Mold awareness month part 1 of 4

Mold awareness month part 1 of 4

September is Mold awareness month and got mold? wants to help educate our readers on how to prevent mold before it starts and where to look. It’s not uncommon to have mold in your home, as many of you know already mold exists in our every day lives anywhere you go there are spores floating in the air. There are probably a few micro-sized spores floating past you right now as you read this.

For the first part of mold awareness month, we would like to re-share an article written:

20 Interesting facts about mold & What are the most common types and varieties of mold.

1. Mold is Linked to Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome
Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), also known as Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), is a combination of illnesses or aliments that are in direct relation with an individual’s place of work or home environment…read more
2. Spraying Bleach on Mold is not Recommended
There seems to be lots of mis-information on the Internet recommending that you spray chemicals on mold. This article explains why spraying mold will in fact make the situation worse…read more
3. There is a Link Between Mold and Miscarriage
There are countless stories of women being exposed to mold during pregnancy and suffering miscarriage or birth defects….read more
4. Vitamin D Supplements Help Fight Mold Allergies
If you are suffering from allergies caused by mold exposure, you may want to consider taking vitamin D supplements…read more
5. Mold Causes Rashes
Mold is an allergen. One of the prevalent symptoms of mold exposure is skin rashes….read more
6. Mold Will Not Eat a Happy Meal
Mold will eat almost anything including wood, fabrics, plastics, concrete, and even metals. However, mold will not eat a McDonald’s Happy Meal….read more
7. Dead Mold Spores Are Just As Harmful as Live Spores
There seems to be a misconception that getting rid of mold by applying bleach or chemicals is the answer to the problem. This is actually not the case because dead mold spores are just as harmful to the human lung as live spores….read more
8. Mold is Used in Biological Warfare
Mycotoxins are naturally occurring substances produced by mold and are pathogenic to animals and humans. An estimated more than 300 mycotoxins are produced by some 350 species of fungi. The T-2 mycotoxin, which is classified as a trichothecene mycotoxin, is elaborated from the fusariam, aspergillus, and stachybotrys (black mold) species of mold….read more
9. Mold is Linked to Multiple Sclerosis
MS is a disease in which the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord are damaged. This demyelination affects the ability of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to communicate with each other….read more
10. Mold in Schools Cause Sickness
CNN recently reported about a third-grader, Matthew Asselin, in Winsted, Connecticut who missed 53 days of school because he was getting sick at school. The sickness was caused by mold….read more
11. Mold Inspections Are Important When Buying a Home
The basic problem with mold is that it can be hidden. Home inspectors are not mold remediation specialists and do not have the expertise required to identify potential mold issues. Home buyers are well advised to invest in both a home inspection and mold inspection before purchasing a home, particularly if there is any indication that there are potential moisture issues….read more
12. Mold is Linked to Cancer
Aflatoxins are a type of mycotoxin produced by the Aspergillus species of mold. This common mold tends to grow on crops: primarily corn, peanuts, and grains. When we eat enough of these moldy foods, or eat animals that eat them, we can get liver cancer. For this reason, the FDA has established a maximum allowable level of total aflatoxin in food commodities of 20 parts per billion (ppb) and 0.5 ppb in milk products. There are other cancers associated with mold as well, including testicular, breast, and lung cancer….read more
13. Christmas Trees Cause Allergies Because of Mold
During the winter months, asthma and sinus complaints tend to increase. According to Dr. John Santilli, complaints from patients increase during the holiday season. This prompted a study of Christmas trees that made the following conclusion…read more
14. Mold Damage Costs More Than Half A Trillion Dollars Per Year
Earlier this year, we published an article that examined What is the True Economic Cost of Mold? Two key conclusions emerged from this article: 1. Mold adds $3.5 billion dollars to the annual US health care bill. 2. 21 percent of all asthma cases in the US are attributable to dampness and mold exposure. This figure may be higher after new research emerged this year….read more
15. Mold is a Crisis for First Nations
In 2006, the Auditor General and the Standing Committee on Public Accounts recommended that the government address the problem of air quality and mold in First Nations homes….read more
16. Mold Causes Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis
According to the CDC a condition known as “hypersensitivity pneumonitis” can occur if a person is constantly exposed to mold. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis causes permanent lung damage and scarring and will eventually lead to bacterial pneumonia….read more
17. Mold Can Damage the Systems of Your Body
Untreated, exposure to indoor molds can have long term health consequences. According to mycotoxin expert Dr. Harriet Ammann, exposure to indoor molds can damage the systems of your body in the following ways…read more
18. Almost All Sinus Infections are Caused by Mold
In the 1990s the Mayo Clinic published findings from a study that suggests that NEARLY ALL chronic sinusitis (inflammation of the membranes of your nose and sinus cavities) is caused by mold, but blamed on bacteria—then mistreated using antibiotics….read more
19. Mold is Thought to be a Cause of Asthma
Up until now, mold was considered an asthma trigger that could exacerbate the condition and even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes there is some link between the onset of asthma and damp buildings…read more
20. Mold is Linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
There is some speculation that there is a link between Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and mold growth. A study in New Zealand speculates that environmental poisoning may be the cause of infant mortality….read more
One of the objectives of mold remediation professionals is to determine what type of mold is present in a property. This is important because it will help the professional and the property owner determine the relative health risk that the mold poses and how best to remediate it. Unfortunately, not all molds are the same, in fact there are over 1.5 millions species of mold in the world. However, only about 100,000 have been identified.
Mold is a fungus, as are mushrooms and yeast, and has a biologicial function as nature’s recycler consuming dead organic matter. Understanding it’s biological importance is essential to understanding why it poses health hazards. For the purposes of mold inspections and remediation, one of our goals is to identify whether or not the mold is allergenic, pathogenic, or toxigenic.
1.  Allergenic Molds

