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What Do You Do If Your Water Heater Bursts?

A water heater leak.

What to Do When Your Water Heater Bursts: A Comprehensive Guide

A water heater bursting is a homeowner’s nightmare that can cause significant water damage and disruption. Knowing the steps to take immediately after this emergency can help mitigate damage and expedite the restoration process. This blog will provide you with a detailed guide on what to do if your water heater bursts, helping you understand the importance of quick action and professional water cleanup restoration services.

Understanding the Risks and Immediate Actions

When a water heater bursts, it can release a large volume of water rapidly, leading to potential flooding, structural damage, and mold growth. Immediate action is crucial to minimize these risks.

  1. Turn Off the Water Supply
    • Locate the Shutoff Valve: The first step is to stop the flow of water. Locate the cold water shutoff valve on your water heater and turn it off. This valve is usually found at the top of the heater, connected to the cold water inlet pipe.
    • Main Water Supply: If you cannot find or access the shutoff valve on the heater, turn off the main water supply to your home to prevent further flooding.
  2. Turn Off the Power Supply
    • Electric Water Heater: Find the circuit breaker panel and turn off the breaker corresponding to your water heater. This prevents electrical hazards.
    • Gas Water Heater: Turn off the gas supply by locating the gas shutoff valve, typically found near the heater’s base, and turning it to the off position.
  3. Drain the Water Heater
    • Attach a Hose: Connect a hose to the drain valve located at the bottom of the water heater. Direct the hose to a floor drain or an appropriate drainage area outside your home.
    • Open the Drain Valve: Open the drain valve to let the water flow out. This step helps reduce the amount of water that could potentially flood your home.
  4. Mitigate Immediate Water Damage
    • Remove Water: Use a wet/dry vacuum to remove standing water. If the water level is high, consider using a sump pump.
    • Protect Belongings: Move furniture, electronics, and other valuables to a dry area. Use plastic sheets or tarps to cover items that cannot be moved.

Assessing the Damage and Safety Considerations

Once you’ve taken immediate action to stop the water flow and reduce flooding, it’s time to assess the damage and ensure safety.

  1. Inspect the Area
    • Structural Damage: Check for signs of structural damage to walls, floors, and ceilings. Look for warping, buckling, or sagging, which indicate serious issues.
    • Electrical Hazards: Be cautious of any electrical outlets or appliances that may have come into contact with water. Avoid these areas and, if necessary, turn off the electricity to affected zones.
  2. Document the Damage
    • Photographs and Videos: Take photos and videos of the damage for insurance purposes. Document everything from the water heater itself to the affected areas and belongings.

Contacting Professionals: The Key to Effective Restoration

While initial steps are critical, professional water cleanup and restoration services are essential for thorough and safe recovery.

  1. Call a Water Cleanup Restoration Company
    • Immediate Response: Contact a reputable water cleanup restoration company as soon as possible. These professionals have the expertise and equipment to handle extensive water damage efficiently.
    • Assessment and Plan: Restoration experts will conduct a detailed assessment of the damage and develop a comprehensive restoration plan, including water extraction, drying, dehumidification, and repairs.
  2. Notify Your Insurance Company
    • File a Claim: Contact your insurance company to report the incident and begin the claims process. Provide them with the documentation you’ve gathered and details about the restoration company you’ve contacted.
    • Adjuster Visit: An insurance adjuster will likely visit your property to evaluate the damage and determine the coverage.

The Restoration Process: Steps Toward Recovery

Professional restoration involves several critical steps to ensure your home is returned to its pre-damage condition.

  1. Water Extraction
    • High-Powered Pumps and Vacuums: Restoration professionals use high-powered pumps and vacuums to remove standing water quickly and efficiently.
  2. Drying and Dehumidification
    • Industrial-Grade Equipment: Using industrial-grade dehumidifiers and air movers, professionals will thoroughly dry the affected areas to prevent mold growth and structural damage.
    • Moisture Monitoring: Continuous monitoring of moisture levels ensures that the drying process is effective and complete.
  3. Cleaning and Sanitizing
    • Disinfection: Surfaces affected by water damage are cleaned and disinfected to eliminate bacteria and prevent mold growth.
    • Odor Removal: Specialized equipment and techniques are used to remove any lingering odors caused by water damage.
  4. Restoration and Repairs
    • Structural Repairs: Damaged drywall, flooring, and other structural elements are repaired or replaced as needed.
    • Final Inspections: Thorough inspections ensure that all repairs are completed to high standards and that your home is safe and restored.

Preventive Measures: Reducing Future Risks

After dealing with a burst water heater, taking preventive measures can help avoid similar incidents in the future.

  1. Regular Maintenance
    • Inspections: Regularly inspect your water heater for signs of wear, corrosion, or leaks. Schedule professional maintenance checks annually.
    • Flushing: Periodically flush your water heater to remove sediment buildup, which can cause pressure and lead to bursting.
  2. Upgrade Your Water Heater
    • Modern Models: Consider upgrading to a modern, high-efficiency water heater with advanced safety features and better durability.
  3. Install Safety Features
    • Automatic Shutoff Valve: Install an automatic shutoff valve that cuts off the water supply if a leak is detected.
    • Leak Detection Systems: Consider installing leak detection systems that alert you to potential issues before they escalate.


A burst water heater can cause significant disruption and damage, but knowing the immediate steps to take and the importance of professional restoration can make all the difference. By acting quickly to shut off water and power, mitigating immediate damage, and contacting a reputable water cleanup restoration company, you can minimize the impact and ensure a thorough recovery. Additionally, implementing preventive measures can help protect your home from future water heater emergencies, providing peace of mind and safeguarding your property. Call us now at (954) 548-5613 if you need water heater cleanup in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties, FL. Call today!

