MacFawn's Blog

November News

MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration - Friday, November 27, 2015

The holiday season has officially begun. With Thanksgiving over and Black Friday currently underway, the Capital region is bustling with activity. As you may have noticed, it's been unseasonably warm for the month of November in the Northeast. Don't worry, it won't last long. Today's mild temperatures will be gone almost as quickly as they came. The weekend's forecast is looking about 20 degrees colder than the last two days.' Hopefully, all of your winterizing is complete, your indoor humidity has been balanced and you are ready to roll through winter assured that your pipes don't freeze and fracture and your heating bill isn't outlandish. 

If you haven't had a chance to check out the MacFawn November Newsletter, we put together a special winterize edition with some of the less obvious winterization techniques you might find helpful. You can CHECK OUT OUR NEWSLETTER HERE 

Looking ahead, for the upcoming holiday season we will be raising monies to give to give a special gift to Wildwood Programs (Schenectady). After discussing our plan to do so with their Foundation office, we are excited to help in this way. We have set up a special 'Go Fund Me' page and have given all of the page information and rights to the funds directly to Wildwood School Foundation to be sure that every cent raised goes to them. Wildwood is a little known program that serves developmentally disabled children and adults in the Capital Region with various programs within their school or residential spaces. They even offer students a summer camp that is amazingly crafted and staffed with some of the best counselors in Special Ed in the area. We hope you will help us. To make a donation, you can DONATE HERE. Go Fund Me was selected to ensure that ANY donation made would be kept (as opposed to being refunded if the goal amount wasn't met). Our goal this year is $2500K. This should help with more than a few holiday meals and maybe an improvement or two to their summer camp in Altamont. 

Last Minute Winterization in the Capital Region

MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration - Friday, November 20, 2015

The past two days in the Capital Region have bene unseasonably warm. As such, it would be a good idea to take a tally of any necessary steps you might need to take to complete the winterization process in your home(s) and business(es). There are a number of ways you can approach winterization that we have discussed, including: sealing your doors and windows with permanent coverings or semipermanent devices that will block airflow in between rooms and from the chilly outdoor air. 

Certainly, replacing roof tiles isn't something you should do if you don'e have proper training or tools, but the following list is useful in assessing and evaluating trouble areas to move forward and address before the first snowfall. 

WINDOWS & DOORS Check all windows and doors for any movement of air, peeling paint or discoloration. Peeling paint and discoloration are a sign of moisture and this can ultimately mean that there is an area that needs to be sealed within or around the structure.

ROOF Repair any roof shingles or tiles that are loose. These areas weaken the integrity of the roof and allow moisture and condensation to creep into the structure and damage anything in its' path. Check in and around ventilation for chimneys plumbing vents and the like. If there is a location on the inside of the structure that would indicate a leak in the roof, it is vital to trace the track of the moisture back to the origination point. This may not be an area directly above the location identified as water can run along rafters and such. 

FOUNDATION & EXTERIOR WALLS Seal any areas in the external foundation that are visibly damaged. Areas with piping, wiring or plumbing are particularly at risk. A general sealant can prevent a world of difficulties later on insofar as preventing water, moisture and cold air into the structure that can lead to mold infestations and frozen (and expansion/ cracking) pipes that can cause flooding at a most inconvenient time.

PLUMBING Check all plumbing lines for condensation or visible leakages. Checking for cracks and wetness is a simple way of assessing your pipelines in the home. Generally if it's only a small area of the plumbing, just that area can be replaced. Having a cracked pipe doesn't always translate to a ginormous bill. Sometimes for under $50, a potion of the plumbing can save 10's of $1000's of dollars in flood damage if the pipe later bursts!

TERMITES Check the home and particularly the attic and basement for termite(s) or signs of termite damage. Any exposed wood can lead to termite invasion and hence areas that will rot away and need to be sealed and re-covered. 

384 Foot Tall Vertical Forest Sweeps Swiss Architecture

MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration - Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Stefano Boeri, Italian Architect extraordinaire has designed the first of its' kind, vertical forest that is integrated into the architectural foundations of a building has another project underway in Switzerland. Boeri's first vertical forest integration was constructed in Milan last year for the first time ever. In the works now, is yet another 384 ft tall apartment structure that will be home to 100 evergreens, 6000 scrubs and 18,000 small plant species that will be planted throughout the structure to enhance both the interior and exterior of the structure.

