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!

Commercial cooling systems could be contaminated with mold

Slime-Ice-Machine-Contamination-74-700x301

Commercial Cooling systems could be contaminated with mold

A lot of people don’t consider the factors related to the cleaning of commercial ice machines and cooling systems that are used in most fast food restaurants, hotels and even convenient stores. Staff are regularly required to maintain the equipment by cleaning the machines, although the down-time of the equipment may be inconvenient that makes the cleaning schedule change quite often and sometimes not as often as you would think.

Since the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has done a good job of making sure harmful levels of bacterial pathogens are being kept out of the U.S. water supply. It’s only very rare circumstances in which you should be worried about ice water being dirty from the start. However, EPA inspectors don’t live in ice machines to ensure that the once-clean water isn’t being contaminated during the freezing and dispensing process.

A 2011 study that focused on ice dispensers in Las Vegas food establishments found that 33.3 percent of the ice samples “exceeded the EPA limits set for heterotrophic bacteria concentration for drinking water” and 72.2 percent were “positive for presumptive coliform bacteria presence.” Bucknavage also suggested that it wasn’t uncommon for bacteria to accumulate in ice makers, potentially contaminating the ice.

That said, a restaurant that has bacteria issues in its ice probably has bacteria issues everywhere, making it unavoidable. While there may be occasional concerns about the composition of the ice at some establishments. Especially in the heat of the summers where companies rely on having ice-cold beverages available to the customers upon them walking in the door.

Bucknavage suggested that mold may be the biggest culprit of ice contamination. Mold is too often found in the ice machines of local restaurants, but can grow in home freezers as well. The cold temperatures of freezers may make it harder for mold to grow, but the problems start when freezers are regularly turned off or for extended periods of time. Restaurant owners should make sure to clean their machines several times per year, and Bucknavage advised homeowners to do the same:

“If your freezer [or] ice maker has been off for sometime, that ice maker should always be cleaned before using,” he said. “This can be an issue with people who have a summer home where the unit has been off for a number of months. … People can have a reaction after consuming a slug of mold coming from the ice. Knowing this, the average person should put forth effort to keep their ice machine clean. Why take on risk when a regular cleaning will prevent issues?”

Unfortunately this issue is not limited to just ice machines, but pop machines as well collect just as much bacteria if not more with the amount of people using them, the lack of cleaning that is regularly required to maintain the machines and the constant use of them in 24 hour stores and restaurants. The ice build up on the inside of the machines aren’t regularly cleaned as they continually have a flow of moisture inside them. A 2012 survey found that 1 in every 10 businesses clean the machines out only 7 times a year. It only takes 5 days for the mold to grow inside the machine if it isn’t maintained at its regulated temperatures. This is also found in the same statistics as cooled vending machines that store sandwiches, pudding and yogurts. If you encounter an ice machine, vending machine or pop machine that is moldy let the management know ASAP and document your concern with the health board. All to often people leave these concerns until someone gets sick.

Other Reading:

http://consumerist.com/2010/11/05/slime-in-our-ice-machine/

http://www.icemachinecleaning.com/icehealth.htm

http://www.iceomatic.com/uploadedFiles/Shared_Content/Product_Content/Downloads/Service_Manuals/ECP500%20Service%20Manual.pdf

http://www.houstontx.gov/health/Food/slime.htmhttp://www.manitowocice.com/docs/uploaded/mii/service%20manuals/q_model_sm.pdf

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/eats/idaho-knew-chobani-yogurt-mold-recall-fda-article-1.1539860

Flooding hits Chestermere and Langdon Alberta

chestermere flooding

Severe thunderstorms cut power to traffic lights and homes while heavy rains inundated neighbourhoods Sunday morning, slamming Langdon and Chestermere with overland flooding.

Flooding hits Chestermere and Langdon Alberta

Parts of Chestermere & Langdon were under water Sunday. Residents in some areas of the city just east of Calgary awoke to water pooling in basements, streets and parks.

Alberta Emergency Management Agency advised Chestermere residents not to travel if possible.

Chestermere city staff are responding to reports of flooding and remain on “high alert” Tuesday afternoon after a thunder, lightning, hail and rain storm. The city said it had been monitoring water levels after a thunderstorm warning issued Tuesday, two days after flash flooding damaged over 300 homes.

