Fall Home Maintenance Projects and Landscaping Ideas to Prevent Water Damage to Your Home

Fall is an ideal time to get some home maintenance done, perform some checks on the exterior and interior of your home, and otherwise make sure everything is in good working order.  It’s also a great time of year for outdoor/yard work, including replanting, installing new beds or planters, trimming trees and brush, and more.  Both of these areas of fall housework can be leveraged to help protect your home from water damage, if you know what to do and how to do it.

While we don’t need to worry about snow and ice in Southern California, the rainy season of October to April is nearly upon us.  With the bulk of our annual rainfall happening during this period of time, along with cooler temperatures and generally higher humidity, its prime time for water damage to occur.  Storms and flash flooding are much more commonplace during the late fall, winter, and early spring months.  Now is the time to get prepared.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that homes need maintenance from regular wear and tear.  Leaky plumbing, damaged roofs, clogged gutters – these can all be devastating in terms of water damage potential.  Fall is a great time to conduct a kind of home check-up, and either directly address any maintenance concerns, or hire a contractor or expert to fix things up for you.  Not only will that ensure you get the most out of our home investment, but it will serve to minimize the potential for any water damage as we move into the rainy season. 

Likewise, there are some simple steps you can take with your landscaping and overall yard layout to help reduce the chances of water damage for your home.  Fall is a great time of year to make sure your yard is “fire ready” before the highest fire danger occurs, and you can take care of both fire and water concerns with a few well-planned landscaping projects and updates to your yard and surrounding areas. 

These are all easy projects you can knock out during a weekend or an evening or two, and most can also be completed by hired experts if you prefer that option.  We’ll tell you all you need to know about maintenance and landscaping to prevent water damage in our guide below.

Water Damage and Wood Flooring: What You Need to Know

Water is one of the fundamental necessities for life on this planet, and is a critical ingredient in many substances.  You, yourself, are almost 60% water.  We drink it, bathe in it, swim in it, eat food grown with it – the list goes on and on.  Considering how ubiquitous, essential, and common water is, it’s all the more amazing that it can also do such devastating damage.  Water is one of the biggest hazards in the home.  Unwanted moisture and water damage can contribute to a myriad of home problems, health problems, and can even render your home uninhabitable.

Today, we’re going to look specifically at water damage and wood flooring.  We’ll explore the sources of water damage that can have an impact on flooring.  Additionally, we’ll talk about the various categories of water damage, and how they dictate different levels of inspection, remediation, and restoration response. 

Then, we’ll look at what water does to wood floors, and talk a bit about the different kinds of wood floors and how they respond and handle this damage.  Next, we’ll focus on the key hazards created by water damage to wood flooring – not just physical and aesthetic problems, but much more serious health hazards like mold, mildew, bacteria, and fungal growth. 

Where Does Water Damage Come From?

Water damage can have a diverse range of causes, both natural and man-made.  In some cases, water damage is very obvious, from things like floods.  In other cases, signs may be less obvious, especially in the case of slow leaks from appliances and the like.  Some of the most common causes of water damage to wood flooring include, but are not limited to:

Further, we’ll look at the different steps for identifying water damage, inspecting for water damage, and hiring professionals to remediate and restore your wood flooring.  Finally, we’ll talk about one of the premiere testing companies who can help inspect and determine the extent and impact of water damage on your wood floors – FunGuy Inspections.  Read More >

  • Natural disasters such as excessive rainfall, hurricanes, and floods.
  • Leaking appliances, home heating and cooling systems, washer/dryer units, refrigerators, and similar.
  • Leaking plumbing lines in the home (common with fridge/freezer water/ice lines, older service lines, etc.).
  • Overflowing or leaking toilets, sinks, washer/dryers, showers, bathtubs, etc.
  • Catastrophic plumbing failures or other household incidents leading to large liquid releases.
  • Cracked foundation slabs allowing moisture in from below the floor or all around from natural rainfall and runoff activity.
  • Minor spills in the home, depending on the type of flooring, quantity of liquid spilled, and how long it goes unaddressed. 
  • Overflowing gutters, a leaky roof, damaged seals on windows, and so on, allowing in rain/snow/ice or just excessive moisture and humidity.

