Today is Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Water Damage Articles & FAQs

Articles and frequently asked questions about water damage.

Winter Fire and Water Damage Prevention

If you thought the only time water damage could happen was during severe summer storms, you are wrong. Winter can be just as bad or be the cause for Springtime issues. Winter is also a popular time for fires.

The frigid temperatures of winter are slowly creeping up on us. Soon we’ll have snow and ice and it will be too cold and possibly too late to winterize your home. Why would you winterize if you’ve never had problems in the past? The simple answer is that you may have never had a power outage during a blizzard or it hasn’t gotten cold enough. Consider what happens when there is a power outage. Your home gets cold and can’t keep the plumbing warm enough to keep them from freezing. Once they do, there is a good chance they will crack. When the power returns and your home heating restores the temperature in the house, the pipes will thaw and water will drain out the cracks caused by the freeze. You can avoid this mess by buying pipe insulation at your local home improvement store.

Winter Water Damage Prevention

  • Make sure you change your furnace filter frequently. A clogged filter makes your furnace work harder resulting in it running more often. Not only does this cost you more money, but it increases the chances of starting a fire.
  • Clear away anything flammable from your furnace. Keep everything at least a 6 feet away.
  • Check your smoke alarms and replace batteries. Consider a smoke detector that works on AC power and battery backup.
  • Check your fireplace and chimney. Make sure there are no rodents or birds living there.
  • Get your chimney cleaned if you haven’t done so in a while.
  • Water your Christmas tree daily. A 6ft tree can take a gallon or more per day.
  • If you clean your fireplace, be sure the ashes are completely extinguished before disposing of them. If unsure, douse with water.

Spring Water Damage Prevention

  • Disconnect and drain your garden hose so it doesn’t freeze and damage your hose. Store your garden hose in the garage after all the water has drained from it.
  • Make sure your gutters are clean and free of debris. If water is unable to drain into the downspouts, it will drain over the side and down by your home foundation.
  • Make sure all debris is removed from around the base of your home.
  • Plumbing that is close to external walls above the freeze line should be wrapped with insulation.
  • Outdoor water faucets should be checked for leaks and repaired.

If you are not sure how to do any of these things, give us a call.

Do DIY Mold Tests Work?

Andy D. from Schiller Park asked us if the DIY mold test kits from or are accurate. Guess what Andy? They are and here’s why. First, the air you breath every day is full of mold spores. Scary names like Aspergillus, penicillium, stachybotrys, and cladosporidium are as common as oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. Therefore, these little plastic trays which are left out in the open air for 24 hours capture all these mold spores. When you send it in to the lab, they send you a report listing all the mold types they found.

Should You Worry If Mold Is Found?

DIY Mold Test can help prevent serious damage

Since mold naturally occurs and is virtually everywhere, why do we need to worry? Think of it this way. It’s kind of like the air we breath. If there is too much carbon dioxide, we don’t get enough oxygen. If there is too much methane or carbon monoxide we can die. I’m talking large amounts here, but you get the picture. We breath in bad stuff all the time, but our bodies are able to filter it.

In the case of mold, it’s time to worry when the mold you’ve detected is out of control. If you have conditions in your home or business for mold to flourish, you could end up getting sick from the large quantities of mold. Large amounts of anything, besides maybe sex, is bad for you. I’ve actually heard a story on the radio about a guy who died from too much sex, and the wife was suing his doctor because he said he could. That’s another story for another time. Anyway, out of control mold will also destroy your home eventually. It’s unsightly and usually has a specific odor.

These DIY Mold Tests can be helpful to see how much mold you have. Instead of leaving the dish out for 24 hours, try 1 hour and see what happens after you’ve placed it in a dark place for 24 hours. If your tray has colonies of mold growing, you probably have high amounts of mold spores. But what you really need is a test that shows whether your home or business is hospitable to mold growth. Damp basements with stagnant air are breading grounds for mold. Dry air with good air flow is not good for mold.

DIY Mold Test or Professional Testing

If you’re not sure how to use a DIY Mold Test Kit, you’re best course of action would be to contact our office and schedule an appointment. We’d be more than happy to check for you. A professional examination of your home or business will find out the moisture content of your property, air flow, temperature, and other things needed for mold to multiply.

If you do decide to buy a DIY Mold Test Kit, we recommend buying two kits. The most common DIY Mold Test Kits from or require you to send in your kit for analysis. By sending buying two kits, you can send in each kit at different times to see if your mold is getting worse, or better. Don’t wait too long between samples – 1 day apart should be fine.

Water Alarm Review: Gizmode 9Volt Water Alarm, 110dB

We got our hands on the Original Water Alarm – WA01 – by Gizmode Innovations and put it through some rigorous testing. This water alarm is very loud and can be heard in basements, cabinets, or other remote places that are susceptible to moisture or leaks. This handy device screams at 110+ dB. It is very sensitive and therefore a perfect option for basements that have potential moisture problems. This alarm comes with a 1 year warranty, has a long battery life (chirps when battery runs low), and the easiest to use.

