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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.

fall leaves bridge

Types of Fall Allergies

Most look forward to the fall thanks to its vibrant colors and cool temperatures. But, for some, this season can be a huge inconvenience because of its allergens. Below you’ll discover some of the most frequent sources of fall allergies and how you can protect yourself from them.

4 Common Fall Allergies

Ragweed: This plant is one of the most notorious fall allergies. It thrives during this season because of its cool temperatures and heavy rain. It’s particularly bad because just one ragweed plant can produce up to one million pollen spores. With the assistance of chilly winds, these spores can travel long distances leading to you breathing them in. This can result in serious nasal congestion, sneezing, headaches, and a sore throat.

Mildew: Mildew forms year-round but it’s particularly evident in the fall. This season can bring a lot of rain and moisture which encourages the growth of mold. You’ll notice that it grows rapidly outdoors in areas near leaves and around windows.

Pet Dander: As fall begins, you might find that your pet has started shedding their summer coat. While this might not be a big event for some animals, if you have a very furry one, like a golden retriever, it could fill your home not only with their fur but dander. These could sneak into your ductwork contaminating the air you breathe causing allergic reactions.

Cypress: In northern California, cypresses flourish. While beautiful throughout the year, during the fall, they can be a big nuisance. As the season rolls on, cypress spores can irritate your respiratory system.

How to Protect Yourself From Them

Keep Your Windows Closed: It might be tempting to open your windows during this season, but it’s crucial you don’t. If you do, you’ll only invite these allergens into your home. They can get caught in your ductwork, furniture, and clothing making any allergy attacks even worse. Because of these, make sure your windows stay shut.

Clean Your Carpets: Pet dander, mildew, and plant spores can get trapped in carpet fibers. As you walk on it, you can spread the spores around your home. To prevent this, make sure to do a deep clean of your carpets at least once during this season.

Run an Air Purifier: You might also want to run an air purifier in your home. Most contain a HEPA filter which can collect and trap any airborne allergens.

Fall allergies can be annoying, but with these tips, you can better protect yourself from them. If you’re concerned your home might have mold damage caused by these allergens, call RCS in Santa Rosa. We’ll send a team out to investigate the issue and get to work quickly fixing it.

moisture barrier

What is a Moisture Barrier?

Keeping your crawl space free from moisture is crucial if you want to prevent potential home damage. One way to do this is with the help of a moisture barrier. This article will explore more behind what this tool is and the benefits it offers. 

How Does a Moisture Barrier Work?

A moisture barrier is a plastic or foil sheet designed to hold water vapor. This prevents condensation from escaping into the ground or nearby walls where it could cause mildew or structural damage. 

The Moisture Barrier Installation Process

Installing a moisture barrier can be a little tricky. The easiest way to do so is by measuring the crawl space and then cutting out the moisture barrier fabric to fit those dimensions. It’s important to also add an extra inch or two to the measurements so the moisture barrier covers the ground edges. After doing so, you can install the barrier by securing it to the ground with stakes or gluing it to the crawl space’s wall. 

4 Benefits of a Moisture Barrier

  • It Prevents Mildew: One of the main benefits of a moisture barrier is that it prevents mildew. When condensation forms, it makes surfaces wet. Most of the time, these surfaces are unable to dry which leads to the mildew spreading and eventually forming odors. A moisture barrier collects water vapor and helps it to naturally evaporate rather than soak into surrounding areas. 
  • It Eliminates Odors: You’ll also find that a moisture barrier eliminates odors. This is because it prevents mildew and mold from forming which can result in a strong musty smell throughout your home. These smells aren’t only unpleasant, but can also cause severe allergies. 
  • It Protects Your Pipes: Many different types of pipes are located in your crawl space. If they aren’t protected from water, they could corrode. A moisture barrier prevents this because it stops water from seeping into the ground and walls where the pipes are located. 
  • It Deters Pests: You might be surprised to learn that moisture barriers can deter pests. By sealing your crawl space with a moisture barrier, it will keep them from crawling into the area where they might build nests or chew through your pipes and wires. 