The mayor also urged people to reduce their water usage until the city dries out, and stay out of intersections that are flooded.

The city said earlier on Tuesday it had applied to the provincial government to receive flooding assistance for residents affected by Sunday’s storm.

“City Council and Staff have been in contact with the Provincial Government in order to bring the flood situation to their attention and request funding help for our residents in what is a very difficult time for many people,” said Mayor Patricia Matthews in a statement.

In addition, the city is offering one free basement inspection per affected home for electrical, gas/plumbing and building to any resident affected by the flooding. Power had been restored to Chestermere and all roads were open as of 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. The city said tap water was safe to use, but urged people to scale back to “slow the flow to sewers.”

got mold? encourages people to get inspections done at the earliest that you can! Mold growth starts to occur within 24 hours, since it has already been 72 hours an environmental assessment must be performed, before you start moving out wet building material such as drywall and flooring a proper containment and negative air unit must be set up to avoid contamination of mold spores spreading through your home or office.

Trina Mitchell in Langdon: “So much water, it’s knee deep, so we brought out the kayaks.”

Trina Mitchell in Langdon: “So much water, it’s knee deep, so we brought out the kayaks.”

After flooding residents should:

  • Call your insurance company to report damaged property
    Take pictures of damaged property during/after flooding for insurance purposes
    If you are concerned about your insurance coverage, the City is applying to the Provincial Government for flooding assistance for those affected. It may take some time to hear back from the Provincial Government but the City will post any information we receive on our website, Facebook, and Twitter accounts once we hear anything.
  • CUI will be placing bins around the City for discarding damaged items. Visit www.cuinc.ca for locations
  • The City will be offering one FREE basement inspection per affected home for electrical, gas/plumbing, and building to anyone that needs it. Call them at 403-207-7075 to book an inspection. Homeowners may need to call other professionals for different types of inspections
  • Ensure power, gas, and water supplies/systems are checked by a professional before further use.

 

Saskatchewan and Alberta Air Quality Advisory: 2015

Fire Danger

Top areas affected by more than 100 wildfires across Canada

 

Saskatchewan and Alberta Air Quality Advisory

As many of our readers are aware, there has been high amounts of smoke and wildfires in Northern Saskatchewan & Alberta. The air quality in the outdoor environment has caused some concern for many people with respiratory issues, children & pregnant woman.

The largest fire near Weyakwin is three times the size of Yorkton. The Star Phoenix reports around 1,000 people in Saskatchewan have been forced to take shelter in other communities away from the wildfires, in schools, rec centres and hotels. However, the number of evacuees is likely to be higher, because the province’s social services ministry only tracks those in its care.
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Visibilities have been reduced to less than 2 km in many areas especially in Central and Northern Saskatchewan. Closer to the fires, air quality is poor in many areas due to the smoke,” Environment Canada says. “Smoke near the ground may cause potentially high health risk conditions. The smoke is expected to persist over the next couple of days as winds will remain from the northwest and little to no precipitation is expected to flush out the smoke and haze.”

There have been 510 fires in 2015 to date. There are nearly 50 fires that are larger than 100 hectares burning in Saskatchewan, spreading from one side of the province to the other in the north.

Travel not recommended in the La Ronge area while a fire ban remains in place for all of northern Saskatchewan. Fireworks are also prohibited.

While there is no immediate threat to La Ronge, the communities of Montreal Lake, Wadin Bay, Sucker River, English Bay, Nemeiben and Weyakwin are under evacuation.

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Montreal Lake Councillor Roger Bird said things became pretty intense when the fire came very close to the community, but with some help from provincial fire fighters they were able to save the homes.

In neighbouring Alberta, more than 130,000 hectares have burned as of June 29. Of 125 wildfires currently burning, 37 are out of control, according to a report from Monday.

The Northwest Territories are on their way to another active season, with more than 180,000 hectares burned and 166 fires burned to date. Officials are warning people in the town of Hay River to prepare to evacuation if the situation in that part of the territory worsens.