Allergenic Molds: Not usually life-threatening but are most problematic for individuals with allergies or asthma. The challenge is figuring out what mold is triggering the reaction. Children are particularly susceptible to mold allergies.

Not usually life-threatening but are most problematic for individuals with allergies or asthma. The challenge is figuring out what mold is triggering the reaction. Children are particularly susceptible to mold allergies.
2.  Pathogenic Molds

Pathogenic Molds: Produce an infection of particular concern if your immune system is weak or compromised. This type of mold can cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis, an acute response resembling bacterial pneumonia. An example is Aspergillus fumigatus, which can grow in the lungs of immune-compromised individuals.

Produce an infection of particular concern if your immune system is weak or compromised. This type of mold can cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis, an acute response resembling bacterial pneumonia. An example is Aspergillus fumigatus, which can grow in the lungs of immune-compromised individuals.
3.  Toxigenic Molds (aka “toxic molds”)

Toxigenic Molds: Toxic molds produce mycotoxins that will make anyone sick. Possible reactions include immune suppression and cancer. Mycotoxins are chemical toxins present within or on the surface of the mold spore, which can be inhaled, ingested, or touched. An example of this is aflatoxin, one of the most potent carcinogens known to mankind. Aflatoxin grows on peanuts and grains, and on some other foods.

Toxic molds produce mycotoxins that will make anyone sick. Possible reactions include immune suppression and cancer. Mycotoxins are chemical toxins present within or on the surface of the mold spore, which can be inhaled, ingested, or touched. An example of this is aflatoxin, one of the most potent carcinogens known to mankind. Aflatoxin grows on peanuts and grains, and on some other foods.
In order to determine the exact species of mold, mold inspectors will usually recommend that a tape or swab sample is taken. Sometimes, air quality tests may also be recommend because air borne mold spores are not visible to the eye; such a test will enable the inspector to report back on the concentration of indoor spores. Samples are then sent to accredited laboratories who analyze them to determine the exact species. Over the years, we have received many lab reports that have identified these five most common indoor molds.
1.  Alternaria

Alternaria is commonly found in your nose, mouth and upper respiratory tract and can cause allergic responses.

