Prevent Flooding

basementflood

With flash flooding and storms in every season, basement flooding is a serious threat. How can you protect yourself from a devastating basement flood? Just follow these steps to avoid a costly disaster:

 

  • Insurance

Unfortunately most homeowners’ insurance does not cover flooding or sewer backups. Review your property insurance policy and consider additional coverage, especially if you have a finished basement and live in a flood zone.

  • Gutters & Downspouts

Clogged or backed up gutters and downspouts can cause water to flow into your house. Keep gutters free of debris and position downspouts away from the foundation. The goal is to drain storm water at least three feet away, so if necessary, consider running extensions or troughs.

  • Foundation Cracks

If light can get in, water can get in! Inspect the exterior foundation and your basement’s walls and floors. Use epoxy to fill any foundation cracks and if warning signs are detected, apply masonry sealer indoors.

  • Sump Pumps

If you have a below-grade sump pump, check to make sure its well is free of debris. If you have a portable pump, position it in the lowest part of the basement and be sure it’s connected to a power source.

  • Sewers & Septics

If you haven’t had your sewer inspected or your septic tank cleaned, spring is a good time to address these concerns. During periods of prolonged, heavy rainfall, clogged sewers and over-taxed septics are disasters waiting to happen.

  • Window Well Covers

If you have below-grade basement windows, install window well covers that will fasten securely to your home’s foundation. You can use acrylic covers that  allow light to enter while they keep out rain, leaves, and pests.

  • Generators

Remember a sump pump only works if you have power. If you live in an area plagued with frequent storms and power outages, a generator may be a long-term investment worth considering.

 

Even when you are prepared disasters can happen. When disaster strikes call Moldbusters (631) 451-7500 for water damage clean up.

 

Prevent Burst Pipes This Winter

frozenpipes

 

When a pipe freezes and bursts is can cause some serious water damage.   Burst pipes happen when cold water coming in to the house from outside causes your pipes to contract and this contraction often causes leaks from areas of the pipe that had weakened over time.

While you can’t control the weather, keeping  an eye on your plumbing system as the temperatures change and checking to see if you have any leaks can help mitigate any looming disaster.

 

Keep the Water Running

Water moving through the system helps keep your lines from freezing. If it is extremely cold outside, keep one or two faucets running slowly at all times.

 

Know Where Your Drafts Come From

Where your house is drafty is where most pipes freeze.  Usually pipes that freeze are located near an outside wall or a window, so be sure to direct warm air to any colder areas of your home.

 

Open Your Cabinets

If your kitchen sink is on an outside wall leave your cabinet doors open to allow heat into the cabinet. Your kitchen faucet is usually a good faucet to leave when the temperatures drop.

 

Disconnect your Hoses

You should disconnect your hoses in the winter, but you should definitely disconnect them when the temperature drops below freezing. When water is not able to drain out of your hose bib it will likely freeze and break the device and can cause serious water damage.

 

Keep the Cold Air Out

The cold can get through small cracks, make sure your home is properly insulated and sealed. Even the tiniest cracks can let cold air in and freeze your pipes. Use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes.

 

 

 

Moldproofing A Sound Investment

mold

 

Every homeowner fears mold, it destroys home value and can wreak havoc on your health and pocketbook, but did you know there are ways to mold-proof your home. Here are some reasons you should look into mold-proofing.

  1. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

 

Once mold gets a strong hold in your home it can be tricky to remove. Mold remediation can get expensive and the longer a mold problem lingers the more difficult and costly it is to get rid of. Mold proofing experts will let you know where your potential problems are so you can monitor and help you develop a solid plan of action creating a home environment difficult for mold to gain a stronghold.

 

  1. Protect Your Home’s Value

For property owners, a big reason to prevent mold is to maintain property values. If you wait until mold shows up, the value of your property can take a hit. Studies show the vast majority of the general market is resistant to buying a property with a previous mold history, there have been reports of property deprecations of up to 60% if a property has a history of mold. Preventing mold before it starts is the best way to keep your home value up.

 

  1. Protect your health

 

Mold grows where it is dark and damp, basically in places usually hidden. Once a mold situation becomes apparent it means there has been a mold problem for quite some time before.  In this time the mold can make you and your family sick, see our article on Mold Sickness. Protect your family’s health with mold prevention.

 

If you are curious about mold prevention services contact Moldbusters today!

 

Air Duct Cleaning After a Roach Infestation

cockroach

You got rid of the cockroaches, do you need an air duct cleaning to get rid of what they left behind?

