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.

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.

Mold in the News: Issue 168

Mold in the News: Issue 168
At Got Mold? our goal is to keep our followers aware of mould related news stories. Each day, we scour the internet looking for relevant information. Here are 24 stories we thought may interest you!
Please share this information so that we can continue to increase awareness of mould and mould related illnesses. Follow us on twitter because we tweet important mould news.
FEATURED STORIES (3)
Parents worried after mould found in school portables: A group of parents at a Toronto school say their children’s portables have been covered in mould for at least a year but no permanent solutions have been found.
Watch fast-food hamburgers get moldy, just because: There’s long been talk of fast-food that doesn’t age like real food. The press is bad enough for McDonald’s to push a PR campaign claiming its food does, in fact, rot. Putting that claim to the test, the people of Buzzfeed put seven hamburgers from seven different restaurants in glass jars to see what they looked like after 30 days.
State Lawmakers Examine Whether Georgia Should Create Mold Laws: Mold can cause serious health problems. But right now, there are no state laws, or even EPA regulations, to protect residents. Some state senators are looking at whether that should change. Senators created a study committee to look at mold and mildew related problems after hearing stories like Linda Porter’s. After Porter moved into an apartment in Southwest Atlanta, she discovered a blackish colored mold.
MOLD and HEALTH (3)
Damp, mouldy homes bad for allergy sufferers: Dusty, damp and mouldy conditions in many Marlborough homes are breeding dust mites and triggering chronic symptoms in allergy sufferers, an allergy specialist says.
Recent rain brings mold problems: The Tri-States has experienced a lot rain this past week and it has caused problems for some. “With the amount of rain we’ve been getting recently, in the past few years even, there has been a lot of mold crop up,” John Bertoni, owner of Quincy Home Pro, said.
Renters in Burton putting health at risk because of mould and damp: DOZENS of private renters in Burton are having their health put at risk because they are living in damp and mouldy homes, according to new research.
MOLD IN SCHOOLS (4)
Mold found in dorms causes health concerns for residents and staff: Students living in University Hall have complained about finding mold in their air vents and becoming ill.
SGA confronts East Village mold problem: John Biernbaum, the associate vice president of student services, came to the meeting to speak on behalf of the ongoing resolution of the mold problem in East Village.
Urbana Middle School gym closed as crews clean up mold: A costly clean up is currently underway at Urbana Middle School after a series of complications led to a mold problem on the gym ceiling.
Mold means closure, six-figure repair at Urbana Middle School: Urbana Middle School’s gym is off-limits to P.E. classes, basketball and all other activities until sometime in December. The culprit: mold and other issues caused by water damage from the July 12 downpour. The cost: between $190,000 and $200,000, said district Superintendent Don Owen, some of which will come from insurance; the rest from the school board’s recently approved emergency budget increase.
MOLD IN PUBLIC BUILDINGS (9)
Bradley Sheriff: Leaky Pipes Cause Problems, Mold in Jail: Leaking pipes are washing away tax dollars in Bradley County. Concrete re-enforced walls are dissolving from a water problem that the sheriff wants to get fixed.
