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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.

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.

couple with keys to house

Renters, Landlords and Mold

There’s nothing more frustrating as a renter than dealing with a rental unit with mold issues. On the other hand, it’s frustrating for a landlord to deal with recurring mold issues and unhappy tenants.

Here’s what you need to know about resolving mold problems for both renters and landlords.

Why Toxic Mold is a Concern

Black toxic mold is concerning because of all the health issues it causes and worsens. Especially susceptible are those suffering from upper respiratory issues including allergies and asthma. If you are exposed to toxic black mold, here are just some of the symptoms you may experience:

  • Watery, itchy eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing, coughing, wheezing
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath, breathing difficulties

Mold grows and thrives in damp, humid spaces and is often found in areas like basements and attics. Poor ventilation makes matters even worse.

Certain things can cause mold to grow in previously safe areas which can be anything from an undetected leaky pipe to a flood.

It’s not just the visible mold that’s a problem, but also the tiny mold spores which are present on visible mold. These mold spores easily become airborne, breathed in and cause potential health issues.

Mold can also cause property and structural damage, in addition to the presence of a strong, permeating musty odor.

Landlord Responsibilities

In California, legislation regarding the Toxic Mold Protection Act of 2001 was signed into law. Among disclosures and other things, the act requires all landlords provide their renters with a booklet on mold, which was available for distribution effective January 1, 2022.

A landlord’s first and foremost responsibility is to take the effects of black mold seriously and take steps to properly remediate the mold.

When presenting a lease to a tenant, the landlord should disclose any conditions that may lead to moldy conditions such as previous water damage or dampness, in addition to visible mold or a moldy smell. A landlord should be prepared to honestly answer any questions the tenant has about ventilation, moisture/humidity and plumbing in the building.

The wet, rainy seasons in California and properties near water are susceptible for more humidity and conditions for mold.

As a landlord, take advantage of some of the available tools for controlling humidity and discouraging mold:

  • Improve ventilation in areas with stagnant air or spaces lacking proper ventilation.
  • Use dehumidifiers to suck up the extra moisture and humidity in the air, helping to keep damp spaces dry.
  • Install a hygrometer to help keep tabs on humidity levels in the building, ideally keeping levels at 50% or less. As a bonus, since humidity attracts insects and pests, keeping levels down can help with pest control efforts, too.
  • Install exhaust fans in kitchens and bathroom to help remove excess moisture in these two high humidity areas.
  • Perform regular inspections, or ask renters to do so, to make sure there aren’t any leaks. Areas to check are under sinks, around faucet seals, toilets and dishwashers. Small undetected leaks can lead to pooling water and the higher risk for mold and other water damage issues.
  • Check out the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for further action and recommendations.

What You Can do as a Renter

If the mold problem is minor or even to keep up with things until a professional mold remediation company comes in, here are some steps you can take to keep your space free from lower air quality, property damage and make it healthier:

  • Close windows on hot, humid days.
  • Use exhaust fans in the bathroom while showering and in the kitchen while cooking.
  • Wipe showers/tile/walls (any areas with condensation) down after showering to remove excess moisture.
  • Keep bathroom door closed after showering to keep humidity from circulating through your space.
  • Avoid leaving wet clothes or towels on beds, furniture or in hampers.

If you’ve been trying to contact your landlord about mold-related issues in your rental with no response, you can reach out to the local building inspections or health department to report the them.

When you signed the lease, the landlord agreed to provide what’s known as an “implied warranty of habitability,” which basically means you are going to get a space that’s suitable to live in without risks to your health and well-being.

Some tenants may choose to withhold rent until the problem is resolved or take care of remediation efforts themselves and deduct costs from the agreed-upon rent, but that is risky. If you choose either of those options, it’s possible for you to face eviction or other legal action.

Keeping yourself healthy and safe is priority one and hopefully, your landlord will agree and take preventative and on-going measures to keep the space free of mold. In some cases, the best course of action to combat inaction is to move to a healthier rental when you can.

Conclusion

Taking aggressive action to prevent conditions for mold growing and thriving in your rental unit or building goes a long way to keep both landlords and renters happy and healthy.

In Sonoma County, call the experts at RCS to address all of your water removal and mold remediation needs.

wood rot under home

The Danger of Mold and Wood Rot After Water Damage

One of the more dangerous things that can happen to a homeowner is to experience water damage.

Whether caused by heavy rains, a failed sump pump or an undetected leaking pipe, water damage is quite simply, devastating.

It compromises the very structural integrity of your home, in addition to causing permanent damage or loss of personal items.

If not cleaned and dried quickly, mold and wood rot sets in and causes even more extensive damage.

The Dangers of Mold Due to Water Damage

If water damage is not completely dried and cleaned, mold can set in within days.

The deceiving part of DIY drying and cleaning after water damage is that areas that appear to be clean and dry are really not.

