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Getting Rid of Mold in Your Home

Aside from the unsightly appearance, mold does more than signal a water or moisture problem in your home. Mold negatively affects overall air quality and in some people, triggers serious health issues.

Find out how to check for mold and what to do if you find it in your home.

What is Mold?

Mold, sometimes called mildew, grows in your home due to excessive moisture or water. It could be caused by a leak, flooding or improper ventilation.

Mold is a fungus that doesn’t need a host to grow. It’s capable of growing on its own.
In most cases, mold is black or gray, but can also be white, orange or green.

Where does Mold Come From?

Mold can grow in any damp area or on moist surfaces. You will find it growing on anything from wood, caulk around windows, ceilings, walls, floors, under carpeting, crawl spaces and even on appliances and your clothes.

If there’s a musty smell in your home, odds are there is mold growing somewhere in the house.
Homes near water or high humidity are more susceptible to a mold problem.

Health Issues Related to Mold

Health issues are not caused by the mold, but by the microscopic particles (or mold spores) which are released into the air. As you breathe the air in your home, you inhale mold spores which settle into the lungs.

While there is more to learn about the negative health effects of mold, what is known is that it can trigger serious health problems for many people. Those with pre-existing respiratory conditions are primary candidates for mold-related health issues.

Breathing in mold spores can cause wheezing, sneezing, headaches, fatigue, stuffy or runny noses and asthma attacks. Long-term exposure to mold increases the odds of developing an allergy to mold.

Getting Rid of Mold

The first thing to do is to find the source of moisture that is causing mold to grow. The only way to control and eliminate mold is to get rid of the sources of moisture.

To dry problem areas, run a fan or dehumidifier. Properly repair and seal areas in your home where water or moisture are found, such as windows and bathtubs.

To clean mold, use a mixture of one cup bleach to one gallon of water. Spray the mixture directly onto areas affected by mold, let soak for a few minutes, wipe/brush off and dry completely.

If mold continues to re-surface, call in a professional. Since 1975, the professionals at RCS have provided complete mold/water damage assessments, mold removal and prevention services.

Contact us with any mold-related questions or to schedule a free consultation.

Humidifier front panel

Do Dehumidifers Work in Crawl Spaces?

A dehumidifier is designed to monitor and remove humidity from the air. This not only prevents the space from getting stuffy but can improve the air quality. Because of this, the tool is often recommended to place in crawl spaces. Below you’ll discover more about this important gadget and how to use it in a crawl space.

Does a Dehumidifier Improve Crawl Spaces?

Dehumidifiers are a great tool to use to combat common crawl space problems. Crawl spaces are situated beneath homes and often closed off. This makes them a very dark and damp place and susceptible to mold, water damage, and pest issues.

You might also be surprised to find that air from the crawl space rises. As it moves upward and into vents, the contaminated air will eventually get sent into your home.

By simply absorbing moisture, dehumidifiers keep the space clean and dry. This prevents frequent crawl space problems and keeps its structure in good condition. It also stops you from breathing in toxins.

How to Use a Dehumidifier in a Crawl Space

A simple way to utilize a dehumidifier in your home’s crawl space is by running a small one in it. This simple choice is ideal for small-scale crawl spaces. Keep in mind though that you need to monitor this device as it runs. This will prevent it from overheating and gives you time to empty its canister if necessary.

You could also opt for an industrial one to be professionally installed. While a bit pricier, this selection tends to be more powerful and has more unique features, such as an auto pump and programmable settings.

Should I Clean the Dehumidifier?

Because this device often removes tainted air, it’s ideal to wash its tank out at least once a month. This will remove any mold spores or bacteria lingering within it that could get sent back into the air.

To clean the tank, simply take some warm water and disinfectant soap and scrub it around. After rinsing it off, dry it, and place it back in the device.

If there’s a filter, make sure to remove and rinse it off as well. This will get rid of dangerous particles and encourage the device to work better.

Dehumidifiers are a helpful gadget to store in your crawl space. If you’d like to learn more about this useful tool or are concerned about some other crawl space issues, contact RCS in Santa Rosa, CA. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and fix any crawl spaces problems your home has.