What Is Water Restoration?

dehumidifier and air blower in carpeted bedroom

Water restoration is the process of fixing a home or property damaged by water — either from flooding, leaks, burst pipes, or other sources. Water restoration in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties, FL, is a call away at (954) 548-5613. Restore Experts, Inc. offers a range of services to help you rebuild after emergencies. We offer fire restoration, mold restoration, and more. Reach out to us today to learn how we can help, and keep reading to learn more about the water restoration process. 

The Steps to the Water Restoration Process

The water restoration process begins with an assessment. The extent of the water damage is assessed by trained professionals. Based on the category and class of water damage, begin planning a restoration strategy.

The first step of restoration involves removing standing water from the affected area. This is essential to prevent further damage and mold growth. Industrial pumps and vacuums are used to effectively extract water. After the water is removed, the affected area is dried using special equipment like dehumidifiers and air movers. This helps eliminate moisture from the air and materials, preventing mold growth and structural damage.

Next, salvageable belongings, furniture, and structures are cleaned and sanitized to prevent microbial growth and encourage a safe environment.

After water is removed and the affected area is dried and sanitized, the rebuilding process involves repairing or replacing damaged materials such as drywall, flooring, insulation, and electrical systems. The goal is to restore the property to its pre-damaged condition.

Call on Your Local Water Restoration Experts

Throughout the water restoration process, safety measures are prioritized to protect both the occupants and the restoration professionals. Additionally, proper documentation of the damage and restoration process is often essential for insurance claims and legal purposes. And we can help with that, too. 

Restore Experts, Inc. employs trained technicians with expertise in mitigating water damage and restoring properties to their original state. We often work closely with insurance companies and adjusters to ensure a smooth and efficient restoration process. So give us a call for water restoration services in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties, FL. We look forward to serving you.

Water Restoration Process

dehumidifier pointed at water damaged walls

What is water restoration, and how does it work?

Leaks, burst pipes, or other sources can cause water damage to homes and businesses. Water restoration is the process of restoring properties that have been damaged by water. The restoration process involves several steps: remove water, dry the afflicted areas, and repair or replace damaged materials. It’s important that all those steps be completed to avoid mold and other complications. 

And if you need water restoration in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties, FL, be sure to reach out to our experts. We offer fire restoration and other services as well and would love to offer you our services. Call us at (954) 548-5613 to learn how we can help. And now…onto the water restoration process.

The Assessment, Water Removal, and Drying Phase

During the assessment phase, the restoration team conducts a thorough assessment of the water damage to determine the extent of the damage and develop a restoration plan. We inspect the affected areas, identify the source of the water, and categorize the water damage (clean water, grey water, or black water). We then remove standing water from the property. This may involve using pumps, wet-dry vacuums, or other water extraction equipment to remove water from floors, carpets, and other surfaces.

Once the standing water is eliminated, the drying process begins. Industrial-grade dehumidifiers and air movers dry out the affected areas. By pulling excess moisture out of the air, you reduce the likelihood of mold growth and further damage to the property.

Once all is dry, the restoration team cleans and sanitizes the affected surfaces to remove contaminants and prevent mold growth. This may involve using antimicrobial agents and disinfectants to sanitize the area thoroughly.

If mold is present, it’s important to act quickly before the mold spreads. Mold is extremely toxic to human health and can cause things like watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, itching, coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, headache, and fatigue. Repeatedly being exposed to mold can increase a person’s sensitivity, causing more serious allergic reactions.

The Repair and Restoration Phase

Once the area is clean and dry, the restoration team can repair and restore the property to its pre-damaged condition. This may involve installing new drywall, replacing different floors, repainting walls, and restoring any other affected areas.

During the restoration process, the restoration team monitors the moisture levels in the affected areas to ensure that the drying process is effective and that there are no lingering issues that could lead to further damage or mold growth.

Conclusively, the restoration team documents the entire restoration process for insurance purposes. This includes noting the extent of the damage, the restoration activities performed, and expenses incurred during the process.

If your home has recently experienced a leak, flood, burst pipe, or something else, the Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties, FL, water restoration experts can help. The water restoration process requires prompt action, thorough assessment, and careful execution to minimize damage and restore the property to its original condition. Hiring a professional water restoration with good reviews is important to ensure that the process is handled effectively and efficiently. So give us a call (954) 548-5613 today.

Is It Safe To Clean Up After a Fire?

roof of a house in flames

Is fire and smoke cleanup safe?

We all have our methods and routines when it comes to cleaning our homes under normal conditions. But can you imagine what it takes for a proper fire and smoke cleanup? There has to be more detail to this type of cleaning, which leads to many questions. If you find yourself in need of fire and smoke cleanup in Palm Beach, Florida, in most cases you’ll want to hire an expert to help with the process, but there are a few things you can do on your own. We’re going to cover a few of the steps you can take to make things a bit easier and get your home back to normal, as well as what you can expect while working with a professional to take care of the cleanup process.

What is involved in fire and smoke cleanup?

For most of us, if we experience the misfortune of a house fire, our homeowner’s insurance provides coverage for a professional service to handle the fire and smoke cleanup process. But, for those who may not have that type of coverage, or for a small kitchen fire or fireplace that got a bit out of control, you may not want to file this with your insurance company, which means handling your fire and smoke cleanup process.

It’s not just a matter of collecting burnt items and putting them in a trash bag. Or going through your home with a cleaner and rag. There are several stages to fire and smoke cleanup that include making repairs and rebuilding. As we’ve mentioned, if you have insurance coverage, after contacting your insurance company and filing a claim, your next call would be with a professional restoration specialist company. 