Interior and exterior walls and flooring are capable of retaining moisture inside even though appearing outwardly dry.

It takes a professional mold remediation company to be able to spot these hidden areas and make sure everything is completely dry.

Mold grows quickly under damp conditions. Once mold takes over, it produces mold spores and when disturbed, these mold spores become airborne and spread to other areas throughout your home.

When mold spores become airborne, they are easily inhaled and spell disaster for anyone suffering from compromised immune systems, asthma, allergies, or other lung afflictions.

The Dangers of Wood Rot Due to Water Damage

Wood rot is what happens when mold and mildew settle into any wooden structure or surface.

Over time, mold grows and eats away at moist, water-soaked wood. As mold grows and eats away at more of the wood, it causes serious and expensive structural damage to your home.

When wood rot sets in, nothing short of replacing the rotted wood and calling in a professional mold remediation team can fix the problem.

Wood rot commonly shows up in interior and exterior walls, attics, basements and crawlspaces.

Other than flooding, an undetected water leak through cracks in the foundation, clogged gutters, holes in the roof or uninsulated/unprotected concrete or dirt crawlspace floors are prime spots for the formation of mold and wood rot.

Preventing Mold and Wood Rot

The best way to prevent mold and wood rot damage is to find and nip water problems in the bud before they turn into bigger, more expensive and dangerous structural issues.

  • If you notice a musty odor in certain areas of your home, there is mold growing somewhere in the area.
  • Pay close attention to and immediately repair any leaks, drips, cracks or clogged gutters and downspouts.
  • Check crawlspaces and watch for wood damage or moist, damp conditions.
  • Use treated wood or completely seal any structural repairs or remodeling projects requiring wood.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, these are serious issues best handled by professionals.

For inspection, repair and restoration, call in the professionals at RCS. Let our years of experience work for you to fix the structural and eliminate the health risks that come along with mold and wood rot due to water damage.

windows

How to Get Rid of Mold on Windowsills

During periods of heavy rain or seasonal changes that bring extra moisture, windowsills are one of the most susceptible areas for mold to grow.

Black mold is not only unattractive but can make existing lung and breathing such as asthma and allergies worse.

What’s more, if the mold stays on the windowsills for extended periods of time, it can damage and rot away the wood not only on the sills but around the entire frame of your windows.

Here are some ways you can keep on top of and prevent destructive mold on your windowsills.

Where Does Mold on Windowsills Come From?

Windowsills in bathrooms and kitchens are primary locations for mold growth. This is due to excess condensation that tends to form on the windows. Moisture is trapped and ultimately leaks down to rest on the bottom of the window and sills.

Condensation and extra moisture also affects the wood and window frames, which may be covered by blinds or other window treatments. This is why windowsills are the most noticeable areas of black mold.

If you leave your windows open to get some fresh air circulating throughout your home, but humidity or rain continue to leave windowsills damp, odds increase for mold growth.

If window seals are broken or your windows are old and drafty, it’s easy for moisture to get into these areas and create a perfect breeding ground for mold.

Watch high risk bathroom and kitchen windows for condensation and signs of mold, followed by Immediate clean up. These are keys to fighting off further mold growth and potential damage to window frames and sills.

Locate and Fix Causes of the Mold

The best way to combat mold growth on your windowsills is to find and correct the source of moisture.

Possible sources of excess moisture and condensation may be caused by:

  • Failing gutters, roof
  • Leaky pipes
  • Old, damaged windows
  • Excess humidity, moisture, condensation, steam
  • Improper air circulation, ventilation and/or airflow

Safety Precautions when Cleaning Mold on Windowsills

Because mold can cause or make health conditions worse, always wear protective clothing to cover as much skin as possible, eye protection, rubber gloves and a face mask or respirator.

Remember that when cleaning mold, mold spores become airborne which may cause discomfort and irritation to your eyes, skin and affect your lungs and breathing.

Cleaning Moldy Windowsills

While harsh commercial cleaning products and bleach work well to kill mold at the root, there are safer, more natural ways to effectively remove mold on smaller areas such as around the windowsills.

Vinegar

Due to the acidic nature of common white vinegar, it’s extremely effective in removing over 80% of various mold species at the root.

  • Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and spray entire area of mold. Don’t saturate the affected area, just spray generously enough to cover the mold.
  • Let stand for an hour to break down the mold and mold membrane.
  • Gently scrub the area with a brush and rinse with warm water.
  • Dry with a clean cloth and open window for a few minutes to let air dry.

Adding baking soda to the vinegar spray adds a power-boosting punch:

  • Mix equal amounts of vinegar and water with two parts baking soda until it forms a paste.
  • Brush the paste onto the moldy areas and let sit until paste is completely dry.
  • When dry, gently scrub area with a brush and rinse with warm water.
  • Wipe dry with a clean cloth and open window for a few minutes to air dry.

