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spring clean crawl space

Crawlspace Cleaning this Spring

Now that the weather is heating up, it’s time for inspection and spring cleaning of your crawlspace.

Read on to understand why it’s important to keep the crawlspace clean, and spring-cleaning maintenance tips for you to check off.

Maintaining Structural Integrity

Maintaining structural integrity of your home is critical. Keeping structural components like support beams located in the crawlspace dry, free from mold and damage from the elements keeps your foundation strong.

Protection of Utility Lines, Connections and Hook Ups

Much of the access to real-time lifelines of your home are located in the crawl space.

It’s time to check on the plumbing, gas hook ups, electrical and HVAC ducts or ventilation systems.

If mold is growing in the crawlspace, it can negatively affect the overall air quality in your home. This can spell disaster for anyone suffering from breathing or lung issues.

Common Crawlspace Problems

With extra rain and springtime humidity, conditions are perfect for fungus and mold to take root, grow and spread quickly.

After months have gone by without checking the crawlspace, trash and yard debris blow into and accumulate there. It’s important to remove all the trash because it can interfere with the function of mechanicals stored below.

Trash and debris also appeals to pests and rodents looking for nesting materials.

Speaking of rodents and pests, they like to live in crawlspaces to protect themselves from predators and provide extra shelter from the elements.

It’s important to remove nests and dry up wet standing water where insects can breed and reproduce.

Spring Crawlspace Checklist

Trash and Debris Removal. To include loose trash, broken pipes, disturbed or loose insulation, dead animals, and nests.

Cleaning. Removal and cleaning of mold and fungus growing on support beams, HVAC ducts and from any other visible location.

Drying. Using a wet dry vac or fan, vacuum up or air-dry standing pools of water.

Ventilation. Check to make sure crawlspace is getting enough ventilation for proper airflow which keeps the space dry and protects mechanicals and insulation from mold.

Repairs. Check for and repair leaking pipes, cracks, and holes.

Replace. Replace missing or damaged insulation.

This is also an opportunity to replace a missing or damaged vapor barrier, which helps prevent damage from moisture and humidity.

Professional Crawlspace Services

While an inspection and DIY cleaning may be enough for you to handle yourself this spring, there may be too much damage or required repairs that a professional can better handle.

Crawlspaces are typically small and difficult to navigate. If you suffer from health or physical limitations, it may be extremely challenging for you to address everything needed to keep your space clean and well maintained.

A professional crawlspace cleaning service has special equipment to find sewer/water leaks, measure moisture levels, clean pest, and rodent urine/droppings, completely dry/ventilate the area and address vapor barrier and dampness concerns.

Conclusion

This spring, make it a point to clean and restore your crawlspace for improved efficiency of your mechanicals and for top level HVAC air quality with mold-free, clean air circulation.

In Sonoma County, schedule an inspection with the crawlspace cleaning experts at RCS. After our thorough inspection and clean out, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes from a safe and clean crawlspace and home all season long.

The Benefits of Eco-Friendly Pest Control

The Benefits of Eco-Friendly Pest Control

Taking care of the environment is a group effort. When everyone does his or her part, small acts combine to make a big change. One way everyone can take part in helping to keep the environment clean and free from toxins is to use eco-friendly pest control methods when you need to get rid of insects, rodents and other household pests. Here are some great benefits you will get when choosing eco-friendly pest control.

The Benefits of Eco-Friendly Pest Control

Better Results

Eco-friendly pest control methods are normally more effective than using chemicals or other toxins. Further, the results last much longer, as well. Over time, insects can build up a resistance to chemical-based methods of extermination, and the resistance can be passed down to offspring However, when eco-friendly methods are used, insects do not build up the same resistance, so the results last over long periods of time.

It is Better for Your Landscaping

Landscaping is not inexpensive so it is in your best financial interest to avoid using anything that can damage it. That includes chemical-based pesticides. Traditional pest control methods require reapplication frequently. Over time, the repeated exposure to chemicals can take a toll on your landscaping and make your yard look terrible. By their nature, eco-friendly pest control methods are designed to be gentle on your landscaping. You can often use as much eco-friendly methods as much or often as you need to without having to worry about damage to your yard and landscaping elements.

No Unpleasant Odor

One of the worst aspects of traditional pest control methods is the foul smell that comes along with them. When you use eco-friendly methods, that issue is completely eliminated. Since there are no chemicals used in eco-friendly pest elimination methods, you won’t have to worry about the noxious odors that linger long after an application.

