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The Importance of Good Air Quality

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Good air quality is something most homeowners take for granted. However, most often don’t realize when their residence’s air quality is poor or causing negative health effects. This article will explain more behind the causes of poor air quality and a few ways you can avoid it.

What Causes Poor Air Quality?

A handful of things could result in poor air quality throughout your home. Some of the most common are pet dander, mold spores, dust mites, pesticides, and rodent feces. If these issues aren’t removed or fixed, they can result in many dangerous problems. These include:
  • Allergic reactions
  • Headaches
  • Sinus congestion
  • Dry eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

Why You Need to Maintain Good Air Quality

There are many reasons why it’s important for you to maintain good air quality in your living space. One is that it will prevent menacing health issues, such as those listed above. By ensuring the air is clear from chemicals and other toxins, you can be sure you’re only breathing in fresh air. In addition to this, poor air quality could cause damage throughout your home. This is because if the particles aren’t properly filtered out of the air, they could settle on devices, air filters, and walls which could ruin them.

3 Ways to Improve Your Home’s Air Quality

Clean or Replace Air Filters: Air filters are designed to catch debris as it floats through the air. However, if they’re clogged, they will be unable to do so. Ideally, replace air filters once a month. If you plan to clean an air filter, take a towel, gently wet it, and scrub the filter off. Have Consistent Crawlspace Inspections Done: You might be surprised to know that your crawlspace plays a huge role in how well your home’s air quality will be. Because air rises, anything inside the crawlspace will get circulated into your home. If there are toxins or mildew in it, they will get pushed into your home’s air. You can hire a professional to inspect this space to ensure there isn’t mold or pests living in it that could be affecting your home’s air quality. Purchase Air-Filtering Plants: A unique way to ensure your home’s air quality is good is by using plants. Through photosynthesis, plants will absorb toxins, like formaldehyde, while releasing oxygen. Some of the best options to use for this purpose include peace lilies, Chinese evergreens, snake plants, and rubber plants. It’s crucial that your home maintains good air quality if you want to avoid dangerous health concerns. If you’re worried your home has poor air quality, contacting RCS in Santa Rosa. We offer a variety of services, such as crawlspace clean-up and rodent feces removal, that will help to eradicate issues that cause this problem.

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Easy Ways to Prevent Water Damage

repair under floor

Water damage is a common problem in many homes around Sonoma County. It can cause serious destruction which can be both costly and detrimental to your health. This article will explore some of the most common water damage problems and a few ways you can prevent it.

Problems Water Damage Can Cause

Water damage can be broken down into three different categories: clean, gray, and black. No matter what type of water damage is in your home, it can be very harmful to a structure’s foundation and your health. Some of the most common issues caused by it include: It can cause such serious side effects because it harbors mold. If not removed, this mold will wear down essential parts of your home and irritate your respiratory system.

How to Prevent Water Damage

  • Regularly Check Your Appliances: Appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines use a lot of water. If there’s a leak in their tubes, it could spread into the surrounding walls. Some signs that indicate that they might be leaking include:
    • Puddles of water around the appliance
    • Low water pressure
    • Disconnected hoses
    • There are yellow spots on the walls near them
    • A strong mildew odor
  • Use Water Detection Devices: A water detection device can be useful to stop water damage. You can connect this product to an appliance where it will monitor its water flow. If it senses something is amiss, it will immediately send out an alert. Most water detection devices can be synced to your phone so you can get up-to-date information.
  • Adjust Your Gutters: Many are surprised that their gutters could be the culprit behind their home’s water damage. Gutters are designed to carry water. If they are pointed toward your home, the water will flow near it. If there are cracks in your foundation or walls, the water will seep into them. To prevent this, make sure that your gutters are properly installed and turned away from your home.
  • Have Inspections Done: One of the best ways to prevent water damage is to have regular professional inspections done. This way, you can be sure there isn’t any hidden damage and get it quickly repaired if there is.
Water damage is a serious problem that needs to be fixed as soon as possible. If you suspect you might have a leak or want to prevent one, contact RCS. We’ll send a team out to examine and fix the area of concern.

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5 Benefits of Dehumidifiers

dehumidifier

If you have mold issues or find your living space has stuffy air, a dehumidifier might be ideal to invest in. This article will explain more behind this helpful device and a few benefits it offers.

What is a Dehumidifier?

A dehumidifier is a device that controls indoor humidity. When turned on, it will pull in hot air. It will wrap this hot air around a cold coil which will remove the moisture from it. It will then pass the water through its drain pipe, push it by its warm coil, and then release dry air back into the room.

