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Fall Decorating and Mold

pumpkins in field

Decorating your home with pumpkins and gourds is a great way to welcome in the fall season. While these autumn fruits are a staple in fall decorating, they also present an opportunity to introduce mold into your home. Find out what you can do to prevent a mold problem from ruining your fall decorating displays.

How Fall Decorating is a Mold Threat

As you bring those fall fruits into your home, they will begin to rot. Pumpkins and gourds rot quickly because they are exposed to all the outdoor moisture, bacteria and dirt needed for them to grow. Additionally, trace amounts of mold are already on the pumpkins and gourds out there in the field. Without some kind of treatment, the fresh fruits will decay and when that happens, it gives mold an opportunity to grow. Your fruit may no longer be ripe, but the conditions for mold are. The problem with active mold is that it contains and releases tiny particles known as mycotoxins and spores, which easily become airborne and spread throughout your home. The best course of defense against decay and mold growth in this situation is to remove as much of that dirt, bacteria, and moisture as possible from the fruit before decorating.

Preventing Seasonal Mold

Before carving those jack-o-lanterns or putting pumpkins or gourds on display, treat them with a simple solution to delay rotting and mold. Treating fall fruit is easy and you probably already have all of the ingredients for the cleaning mixture at home.

Cleaning Mixture for Treating Fall Fruits

The mixture is a combination of one gallon water, two tablespoons of bleach and a drop of liquid dish soap. Mix together in the kitchen sink or a bucket. Soak gourds and pumpkins in the mixture for 30 minutes. Note that pumpkins and gourds don’t need to be completely soaked and submerged, just thoroughly cleaned, including the stem. Periodically roll pumpkins around to evenly coat the fruit. After cleaning, rinse the gourds and pumpkins well and dry completely. For an extra layer of protection, lightly spray with a clear protective sealant and let dry completely.

Eliminating Mold from Fall Decorating

The best way to combat mold is to try to prevent it. If it’s too late for that, treat the mold with vinegar or a mixture of bleach and water. While bleach is typically the go to mold killer and disinfectant, vinegar usually works better to clean mold from porous surfaces such as tables, shelves, or countertops.

Combine 1 cup of bleach with 1 cup of water. Mix well, pour into a spray bottle. Saturate mold with mixture, let soak for 30 minutes. Rinse and dry well. Repeat as needed.


Use undiluted white distilled vinegar in a spray bottle and saturate moldy areas. Let soak, rinse thoroughly and let air dry.

Always protect yourself with gloves and a mask when treating mold. If areas affected by mold exceed 10 square feet, call a mold remediation company to safely treat and eliminate the mold. Conclusion While decorating is fun and gets you into the autumn spirit, it also comes with risks for mold contamination. In Sonoma County, call the go-to mold remediation specialists at RCS. No matter how it makes its way into your home, RCS is here to resolve all of your mold issues.

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Do HEPA Filters Work?

hvac filter santa rosa

Dust, pollen, pet dander - these are just a few particles that can contaminate your home’s air. While they might seem harmless, these items can irritate your respiratory system leading to many unpleasant side effects. HEPA filters are built to eradicate these fragments. But, many are often skeptical about them. Below you’ll find more information about how they work and whether they’re worth using.

What is a HEPA Filter?

A High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter uses various layers to sort through the air and remove particles. Its fibers are tightly sewn together which helps it trap even the smallest of debris.

How Do They Work?

This filter has four layers: Direct impaction - traps the largest pieces. Sieving - has small openings to block medium-size debris from sneaking through. Interception - similar to sieving but instead causes smaller particles to stick to its fibers. Diffusion - causes minuscule components to travel through its threads before eventually fastening onto them. Despite the multiple layers, HEPA filters are lightweight and compact. This way, they can easily fit into HVAC systems or in air purifying machines.

How Often Should I Replace Them?

Because HEPA filters do heavy-duty work it’s crucial to change them every three weeks. This will stop the fibers from getting clogged which would otherwise hinder proper airflow and lead to stuffy and contaminated air. Remember, you want to replace all your HEPA filters at the same time. This will help them work in harmony so you can be sure that your air is clean.

Are They Worth It?

HEPA filters are useful investments if you need to ensure that your home’s air is clean. This is especially so if you suffer from severe allergies. You’ll also notice that the filters can remove odors so your residence’s air will always stay fresh. In some cases, HEPA filters can also trap pathogens. However, the one downside is that they can harbor mold if not regularly replaced. This is because the filters are built to confine mold spores. If left alone, the spores could come into contact with moisture which will encourage them to spread on the filter. If you want to make sure your home’s air is fresh and free from common allergens, HEPA filters are worth using. If you’re interested in learning more about them and how they can prevent mold growth, contact RCS in Santa Rosa, CA . We’ll be happy to answer any questions or concerns that you have about them.

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5 Signs Your Sewer is Damaged

sewer drain cover

A sewer might seem like an unnecessary part of the home, but it’s one of the most important. Without it, you would have toxic waste building up in your walls. While durable, sometimes they can break. Below you’ll find more information about what could damage this system and a few signs that you might need to get it examined.

