disaster aftermath

Disaster Aftermath: It’s not over when it’s over

As we all watch footage of the terrible killer floods in Texas and Oklahoma this week (wishing we could have some of that rain ourselves), we remember that there is danger from natural disasters wherever you live. But the danger isn’t over when the flood waters recede. The disaster aftermath can be every bit as dangerous as the actual event.

After a Flood

Water damage can wreak havoc to our homes and personal possessions, destroying precious and irreplaceable objects like books and photographs, important documents, and building materials. Some things can be cleaned and dried, and others must be discarded.

Water damage to porous materials means they need to be replaced, otherwise they will be subject to almost instantaneous mold growth. Let the drywall go and think of what color you’d like to paint those new walls.

After a Tornado

Tornados bring some of the same water damage dangers, but also can tear apart buildings, if not rip them from their foundations. Older buildings may contain asbestos which may never have been disturbed if not for the tornado, but becomes a danger during cleanup and restoration. Do not touch any suspected asbestos materials. Have a professional assess and remove it safely. There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos.

After an Earthquake

You probably have relatives who ask you, “How can you live with the danger of earthquakes?” Well, we don’t have hurricanes or tornadoes, so we take what we get, just like those in other parts of the country. But we do have to be careful and remember that earthquakes can do similar damage to tornadoes and other storms. Dangerous building materials like asbestos can be disturbed and expose us to carcinogens.

The safest way to clean up after a natural disaster is to call in a professional cleanup team. At Seacliff, we have trained and experienced cleanup technicians who can deal with any hazardous materials quickly and safely, without exposing you, your family or your community to any dangerous substances exposed by a disaster.

Be prepared for the disaster aftermath and be careful during the events in your region!

Household Mold

5 Types of Common Household Mold

We are all used to household mold. When you leave the leftovers in the fridge just a little too long. When you’re just too busy to wipe down the shower curtain. Maybe that leaky pipe in the kitchen didn’t get fixed right away and you lost track.

Mold spores are everywhere and they only take three things to grow: food, air, and water. Here are the 5 most common types of household mold you might encounter if you provide the right conditions:

Penicillium

A green fungus often found on bread, penicillium is used in making antibiotics. It is also used to make cheese, and leads to bread ending up in landfills everywhere.

Aspergillus

This household mold is usually blue and grows on wet textiles and wallpaper, materials which often get damaged in a flood. Mycotoxins from Aspergillus are the culprits most often when people are allergic to mold and have respiratory symptoms like asthma or congestion.

Trichoderma

Trichoderma is another green mold that is present in all soil. It’s what’s growing on that plastic container of spaghetti in the back of the refrigerator.

Chaetomium

This brown mold can cause infection in humans. If you always shower with soap after working out in a public place like a gym and you will prevent any infections from this fungus.

Alternaria

Another type of household mold which can cause asthma or allergy symptoms, Alternaria is especially dangerous to those with compromised immune systems.

You can’t completely avoid contact with mold of all sorts, but there are things you can do to keep it in check. Fix leaks promptly and replace any porous materials damaged by water. Always run the fan in the bathroom during AND after a shower. Throw those leftovers away before they become a home for a colony. If you see mold, remove it, but remember there may be more that you can’t see. If household mold gets out of hand, call a professional!

High humidity

High Humidity in Home Encourages Dust Mites and Mold

You know how it feels outdoors–high humidity can make hot days unbearable, sticky, and drive you into air conditioned places. In Southern California, we are more likely to brag about our “dry heat,” but up north cool, foggy weather is very common. Both hot and cold damp days make it easier for mold and dust mites to thrive indoors, leading to allergy symptoms and even asthma for those with sensitivities.

How does high humidity encourage dust mites and mold?

This video from the IAQ Video Network lays it out very well:

Mold spores are everywhere, just waiting for the right conditions to grow and thrive.

What does mold need to grow?

Mold only needs three elements to take hold:

  • Moisture
  • Food
  • Air

That’s it! No wonder a leak or some unfortunate condensation can cause a mold problem indoors.

What about dust mites?

Dust mites are also ubiquitous and live on dead skin cells and pet dander–unavoidable in an inhabited residence. Dust mites don’t drink, but they do need water and do well in a humid environment.

What can you do to discourage dust mites and mold?

  • Fix leaks promptly
  • Replace any porous materials damaged by water
  • Run bathroom fans during and after showers until steam and humidity has been vented outdoors
  • Use a dehumidifier to keep indoor humidity low
  • Wash bedding in hot water and dry in a hot dryer weekly

We can’t do much about the outside humidity–it depends on the climate where we live. But high humidity indoors is more controllable and worth the effort, especially if you or someone in your family is affected by allergies or asthma. If you develop a mold problem or want to tackle dust mites, Seacliff can help. Call us for a consultation!

Bed bug evolution

Thanks, Darwin: Bed Bug Evolution

Bed bugs have always been with us. Where humans have lived, bed bugs have fed off their blood–for millennia. Human blood hasn’t changed, but have bed bugs? Bed bug evolution!