Signs You Need to Use a Dehumidifier

There are a few signs you can look for that indicate you might need to use a dehumidifier.
  • Mold splotches
  • Strong musty odors
  • Your windows have heavy condensation on them
  • There is poor ventilation

5 Benefits of Dehumidifiers

It Eliminates Allergies: One of the best benefits of dehumidifiers is that they eliminate allergies. This is because they draw in humid air, something which invites mold spores and pollen to float around in it. They’re also able to prevent dust build-up which can prevent the spread of dust mites. Minimize Mold Growth: Because dehumidifiers pull humidity from the air, they can stop mold growth. As they continue to run, they will make sure that the air stays at a consistent temperature which will eliminate future mold growth. While it doesn’t kill mold, it does stop it from spreading. It’s Energy Efficient: This device doesn’t use much power to run making it perfect for those who want something eco-friendly. After running for just two to three hours, it will be able to filter through most of your home’s air. It Removes Odors: Another benefit of dehumidifiers is that they remove odors. Humidity does create mold growth, something which can result in musty smells. Dehumidifiers prevent this by removing mold and circulating fresh air back into the room. It Keeps Your Home Comfortable: If your home has stuffy air or if its temperature doesn’t stay consistent, dehumidifiers might be good to install. It removes humidity that causes stuffiness and ensures that your living space stays at one temperature. Dehumidifiers are great devices to use if you want to prevent mold and other dangerous particles from floating around in your home. If you’re concerned that your residence might already have mold damage, RCS in Santa Rosa can help by inspecting the area of concern and offering ways as to how we can quickly remove it.

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What is A HEPA Filter?

home hvac air filters

HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are being installed in many homes and cleaning appliances thanks to their impressive air filtering abilities. Despite growing in popularity, many people still have questions about them. This article will explore what a HEPA filter is and the benefits it offers.

How Does a HEPA Filter Work?

A HEPA filter is a unique air filter designed to capture up to 99% of debris floating in the air, most of which are as small as 0.3 microns. The filter is composed of twisted glass fibers that wind together to create a thick wall.[1] When a particle enters the filter, it will either be removed by sticking to the fibers or being captured between them.

Common Air Pollutants HEPA Filters Remove

HEPA filters work to remove and reduce numerous types of air pollutants floating through your home. This includes carbon monoxide, pollen, secondhand smoke, and mold.

How Long Does a HEPA Filter Work?

This filter is very durable and can last for up to three years before it needs to be replaced. However, if you find that the filter is covered in debris, it’s best to change it as soon as possible. This way, it will continue to do a good job of filtering the air. There are a few HEPA filters that can be vacuumed off rather than being disposed of. This can be determined by looking at the front of the filter. If it has “permanent” stamped on it, it can be reused.

The Benefits of Using One

  • It Reduces Allergens: One of the best benefits of HEPA filters is that they can reduce allergens. Thanks to its durable fibers, HEPA filters can catch many irritating microscopic particles like dust mites and pet dander.[2]
  • It Improves Indoor Air Quality: Because it removes dangerous particles in the air, HEPA filters can also improve indoor air quality. One study done showed that an indoor HEPA filter worked to reduce indoor particles by 55%. [3]
  • It Removes Odors: Another great aspect of HEPA filters is that they remove odors. They will purify the air with the help of built-in carbon materials that will quickly dissolve gases and other chemicals in it.
HEPA filters are great to have in your home if you want to trap most allergens and dangerous air particles. If you’d like to use these, RCS can help by recommending a HVAC company to install one to help better protect you and your family.

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Mold in the Attic

home attic

If you’ve never had a mold problem, then you might assume that it only happens when there is a burst pipe behind a wall, mildew buildup in a humid bathroom, or a flood in the basement. However, mold can grow in all sorts of places around the home—inside and outside. Mold spores can easily transport themselves from outdoors into your home, settling on surfaces and then begin to grow and flourish if the environment is just right. Many people forget about the sneaky places mold can hide. Do you have an attic? Have you been up there lately to check things out? Maybe not...but that’s not uncommon. Many homeowners use their attic for storage and simply forget about it; but the attic has a perfect environment for mold to grow.

What causes mold to grow in an attic?

You cannot have a mold problem without a moisture problem. If there is mold in the attic, then there is a source of moisture or a reason why moisture is prevalent in that area. Three of the most common reasons why there would be excess moisture in an attic are: There may be an issue with the roof, which is causing leaks The bathroom or dryer vents are not exhausting properly There may be blocked or insufficient ventilation

What are the signs of mold in the attic?

Mold experts say that “attic mold is most often caused by moisture build-up in a poorly ventilated area. You can check your attic space for moisture by looking at the nails; if there is excess moisture in the atmosphere there will be rust around the nails.” Some other signs that you have a mold problem are:
  • Dark staining on wood surfaces
  • The smell of mildew
  • Wet insulation
  • Excessive heat and stuffiness
  • Leaking water from detectors, light fixtures, and bath fans

How to get rid of mold in the attic?

