the possibility of sewage in your flood water.

Sewage Can Leak Into Water During a Flood

According to the Scientific American, sewage floods are more likely to happen in the coming years as heavy rains increase. Between 1895 and 2011, rainfall has increased by two inches each year, and it’s only going to continue rising. In 2016, Baton Rouge, Louisiana faced a deluge of 20 inches of rain within 72 hours, necessitating 30,000 rescues.

Many families end up waiting until the flood hits their front door to evacuate, and then they have to do it by boat. What do they end up seeing and treading through? Raw sewage.

That’s what happened to folks in Baton Rouge. The city’s piping, booster systems and life stations were built around a century ago, and the system couldn’t handle the torrential downpour leading to what is known as a “sanitary sewer overflow” — or unsanitary, rather. Do you know how old the pipes are in your neighborhood? It’s worth looking into.

Cities are responsible for adhering to the Clean Water Act. Older systems are designed with fixed degrees of water and rainfall in mind, but more flexible systems need developing.

Outfall points release the sewage into larger bodies of water, but sometimes, shallow slopes don’t allow for proper flushing. In New York City alone, three billion gallons are released into just one stream — the Newton Creek. Find out about how your city treats and tests its water by visiting your government website and asking direct questions.

How Can You Get Ill From Sewage in Flood Water?

Fortunately, most modern people are good about washing their hands after using the restroom and cautious of spreading possibly infectious viruses and diseases. However, sewage in the flood water can spread fecal-oral diseases from the organisms that are released into the water.

These diseases spread from touching dirty hands to your mouth. Spreading can occur by direct contact with the flood water, sewage or someone who becomes sick with disease. You can also become sick by indirect contact with the flood water when you touch damaged furniture, toys or other items or consume food exposed to sewage-contaminated water.

If infected, you may experience nausea, cramps, fever, headache, vomiting and diarrhea. You should contact your doctor if you experience these symptoms for more than 48 hours.

That’s why it’s important to avoid contact with flood water as a rule of thumb in general. Find a sanitary facility to shower or bathe if you do come into indirect or direct contact with flood water. The incubation period for many fecal-oral diseases consists of one to three days.

Safety Practices Regarding Sewer Contaminated Flood Water

Reduce your risk of contamination and illness by avoiding flood water altogether. If you come in contact with a flooded area, wash yourself with clean soap and water as soon as possible.

Always wash your hands after you use the toilet or eat. Keep your hands under the clean water for at least twenty seconds as you scrub.

For decontamination of objects, in many cases, you can use about eight tablespoons of laundry bleach per gallon of water to preserve some toys and other household objects. Always discard cloth objects, such as clothes, plush toys or pillows.

Use gloves, masks and proper clothing to avoid contact with the water as you clean and throw away the trash. Open up the windows for ventilation.

These tips will help you get through light flooding, but even when the water doesn’t look too deep, you never know what sewage might linger in your flood water — chances are, it’s there.

Don’t risk your health. Contact ECOS Environmental to help clean up, sanitize and restore the area, documenting every step of the process for insurance purposes for you.

Surprising Environmental Disasters Categorized As A Biohazard

It’s easy to come home from work and declare your kitchen as a biohazardous threat. You found the perfect excuse to order pizza. It’s no surprise that a good pizza party heals about anything and elbow grease will handle the rest.

Some of the most benign substances that we consider safe can be categorized as a biohazard under the “right” conditions. Pollutants can contaminate water, so that’s why you’re urged not to tread through flooded areas even when the water level is low. Officials can categorize natural disasters and the spread of highly-infectious diseases as biohazards, but thresholds of seemingly non-threatening weather or materials can present a biohazard under certain conditions.

Contaminated Water and Flooding

That thunderstorm was a little heavier than you thought, huh? Tsunamis and hurricanes — you expect these will devastate an area and contribute to biohazardous conditions. However, standing water caused by flooding and seemingly generic thunderstorms can also quickly turn into a biohazard.

1.1 billion people don’t have access to safe water. One of the biggest health threats to people around the world is Cholera, a fatal illness that can kill people within three hours. Diseases like this commonly spread by contact with water or food contaminated with fecal matter.

Food left to rot and untreated raw sewage may contaminate floodwaters. Other chemical containers can also break down and travel downstream. So, you should never wade through water after a flood until professionals have cleared the area as safe. Water damage creates perfect conditions for mold growth which can develop in under 48 hours and adversely affect the immune system of even typically healthy individuals for the long-term.