A professional restoration specialist company is staffed with experienced experts who specialize in fire and smoke cleanup and damage restoration. They can be found online or your insurance company may have a contract with a specific company that they contact on your behalf. They will typically follow these steps: 

  • Inspect and Assess: Whether you have a professional restoration company do the work, or you do it yourself, the first step is to inspect the area that was damaged and assess the damage. This is where having a professional doing it is better because they will know what to look for in structural damage, along with the smoke, soot, and water damage. It is important to do this before starting the fire and smoke cleanup for safety purposes. 
  • Boards and Tarps: Next, to ensure no further damage occurs, it is important to board up any openings like exterior doors and windows and place tarps over the roof. This will keep any rain, wind, or other environmental impacts. factors. 
  • Removing Water: After a fire, there is usually a significant amount of water used to extinguish the fire. That water needs to be removed as quickly as possible to prevent mildew, mold, wood rot, and more from occurring. This requires specialized equipment and methods to get the water thoroughly removed, again, a fire and smoke cleanup and restoration specialist will have that equipment. 
  • Smoke and Soot: The method and process to remove smoke and soot is best done with special techniques and specific cleaning products, all of which fire and smoke cleanup specialists have. This includes the ceilings, floors, walls, counters, furniture, and any surface that can absorb the smell of fire or smoke.
  • Cleaning and Sanitizing: As you can imagine, the entire area, and even connected areas are affected by the fire, smoke, soot, and water. This requires cleaning and sanitizing these areas with special cleaning products and equipment that remove odors and residue, which a professional fire and smoke cleanup team will have on hand.
  • Rebuild and Repair: When it comes to this final step, the fire and smoke cleanup specialist will turn this over to the homeowner, who may do it themselves, or hire a contractor. This includes rebuilding ceilings, flooring, and walls as well as restoring furniture and replacing personal items. 

How much does a professional fire and smoke cleanup restoration service cost?

If for some reason the fire and smoke cleanup process isn’t covered by your homeowner’s insurance, or you’re otherwise unable to do this yourself, a professional service can cost up to $1,000 or more to remove the residue and toxic odors left by the smoke that is clinging to any absorbent surfaces. This includes carpeting, upholstered furniture, and walls, which will leave stains if not properly and thoroughly removed. 

How can you get rid of the smoke smell after a fire?

Eventually, the smoke smell will diminish and disappear. But there are some things you can do to help speed the process up, which will require a lot of cleaning!  What is a good cleaner for smoke residue? Your basic household or a mild laundry detergent mixed with white vinegar and tri-sodium phosphate or baking soda with warm water.

1. Airing Out

Ventilation is key, so open all the windows, and remove screens if possible for an increase in airflow. If the weather isn’t right for this, crack open all the doors and windows. Turn every ceiling fan and exhaust fan on throughout your home so they pull the cold air up and push the warm air down.

2. Cleaning Windows, Window Treatments

You can do your own fire and smoke cleanup by removing all the window treatments like blinds, curtains, and drapes and either gently wash them in the washing machine or send them to a professional dry cleaning service. Do not reinstall them in your home until you have completely cleaned your home. 

For metal or plastic blinds, and curtain rods, you can clean yourself with a mixture of vinegar and water at a 50/50 ratio. For wood blinds, clean them with a wood polish. Clean the window using a microfiber cloth or sponge with a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water.  

3. Wash Clothing, Linens

The next step in your fire and smoke cleanup process includes washing all the clothing, linens, and towels with your normal laundry process. Adding a tablespoon of pure vanilla extract will aid in removing the smoke odor. 

4. Ceilings, Floors, Walls

The process for fire and smoke cleanup includes the countertop and other surfaces in your home can be done while wearing rubber gloves and using this mixture: 

  • A mild detergent of soap
  • Six tablespoons of tri-sodium phosphate
  • One cup of household chlorine bleach
  • One gallon of warm water

Wipe the surface down, rinsing the rag frequently and repeatedly. Then wipe down with clean, clear warm water and allow the surface to dry thoroughly.

5. Dishes, Cabinets, Countertops

Last, but not least, time to wash all of your dishes, pots, pans, and any other kitchenware. Wipe down the cabinet interior and exteriors with a slightly damp microfiber cloth or wood polish. 

Is there a machine that removes the smell of smoke?

Yes, and any professional fire and smoke cleanup restoration specialist will use several Ozone Machines for the process. This is a powerful oxidizer that breaks down smoke particles and eliminates the smoke odor from its source. This is the same type of machine used in hotels to remove smoke smell from rooms. 

And Back To Normal! 

Once you have completed all the steps in fire and smoke cleanup, or if a professional restoration company has completed their service, it is time to move back into your home! This process, when done thoroughly and completely, can several days, weeks, or even months, depending on the amount and extent of fire, smoke, and water damage. Meanwhile, if you find yourself in need of fire and smoke cleanup in Palm Beach, Florida, be sure to reach out to a professional who understands the process and who can provide you with quick and reliable service. You can reach us at (954) 548-5613 if you find yourself in need of assistance.

How to Clean Up After a Hoarder

Woman cleaning window

Why is Hoarding Cleanup Important?

The Mayo Clinic defines hoarding as “persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them.” Most of us are guilty of this to some degree, but not all of us are to the point where an episode of hoarding clean-up could be filmed. 

If we aren’t one ourselves, there is a good chance we know one. Over the past decade or so, what may have been seen as ‘just hanging on to stuff’, has become realized as hoarding. We all have ‘keepsakes’, but it when a person can’t simply bear to part with anything, even the smallest things like a rubber band or plastic bag, or keeping broken items,  it becomes hoarding. At some point, the hoarding clean-up process is when we realize that we, or another person, had a problem.

What is hoarding cleanup?

Hoarding clean-up is the method of removing and disposing of accumulated items, including debris from a home, storage unit, or other structure that has been filled with excessive amounts of clutter or possessions. In most cases, along with the individual that has been hoarding, family and or friends can handle the cleaning up and pack up of a person’s “prized possessions”. Sometimes though, you need help.

What types of services are offered by professional hoarding clean-up businesses? 

