Use Caution If Using Sprays to Remove Mold

 

Use Caution If Using Sprays to Remove Mold

Don’t misinterpret the mass of information available to consumers regarding mold and how to get rid of it. Mold awareness and its potential impact on indoor air quality has given rise to a growing increasing list of so-called mold remedies and mold remediation strategies.  In the last few years for example, anti-microbial sprays such as Concrobium have received attention as a good way to kill mold. The reality is, there will always be various options and opinions on what product to use and where to use it, but what is not disputed is that visible mold growth occupying an area larger than 10 square feet needs to be dealt with by either a professional or at the very least by someone following the advice of a professional. Proper remediation of mold may have less to do with the product than the technique used in conjunction with the product.
But don’t be mislead, mistakes can be made by selecting the wrong product as well. For example, when consulted about proper product and technique in a large crawlspace, Dr. Jackson Kung’u, a well respected Microbiologist had this to say:

“For removal of extensive mold growth from floor joists in the crawlspace, I would personally recommend dry ice blasting for the following reasons:

  1. Unlike use of biocides, dry ice blasting does not add moisture to the wood and it’s non-toxic and therefore poses no health risks to the operators and the occupants.
  2. Dry ice blasting does not damage the wood at all, but it removes and kills the mold at the same time.
  3. Blasting does not stain the wood.”
When consulted about proper technique in a smaller area, Dr. Kung’u said:
“If the mold growth is not extensive and deeply embedded into the wood, you may spray an anti-microbial and let it set for a few hours. After the antimicrobial kills the mold then you physically go back with HEPA vacuums, and rags, and brushes, and wipe the wood. This is a more tedious process if cleaning big areas … and may not be cost effective.”
Interestingly, even “less toxic” bio sprays need to be used with full safety considerations.  Appropriate personal protective equipment is required for application of antimicrobials, including a chemical- resistant suit, heavy gloves and full-face respirator with OVR cartridges.  Moreover, the area in which the mold is being treated requires a complete industry standard protocol of containment, air management, removal process, cleaning process, drying process and finally, post remediation, lab verified clearance testing to make sure the job was actually completed with the results intended.

Read More:
https://www.gotmold.ca/2012/09/dont-spray-mold/

We can provide lab results within 24 hours

When customers call got mold? to have a mold or asbestos inspections and sampling, we take great pride in giving our customers fast and accurate reports so they can get the work done ASAP. The health of our customers is our number one priority and we want our customers to know that your health is important to us! We thrive on having happy and healthy customers that have healthy indoor air for their families or business. When you call got mold? our environmental professionals will assist you with the best coarse of action to take when it comes to the removal process, and what should happen with the contents surrounding the effected areas.

Sometimes circumstances require that results of sampling is an urgent matter. This is why we deal with only accredited laboratories that have microbiologists analyze the samples. If there are any questions or clarification is required we are in direct contact with the Principal Microbiologist Dr. Jackson Kung’u.