You can get rid of mold yourself and fix the underlying problem—if you are handy in that way. Attics can be pretty dangerous and if you don’t quite know what you are looking for and how to handle the situation, a DIY job may not be the best idea. This Old House has a YouTube video showing the process of removing mold from an attic—check it out and see if that’s something you would want to get into yourself. Obviously if you aren’t ridding your attic of mold by yourself, the other option is to hire a mold remediation professional to come in and take care of the problem. After a specialist is finished with the mold removal process and the underlying issue has been identified and repaired, the next best thing to do is to prevent the mold from coming back again.

How to prevent the mold problem from happening again?

At HowToRemoveBlackMold.com, they offer up a list on ways to prevent mold growth in the attic:
  • Look for roof leaks; you can prevent mold infiltration by repairing or replacing any deteriorating spots on the roof.
  • Check for raised shingles; when shingles become brittle and dry, they are subject to nails pushing the shingles upward and exposing the interior joists and other structures of the interior roof.
  • Ensure you have good ventilation going on in the attic; because some moisture is inevitable, keeping the air moving through the attic space will help reduce moisture build-up and keep your attic free from mold.
  • Keep warm air vents ventilated to the outside of the structure.
  • Beware of any gaps where moisture can enter; a few common culprits are skylights, moisture barrier (check for condensation), duct work, plumbing components, and insulation (check for missing portions or sagging).
If you are unsure about whether or not you truly have mold in your attic, if you are not quite sure what the underlying issue is, or are needing to remove the mold and get tips on preventing future moldy episodes, it is best that you contact a local professional. Professionals from Restoration Certified Specialists, Inc. will take care of you if you are in need of a mold restoration specialist! They have been proudly serving the Santa Rosa and North Bay areas since 1975.

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What Are the Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction to Mold?

women not feeling well sneeze

Mildew and mold can easily creep into an individual’s home or place of work and wreak havoc on the health of anyone that is regularly in proximity. Sometimes mold is difficult to detect because it may be hiding behind the wall, underneath the carpet, or in unique places you never thought to look. A moldy situation can be caused by a slow leak, a burst pipe, humid and damp conditions, or a flood. Basically any area with water damage that has been sitting for around 24 hours can start growing mold; and that mold can have damaging effects to not only what you own, but to your overall health. According to the CDC, mold is found both indoors and outdoors. Mold can enter your home through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. Mold in the air outside can also attach itself to clothing, shoes, and pets can and be carried indoors. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to mold can be similar to a reaction to other things. Of course, if you are aware that you have a mold problem and begin to exhibit a reaction, then it is fair to say that you need to A) get the mold cleaned up and fix the problem and B) possibly see a doctor about the reaction if it does not go away. You may even need to stay somewhere else or work in a different space until the mold is cleaned and the area restored. Common Symptoms of a Mold Reaction Mold spores are too tiny to be seen by the naked eye, and these are what grow and multiply—then spread around—from water damage or continuously damp spaces. Before you know it, they are in your nose, on your skin, and in your lungs, taking you as their host. The experts at the Mayo Clinic explain the non-life threatening signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction to mold:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Cough and postnasal drip
  • Itchy eyes, nose and throat
  • Watery eyes
  • Dry, scaly skin
As stated above, mold spores can get into the lungs of individuals and cause a different type of allergic reaction:
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
Unfortunately, some people have more serious side effects to encountering mold. Mold toxicity is a very serious condition that occurs in about 25% of cases in those who are exposed to mold. According to Psychology Today, “Mold allergies and mold toxicity are not the same illness. Mold allergies are due to mold spores that are inhaled and cause hay fever like symptoms. This is different than toxic mold, which is due to the volatile toxic vapors produced by mold that can cause a chronic inflammatory response, (CIRS), an auto-immune reaction caused by poor clearance of biotoxins in vulnerable individuals.” Symptoms of mold toxicity include:
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Aches
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Unusual Pain
  • Ice Pick Pain
  • Headache
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Red Eyes
  • Blurred Vision
  • Tearing
  • Sinus Problems
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint Pain
  • Morning Stiffness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Attentional problems
  • Brain fog
  • Insomnia
Regardless of the type of reaction, it would be best for individuals to contact their doctor as soon as possible as well as get a professional to the home or workplace in order to assess the mold situation. Has your home recently suffered from water damage or an infestation of mold due to excess moisture? Do you need help from a restoration specialist to determine if you have a mold problem? Don’t worry—Restoration Certified Specialists, Inc. will take care of you! They have been proudly serving the Santa Rosa and North Bay areas since 1975.

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