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Tag Archives: Moisture

office building santa rosa

How to Handle Mold in the Workplace

Most of us spend at least 40 hours per week at work. If you find yourself experiencing cold-like symptoms such as watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, headaches, or worsened allergies while there, it may be due to an undetected mold problem in the workplace.

Find out what you can do to combat mold at work.

Identify Frequency of Symptoms

While there is no way to completely avoid mold at home, outdoors or at work, you need to identify patterns and the times your symptoms peak.

If you notice that your cold or allergy-like symptoms go away on weekends or other days you’re away from work, you’ll be closer to identifying the problem.

Ask co-workers if they are also experiencing an increase in allergy-like symptoms while at work.

Also note if there are certain areas of the building where more people are experiencing symptoms than in other areas of the building.

Look for Signs of Mold

There are a couple of obvious signs of mold.

The first is a musty smell. If you notice musty smells in the workplace, mold is lurking around somewhere.

The second sign is visible mold growth on vents, walls or ceiling tiles. Mold comes in various colors ranging from black to brown to green among others. If you notice what looks like black dirt on a vent or wall, it’s very possible that it’s active, growing mold.

If you notice water stains on the ceiling tiles, it’s very possible there is active mold growing on the other side…the one you can’t see.

Since mold thrives in damp, dark places, condensation inside the HVAC system is an excellent place for airborne mold spores to land and grow into active mold.

If there’s been flooding or heavy rains and water has seeped into the basement of your building, it’s easy for airborne spores to get sucked up into the ventilation and spread throughout the entire HVAC system.

Unfortunately, mold can also grow in places you cannot see like under kitchen or bathroom cabinets if there’s an undetected leak.

Mold also thrives and destroys drywall and wood found behind finished walls making it very hard to detect.

Report Your Symptoms

If you see obvious signs of mold, it’s important to report your findings to your supervisor or maintenance.

From there, maintenance should either clean the mold and disinfect the area if it’s under 10 square feet.

For larger areas or the source of the mold is unknown, it’s time to call in a professional mold remediation company to complete a thorough inspection.


While mold affects people differently, active mold in the workplace is not safe for anyone and will only get worse if not properly removed.

To detect, eliminate and prevent mold in the workplace or other commercial buildings, call the professionals at RCS.

woman clothes washing machine

Avoiding Laundry Day Mold

You probably already know that where there is moisture or dampness, there is a potential for mold.

With that said, the laundry room is a prime location for mold to thrive. Not only is this bad news for the structural components of your laundry room, but also for your washing machine and clothes.

Learn how to keep your washing machine and laundry safe from active mold.

Damp Laundry

Most people throw soap and dirty laundry into the washing machine, hit the button, and forget about it until it’s time to toss everything into the dryer.

It’s not uncommon for folks to forget about the laundry and leave it sitting inside the washing machine for hours or a day or two.

When opening the washing machine door, you’re greeted with that unwelcome musty smell. What this means is that you’ve already got mold in your washing machine and on your clean laundry.

Even re-washing your laundry may not get rid of the mold because it grows very quickly and feeds on some ingredients found in your detergent.

Mold spores are very small and easily become embedded in clothing fibers. Eventually, you may notice holes in your clothing which is the result of mold eating away at these fibers.

Any clothing with visible signs of mold damage – like holes or black stains – should be discarded.

Washing Machine Mold

Removing mold from your washing machine can be challenging because you’re dealing with a lot of moisture on a regular basis.

When checking for mold in your washing machine, especially front-loading models, be sure to inspect the following areas:

  • Inside drum
  • Soap or fabric softener dispensers
  • Rubber seals

To get rid of existing mold, clean the machine thoroughly by running a cup of white vinegar through the wash cycle.

To eliminate a strong musty smell, stop the wash cycle and let the vinegar water sit for 30 minutes before finishing the cycle. If you still smell a musty odor, repeat this process as necessary.

Wash all rubber seals and soap dispensers with full-strength vinegar prior to running the vinegar wash cycle.

Preventing the Return of Laundry Room Mold

You can take measures to prevent future laundry room mold problems by taking advantage of these preventative tips:

  • Check for mold as you do laundry each week.
  • Once a month, use cleaning tablets meant specifically for cleaning washing machines.
  • Keep rubber seals and soap dispensers clean.
  • Leave the door open after finishing your last load of laundry to let the inside drum air out and dry.
  • Move freshly washed damp laundry into the dryer as soon as it’s done washing.
  • Make any improvements to ventilation in the laundry room to ensure good air circulation.
  • Keep humidity levels at or preferably below 50% with the help of a dehumidifier.


Finding mold in your laundry room, on your clothes or anywhere in your home is nothing to ignore. The evidence is stacking up as to the health hazards of black mold.

To schedule a mold inspection and put together a solid action plan to get rid of active mold in your Santa Rosa area home, call RCS today.


couple home repair

Using Mold Resistant Materials for Home Improvement Projects

No matter how careful you are, there will always be some level of mold in your home.

At the same time, there are things you can do to lower the risk of introducing new mold and stop the spread of existing mold throughout your home.

For home improvement projects, consider these tips.

