MacFawn's Blog

Finding the Right Dehumidifier For Your Home or Business

MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration - Thursday, July 14, 2016

Finding the right dehumidifier for your home or business can be daunting. How many square feet are you protecting? What are the consumer ratings on the machine(s)? Will it regulate itself or do you have to set the desired humidity? How are you to know what the desired humidity level is?

These kinds of questions are daunting and may deter you from following through with the purchase. Ultimately however, investing in a dehumidifier is one of the best investments you can make. After all, when you invest in a dehumidifier, you are investing in yourself (and your property). Indoor humidity can affect not only your health, but the integrity of your building as well. With respiratory issues in humidity that is too high or too low and structural strain when the longevity of your building materials are compromised with mold damage, humidity becomes a focal point of home/ business owners more often than not.

Currently, the consensus on indoor RH (Relative Humidity) is varied. Pulmonologists generally recommend indoor humidity remain constant at 45% year-round. Professionals in other areas of business such as Restoration and Construction, recommend that home/ business owners maintain RH of 40% during the winter months and 50% humidity indoors during the summer months. Everyone agrees  that in addition to using a dehumidifier, using AC in the summer will also help to maintain optimal indoor humidity levels.

Finding the right dehumidifier can easily be done with a little reconnaissance and a recent Consumer Research Report identifying the best dehumidifiers on the market. To view the Top 5 Dehumidifiers on the Market, select this link.  This Buying Guide is designed to help you to better understand the function of a dehumidifier and the many nuances that are afforded with particular models. Cross referencing other reporting agents to ensure your purchase is never a bad idea. The Top Ten Dehumidifiers of 2016 names Frigidaire as being the best; and with automatic controls that leave the monitoring to the machine! If you are needing more information on how to choose the best dehumidifier, this piece on How to Choose a Dehumidifier may help!

Botanical Antimicrobials Tested and EPA Approved Alternatives To harsh Chemical Counterparts

MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration - Monday, May 02, 2016

More often than not, Restoration professionals are faced with the issue of having to use harsh industrial chemicals during the process of cleaning and restoration. In these cases it is rare not to be met with a myriad of health and safety warnings for such chemicals. As such, for the safety of their employees for their customers, many restoration companies are moving away from synthetic chemical products and moving towards hazard-free botanical blended antimicrobial products.

Botanical antimicrobials are disinfectants that rely not on a chemical (or collection of chemicals) to eliminate microbial contaminants, but rather essential oils extracted from plant material as the primary active ingredient of the disinfectant. Since federal law requires manufacturers of any substance that stakes the claim of successful elimination of microbes or germs to be registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, botanical antimicrobials are (like their chemical counterparts) rigorously tested for efficacy prior to the issuance of an EPA registration number. With standardized EPA testing and little to NO health or safety concern(s) botanical antimicrobials have taken a seat at the round table of staple necessities offered by restoration companies far and wide.

The underlying scientific foundation for formulations of botanical antimicrobials rests on centuries of evidence in nature as many plants protect themselves from microbiological contaminants the harsh environments in which they reside. The mechanism of their  resistance against bacteria, fungi and viral matter in their environments is the essence of the plant material itself. The oils naturally found in many plants function as a chemical; destroying the cell walls or membranes of the contaminants. And like any other product, certain oils are more resistant than others to various species of biological contaminants. Research examining the efficacy of botanical oils such as Red Thyme, Lavender, Cassia & Clove found that even against MRSA types (Staph aureus, etc) more effectively eliminated by combinations of botanicals than chemical alternatives.

There are not only safety issues that are put to rest when botanical antimicrobials are used, but also ethical issues surrounding sustainability of the environment. Plant material is easily accessed, easily grown and safely administered. As evidence continues to grow with regard to efficacy being as good if not better than chemical counterparts, Cleaning and Restoration outfits are becoming more akin to the use of these alternative (and natural) options.

Snow Mold in the Midwest

MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration - Friday, February 26, 2016

Generally around this time, the Northeast experiences the melting phase after a long winter. This year, while we aren't experiencing the standard NY thaw, other regions that had plenty of snow this winter are.  Because of the fluctuation in temperature this year, with unseasonably warm and unseasonably cold days throughout the winter, in many places- this has stopped the snow from completely melting for longer than average.

Some exerts have declared this year's snow mold as being the worst they have ever seen. IN Colorado, where snow melts away as quickly as it falls- the snow has covered the ground most of the winter. What was uncovered- was large amounts of fungi from moisture being sequestered all winter without ventilation.