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.
 (Buyer Beware! How Reliable is Your Home Inspection?)
Mold occurs normally in outdoor environments, serving as nature’s recycling center and breaking down the dead organic matter from animals or plants. Humans encounter mold and even inhale mold spores every day with no ill effects whatsoever. When mold occurs in an indoor environment, however, things change. Suddenly, mold and its accompanying spores (through which it reproduces) are encountered (and inhaled) in large concentrations. When you consider the job that mold is designed to do on organic matter, it becomes easy to see how it could become a serious health hazard. (No Shame In Mold)
Since mold can cause serious health and structural issues, and even negatively impact the health of your pets, then you should invest in a mold inspection and you may even want to consider a Thermal Imaging inspection as well.
A mold inspection is vitally important if you are planning to buy a home for three key reasons:
1. REAL ESTATE AGENTS DO NOT LIKE MOLD
Real estate agents know that the presence of mold can end a real estate transaction. Since legal requirements for disclosing mold problems is not universally mandatory, then it really is up to the seller to disclose such information. If this is not done, the buyer may never know a problem even exists.
2. MOLD REMEDIATION IS COSTLY
Mold remediation is the removal of mold from a home to make it safe and liveable. This process is costlybecause the materials contaminated with mold need to be removed. You can not simply spray mold with chemicals. The cost of remediation will depend on the area that is affected and the kind of materials. In addition, mold remediation specialists take special training and follow specific procedures to prevent mold from spreading. Their goal is not only to remove the mold, but to contain it and clean it.
3. HOME INSPECTORS ARE NOT MOLD EXPERTS
The problem with mold is that it can be hidden under baseboards, beneath carpet, and under a new paint job. Home inspectors will look for visual problems with the home, but may not necessarily be able to identify a mold problem. A credible home inspector may provide you with some warning signs that conditions exist to encourage mold growth:
1. Water stains
2.  Smelly basement
3.  Water seepage
4. Leaky roof
That being said, a home inspector will not verify the existence of mold and may not specify this in their report. It is also important to understand that many home inspectors rely on referals from real estate agents, which could cause potential conflict of interest issues.
According to CMHC and Health Canada:
“Asbestos poses health risks only when fibres are in the air that people breathe. Asbestos fibres lodge in the lungs, causing scarring that can ultimately lead to severely impaired lung function (asbestosis) and cancers of the lungs or lung cavity.”
If your home or commercial building was built prior to or during the 1980s, you may need to determine if you have asbestos and/or vermiculite insulation.
The environmental and financial risks associated with asbestos abatement requires expertise and commitment.
If you have asbestos, our professional teams will remove it.
To ensure “Peace of Mind”, we will ask a third party environmental consulting firm to take air quality samples that will be sent to an independent lab for analysis.
Our job will not be complete until the environmental consultant says that the property is fully cleared of the asbestos.
Further Reading about mold removal, health concerns and the inspection processes:
Flooded…But Denied Insurance? Don’t Lose Hope!Hurricane Sandy Causes Mold Risk for Flooded AreasSandy Leaves Behind the Threat of Asbestos Exposure, Flood Alert: Key Action Steps & Information!What Should I do if I Find Mold?Attention Saskatchewan Residents: PDAP Can Help!Don’t Spray Mold!What Causes a Basement to Smell Bad?Mold, Not Just a Health Problem, But a Structural One Too!Sewer Backups Part 1: Causes and PreventionSewer Backups Part 2: Action Steps Why Do We Need Sump Pumps? Flooded…But Denied Insurance? Don’t Lose Hope!What to Expect From a Mold InspectionMold Emerges As Problem From FloodingWhy is Mold a Growing Concern?Seven Tips To Detecting MoldMold in Your BasementDo You Know Where Your Water Main Valve Is Located?What to do when you’ve identified a mold concern?The Longer You Wait…The Worse It Gets!How Does Mold Get Indoors?What’s In Your Flood Water?What causes Mold growth?
Further Reading about asbestos removal, health concerns and the inspection processes:
Mandatory Saskatchewan Registry for Asbestos PassesWhy is Asbestos a Health Hazard?Can You Get Mesothelioma from Attending School?Why is a Shower Essential to Asbestos Abatement?What Percentage of Lung Cancers are Caused by Asbestos?Canadian Asbestos RegulationsHow Many People Die From Asbestos Each Year?10 Interesting Facts About Asbestos in the USA [Infographic]Renovating? Read This Message From Our President!10 Interesting Historical Facts About Asbestos [Infographic]ADAO – Asbestos Disease Awareness OrganizationBanAsbestos.usThe Asbestos Epidemic in America, WHO | Asbestos: elimination of asbestos-related diseasesThe Jig Is Up For The Asbestos Industry!Canada’s Asbestos Industry Could End!Elliot Lake, Ontario Residents Exposed to Asbestos DustShould I Be Concerned About Asbestos?The Politics of Asbestos: Canada’s Ugly SecretQuebec Pumps $58 Million into Certain DeathThe Asbestos Abatement ProcessWhy is Asbestos so Scary?Got Asbestos?Asbestos Removal and AbatementAsbestos Is The “Ideal Carcinogen”
 

Are you procrastinating your water damage clean up?