Alternaria is commonly found in your nose, mouth and upper respiratory tract and can cause allergic responses.
2.  Aspergillus

Aspergillus is usually found in warm, extremely damp climates, and a common occupant of house dust. This mold produces mycotoxins which is a poisonous chemical compound.

Aspergillus is usually found in warm, extremely damp climates, and a common occupant of house dust. This mold produces mycotoxins which is a poisonous chemical compound. This mold variety can cause lung infections, aspergillosis.
3.  Cladosporium

Cladosporium is a very common outdoor fungus that can find its way indoors and grow on textiles, wood and other damp, porous materials. This mold triggers hay fever and asthma symptoms.

Cladosporium is a very common outdoor fungus that can find its way indoors and grow on textiles, wood and other damp, porous materials. This mold triggers hay fever and asthma symptoms.
4.  Penicillium

Penicillium is a very common species found on wallpaper, decaying fabrics, carpet, and fiberglass duct insulation. It is known for causing allergies and asthma. Some species produce mycotoxins, one being the common antibiotic penicillin.

Penicillium is a very common species found on wallpaper, decaying fabrics, carpet, and fiberglass duct insulation. It is known for causing allergies and asthma. Some species produce mycotoxins, one being the common antibiotic penicillin.
5.  Stachybotrys

Stachybotrys is extremely toxic “black mold” that produces mycotoxins that can cause serious breathing difficulties and bleeding of the lungs. This mold can be found on wood or paper.

Stachybotrys is extremely toxic “black mold” that produces mycotoxins that can cause serious breathing difficulties and bleeding of the lungs. This mold can be found on wood or paper.

 

Check out part two of our 4 part sequence here!

 

Mold and newborns – bring your new bundle of joy home to a safe environment

Mold and newborns – bring your new bundle of joy home to a safe environment

As a parent, you want to make sure that your kids are always safe and healthy. That is always the first concern when it comes to raising your children. From the day they are born you sleep with one eye open, you start planning for the future and you always thrive for the best.

Even while pregnant you begin to focus on the environment that your child will be brought up in, if the home you are living in is safe for the future baby, if the baby will have have health issues passed on by genetics, and if your child will have any allergies that you need to be aware of in advance. All of these are a very common thing to think about when pregnant. Older homes are more susceptible to asbestos being present, water seepage from ice dams, basement flooding, all in which can cause mold growth if it is not taken care of in a timely matter and are concerns many pregnant woman think about.

There are minimal human studies looking at exposure to mold during pregnancy. Studies in animals have shown that the substances that mold produce can increase the risk of birth defects when consumed by mouth. Currently, however, there aren’t many proven risks to a pregnancy from exposure to airborne mold. It would be medically irresponsible to intentionally expose pregnant women to mold, then stand back and see what happens.  Studies have been done on the health hazards of mold to non-pregnant people and mold has been linked to allergies, asthma, sinus infection and rashes and once in a while, more severe reactions. Every person reacts different much like one person is allergic to peanuts and some have mild reactions to them.

If you are pregnant and you have found mold in your home, you should have it removed as soon as possible. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any illness that you think could be from mold exposure.

There are many studies done about exposure to mold to infants. This is also a major concern and a reason to get your home tested before the new little bundle of joy comes home from the hospital.

In December 1994 and January 1997, articles in MMWR described a cluster of 10* infants from Cleveland, Ohio, with acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage, also referred to as pulmonary hemosiderosis (1,2). The children resided in seven contiguous postal tracts and had had one or more hemorrhagic episodes, resulting in one death, during January 1993-December 1994. Preliminary results of a CDC case-control study (2) indicated that hemorrhage was associated with 1) major household water damage during the 6 months before illness and 2) increased levels of measurable household fungi, including the toxin-producing mold S. chartarum (syn. S. atra).