What Damages a Sewer?

There are many things that could damage your sewer. A common cause is corrosion. If your pipes are old or if the soil is too wet, it could cause the metal pipes to break. Another issue is tree roots. If your septic system is situated near woods or a large tree, you risk its roots growing and wrapping around the pipes. The last main problem that could damage a sewer is rats. While not always a concern, once they enter this system, they will quickly multiply. They will also try to sharpen their teeth on the pipes, something which could puncture them.

5 Signs Your Sewer is Broken

You Smell a Strong Odor: One of the most common signs that your sewer is broken is that you smell a strong odor near the septic system or coming out of your toilet. This odor is bacteria within the sewer that is escaping through small holes. The Grass Looks Extra Green Around the Area: While you might appreciate the extra lush grass around your yard, it’s an indication that there’s a problem. This usually shows a leak or that there’s a problem with the surrounding drainfield. There are Sinkholes: Another thing to watch out for are sinkholes. Sewers will cause this when they allow water and other debris to escape from them. Over time, this will disturb the land and cause it to slowly collapse. Your Drain is Acting Up: If you find that your home’s drains are having trouble removing water, it could be due to a broken sewer. Many times, this shows that there’s a clog in the pipes leading to the septic system. You Notice More Pests in Your Home: Numerous pests, like drain flies and cockroaches, enjoy living in your sewer system because it’s dark and moist. It also provides them with a consistent food and water source. If your septic system is damaged, leaks will invite these creatures to enter your home, especially in your kitchen and bathroom. It’s important to fix your sewer if you notice these signs. RCS can help by refering a qualified plumber in the Sonoma County ariea to fix your septic issues so you don’t need to worry about them spreading.

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Wastewater Parasites: What You Need to Know

outhouse his hers

Did you know that there are over one million microorganisms in just one millimeter of wastewater alone? Many of these microorganisms are parasites that could cause serious health concerns if they enter your home. This article will explore some of the most common wastewater parasites and how you can prevent them from spreading.

What is Wastewater?

Wastewater is water that has been contaminated. This contamination can be due to multiple things, including human waste, chemicals, food scraps, and oils. Once the water is used, it will flow through your septic system and be stored in your sewer.

What Causes Wastewater Parasites?

Wastewater harbors many different diseases and parasites because it creates a comfortable environment for them to grow. These naturally occur and won’t usually spread unless your septic system is damaged or clogged.

Common Types of Wastewater Parasites

There are four main types of wastewater parasites: Nematodes, Ascaris, Trichuris, and Toxocara. These parasites form due to various reasons and remain in the sewer unless extracted. The parasites form in the wastewater due to different reasons but are generally found in it because of disease or poor soil management.

Are Wastewater Parasites Dangerous?

These parasites can be dangerous if you come into contact with them. They often cause bacterial diseases, such as gastroenteritis and salmonellosis. Some might also result in hookworm infections which could cause stomach pain, loss of appetite, and a fever.

Do These Parasites Spread?

Most of these parasites stay in the septic system. However, if there is a problem with the system, it will cause them to spread. For instance, if your septic system leaks wastewater into the ground, anyone who steps on the infected soil could track it around and in your home. You’ll also find that if there’s a problem with your water pipes it will make it easier for the wastewater to contaminate your drinking water. In addition to this, if an insect touches wastewater and then crawls through your home, they could track the parasites through it.

How to Prevent Sewage Leaks

There are a handful of ways you can prevent home sewage leaks to keep these parasites away. Quickly Repair Dripping Pipes: One of the best ways to avert sewage problems is to repair leaking pipes. If the pipes transport wastewater to the sewer, any punctures in them will cause wastewater to fall out. By ensuring the pipes are repaired, it will stop the water from dripping. Watch What You Put Down the Drain: Many people pour food scraps or grease down the drain. While these might not cause a problem at first, it could lead to a pipe blockage. This will trap water and harbor bacteria. Remove Nearby Trees: Trees near your septic system could spread their roots near the system’s pipes. These small roots are very powerful and will push their way into the pipes. This will create small holes that will allow wastewater to escape. Because of this, removing trees near the septic system might be worthwhile. Wastewater parasites can cause harm if you don’t take careful measures to prevent them. Around Santa Rosa, CA RCS offers water extraction services that will quickly remove leaking water from your septic line to stop these pests from entering your home.

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The Best Ways to Maintain Your Home Attic

attic space christmas tree

Whether you use your attic for storage, an extra space, or you literally forgot you even had an attic, keeping it clean and maintained is a must for the proper functioning of your home. There are a few things you can be doing on a regular basis in order to avoid anything that is going to cost you an arm and a leg or potentially harm your health and home environment.

What are Some Basic Attic Checks You Should be Doing Regularly?