The beauty of nature meets contemporary design in many ways in architecture. Through a lens of environmental pollution, one cannot help but to ponder the issue of mold growth and frequency in which these lifeforms must be fed water, fertilizer and the like to be sustained. As such, what will the long term health effects be of the residents in the structure(s)? 

Vertical gardening has been a growing topic in permaculture and urban gardening for a long time now. But with all of the issues that ensue upon the rendering of an environment as having more moisture than average, the long term effects of residents in such buildings remain to be seen. In theory, the conscilience of vertical agriculture, modern architecture and sustainable design is beautiful, but in application somewhat precipitous. 

Mold in Sheetrock

MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration - Monday, November 16, 2015

Mold growth occurs in moist environments and more-so especially in porous environments. Materials such as glass, metal and plastic generally do not support active colonization of mold, howevever materials such as wood, carpet, textiles and sheetrock do. Mold growth in sheetrock is perhaps the first sign a home or business owner will have to alert them to a mold infestation. By that time, it's generally safe to say that the sheetrock should be removed completely, as mold will have inhibited the material throughout (from one side to the other) as sheetrock is very porous and acts like a sponge wicking up any surrounding moisture. If sheetrock is covered by wallpaper, the space in between the wallpaper and the sheetrock can also be a breeding ground for mold. This is an are of the home that many forget about as being a trouble area. Again, the porous nature of materials such as paper and sheetrock are a perfect medium for mold growth and must not ever be ignored!

Host A Wildwood Family for the Holidays

MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration - Friday, November 13, 2015

MacFawn Fire and Flood Restoration is pleased to announce that after much consideration, we are sponsoring the Wildwood School's program students and residents this holiday season! There are lots of programs in the Capital Region that you can help with too!  There are so many families suffering in this economy in which we live and thrive and each year, many agencies put together programs to help these families through the holiday seasons. Children's lists to Santa are sent to donor families that will accept them, who then go out and shop for these items, wrap them and return them to the agency or the individual if they would like. 

Wildwood's families and students are in need of support, which is why we are going to help! Wildwood School provides comprehensive educational programming for students with developmental disability, autism spectrum, neurological impairments, profound learning disabilities and more with education and training to become as independent as possible. In the summers, they provide children with a summer camp full of activities and great leadership to continue their individualized educational programs throughout the summer. Wildwood goes wildly unnoticed, but provides a profoundly significant significant positive impact to the lives of developmentally disabled citizens throughout the Capital Region. 

We would love if if you too become more involved and when we launch our Go Fund Me Page, Go Fund Wildwood This Holiday, that you too consider the impact you might have by making a donation to their program this holiday season. There are residences throughout the region that house Wildwood Students, Summer Camp Needs and Educational supplies that they could use to get through the upcoming years! If you would rather donate directly, you can donate HERE

Mold Testing With Home Testing Kits

MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration - Thursday, November 12, 2015

Recently there has been quite a bit of chatter regarding the efficacy of Mold Testing Kits for home use. Mold Testing Kits are used by individuals who generally have a notion that there might be mold growth in the structure. Samples are taken similarly to that of an Industrial Hygienist insofar as taking surface samples, indoor and outdoor samples and bulk samples with higher locale specificity in the home or room(s) effected by potential Mold. The samples are then sent to a commercial laboratory and read/ resulted remotely. While some of the kits have been used have great reviews, a recent study evidences that even the best home mold testing kits have inconsistent accuracy. 

MacFawn Fire and Flood Restoration provides free home inspections of Mold prior to ANY remediation. In order to attain accurate sampling, we typically call on a local Industrial Hygienist to visit the structure and take all necessary samples (indoor and outdoor). After samples of the outside air are collected for a baseline reading of the 'norm' or standard of mold content and type, samples are also gathered from various locations throughout the structure and read immediately in a local lab. As such, for obvious reasons (such as negating the issue of transit and any damage to the sample in transit), results of the laboratory tests are highly accurate and paint a picture for us to move forward with a solid remediation plan. The inspection of mold in any given structure is as much, if not MORE important that the sampling the mold. Being able to examine the physical attributes of the mold can give a contractor a better idea of the source, patters of migration and more. 

Sincerest Thanks To All Vetrans

MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration - Wednesday, November 11, 2015

    Words can't express the gratitude to all those who have served and fought for the freedom we enjoy. As  the world turns with chaos in many directions, as Syria is rife with contempt and migration patterns flood every border, we enjoy our lives, our families and all of the little things that give our existence meaning. Cheers to the Veterans ; past and present and to freedom, to gratitude and to life! 

