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Tag Archives: Standing Water

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.


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.

rodent pest

Common Warm Weather Pests and How to Get Rid of Them

While summer has its benefits, it also has a few downsides. One of the most common is the emergence of various pests. These not only are annoying to deal with but can sometimes cause serious structural damage. Below you’ll discover some to watch out for and how you can prevent them from getting near your home.

3 Regular Summer Pests

Ticks: Ticks might be small but they can cause serious problems, including Lyme disease. While they don’t necessarily cause structural damage, they can populate quickly. Because of this, if they enter your home you’ll notice they’ll spread swiftly through it.

Termites: Termites are yet another problem to watch out for. Known for their voracious appetite, these insects will slowly eat away at your home’s structure. This can cause it to shift and eventually crumble.

Ants: As with termites, ants can wear down your residence’s foundation. They enjoy wood and will build their nests in it. They’ll also send out brigades in search of water and food. Because of this, you might notice a large presence in your bathroom or kitchen.

How to Prevent Them

If you want to make sure to avoid having to deal with these pesky creatures keep these tips in mind.

Remove Standing Water: Many insects thrive with water puddles. These give them space to lay eggs. It also keeps them hydrated during the hot weather. By sweeping away the standing water or filling holes with gravel, you can naturally decrease their population.

Seal Cracks: Some pests will sneak into cracks to enter your home. This gives them the ability to walk through your walls and find an adequate area to make a nest. If you don’t catch them in time, they’ll quickly spread throughout your living space.

To avoid this, inspect your crawl space and foundation for cracks. You might also want to examine your windows and doors for any crevices. If you notice some, spread some caulking over them.

Clear Garbage and Waste: You’ll also want to be diligent at getting rid of loose garbage and other debris around your home. These can serve as both a food source and hiding spot for these pests.

If you must keep these items outside, make sure to place debris in thick trash bags. You’ll also want to do a thorough cleaning of the containers and area every so often.

Warm weather can unfortunately result in many unsightly and sometimes dangerous creatures. If you suspect your home might have some, contact RCS in Sonoma County. We’ll send a team out to inspect your residence and get to work eliminating any traces of them.

Basement Flooding: What To Do

Basement Flooding: What To Do

Basement flooding, you never expect it and you can't really prepare for it. Unexpected issues happen all the time in homes, but a basement flood is not only unexpected, it can also be very dangerous.

Turn It Off

The absolute first thing that you need to do when your basement floods is to shut off any power and gas into the basement. The importance of this can not be stated strongly enough. If you do not know where your shutoffs are call an electrician before entering the basement.

Wear Protective Gear

Once you are sure the water is safe from electrical or gas dangers, you should still put on protective gear before entering the water. Wearing gloves and boots or waders is advised. The water you are walking in is likely going to be grey water but could easily be black water, depending on the source. Until you are sure what type of flooding you are dealing with, take all precautions.

Stop The Water, Fast

It is important that you identify the location of where the water is entering your home as soon as you are able. If the water is entering from a broken pipe, shut off the water. Check your drains as well to ensure they are unclogged. Determine the extent of damage to your basement with the knowledge that time is against you in the cleanup process. If the water is greywater and not black water you will have 48 hours to remove the water as well as clean and dry everything. If you are unable to do this, you need to seek out the help of a professional cleaning service for the safety of your home and family.

Clean Or Have It Cleaned

If it something you can clean yourself, read our steps on this other post. If not, look to the next paragraph.

A professional team will arrive on scene and begin removing all standing water from your home. Any and all water damaged items and furniture will be removed and dried off entirely. If the basement is carpeted, it will likely need to be removed as it can prove difficult to dry and any moisture that it could hold can promote mold growth. Additionally any wet drywall will likely need to be replaced. Often with flooding, dirt will infiltrate the basement and any contaminated dirt will need to be removed from your basement and crawlspaces.

In any case of serious flooding we strongly suggest calling in a professional team of experts to restore your home to the its pre-flood condition of safety, comfort, and appearance. Time is not your friend in a flood situation and after the first 48 hours when the water becomes black, a whole host of mold and bacteria begin to settle on the flood site. If not properly cleaned, this can become issues that can hurt your family's health for years to come.

Grey Water Damage and Clean Up

Some of you might be asking yourselves right now “What is Grey Water?” The answer to that question is any water from the overflow of household appliances like washers or dishwashers is considered to be grey water. Also, some flooding can be classified as grey water. Grey water is considered to be partially biologically contaminated waters. Given enough time grey water can become a much more dangerous black water if the appropriate action is not taken to clean it in time.