Fortunately, there are professionals that handle hoarding clean up, much like professionals clean up biohazard conditions. The process of hoarding clean-up must be approached with understanding and begins with the clean-up crew taking an assessment of the severity of the situation. 

After assessing the situation, they will take the following steps following the instructions of the clients, and be prepared with the following:

  • PPE (Professional Protective Equipment) 
  • Professional equipment and industrial-grade cleaners

They will be prepared to remove substances like bodily fluids, bacteria, mold, needles, drug paraphernalia, and the remains of animals if discovered. While we may think that Grandpa or Uncle Joe only kept a lot of keepsakes and memorabilia, depending on where they kept all of it and for how long, a hoarding clean-up crew is prepared for the worse.   They then take the following steps: 

  • Sort the valuable items out from the hoard, packing them up accordingly
  • Sort any biohazardous material and remove it from the area

What are the possible risks involved in hoarding cleanup?

The possible hazards of hoarding cleanup are many and often unknown and not visible until you’re in the midst of the duty. Some dangers that a professional hoarding clean-up crew will be prepared for include: 

  • FIRE
  • MOLD

What are the benefits of hoarding cleanup? 

With the help of a professional hoarding clean-up service, the crew can ease any feelings of those involved, including the hoarders, anger, judgment, and resentment as the area becomes a clean slate.

Any hoarding scenario may be filled with hazardous materials and waste that require specialized cleaning products and equipment. You don’t know what you’re getting into until you’re already elbow deep in questionable waste. By hiring a professional hoarding clean-up crew, you will benefit from the following: 

  • Safe Removal 

Part of hoarding is collecting and keeping excessive amounts of anything and everything, including odd and end objects, magazines, newspapers, and even trash. As these things pile up, it creates a safety hazard and becomes home to critters and insects. The professional hoarding clean-up crew will be prepared to handle whatever they may come across while sorting and removing the assorted hoarded items. 

  • Hazardous Materials

Hoarding creates a cramped area where insects and rodents nest and breed, making the area unsafe. A professional hoarding clean-up crew will be prepared to work through the possible breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses, and other pathogens. The hoarding clean-up crew will have gloves, masks, and other protective equipment to keep themselves safe while sorting through and cleaning up the mess. 

  • Thorough Cleaning

Once the professional hoarding clean-up crew has removed all the hoarded items and the unwanted result of critters, insects, and rodents, they will bring in professional cleaning materials to make the area clean and safe. 

With a professional hoarding clean-up crew handling the clean-up process, it takes away the physical dangers of doing the work yourself. They are better able to work around and with any of the following: 

  • Structural damage to the area
  • Falling piles and stacks of debris
  • Exposure to biohazards and/or poisons
  • Exposure to rotting or spoiled food products
  • Insect and rodent infestation

It will relieve family and friends of any mental pain of sorting through a loved one’s belongings. And it will eliminate any social burdens of embarrassment. 

Who is typically responsible for the cost of hoarding cleanup? 

In the case of handling the hoarding cleanup of a deceased family member, the estate is responsible for the cost of the process. It is unlikely that the homeowner’s insurance policy will pay for any hoarding cleanup, even if the hoarder isn’t deceased.  Hoarding is considered homeowner induced, not an act of nature.

In Closing 

Hoarding clean-up can be a mentally and physically daunting task when it involves a loved one. By hiring a professional crew to address the task at hand, you’ll know the job was done thoroughly and safely. For superior hoarding cleanup in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties, FL, please get in touch with us at (954) 548-5613 today!

Signs You Have Mold in Your House

mold growing on a wall in a home

Protecting Your Home From Mold

Living around the Palm Beach, Florida area, it can be humid. Not only does that make the weather hotter, but it creates moisture, and with moisture comes mildew and mold. Across the country, there was an epic of mold growth in homes. Steps were taken in the construction industry to build homes where there wouldn’t be as big of an issue, and there have been improvements in the mold removal process in recent years. 

Is it okay to continue living in a house with mold?

Is mold dangerous to your health? Mold is sneaky and will thrive in dark, moist areas. So, that would mean it isn’t a problem, right? Unfortunately, just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s okay to live with. When excess moisture settles into a porous material, like drywall, it becomes a big issue. Not only is mold removal needed but finding the source of what is causing it and fixing it is needed. 

Mold is classified as a fungus and will develop and spread with its kingdom of other fungi.  The spores of bacteria, mold, mushrooms, and others can cause the following problems when a mold issue isn’t addressed, like mold removal:

  • Respiratory tract symptoms such as coughing, swelling throat, and whizzing.
  • Asthmatic persons or those with allergies are at a higher risk. 
  • Anyone with hypersensitivity pneumonitis becomes prone to an immune condition.

Where is mold usually found?

Black mold isn’t the most common, but it is the most dangerous. It is found in areas that are dark and undisturbed. This can include: 

  • Shower stalls 
  • Behind walls
  • Attics
  • Crawlspaces
  • Basements
  • Under staircases

What does mold infestation look like?

There are several types of mold found in houses, but the most common that has the most request for mold removal are: 

  • Aspergillus
  • Cladosporium
  • Stachybotrys atra, aka, Black Mold

Other types of molds found in a home are: 

  • Alternaria
  • Aureobasidium
  • Stachybotrys chartarum
  • Trichoderma. 

How can you tell if your house has mold?

1. A Rotten Odor: If you’re smelling a damp, musty odor, it could be due to MVOCs (mold volatile organic compounds), you need to investigate getting a mold removal service. 

2. Spotted Clothing: If you’re noticing black or white spots on your clothing, this could be mold, indicating you may have a mold issue in your closet or under the house. Hiring a professional mold removal service can determine this and advise the treatment.  

3. Contaminated Carpets: Carpeting and area rugs are notorious for holding and breeding mold, which keeps spreading throughout your home. If you’re noticing any odor, spots, or stains on the carpeting or rugs, have them cleaned or removed, and then get an inspection for mold removal possibilities. 