Health Epidemics: Sharps Waste and Bodily Fluids

You’re familiar with Ebola and Marburg as examples of viral diseases that are highly contagious. You can contract these diseases through contaminated needles and transmitted through contact with bodily organs and fluids. These threats are considered a level four biohazard, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). However, outside of a health epidemic, natural disasters can also affect the homes of patients. Dispose of sharps waste carefully as they can escalate to being considered a biohazard.

Pathogens can linger as long as 16 days outside the human body. You can find blood-borne pathogens like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, H1N1 (bird flu), HIV, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) and other communicable diseases. A pattern of folks being resistant to antibiotics could merit a potential biohazard as a communicable disease continues to spread, and Staph lives everywhere.

Coverslips, glass sides, needles, scalpels and IV tubing with an attached needle all count as biohazardous sharps waste — a type of biomedical waste that can include anything used to puncture the skin. This type of waste can also include scissors, razors and X-ACTO blades.

People generate sharps waste outside a hospital setting. For example, insulin-dependent people with diabetes often need to dispose of their sharps waste in the home or when traveling. So, many larger institutions and airports offer sharps containers for proper waste disposal inside restrooms. At home, diabetics sometimes substitute more hard containers for needle disposal, such as emptied milk jugs.

Food Poisoning and Reports of Decaying Carcasses

It’s just a dead animal on the side of the road, right? The bacteria involved in decomposition aren’t commonly harmful. However, decomposing bodies sometimes contaminate drinking water or transmit infectious disease, if the animal or human was infected. Even bedding materials used by animals infected with pathogenic organisms are biohazardous.

Biohazards in various foods lead to major recalls and health concerns. People typically think of food poisoning as something that puts you out of work for a day or two and that these recalls only affect a few hundred people who have accessed the contaminated food. In 2003, Mad Cow Disease reached the U.S. when detected in one imported cow from Canada, costing the U.S. $4.7 billion and an over two-year ban on Canadian beef. Fortunately, this was caught before people were adversely affected.

You can contract pathogens and resulting diseases during any stage of dealing with meat. That may mean it occurs on the cutting board or through a simple kiss from an animal you care for. As the population rises, more people rely on processing plants and other resources for manufacturing convenience foods. Cutting corners risks infection by foodborne illness.

In and of themselves, a weather event, water, deceased animal or person, common bacteria, food or medical supplies may present little to no threat to your health or safety. Under the right conditions or severity, these become elements of disasters that escalate to biohazards.

ECOS Environmental experts have helped clean up blood, bodily fluids and other commonly known potential biohazards for years. However, some disasters can catch you by surprise. ECOS will disinfect and reinstate a safe environment for you correctly under any concerning circumstances.

professional carpet cleaning

How Often Should Carpets Be Professionally Cleaned?

Carpets add texture, color and comfort to your space. However, carpet fibers retain grime, dirt and pet hair over time, hiding them from view. Professional carpet cleaning can restore the appearance of your carpets and protect your health.

One study found that the typical indoor carpet is 4,000 more times grimier than a toilet seat. That adds up to 200,000 bacteria per square inch. It almost makes you almost want to sleep with your socks on forever. Yikes!

Frequent cleaning and vacuuming can help mitigate the bacteria, but a professional carpet cleaning gets deep into carpet fibers to eliminate bacteria from the “root.” So, how often should carpets be professionally cleaned?

From DIY to Professional Carpet Cleaning

At what degree of dirtiness do you call in a professional to clean the carpets? Is it when you can’t get the red wine stain out, or when there’s a perceptible, lingering odor? Let’s break it down by cleaning stages.

1. How often should you vacuum?

For light to medium soiling, vacuum your carpets one to two times a week. For the typical household, it’s best to vacuum two times a week, especially if you have kids, pets, smokers or messy employees in a similarly high traffic area.

2. How often should you spot clean?

Spot cleaning prevents the buildup of grime and bacteria and is not cutting corners when practiced regularly.

Spot clean light, medium and heavy soiling as soon as you noticed spots and keep up treatments daily. Stubborn or toxic spots require professional cleaning, especially in the case of a flood whether caused by bursting pipes or a hurricane.