A moisture barrier is a helpful tool to install in your crawl space. Not only does it protect your home’s structure, but prevents the spread of mold. If you’re interested in learning more about them or would like one installed, consider contacting RCS. 

mildew mold

The Differences Between Mildew and Mold

Mold and mildew are often believed to be one in the same. Unless you have had past experience with one or the other, you may believe so as well. It is never a good thing if either one begin to develop in your home or business. Both can have repercussions and if left untreated, both can develop into something more severe and can not only be costly, but can have potential health consequences.

Look At The Appearance

You notice something suspect on the carpet and wall in your basement. What is that? One of your neighbors had a problem with mold in the past, however you don’t quite remember what it looked like.

Thankfully, mold and mildew look different. Yes, they are both considered fungi, but they are different in color and texture. Mildew is generally white or gray and looks powdery and sometimes even fuzzy. Mold, on the other hand, can be various shades of green all the way to black. Mold can also be fuzzy and it can be slimy as well. If you see black, there is a serious problem.

What Do You Smell?

Both of these fungi have a similar smell to them; however, mold smells much more pungent than mildew. With mildew, you may smell a slight musty odor, and if you have mold growing, you may smell something similar but much more pungent, as well as a wet, rotting stench.

Health Consequences

Since mildew is the lesser of the two evils, it also has less health consequences related to it. In certain people, having mildew in their living space can bring about general allergies, coughing, headache, and/or respiratory issues. There can be more severe reactions with a mold infestation, especially if it has turned into black mold. Allergic reactions, asthma, bronchitis, wheezing, skin and eye irritation, sneezing, and rash. If the mold is left untreated and people continue to live in that toxic environment, there could be more long-term health problems.

Getting Rid Of Both

Ridding your space of mildew is relatively easy because mildew lives on the surface of the area it has flourished upon. Using bleach, vinegar, or any special mildew-removing cleaner you find at the store along with a scrubbing brush will do the trick. Mold is more tricky to remove because it really depends on how far the infestation got. It may take removing carpet, window treatments, or even going behind the walls or under floorboards. Oftentimes, it is better to leave mold removal to the professionals if you are not experienced or familiar with the process.

Sometimes mildew can turn into mold; therefore it is especially important to be on the lookout for signs of mildew and get rid of it immediately. If you do encounter mold, don’t hesitate to contact a professional to help you understand what the source of the problem is and what it will take to eliminate the mold and fix the underlying issue.

If you end up having a moldy situation and are 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.

water restoration

Home Water Damage Survival Strategies

Surviving a water damage event in your home can be tough. Whether the cause is a natural disaster, or simply a broken water pipe, the cleanup process can be time consuming, costly, and potentially dangerous when you try to handle it alone. You should contact a water restoration specialist to help you through any water damage situation. Here are some survival strategies that you can employ after a water damage event has occurred in your home.

Address Damages Immediately

As difficult as it may seem to do, try not to panic. The first and most important step in addressing water damage issues is to get help immediately. Fast action is necessary because water can spread quickly throughout your home and saturate everything in its path. Within an hour of the damage, stains and finishes from furniture can cause permanent staining on floors and carpets. Any important paper materials can become impossible to salvage in a very short time, and their dyes can seep and cause additional staining. If the damage is left unattended for just a few hours, sour odors can arise, drywall can swell and break down, and unprotected metal surfaces can tarnish.

After a couple of days, there is a greater risk for mold and mildew to grow and spread, which can adversely affect people with respiratory issues and allergies. Windows, doors, casings, studs, and wood floors can begin to swell and warp, creating a more costly restoration process. Acting quickly will help minimize any further damages and reduce the potential health risks to you and your family.

What You Can Do Before it Happens

Although most homeowners’ insurance policies cover basic water damage claims up to the purchased limit, prevention is better than dealing with claims issues after the fact. There are ways to protect your home against water damage before it occurs. Here are just a few steps you can take toward preventing damage in the first place.