Bed Bug History

Bed bugs probably started out as bat bugs–living off the warm blooded bats in caves. When humans moved into the caves with the bats, the bed bug evolution took over and moved their parasitical lives over to the larger creatures, perfectly understandable. We offered much more food than bats.

As the human population grew and became more mobile, living in villages, town and cities and traveling to distant lands, bed bugs too found new places to live and new countries to explore.

By 100 A.D., they were a well-known presence in Italy, in 600 A.D. in China, in the 1200s in Germany and the 1400s in France. Heat that was generated from cooking and sleeping fires afforded the bugs a comfortable life in the wealthiest families residing in castles and the less fortunate working class living in huts. —Bedbugs.org

Bed bugs were at one time believed to have medicinal value for ear infections and snake bites, and even hysteria. We think they probably caused more hysteria than they cured–like today!

Bed bugs came to America with the settlers and made the New World their new home. By the early 20th Century, most people had personal experience with bed bugs, but by the 1950’s, bed bugs were hard to find.

DDT was very successful at eradicating bed bugs and other pests, but, of course, it turned out to be dangerous to other creatures as well and in 1972 its use was banned due to its cancer-causing properties and the damage it was doing to bird populations like the Bald Eagles in the US.

Bed Bugs Today

Bed bugs didn’t just come back from DDT, they came back stronger. Populations that survived to today have thicker exoskeletons with waxier surfaces that resist pesticides better. They also have faster metabolisms to deal with those chemicals more quickly, before they can kill. Bed bugs in other countries had longer exposures to DDT and developed even better resistance to pesticides. When they travel from those places to cities, they are very hard to eradicate.

What can you do about today’s bed bugs?

Modern bed bugs are pesticide resistant. And DDT is no longer an option. The safest and most effective treatment for today’s bed bugs is high temperatures. Heat kills bed bugs and their eggs without pesticides. Whether a bed bug is a weakling from the 1800’s or a 21st Century megabug, heat will still do the job!

Dinner with friends collage 1

4th Annual Dinner with Friends is May 2nd!

It is almost here! Our biggest and most exciting fundraising event of the year–the Dinner with Friends in support of the Ronald McDonald House of San Diego!

This is the fourth time Carlos Sanguinetti and Matt Teeter have taken the helm, and and hopefully it will be the fourth time our fundraising goals are reached and surpassed. This year’s goal, you ask?

$100,000!

We know we can do it, with your help! You can either buy tickets or make a donation here!

We will have fabulous food and drinks from:

  • Busalacchi Restaurants
  • Stella Public House
  • Lightning Brewery
  • Southern Wine & Spirits
  • Golden Coast Mead
  • Clase Azul Tequila
  • COLDCOCK Whiskey
  • California Fruit Wine Co.
  • Popcakery custom cake jars

And our amazing silent auction features offerings like:

2 Night Stay at Palomar Mountain Cabin Where the Night Lights are Real–Enjoy the 180 degree view of San Diego County from the deck of a cabin on Palomar Mountain. The deck is perfect for stargazing, and the cabin is a short drive from the world famous Palomar Observatory. Nearby Palomar Mountain State Park offers hiking and fishing opportunities. Wake up to the sounds of birds singing and hummingbird wings whirring around the feeders. This cozy cabin sleeps ten, two in the master bedroom, two in a second bedroom, and four in a loft accessed by a pull down ladder.

4 One-Day Parkhopper passes to Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Parks

VIP chargers training camp visit for 6 with pics with players after practice

4 Field Box VIP Tickets to Padres vs. Mets

And much, much more!

Won’t you join us? And if you are unable to attend, could you make a donation?

The Ronald McDonald House is a home-away-from-home for the families of critically ill or injured children from around the world. In June of 2009, Carlos was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He has since made a full recovery, but this life experience caused both Carlos and Matt to reevaluate their contributions to the community. They both shared the same vision of helping others in need. Carlos had heard good things about Ronald McDonald House Charities and in September of 2009 Carlos and his wife Shana organized our first volunteer event on behalf of the organization. Since then we have been committed to this amazing organization.

Please help us reach our goal and make this the most successsful Dinner with Friends ever! 

Improving air quality

Improving Air Quality Today

Air pollution is a big problem all over the world. In London, in Delhi, in Haifa, in Beijing, and here in Los Angeles. When we look at the photos of smog over a famous skyline, we feel powerless to affect the air quality over such a large area, even though we know it is damaging to our health and that of our friends, loved ones, and neighbors. But improving air quality can happen–indeed, it will only happen–when each of us does what we can.

How does air pollution affect our health?

Air pollution has been linked to:

Heart disease

Lung cancer

Burst appendix

Allergies

Asthma

Immune system issues

How can we help reduce air pollution in our environment?

  • Drive less, bike and walk more
  • Take public transportation
  • Don’t idle when waiting to pick up kids from school or other activities
  • Reduce energy usage at home
  • Observe no-burn days
  • Follow smog regulations for your car

The air has improved tremendously in Los Angeles in recent years, but the importance of improving our air quality only increases. The more we know, the more we know we have to do better.