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How Summer Affects Your Crawl Space

As summer continues to linger, it can cause many issues for your crawl space. While this might not seem like a big deal, if your crawl space is having problems, it will eventually affect your home and health. Below is a bit more about how this season can wreak havoc on this area and a few things you can do to protect it.

Common Summer Crawl Space Concerns

Summer’s heat and humidity can result in moisture. This can make the crawl space very damp which can cause its temperature to fluctuate and encourage mold growth.

If not fixed, these issues can soon create even more concerns. These range from structural damage to poor home air quality.

3 Ways to Protect It

If you want to make sure these issues don’t happen, there are a few steps you can take.

Ensure There’s Proper Ventilation: The key to stopping summer crawl space problems is to make sure there’s good ventilation. One easy option is to blow a fan in it. This can keep it cool while drying out moisture.

Besides this, check that its vents are open. While they should be closed during the winter, during the summer they’ll keep air circulation flowing. This can significantly cut back on condensation.

Verify It’s Sealed: Another critical aspect to check is if the crawl space is sealed. If not, it could cause rain and other liquids to seep into it. If you’re not sure, look at the walls. Does a plastic sheet cover them? Do you notice thick caulking? If not, the space probably isn’t. You’ll want to seal it yourself or have a professional do so for you.

Install a Dehumidifier: A dehumidifier absorbs moisture by sucking it out of the air and then pushing it through its coils. After reaching the coils, the gadget will remove the condensation and then release the remaining air.

This makes it a critical tool to utilize in crawl spaces during the summer. You can plug one in and place it in the middle of the space for a few hours. You’ll want to check on it often and empty its bin so it works well.

Ideally, choose a dehumidifier designed specifically for crawl spaces. These tend to be more compact and powerful than ones built for regular indoor usage.

Summer can be a crawl space’s biggest nemesis. But, with these tips, you can work to fully protect your home.

If you’re worried the season might have already caused some crawl space problems, contact RCS in Sonoma County. Our team will be happy to inspect the area and get to work fixing any issues that might be of concern.

water removal

Common Water Removal Equipment

When water damage occurs, powerful tools are required to fix it. Many of these necessary gadgets are only available to professionals because of their intricate setup and price. Below is a bit more about the most frequently used devices and how they eradicate this issue.

Common Water Removal Equipment

Water Extractors: One of the most relied-upon devices is a water extractor. This tool mimics a vacuum and its nozzle is pushed along the water-damaged space to absorb moisture. As it removes the water, it will get pushed through its hose into a sealed container. Depending on the size and severity of the problem, a technician might need to run the water extractor over the area multiple times.

Moisture Meters: To help experts locate where the water damage is, they use moisture meters. By pointing it along the floors and walls, they can get a better idea of where the problem occurs. Many will create graphs to help users understand where the main issue is located and how serious it is.

Spot Removers: This unique device is placed over the affected area to extract water. This way, the flooring doesn’t have to be pulled up. To work, the spot remover’s pad is secured to the space and then connected to a hose. Once turned on, the hose will pull up the water and release it into an attached bucket.

Dehumidifiers with Hoses: Unlike traditional dehumidifiers, these commercial options are stronger and have hose connectors. Once plugged in, the machine will get to work pulling moisture out of the air. To keep track of its performance, it has a panel on the top that tells its inlet and outlet levels. When its tank is full, the dehumidifier can be turned off and attached to a condensate hose for drainage.

Air Mover: To dry out the space, air movers are used. These large gadgets work as a fan but have a special design so they can reach difficult areas. Featuring a large circular body, the fan loops to a tiny opening in the front where the air blows out. Thanks to this location, it allows strong air flow encouraging the walls and flooring to dry faster.

With these tools, our Santa Rosa experts can easily remove water damage and restore areas affected by it. If your living space has already been ruined by water or you fear it might be causing a problem, contact RCS. We’ll send a team out to inspect and quickly get to work fixing it.

living space

3 Ways to Spot Mold in Your Living Space

Mold is a common problem in many homes. While it might seem harmless at first, it’s not. Mold can cause everything from foundational damage to respiratory problems.

What Causes Mold to Grow in the Home?