Are you procrastinating your water damage clean up?

If mother nature can teach us anything is that weather can go from one extreme to another in no time at all. If you are from the Saskatchewan – Alberta area then you experienced many different weather issues this summer. From possible smoke damage from the northern communities to flooding from flash floods and heavy rain storms. Water damage can take its toll on just about any object reducing it to useless trash. The same can be said for the home. Prolonged water damage can cause a variety of problems later on including the development of severe mold infestations.

Assess the Damage and Environment Closely and in great detail – If you could have the flooded area cleaned up, Depending on how the flood occurred in the first place, there could be puddles of remaining water within walls, ceilings and floors that are the breeding grounds for mold. Without an in-depth examination and inspection of the area, you could be allowing mold spores to influence your home or business and could potentially cause health concerns for your family or co-workers. It may be worth the extra time it takes to investigate the matter further.

Make sure water is being detoured about 5 feet from your home.

Draining the Water Away – In a basement flood that is caused by appliance on the floor above, many people will take a screwdriver and poke drainage holes in the ceiling in order to alleviate some of the pools of water that could accumulate. Although this is a temporary solution during the incident, it can help you greatly when it comes time to inspect the actual damage. While it’s not a good idea to leave water-damaged drywall in the building environment, it could buy you the time you need to figure out when you are getting it replaced or having a professional take a closer examination of the area and professionally remove the materials. Wet building materials left for over 24 hours need to be removed by a professional.

Letting the water sit can cause rot! Make sure you properly clean up any water before it causes more problems.

Letting the water sit can cause rot! Make sure you properly clean up any water before it causes more problems.

Letting Water Drain Itself – In some cases, property owners have allowed a flooded basement to simply dry itself out as the water slowly drains away through sewage lines. Unfortunately, this has caused severe damage to the remaining drywall in the basement as black mold infests the area. It’s not a good idea to leave drywall in the building environment. It’s also not uncommon to see the mold itself spread on the walls where an appliance such as a dishwasher or fridge water feed line on the floor above is located. Many home owners don’t use the basement for much other then storage and a laundry area which should be checked every 24 hours, especially after heavy rain. Water can sit for days before they even realize there is an issue in the basement. If they do not have a sump pump in place the water can sit and damage the walls, flooring, appliances and any belongings they may have in the basement. Prolonged exposure to moisture can perpetuate the problem even further as the mold can easily spread to consume that moisture. Instead of spending the money and time to pump out the water and dry the area as quickly as possible, these property owners are now faced with serious damage to drywall, insulation and other building materials within the basement resale value of the property. Visually inspecting your home after major storms can save you in the long run of things. Have a professional come immediately to inspect your home if you believe you have water coming in!

Without an in-depth examination it is likely that you will be leaving pockets of water behind and this provides for perfect conditions for the growth of mold and bacteria.
We believe it would be worth a few dollars to have any water event evaluated by a professional prior to assuming that everywhere is dry. Water works in mysterious ways and wet always finds dry therefore it is always best to have a professional with the proper professional equipment come to assess the damage. Always remember it can look dry and feel dry yet still be wet.
Clean up water immediately from carpets before it traps the water in the sub flooring. Call a professional carpet cleaning company to make sure they do the job right!

Clean up water immediately from carpets before it traps the water in the sub flooring.

Carpets Can Trap Moisture – Although mold won’t form instantly if you spill a cup of water on the floor, leaving the moisture behind without cleaning and drying the area could facilitate an ideal place for it to grow. This is especially true in carpets and padding. While not every glass of liquid spilled on the floor will create mold, it does increase the probability exponentially. It is prolonged moisture that can develop mold to the point of causing physical complications – especially in asthmatics. Clean up any spills as quickly as possible in order to reduce the odds of developing molds within the carpet and padding. Large areas of carpet are obviously going to be a bit harder to clean up, especially when it has reached the point where the carpet needs to be replaced, the sub flooring will probably need to be replaced and quite possibly the surrounding areas should be assessed by a professional.