If you recently had a cockroach infestation, you might have gotten rid of all of the bugs, but what they left behind can be dangerous to your health.

Cockroaches are one of the most common household pests across the United States. They are the ultimate survivors, able to squeeze into impossibly small cracks and reproduce at a rapid pace. While cockroaches are generally considered gross, cockroaches can actually pose a significant health risk to your family as well. Cockroaches are associated with a wide variety of different allergens that can cause reactions from skin irritation to asthma and allergy flare-ups—these insects are even associated with a higher risk of the asthma development in children.

 

About Cockroach Allergens

Cockroach allergens pose such a severe threat because they can affect indoor air quality without your knowledge—airborne cockroach allergens often come from insect droppings or dead insects trapped in the vents of your home, impacting your family’s health even if you have never seen a live insect in your living spaces. There are several sources of cockroach allergens  including the insects’ exoskeletons, saliva and droppings. Depending on the type and severity of the allergy, those suffering from cockroach allergies may present symptoms that include skin rashes, mouth, nose and eye irritation, congestion, difficulty breathing, and even the onset of an asthma attack. Furthermore, numerous studies have linked consistent exposure to airborne cockroach allergens with a higher risk for the development of childhood asthma.

If you discover a cockroach infestation in your home, first call an exterminator, then call a qualified and certified air duct cleaning specialist like Moldbusters to get rid of the contaminants those nasty pests left behind.

Improving Indoor Air Quality at Work

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​ Did you know air quality of the indoor environment can profoundly affect the health, comfort, and productivity of building occupants?

Indoor air quality is essential to a happy and healthy workplace so what should you know about indoor air quality? This blog should help answer your questions.

Like with most things, when everything is running smoothly, nobody really notices. The same goes for indoor air quality, when the air quality is good it isn’t something people take notice of, but it’s easy to detect when there is a problem. When the air contains dust and objectionable odors, chemical contaminants, dampness or mold that is when you have problems with air quality. When there is poor ventilation, temperature and humidity control, you have a problem with air quality. If you have issues with chemicals, fumes or ordors, you have a problem with air quality

The Importance of Ventilation

Poor air quality may develop when not enough fresh air is introduced to reduce contaminant concentrations. An HVAC system must not only control contaminants, it must also provide a comfortable environment. The perception of still or stale air, odors, draftiness or errant temperature and humidity levels are common complaints.

Proper ventilation health studies have shown that communicable diseases like the common cold, influenza and tuberculosis spread more efficiently in poorly ventilated buildings. Proper air filtration is also important.

Issues Associated with Poor Indoor Air Quality

Problems with air quality can cause health symptoms. Some health-related complaints may be due to allergic reactions. Some health-related complaints associated with poor air quality mimic those of the flu or a cold: headaches, sinus problems, congestion, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and irritation of the eyes, nose or throat.

What Can Be Done About Poor Air Quality?

The first step into figuring out how to deal with your air quality problem is to find out if you actually have an issue. Air quality testing by a licensed, trained company can help determine what your building’s issues are and how best to take care of it.

Air quality testing will also help determine if you need air duct cleaning, mold removal or other services to help fix indoor air quality problems.

Indoor air quality concerns are a fact of life for building owners, business owners, managers, and occupants. When a building is managed with an eye for preventing air quality problems this greatly reduces the likelihood of chronic discomfort and will likely increase building occupants’ productivity.

The Importance of Air Quality Testing.

moldallergy

Why is air quality testing important? Our mold experts let you know when to get your home or commercial building tested for mold.

Are you constantly feeling unwell? Are others in your family or office getting sick more often?  It’s estimated that indoor

air pollutants, including mold and mycotoxins may be contributing to illnesses.  Outdoor pollution such as smog and

smoke takes most of the blame for health problems, but many people are unaware that the air they are breathing is quite

possibly more toxic than the air outside.  Indoor toxins like mold could be making you or your loved ones sick

All mold needs to grow is a dark, moist environment.  The most common types of mold that are found indoors include

Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus. Toxic black mold, stachybotrys chartarum is a greenish-black mold,

which grows on household surfaces that have high cellulose content, such as wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper,

dust, and lint and can grow with even the slightest of water damage.

Exposure to mold and mold components is well known to trigger inflammation, allergies and asthma, oxidative stress,

and immune dysfunction in both human and animal studies.  Mold spores, fungal fragments, and mycotoxins can be

measured in the indoor environments of moldy buildings and in humans who are exposed to these environments.  Most

of the time, we are exposed to molds, like stachybotrys, through the skin contact, through ingestion, and by inhalation.

It’s estimated that as many as 25% of buildings in the US have had some sort of water damage.