Mold Remediation and Respiration

MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration - Monday, November 09, 2015

After an enlightening conversation with the one and only James Holland, one of the founding members of IICRC, it became evident that industry knowledge needs to be disseminated for proper remediation and restoration to take place. Over the next few weeks, we will review a number of topics and therein relate current practice to working theory.. 

One of the components to our conversation was Mr. Holland's advice to me insofar as reading up on mycotoxins; versus aflatoxins as we previously covered as being a known Human Carcinogen. As it turns out, mycotoxins are equally as dangerous.

Did you know that mycotoxins are one of the most poisonous substances known to man? Interestingly, mycotoxins, which are formed as a product of mold, are almost invisible to the immune system, thereby sneaking past any antigenic ability the body normally would have in warding off unwanted substances and toxicity in the bloodstream. The effects of mycotoxins (aside from ALSO being known carcinogens) are devastating. Long term exposure to mold, or acute exposure in large amounts can expose a person to those mycotoxins which have been evidenced to correlate with kidney damage, liver damage (and cancer), hemorrhage, changes in hormones, skin disorders, CNS (Central Nervous System) damage and much more. If you or anyone you know have an issue with mold (especially in the home), it's important to take all precautions and have a professional remediate the issue. There are very strict recommendations on respiration devices that are worn during Mold Remediation and a lot of scientific knowledge is analyzed in order to create current Industry Standards. 

Aflatoxins A Byproduct of Mold Is Known Carcinogen

MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration - Friday, November 06, 2015

It is a well known fact that the byproducts of Mold can be far more dangerous to human health than Mold itself. Speaking to the issue of Aflatoxins as a well know immune suppressant, it is also evidenced that Aflatoxins have been found to have carcinogenic properties and have formally been identified in the scientific community as a carcinogen. 

Aflatoxins cause intracellular damage to human DNA in which accumulations of mutations lead to the formation of cancer cell growth in the human body, primarily in the liver. The liver is the powerhouse of the human body that metabolizes all foreign substances and pharmacological materials, so it makes good sense that a person who has had mold exposure would end up metabolizing that foreign substance in their liver(s). 

You might ask, how does it make it into the bloodstream? Good question. Your skin alone absorbs unto 33% of ANYTHING it comes in contact with (thus the reason why you should only use products that you wouldn't mind entering your bloodstream, because that is EXACTLY where they will end up). In this respect, the air that we breathe; if it is affected by an environment prime to being infiltrated with Mold from a previously flooded basement or the like, will lead to ingestion of mold and absorption into the bloodstream via respiration as it enters  the lung(s) (also leaving your lungs at risk for genetic mutation and cancer cell growth). 

This all boils down to ONE THING. If you think you might have a mold problem, it doesn't hurt to check AND RECHECK. 

How Mold Can Affect Your Health

MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration - Thursday, November 05, 2015

It's relatively common knowledge that mold has been found to have strong correlations with Asthma, Bronchitis and many other illnesses, but other than the obvious pathway that mold can travel and physically interrupt biological activity, there is a much stronger force at work in concert with simply having physical exposure to mold.

Mold is a type of fungus that lives and breathes as any life form does. As such the biological function of mold in terms of excreting waste is the crux of why mold can be so dangerous to have in your environments. The by-product or waste of mold spores are toxins that are well known immune suppressants. This means that not only does the mold itself cause a disruption in your respiratory function, but the toxins that it makes as a result of it's own metabolic state is a secondary substance that is even more ominous than the first. Over time, the exposure leaves nothing but a bleak prognosis for those who live in the presence of mold (whether they are bothered by it physically or not).

Here are just a few of the reasons you should stay away from Mold or call in a professional to help if you see it going in your home. Professionals will contain the area(s) so as not to spread it around the house or structure and help protect you and your family against the grim effects of direct exposure. The following are well know correlates to being exposed to aflatoxins:

          • Mental impairment
          • Abdominal Pain
          • Vomiting
          • Convulsions
          • Edema
          • Pulmonary Edema
          • Hemorrhaging
          • Disruption of food digestion, absorption or metabolism
          • Coma
          • Death
          • Liver Damage
  • Growth and development impairment 
  • Liver cancer due to DNA mutation caused by aflatoxins

Call MacFawn Fire and Flood today to have an assessment of your moisture levels, mold growth and levels and a comprehensive professional analysis of your home or business. 877-MAC FAWN