Basement Flooding-What To Do When It Happens To You

Posted on

Basement Flooding-What To Do When It Happens To You

Finding your basement flooded is a horrible feeling. First, disbelief and panic set in. If you are prepared and know what to do in such a situation, it will enable you to keep a cool head and proceed in a manner that will relieve the stress of such an event. Here are some quick tips to follow during a basement flood:

Tips for Basement Flood:



  • Electrocution is always a danger! Be sure all our electricity is turned off before venturing into the water-laden area.  
  • Call your trusted local plumber.
  • If the flood is severe, call a specialist or your local fire department to help with the water removal.
  • Call your insurance company to check on your flood coverage.
  •  Be sure to dry out all your water-soaked items to prevent any mold growth. This can begin quite quickly if not addressed.
  • Keep an itemized list of your belongings.
  • Wear protective clothing such as masks & gloves.
  • Wash & dry those items immediately after use.
  •  Remove rugs or pull them completely back from the wet area, drying the wet portions of the carpet with a fan or carpet extractor.
  • Rent a carpet cleaning vacuum/extractor that is capable of pulling up all the excessive water from your rug(s).
  • Provide as much ventilation as is possible.
  • Run a dehumidifier immediately and continuously until it is fully dried out. Afterward, your dehumidifier should be set at 35% and run year-round.
  • Be sure there is no structural damage to your foundation.
  • Run fans to assist in drying out the space and your belongings.
Keep an eye on the space for a few weeks to locate any missed areas of concern or continued dampness. Being prepared is helpful but being proactive if this happens to you will save you even worse problems in the future.

Visit Comprehensive Mold Management's website for more information at www.compmold.com

How You Can Prevent Basement Flooding

Posted on

How You Can Prevent Basement Flooding

One of the worst feelings is to go down into your basement, only to discover you’ve had a flood and all your belongings are ruined. Comprehensive Mold Management would like to give you some tips on how to prevent this scenario in the first place:

·         Clean your gutters and downspouts after the leave have fallen.
·         Extend your downspouts at least 6 feet from your home’s foundation.
·         Walk around the outside of your home during a heavy rainfall, paying attention to the way the water drains. Is it towards or away from the home?
·         Provide emergency power, such as a backup generator for your essentials (furnace, heat, refrigeration, well pump/sump pump, septic tank pump).
·         Install a sump pump if you don’t already have one.
·         Install a backup sump pump to engage if yours isn’t functioning.
·         Make an emergency family plan.
·         Have flood insurance (you may also want to inquire about mold insurance).
·         Store your most precious/important items on a table or shelf, not on the floor.
·         Keep important phone numbers handy (including your plumber’s).
·         Have a backup plan.
·         Keep important items (pictures, tax documents, wills, passports, etc.) in a sealed, watertight, plastic container.
·         Install a dehumidifier capable of keeping up with your entire home’s space.
·         Have weep holes drilled around your foundation, draining into your floating slab’s trench with diverters in front of them to prevent splashing/overflowing onto your basement floor.
·         Check your drain tile to ensure it is up-to-date (perforated-should not be clay, as it crumbles over time). This is located in your sump pump.
·         Keep all your floating slab trenches clear of debris.

It is always wise to check your basement periodically. During heavy rains or quick thaws, you should be checking it a few times per day. Preventative maintenance can be a lifesaver. 

Visit Comprehensive Mold Management's website for more information at www.compmold.com

When Buying an Existing Home-What to Look For

Posted on

When Buying an Existing Home-What to Look For

When buying an existing home, there are a few ways to ensure you aren't purchasing a home that may have a mold intrusion that you may get stuck with fixing yourself:  

·         The primary areas you should have checked for mold are the attic and the basement.
·         Have it Thermal Imaged for insulation quality or lack thereof.
·         Moisture meter readings should be performed. The home should consistently be at 45% humidity or less throughout and a dehumidifier should be being run continuously.  The general, overall materials in the home should have a reading of 11% or under. If it is 14-15% or higher, you have a high risk of mold growth.
·         A damp, musty smell (almost always an indicator of mold growth despite any current weather conditions or if the home has been closed up for a significant amount of time).
·         Basement-There should be a functioning sump pump with an up-to-date, perforated drain tile (not an outdated clay drain-they deteriorate over time and are typically found in homes over 40 years of age), a floating slab and no standing water in the floating slab’s trenches.

Never being afraid to be proactive prior to the purchase or your future home can save you a lot of headaches and money. 