 

How do you know if you’ve been exposed to mold or a water damaged building?

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Headache, light sensitivity
  • Poor memory, difficulty with word finding
  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Morning stiffness, joint pain
  • Unusual skin sensations, tingling and numbness
  • Shortness of breath, sinus congestion or chronic cough
  • Appetite swings, body temperature regulation
  • Increased urinary frequency or increased thirst
  • Red eyes, blurred vision, sweats, mood swings, sharp pains
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating
  • Tearing, disorientation, metallic taste in mouth
  • Static shocks
  • Vertigo, feeling lightheaded

 

If you, your family members, co-workers or employees are experiencing these symptoms it might be a good idea to get

air quality testing by a licensed mold testing company like Moldbusters.

6 Sneaky Places Mold Can Hide in Your Home

behind refrigerator

Listen to a mold remediation specialist, mold can grow almost anywhere damp and dark.

When we think of mold problems, we immediately think of damp basements and black gross mold growing on drywall, but mold is insidious and can grow in places where you least expect it.

To get rid of mold, think like a fungus and search out these six moist places where mold likes to grow.

 

  1. Chimneys

Brick crevices collect water, dirt, and other organic debris. Rusted chimney caps and faulty flashing let in rain and snow, encouraging mold to grow.

Your best bet is to replace rusted caps and fix flashing. Call a licensed mold removal specialist to remove the mold in your chimneys. To prevent mold, get your chimney cleaned by professional chimney sweep at least once a year.

 

 

  1. Refrigerator Drip Pans

The spaces behind and under your fridge rarely see the light of day, which make them perfect breeding grounds for mold.

To avoid the problem: Make sure all water lines and drip pans are clean and not leaking as even a small leak can lead to a huge mold problem. When you do your spring cleaning, take the extra time to check and clean behind and underneath your refrigerator.

 

  1. Front-Loading Washing Machines

The gasket around the door on front-loading washing machines often stays wet because the door is usually closed when not in use. Add some lint to the moisture, and mold happily munches and multiplies.

To help stop the gunk: Wipe the gasket and glass dry before you shut the door. If you spot mold, run a hot water wash with some chlorine bleach (no clothes), which will kill the fungi.

Check behind and underneath your washer and dryer to make sure there are no leaks or source of moisture. Clean out vents and lint traps to prevent mold havens as well as fire hazards.

 

 

  1. Window Sashes and Seals

Condensation from windows provides the moisture mold loves, and the dirt and dust that collect provide the perfect place for the mold to settle.

to fix it: After heavy rains, open windows and wipe moisture from the bottoms of sashes and window sills. Replace any broken seals, and if you notice any water has leaked into the wood and walls, call a professional to see if the problem has caused mold.

 

  1. Dishes

Why mold grows there: When you stack dishes that are a little wet and a little cruddy, mold has the perfect environment to grow — especially party platters and dishes you only use for special occasions. Damp dishes go into the wood cabinets where the mold multiplies creating little villages and cities of spores in your cabinets.

To stop it: Run moldy dishes through the dishwasher, and wipe cabinets with a vinegar-soaked rag. Completely dry dishes before you store them.

 

  1. Air Conditioners

Air conditioning units trap dust and pollen (a good meal for mold) and grab moisture from the air. If you don’t run your AC unit at least every 24 hours in warm weather, humidity in your house climbs and mold may grow in AC ducts and drain pans, and on coils.

Drip pans and drainage hoses on window units can leak causing mold to grow into the window sill and dry wall.

To stop the mold:

If mold grows in your central air conditioning unit, you’ll have to hire a mold remediation pro to clean out the system. If mold shows up in a window AC unit, remove the front plate, clean the blower with a HEPA filter vacuum, and flush out the coils and clean the drain pan with a 1:1 solution of bleach and water.

Of course, prevention is the best remedy. Keep drainage hoses away from the walls and make sure they aren’t leaking into the window. Run your AC for at least 10 minutes every day to keep air circulating when it’s hot and humid outside, and keep the humidity in your home below 55%.

How To Catch Flood Damage Risks

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Flood damage can be expensive. When purchasing a home or just deciding to purchase separate flood insurance it is important to take into consideration all the risk factors for flooding your home may have. Even if you are not located near water, other factors can put your home at risk of flooding. Experts say you should check for soil erosion, poor sewerage and drainage systems, overflowing creeks, rivers or lakes near the site, siltation problems, water ceilings and water leaks of existing structures to calculate risk of flood damage.