Mold illnesses, including pulmonary hemorrhage (bleeding in the lungs) and other serious respiratory disorders, can cause severe illness and even become life-threatening in some cases. Of course, most people exposed to household mold don’t develop life-threatening illnesses. Less serious health problems are fairly common, however, and more serious conditions can develop in some people. The elderly, the very young, and those with pre-existing respiratory disorders and immune system disorders are at greatest risk for serious problems.

What Is Pulmonary Hemorrhage?

Bleeding in the lungs is most common in infants, and in fact, it’s particularly common in premature infants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists bleeding in the lungs of infants as a potential complication of exposure to certain types of mold. It’s often accompanied by pulmonary edema, or swelling in the lungs, and can be fatal. It’s not a common complication of mold exposure, but it can and does happen. This is why getting your home tested is very important and can ease the pregnancy brain that the pregnant lady in your life may be having.

Lung Problems Caused by Mold

Respiratory disorders are the most common of all mold illnesses. That’s because tiny mold spores easily become airborne and then can be inhaled by anyone in the vicinity. Some of the lung problems caused by mold, other than pulmonary hemorrhage, include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Respiratory infections, including pneumonia and bronchitis
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (a lung disease similar to bacterial pneumonia)
  • Worsening of symptoms in people with asthma
  • Development of asthma-like symptoms in people not previously diagnosed with the condition

Other Mold Illnesses

Other health problems sometimes caused by exposure to household mold include:

  • Headaches, migraines
  • Chronic sinus infections
  • Allergic reactions
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose or stuffed up nose
  • Red, itchy, watery eyes
  • Skin rashes
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression

If you or a family member begins to experience symptoms of lung problems or other illness that might be related to mold, see your doctor. Let your doctor know if your symptoms might be related to mold exposure.

How Can You Protect Yourself from Mold-Related Illnesses?

The best way to protect yourself from mold-related illnesses, including pulmonary hemorrhage and other lung problems, is to avoid exposure to mold. You can help prevent the growth of mold in your home by preventing the conditions that encourage mold growth. Mold grows in damp places, so you can help prevent mold growth by repairing any leaks in your roof, fixing any leaky pipes, making sure rain doesn’t leak in around any windows, using an exhaust fan in the bathroom when you shower to cut down on moisture in the room, and using a dehumidifier in the basement if it’s damp down there.

If you’ve had a leak, or any kind of flooding in the home, you need to check carefully for mold and any mold you find needs to be thoroughly removed. If you have any symptoms of mold-related illnesses, you should hire a professional to inspect your home for mold.

If you find mold in your home, we recommend calling in a professional to clean it up. It’s especially important to have a professional handle the mold removal if you have any symptoms of mold-related illness or any type of respiratory disorder, because the mold removal process stirs up mold spores and your symptoms can get much worse.

Where is the water coming from?

Where is the water coming from?

Mold is caused when moisture affects the walls and other surfaces in your home or office. To permanently get rid of mould you have to first find and fix the moisture source.

Water can enter a building in all sorts of strange and mysterious ways, and may result in hidden moisture in walls and ceilings.  Moisture, whether you can see it or not, can result in mould growth and this mould growth can affect the health of the people living or working in the building. You could start taking apart your rooms one by one, or you could call got mold? Disaster Recovery Services for more information on how we can help.

Using our thermal imaging equipment and moisture meters we can map the moisture in your walls, find the missing insulation in your ceiling and track that leaky underfloor pipe – quickly, efficiently and, most importantly, without creating holes in your walls and ceilings.  

If you are concerned about hidden moisture in walls and ceilings in your home or office, or have areas of mould growth that you can’t explain it may be time to take action and get the answers you need to prevent mold growth before it happens! 

Today’s energy-efficient homes are built tightly to seal out the cold weather in winter and keep in the air conditioning in summer. Because of this, it is possible that a new home can be severely damaged by lack of ventilation or by excess moisture.

It is important to remember that moisture damage caused by improper or inadequate use of your ventilation system, is not covered by the new home warranty.