Visit Comprehensive Mold Management's website for more information at www.compmold.com

Mold Contractor Scams-Warning Signs

Posted on

Mold Contractor Scams-Warning Signs

The mold industry is filled with many reputable companies. But like any other industry, there are always those out to scam consumers. To help you be an educated consumer, keep warning signs in mind when a mold contractor comes to your home or business to give you an estimate and do possible testing: 

·         Scare Tactics: Saying things like; “You Have A Big Problem Here!”  or “Your home isn't safe or healthy to be in.” before they've even done a thorough visual inspection or tested for mold.
·         Says you should “leave the house immediately”. This is rare and only happens in extremely severe cases or when the occupants are visibly ill and their doctor is recommending the same action. Testing should be done in this case to ensure this is accurate.
·         Contractor comes to your door already wearing a protective suit and respirator before entering your home. (Used frequently to scare the homeowners.)
·         Contractor says they are “100% positive it’s mold” without having tested the area. There are times we can be fairly certain it is mold but can only be 100% positive if testing is done.
·         Discourages you from getting a second or third opinion.
·         Once the contractor leaves, he/she is slow to return your call or you are unable to get a hold of them once you have paid them your deposit.
·         Beware of hand-written estimates, invoices or contracts.
·         Contractor won’t provide references.

Be sure to ask for references from previous customers who have had similar work performed. You should also check with your local Better Business Bureau for the company’s rating and possible complaints. Contractor should ALWAYS give you a full visual inspection which should include moisture meter readings & moisture content of the home’s air. Even better would be if thermal imaging was performed, along with a thorough indoor and outdoor investigation. Your home is your haven and being an educated consumer will keep you from falling into the trap of scare tactics and contractor scams.

Visit Comprehensive Mold Management's website for more information at www.compmold.com

Ways to Reduce Humidity in Your Home

Posted on

Ways to Reduce Humidity in Your Home

High humidity levels in your home will almost always lead to mold issues. Below we have listed a couple ways to reduce your humidity levels:
·         Use exhaust fans in your kitchen, laundry and bathrooms
·         Vent gas burners, clothes dryers, etc. outside
·         Properly adjust humidifying devices such as furnaces and humidifiers to 35%
·         Air out your house for a short period of time on low humidity days, if weather permits
·         Improve the drainage around your foundation
o   Extend downspouts away from your foundation
o   Regularly clean out your gutters and downspouts
o   Try to not overwater foundation plants
·         Fix any leaking outdoor faucets
·         If you have central air conditioning, install an air conditioner vent wherever there is a humid space in your home, with returns.


Visit Comprehensive Mold Management's website for more information at www.compmold.com






Condensation and Mold on the Inside of Your Windows

Posted on


Condensation and Mold on the Inside of Your Windows

When there is an excessive amount of humidity in your home, you may get condensation on the inside of your windows during the colder seasons. This occurs frequently in the early morning hours when dew points tend to be higher. The windows are many times not the cause of condensation. The reason it builds on your windows is due to the fact that excess humidity collects in the form of condensation on the coldest area of the wall.
Below, we have listed a few tips and tricks to improve your window condensation issues:
·         Replace your old, drafty windows. This will help to reduce air flow, which will make your home tighter. Be sure to keep a close eye on your humidity levels, as they tend to rise in tighter homes. (Tighter homes can be havens for mold growth.)  Ideally, your humidity level in your home should be 35%.
·         Install a dehumidifier capable of handling your living space’s your humidity. Be sure to check out our blog about dehumidifiers: (http://compmold.blogspot.com/2013/09/dehumidifiers-considerations-when.html)
·         At night, when there is a larger fluctuation in temperature between indoor and outdoor air, running a ceiling fan to move the air is helpful, especially in rooms with large amounts of windows.
·         Open window coverings that are not made of breathable materials to allow air circulation and evaporation of moisture.
·         Regularly wipe down the accumulated moisture on the window’s surface and the window frame. Cleaning of the surface, if mold growth has begun, may be necessary. This can be done with Borax and hot water. Do not use bleach solutions. They exacerbate the problem.

Once warmer temperatures begin, condensation should be of lesser of concern to you.

Visit Comprehensive Mold Management's website for more information at www.compmold.com

Building a Home-How To Mold-Proof It

Posted on

Building a Home-How To Mold-Proof It

When building a home, it is very important to be diligent and observant during the construction process. Many times, homes will be saturated with rain before the roof is put on. This potentially can lead to mold growth on all plywood and supports. If you suspect that you have mold during the construction process, you should contact your builder to have it inspected by a certified mold professional.
How Can I Prevent Mold In My New Home?

·         Installation of a proper dehumidifier for the size of the house to control the moisture levels
·         Proper drainage systems on the inside and outside of the home. We highly recommend the installation of “dimple board” to the outside foundation walls prior to back-filling of the foundation. This provides a water-proof barrier of those outer walls. A French drain system on the inside and outside around the foundation’s perimeter is also very important.
·         Proper grading with a positive pitch away from the foundation.
·         Application of mold-proof coatings on potential surfaces for mold growth (i.e.: plywood and supports, framing, basement block walls).
·         Calculating the amount of roof square footage you have to determine the correct size gutter and down spouts for your house. Don’t rely on the builder for this. Have a professional gutter company review the plans of the home to determine the correct sizes you need. A minimum of six foot extensions for your down spouts is recommended.
·         Ensure your builder or contractor is following all insulation and ventilation codes for your area. Call your local town code enforcement office for this information.
·         Hire an independent inspector for each phase of work throughout the building process. Our company had a six year old home that was infested with mold due to the lack of knowledgeable contractors.  The picture shown here is of the same 6 year old house with mold growth on the plywood roof decking.  This was due to the insulation contractor not insulating the roof area correctly. There were no baffles installed for the proper air flow to the ridge vent.    