4. Water Heater Closet: Areas that are moist are prone to have mold, like the water heater closet. Keep a watch on this specific area and as soon as you notice any mold, find a mold removal process immediately before it spreads any further. 

5. Allergies or Asthma: Mold is a harmful substance that triggers respiratory issues. This can include persistent coughing or recurring illnesses like bronchitis and pneumonia. If anyone in your home is experiencing these issues, you should have a mold removal inspection performed. 

Other assorted issues that mold can cause if fungus in your furniture, warped walls, and if you’ve changed your HVAC filters and still smell mold, have your home quoted for mold removal service. 

What are some health signs you might have mold in your house?

Inhaling mold spores can result in experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Chest and/or nasal congestion
  • Coughing and/or wheezing
  • Headaches
  • Irritated eyes
  • Irrigated lungs
  • Runny nose 
  • Skin rashes
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat

Even touch mold can result in a person experiencing these issues, and for most, it is a non-emergency issue. A person that has asthma or other respiratory issues may need urgent medical attention. 

Does DIY mold removal work?

It’s a common belief that bleach is an ideal mold removal product. However, it can also harm you and it isn’t a true mold removal, it just turns it grey or white. It will return. For DIY mold removal, experts and specialists recommend using borax, available at your local grocery store. Simply mix it with one gallon of hot water and apply to the area then scrub with a brush until the mold is gone. Other safe products for cleaning mold in small areas are baking soda, detergent, hydrogen peroxide, Tea tree oil, and vinegar. 

worker providing mold removal services

At The End of The Day

Will mold go away on its own? No, it will not. You can stop the constant moisture where the mold is located, like tightening plumbing, replacing the water heater, etc., and the mold will become inactive.  For the mold to be completely gone, you must do a complete mold removal process, or it will simply return. 

What is considered biohazard cleanup?

worker in a hazmat suit providing biohazard cleanup

What is a “Biohazard”?

The word ‘biohazard’ is a worrisome word, especially when used in the term, biohazard cleanup. What is the meaning of biohazard? Biohazard is a shorten version of the term ‘biological hazard” and refers to biological substances that present a threat to the health of humans and other living organisms. The hazard can contain medical waste, microorganism, toxins of biological sources, or viruses, all which can be harmful to the health of humans and other living organisms. 

What does biohazard cleanup do?

Biohazard cleanup is when an area is completely cleaned, sanitized, and deodorized. The more commonly known time a biohazard cleanup is done is at a crime scene, a suicide scene, or after a traumatic accident. 

The process of a biohazard cleanup requires the technicians to wear protective clothing, including gloves and goggles, to handle what could be potentially hazardous materials. Those hazardous materials include in situations such as accidents, crime, and suicide scenes including blood and body fluids. 

A biohazard cleanup has extensive methods, what the professionals of that job call a two-step process: 

  • The control zone – This is the contaminated area where the biohazard cleanup and removal is taking place; the area is placed under control.
  • The buffer zone – This is the area where the biohazard cleanup technicians put on their PPE (personal protective equipment) prior to starting the cleanup and where they dispose of all contaminated materials when the cleanup is completed, including their PPE.
  • The clean zone – This designated area is clean for the storage of equipment and tools so they can’t cause any cross-contamination with the substance involved in the biohazard cleanup.

It is crucial to the outcome of investigations and the legal actions that will follow that the scene of a crime or trauma is handled with the utmost care. The possible evidence at the scene cannot be altered or damaged for legal reasons, and there is the concern of safety for those doing the biohazard cleanup and everyone around them as well. 

The technicians that are assigned to biohazard cleanup duty have completed specialized training in their job as dictated by OSHA. That training includes the possible exposure to bloodborne pathogens. There are other forms of biohazards that we’ll discuss as we continue this article.

What is biohazard crime scene cleanup?

Anytime there is blood or body fluids spilled, they can become trapped on the ceiling, floors, and walls. These potential bloodborne pathogens, including body fluids, can cause illness in humans, either immediately, or years later. 

A crime scene biohazard cleanup is a specialized process of removing any contaminants that can be potentially harmful. Those contaminants include blood, body fluids, and odors. The blood and body fluids can inhibit bloodborne pathogens that include the potential of causing diseases. 

Is cleaning up blood dangerous?

The short answer to this question is yes. The handling of blood should always be handled with care and caution, including blood stains. According to CD (Centers for Disease Control), blood is a potentially hazardous substance because of the diseases it can spread, no matter how old the spill or stain may be.

Blood of any kind can contain various bloodborne pathogens including: 

  • HIV
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • MRSA
  • Other transmittable diseases

Some bloodborne viruses continue to live in dried blood like Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. 

What is unattended death cleanup?

An unattended death is when a person was alone when they passed. Often the remains are not found immediately, it may be hours, days, weeks, or even months. An unattended death will typically include: 

  • An accident
  • A suicide
  • Fatal disease or illness
  • A homicide
  • Natural causes

The process, once the body is discovered, is considered a biohazard cleanup by specially trained professionals. Their biohazard cleanup begins after the body is removed and officials have declared it ready for the process to begin. 

The biohazard cleanup of an unattended death is the special handling of any blood and other body fluids in a way that can be tested for further investigation by law enforcement. The biohazard cleanup and remediation includes the process of eliminating possible harmful substances associated with the remains, both obvious and unseen.

Can you get sick from cleaning up feces?

YES! Cleaning human feces and urine is considered a biohazard cleanup process. Proper training should be required of any employee that may be asked or required to clean up any human waste. It is important to remember that a biohazard is any type of biological substance that can be considered a threat to a living organism, primarily humans. 