If a carpet has mold growth it also has harmful bacteria and should always be removed by a professional due to the fact that when removing a carpet that has mold damage the spores will release rapidly into the air creating an airborne contamination that will then be breathed in by building occupants.

Without an in-depth examination it is likely that you will be leaving pockets of water behind and this provides for perfect conditions for the growth of mold and bacteria. We believe it would be worth a few dollars to have any water event evaluated by a professional prior to assuming that everywhere is dry. Water works in mysterious ways and wet always finds dry therefore it is always best to have a professional with the proper professional equipment come to assess the damage. Always remember it can look dry and feel dry yet still be wet.

When your carpets have mold in them and you are in the process of replacing  them, always replace the sub flooring as well. There is no sense replacing the carpet and keeping the moisture behind. Have a professional evaluate the living areas as soon as possible so you can have your living area or business evaluated as soon as possible.

 

 

Are you ready for the winter?

Are you ready for the winter?

Winter is just around the corner. With the first few snowflakes that landed this morning and melting as it hit the ground we start thinking about the last minute fixes and things we needed to get done before the winter hits. Are you and your home ready for the cold weather? Have you done any upgrades during the summer that will allow your home to hold in more heat? Upgraded from a chimney vented furnace to an energy efficient? These type of upgrades are great however, they may cause higher humidity and in turn condensation at any cold spots such as where the drywall meets the ceiling. Getting the exterior of the home ready for the cold winds, snow and ice is critical for keeping Old Man Winter out and keeping it warm and toasty inside.

Windows and Doors

  • Check and replace if necessary all the weatherstripping around windows and doorframes for leaks to prevent heat loss, condensation and frost build up.
  • Examine wooden window frames for signs of rot or decay. Repair or replace framing to maintain structural integrity. If you believe it is mold infested and has wicked into your walls contact a professional for a mold inspection – Thermal Imaging  may be necessary and the best time to detect heat loss in your home is when it is cold outside.
  • Check for drafts around windows and doors. Caulk inside and out, where necessary, to keep heat from escaping.
  • Inspect windows for cracks, broken glass, or gaps. Repair or replace, if needed.

 

Lawn, Garden, and Deck

  • Trim overgrown branches back from the house and electrical wires to prevent iced-over or wind-swept branches from causing property damage or a power problem. In some cases it could be the cities responsibility to do this and all you usually have to do is report it. .
  • Ensure rain or snow drains away from the house to avoid foundation problems. The dirt grade — around the exterior of your home — should slope away from the house. Add clay and or extra dirt to lower areas, as necessary.
  • Clean and dry patio furniture. Cover with a heavy tarp or store inside a shed or garage to protect it from water damage or rusting.
  • Clean soil from planters. Bring pots made of clay or other fragile materials indoors. Because terra cotta pots can swell and crack, lay them on their sides in a wood carton or better yet a plastic tote.
  • Remove any attached hoses and store them away for the winter to prevent cracks, preserve their shapes, and prolong their life. Wrap outside faucets with covers to prevent water damage.
  • Shut off exterior faucets. Drain water from outdoor pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads to protect against pipe bursts. Have your sprinklers professionally blown out.
  • Inspect decks for splintering, decay, or insect damage and treat, if needed, to prevent further deterioration over the winter.
  • Clean leaves, dirt, and pine needles between the boards of wooden decks to thwart mold and mildew growth.
  • Inspect outdoor lighting around the property. Good illumination will help minimize the chance of accidents on icy walkways at night.
  • Check handrails on exterior stairs to make sure they’re well secured.