Doing these preventive measures can save you a lot of money and potential health issues, not to mention headaches in resolving unnecessary problems with your brand new home. Your best interests for you and your family should always be the top priority.

Visit Comprehensive Mold Management's website for more information at www.compmold.com

Attic Ventilation and Insulation

Posted on

Attic Ventilation and Insulation

How important is attic ventilation and insulation? Let me explain:
Let’s start with the ventilation:
·         In the summer, improper ventilation can cause attic heat to reach 160˚F. This can lead to cracking, warping & the breakdown of wood framing. Premature aging of your roofing system, such as curling of the roof shingles, damage to siding, exterior & interior paint and wallpaper. Believe it or not, a roof shingle warranty can be voided if it’s discovered you don’t have the proper ventilation.
·         In the wintertime, you can have warping of the wood frame, mold growth & buckling of shingles.
·         Industry standards say that for every 150 square feet of heated ceiling space, you need one square foot of ventilation between the soffit vents and either a ridge vent or box vents on the outtake. In the winter time, warm air will migrate to the attic. When it mixes with the cold plywood surfaces, it forms condensation. If the condensation sits on the plywood for too long, it will start to form mold growth on the plywood and supports. With the proper air flow in the attic, it will keep the plywood dry and free from moisture and mold growth. Remember; more ventilation is always better than not enough.  
·         Be sure your soffit vents are not blocked by your attic insulation. This will prevent proper air flow.
·         You may also want to check your bath fan venting. Is it run up and out of your roof or did the installer simply and improperly vent it directly into the attic? (This happens much too frequently.) If it is incorrect, call a mold remediator to not only rectify this but also to check your attic for possible mold growth.
Insulation and air sealing:
·         In most areas, code requires at least an R-50 insulation value. If you have less than that, consider upgrading your insulation. When you don’t have enough insulation, excessive heat loss in the winter can cause excessive amounts of condensation in the attic. Even the best air flow and ventilation will not dry the attic out in a timely fashion. Air gaps from plumbing, electrical wiring and recessed lights are a few of the problem areas for heat loss in attics. Make sure they are properly sealed off.

Preventative measures can save you time and money when it comes to how you insulate and vent your attic. It also will save you money by keeping your house cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.  Also, be sure to take a look in yours to ensure all the proper steps have been taken and that there is no mold growth.

Visit Comprehensive Mold Management's website for more information at www.compmold.com

Indoor Air Quality

Posted on

Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality is important for our health. Understanding what is ideal for the air you are breathing is essential. You and your family should strive for the best possible conditions and educating yourself is the first step. Let’s look at each area of your home to determine how to achieve for those ideal conditions.

Your Attic:
·         In most cases, the attic air does not affect the air quality of the living space in your home, especially if you have a hatch entrance through your ceiling. The only exception to this is if you have a forced air heating/cooling unit in your attic.
·         For attic entrances that originate as a pull down walk-up staircase & are used mainly for storage or possible living space- the design of such an entry will allow much more attic air to emit into your living space area. Also, the belongings being stored here may contain mold spores if you have a mold issues here.

Your Living Space:
·         Generally speaking, we want mold spore counts (spores/m³) to be less than outdoor measurements.
·         Certain types of mold should not be present in your home (Aspergillus, Penicillium, Cladosporium, Stachybotrys & Chaetomium-for more detailed information about these mold species, please read our blog http://compmold.blogspot.com/2013/09/top-five-types-of-mold.html) These all tend to grow due to high moisture and food source content.
·         Air testing-This is completed with different types of machines. At Comprehensive Mold Management, we BioPump pulls air through it and any particulate that is in the air attaches to the sticky tape that is inside of the air cassette, located on the top. There is a new air cassette used for each air test. The lab tests this for anything that has attached itself to the tape.
BioPump
use one called a Bio Pump. The
·         Each time air testing is completed, we calibrate the machine using a Rotameter. We ensure the Bio Pump is at 15L of air/minute (the industry standard).  
·         Generally, we run a minimum of four air tests, so that comparisons can be made against one of those samples that have been run outdoors as a baseline or benchmark test.
·         Certain times of the year, mold spore counts may be higher due to conditions such as fall, when there is a higher level of moisture and decay. This can cause higher mold spore count readings and a greater sensitivity to mold and other allergens.
·         Mold spore disbursement can also be exasperated by mold in basements that has been disturbed (i.e. attempted cleaning of mold incorrectly, moving moldy objects, etc.). If your furnace or air conditioning units are running while the spores are disturbed, they run the risk of being sent through your entire home, via that unit.
·         Another great tip is to have your duct work cleaned. This can keep the air you breathe much cleaner.
Rotameter
Whatever is in the air, you are aspirating directly into your lungs. We here at Comprehensive Mold Management regularly work with the folks at Indoor Environmental Air Specialists. Check out their website at www.indoorenvironmentalair.com.
Visit Comprehensive Mold Management's website for more information at www.compmold.com