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.

 

 

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.

Calgary Indoor Air Quality Testing

Calgary Indoor Air Quality Testing
Managing Partner of Got Mold? Calgary, James Zolkavich, invites all residents of Calgary and surrounding areas to schedule their air quality tests. According to Zolkavich:
Any resident impacted by the summer floods or any type of water damage, should consider an air quality test because the air you breath will have a direct impact on your health. Air quality testing is very important if you have small children who have respiratory issues or suffer from asthma, which is now proven to be caused by bad air and in particular, mold. Poor air quality can also cause sinus issues and allergic reactions. Constant exposure to bad air will also lead to Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, known as Sick Building Syndrome, which the World Health Organization states is directly caused by water damage.
Founder and President of Got Mold?, James C. Watson, based in Saskatoon, also recommends the following:
You should consider an air quality test If you smell an earthy, musty, mildew and even urine like odour. This smell is usually an indicator of Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds. MVOC’S are an indicator of active and past fungal (mold) growth and should not be treated lightly because this will have a negative impact on air quality as well.
For a limited time, Got Mold? Calgary is offering a 20% discount to customers that mention this article. To book your appointment and take advantage of this offer, contact us.

Don’t Spray Mold!

Don’t Spray Mold!
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.
WHAT IS MOLD?
Molds are a type of fungi and are neither plant nor animal. There are over 100,000 types of mold with at least 1,000 types found in North America and live in colonies growing on food, fabric, bathroom walls, construction materials, and soil. Mold proliferates through the release of spores into the air we breathe and are not visible to the naked eye.
Indoor molds cause two key problems.
1. They destroy the material that they feed on, including bathroom walls, carpets, insulation, and ceilings.
2. Exposure to high concentrations of certain types of mold creates health problems. For this reason, materials that are infected with mold need to be removed. In fact, mold is like a cancer, unless it is dealt with and removed, it will continue to grow. The only way to deal with mold is to eradicate it.
HOW DOES MOLD GROW?
Most homes and buildings have mold because they offer the three ingredients mold needs to grow:
1. Food, which includes materials high in cellulose content such as paper and wood. Drywall, wallpaper, carpet, ceiling tiles, dust, and dirt, are also food sources for mold.
2. Temperatures of 5 degrees to 38 degrees present the perfect environment for mold.
3. Finally, water is the key ingredient. Mold can not grow without moisture. Where there is moisture, you will find mold. This is one of the reasons that leaking pipes, roofs and ceiling, sewer backups, floods, and condensation end up causing mold issues.
Mold is a growing concern because we spend up to 90 percent of our time indoors, creating a situation ripe for health issues.
KILLING MOLD IS NOT THE ANSWER!
Getting rid of mold by applying bleach or chemicals is NOT the answer to the problem because dead mold spores are just as harmful to the human lung as live spores. You may have read or heard about the myth of the “Mummy’s Curse” in which all of the Archaeologists that discovered King Tutankhamen’s Tomb eventually died. They, in fact, died from dead aspergillus mold spores that laid dormant for centuries!
In addition, mold spores like Aspergillus and Stachybotrys (black mold) are toxic in both a live form and a dead form. The key to proper mold removal is to remove all of the mold spores.
Mold is toxic and can cause many health issues. In fact, mold produces mycotoxins that are pathogenic to animals and humans. In 2011 we posted an article on the uses of mold as a biological weapon to illustrate just how toxic mold is.
In the words of our founder and President, James C. Watson:

“There is no chemical that should be sprayed on mold as the dead mold spores are just as harmful as the living mold spores. All standards and reference guides including the IICRC mold removal guideline frown upon spraying mold. It is all abut removal, air filtration and proper cleaning. When you spray stuff on mold it will release its spores into the air and the air is the last place you want a large contamination of mold spores“.
Well stated James! 🙂

Mold in the News: Issue 16

Mold in the News: Issue 16
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 some 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. Our facebook page is also full of mould news…please LIKE us. Our founder, James C. Watson, is donating $0.50 for every new LIKE we get to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Thanks for your support.
FEATURE STORY: The Argument Against Biocides: Why We Don’t Need to Kill Mold: We fix sick homes. Every day, people with asthma, allergies, sinus problems – and a plethora of other sometimes seemingly unrelated maladies – suspect something in their home might be at the root of their woes and call upon us to do the sleuth work. More often than not, when we find a mold problem and it gets corrected, people begin to see improvements in their health and quality of life, sometimes dramatic improvements.
Mold Forces Salisbury Family Out of Newly-Purchased Home: It is the “American dream” to own a home. For the Widdowson family of Salisbury, that dream turned into a nightmare. Shortly after moving in, the family says the home turned out to be unlivable due to being full of mold.
Video: Parents Meet With Education Officials Over School Building Health Concerns
Video: Parents of Brooklyn Students Demand Answers in Mold Problem
Video: Williamsburg Parents Claim Local School Building Has Mold Problem
Parents at a Brooklyn school building demanded answers from education officials at a meeting Monday about construction conditions they say are creating health hazards for their children. About 500 students, parents and teachers met with Department of Education officials inside the building that houses PS 17 and MS 577 in Williamsburg, which is undergoing a massive construction. Parents said that construction, mixed with water damage, has made the environment unbearable.
Video: Middle School of the Kennebunks mold-free: In a letter to parents, RSU 21 Superintendent Andrew Dolloff said the Middle School of the Kennebunks is free of mold. The $16 million building opened in 2002. It has had leaks and mold problems since then. Staff and teachers met earlier this month about the building. They said it is making them sick. Dolloff said a mold-sniffing dog detected some mold in the building, but none in the wall cavities, ceiling or walls.
Video: Superintendent Squashes Growing Mold Concerns At Quidnessett : A leaky roof at a North Kingstown elementary school has parents concerned over the potential for mold.
Video: Woman finds moldy substance on Kotex Tampon
Don’t Worry, That’s Just Bread Mold On Your Tampon
The black spots were hard to miss. They were covering a tampon discovered by Danielle Parr on Tuesday morning. “When I went to look, I saw some discoloration,” she said. “It looks like mold to me.” The tainted tampon came from a box of Kotex purchased at a Saginaw grocery store three weeks ago. Parr was so disgusted with what she found, she checked the rest of the contents.
Fungus warrior offers free home inspections: Fungus Fighters won’t have a prominent spot at this weekend’s annual health fair at the Lincoln Park District, but business owner Dave Edwards is hoping attendees take advantage of his services. Edwards will participate in the health fair — not by manning his company’s booth but he’ll be with the local chapter of the Asthma Coalition, headed by Mallory Ramos of the Logan County Department of Public Health.
How old is your Mold?: Can the age of mold be determined? There is no real scientific way or test to determine the age of mold…..a competent inspection can lead you to some probable conclusions. Mycologists indicate and my field experience confirms that fungal growth can occur in a building over a broad surface and quite rapidly, in as short a time as 2-3 days in some conditions and they add that it is not very reliable to guess at the “age” of a given mold colony.