 

Tools and Machinery

  • Bring all your seasonal tools inside and spray them with a coating of lightweight oil to prevent rust. Pam cooking oils work great for this.
  • Move your snow blower and shovels to the front of the garage or shed for easy access.
  • Prepare the snow blower for the first snowfall by changing the oil and replacing the spark plug.
  • Sharpen ice chopper and inspect snow shovels to make sure they’re ready for another season of work. There is nothing worse then finding out your shovel is broken when you need it most!
  • Make sure you have an ample supply of ice melt or sand on hand for steps, walkways, and the driveway. If you rent – make sure your landlord is okay with you using salt on your walkways and always make sure to keep the salt off the grass to keep the lawn nice and green in the spring.

 

Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning

  • Inspect the firebox and flue system to ensure that they’re clean of any soot or creosote and that there aren’t any cracks or voids that could cause a fire hazard.
  • Clean or replace the air filter in your furnace for maximum efficiency and improved indoor air quality. The filter should be replaced every month for best efficiency.
  • Clean any humidifiers and replace the evaporator pad.
  • Bleed valves on any hot-water radiators to increase heating efficiency by releasing air that may be trapped inside.
  • Check that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order. You should replace the batteries regularly just to be safe!
  • Install foam-insulating sheets behind outlets and switch plates on exterior walls to reduce outside airflow.
  • Flush a hot water heater tank to remove sediment, and check the pressure relief valve to make sure it’s in proper working order.
  • Examine exposed ducts in the attic, basement, and crawl spaces, and use a sealant such as spray foam to plug up any leaks.
  • Check and make sure the insulation in the attic is not being compromised by mice, bats or other rodents. This is a lot more common then you think!

 

Gutters, Roof, and Drains

  • Check for missing, damaged or warped shingles and replace, as necessary before you get stuck with a leak.
  • Check for deteriorated flashing at the chimney, walls, and skylights and around vent pipes. Seal joints where water could penetrate, using roofing cement and a caulking gun.
  • Rake up leaves and debris from the yard and pool storm drains to prevent blockages.
  • Check all vents and openings and make sure they are covered to prevent insects, birds, and rodents from getting inside to nest in a warm place.

 

For a mold inspection to ensure the air quality of your home is safe call us today! Peace of mind is just a phone call away! 1-888-909-6653 a friendly knowledgeable representative is always available for information and advise.

The importance of fixing a leak

The importance of fixing a leak

We’ve all been there… a leaky sink, bath tub, maybe even a pipe in the wall. Watching shows on TV about home renovations can give you many good ideas but sometimes they give you advise that you may not wish to live by. A certain popular TV program said that it’s okay to have a small leak in your bathroom as long as it leaks into your sink. This might be okay for a couple days until you can get to the project but leaving it will run up your water bill, eventually ruin your sink or tub if left for a really long time and most the time, the leak will go further through the drain and into the wall or cabinet if left for to long. There are many different set ups for bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms so to have an exact answer where to look for your leak would be a little hard. But, keeping a close eye on your regular water use is always a good start.

Leaks can cause major damage if left unfixed, leaking into your walls, subfloors, cabinets and it doesn’t take long for it to mold and deteriorate the home. It also will decrease your home value from the damage and can cause health issues if you don’t fix it soon. It could start with a cheap o-ring that is needed and if left could turn into something even more. If you have a leak in your home don’t hesitate to call us today to have it assessed and make sure it hasn’t leaked into any other areas. With thermal imaging we can see where moisture is hidden in the home that your eyes can’t!

You know you can save water indoors by turning off the tap while you brush your teeth, “letting it mellow” and taking care not to waste it while cooking and cleaning. But there’s a major water user in your home that you might not even be aware of – water leaks. Those leaks, on average, account for 14 percent of indoor water use. Proper inspection and maintenance of your appliances and plumbing fixtures can help prevent leaks, but sometimes leaks happen anyway, and sometimes they go unnoticed for years.