How Mold Thrives

Mold is a hardy fungus that exists everywhere. The basic things needed for new or spreading mold are moisture/humidity, food sources and the right temperature.

Mold grows in your home when conditions are right with moisture, dampness or humidity. If there’s an undetected water leak, high condensation areas or a damp basement, it’s a pretty sure bet that mold is lurking in these places.

Mold needs a food source which isn’t exclusive to rotting food. Mold also feeds and thrives on materials in your home such as wood, drywall, glue, fabric/textiles or carpeting.

Mold also thrives in temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is precisely the temperature range of most American homes. Mold spores can also go dormant until ideal temperatures resume.

Mold Resistant Building Materials

Although you can never completely eliminate mold, you can work to decrease conditions and use materials in your home to help stop mold growth.

Note that some of these mold-resistant products contain fiberglass, which by nature, is mold resistant. Unlike the fiberglass used in construction decades ago, today’s fiberglass is designed to eliminate or greatly minimize dangerous airborne emissions.

Depending on your home improvement project, consider using some of these mold resistant materials.


  • Treated with fungicide protection
  • Termite resistant


  • Uses fiberglass facing instead of paper facing, which mold uses as food source.
  • Differs from water-resistant drywall which is good for blocking excessive moisture issues, leaks and water damage. Mold resistant drywall is specifically designed to prohibit the growth of mold.
  • Don’t forget to couple it with mold-resistant drywall tape.


  • Features a protective fungicide coating, in addition to antimicrobial properties.
  • Mold resistant sealant can be used on wood or drywall to further prevent moisture issues and reduce the chance of mold growth.


  • Treated with fungicide protection
  • Water resistant


  • Features both protective fungicide and anti-mildew coatings.
  • Don’t caulk over existing mold. Clean mold thoroughly before applying. Mold resistant caulk is excellent at preventing odor and stains, too.


  • Features fungicide protection, in addition to antimicrobial properties.
  • Mold resistant paint cannot be used to paint over existing mold. Be sure all surfaces are thoroughly cleaned of mold before using the paint.


For home improvement or remodeling projects, consider using mold-resistant building materials as a preventive measure against future mold problems.

To schedule an appointment for professional mold prevention services or remediation, call RCS in Santa Rosa.



rain on window

Mold Exist in Cold Weather?

It’s very common to experience mold problems during hot summer months when heat and humidity are at their worst.

But did you know that mold doesn’t take a break during cooler months?

Unfortunately, mold is an issue that can appear at any time of the year.

Here’s how mold makes its way indoors even in cooler seasons and what you can do to stop it.

Relentless Mold

Even if the temperatures outside go no lower than 60 degrees, as long as there’s enough moisture or humidity, it thrives.

Because mold can grow in places you might not normally check in on, like the attic or in walls, it might go undetected and result in a serious mold problem.

Mold can be relentless because while it grows in places that are hard to detect, it’s also nearly impossible to find a place where there isn’t some stage of mold.

The problem with the fungus known as mold is that it grows and spreads via airborne mold spores. Mold spores often and easily become airborne, drift through the air, settle and grow.

It doesn’t need heat to do the job. This process occurs whether temperatures are warm or cold.

How Mold Affects Your Health and Home

If you are suffering from allergy symptoms like itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, or finding it difficult to breathe, it might not be just a common, seasonal cold.

While it’s unsettling to think that there’s undetected mold growing in your home, it happens.

Allergic reactions to mold and mold spores are bad enough, but it can really be serious for anyone with compromised immune systems or suffers from upper respiratory issues.

Mold is also very destructive throughout the home as it can cause rotting and decomposition of carpeting, furniture, clothing, wood, and other structural components.

Cracks or leaks in the roof causing wet insulation or poorly insulated plumbing pipes can cause condensation, excess moisture or humid conditions which are prime conditions for mold.

Drafty window frames are another great spot for condensation and humidity which are also prime spots to watch for mold.

Cold Weather Mold Prevention

Because prevention is so much better than dealing with a mold infestation, here are some tips for preventing cold weather mold.

  • Inspect your home for any leaks, moisture, or humidity hot spots such as HVAC ductwork, around windows, under kitchen and bathroom sinks and any exposed plumbing pipes. Repair these leaks immediately and make sure that surrounding areas are completely dried and sanitized.
  • For small patches of developing mold (under 10 square feet), clean it away with a mixture of diluted bleach or vinegar.
  • Check the attic for humidity and condensation. Repair any issues with leaks, gaps, or cracks.
  • Replace inadequate, damaged, wet, or missing insulation.
  • Repair any circulation or ventilation issues in the attic.
  • Adjust the thermostat to reduce humidity during cooler temperatures.


Don’t let mold invade your home during this season’s cooler temperatures.

For all your mold questions, issues or remediation needs in Sonoma Valley, be sure to call RCS. Our mold remediation specialists can restore your home to a safe, healthy, and mold-free condition no matter what season of the year.

Buckled Wood Flooring

How Neglecting a Crawlspace Impacts Indoor Flooring

While it’s not the most pleasant place to hang out, the crawlspace under your home may provide answers as to why you have cracked tiles, bouncy, creaky and/or sagging floors inside your home.

