What Are Safe Moisture Levels?
One of the most common questions people have about moisture measurement is “What are safe moisture levels in walls, floors, etc.?”
The answer is: “It depends.”
Types of Wall Materials and Moisture
What constitutes a “safe” level of moisture in a wall will change depending on what the wall is made of. In most modern construction, interior walls tend to use a surface layer of gypsum (a.k.a. drywall) because it’s a relatively inexpensive, lightweight, and long-lasting material that’s easy to work with. However, older buildings may use other interior wall surfaces, such as wooden paneling or plaster.
Generally speaking, for drywall, a safe moisture content (%MC) would be less than 1% MC. Anything above 1% MC in drywall would indicate a level of moisture that could compromise the integrity of the gypsum board.
Exterior walls may use a variety of materials, from wooden siding, to vinyl, aluminum, brick, and stone. Of these exterior wall materials, wood is generally the most susceptible to moisture which is why wood siding is usually treated to resist rain. However, water repellent finishes can only prevent moisture from getting past the surfaces where the wood has been treated. If water reaches an untreated surface, such as the backside of the wood, then it can still be absorbed and cause problems.
With wood, it can be harder to generalize what a safe amount of moisture is. This is because the humidity conditions can have an effect on what the ideal moisture content of wood can be—not to mention that “safe” moisture levels can vary from one species of wood to the next.
How Humidity Impacts “Safe” Moisture Levels
The ambient humidity and temperature conditions where your walls are located can have an effect on what could constitute a “safe” amount of moisture in the wall when dealing with hygroscopic materials like wood. If wood wall materials aren’t in equilibrium with their surrounding environment, then they will absorb or let out moisture until they are—which can cause swelling or shrinkage that impacts the look and integrity of the wood.
So, knowing the relative humidity (RH) conditions is a must when trying to determine what a “safe” moisture content for wood walls is. For example, if the temperature in the room is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and the RH is 50%, then a “safe” level of moisture in the wall would be about 9.1% MC.
Measuring Moisture in Walls
So, how can you be sure if the walls in a structure have a safe level of moisture? One way to check is to use a moisture meter that is optimized for building inspection work like the BD-2100.
This particular moisture meter is ideal for checking the moisture content of walls because it has reading scales for both drywall and wood that allow for precise, quantitative moisture measurements in these materials. A separate reference scale setting can be used for getting qualitative readings of moisture in other wall materials (like plaster).
The BD-2100’s drywall moisture meter readings are accurate in gypsum to moisture content percentages as low as 0.2% and as high as 50%. In the wood scale, the meter can detect moisture accurately over a range of 6% MC to 40% MC. The ability to detect moisture accurately in both wood and drywall makes this device particularly suited for building inspection work.
Learn more about measuring moisture by checking out Delmhorst’s restoration guide, which has information about the different kinds of moisture meters, the main causes of water damage, and how to best use moisture meters.
Source: Delmhorst Instrument Co
What is Black Mold?
Stachybotrys chartarum is the type of mold often called “black mold” or “toxic mold”. Sensational news reports warn about the dangers of black mold and these stories can be alarming and confusing. Any mold in your home should be treated with caution – stay out of affected areas and don’t touch or disturb the mold.
How Do I Tell If It's Black Mold?