Just like the importance of monitoring your crawl space, keeping tabs on what’s going on above you is similarly imperative. There are a few things you should be checking regularly to maintain your attic and ultimately your entire home:
  • Regularly cleaning and decluttering can help to keep animals, rodents, and insects at bay.
  • Checking for and repairing cracks, holes, and gaps is a must for not only keeping animals, rodents, and insects out of your attic, but also for keeping moisture and outside air out.
  • Locating moisture before it turns into mildew, mold, or wood rot is important not only to avoid heavy costs in the long run but also to avoid health issues.
  • Checking on insulation is necessary if there is a draft in the house or the air or heat bill has significantly risen.
  • After noticing a strong odor, check the attic for a culprit (dampness, mold, deceased animals or rodents, etc.); these can cause poor air quality if not addressed.

If You Notice One of the Above Issues…

  • If you notice an infestation of animals, rodents, or insects, call a professional immediately for removal and have them inspect the area to identify the point of entry. If deceased critters are left to decay, your home’s air quality can be affected.
  • If you notice cracks, gaps, or holes, some can easily be repaired independently. There are videos and how-to articles out there on basic attic repairs. If outside air is getting into your attic, this can negatively affect your energy efficiency.
  • If you notice moisture, find the source, and if you cannot determine it, call a professional immediately. An experienced professional can identify the source and also remove any moisture or water damage.
  • If you notice that your air or heat bill has increased, go into your crawl space and attic to feel for a draft. A draft could be caused by a crack or poor or outdated insulation. This is also something that you can possibly repair yourself if you have experience and the resources, but you may be better off leaving this to a professional.
Keeping your attic well-maintained throughout the year will help you to avoid a headache later on. Some of the issues listed above can be dealt with yourself; there are so many resources out there to assist you in making basic maintenance repairs to your attic space. However, if you are unsure and would like a professional to check it all out first, do so. For any mold removal or prevention, water extraction, or reconstruction, give Restoration Certified Specialists, Inc. a call in Santa Rosa, CA. RCS prides themselves in excellent customer service and in being experts in water and mold restoration. They treat each project with the utmost importance and care. Their vast experience and expertise enables them to handle emergency clean up of all sizes, both residential and commercial.

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Avoiding Moldy Appliances In Your Home

wahing machine

What comes to mind when you think of moldy household appliances? You might be surprised to realize that your washer or refrigerator are not the only appliances where mold is likely to breed and spread. Sure, when our appliances are brand new, we don’t expect to see the fuzzy spots that become so common around moisture when it is left unattended. Realistically, there are several common household appliances that get old and prone to moisture build-up. Preventing this mold inviting situation should not be put off until you notice the first signs of black or green on the surfaces of your appliances, but you should purchase your new ones with mold prevention in mind. Here are a few suggestions for achieving clean and mold free appliances in your home.

Washing machine

So, we’re picking on the likeliest culprit first, and with good reason. A home’s laundry room is notorious for moisture because it houses your washing machine, but even the dryer can create enough humidity to cause condensation on walls and other areas in the small space. Also, depending on the type of washer you have, mold can be hiding anywhere from the detergent drawer to the drum. However, moisture is not the only path that mold spores can take to infest areas in your home. Dirt or cellulose on clothing can be a food-like source for mold as well. That’s why it’s a good idea to avoid leaving dirty laundry over several days. Wash and dry clothes promptly, leaving the door or lid of your washer open afterwards, giving the creases and other moisture prone areas a chance to dry out. Giving the washer a thorough cleaning on a monthly basis is another way to reduce the risk of mold growth in the laundry room.


Not only is mold in your refrigerator unsightly and unhealthy, it can be quite embarrassing. Leaving food uncovered in your fridge gives it time to mix with the moisture inside, making it an easy place for mold to grow. You probably do a great job of keeping your refrigerator shelves clean, but there are other areas of concern inside your cold food storage appliance. For instance, check and empty drip pans regularly. Pay attention to any liquids or foods containing sugar or other sweeteners that might spill inside. Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar are two good ways to keep the refrigerator cleaned out without exposing your food to remnants of chemicals. Use one of them at least once a month to clean all inside compartments thoroughly. Just as a word to the wise, don’t neglect the door creases. They can be cleaned using a small scrub brush. Allow all removable parts to dry after cleaning before replacing them.


Not finding the time to clean your dishwasher regularly could invite it to the moldy appliance party. It has compartments, creases, and crevices where moisture can hold up just like your refrigerator and washing machine. Small bits of food can easily become trapped in the silverware basket allowing room for mold to grow. The best defense against errant food particles is rinsing dishes thoroughly before loading them into the dishwasher. You should also allow a little time for the appliance itself to air dry by leaving the door open after each completed cycle. It doesn’t take long for drying to occur, so remember to close it securely once it has finished. It’s a good idea to wash the silverware baskets once or twice a week. Most dishwashers have a heat-dry function, and you can use it regularly to kill bacteria, but remember to let it dry completely after this as well. Final thoughts If you’re experiencing any kind of excessive moisture in or around your appliances, you have to consider that there may be another outside source. Pipe or water line leaks can cause that moisture, and you will do best to consult a professional to have your home inspected for any such leaks. If they find a bigger problem, they can do what needs to be done to correct it. Contact Restoration Certified Specialists to perform mold remediation of damage to or by your appliances. We can inspect your property and give you an estimate of the expected costs. Give us a call today.

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