Historical Society: Mold creating problems in courthouse: Members of the Coffee County Historical Society Bonnie Parsley and Joanna Lewis, whose office is located in the historic county courthouse on the square in Manchester, appeared before the Budget and Finance Committee Tuesday to request funding to combat a growing mold problem inside the building.
Mouldy flats ‘are threat to health’: MOULD and damp problems are making life a misery for some people living in rented flats at Townstal, Dartmouth. Among them are young families who say the situation has become so bad it is making them ill.
Landlord accused of renting out condemned house: The Mansfield City Law Director’s Office will consider filing charges against a local landlord accused of renting a condemned property filled with mold to several residents.
Carmarthenshire Archives closed following mould discovery: Carmarthenshire’s family researchers and amateur historians will be forced to take a break from digging up the past after it was announced that the county’s archives were closing to the public due to the discovery of mould in some of the storage rooms.
Local Office Closed Down, Evacuated Due to Elevated Mold Levels: Complaints from City workers led to the shutdown of one local office and an emergency evacuation due to elevated mold levels Wednesday.
Proposed shelter contains ‘hazardous’ mold: The discovery of dangerous mold in a city-owned building has thrown a new wrinkle into plans to convert the structure into an emergency homeless shelter.
New survey reveals that poor conditions such as mould and damp are commonplace for renters: One in 11 renters in the South West have suffered health problems in the last year because rouge landlords failed to deal with poor conditions in their properties.
NY1 For You: Harlem Resident Has Trouble Getting Mold Out of Apartment: Mold is not uncommon in city apartments, and as one Harlem renter found out the hard way, it’s not easy to get rid of.
LEGAL ISSUES and MOLD (2)
Radio station sued for medical complications allegedly caused by mold-infested building: A radio station and the owner of the building where it is located are being sued by a woman who claims fell ill during 2013 due to a failure to keep the building sanitized, which resulted in her exposure to toxic mold.
Mold, air-quality issues at Fla. fire stations part of labor dispute: Health and safety concerns are just one part of a prolonged labor dispute after many firefighters say the biggest danger they face is mold in their firehouses.
MISC. (3)
Prevent mycotoxins at the source: “The impact of mould on the nutrient quality of feed is often overlooked. It should be realised that as moulds propagate, they utilise the nutrients in the feed to sustain their growth. This can result in lower levels of carbohydrates, fats, amino acids and vitamins available to the animal through the feed. When the animal consumes this nutrient deficient feed, body weight gain can decrease and feed conversion efficiency is poorer,” explains Dr Richardson.
Tis the season for…mold growth: Have you ever opened a bag of feed that smells a little musty or put your hand in the feed bunk in the middle of the winter and the ration is too hot to touch? If the answer is yes to either of these questions, then there probably was a mold problem that was not addressed. In most cases, by the time most people notice they have a problem with their feed or grain; it is too late to do much about it.
Lincoln officials declare war on mold’s growth in wet homes: Lincoln authorities are asking residents with wet homes and flooded basements to try to stop mold growth.