Sullage Cleanup

Grey water is also know as Sullage. Sullage is dangerous to individuals with weak immune systems. It is also not suggested anyone with asthma or allergies should not take part in the clean up of sullage. Sullage can be safely cleaned up by most adults, if you take the precautions to use rubber gloves and safety glasses. It is also a good idea to consider wearing long pants and long sleeved shirts as well as a mask when cleaning grey water. Avoid getting grey water on your skin to ensure you do not spread any microbes that may be in the water.

Black Water

As mentioned earlier, time is of the essence when cleaning greywater. If grey water contamination is not cleaned up in the first 48 hours, it becomes black water. Black water cleaning is far more intensive and often requires the removal of anything that the water could soak into and form mold. Everything from carpets to drywall needs to be replaced in black water flooding. That is why it is essential to move with haste when you have grey water flooding and clean the affected area thoroughly.

With time working against you in situations of grey water flooding, it is always wise to consider calling in professional assistance. Never underestimate the task at hand as grey water cleaning is not just removing the water and mopping up. All fabrics need to be removed, cleaned thoroughly and dried out. If you have any doubt that you were able to completely clean any fabrics, it is strongly encouraged you just opt to throw them out.

In the days following cleanup, it is recommended to continue to keep an eye on the area. At any signs of mold or excess moisture, call professional assistance. Post-flooded areas that were not properly cleaned are perfect environments for bacteria and molds to colonize and grow.

Providing Solutions for Potential Summertime Disasters

Providing Solutions for Potential Summertime Disasters


Summer is upon us here in the Petaluma area, so it’s a good time to take a look at preparedness measures for dealing with the effects of natural and environmental disasters that might plague us during these hot summer months.


From 1950 to 2010 there have been over 100 floods within 50 miles of Petaluma. On top of that, Petaluma and unincorporated areas of Sonoma County are in a FEMA designated flood zone. While flooding from storms impacting Petaluma River and its tributaries are primarily a winter phenomenon, with today’s increasing unpredictability in weather patterns it’s a good idea to know what to do in the event your home or business is flooded and you require emergency water extraction.


While Petaluma and the surrounding area is statistically less likely than other areas in the state to suffer the ravages of a major earthquake, it is still well above the national average so having a plan for the possible reconstruction of your home is well worth considering.


Again, Petaluma and surrounding areas are less likely to be impacted by a volcano than the state as a whole, but far more likely than the national average. This is yet another reason to maintain home reconstruction contingencies in your plans.

That covers most of the threats to the Petaluma area from natural disasters. But what about environmental ones?


With average July temperatures hovering over 80 degrees and periodic high levels of humidity, summer in Petaluma and surrounding areas are ripe for the possibility of mold taking hold and growing in your home. Unlike natural disasters, where the most we can usually do by way of preparedness pertains to assembling supplies and mapping out evacuation plans, mold is a potential disaster that is preventable, though once it has taken hold, it needs to be removed and remediated.



What to Expect: Reconstruction After Water Damage

Getting rid of standing water inside of a house can be chore all of its own. Once complete, a homeowner can often be left with a loss of words concerning all the work that still needs to be done as a result of the flood. Because of the seriousness of water damage, a professional is often needed to in order to repair the damage. More often than not, there is more to be done than a home owner may realize.

Standing water not only does severe damage to the surface of the flooded area, it can also penetrate beneath the floor and the walls of the house. You may have electrical issues created by the water that can only be fixed properly by replacing damaged electric lines, wires, and outlets that were affected by the water. By not taking the time and spending the money to correctly repair the damage, you could be setting yourself up to experience more severe problems and issues later in the future.

Issues and problems with the plumbing may also be a result of the flood. You will want to have a professional check for any leaks, cracks, or other damage throughout your water lines. Not taking anything away from the knowledge of the everyday homeowner, but there can often be damage that you wouldn’t know existed within the plumbing unless you had been properly trained to look for it.

Along with carpet, tile, and hardwood flooring, there may also be a need to repair or place some of the floors structuring. There is often damage to the woodwork within the walls surrounding the area of the flooding. This should be repaired properly as soon as possible in order to prevent the damage from getting worse as times goes on. Sometimes a fresh coat of paint will do the trick and nothing else needs to be done. However, the majority of the time, wood and materials within the sub flooring and wall structure will need to be replaced right away. If you do not have the proper knowledge to make the decision on your own, take the time to have a pro who handles flooding situations on a regular biases come and evaluate the damage. Be smart about who you allow into your home and hire to do the work. Ask friends and neighbors and check references through sites such as Angie’s List before you sign a contract of pay for the work to be completed.