Over the course of time, we’ve helped many people solve their property damage restoration needs in the most economical and safe way possible. Finding and eliminating the mysterious cause of odors is part of the process.
But in this case, there was no mystery about the cause of the odor problem.
A homeowner’s decision to take matters into his own hands caused a potentially dangerous situation requiring PuroClean Emergency Recovery Services’ expertise in order to solve.
Here’s what happened:
You see this homeowner in Philadelphia had a pest problem. Squirrels had found their way into his attic. Not only were they making a LOT of noise, they were creating a mess of the insulation as well.
Somewhere the guy had heard that squirrels hate moth balls. The suggestion he found on the internet: moth balls would chase them away.
So, not wanting the expense of hiring a professional exterminator, the man bought some moth balls at the local supermarket for a few bucks. Then he threw liberal handfuls in his attic. Then, he waited.
Not only did the squirrels stay, but now, with the heat of the summer sun beating down on his roof, his attic became an extremely fragrant hot box.
That would have been okay, if the odor had stayed in the attic. But then, the smell of the moth balls began permeating all the bedrooms on his upper floor. Now, the homeowner’s wife and kids were complaining – loudly – about the smell and about headaches from the stench.
In all fairness, the family’s complaints were valid. Moth balls are made from a chemical called “Paradichlorobenzine.” So essentially, when you inhale the odor from moth balls you’re inhaling pesticide.
According to the National Pesticide Information Center, people exposed to paradichloraobenzene often experience nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, and of course, headaches. Paradichlorobenzene may also cause kidney and liver damage in pets. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers this chemical “possibly carcinogenic to humans” based on studies with mice.
In desperation, the homeowner called PuroClean Emergency Recovery Services for help. We explained that he would need to call an exterminator first to remove the squirrels.
Once the squirrels were gone, we suggested that he might want to remove all the blown in insulation and replace it. But, that wasn’t an option due to the cost.
So, we devised another plan.
First, to protect our employees during the clean up, we installed what’s called “negative air” on the attic to vent the fumes outdoors. This had the added benefit of clearing the odor from the upper floor of the home.
Then, we located all the errant moth balls. We searched through all that fluffy insulation by hand.
After that, we removed the negative air and sealed the attic vents and applied ozone to the space.
Within 24 hours, we were able to solve the odor problem and save the health of the homeowner’s family. In the process, our solution saved him thousands of dollars since he didn’t need to remove and replace all the insulation in his attic.