Water Damage and Wood Flooring: What You Need to Know

Water is one of the fundamental necessities for life on this planet, and is a critical ingredient in many substances.  You, yourself, are almost 60% water.  We drink it, bathe in it, swim in it, eat food grown with it – the list goes on and on.  Considering how ubiquitous, essential, and common water is, it’s all the more amazing that it can also do such devastating damage.  Water is one of the biggest hazards in the home.  Unwanted moisture and water damage can contribute to a myriad of home problems, health problems, and can even render your home uninhabitable.

Today, we’re going to look specifically at water damage and wood flooring.  We’ll explore the sources of water damage that can have an impact on flooring.  Additionally, we’ll talk about the various categories of water damage, and how they dictate different levels of inspection, remediation, and restoration response. 

Then, we’ll look at what water does to wood floors, and talk a bit about the different kinds of wood floors and how they respond and handle this damage.  Next, we’ll focus on the key hazards created by water damage to wood flooring – not just physical and aesthetic problems, but much more serious health hazards like mold, mildew, bacteria, and fungal growth. 

Further, we’ll look at the different steps for identifying water damage, inspecting for water damage, and hiring professionals to remediate and restore your wood flooring.  Finally, we’ll talk about one of the premiere testing companies who can help inspect and determine the extent and impact of water damage on your wood floors – FunGuy Inspections. 

Where Does Water Damage Come From?

Water damage can have a diverse range of causes, both natural and man-made.  In some cases, water damage is very obvious, from things like floods.  In other cases, signs may be less obvious, especially in the case of slow leaks from appliances and the like.  Some of the most common causes of water damage to wood flooring include, but are not limited to:

  • Natural disasters such as excessive rainfall, hurricanes, and floods.
  • Leaking appliances, home heating and cooling systems, washer/dryer units, refrigerators, and similar.
  • Leaking plumbing lines in the home (common with fridge/freezer water/ice lines, older service lines, etc.).
  • Overflowing or leaking toilets, sinks, washer/dryers, showers, bathtubs, etc.
  • Catastrophic plumbing failures or other household incidents leading to large liquid releases.
  • Cracked foundation slabs allowing moisture in from below the floor or all around from natural rainfall and runoff activity.
  • Minor spills in the home, depending on the type of flooring, quantity of liquid spilled, and how long it goes unaddressed. 
  • Overflowing gutters, a leaky roof, damaged seals on windows, and so on, allowing in rain/snow/ice or just excessive moisture and humidity.
(more…)

Why mold follows water damage and how to stop it before it spreads during a flood

Water damage is no joke, and during a flood is one of the most common times that you are going to experience the most of it. It’s the year 2019, and with numerous floods that are almost as bad as 1993, there have been numerous homes and even commercial buildings compromised. Even just a little bit of seepage from flood waters can ruin the structural integrity, as well as pose numerous health risks for you when it comes to causing mold to grow in your homes. In this guide, we’ll teach you some good tips that can help you remove the risk for mold before it can start.

Remove Excess Water

Make sure you get a wet/dry vacuum or hire a company that specializes in home water removal as quick as possible. Moisture is the most common thing that can not only damage your home’s structural integrity, but it’s also a cesspool for bacteria and mold, especially when it sits for long periods of time.

Use Fans, Wet Vacs, and Shampooers, and Open Windows

Getting some industrial sized fans and opening windows on hot sunny dry days can greatly increase the chances of your home drying out faster, and even works great on carpets.

Buy Dehumidifiers

Don’t just settle with a cheap dehumidifier that won’t do the job. Also, if you have flood damage, you’re probably going to need more than one dehumidifier in order to remove excess moisture that evaporates into the air some.

Shampoo Your Carpets

What? You need to get them wet again? Yes, you do, but use a professional solution and you can easily mix in a little bit of Lysol cleaner to help not only eliminate bacteria and disinfect everything, but also to help kill unwanted mold as well (and get the smell better in there too).

Sanitize Everything

Okay, so maybe not every single thing, but baseboards, walls, and floors at least – pretty much anything the storm water or flood water touches. Storm water is full of germs and bacteria, especially river flood waters that lay stagnant. If you can’t wash and scrub your baseboards or walls with bleach, be sure to use a strong solution of Lysol to water as well (use about 10 oz. of Lysol per gallon of water) in order to kill all the germs.

Your Furniture May Be Hiding Something

Furniture is often a secret carrier of mold after and during a flood. While you may have the whole house clean and are working on drying it, even moisture and mold spores in the air can float down and seep into your couches, loveseats and more.