What causes moisture damage?

Your home can be damaged if weather-related water is allowed to enter and remain in the structure. Water from leaking pipes or fixtures that is not immediately cleaned up, and indoor humidity levels that are not properly controlled, can have serious consequences. Sometimes this damage is easily seen, at other times the damage is hidden inside wall and roof spaces. Regardless of where it occurs, moisture damage can lead to serious problems, such as rot, mould, and even structural failure.​

How can I control moisture?

Always use your home ventilation system to control moisture. In a typical home, over 20 litres of water are added to the indoor environment every day. That’s 7,300 litres in a year, enough to fill a medium-sized swimming pool. Bathroom fans, kitchen range hoods and packaged ventilators such as heat-recovery ventilators are specifically installed in your home to help you control moisture and contaminants. Regular use of your home ventilation system will exhaust excess airborne moisture caused by bathing, showering, doing laundry and cooking.​

What else can I do to control moisture?

Here are some extra tips you can follow to help prevent moisture damage to your home.

Outside the home

  • Keep flowerbeds or landscaping at least six inches or 150 mm away from the top of the foundation. Placing soil near or above the top of the foundation allows moisture to come into direct contact with the structure of the building.
  • Ensure that land adjacent to the foundation slopes away from the home so that rainwater and snow melt will run away from the foundation.
  • Clear eavestroughs of debris regularly and extend downspouts so that water is directed away from the building. Water flow can erode the ground near the foundation and create depressions where water collects. Standing water near the foundation can force its way into the basement.
  • Fix the caulking around windows and doors and on the roof if it becomes cracked or separated.
  • Have your roof inspected regularly to ensure shingles, flashing and chimney caps are in place and sealed properly

Inside the home

  • In the winter, keep the relative humidity in your home in the range of 30-45%. Lower humidity levels may affect your health and cause things made of wood to shrink. Excess humidity can cause condensation on windows and damage the surrounding wall. When using a humidifier, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • In the summer, dehumidify the basement to avoid condensation buildup on the cool foundation walls. Relative humidity levels should not exceed 60%.
  • Repair leaky pipes and fixtures immediately. Clean and completely dry any areas that are dampened or wet within 48 hours.
  • Store organic materials such as newspapers and clothes away from cool, damp areas. Keep storage areas tidy so that air circulates freely.
  • If you are adding a hot tub to your home, or have a large collection of plants, consider the amount of moisture they will add to your indoor air and ventilate accordingly.
  • Never vent your clothes dryer inside your home. If you have a gas- or propane-fired dryer you may also be venting carbon monoxide inside your home!
  • Investigate and identify any musty smells and odours. They are often an indicator that there is a hidden moisture problem.​

 

For more information check out these helpful articles!
For basement and crawlspace maintenance
For bathroom condensation tips 
For Carpets

For more information on preventing mold and hidden moisture please contact us today!

Are your kids bathing with moldy toys?

moldy kids toys

Are your kids bathing with moldy toys?

As a parent it is sometimes impossible to keep track of everything that your child plays with on a regular basis. We all used to have our favorite bath toys, that after tubby time would be put into a container until the next bath. Did you ever clean them after they were done bathing? Some parents may have rinsed them off, some may have actually washed them with bleach and washed and repeated the process before the kid was ready to bath again.

The reality of it is that most parents have way more to do then take note of such things, or don’t realize that the toys they are using in the tub could potentially have mold inside them and your child could be putting it in their mouths or drinking the water that squirts out of the toy.

 

The stuff, which looks like it should be coming from a petri dish instead of a toy your child sucks on, is probably mold. Bath toys are a perfect breeding ground for it. You have an enclosed space where a few organisms can get in and they don’t get out. If you find unidentified dark matter coating your child’s mini sailboat, there’s probably no need to send out an SOS just yet. While moist conditions make a suitable host environment for mold and bacteria (including those that cause staph infections and intestinal and respiratory illnesses), the slimy secretions probably look worse than they really are.