Beijing, Haifa, London and even Los Angeles have a long way to go before we can be sure our air quality is what it should be. Are you doing everything you can to support improving air quality where you live?

Bed bug myths

7 Biggest Bed Bug Myths

What do you know about bed bugs? There are a lot of bed bug myths hiding in corners and we are determined to find them and put them to rest. Here’s the straight scoop about these annoying pests!

7 Bed Bug Myths:

  1. Bed Bugs only feed at night–Bed bugs don’t like the light, but they can bite any time there is an opportunity.
  2. If your home is clean, you won’t get bed bugs–Bed bugs are equal opportunity eaters, they don’t care if your house is small or large, clean or dirty. If they get in and find human blood, they will set up housekeeping.
  3. Bed Bug bites will show up right away–Bed bug bites can take as long as a 7-10 days to show on your skin. By the time you see bite marks, the infestation can be pretty far along. Better to go by inspection of bed linens, mattress seams and other easy places for them to hide.
  4. Bed bugs carry disease, like mosquitos–Bed bugs have not been proven to carry disease, although the jury is still out on a protozoan. However, bed bug bites (and scratching them) can cause infections.
  5. Bed bugs cannot travel from floor to bed–Although bed bugs neither fly nor jump, they do crawl and they can crawl not only from floor to bed but from apartment to apartment, drawn by your exhaled carbon dioxide.
  6. Bed bugs only live in beds–Wouldn’t that be nice? Unfortunately bed bugs can live in any upholstered furniture and hide behind pictures on the walls, in bedside table drawers and travel in suitcases.
  7. Bug bombs will kill bed bugs–Not only are bug bombs ineffective against bed bugs, they can be dangerous if not used strictly according to instructions. Often people who discover they have bed bugs get very upset and overreact when trying DIY solutions, neglecting health and safety in a desire to deal with the infestation as quickly as possible.

What is the quickest and most effective treatment for bed bugs? Heat! Thermapure Heat kills bed bugs–and their eggs–in one treatment without dangerous chemical pesticides. Contact us for more information!

 

Asbestos Awareness Week

Global Asbestos Awareness Week 2015

It may be April Fool’s Day, but we are not fooling when we warn you about the dangers of asbestos. This week is Global Asbestos Awareness Week and we want to make sure that you are aware of the risks you could be taking if you tackle home renovation projects that involve asbestos containing materials.

Where can asbestos be found?

asbestos-in-home

 What about in a Commercial Property?

asbestos hides

We hope that you take our warnings about the dangers of asbestos exposure seriously. Especially in spring, when we all want to tackle home improvement projects in the warm (but not too hot) weather, it would be easy to neglect the very real risks posed by trying to remove asbestos yourself.

Don’t do it!

Here is an excerpt from a documentary film entitled “The Evil Dust, a history of Asbestos” that we thought might make you more careful:

Asbestos: The Evil Dust

Of course, we all want that old pipe insulation, that ancient linoleum, those roof shingles out of our homes and out of our environment. But if you don’t do it the right way, removing those materials can be worse than leaving them in place. Contact a professional asbestos abatement company before you endanger your own health or that of your family.

black mold

Black Mold: Tenacious and Toxic

Black mold presents particular difficulties in removal. It gets into some crazy places where it is hard to reach. Tenacious and toxic, however, if you have black mold, it needs to go.

Where Can Black Mold Be Found?

Black mold is great at getting into nooks and crannies, behind baseboards, under carpets, in flower pots and even inside drywall. Anything that is both damp and porous can harbor black mold.

Three Strategies for Removing Black Mold

First, eliminate the source of the problem: Moisture

Wherever the water is coming from that allowed the black mold to grow must be found and repaired. This, by itself, won’t kill the mold, but it is necessary for preventing it from recurring later. Remember, mold spores are everywhere, just looking for a comfortable place to grow.

Check outside for any places water could be coming in from outside. Inspect pipes and appliance connections. If there are no leaks, check your humidity and think about getting a humidifier if the moisture level in your home is too high. Everything has to be dry and stay dry to get rid of black mold.

Second: Clean thoroughly

Hard surfaces can be cleaned of mold, but any porous materials that have been infiltrated must be removed and replaced–they cannot truly be cleaned. This includes carpet, flooring, insulation, and drywall. No matter how clean you think they are, there are still mold spores lurking, just waiting for a humid day or a drip to set them growing again.

Bleach can work on surfaces like tile, but even though mold disappears when you spray it on porous materials, it is not gone. It is hiding. It will come back and quickly.

Third: repair and replace

Rather than just replacing the damaged materials you removed in the previous step with similar materials, consider replacing it with mold-resistant products. Drywall, wood studs and insulation all now come in moisture- and mold-resistant varieties. The same holds true for carpets, stucco, paint and even caulk. You should also consider applying mold inhibiting chemicals on a regular basis for those seemingly hard to cure areas.

Black mold is toxic to homeowners who live with it and the workers who remove it, both of whom are exposed to it daily. Professional mold removal technicians have the safety equipment and training necessary to protect themselves, but you probably do not. Let a professional company like Seacliff remove black mold from your home.