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Tag Archives: Mold

Mold in walls, floors, under sinks, and in crawl spaces can be a health hazard. RCS provides full mold removal and prevention services for commercial and residential properties.

crawlspace under home

Is Your Crawlspace Contaminated?

Odds are, you probably don’t spend a whole lot of time in your crawlspace

But if you find yourself sneezing, coughing or noticing a musty smell coming from an unknown source, it’s time to check out your crawlspace for contamination.

How Crawlspaces Become Contaminated

There are several ways your crawlspace may become contaminated:

  • Insufficient Insulation

Over 1/3 of your indoor air rises up through the crawlspace. If the crawlspace is not properly insulated, expect to pay higher energy bills. Non-insulated spaces also tend to attract more insects, rodents and mold.

  • Improper or Missing Vapor Barrier

Since vapor barriers protect from excess moisture and humidity, they significantly decrease the odds of mold growth. Vapor barriers also provide protection from insects and rodents, while keeping indoor temperatures more stable and comfortable.

  • Excessive moisture, humidity, and/or water
  • Condensation on plumbing pipes
  • Insufficient vents and air circulation
  • Rodent excrement, nests, or infestations 

Signs of a Contaminated Crawlspace

When checking your crawlspace, look for these signs for what could result in potential contamination:

  • Visual inspection for damaged or missing insulation, vents, or vapor barrier
  • Damage to wooden joists, structural or support beams
  • Rodent damage caused by chewing through electrical lines or insulation
  • Standing pools of water
  • Visible mold
  • No encapsulation of a dirt floor crawlspace

Negative Effects of a Contaminated Crawlspace

As long as the crawlspace goes unchecked or stays as is, the odds of contamination increase. 

Here are some of the negative effects of a contaminated crawlspace:

Poor Air Quality

Since air from the crawlspace rises up and into your home, breathing in air particles containing dried rodent excrement or mold spores and mycotoxins on wooden beams, walls or the crawlspace ceiling can cause or aggravate existing health conditions such as asthma or allergies. The air can literally make you sick.

Higher Energy Costs

If your crawlspace lacks adequate insulation, you’re losing money every month on your heating and/or cooling bills. The furnace and air conditioner have to work longer and harder to keep your home comfortable due to conditioned air escaping through the crawlspace.

Structural Damage Inside the Home

If mold and water damage the ceiling of your crawlspace, it will eventually affect the integrity of your home’s subfloor and flooring above.

Additionally, damage to wooden support beams and posts compromise the very foundation of your home.

Rodent Damage

From using insulation for a nest to chewing through electrical wires to leaving behind urine and feces, critter proofing and protecting your crawlspace as much as possible helps keep rodent residency and destruction to a minimum.

Conclusion

To prevent the damage and negative impact of a contaminated crawlspace, take a look to see what’s going on down there.

If you spot problems with insulation, structure, water, mold, or any other potential contamination factors, don’t hesitate to bring in professionals.

To identify and eliminate contamination and restore your crawlspace to a clean, healthy condition, call the crawlspace cleanup experts at RCS to schedule an inspection today.

pumpkins in field

Fall Decorating and Mold

Decorating your home with pumpkins and gourds is a great way to welcome in the fall season.
While these autumn fruits are a staple in fall decorating, they also present an opportunity to introduce mold into your home.

Find out what you can do to prevent a mold problem from ruining your fall decorating displays.

How Fall Decorating is a Mold Threat

As you bring those fall fruits into your home, they will begin to rot.

Pumpkins and gourds rot quickly because they are exposed to all the outdoor moisture, bacteria and dirt needed for them to grow. Additionally, trace amounts of mold are already on the pumpkins and gourds out there in the field.

Without some kind of treatment, the fresh fruits will decay and when that happens, it gives mold an opportunity to grow. Your fruit may no longer be ripe, but the conditions for mold are.
The problem with active mold is that it contains and releases tiny particles known as mycotoxins and spores, which easily become airborne and spread throughout your home.

The best course of defense against decay and mold growth in this situation is to remove as much of that dirt, bacteria, and moisture as possible from the fruit before decorating.

Preventing Seasonal Mold

Before carving those jack-o-lanterns or putting pumpkins or gourds on display, treat them with a simple solution to delay rotting and mold.

Treating fall fruit is easy and you probably already have all of the ingredients for the cleaning mixture at home.

Cleaning Mixture for Treating Fall Fruits

The mixture is a combination of one gallon water, two tablespoons of bleach and a drop of liquid dish soap. Mix together in the kitchen sink or a bucket.

Soak gourds and pumpkins in the mixture for 30 minutes. Note that pumpkins and gourds don’t need to be completely soaked and submerged, just thoroughly cleaned, including the stem.

Periodically roll pumpkins around to evenly coat the fruit.

After cleaning, rinse the gourds and pumpkins well and dry completely.

For an extra layer of protection, lightly spray with a clear protective sealant and let dry completely.