This includes blood carrying bloodborne pathogens or human tissues, or anything that has come into contact with any human fluid or human waste. These are articles that be the host for any infectious diseases, making any cleaning of human waste a biohazard cleanup process. Human feces can have any of the following organisms: 

  • C-diff
  • Cholera
  • Dysentery
  • E. coli
  • Giardia
  • Hookworm
  • Norovirus
  • Ringworm
  • Salmonella
  • Tapeworm

Insect and rodent droppings are another extremely unsanitary substance that biohazard cleanup precautions should be observed. Rodent droppings are known to contain bacteria and different diseases that can be unwittingly transmitted to humans and animals. 

What is hoarding cleaning?

Hoarding cleanup is considered a biohazard cleanup because of the possibility of bacteria and germs that could exist. Within a hoarding situation, there may be live and dead animals, their feces, urine, and body fluids as well as the hoarding human. By being exposed  to these conditions without any protection again bacteria, fungus, or other pathogens is extremely dangerous.

How much does professional odor removal cost?

Every situation and every odor requires a different odor elimination process, some are considered part of biohazard cleanup, and others are for personal concerns. A professional odor removal company will provide a deep cleaning from top to bottom that will reach and removes the most stubborn of odors, with permanent eradication. 

To remove odors, the rates can start at $80 per hour and go up to $300 per hour.  deodorize a house? An average-sized home can take between 1 and 2 hours for basic odor elimination. A fire cleanup or any type of biohazard cleanup can take up to 8 hours, depending on the size of the house. 

Professional odor removing services include: 

  • Tobacco smoke
  • Fire, ash, smoke, and soot
  • Pet dander
  • Mildew and mold
  • Water damage
  • Decaying food

How much does biohazard cleanup cost?

A biohazard cleanup requires a deep and thorough process that includes the ceiling, flooring, and walls as well as any furniture in the area. Biohazard cleanup jobs include removing substances that are considered dangerous and is done by personnel that has been trained. Rates for a biohazard cleanup can start at $1,500 and max out at $25,000, depending on the size of the biohazard situation and what may be included as biohazard substances. 

How much does rodent cleanup cost?

According to experts, rodent extermination can cost between $200 and $600 for an average size home, with the average cost being around $300. This includes a full-service professional cleanup that includes inspecting the area, treating the area, and steps that are taken to keep rodents from returning.

woman wearing a face mask

Concluding The Biohazard Cleanup Subject

It is important to understand that a biohazard cleanup is much more detailed than even the most detailed spring cleaning a homeowner could perform. There are chemicals and processes used for certain substances that not only remove the spill or stain, but remove any possibility of bacteria, disease, and germs from infiltration and spreading. 

What is the first step in cleaning up a blood spill?

close-up of spilled blood on a tile floor

Cleaning Up Blood

After two years of COVID and all the other disease we’re subjected to these days, the words ‘biohazard cleanup’ has become used more than ever. What is biohazard cleanup? Biohazard cleanup procedures include the process of cleaning, deodorizing, and sanitizing an area or site where a chemical spill or violent crime, or traumatic accident that has resulted in death or injury has taken place.

Examples of when and where biohazard cleanup is required include: 

  • Crime scenes
  • Homicide scenes
  • Biohazard cleanup after death at the death scene
  • Suicide scenes
  • Hoarding scenes
  • Animal remains
  • Animal or human waste
  • Blood and bodily fluid accidents or spills
  • Chemical hazards
  • Possible coronavirus contamination

Why do I have to clean up bodily fluids?

Body fluids like blood, feces, urine, vomit, or other major bodily fluids are all considered to be potentially contaminated with bloodborne bacteria or other germs, i.e., biohazard. Cleanup is required immediately to minimize the possibility of any bacteria or germs spreading and contaminating others or other surfaces. Any of these substances can be potentially infectious making it necessary for a biohazard cleanup process. 

What are the major bodily fluids besides blood?

There are several forms of bodily fluids, and typically not something that comes up in general conversations. Bodily fluids should be considered the same as automotive fluids.  Bodily fluids are needed for or from our body’s functions as antifreeze, gas, and oil are some of the fluids a vehicle needs to function. The major body fluids that can create the need for a biohazard clean-up are: 

  • Blood: A major fluid that is part of the human body’s defense by carrying waste away that is within our body like feces, sweat, and urine. Blood also provides our body oxygen and other substances essential to our body’s survival like hormones and sugar.
  • Saliva. Contains mostly water, saliva also contains minerals and proteins that prevent gum disease and tooth decay. This bodily fluid helps us chew and swallow.
  • Semen. Found in males and contains catecholamines, fructose, and protein that is released from the body through the penis during sexual acts. 
  • Vaginal fluids. Found in women within the vagina area and contains amino acids, carbohydrates, proteins, and other acids that are produced by common lactobacillus bacteria.
  • Mucus. Comes from the lungs, mouth, nose, sinuses, and throat, containing antibodies, enzymes, and proteins that keep these areas of the body moist and fight bacteria and viruses.
  • Urine. Contains mostly water and flushes the human body of chemicals and dead blood cells that the body doesn’t need. 

What cleans up blood and bodily fluids?

Bodily fluids like diarrhea and vomiting present a high risk of spreading contamination.  Oftentimes, when a person with diarrhea or gastroenteritis vomits in an explosive or projectile manner, the substance can thrust small airborne virus particles to 25-feet. Gastroenteritis viruses can survive up to 60 days on hard surfaces such as carpeting, door handles, faucets, handrails, telephones, toilets, touch screens, upholstery, and kitchen prep areas.  

It is the recommendation of the CDC and OSHA to use chlorine as a disinfectant with paper towels that are disposed of when soiled and use fresh paper towels to continue. This has proven to be effective against pathogens and other viruses that are known to cause gastroenteritis. A chlorine bleach solution can create by mixing regular, unscented household bleach with a chlorine sanitizer. 

What equipment is needed to clean bodily fluids?