Here’s how and why a neglected crawlspace causes damage to your flooring.

Crawlspace Inspections

When checking out your crawlspace, it’s not hard to find problems with moisture, humidity, inadequate venting, vapor barrier or air circulation.

However, one of the most overlooked but important areas to check are the supports and crawlspace ceiling joists for signs of weakness, mold, and damage.

Crawlspace Issues Leading to Indoor Flooring Damage

There are a number of reasons why joists and support beams in the crawlspace cause damage inside.

  • Inadequate number of support beams or poor joist spacing
  • Shifting and settling
    Settling of support beams under your home, especially if built on clay soil, consistently expand with excess water and contract when dry. Shifting soil causes support piers or posts to move enough to cause the floor joists to sag, which in turn causes damage and sagging to interior floors.
  • Old beams that simply fail over time due to exposure to the elements.

Potential Interior Damage from a Crawlspace

Damage may include noticeable gaps or spaces in the flooring itself, around the baseboards or the area from the floor to the wall.

Uneven floors cause hazards such as tripping or other injury, overall safety and structural integrity, and a decrease in home value.

Because support beams in the crawlspace tend to hold up better around its perimeter, you’ll notice floors sagging more in the middle areas of your home.

Along with damage to your floors, excessive moisture in the crawlspace also results in unpleasant odors, higher energy bills, humidity issues inside the home and dangerous exposure to mold.

Crawlspace Solutions to Prevent Future Damage

For starters, here are some things to consider for prevention of further damage caused by inferior crawlspace support:

  • Repair or replace damaged joists and support beams
  • Add additional joists to crawlspace ceiling to provide more support for interior floors
  • Encapsulate a dirt floor to control excessive humidity, moisture, and water
  • Add or replace a vapor barrier
  • Improve venting, air flow and circulation in crawlspace


Don’t put off needed repairs to the structural support located in your crawlspace before the rainy season hits.

For more solutions to address the damage, moisture, and mold issues that wrecked or compromised the floors and overall support of your home, don’t delay in calling RCS for a thorough crawlspace inspection, cleanup and safety plan.

crawl space insulation

Understanding Crawl Space Insulation

If you have standing water or high levels of moisture in and around your crawl space, it may be time to check the insulation.

Keeping the crawl space properly insulated not only protects any equipment stored there, but goes a long way to resolve and prevent the many problems excess water can mean for you.

Here are some things to know about a properly insulated crawl space.

Problems Caused by Standing Water in the Crawl Space

Standing water in the crawl space is a common headache for homeowners in Sonoma County. Excess water, even moisture or high humidity in the crawl space presents the following problems for your home:

  • Mold and mildew growth
  • Wood rot and decay; compromise structural integrity of home foundation
  • Attracts insects and rodents such as termites and rats
  • Potential costly structural repairs
  • Less energy efficient
  • Lower home value

Inspecting the Crawl Space

Using a strong flashlight, thoroughly inspect the entire crawl space. Obvious signs of potential water problems will be puddles or standing water.

Check for water stains on joists or wet wooden support beams.

If it smells musty, that’s a sure sign of mold growth and highly likely there’s too much moisture or water getting into the crawl space.

Identifying the Water Source

It’s important to find the source of water problems in the crawl space.

High humidity levels are common, especially during the rainy season. Homes located near water are prone to higher humidity in the air which easily seeps into the crawl space. Spaces without the protection of a vapor barrier are at greater risk for damage due to humidity.

Groundwater can either come up from the ground when water tables are high or flood and overflow into the crawl space.

Other water sources may be due to broken or leaky pipes, plumbing fixtures or water supply pipes which allow water to drip or drain into the crawl space.

Outside factors include poor grading around foundation of home and inadequate or clogged gutters and downspouts.

Insulating a Crawl Space

Although you can do a project like this yourself, it’s a potentially involved project that may be better handled by professionals who know how to clean, dry, and protect crawl spaces.

Professionals also know how to manage exposure to challenges in the crawl space such as insects, rodents, feces, sharp materials, rocks or mold. In addition, pros can more easily identify the cause of the water issues and know proper insulation strategies that can eliminate or minimize issues going forward.

The insulation process includes steps to stop water from entering the crawl space and to keep the area dry.

  • Remove any existing water vapor barrier
  • Thoroughly dry out crawl space
  • Trench around the interior perimeter of the crawl space
  • Lay drainpipe in the trench to catch water and drain into a sump pump pit, from which the sump pump/discharge pipe pumps the water away from the crawl space
  • Cover the trench/drainpipes with gravel
  • Install sump pump and water discharge pipe
  • Install rigid foam board insulation and/or a new vapor barrier, which prevents water vapors from escaping from the ground reducing the risk of mold and mildew problems
  • Ventilation measures (such as fan vents) installed for cross ventilation to keep crawl space dry


For homeowners, crawl spaces come along with unique issues and challenges.

Whether it makes more sense to insulate with foam board and vapor barrier or an insulation inspection calls for updated ventilation measures, call RCS in Santa Rosa, your crawl space specialists serving Sonoma County.