1.Spot the leaks. A good place to start is the windows. Leaks at window sills are normally caused by driving rains during storms and typhoons, which means the window sealant used is ineffective.

2.Be wary of the toilet. If the water goes up before flushing down, this may mean septic tank effluents are prevented from coming out because of floodwaters.

3.Note the watermarks.  Water marks on the ceiling would mean there are leaks, while water marks on the floor may mean water has been seeping into the floor joints, or at the joint between the floor and the wall. Also  look for flood markings on nearby fences or walls, or even on the tree trunks around the vicinity after heavy rains.

4.Peek into drainage manholes. Check drainage manholes, ideally after heavy rains, through the scupper, to find out whether the drainage line is running smoothly. Still water in drainage manholes could mean constricted or clogged drainages. This may also mean that it’s just a maintenance problem, but buyers must demand proper maintenance to be done before it becomes a bigger problem.

5.Look up, check the roof. Flapping roof sheets caused by strong winds, and clogged gutters could be a sign of a potential leak.

7.Ask the neighbors. Still, one of the best ways to know if the area is prone to flooding is to ask the people living in the vicinity.

8.Mud on the road.. Mud on the road is a tell-tale indication of the “looseness” of the soil where the road is situated. One should first look at the “ingress and egress” (entry and exit) of the location, or the accessibility of the location as access roads are as important as the site itself.

Testing for Black Mold Before You Sell Your Home

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Selling your house can be difficult enough as it is, but uncovering a black mold problem after your house goes to market can be disastrous. Toxic black mold can be expensive to remove and even cause a range of health problems — so it usually is a deal breaker for most home buyers.

Black mold is insidious and loves to grow behind walls, in crawlspaces and under floorboards anywhere that is damp, dark and humid. By the time you see signs of it, the problem is usually much bigger.

Sight and smell may give you a good indication of whether or not you have a black mold problem — black mold tends to have a strong, musty smell, and of course it displays a trademark black color. If you believe you have black mold growth in an area of your home after these initial inspections, you should contact a professional mold testing company.

Professional mold testing companies will take samples of the air and any areas of mold growth, identify precisely what type of mold is present, and recommend next steps for remediation.

Black mold can be an expensive and potentially unhealthy problem for homeowners, but by testing for black mold, you can take care of the problem before you scare away any potential buyers.

Mold testing and mold remediation companies will often point out potential problems for mold so you can fix them before a home inspector catches you off guard and you take a hit on your asking price.

An all clear from a professional mold testing company can also help you win points with a potential buyer.

Seasonal Allergies or is Something Sinister Growing Behind Your Walls

USA, New York, New York City, Manhattan, Central Park, Close up of woman sneezing
USA, New York, New York City, Manhattan, Central Park, Close up of woman sneezing

Allergy season is here, but how do you tell if your sneezing and watery eyes are due to typical spring pollen, or something a bit more sinister like a mold problem lurking in your home.

Do your allergies seem to get worse or better when it rains?

Most pollen gets washed away in rain so if your allergies seem to get worse when it rains you might have a mold problem.

Mold allergies are generally not life threatening. But they can impact your ability to lead a productive, comfortable daily life. Here are a few tips to help you spot mold allergies.

Mold grows in moisture, either indoors or outdoors. While the mold spores constantly floating in the air can trigger reactions, the problem worsens when those spores attach to a wet surface and mold begins to grow. You may have mold growing inside your house and not know it. This could be due to an unknown leak, moisture buildup in a basement, or damp areas under carpet that have been left unchecked.

Because mold grows year-round, mold allergies generally aren’t seasonal like other allergies. Those who are allergic to mold can experience symptoms any time, especially if they live in an area that tends to get rain fairly often.

If you’re allergic to mold, you’ll likely experience histamine reactions similar to those from other types of airborne allergies. Those symptoms include:

  • sneezing
  • coughing
  • congestion
  • watery and itchy eyes
  • postnasal drip

 

You may initially mistake your mold allergies for a cold or sinus infection, since the symptoms can mirror each other. If your allergies are compounded by asthma, you may notice your asthma symptoms worsening when you’re exposed to mold. Symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, and chest tightness. You also may experience wheezing and other signs of an asthma attack. While mold exposure is generally not deadly, increased exposure can make symptoms worse. Mold allergies are progressive. Over time the attacks become more severe. The key is to prevent moisture from building up by repairing any leaks in your home.

If you notice a water build-up in any part of your home, stop the leak immediately. When working in situations where outdoor mold may be present, wearing a face mask can drastically reduce your exposure to the allergen. Then called a certified mold professional to see if you need professional mold remediation.