That said, most parents would prefer that their children avoid playing with toys that look as if they’ve been soaking in a cesspool. The following tips are for cleaning your child’s bathtime buddies:

  • “Try washing plastic toys in a mild dish soap with warm water,” suggests Dr. Konopasek. “If it’s good enough for my dishes, then it’s fine for my kids’ toys because they’re all going to go in their mouths.” we are sometimes hesitant to advise parents to stick bath toys in the dishwasher. In addition to running the risk of the toys melting,
  • What if you have a toy like a rubber duck with a hole and there’s mold growing inside? You need to throw it out. Once that mold is there, it’s time to get a new duck, Next time, you might want to stay away from toys with holes. OR, consider plugging the hole with super glue before it ever gets in contact with water.
  • Wash items such as washcloths and terry cloth hand puppets along with your regular laundry at least once or twice a week.
  • Store bath toys where they can drain, such as inside a mesh bag. Avoid keeping toys in buckets or other receptacles where water can collect. Always drain toys between baths.

If your child has been using a rubber ducky or other bath toys just be cautious and give them a once-over every week just to make sure! After all, your childs health should come first all the time!

When heavy rain hits, keep an eye on your basement and crawl spaces

basement-flood

When your basement or crawl space starts to have water seepage, act fast!

When heavy rain hits, keep an eye on your basement and crawl spaces 

Saskatchewan and Alberta residents got what they asked for… heavy rain to assist in the forest fire situations. Although it may have been what we wanted to help with our local farmers crops, water our lawns, our gardens and plants.. there are many things to keep an eye out for when we get so much in such a little time.

The Southern Saskatchewan & Alberta areas got around 3-7 inches of rain in just under 24 hours. The first thing to understand is that standard eavestroughs can sometimes overflow even when they’re installed correctly and kept perfectly clean. The size and shape of what’s commonly installed is not always sufficient to handle really large rains of the sort we’ve been getting the last couple days, especially if your roof is wide and gathers a lot of water. We hear about this design deficiency cause trouble all the time, and it can cause water damage to your roof, and seep into the windows and sometimes the siding of your home. Although wide, large-capacity gutters and downspouts are made for industrial buildings, it’s expensive and troublesome to have these put onto your home. But why should we have to build outside the box in order to enjoy eavestrough systems that can reliably handle heavy rains? You might consider adding another downspout. Downspouts are often a limiting factor when it comes to drainage capacity, so adding a second unit can offer relief.

Downspouts are usually vertical and usually extend down to ground level. The water is directed away from the building’s foundation, to protect the foundations from water damage. The water is usually piped to a sewer, or let into the ground through seepage. Keep an eye on the downspout that it doesn’t flow directly into your home and have a way for the water to build up and eventually seep into your basement windows or crawlspaces. The water should always be directed in a position in which the water can flow away from the home, if your home is built on a level surface you may wish to consider getting a longer downspout to assist in directing it further away from your home.

Most builders would agree that water leaking into the basement is a common issue. Homeowners and builders are continually looking for ways to utilize every square inch of potential living space. As a result, basements are frequently being converted into useable space. Thus, designing to keep basements dry is more important than ever. Most homeowners know the basic do’s and don’ts when it comes to what they should do when mother nature isn’t being as cooperative as we would like. But, even the most advanced homeowner can have isseus when we get down pours like we have seen recently. Sometimes you don’t have time to prepare for a flash flood, and rains that can cause heavy extensive damage to your homes.  This is why it is very important to check regularly on your roof, basement or crawl space for moisture, water leakage and if your home has a sump pump in it. Make sure it is doing what it needs to do on a regular basis if you can so that when you need it, it’s working! 

Homeowners often finish their basements to create more living space for a bedroom, family room, hobbies like the sewing room and more. That’s when you really start to focus on keeping your basement dry although it’s important for everyone, even if your basement isn’t finished. That’s why you want to learn how to keep your home and basement dry.