Before the process of biohazard cleanup and disinfecting bodily fluids spills, proper safety equipment is recommended that includes: 

  1. Gloves: disposable and waterproof
  2. Rubber boots
  3. Safety goggles, if no potential splashing is possible, disposable is acceptable
  4. Coveralls or biohazard cleanup suit, disposable
  5. Cloth towels that are disposable 
  6. Broad spectrum disinfectant that kills bacteria, germs, and viruses
  7. Biohazard cleanup bags with approved labels & manifest

What disinfectant should be used to clean up blood?

The proper biohazard cleanup process for blood starts with wiping up the blood with paper towels and placing them in plastic garbage bags. Then gently pour a bleach solution on the contaminated surface and allow it to sit for twenty minutes. Finish wiping up with more paper towels then place them in a plastic garbage bag for disposal.

close-up of a worker with a biohazard container

Closing Comments 

A few Biohazard cleanup tips and advice is to realize that a biohazard cleanup can be in any residential and industrial structure and are not always as dramatic as a chemical spill or other accidents.  Biohazard cleanup can be required after a simple roof leak that results in black mold growth or rodent infestation and rodent feces. 

Biohazard cleanup procedures should be followed by hotels, motels, and other premises where bodily fluids may exist or sharps waste like hypodermic needles are used. Viral outbreaks are possible in assisted living facilities and professional cleaning is required with hazmat cleanup procedures.

Anytime there is questionable materials to be cleaned, hazmat cleanup procedures are recommended. This includes using disposable gloves, masks, and materials that are placed in a sealed plastic garbage bag and promptly disposed of. 

Can a fire-damaged house be restored?

fire at an electrical outlet

The Aftermath of a Fire

Even with water heater leaks, busted water pipes, and roof leaks, the worst thing of all for a homeowner to deal with is a house fire. Restoration and repairs of the other three things are obvious, but is a house fire restoration possible? 

How bad is fire damage?

A house fire does more than damage or destroy a home. It can reach fatal heat levels, and even if the home isn’t 100% destroyed, it leaves bad odors and stains to be reckoned with during house fire restoration. This includes removing the smoke that traveled through the house, creating additional staining of flooring and walls. The smoke carries and leaves dirt, dust, and soot on every surface.

There are other possible dangers in addition to the fatal heat levels. If the fire doesn’t destroy the home, leaving enough for house fire restoration possibility, there are ongoing issues to be considered. Like carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide creates dangerous levels of chemical and thermal irritants. 

These irritants can cause permanent damage to the respiratory system of humans and pets, even resulting in death. The method of a house fire restoration is dependent on what type of fire occurred. So, can you live in a house with fire damage?

You could, but it isn’t safe, no matter the size of the house fire, there are smoke particles spread throughout the house still lingering. By staying in the house, you’ll be exposed to several health risks from the smoke and soot. 

If you plan to stay in the house, you need to hire a professional house fire restoration company. Or find out how to restore a house after a fire so that the 

smoke and soot lingering through the house won’t be absorbed by your system, subjecting you to possible long-lasting health effects. 

  • The first step in a house fire restoration is to remove the soot. Before you clean the carpeting, curtains and drapery, and upholstered furniture or your clothing, the soot needs to be removed because of the staining factor. Soot is an oily substance that should be removed using a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner without any attachments. Once you have vacuumed these surfaced, cover them with plastic so more soot from the house isn’t attracted to them. 
  • Next, you need to get the odor eliminated cause by the smoke. A proper deodorizing must be performed to get the remaining smoke odor out of all the clothing, carpeting, drapery, and upholstered furniture. This can be done by using a dry cleaner that has a deodorizing process to break up the smoke molecules. 
  • This ozone treatment will produce an oxidizing agent that gives a sweet smell like that from a rainstorm. A professional house fire restoration company will use an ozone generator or place items in an ozone room. If you’re attempting your own house fire restoration, you’ll need to deodorize all fabric covered items before having them cleaned. 
  • Now, remove the smoke that is between the walls or the smoke odor will reoccur, especially in damp and humid weather. During the fire, the pores of the walls expanded, and the smoke filled those pores. As the house cooled down, it sealed that smoke odor inside the walls. The smoke odor is also inside the ducts and vent, drifting throughout the home. The air ducts will need to be replaced to remove all the smoke odor or have a house fire restoration company apply a chemical sealer that permanently seals the smoke odor to the sides of the ducts. 
  • Remove all the insulation from the attic. This is one area that no measure of house fire restoration can rid or seal. The insulation will need to be replaced. 
  • Have the carpeting and drapery professionally cleaned. Once all the house fire restoration has been completed, they may need to be professionally cleaned again. 

 With this step-by-step on how to do a house fire restoration, you may want to know what to clean fire damage with. The American Red Cross recommends using a mild detergent or soap for removing smoke and soot from the floors, furniture, and walls. 

Another option is mixing four to six tablespoons of tri-sodium phosphate with one cup of chlorine bleach to a gallon of warm water. With rubber gloves and durable cleaning rags, clean all waterproof surfaces thoroughly and then rinse with clear warm water.

Does insurance cover fire damage?

Typically, a homeowner insurance policy is property insurance that provides additional coverage for damages or loss to a structure that is damaged or destroyed by fire.  The policyholder will be paid under the policy for replacement cost or the ACV (actual cash value) for the damages. Every insurance company has differences and each homeowner’s policy is different. Refer to your own policy and contact your agent if you’re unclear what is covered for a house fire restoration. 

How hot is a house fire?

In under four minutes, a house fire heat can reach get over 1100 degrees Fahrenheit. A room that isn’t in flames will reach over 300 degrees. Approximately 80% of all civilian deaths in a fire are in the home. 

firefighters putting out a house fire

Can fire damage brick?

Brick is one material that doesn’t burn. However, there are side effects from a fire that makes them unsafe, such as cracking and spalling. Part of a house fire restoration is to have the home thoroughly inspected to make sure none of the bricks are damaged.  