There are many things that can cause mold to grow in the home. These include:

  • Poor ventilation
  • Water leaks
  • Humidity
  • Constant darkness

3 Ways to Tell if Mold is in Your Home

Test Walls With Bleach: One way to see if there might be mold in your home is to test a small wall patch with bleach. To do this, simply mix one part bleach with 16 parts water. After doing so, take a q-tip, dip it into the mixture, and then dab it on the wall. If you see that the wall starts to lighten after you do so, you have a mold problem.

There are Discolorations on Your Walls, Ceilings, or Floors: Another way to tell if mold is in your living space is by looking to see if there are discolorations on your walls, ceilings, or floors. This is usually a sign of water damage that invites mold spores to grow and spread.

There’s a Musty Smell Lingering Around: If you smell a strong musty odor in your home it’s a sign of mold. This smell is caused by mold emitting certain compounds as it breaks down walls or other objects.

How to Get Rid of Mold

Spray Vinegar on the Spots: Vinegar is very helpful at destroying mold thanks to its strong acidity. You can put some into a spray bottle and then squirt it on the mold. Let it rest for an hour and then wipe the area off with a towel.

Use a Dehumidifier: A dehumidifier is a device designed to pull humidity out the air – something which can form mold. Because it removes moisture, a dehumidifier can also help remove odors left behind by mold. While it won’t kill mold spores, it will eliminate them from the air.

Apply Tea Tree Oil: This essential oil is antibacterial which not only removes mold, but prevents it from growing. To make a tea tree oil spray, mix two teaspoons of this essential oil with two cups of water. Pour this mixture into a spray bottle and then apply it to the area of concern. Let it sit for about an hour and then use a brush to scrub the mold off.

Mold is a serious issue that not only causes structural damage, but health concerns. If you’re worried that you might have mold in your Sonoma County home, RCS can help. Our professionals will meticulously inspect your living space and remove any mold that might present.

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A Moldy Situation: Detecting Mold

Mold in the home can happen for a number of reasons and the effects can be not only costly, but downright dangerous to your health. Whether it be from a busted pipe, flooding, or excess moisture for whatever reason, mold can quickly develop if left unattended and can wreak havoc in your home.

One afternoon, you open your water bill and notice it has significantly risen but are not sure why. Since you are aware of the signs of a water leak, you decide to check your water meter and observe that the meter is moving despite the water being turned off. This cannot be good. You go into the bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen searching for a clue; and then you see it. The culprit is looming in front of you on the wall like a dark shadow—a huge water stain in the kitchen from a leaky pipe.

You decide to buy a large floor fan and turn it on before leaving for work the next day–that should take care of it. The water stain seems to be dissipating slightly, but you leave the fan on for another day just in case. You go about your life as usual; however, in a few days you begin to smell something musty. Little do you know, mold has already begun to take form behind the wall.

This scenario may be one that you are familiar with. If mold in the home is suspected, deal with it immediately, as mold grows quickly and mold spores can travel through the air and grow on other surfaces. Unfortunately, people often do not know that a leak is happening or that mold or mildew is flourishing behind the scene until it is too late. According to FEMA, mold and mildew will develop within 24-48 hours of water exposure.

Here are the initial steps to take if you suspect mold in your home or business:

  1. Since mold spores can travel, it is best not to use a fan. Purchase a dehumidifier and place it in the same room as the water damage. HERE are some tips to effectively use your dehumidifier.
  2. Turn on the air-conditioner if it is even remotely warm or humid inside; you want the humidity to be under 60% in the area, which can be measured by using a hygrometer—think of it like a thermometer for humidity. These are inexpensive and can be purchased at any hardware store or online. HERE are also some ways in which you can measure humidity without a hygrometer.
  3. Remove any wet or porous materials from the infected room so that they will not become contaminated with mold as well.
  4. Call a mold removal specialist immediately while you are performing steps one through three, even if you only suspect mold—the sooner they come, the less costly the removal will be, and the sooner you can have your area back to a normal and healthy space.

Even though leaks can sneak up on you and cause mold as well as much distress, there are ways that you can deal with the situation efficiently and effectively. Don’t forget—if you have a leak, mold can grow rapidly and sometimes undetected. If you have any doubt about what is going on behind your walls or above your ceiling, call a specialist and have peace of mind.

If you’re in need of a cleanup and restoration specialist, 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.