Mold is a natural part of the environment. It is always ubiquitous to our outdoor environments especially. In the case of snow mold, while this isn't a mold species that has the same deadly effects as black mold, it is still recommended to clean up areas in your yard in which it is observed.

An All Too Common Misconcenption Mold is NOT Only Dangerous to People Woo Are Allergic

MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration - Thursday, February 18, 2016

It's not often that we at MacFawn Fire & Flood utilize this blog in the traditional sense of blogging; in terms of opinion as it pertains to fact and debate as it pertains to content. We recently attended a professional development course in mold. Interestingly, despite representation by a (number of) member(s) of the scientific community, there still existed a substantive void in terms of information about the true nature of the toxicity of mold.

Aligned with the position of the CDC, mold has - for a very long time been considered by health care professionals and civilians as being a substance that is merely an allergen; only affecting those who are allergic. In recent years however, a body of research has surfaced in scientific literature that points to mold as being perhaps one of the single MOST UNDERSTUDIED public health antagonists in the world because of the deadly effects of mold's byproducts, mycotoxins.

It came as no surprise to hear a member of the scientific community characterize mold as being harmless. However, in light of recent legislation in New York State, it seems as though we have a long road ahead for educating the community about the potential long term effects of mold on human health.

It is important to remember that the Center for Disease Control does characterize mold as being dangerous to the young, the old and the immunocompromised. But it is critical to recall that mycotoxins (created and secreted by mold continuously) are characterized by the CDC as being deadly. Some mycotoxins are human carcinogens! While mold and mycotoxins (a.k.a. endotoxins/ bio toxins) are technically two separate substance classifications, they are most certainly not mutually exclusive.

Chemical Cleaning Gives You Exactly 20 Minutes of Protection

MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration - Thursday, February 11, 2016

Did you know that standard chemical cleaning products' effects last AT MOST for 6 HOURS? After the first 20 minutes, pollutants begin to accumulate and at the 6 hour mark, the surface returns to it's pre-treated state!

That's right folks, that's 6 HOURS (AT BEST). Generally, once you wipe a surface down, the maximum cleanliness effect lasts only about 20 minutes. At that point viral and biological material, dust and debris and other environmental pollutants airborne and otherwise, slowly re-contaminate the space cleaned. At the 4 hour marker, the space is almost always exactly what it was before you cle...aned and at the 6 hour mark, no different- given that traffic doesn't change.

Our new CAS (Cationic antimicrobial surfactant) Treatments as a part of our Clean Buildings Solutions program, has been scientifically evidenced to provide FULL ongoing protection for 90 DAYS! There are NO CHEMICALS involved- only electromagnetic energy that zaps microbial culprits and pulls them into it's electrical field continually. It is AMZINGLY EFFECTIVE against black mold (Aspergillis) and will save you the headache of needing to use sub lethal amounts of chemical cleaning products to keep your space up to par. Call today!

Clean Buildings 2016

MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration - Tuesday, February 09, 2016

We are pleased to announce or new Clean Buildings initiative. As a resolution for the new year, we at MacFawn Fire and Flood Restoration have decided to get back to our roots and expand operations to (once again) include not only remediation and restoration work, but sustainable cleaning. As a service provider of some of the largest and most comprehensive facilities in the area, we have honed in on some of the factors that can affect the momentum of a business, especially in the winter months.

Some people view 'Facilities Maintenance' as a job in an industrial area full of boiler tanks and pressure gauges. Sometimes in some facilities- that certainly is the case. However, maintaining a facility often means merely maintaining the space for optimal health of inhabitants and longevity of building and materials. Facilities personnel take great pride in operations that include everything from working overtime when a major emergency strikes or mopping the floor every day at 4:30 PM.

MacFawn Fire and Flood Restoration is now introducing a service to Facilities that will ensure that the building AND the building inhabitants experience optimal health with evaluation of the space and tailored programming according to the unique details and design of the facility. We offer deep cleaning of the carpets with extraction that is guaranteed to remove years of dirt, pollen and biological pollutants. We will wipe the walls, windows and ceilings, degrease the kitchen, disinfect the baths (preventing proliferation of mold, mildew and fungi) and most importantly, we will treat the space with a cationic surfactant that has the propensity to maintain hygiene at a level of OPERATING ROOM CLEANLINESS on day one and continued protection for 90 days. Call today for more information!