Safe for Kids

If you have kids at home, then you really need to consider using eco-friendly pest control methods. Traditional methods that are chemical-based can be harmful to children if they are exposed to them. Children love to play outside and explore the environment around them. If you have recently sprayed for pests with a traditional pest removal method, there is a good chance your kids can breathe in the chemicals or touch a surface that has been sprayed and then put their fingers in their mouths. Using an eco-friendly method to get rid of your pests eliminates the need for you to worry about exposing your kids to harmful toxins.

It is possible to use eco-friendly pest control methods yourself or to find professional exterminators who use them.

 

Carpenter Ants Damage Your Home, What You Need to Know

Carpenter Ants Damage Your Home, What You Need to Know

If you see wood damage around your home, you will probably assume you have termites, but it might be a carpenter ant infestation. Carpenter ants also lead to structural damage because they build nests in the wood of your home.

Carpenter Ants Damage Your Home, What You Need to Know

How Serious Is Carpenter Ant Damage?

Carpenter ant damage is not as severe as termite damage, but the ants can cause extensive damage over a period of several years. The colony may go undetected, and as it grows over time, the ants expand through your wood, leading to a potentially dangerous and costly situation.

Where You Can Find Carpenter Ants

The ants damage any wood in which they nest, but usually they nest in wet wood. Look for nests around windows, sinks and bath traps. The ants always have a point of entry into your home—through the foundation or a crack in the home. They can enter along electrical wires, telephone lines and water pipes. To find them, try to follow their trail into your home.

Once inside your home, they prefer to build nests in structural lumber areas like hollow walls or doors and around windows. If you see piles of wood shavings around your home, you very likely have an infestation. The ants create the shavings as they burrow into the wood to make nests. The shavings actually look like pencil shavings you’d see after sharpening a pencil. You also might hear them at work—a faint rustling sound inside the walls. Finally, if you see large ants with wings coming out of ceilings, walls or crevices, your home is almost certainly infested.

Carpenter ants can also build their nests outdoors in trees that have moist or rotting wood. If you see them outside, be particularly proactive about checking for carpenter ants inside.

Carpenter Ants Versus Termites

Many people mistake carpenter ants for a termite infestation. Carpenter ants have winged ants called swarmers that reproduce in warmer months, usually March to June. While termites actually eat the wood, the ants do not. Instead, they just damage the wood as they make their nests. The U.S. has 24 species of carpenter ant, and because the ants have wings, they are often mistaken for termites.

Carpenter ant nests are very difficult to find. They can go undetected in your home for years. A large colony can grow to 2,000 worker ants in a few years time. If you suspect an infestation, call a professional pest control company. When they’re done, call us to repair carpenter ants damage.

Maintaining a Crawl Space: Unseen but Important

Maintaining a Crawl Space: Unseen but Important

When is the last time you looked around in the crawlspace under your house? Crawl spaces are notoriously damp, uncomfortable places so most homeowners tend to avoid them. The main people that venture into crawl spaces are home service specialists like HVAC technicians, plumbers and electricians who may or may not tell the homeowner about any issues they see under there. Unfortunately, there are actually a lot of home issues that can be prevented by properly maintaining your crawlspace. At Restoration Certification Services, we want to help you prevent the damage to your home and your family’s health that can come from a poorly maintained crawl space.

Maintaining a Crawl Space: Unseen but Important

Here are the problems you face if your home has a crawlspace:

Moisture In Your Crawl Space

Moisture is the most common issue in crawl spaces and leads to mold and wood rot. If you haven’t made any improvements to address moisture (like a moisture barrier, dehumidifier or sump pump), then you are probably going to have a moisture issue. The nature of a crawlspace being dark with little ventilation almost guarantees that you will have to do something to combat moisture. If left unchecked, moisture will rot your floor joists and supports and eventually your floor will have to be replaced. Moisture and mold can also rise up through your floor and into your living areas triggering allergies and breathing problems.

Pests in Your Crawl Space

Rats, insects and larger animals can get into your crawl space and leave droppings and/or damage duct work. It is really important to thoroughly check all possible entrance points to keep pests out of your crawlspace. As mentioned before, since most homeowners don’t go in their crawlspace often, it is possible for pests to do a lot of damage before they are noticed.

Your Crawl Space’s Insulation

Poor or no insulation in your crawl space means that you will spend more money on heating and cooling your home. It also means that mold can easily travel through the floor and into your living space. Getting your crawl space insulated will lower your power bills and extend the life of your floors.