Mold in the News: Issue 167

Mold in the News: Issue 167
At Got Mold? our goal is to keep our followers aware of mould related news stories. Each day, we scour the internet looking for relevant information. Here are 21 stories we thought may interest you!
Please share this information so that we can continue to increase awareness of mould and mould related illnesses. Follow us on twitter because we tweet important mould news.
FEATURED STORIES (2)
Little Creek-Fort Story dealing with mold problems: A military base in Virginia Beach has relocated a small number of personnel and will make renovations to its fire station after finding mold in one of its buildings.
Guelph homeowners sue builder and City of Guelph over mould problems: An east side couple with a five-year-old home is suing its builder and the City of Guelph. They claim the house does not meet the Ontario Building Code, and as a result has an excessively damp and mouldy basement. Jason Cozzarin said he has spent about $14,000, not including legal fees, trying to remedy dampness and mould problems discovered last winter at his family’s 77 Davis St. home. He said the problem is making his wife Theoni Eliopoulous sick.
MOLD and HEALTH (4)
Is your home making you ill?: We spend 90% of our time indoors, according to My Health, My Home, and the air we suck into our bodies can contain over 900 chemicals, particles and biological materials – which could harm our health.
Simply Nourish dog treats recalled because of mold concerns: Recalls involving pet foods and other consumables can occur for various reasons, and a recall issued this week by the Loving Pets Corporation is an example of one: the possibility of mold growth in a product.
Autumn’s pollen and mold can challenge those with allergies: For millions of allergy sufferers, fall is a potent time for allergy-inducing allergens, the October 2014 Harvard Health Letter reported. “The fall allergy season is usually the result of pollen from weeds. But after the first frost, it’s all about mold,” said Dr. John Dobrowski, an otolaryngologist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
Exposure to mold is health risk: People with asthma, allergies or other breathing conditions may be more sensitive to mold. Those with immune suppression (such as people with HIV infection, cancer patients taking chemotherapy and people who have received an organ transplant) are more susceptible to mold infections.
MOLD IN SCHOOLS (1)
Suspected mold cleared in Suwannee County classroom: A classroom at Suwannee Intermediate School has been thoroughly cleaned after a report of an odor and allergen concern. On Sept. 19, the Suwannee County School District (District) hired an indoor environmental quality consulting firm, Air Intellect, LLC, from Tallahassee, according to a press release from Eric Althouse, President of Air Intellect.
MOLD IN PUBLIC BUILDINGS (8)
Family’s ‘dream’ home was infested with mould: Dreams of a family Christmas in their new Aldershot home still on hold as family face mould and damp ‘nightmare’.
Ambulance station project grows after mold: A mold remediation project at an Ottawa ambulance station is moving along.
Council staff dig hole to trace source of damp… and leave it there: SINGLE father Matthew Alfred asked for help tackling his home’s mould problem but said he was left with a 2ft hole in his bedroom and no answers.
Black Mold – An unwanted house guest: As many of us already know, mold, specifically Black Mold is a very hot topic among renters and landlords. As reported by nolo.com, Toxic mold while a growing problem, unfortunately hasn’t been clearly spelled out in terms of the law in most states. However, from experience as having moved from California, where Mold Laws are in place, it can be a very expensive problem for any Landlord or Management Company. This is especially true if any negligence is found. Unfortunately this appears to be the case for Liz in Ohio.
GP slams ‘unacceptable’ state of council flat after sick baby is surrounded by vermin and mould: The state of council housing in Camden has been branded by a GP as “unacceptable” after a one-year-old baby has been left suffering lung infections from mouldy walls and a mouse-infested cot.
Mold infestation evicts S.F. firefighters from station: For the past seven months, firefighters have been without a permanent fire station due to an infestation of black mold.
West Haven resident: Mold a growing problem at Morrissey Manor: For years, Connie Ballard and her boyrfriend, Bob Slattery, have had a mold problem in their Morrissey Manor apartment, which Ballard says the West Haven Housing Authority has been unwilling or unable to fix.
Morris Houses Residents Living in Apartments with Holes, Leaks, Roaches: When NYCHA workers came to Julia Saravia’s Morris Houses apartment three weeks ago to clean some mold on her bathroom ceiling, they left behind a gaping hole that has since become home for a group of spiders, she said.
LEGAL ISSUES and MOLD (1)
Mold, air quality issues at fire stations part of labor dispute going to special magistrate: The president of the local firefighters union said recent tests show poor air quality inside this building, and other county fire stations, sometimes in areas where emergency personnel sleep.
MISC. (5)
7 ways to prevent mold in your mansion: Mold is like that weird in-law. It’s easier to keep it out of your home than get it out later.
Mould-infested ads to be restored by Irish Film Institute: More than 2,000 damp and mould-infested advertisements made for Irish screens from the 1960s to the 1980s are set to be restored following the Irish Film Institute’s receipt of almost €290,000 in funding from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.
Grieving widow in Clearwater devastated after movers left her stuff to mold: When her stuff got to Florida, it sat in a wet, humid truck with a leak in it, in the middle of summer. Mold grew quickly on nearly everything. Nasty spores can be seen on her couches, clothing and bedding. She documented everything with photos. She claims she was only allowed to see a few things.
HUD awards millions to 3 tribes in state, including Tohono O’odham: For the first time in fiscal year 2014, the awards will also be used through a special program to remediate and prevent mold in housing units owned or operated by tribes and tribally designated housing entities. Nine tribes will receive funding for mold remediation, including the Havasupai Tribe in Arizona, where the village is located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and mold is common due in part to frequent flooding.
How can I stop mould growing in my bathroom?: Is your bathroom ceiling forever getting covered in mould due to the condensation from your shower? If so, DIY writer Susanna Clarke has the answer.