MacFawn Fire and Flood Restoration Now Using 100 Percent Organic Cationic Antimicrobial Surfectant

MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration - Tuesday, February 02, 2016

MacFawn Fire and Flood Restoration is pleased to announce that we are now offering a 100% Organic antimicrobial treatment to our residential and commercial customers as an alternative option to harsh commercial and industrial cleaning products and preventive measure against illness causing agents. We first learned of this product years ago when it was being used in operating rooms and medical facilities. The material is composed of carbon, nitrogen and silane (note that is not analogous to silica, the harmful indoor air quality pollutant). This is 96% water and has been scientifically evidenced by a number of research organizations to provide amazing results.


The material is applied electrostatically and remains air-born only for seconds, as once it is released into the environment, it is attracted to every surface at a rate 3x the strength of gravity (9.8 m/s squared). The material is drawn to surfaces because as it is being applied, it is charged with a positive electromagnetic charge and as it lands, it coats the surfaces of the indoor environment with covalent bonding (a bond so strong in that case, it lasts approximately 90 days). Once it lands, the positively charged (or cationic) coating then attracts microbiological material with the positive charge into the molecular matric it formed when it landed and literally electrocutes any viral, bacterial, fungal or microbiological matter that is drawn into it. The technology of this material is truly amazing, allowing facilities management, homeowners and business owners the freedom to use environmentally friendly, sustainable material that is non-toxic and has ZERO off gassing effects.

Mold Exposure as a Precursor to Asthma in Infants

MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration - Monday, January 25, 2016

In a recent study examining the likelihood of developing asthma after being exposed to mold, researchers have found a high positive correlation between infants who were exposed to mold and their development of asthma by the age of 7. Interestingly, mold has often been swept under the rug so to speak, in terms of the public (and medical professional's) perception of the extent of danger it may pose. The University of Cincinnati found in this longitudinal study that those children who were in homes as infants with air conditioning, interestingly- had a slightly lower rate of asthma by age 7 than their counterparts. This is thought to be a result of the effects of AC on relative humidity, insofar as slowing mold growth in slightly less humid environments. The take away message for this study is not only to be extra cautious with infants in situations where there may be mold present, but that those in restoration and remediation can work with scientists and researchers aiming to examine the long term effects of mold exposure with a wealth of information that can in most cases, be developed into a standard coding scheme for industry wide interaction and contribution.

Mold Exposure Linked to Clinical Depression

MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration - Thursday, January 21, 2016

Brown University Epidemiologist Edmond Shenassa first uncovered the link between mold exposure and clinical depression in 2007. His study was the largest at the time in examination of the correlates between mold and mental state(s) of the ~6,000 subjects. Interestingly, Shanassa first set out on this investigation with the ultimate goal of debunking earlier literature that suggested a link between mold and depression. This groundbreaking study opened Pandora's Box for scientists studying depression, since statistically speaking moving forward, controls for household mold would be a staple in any future studies.Mold's mycotoxins have historically been known for 'impeding function of the frontal cortex' the control center for behavior, socialization, problem solving and memory. Mycotoxicity has also been linked to a host of neurological infections including fungal meningitis. Interrupting neural circuitry that is essential in everyday activity can certainly result in behavior significant of DSM criterion for clinical depression, however the precise function of mycotoxin exposure and how it interrupts specific neural processes has yet to be uncovered.

State of Emergency in Waterford/ Halfmoon in Effect

MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration - Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Since Waterford/ Halfmoon cannot take water from the Hudson river because of the extraordinarily high levels of environmental contaminants, they source their supply from the City of Troy. With Troy's water main break over this  past weekend, Waterford/ Halfmoon has declared a State of Emergency requiring all large customer water consumers to go offline for the time being. Residents of Waterford have been asked not to use the water for anything other than critical needs. Water is being brought in for residents currently by the truck load.

Normally running at 14,000 gallons per minute, the water is not even reaching the pipelines according to officials, as it runs now at  a rate of 1,200 gallons/ minute. Troy officials do not know why the water line that fractured is effecting the water flow into Waterford. However, residents are being asked to boil any water they DO use critically. East Greenbush, another locality that receives water supplied by the City of Troy also is feeling the pressure without good pressure. They do not have a boil water advisory currently, but are eagerly awaiting resolution.

Water flowed through the streets of Lansingburgh this past weekend, permeating everything in it's path. If you or anyone you know was affected by this issue, the American Red Cross is handing out cleanup kits to residents. For more information, please call (518) 462-7461. If you need assistance drying or with water mitigation, please call us 877-MACFAWN