You need to get your crawl space checked out. Our team at Restoration Certified Specialists is experienced, and we are dedicated to both making your home safe and saving you money. We offer full crawl space services from cleaning to installing protective measures. Contact us for more information.

The Impact Climate Change Will Have On Insect Pests

The Impact Climate Change Will Have On Insect Pests

Climate change has brought rising temperatures as well as rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2). There has been some talk that this will have an effect on insects, and the talk varies between whether that impact is positive or negative.

The Impact Climate Change Will Have On Insect Pests

Research is still ongoing, and scientists don’t have all the answers, but here is what they do know.

Elevations in the rising levels of CO2 and temperatures are having direct effect on pests and diseases in crops. But whether the overall effect will be negative or positive is a question that has yet to be answered.

Insects May Do More Damage

Elevated CO2 changes the sugar content of plant leaves and additionally lowers their nitrogen content. Since insects need a certain amount of nitrogen in their diets, this might mean that insects will eat more plants and therefore do more damage.

No Winter Season, Good For Insects, Bad For Everyone Else

When CO2 goes up, so do temperatures, and higher temperatures mean that there might not be a winter season, therefore insects will survive the winter when they would normally perish in colder temperatures. It also means that the diseases that insects carry will better survive, too.

Uncertain Results From Temperature Changes At Night

With climate change, night time temperature increases are higher, meaning it won’t get as cool at night. Pests might do better, but so might their natural enemies, so this may be a natural biological control of a certain pest.  The insect population will change, but so will its ecosystem.

Insect Relocation

Many scientists think that insects will start to head towards the north and south poles, away from the gripping heat of the equator, so certain regions of the world might see insects they’ve never before experienced. Climate change will have a powerful effect on the world’s insect species. Their abundance will change as will their distribution around the world.

Pesticides May Be Less Effective

Warmer temperatures might make some pesticides less effective. For agricultural crops, scientists measure something called the Economic Threshold Level (ETL). It indicates the density of insects and gives an indication of when control operations need to begin to prevent crop loss.

Studies Being Conducted

Scientists look at current seasonal variations for some indications of how insects might react to climate change. Within seasons today, there are lots of variations, so it truly is hard to predict.

Scientists are studying how insects are reacting to the current climate trends. They’re studying how insects function and looking at how species are distributed. They’re even using predictive models to look at future populations.

Warmer temperatures are tending to lead to higher survival rates of insects in high latitude areas. Many species use thermal cues at different points in their life cycles. Temperature tells them when to hatch, when to molt and other functions.

It is important to remember that insect life cycles are relatively short. When that is combined with their high reproductive rates as well as their high degree of mobility, and that can lead to very large insect populations in warmer temperatures.

Common Home Insect Pests In Northern California

Common Home Insect Pests In Northern California

Although household pests are common, they can be a real headache for homeowners. They give the impression of a dirty house and in some cases, could even be detrimental to your health.

Certain pests are known for spreading disease or having a deadly sting that could cause serious illness or death. Even ones that are considered harmless to humans can still wreak havoc on your home.

Depending on the region you live, some pests may be more burdensome than others. In Northern California, certain pests you may encounter include:

Ants

Ants are common pest for households, creating a steady line of insects seeking food and water. You can usually trace the trail back to their original pile, if you have the patience to follow the entire line. While most type of ants are relatively harmless, two species to look out for in California are the Red Imported Ant and Carpenter Ant. The Red Imported Ant was first found in the state in 1998, and it known for it’s stinging bite. Carpenter ants can cause serious damage to your home or building – although they don’t consume wood, as their name suggests, they just hollow out wooden pieces to nest.

Cockroaches

Possibly the most common household pest known to man, cockroaches infest pretty much any building or structure than can provide shelter. Six types of cockroaches are commonly found in California, including America, Brown Banded, and Oriental cockroaches. The most troublesome is the German Cockroach, who prefer the indoors and are notoriously difficult for homeowners to remove without assistance. Known for spreading disease and bacteria, they are an unwanted guest in anyone’s home or business.

Black Widow Spiders

Probably one of the most well known spiders due to it’s lethal bite, black widow spiders are common throughout the state of California. The females are usually identified by their unique markings – an all black body with a bright red hourglass on the belly. Black widows are known for their reclusive habits, so they may be lurking in dark corners or holes throughout the home. As the most venomous spider in the U.S., homeowners should be especially diligent in eliminating black widows if they are found.

If you come across an infestation in your home (or even just a single insect that has you worried), the best thing to do is call a licensed pest control company to investigate. They will be able properly identify your pest problem and recommend an effective treatment to remove your pest.