Does anyone have specific allergies? Then, you may require more frequent cleaning passes with green cleaning products. For heavily traffic areas, depending on the degree of soiling, you should clean your carpets at least three times a week. You may need to vacuum or spot treat areas daily.

3. So, how often should your carpets be professionally cleaned?

We generally recommend that you professionally clean your carpets at least once a year. It mitigates long-term damage to your carpets and health as a result of letting problem areas go. Those spots add up — especially when a natural disaster strikes.

When water soaks into a carpet, it can spur on the growth of mold and bacteria — not to mention inviting bed bugs and other pests to come to live with you.

What Are the Benefits of Professional Carpet Cleaning?

Regularly vacuuming and spot cleaning can help combat dust, dirt, food particles, pet dander and other particles that transfer to the carpet. These particles need to be removed regularly, or they can cause odors, stains and permanent damage — to the carpet and potentially your health.

“Seasonal” allergies may not be seasonal. If you let these particles build up in your carpet fibers, the spread of bacteria can adversely affect your health.

A professional carpet cleaning also extends the longevity of your carpets and improves their appearance. Life gets too busy and rushing to get things done can put such chores at the bottom of your to-do list. So, when you let those chores go, it’s easier and cost-effective to bring in a professional for restorative servicing.

You put money into your carpets, and their appearance adds to the impression of your residence or company. A grimy carpet makes guests cringe and can quickly send them running for the front door. The buildup of bacteria-causing particles can wear away at the carpet’s structure and deteriorate the carpet. After a while, you may need new carpet installed rather than a professional cleaning.

Vacuuming, spot cleaning and some over-the-counter treatments can maintain your carpets for general cleaning. However, the long-term health and appearance of your carpets are a concern that needs to make your yearly to-do list.

Over time, grime and bacteria build up to destroy the structure of your carpets and spread. That’s when you definitely need to call in the professionals. ECOS Environmental uses safe and green cleaning products and techniques to deep clean your carpets and restore them to their original beauty. Contact ECOS today 24/7 at 888-491-4652 to speak with us about your professional carpet cleaning needs.

What’s Involved In Asbestos Testing

Do you know whats involved in asbestos-testing:  Call ECOS on 888-990-5067.  Asbestos is a common and natural fiber utilized in the construction of buildings for its fire resistance, insulation and durability. However, researchers have noted an increased risk of lung disease with prolonged exposure to disturbed asbestos-containing products. So, many asbestos products are now banned. You still need to consider asbestos testing when making changes to your residence or commercial building.

The use of asbestos is still legal, though restricted and regulated. Some asbestos products are still allowed in building materials, which commonly include siding and roofing shingles, vinyl floor tiles and pipe insulation, among others. Homes built before 1978 need to be tested for asbestos. If you go ahead with renovation without testing, you may put your health at risk and face fines.

What Health Risks May Occur With Asbestos Exposure?

Products that contain asbestos should not crumble. If they do, you may experience health concerns involving your lungs. When asbestos products break down and are disturbed, the thin fibers can drift throughout the air for days. When you breathe these fibers in, they attach to the lining in your lungs and can lead to serious diseases like asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer.

You can typically find asbestos in your siding, walls, insulation and floors. If you alter a structure built prior to 1978, you risk disturbing a significant amount of asbestos. You should always get a consultation and asbestos testing before you make alterations to your home or business.

Why Else Should You Test For Asbestos?

ECOS Environmental asbestos repair experts can tackle any asbestos removal and repair projects. You need asbestos testing if you plan to demolish a commercial or residential blending.

The state of Colorado outlines the following rules for asbestos testing for homeowners:

  • Have a professional come in if removing more than 32 square feet.
  • Please test if removing more than 50 linear feet.
  • Test if removing more than the equivalent of one 55-gallon drum of any material besides concrete, breaks, wood or steel.

The state of Colorado outlines the following rules for asbestos testing for commercial clients:

  • Have a professional come in and test if removing more than 160 square feet.
  • Please test if removing more than 260 linear feet.
  • Test if removing more than the equivalent of one 55-gallon drum of any material besides concrete, breaks, wood or steel.

How Asbestos Testing Works

Don’t start renovating if you have concerns regarding asbestos. It’s better to be safe, especially when you’re working with cracking or crumbling walls. General wear-and-tear can also mean damage to asbestos. Those dangerous fibers could cause serious harm to your health when released into the air. You may be wondering how the process works.