  • Clean Gutters – Though it’s probably one of those jobs you make excuses not to do, a clogged gutter can allow rainwater to spill into your foundation, through your roof, or into your basement or crawl space. Water should flow away from your home to prevent impairment to the foundation. This might seem like a small thing, but the damage can be significant.
  • Watch Where You Plant –Keeping soil from plants and trees around your foundation helps with drainage, but you should be careful with those roots! Invasive roots from plants or trees in your yard can grow into sprinklers, pipes, and even septic tanks.
  • Know Where Your Water Main Is – Turning off the water main in a water emergency can save you cost if a pipe bursts. You should also repair any leaks in your appliances or pipes as soon as possible.
  • Consider Water Detection Devices – Such devices will sound an alarm when it comes into contact with significant water.
  • Check Your Sump Pump – Testing your pump can prevent a water disaster, so you should make sure it’s working properly by testing it annually.
  • Use a Drain Snake – Instead of chemicals that can eat away at your pipes, use a drain snake for clogged drains. It’s also a bad idea to pour grease down your sink drain, as it can cause a back up that you might not notice until it’s too late.
  • Check Your Hot Water Heater – Look for signs of corrosion around your water heater and maintain it regularly by flushing it at six-month intervals.
  • Secure Your Roof – For obvious reasons, always make sure your roof is rain ready.

After Water Damage Happens

When you contact Restoration Certified Specialists in Santa Rosa, our trained technicians can evaluate the water damage to help you decide the best course of action for your situation. Using industry-approved water extraction methods and the right drying equipment will help us alleviate further damage. Our quick response will allow us to clear any water that may be trapped in walls, floors, or furniture to alleviate the likelihood of mold growth. For more information about the additional steps we take to make your home comfortable and safe again, click here.

You may not be able to control the damage from a natural disaster or from water used to put out a fire in your home. However, getting the water out after the fact doesn’t have to be a grievous process. Whether the job is big or small, water damage should be promptly attended to when it occurs. Simply call the experts at RCS, and we will provide you with the fast, quality service you need.

What To Do About Mildew Remove and Prevent

What To Do About Mildew: Remove and Prevent

Mildew is a distinct type of mold. It commonly grows along baseboards, inside cabinets and even on the ceiling. Anywhere that moisture gathers is a breeding ground for mildew. You will probably notice a musty, damp odor around mildew. It is usually yellow or white and looks powdery. A little mildew isn’t necessarily dangerous but it can aggravate allergies and can eventually damage the surface that it grows on.

What To Do About Mildew: Remove and Prevent

Health issues with mildew

Inhaling mildew spores can cause headaches, sore throat, coughing, and respiratory problems. They can also aggravate allergy symptoms. If you feel like your allergies get worse after being in a certain part of your home, there may be mildew in that room that you haven’t seen yet.

How do I get rid of mildew?

Getting rid of mildew is pretty easy, simply wipe off surfaces with a damp rag. Diluted bleach is great to clean with since it kills mildew and bacteria. The bleach can also help get rid of any discoloration. Be careful to test your cleaning solution on a small spot to make sure it won’t do any damage to the surface the mildew is growing on.

How can I prevent mildew?

Prevent mildew by increasing ventilation in the room. If you have mildew in your bathroom, be sure to use your ventilation fan every time you take a shower so that moisture doesn’t condensate on the walls and ceiling. You can use a fan to increase air circulation if you don’t have a ventilation fan. Turn on your air conditioner in the summer to draw humidity out of the air. Keeping your home at 40 to 50 percent humidity will prevent most mildew from growing. The last thing you want to do is give mildew a warm, humid place to live. Use a dehumidifier in your basement or crawlspace to draw moisture out of the air in those naturally humid places.

If you have had water damage in your home you are almost guaranteed to have a mold or mildew issue. Even if you don’t see any mildew, if you notice that your family is struggling with allergies or asthma you need to have your home checked. At Restoration Certified Specialists, we are equipped and experienced in dealing with all levels of mold and mildew issues. If the mildew problem is extensive or hard to get to or you are afraid to deal with it because of allergies, contact us. It is much better to be safe than to have health problems due to mildew.