For every inch of rain, the average roof sheds 1,000 gallons of water. You can imagine how much standing water will pool around your foundation and find ways to get into your home. Gutters are key to catching and directing this water away from your home. There are many other things that help keep your basement dry.

Keeping Your Home and Basement Dry

Don’t look at this list and think you can pick one or 2 items. If you don’t have basement windows below ground, then you don’t need window wells. Otherwise you need to implement all of these solutions as they work together to minimize the chances of water entering your basement from above. For water that gets through your foundation wall because the water table rises above the floor of your basement, see the Building Requirements for New Construction below.

  • Gutters – direct water to downspouts which direct water to the ground, and ideally away from the house. If your ground doesn’t slope enough, use a diverter or consider adding below ground drainage pipes.
  • Grading – the area around the house so it slopes away from your foundation. You need at least a 6 inch drop over 10 feet for good drainage.
  • Foundation cracks – in masonry walls can be repaired using hydraulic cement.
  • Window wells – need gravel for good drainage and/or covers to divert excess water away.
  • Driveways/walkways – should always slope away from the house
  • Landscaping – should be designed to allow water near the foundation to evaporate.

When Water Gets Inside Your Home

When water gets inside, you want to remove it quickly to minimize the risk of mold, mildew, termites and other unhealthy side effects. Many of the following projects are fairly easy to implement:

  • Dehumidifiers – remove water from hot, humid air. Save time by installing the unit on a wall near the utility sink so it can drain continuously.
  • Insulation – should be wrapped around cold-water tanks, water pipes and cold air ducts to reduce water condensation.
  • Waterproofing – can be accomplished by painting concrete walls and floors with 2 coats of a water-locking, masonry paint like Drylok. There are lots of color choices but make sure you get right product, i.e. walls and floors have different requirements.

Keeping Your Basement Dry

When you find inches of water in your basement, a sump pump can remove the water quickly. A portable pump works well if this happens rarely, i.e. when the hot water heater breaks. If you get water every few years, a sump pump provides cost effective peace of mind. All pumps use some type of float activated switch that turns the pump on when the water reaches a certain height. They should also have a check valve to insure water doesn’t flow backwards from the water outlet pipe.

  • Selection – permanent pump choices include upright or submersible, plastic or cast iron and electric powered versus water powered (sometimes installed as a backup system). Pick one based on the frequency and volume of water you anticipate – a 1/3 horsepower pump is satisfactory for most homes. For more details
  • Installation – requires a sump pit (roughly 2 feet square and 2 feet deep) in the  basement floor, a discharge pipe (into a dry well or storm drain at least 20 feet away from the house), an electrical outlet with GFI. A sump pump cover helps eliminate odors and keep debris from falling on top of the pump.
  • Maintenance – should start with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Typically you want to test the pump every 2 to 3 months, or right before each rainy season. Make sure the float is not restricted, that the pump is discharging water and clean all screens/openings. Listen for any strange noises from the motor.

Building Requirements for New Construction (and Serious Water Problems)

These techniques are best implemented during new construction or when remodeling. Existing homes with significant water problems will need a specialty contractor to add one/more of these solutions to an existing home.

  • Footing drain – is a 4 inch diameter perforated drainpipe embedded in gravel. The pipe needs to sit on top or alongside the footings and below the basement slab
  • Foundations – should be waterproofed below ground level which is easily done before the site is backfilled
  • Perimeter/interior drains – involve perforated drainpipe, installed over gravel, around the foundation. Water collected should be directed to the sump pump for removal.

If water has been sitting in your basement or crawlspace for over 24 hours that’s when mold growth begins to occur. After more than 72 hours an environmental assessment must be performed to make sure the air in your home isn’t contaminated. contact us. In addition, if you recently had your home remediated for mold and/or abated for asbestos and want to ensure that the contractor you hired did a proper job, contact us for Post-Remediation Verification, to ensure that the work was done right.