Conclusion

This year marks a great flooding time for much of the United States, and it’s imperative that you have a good protective method in place when it comes not only to water damage to your home, but also to mold. It can literally cause serious bodily harm if the spores are inhaled and grow in your lungs, as well as cause a lot of damage. If you’re in the real estate market, water damage can even destroy the integrity of your home’s value very quickly as well, so it’s best to take action as soon as possible.

Article Source:
https://augustafreepress.com/why-mold-follows-water-damage-and-how-to-stop-it-before-it-spreads-during-a-flood/

Rain and Water Damage – Will I get Mold?

 

With heavy rainfall comes a tremendous amount of moisture.  Leaks and condensation increase, temperatures and warm drying daylight decrease.

These are optimal conditions for mold growth, both interior and exterior. As exterior mold spores explode in number some of them are bound to settle in our indoor environments. Here’s an overview from the EPA on Mold growth in the home.

So what can you do to reduce to likelihood mold will take hold?

I have some tips to minimize the conditions conducive to mold growth and maximize you and your family’s health.

Mold needs 3 conditions for optimal growth:

  • The Right temperature. Some mold species can grow at low (below 50 degrees F) and other species at high (above 90 degrees F), but most common mold species that grow indoors grow ideally at 55-85 degrees F. Unfortunately this is the optimal temperature for human comfort. So it is unlikely you can keep your home at a temperature that is inhospitable for mold growth. So we will not concentrate on that.
  • An organic food source. Different species of mold like to eat different things, but they all need something organic to munch on. Many mold species love cellulose, i.e. wood and paper. These are the natural composters and when it rains these species start to eat up all the fallen branches and leaves in the forest, as well as our yards emitting millions of spores that make their way into our homes. Inside our homes molds like to eat wood. This is what “dry rot” is, fungi usually consisting of 2 species, Ascospores and Basidiospores. Other species like to eat paper, such as cardboard boxes, books, and paper backed wallboard, such as sheetrock.  Pennicillium/Aspergillus and Stachybotrys (colloquially known as toxic black mold) are often found on wet or moist paper. Cladosporium, the species most often found growing on windowsills and in bathrooms, can eat a variety of Biofilms (household dust consisting of epithelial cells (dead skin cells) insect parts, pet dander, natural fibers such as cotton and linen, etc.).   Some mold food sources we cannot easily remove from our home such as framing lumber and wallboard, but others we can, such as cardboard boxes.
  • This is the big one and the one I will be giving tips on below. Mold needs moisture. There is a common saying in our business: “Mold is the symptom, moisture is the problem”. Mold growth either needs liquid water or high humidity. Liquid water can come from condensation on windowsills and in bathrooms, or from leaks, either internal or external. Without liquid water mold will not become active unless the humidity is high, usually 60-80% RH depending on the species. When the humidity is high enough, mold can become active and grow by absorbing moisture directly from the air.

Here are some tips to reduce both food sources and moisture in your home and thus reduce the likelihood and amount of mold that may grow inside your home:

Let’s start outside. When it rains water can easily enter what we call the “Building Envelope”. It is very important to make sure your site drainage system is clear from debris and working properly to move rain water away from your home, foundation, and crawlspace.

  • Clean the roof of any leave or other debris.
  • Clear gutters
  • Make sure downspouts are in good repair, not clogged, and properly attached any extensions or the site drainage system.
  • Make sure all property drains are clear of debris and flowing freely.

Check the “Building Envelope” for possible sites of water intrusion, i.e. leaks.

  • Window and doorframes are spots where water can intrude. Check all door and window frame caulking for cracks and gaps and repair where necessary.
  • Inspect the sealant around roof penetrations. Repair where necessary.
  • Check building siding for cracks, peeling paint, holes, etc. Anywhere water may be able to get in.

After a heavy rain walk around the entire house and look for standing water, and clogged drains. Look inside the crawlspace and make sure there is no hidden flooding. Carefully check the inside of the house, take a close look at the ceilings, around windows and doors, and walls for small leaks. Because all big leaks start out as small leaks! Check under sinks and around tubs and toilets to make sure there are no plumbing leaks adding moisture to the interior of your home.

Assuming there are no leaks and your drainage system is working well, what other sources of moisture can address?

Inside a home the occupants can produce a tremendous amount of moisture. On average each human occupant expires (breathes) and perspires (sweats) about 2 POUNDS of water into the air a day. Pets can also add to this moisture source. During the winter we often close out windows, as it is cold out, and most residential heating systems have no way of bringing in fresh air or ventilating out moist, stale interior air. Thus interior humidity can often increase to levels above 60%, which is ideal for mold growth.