ECOS Environmental takes samples for analysis to see if they contain ACM — a nice acronym that stands for asbestos-containing materials. This first phase determines if you need an abatement, completely removing all disturbed asbestos-containing materials. A non-detect result does not require an abatement. However, if the test comes back between zero and one percent, then ECOS Environmental will go ahead with an OSHA abatement. If the results are over one percent, we will need to obtain a permit from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment for a Regulation 8 abatement.

Asbestos Testing: It’s Better to Know

You need asbestos testing to identify the presence of ACM. Keep in mind that materials containing asbestos are generally safe if not disturbed or damaged. It’s better to know for sure than deal with the health consequences later.

Find out the “erected on” date the building to learn about the possibility of it having ACM. Once again, any structure built before 1978 necessitates getting tested for asbestos.

Still feeling doubtful? It’s best to contact the qualified professionals at ECOS Environmental to take samples and analyze them.

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Erasing The Smell Left After Smoke Damage

When fire blazes, the items burnt on its destructive journey leave a distinctive odor. The smell left after smoke damage is a mix of damaged paint, plastic, wood and other materials. Needless to say, it’s less than inviting and affects the livability and breathability of your home.

The smell can also affect you physically, leaving you feeling nauseated and suffering headaches. Microscopic particles stubbornly stick to walls, floors, ceilings, clothing, fabrics, cabinets, and furniture, and it makes the smoke smell just as difficult to eradicate. So, how do you erase the smell left after smoke damage?

Let In Fresh Air

Open the windows to let the fresh air. Fans will help circulate the air, moving in the fresh air and pushing out the smoke smell.

Indoor air quality issues can persist, and that’s where restoration professionals must step in with professional grade fans and environmentally friendly tools to erase the smoke damage and smell.

Wipe Down Surfaces

Smoke rises and soot settles — on walls, windows and other surfaces. For lighter cases of smoke damage, you can use vinegar to cut through the soot and smoke smell.

Dilute a cup of vinegar with a gallon of water, or use less water if you need a stronger solution. Add a few drops of dish soap to the liquid mixture. Once combined, you can use this cleaner to naturally clean up the soot and reduce the lingering smoke smell.

Dry cleaning sponges also lift soot, and alkaline cleaners help to neutralize acids inside soot and erase the smell left after smoke damage. ECOS Environmental uses environmentally friendly cleaners to tackle persistent smoke damage and lingering odors. The damage can also linger in nooks and crannies like window screens.

Launder Clothing and Fabrics

Wash all fabrics. It will take some time, but it’s necessary to banish the smoke smell permanently.

Take down the curtains. Gather up the clothes. Launder all washable fabrics. Add some vinegar to the wash to help erase the smoke smell. Run the fabrics and clothes through as many cycles as necessary until the smell is gone.

Avoid using odor-masking sprays on non-washable fabrics as these will only hide the odor. Deodorizers will help reduce the smell, but you may need to try several passes. You can also hang up larger fabrics and rugs outside on a nice day to let the wind blow the smoke smell out.

Getting the Smoke Smell Out of Furniture and Carpets

What about furniture? Depending on the degree of smoke and damage, you may worry that you can save your furniture. What about your carpets?

Baking soda absorbs odors. Sprinkle it over upholstery and carpet. Wait for three hours. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to contain the smoke smell and baking soda.

More specialized cleaners are available, but misusing them may cause damage to your personal belongings. You may also worry about which cleaners are safe for your pets.

Professionally Clean AC/Heat Units

What if the smoke smell persists after all that effort? After letting in fresh air, wiping down surfaces and deodorizing your furniture and carpets?

Contact professionals to clean your air conditioning, heating and ventilating units. Once all ducts are clean, your home or business won’t circulate hidden smoke smell. Regularly change all filters.

Don’t spend unnecessary money trying to erase the smell left after smoke damage. Contact ECOS Environmental to sort your belongings in a climate controlled area, and we will bring in the right tools and expertise to banish the smell left after smoke damage for good.

ECOS Environmental is available 24/7 for Colorado residents, and we work around the clock to restore your home and business. We use green technology and cleaning products to clean up smoke smell and damage that won’t harm you or your pets. Contact ECOS today 24/7 at 888-375-3267 to speak with a senior manager about your project.

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