Since many types of mold can produce allergens and irritants, you should contact a qualified mold remediation company regardless of the color or type of mold. In many instances, multiple types of mold can exist in the same house or structure. If you suspect that you have a mold problem, contact SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas immediately.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today (702-656-0203)
2023 Resolution: Plan Ahead
With each new year, many people resolve to better themselves or some part of their life. This year, make a resolution to be READY. No one ever plans on a disaster or a water or fire damage to strike, but you can prepare for it. SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas Emergency READY Profile (ERP) will help ensure your business is “Ready for whatever happens” in 2023. In the event of an emergency, the ERP can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for your facility. The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including emergency contacts, shut-off valve locations, and priority areas. The ERP also establishes SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider, giving you access to more than 50 years experience and a system of more than 1,700 franchises strong. The ERP is a no-cost assessment; all it requires is a little time, making it a great value that could save you time and money in the future. By downloading the free SERVPRO READY mobile app, this important information is stored electronically and can be accessed using your mobile device putting immediate help right at your fingertips. Preparation is key to making it through any size disaster, whether it is a small water leak, a large fire, or an area flood. Having a plan in place may help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive and get you back in your building faster following a disaster. Don’t wait until disaster strikes—resolve to be READY by contacting your local us today to establish your Emergency READY Profile and be “Ready for whatever happens” in
While we only hope to see good things come about in a new year, it is always a good idea to plan ahead for the not so good things? like fire or water damage? that are always an unexpected and unwelcomed disaster. This year, take the time to be "Ready for whatever happens." Preparation and review will help get you through anything in 2024! The SERVPRO Emergency READY Plan (ERP) will help you ensure you and your facility are prepared. The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including emergency contacts, shut-off valve locations, and priority areas. In the event of an emergency, the ERP can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for your facility. Whether it is a small water leak, a large fire, or an area flood, having a plan in place may help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive and get you back in the building following a disaster. Don't wait until disaster strikes resolve to be ready today.
Dangers of Extreme Cold
While your home can be damaged due to winter weather and extreme cold, your personal health is also at risk. Fifty-three people died and three were injured due to extreme cold in 2015. It is important to be aware of the effect extremely cold temperatures can have on you. The two main conditions to be aware of are frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite is caused when your skin is exposed to extremely cold temperatures. Physical symptoms are white or grayish-yellow skin, skin that feels unusually firm, or waxy numbness. Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature falls to an abnormally low temperature, caused from long exposure to cold weather. Signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness. If someone’s body temperature is below 95°F, seek medical attention immediately. To avoid these conditions, stay indoors if possible. If not, dress warm in layers and try to keep dry.
New Year, Be READY
With each new year, many people resolve to better themselves or some part of their life. This year, make a resolution to be READY. No one ever plans on a disaster, but you can prepare for it. The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile (ERP) will help ensure you are "Ready for whatever happens" in 2024.
In the event of an emergency, the ERP can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for your facility, The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including emergency contacts, shut-off valve locations and priority areas. The ERP also establishes SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider, giving you access to over 45 years experience and a system more than 1,700 Franchises strong. The ERP is a no cost assessment; all it requires is a little time, making it a great value that could save you time and money in the future. By downloading the free SERVPRO READY App, this information is stored electronically and can be accessed using your mobile device putting help at your fingertips. https://ready.SERVPRO.com/
Preparation is the key to making it through any \ size disaster, whether it is a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood. Having a plan in place may help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive and get you back in the building following a disaster. Don't wait until disaster strikes—resolve to be READY. Call SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas to establish your Emergency READY Profile, and be "Ready for whatever happens" in 2024.
Advantages of the SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile
- A no-cost assessment of your facility.
- A concise profile document containing only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
- A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
- Establishes your local SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
- Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
- Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.
Are You Winter Weather Ready?
Are you prepared for the upcoming cold weather? Cold weather can have a huge impact on your home or business if you are not ready for it. From heavy rain and freezing temperatures to damaging winds, sleet, or snow, all can cause serious and costly property damage. While you cannot control the weather, you can take steps to be prepared and help take the sting out of winter weather. To help prevent costly damages due to weather, consider taking the following precautions to protect your property before colder weather hits.
- Check your business property for downed tree limbs and branches. Wind, heavy rain, ice, and snow can cause branches to fall, which could cause damage to the property and potentially cause personal injuries.
- Roofs, water pipes, and gutters should all be inspected to help ensure they are in proper order. Gutter downspouts should be directed away from your building. Clear gutters of debris that may have gathered during the fall. Leaves and other obstructions can cause a damming effect, which can lead to roof damage and interior water problems.
- Inspect property, especially walkways and parking lots, for proper drainage to alleviate a potential flood hazard.