Gizmode Original Water Alarm 9v

We tested it first by setting it in a dish of water just to make sure it worked. It sure did… boy was it loud. Then as soon as we pulled it out of the water, the loud water alarm stopped. To test the sensitivity, we placed the alarm on a dry piece of paper. At one end of the paper, we placed a damp sponge dipped in blue food coloring. We were able to watch the paper absorb the blue water and how it traveled toward the alarm. This process took a while and was done this way to simulate a slow moisture build-up. As soon as the blue water reached the sensor – maybe a whisker shy – it started screeching.

Chicago experienced a sudden drop in temperature recently which was a perfect time to test for condensation. This drop in temperature also dried the air significantly so the humidifier kicked on to add moisture to the air. We set the water alarm on the concrete floor and checked the humidity each day. We kept the property at a constant 74 degrees and gradually raised the humidity. The alarm was triggered when the humidity reached 68%. It felt a bit muggy, but not wet. Even the concrete floor did not feel wet. But when we picked it up, it turned off. So, not only is this little alarm good for detection obvious moisture, small leaks and full blown water infiltration, it is a warning device for mold.

Gizmode Original Water Alarm 9v 2

Water Alarm – A small investment

For under $30 you get piece of mind knowing that you have a chance to save your home from potential disaster. Whether it’s a small plumbing leak that slowly decays your home, basement flooding, or high humidity, you’ll be alerted so you can take action. Available at

Learn more about the product from the manufacturer.

Water Damage Consulting Division

Flood Specialists, Inc. is proud to announce a new water damage consulting division giving you the option to have a mitigation specialist consult on your mold, biohazard, fire, flood and disaster projects, on the use of drying equipment and/or drying methodology. Our technicians are certified and trained in the use of all equipment and cleaning methods.

Whether you are on a do-it-yourself mission or a plumber, electrician, general contractors or other trade and have run into a problem that you would prefer to handle yourself, with the help of our consultants, of course. We can offer suggestions, equipment rental options, supplies, delivery, placement and instructions on using the equipment. You do the labor and cleanup meanwhile inheriting a new trade knowledge.

We recognize that the best way to bring back rental customers is to teach product knowledge. If you are hesitant about purchasing that big-ticket item, like a dry ice or soda blaster; rent and learn how to use the machinery prior to purchase, so you can decide what options are necessary for your type of use and intent. Our water damage consulting division staff will walk you through the pros and cons of the different mediums and offer our expert recommendations.

Sometimes buying a piece of equipment is not worth purchasing for just a few uses a year. Renting is sometimes the better cost-effective option. We clean and maintain our equipment regularly, something you don’t have to worry about. However, if you are flirting with the possibility of growing your business to include blasting, mold, fire, water damage restoration. Learn and rent the tools of the trade.

Why Use Our Water Damage Consulting Division?

Many businesses have used our water damage consulting division as “training wheels” before they take off running with new technology. When workshops and seminars are inconvenient for the crisis at hand, utilize our consultation services. We have 20 years experience in the business and are only happy to help. You can call our toll-free number 1-888-502-5699 for 24 hour access to the tools and equipment needed for disaster relief.

Water Damage Equipment – Rent, Test & Learn

Flood Specialists, Inc. has a fleet of great and meticulously maintained and cared for water damage equipment. Why do specialty trades and weekend warriors need to buy equipment for rare use occasions? No longer for just ‘friends of the trade’; we have the equipment and knowledge at hand for the public’s convenience.

Flood Specialists, Inc. is proud to announce a new equipment rental division giving you the option to rent restoration equipment. We have specialty equipment geared for fire and flood clean up that you cannot find at your normal rental houses. We offer equipment, delivery, placement and consultations. Our technicians are certified and trained in the use of all equipment and cleaning methods.

We have medium blasting equipment that includes dry ice and soda blasting. Whereas dry ice blasting is a relative new technology, the results are phenomenal and applications are endless. It can remove fire or smoke damage, eliminate mold, remove efflorescence from masonry, and restore old brick pavers. It is a non-abrasive and non-flammable cleaning method. Pressurized air is used to create mini explosions of frozen carbon dioxide (the gas we exhale) on the surface lifting dirt, oil, and debris. When dry ice melts it just turns into a gas and there is no secondary cleanup of the blasting medium. It truly is a more cost-effective way to clean, as it cuts down on cleaning time and labor hours.

Some people prefer the odor absorbing method of baking soda blasting. Imagine that little yellow box removing smoke and fire odors from a home. There is nothing more effective. Soda blasting is so effective it was used to restore the Statue of Liberty in the 1980s. Baking soda is so safe we use it to brush our teeth! It is perfect for cleaning in the food service industry.

Remediation, reconstruction professionals and the do-it-yourselfer turn to Flood Specialists, Inc. for their tool and equipment rental needs. Our extensive fleet of equipment includes air movers, negative air machines, dehumidifiers, extractors, blowers, axial fans and the supplies you need are all available for rent. We also have a limited supply of used equipment for sale. You can call our toll-free number 1-888-502-5699 for 24 hour access to the tools and equipment needed for disaster relief.

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