Natural Oils

Some natural oils such as tea tree oil, have an amazing level of anti-fungal and anti-bacterial components which kills mold at its source.

  • Mix together and generously spray (not saturate) the mold-infected area.
  • Let stand for a few hours or preferable, overnight.
  • Gently scrub area with a brush and rinse with warm water.
  • Wipe dry with a clean cloth and open window for a few minutes to air dry.

Prevention

The key to getting rid of mold is to prevent it from forming in the first place.

Here are some things to check and repair if mold on your windowsills keeps coming back:

  • Repair cracks, leaks, broken seals around your windows.
  • If high humidity is an issue in your home, use fans, air conditioning and dehumidifiers to keep humidity levels in check.
  • Run exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms to dry out excess moisture and condensation especially after showers or steamy cooking.
  • On breezy days, open windows for a few minutes to help keep things dry and improve fresh air flow inside your home.
  • Replace leaky or failing gutters and downspouts so water doesn’t drain down the house and pool inside window areas.

When to Call for Help

If the mold is contained to small areas (under 10 square feet) like windowsills, it’s OK for you to clean yourself while using proper safety precautions.

However, if the mold is a recurring problem or it spreads despite your best efforts, call in a mold remediation specialist for an inspection.

A professional mold remediation specialist can locate the potential causes of a recurring mold problem and has the ability to eliminate mold at its root.

Remember that if mold spores have spread around your home, it won’t take long for it to become a serious problem that becomes too much to handle.

Conclusion

When mold spreads or becomes a recurring issue in your home, don’t take chances with your safety and health.

In Sonoma County, call the mold remediation specialists at RCS. We are here to help you eliminate mold at its root.

Mold

How Fast Does Mold Grow?

When you notice something dark and dirty growing and spreading on your walls or furniture, especially in a damp area of your home, there’s a good chance you already have a serious mold problem.

If you’re not sure, but smell a strong, musty odor in the area, you have a mold problem for sure.

If it’s been an undetermined amount of time since you’ve noticed the growth and/or smell, you may wonder exactly how long the mold has been there.

Just how fast does mold grow?

Different Types of Mold

Different species of mold vary in appearance and rate at which they grow and spread.

For instance, the green mold that shows up on stale food is different from the green or black mold climbing up your bathroom walls, around windows or on ceilings.

That green, fuzzy mold that grows on food (i.e.; bread) is a type of fungus that feeds on the nutrients found in the food. The nutrients feed the mold spore colony that’s settled on your food and as it feeds, causes the mold to grow very quickly, or within a day or two.

The mold spores that result in “black mold” that’s common to find in basements and bathrooms start to develop within hours and as long as conditions are right, continues to grow, spread and cause damage to what it’s attached to. The right conditions include high levels of humidity and moisture.

While often referred to as “black mold,” the dark color of fast-growing mold can range from a dark green or brown to dark gray or black.

Mold Spores and Colonizing

All types of mold start as tiny mold spores, which you cannot see. The spores form colonies and in damp conditions, spread fast.

By the time you can actually see the mold, what you are seeing are large clusters of mold spores which grow and spread on porous surfaces.

Even while you can’t see them, mold spores are colonizing and spreading quickly and continuously in moist conditions. Within about three weeks or less, you’ll be able to see the dark-colored mold.

The more unseen mold spores you have, the more areas mold can grow and spread.

This is why mold growth gives you a run for your money even if you think you’ve cleaned and disinfected the affected areas you’ve been able to see.

It’s also possible that while you are cleaning visible mold, the disturbed mold releases airborne mold spores that can settle anywhere in your home.

Why Growing Mold is Hazardous

Outside of the unappealing nature of visible mold, it presents very real health risks for those with allergies, asthma, compromised immune systems and lung conditions.

The scary part of incubating mold spores is that they are invisible to the naked eye and go undetected until it’s too late.

By the third week of undetected mold spores reproducing in damp conditions, it’s possible to have a mold infestation requiring professional inspection and removal services from a qualified mold remediation company.

Getting Professional Help

There are many different types of mold and effective removal methods depend on the type of mold. A professional mold removal company can identify the type of mold, how dangerous it is, get rid of it and prevent it from returning.

The professionals can perform an assessment of high risk conditions in your home that once fixed, prevent the return and invasion of mold in the future.

If after a thorough cleaning the mold comes back or spreads to other areas, call a professional mold removal company for safer and more permanent solutions.

If the moldy areas are too overwhelming or health conditions prevent you from further exposure to the mold, call in a professional mold removal company to clean up and treat the areas for you.

Conclusion

It might surprise you to learn about the lightening-fast speed at which mold begins to grow and spread.

To give your home a clean bill of health by treating and eliminating all types of mold, contact the experienced mold removal and remediation specialists at RCS in Santa Rosa, CA.