In Conclusion As a landlord, in case of a house fire of a rental unit, are tenants responsible for fire damage? Both the landlord and tenant have a specific responsibility in case of a fire. The landlord is responsible for making sure all electrical, gas-powered or other possible flammable items on the property are in good working order.  The tenant is responsible for taking steps that prevent a fire, like leaving a candle or cigarette unattended.

When do I need emergency vehicle decontamination?

cars interior being sprayed

Understanding Vehicle Decontamination

Vehicle decontamination sounds serious, doesn’t it? So, what is car contamination? It sounds serious because it is serious. COVID-19 brought many things to light for the everyday person, including how full of bacteria and germs our vehicles can get on the inside. Fortunately for us, vehicle decontamination is something that our First Responders are trained to know about and how to go about this process. 

Ambulances especially are held to a strict guideline for cleaning and disinfecting at the beginning of a shift, after transporting patients, and end of a shift. The ambulance is one place where the germs that transmitted the coronavirus could easily have been transferred from one patient to the next if not for proper and thorough vehicle decontamination. 

Consistent and correct cleaning and decontaminating steps included having adequate ventilation as crews used the chemicals needed for vehicle decontamination. Crews were also trained to use any PPE protective gear as they decontaminated their units. The areas that are included in this decontamination process are:

  • Hard non-porous interior surfaces. The arm rest, door handles and grab bars, seats and seat buckles, controls, and any surface that appeared dirty was to be disinfected. 
  • Soft and/or porous surfaces such as fabric-covered seats. 
  • Electronic surfaces such as tablets and touch screens, communication instruments, medical devices, etc. 
  • Disposable PPE materials like gloves, gowns, masks were to be disposed of properly.
  • Crew members were instructed to wash hands for 20 seconds with sanitizing soap. 
  • Cloth items like stretch sheets and blankets are to be immediately removed and laundered. 

Other times vehicle decontamination is needed is on the exterior to remove biohazards like radioactive exposure and after a fire. 

What does decontamination remove?

Vehicle decontamination in the area of first responder use is a process of removing or destroying infectious agents and other contaminants. It is a process that keeps susceptible sites from becoming contaminated by a site that has been exposed to sufficient quantities of matter that can initiate infection and harmful responses. 

What is car paint contamination?

With this bit of education on additional responsibilities that First Responders have, it should be noted there are other types of vehicle decontamination. Like the exterior of a car for painting purposes. Like paint contaminants from bugs, grime, road salt, and other airborne matters that get stuck on the exterior of a car or other vehicles and in the paint. 

Most of these things will wash off with a short period of exposure. However, some others will bury themselves into the surface and remain, or if the vehicle isn’t washed periodically, can slowly degrade the clear coating that manufacturers apply to cars.

For a car to be repainted, vehicle decontamination is needed. This will assure the new paint coating will adhere without issue. To determine if the vehicle decontamination process is needed, rub the surface of the car. A bumpy, rough feel is an indication the process is needed. So if vehicle decontamination is needed, what do you use to decontaminate a car? 

Clay bar treatment is something that most people have never heard of, much less know how to use for vehicle decontamination. To get dirt and other particles removed completely, a clay bar is a necessity in the auto paint and body industry. Clay bars are durable and elastic, allowing tough substances like brake dust, road salt, and other contaminants that can pierce into glass, metal, and paint. There are three types of clay bar: 

  • Fine Clay Bar: The softer type that is easy to use and ideal for removing any small contaminants.
  • Medium Clay Bar: This clay bar is for tougher contamination like tree sap. A more abrasive grade with a firm consistency and higher density. It removes impurities by scrubbing them away. This includes any industrial fallout and overspray. 
  • Heavy Clay Bar: Removes the tougher overspray and stubborn contaminants and should only be used by an experienced professional. Professional auto body workers will use it on glass and metal wheels. 

How do you fully decontaminate a car? 

Professional auto body technicians that are doing full vehicle decontamination for paint and bodywork will follow these steps: 

  • One: Wash the car exterior thoroughly. 
  • Two: Next, they will begin the clay bar process, dividing the car surface into 2-foot sections. 
  • Three: One 2-foot section at a time, they will spray a special lubricant on the wet surface. A wet surface is required to avoid damaging the paint.
  • Four: The clay bar is rubbed in using small, circular motions until it is smoothing running over the surface. 
  • Five: The area that has a clay bar applied is wiped down with a microfiber towel. If any residue is left behind, the technician will spray a lubricant over it then using a clean microfiber towel, wipe it down again. 
  • Six: Once the clay bar process is completed, the technician will polish and wax the vehicle. This creates a glossy finish, protects it, and extends the paint’s lifespan. 

The process of vehicle decontamination is difficult, hard work. For a properly clean vehicle, car decontamination will remove any tough blemishes so the exterior beauty is restored. Afterward, the technician will offer you a car decontamination kit. This can be used to help keep the paint job in ideal condition with products that easily remove paint-marring contaminants, like asphalt, bugs, iron, and tar. 

Is car paint decontamination necessary?

For a new paint job on a car or other vehicle to adhere and shine, yes, absolutely. For an emergency vehicle, decontamination is important to keep the community safe from biohazard, bacteria, and germs spreading. 

person in protective suit spraying a car's interior

Wrapping It Up

Vehicle decontamination is important, whether it is for the safety of the public, the adherence of a new paint job, or keeping an existing paint job looking good. So, how often should you decontaminate a car?

As we discussed in the beginning, for an emergency vehicle, decontamination is required at the beginning and end of each shift, as well as after each transportation and service call. For the purpose of maintaining a vehicle’s paint job, the basic rule of thumb is every two weeks.

Many car owners will wash their vehicles once a week, or even more. Any time your car has been driving on roads covered with ice or has seen a lot of highway time, vehicle decontamination should be done to remove the asphalt, bugs, and tar.