Eliminating Mold from Fall Decorating

The best way to combat mold is to try to prevent it. If it’s too late for that, treat the mold with vinegar or a mixture of bleach and water.

While bleach is typically the go to mold killer and disinfectant, vinegar usually works better to clean mold from porous surfaces such as tables, shelves, or countertops.

Bleach

Combine 1 cup of bleach with 1 cup of water. Mix well, pour into a spray bottle. Saturate mold with mixture, let soak for 30 minutes. Rinse and dry well. Repeat as needed.

Vinegar

Use undiluted white distilled vinegar in a spray bottle and saturate moldy areas. Let soak, rinse thoroughly and let air dry.

Always protect yourself with gloves and a mask when treating mold.

If areas affected by mold exceed 10 square feet, call a mold remediation company to safely treat and eliminate the mold.

Conclusion

While decorating is fun and gets you into the autumn spirit, it also comes with risks for mold contamination.

In Sonoma County, call the go-to mold remediation specialists at RCS. No matter how it makes its way into your home, RCS is here to resolve all of your mold issues.

wall with cracks

Why a Cracked Foundation is Dangerous

Even in the most solidly built home, there may eventually come a day when you notice small cracks in the foundation.

Maybe there is water leaking in or unfortunately, a musty, moldy smell permeates into everything stored in the basement.

Those seemingly innocent small cracks can lead to bigger and in some cases, dangerous conditions.

When Cracks Need Professional Attention

Minor hairline cracks in the foundation may not be a big deal. As long as they don’t become larger or start spreading to other areas.

Typically, once a crack becomes larger than 1/16 of an inch is the time to call for inspection and repair. Once the cracks become larger, it means the potential for more extensive and expensive damage may be right around the corner. A professional inspection will let you know for sure.
The danger of large cracks is that eventually, they can cause the concrete foundation to begin crumbling and deteriorating. The larger the crack, particularly if forming at an angle, the potential for damage to your foundation increases.

Cracks can also allow the foundation to shift. When shifting begins, you’ll have a harder time opening and closing doors and windows because the structure of your foundation has been compromised.

Potential for Water Damage

You don’t have to be a foundation repair expert to know that where there are cracks, there is the potential for moisture and water to seep into your home.

After a heavy rain, you may notice the basement is damp or even flooded depending on the foundation damage.

If left unchecked, excessive water causes a lot of damage to foundations. Water weakens foundation walls which may result in bulging, further cracking or even buckling.

Mold

On top of that, where there is excessive moisture, dampness and water, there is an increased potential for mold.

While mold can be extremely dangerous for those with respiratory issues, it is also extremely damaging to your home.

From carpeting to furniture to personal belongings, once mold begins growing on these items, they will be destroyed unless properly dried, cleaned, and disinfected.

Mold also wreaks havoc on a home’s structural components, eating away at wood and corroding metal.

Active mold releases airborne mold spores especially when disturbed. These mold spores can spread throughout your home settling into places you can’t even see such as in foundation cracks/gaps, behind drywall, above ceilings, and under floors.

Professional Inspections and Repair

You don’t want your home placed in danger because you ignored what you thought was a small crack in the foundation.

The best course of action is to call a professional to inspect and analyze the situation. They can repair existing damage, offer solutions to divert water and help prevent future damage to your home.

Since it doesn’t take long for mold to set in and spread, the next call is to a professional mold remediation company, who can identify all sources of mold and properly remediate the situation.

Professional mold remediation restores the integrity of places in your basement where mold has already taken root and eliminates the spread. Not only does this save your home from the damaging effects of mold but restores air quality and eases health symptoms.

Conclusion

These are some of the reasons why a cracked foundation is dangerous.

For the all-too-common mold that goes along with foundation and water damage, reach out to a professional remediation company to get rid of destructive mold before it takes over.

In Santa Rosa and surrounding areas in Sonoma County, schedule an appointment with RCS. Our mold remediation specialists can thoroughly inspect and remediate mold in your home caused by foundation damage and more.

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

Conclusion

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.

moldy gutters

How to Prevent Moldy Gutters

Mold found anywhere in or around your home is not a welcome sight. When it comes to your gutters, the conditions don’t get much better for mold to grow and thrive.

Find out what causes mold to grow in your gutters and what you can do to prevent it.

Why Mold Grows in Your Gutters

If you have older gutters, you’ll notice that, many times, they are put together in pieces and sections. They are open to the elements and there is typically always moisture present.

All sorts of things land in the gutter from leaves, twigs, seeds, pollen, and dirt. As leaves and other yard debris sits in the gutters and stays wet, it’s all mold needs to settle in and grow.

Once mold takes hold in your gutters, it’s possible that it can grow and attach itself not only to your roof and fascia, but to your downspouts, siding, and exterior surfaces of your home.

Eventually, this leads to damage and destruction of your home.

Preventing Mold Growth in Your Gutters

Once yard debris bunches up and blocks the flow of water through the downspouts, there’s nowhere for the water to go.