Bathrooms Leaks:

  • If you look up at the ceiling and see evidence of a leak from the bathroom above, this video will show you how to find the leak.
  • If your sink or bathtub faucets leak one drip per second you’ll waste more than 3,000 gallons per year. You could take 180 showers with all that water! Check for leaks by examining the washers and gaskets for wear and replacing them if necessary.
  • If you have to replace a faucet, look for one with the EPA WaterSense label.
  • showerhead that leaks 10 drips per minute wastes more than 500 gallons per year. That’s 60 loads of dishes in your dishwasher! Grab some pipe tape and a wrench and make sure that connection is tight.
  • If you have to replace a showerhead, look for one that has earned the WaterSense label.
  • If you find that your shower is leaking behind the wall and you’re an ambitious do-it-yourself type, there are instructions for hunting down and fixing the leak part 1 and part 2.
  • If you suspect your toilet is leaking, place a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl within 15 minutes without flushing, you have a leak (make sure to flush immediately after this experiment to avoid staining the tank). You may not need to track down a plumber because there are several things you can do yourself to fix a leaking toilet.
  • If your toilet is leaking, you usually just need to replace the flapper. Over time, this inexpensive rubber part decays, or minerals build up on it. It’s usually best to replace the whole rubber flapper—a relatively easy, inexpensive do-it-yourself project (see steps in the link immediately above) that pays for itself in no time.
  • If you need to replace the entire toilet, look for a WaterSense labeled model.
  • Here are a few more ways to find and fix leaks from shower doors and drains, bathroom tiles and toilet flanges.

Kitchens Leaks:

  • Is there a puddle of water under your fridge? There are a number of reasons why it might be leaking. Follow this list of steps to find a leak from the bottom or the back of your fridge.
  • Sink faucets are usually pretty accessible so it’s relatively easy to find a leak. Here’s a video that walks you through the process. Or maybe it’s not the faucet, it’s the sprayer.
  • If your dishwasher is leaking, it might take a little time and effort to find the leak, but it will be worth it to avoid bigger problems later on. Here are the steps to determine where the leak is coming from.
  • Here are a few more ways to find and fix leaks around the kitchen sink and drain.

Laundry Room Leaks:

  • Washing machines leak from different places and for different reasons, including overloading your machine! Here are the steps you can take to find and fix the leaks and their most likely causes.
  • Utility sinks are sometimes installed in your laundry room and when they leak, they’re fairly straightforward to repair. Here’s a video to show you how.Heating and Cooling System Leaks:
  • Water heaters can leak from several places. Follow these steps to first determine if there is a leak, and then where it’s coming from. Just don’t forget to turn off the electric or gas supply when you work around your water heater!
  • Evaporative coolers are great in dry climates, and if they’re in-window units they’re easy to work on if there’s a leak.
  • Whole-house humidifier and evaporative cooler leaks can go unnoticed for a long time because the system is typically plumbed directly into the supply line. Regular maintenance helps but if you think there’s a leak, check out these steps for a humidifier or an evaporative cooler.

Temporary Leak Fixes:

  • Why do most plumbing disasters happen at 3 am on a Saturday morning, when most plumbers are fast asleep? If the solution to your overnight disaster is something you can’t quite manage on your own, here are some temporary fixes that will get you through a night or a weekend until you can call in a professional.


Outdoor Leaks:

  • Check your in-ground irrigation system each spring before you turn it on, to make sure there’s no damage from frost or freezing during the winter. An irrigation system with a leak as small as 1/32 inch in diameter (about the thickness of a dime) can waste about 6,300 gallons of water (and a lot of money) each month.
  • First things first with your irrigation system. Make sure that it’s set properly so you’re not overwatering. Next, to find leaks, check out this video to find and repair your leaks.
  • As frustrating as it might be, sometimes you just can’t find the leak in your irrigation system on your own. Don’t worry though, because the WaterSense program has a list of partners who have passed a certification program focused on water efficiency. They’ll help you lock up that leak.
  • Where is your garden hose leaking? Is it from the faucet or is it actually leaking from the hose? Figure it out and stop the leak with these steps.
  • Is your pool losing water by the bucketful? The first step in finding a pool leak is to determine whether the water loss is actually from a leak or from evaporation (in which case, cover that pool when you’re not using it!). This simple bucket test will help you figure it out.
  • If you’ve determined that your pool definitely has a leak and you’re in a do-it-yourself mood, here’s what you need to know about finding and fixing the leak.
  • If you have a hot tub, keep it covered so you don’t lose water to evaporation. If you think it’s leaking, these instructions will help you find and repair it so you can get back to maximum relaxation enjoyment.
  • If the fountain or pond in your peaceful outdoor retreat is in danger of being ruined because of a leak, there are steps you can take to find and repair it and get your Zen back.

Water Meter and Supply Line Leaks:

  • Here’s an easy way to see if you have a leak in your home: examine your winter water usage. In general, for a family of four, if your water use exceeds 12,000 gallons per month you might have a leak.
  • Pick a time when no one needs to use the water for a while and check your water meter before and after a set time period (15 minutes to a couple of hours). If the meter does not read exactly the same, you probably have a leak somewhere.
  • Although it could be tough to find, there might be a leak between the water meter and the supply line. Never fear! There are steps you can take to find the leak.

Wrap your pipes in heat.The important feature is the exterior piping. If the cold-water pipes touch the exterior portion of the building, when the water isn’t being used and the temperature is very cold, most likely the pipes will freeze. The only time water won’t freeze is when it’s moving, so it’s is a good idea to leave all the faucets open while you’re away from home for any length of time. The best thing you can do, however, is insulate the whole space.

You may not know what’s right, but you can usually spot what’s wrong. Take a quick look at any visible pipes in your house, just to keep up on what’s going on with them. Homeowners often don’t routinely check; then a puddle of water appears in the basement, damaging their valuables, and they had no inkling that anything was amiss. You can look at the pipes in your basement and have no idea what you’re looking at, but if you see rust, buckling or drops of water, you’ll definitely know something’s wrong.

A stuffed sink can easily spring a leak. Under your kitchen sink, just take a peek every once in a while and see if there are any drips. It’s always a good idea to take a look.

Set back the spigot valve. In some cases, a frost-free hose bib should be installed, especially if the pipe is going through a cement foundation. The hose bib allows you to shut off the water closer to the inside of the home to help prevent freezing.

Radiators need a good level and an open valve. The first thing you have to do is check the pitch of the radiator: it should always be pitched back toward the source of the steam. That way, when that water condenses, it can drain back to the boiler.

A leaky water heater is a dead water heater. The biggest problem is that the lining wears away and you get water dripping from the base. If a lot of water is dripping, call the manufacturer and provide the model number; you may get lucky and find that the product is still under warranty. When you do change the water heater, try to install a pan under it.

Don’t blow a gasket — replace it. If you have water dripping from the shower spout, most of the time the cause is a defective washer or defective seat within its body. As long as you have isolation valves to isolate water to that area, it should be a relatively easy fix. Isolate the water to that shower, disassemble the handles and take out the stem where the washer is; then replace, reinstall and observe it.

Trace the trap leak back to the wall. When you have a leak, often it may be on the back side, where it actually connects to the wall, in which case you’ll have to disassemble the drain work. Oftentimes you can even tighten it with your hands to see whether the leaking stops. If it doesn’t, just use a wrench to tighten it up a little.

Washers and o-rings are much cheaper than a new fixture. If a washer is worn, even though you squeeze it, you may still get a drip if it’s defective. You have to remove what’s defective, put in a new washer, retighten it, put the handle back on and test it out.

Mechanical faucets never last forever. A faucet is a mechanical thing, so eventually it’s going to leak. Some people like the faucet that’s already there, even if it’s older; others prefer to install a new one. There’s a point at which the faucet is so old and corroded that it will be difficult to get parts for it. A lot of the time it’s simply cheaper to install a new one.