Most of us have heard of the TV show Hoarders. We’ve looked in unbelief to see a home cluttered to the top of the ceiling with belongings and items. Hoarding is an illness that should not be taken lightly. The consequences of hoarding can be grim, there can be eviction, kids can get taken away and you can get put into jail. No doubt, hoarding is a serious problem and it takes professionals who know how to clean it up.
Hoarding is different than just collecting items. It’s when a person keeps a lot of items that appear to be useless or of little value to most people. These items then clutter the living spaces and keep a person from using their rooms as they were intended. Therefore, the items cause distress and problems in day-to-day activities in the home.
Most often, people hoard common possessions, such as paper (mail, newspapers, etc.) books, clothing and containers (boxes, paper, plastic bags, etc.). Oftentimes, the items collected are valuable, but far in excess of what can reasonably be used. Some people hoard garbage or rotten food. More rarely, people hoard animals or human waste products.
Of course, the health effects of hoarding depend on what is being hoarded. The most common health risk is respiratory problems. Clutter, garbage, animal or human feces can result in mold or infestation. ?Ammonia levels from accumulations of urine and feces can easily exceed maximum occupational exposure limits, and can?easily exceed maximum occupational exposure limits, and can be harmful to persons with cardiac or respiratory dysfunction,? states Health and Human Services.
There are also building and safety issues due to hoarding. Wires can get eaten by rodents, loss of electricity, bad plumbing, the fire department can’t get in to do general sprinkler set up, etc. Also, blocked exits and blocked heating vents can pose a fire hazard. In addition, there can also be structural damage to a home due to the excess weight of the hoarded items.
Hoarding is not your typical restoration job. The initial cleaning of a hoarding home is very unique and requires many extra hours to complete. Most hoarding cleanups involve the removal of large amounts of materials. Theses materials? may have caused the growth of mold or harmful bacteria. There can be exposure to biohazards such as the Hanta virus, Histoplasmoisis, the Staph Viruses such as MRSA and E. coli.? Therefore, it is crucial for the restoration technicians to wear protective clothing and respiratory protection during the cleanup.
Depending on what was being hoarded, it takes extra care and proper training on bio-hazard material to start the first phase of the cleanup. It’s important to follow all local, state and federal regulations for biohazardous materials. For example, materials should be placed in closable, leak-proof, labeled, color-coded containers prior to removal to prevent spills during handling, storage and transport. In addition, in most cases, all porous materials such as furniture, carpet, towels, etc. need to be disposed of and the subflooring should be inspected to make sure no biomaterial has seeped through the tiles and carpet.
Next, the home needs to be sanitized and deodorized using proprietary cleaning solutions and processes. The use of specialized cleaning agents is necessary. These cleaning agents are designed to fight bacteria and pathogens such as those carried by blood, fecal matter, etc. There is a test professional technicians use called ATP (adenosine triphosphate) to test the affected areas to ensure that all potentially infectious materials have been effectively neutralized.
Here at Alert Disaster Restoration, we understand that a hoarding can be a very’sensitive and emotional situation. We are not here to judge or criticize. We are here to help make the home safe and livable again, protecting the property value of the home. So, whether it’s your home, a friend’s home or a loved one’s home, give us a call at (661) 396-7908.