Since there’s no real ventilation to dry up wet debris and gutters, mold takes root and spreads.

To prevent all of this, it’s very important to clean and maintain your gutters a couple of times per year in spring and fall.

Clear the Gutters

Remove anything that’s been wet and sitting in the gutters, including rotting yard debris that blocks water flow.

Clean the Gutters

Once the gutters have been cleared, they need to be cleaned.

You can clean with a DIY solution by mixing 1 cup of bleach with a teaspoon of dish soap in a quart of water. Using a scrub brush, pour the solution into the gutters and clean thoroughly.

Dip the brush into the solution and scrub the outside of the gutters, fascia and any other areas that are black with visible mold.

You can also purchase a commercial gutter cleaner that attaches to your hose and can be sprayed directly into the gutters to clean up and kill any existing mold.

Gutter Repairs

Inspect your gutters during spring and fall for leaks, anything growing in the gutters, and any visible branches, bulging or pooling water.

Noticeable leaks or cracks need to be repaired immediately because excess water allowed to drip down the exterior or pool in a gutter or downspout encourages mold growth.

Active, spreading mold can and will cause expensive and potentially extensive damage to your home.

Conclusion

While clogged gutters cause damage on their own, remember that growing mold left unchecked can cause damage to your gutters, roof, fascia and exterior of your home.

For help getting a mold problem under control, call the experts at RCS in Santa Rosa at 707-570-0555. We have the solutions to all of your mold issues.

 

dog sleeping

How Mold Affects Your Pets

In recent years, there’s been more evidence pointing to the negative impact mold has on your physical health, especially those with compromised respiratory and/or immune systems.

Negative responses to mold include anything from red, watery eyes to a full-blown asthma attack and everything in between.

While it’s easy to see how humans respond to mold, what if any affect does mold have on your pets? Here are some ways pets may experience exposure to mold.

Exposure

There are several ways your pets can be exposed to toxic mold.

Breathing

Mold spores are airborne and undetectable to the eye. Just like humans can breathe in airborne spores, it’s just as easy for a pet to breath them in, too. The smaller the pet, the less inhalation of mold spores it takes to make them sick or suffer other physical reactions.

Ingestion

Especially in humid climates or indoor conditions, mold spores can settle and grow in your pet’s food. All it takes to ingest unhealthy mold spores is for them to lap up the exposed pet food.

Pets have a tendency to get into the garbage and if they do, can easily eat moldy food or other items in the garbage with active, growing mold.

Another way for pets to ingest mold is by grooming. As they lick their paws or clean their fur, any traces of mold spores in their fur picked up during the day is ingested by basic grooming practices.

Direct Contact

Because of their size and natural curiosity, pets may unintentionally spend time in areas where mold is more likely to grow.

A litter box kept in a damp basement or a pet spending time in any mold-loving, dark, musty or humid space (like a crawl space) increases the risk of exposure to active growing mold.

Reactions

A reaction to mold exposure varies from pet to pet, much like it does in humans. Some pets may have more severe reactions than others.

Typically, mold exposure shows up in three different ways:

Respiratory Symptoms

If your pet suffers from these respiratory symptoms, it’s possible they’ve been exposed to mold.

  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing/coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy/fatigue

Allergic Symptoms

Allergic symptoms to mold exposure may include:

  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose/nasal discharge
  • Sneezing/coughing
  • Skin rash or sores
  • Excessive itching/scratching/biting/licking
  • Fur loss/bald spots from excessive scratching and biting

Toxic Exposure Symptoms

If your pet becomes obviously or seriously ill, they may be experiencing a reaction to toxic (black) mold exposure:

  • Lethargy/fatigue
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Shaking/tremors/convulsions/seizures
  • Loss of normal functioning (diarrhea)
  • Behavioral changes

Solutions

If you notice these symptoms or reactions in your pets, take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible for a thorough exam and diagnosis. Be sure to mention to the vet that mold exposure may be a possibility for their symptoms.

The goal is always to prevent mold from developing in the first place to keep your family and pets safe from the physical effects of mold exposure.

Some ways to prevent mold in your home:

  • Keep all areas of the home dry by using a dehumidifier, fixing leaky pipes and repairing areas where excessive condensation forms (windows, doors).
  • Seal drafty windows and doors to keep moisture and humidity from getting inside.
  • Check for musty smells, which indicates mold growth.
  • Clean and treat moldy areas
  • Make sure home is well ventilated.

If mold keeps coming back, you experience flooding or encounter problems with excessive humidity and moisture, call in a professional mold remediation company for an inspection and mold treatment recommendations.

Conclusion

Exposure to mold can be a very serious health risk for both you and your pets.

While prevention is ideal, there is help if you have a new or recurring mold issue in your home. Don’t wait until you or your pets experience mold exposure health symptoms. In Santa Rosa, call the professionals at RCS to schedule an inspection and a mold remediation plan customized for you.