At this time we would like to remind our readers to take precaution if you need to be outdoors

  • If you have neighbors, friends or relatives that live alone, check periodically to make sure they are OK. Seniors and people with heart or lung conditions may get sick from the smoke. When doors and windows are kept closed to keep the smoke out, houses may also get very hot. This can lead to heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Use fans to move air around inside the house
  • Don’t run an air conditioner that needs to draw air in from the outdoors
  • When in your vehicle keep the air on recirculate to avoid sucking the smoke inside.
  • Keep physical activity outdoors to a minimum
  • Try and keep travel to a minimum
  • Patients with asthma or other respiratory conditions should be vigilant about avoiding smoke and continue taking their prescribed medication. These people should alsnot hesitate to take their rescue medication when they need it. People on home oxygen should not make any changes to their oxygen.
  • If you have room air cleaners with HEPA filters, turn them on.
  • If you are at work and begin to feel air quality issues in their work area, please alertyour director and or site leaders. Facilities and maintenance staff are doing what they can to mitigate the issue but it is impossible to make our buildings completely free of the smoke.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep your nose and mouth hydrated to keep breathing easy
  • Be alert to Public Service Announcements and updates from the Ministries of Health and Environment and further updates from the Region.

What Should I Do If I Have Mold In My Apartment? Part 2

What Should I Do If I Have Mold In My Apartment? Part 2

MOLD IN APARTMENT

Part #2 of what you should do if you have mold in your apartment

In the past, got mold? has blogged about what you should do if you have mold in your apartment. We have received numerous calls and emails about the issues people have had with landlords and what their experiences have been with the tactics they have tried to use in order to get the work done and up to code for health issues. We understand the concerns people have that live in low income housing and having to deal with landlords that won’t take action and want to help our readers understand that there are options available to you and your loved ones, but you need to act fast and document your concerns and the actions taken in order to get the work completed and to get the work done RIGHT.

Landlords have to maintain rental premises in a good state of repair and fit for habitation.  Tenants must repair damages that they cause through their actions or neglect.  Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, you may have to request repairs.  Hopefully, your request is all that is needed to get the work done. That being said, don’t wait to contact your landlord if you have a leak in your ceiling, windows, basement, bathroom or anywhere in your home. Leaving water to sit will not only damage the property but if it sinks into your walls or flooring it becomes more of an issue then you initially started out with, and in certain cases you may be found responsible for those damages due to neglect.

In every province and state you have a landlord tenant act. This is in place for provincial / state regulations as every location has different bylaws and rules that need to be followed by every location. A law in Saskatchewan may not be a law in New York, so make sure you speak to the right directory when putting in your complaint.

Communication solves a lot of problems, when dealing with the issue at hand, it may be best to document the complaint before immediately contacting the landlord and tenant board before even asking your landlord or rentalsman to fix the issue. Dealing with issues with a calm, mature level headed request can go a long way, but when it comes to your health we understand that sometimes it is hard to remain calm while requesting such repairs. Assuming that you have already done this, the next step would be to actually contact the board and always remember to document your complaint and how long it has taken to get the work done.
This agreement should set a precedent throughout North America forcing landlords to take proper measures to reduce tenant exposure to mold, which has clearly been linked to childhood asthma as reported in this NBC Dateline documentary.

Landlords may ask the tenant to repair the problem they have, but please do not result in going to google for the most simple DIY and end up with more issues than you had to begin with.  Read up on some of the things you should know about mold before you begin your project, such as do’s and don’ts. 

Health Canada recommends that all mould, regardless of the species, be cleaned and that the underlying water or humidity problem be dealt with quickly to prevent potential health issues.

If you are currently renting and are dealing with mold issues, then the information and links above provide you with lots of information to help you address the situation with your landlord. However, if you are currently planning to rent an apartment and are concerned about mold, then Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation advises that you should consider these factors in your search:

1. Avoid basement apartments which tend to be damp and prone to mould-growth;
2. Avoid upper-floor apartments in buildings that have wet basements, since mould spores can circulate throughout the entire building;
3. Avoid apartments that do not have working kitchen or bathroom fans;
4. Avoid apartments with old carpets, or ask the landlord to change them before you move in; and
5. Avoid buildings that have a history of roof or plumbing leaks.