So what can we do about Mold Growth?

  • Monitor interior humidity. Small, portable humidity monitors are available for around $10-15 and can be placed around the home. If RH (relative humidity) is consistently above 65%, action should be taken. Ideally, interior RH should be between 45-55% RH. Below 40% RH mucous membranes start to dry out and can cause occupant discomfort.
  • Open windows when practicable to help flush out moisture and other interior contaminants. Even 1 hour a day can make a big difference, although 3-4 hours is recommended.
  • Run ventilation fans in bathrooms and kitchens to help exhaust excess humidity from cooking and bathing. Run fans in bathrooms for at least 20 minutes after bathing. Timer switches can be installed on most bathroom exhaust fans and are highly recommended.
  • Wipe excess condensation from windowsills. Inspect windowsills often. Do not keep curtains closed as this can trap moist, cool air and promote excessive condensation.

The above tips can help reduce moisture sources, what can do we do about reducing mold food sources?

  • Do not keep books, papers, or cardboard boxes in moist areas such as attics, garages, basements or crawlspaces. Attic and crawlspaces should not be used as storage areas, but if you must store items in a garage or basement, we recommend sealed plastic bins.
  • Keep areas mold likes to grow clean and dry. This means cleaning dust (biofilms) from windowsills, baseboards, and doorframes. Vacuum carpet regularly with a HEPA vacuum. The recommendation is to vacuum and sweep one day per week PER OCCUPANT, including pets!
  • Check behind drapes and furniture for hidden condensation and biofilms. Allow airflow to reach these areas by opening drapes often and moving furniture a few inches from walls, especially exterior walls that can become colder and promote condensation.

Also, trust your nose, that musty smell is a sure indication of active mold growth. That musty smell is caused by microbial VOC’s, airborne chemicals that are a metabolic by-product of mold digestion.

If you think you have a hidden source of mold, call a professional Certified Microbial Investigator for a full mold inspection.  Excessive interior mold can cause structural damage to your home and its contents, as well as allergic and respiratory reactions in some occupants. Take heed and be diligent, and you can survive this hopefully wet winter relatively mold-free.

Be Alert: Signs of Toxic Molds Residing in your Home

At the end of the day, after work or school, we always look forward to coming home again. Our minds and hearts are attached to our homes because of the sense of belonging, comfort, and safety that it provides. Feeling safe is the state of not being exposed to danger or risk, and that is how our homes should feel, right?  So, let me ask you, are you sure you are safe within your home?

You may feel that there’s nothing lurking within the corners of the rooms of your home.  However, if you are setting aside the fact that there could be molds in your house, then you are getting further away from the sense of safety that your home should provide. Molds are not something you should overlook.

Molds usually appear on damp building materials and may look like stains.  They can come in various colors and sizes. You may have seen some sort of spot growing in the interior of your house, and that is not something that should be ignored.

Molds can create a lot of nuisance and danger for you and your loved ones. It can give your family nasal and sinus congestion, coughs, headaches, asthma, skin irritations, and much more.

If your home is attacked by molds, you have to do something about it. Here are some signs that your house may have been infected by molds:

  1. Allergic reactions. If you notice that your allergies tend to react and even get worse while you’re at home, chances are there are molds growing in your house. Some allergic reactions to mold could be sore eyes, sneezing, and nasal congestion.
  2. Mold odors. A musty or moldy smell can be a great indicator that there are molds in your home. If you can smell mold, then you probably have mold. You should thoroughly inspect your home before it gets worse.
  3. Visible signs of molds. When you see greenish black spots of molds, then it’s obvious. Take action immediately.
  4. Water issues. If you have experienced water leakages, condensation, or past floods in your house, mold growth is likely to have occurred. If there are water stains or discoloration of the walls due to a moisture problem, there is most likely mold growing behind the material.

Your home is where your family should feel safe. If you’ve noticed the above-mentioned signs of mold growth in your house, please do not ignore it.  Ignoring it might cause you bigger problems in the future.

If you want to be sure of your homes safety, contact Fun Guy Inspection and Consulting Inc.  They will provide a thorough inspection of your home and you can have peace of mind.

Visit https://funguyinspections.com/ or call (866) 674-7541 now.

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