- Inspect all handrails, stairwells, and entryways to address and correct potential slippery or hazardous areas. Install mats or non-slip surfaces and post caution signs where water could be present.
- Protect water pipes from freezing by simply allowing water to drip when temperatures dip below freezing. If pipes are under a cabinet, leave the cabinet doors open, allowing warm inside air to circulate around the pipes. If the building has outdoor faucets, consider shutting water off at the main valve in the basement to crawl space. Once the valve is off, open the outdoor faucet to ensure it drains, preventing any remaining water from freezing in the pipe.
- Ask SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas about completing an Emergency READY Profile (ERP) for your business. The ERP is a no cost assessment of your facility and provides you with a plan to get back in business faster following a disaster. Preparation is the key to making it through any size disaster, whether it is a small water leak, a large fire, or an area flood. The best time to plan for such events is not when the event happens, but well beforehand. No one ever plans on a disaster, but now, you can plan and prepare for it.
When winter weather strikes, call SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas to strike back and help make it “Like it never even happened.”
Interior Holiday Punch List
- Check the seasonal plants you have in your home, and make sure they’re not poisonous to children or pets.
- Keep your tree (really all decorations) at least three feet away from heat sources
- Turn off all lights and decorations when you go to sleep or leave the house.
- Don’t post your travel or vacation plans on social media until after you return.
- Alert a neighbor you trust that you will be out of town and leave them with a spare key for emergencies (or to retrieve packages and put them safely inside your home).
- If you’re leaving town, set your lights on a timer, alternating a few inside to give the appearance of occupancy.
- If you’ll be gone long, have the post office hold your mail for you.
- If you’ll be gone while the weather gets below freezing, it’s best to turn off your water at the meter as a precaution.
Winter Car Emergency Kit
When you hear the phrase “emergency kit,” do you think of a first aid kit? A collection of supplies nestled in a closet somewhere, just in case they are needed? What about an emergency kit for your vehicle? Do you have one? Do you know what to put in one, should you decide to make one?
The NSC (National Safety Council) recommends including:
• Nonperishable, high-energy foods
• Drinking water
• Reflective vest in case you need to walk to get help
• Car cell phone charger
• Jumper cables
• Fire extinguisher
• Duct tape
• Rain poncho
• Flashlight with extra batteries
• Cold weather items: snow brush, shovel, windshield washer fluid, warm clothing, cat litter for traction
• A properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench, and tripod jack
• A Tool kit and/or multipurpose utility tool
• Reflective triangles and brightly colored cloth to make your vehicle more visible
• First aid kit with gauze, tape, bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, a blanket, non-latex gloves, scissors, hydrocortisone, thermometer, tweezers, and instant cold compress
When assembling your emergency kit, though we’re specifically focusing on prepping for the holidays, do consider what you might need on a regular basis, and assess what you should add or remove, depending on your destination, weather conditions, or the duration of your trip. You should check your emergency kit at least every six months, and restock items that you use or that have expired.
'Tis The Season to Decorate Safety
Pretty lights, candles, and decorations are just a few of the items bringing charm and cheer to the holiday season - however, if they are not used carefully, your holidays may go from festive to frightening in a moment's notice. The American Red Cross offers the following safety tips to help greatly reduce the risk of fire in your home or business.
- Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fi replaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents, and candles.
- Make sure string lights and other holiday decor are in good condition. Do not use lights with frayed electrical cords. Do not string too many strands of lights together no more than three per extension cord.
- Always unplug the Christmas tree and other lights before leaving the property or going to bed.
- Use only sturdy Christmas tree stands that are designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.
- Keep burning candles on a solid surface where they cannot be easily knocked over. Monitor them closely and remember to always blow them out. Burning candles lead to nearly three times as many residential fires on Christmas Day, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
- Do not light the fi replace if you have hanging stockings or other decorations on the mantle that can overheat or catch fire.
- If you use a live Christmas tree, make sure it's fresh and keep it watered. To test if the tree is fresh, bend the needles up and down to make sure no needles fall off.
Your local SERVPRO franchise team wishes you a safe & happy holiday season!