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    Do You Have Mold? You Might Have a Water Leak!

    July 26, 2016


    mold-in-home

    Do You Have Mold? You Might Have a Water Leak!

    If you are having moisture problems because of leaks in water pipes, showers or bathtubs, or toilet, a plumber is the one to call.

    Mold and mildew are two of the nastiest things that people find in their houses. Not only do they look nasty but they can also make you sick depending on what type of mold you have.

    The good news is that you can prevent them and you can also clean them yourself if you don’t let it get too bad. We are going to go over everything you need to know about mold and mildew, how to prevent them, how to know if you have them, and what you can do to clean them up.

    What are they?

    Mildews and molds are tiny organisms. They’re not plants or animals but they’re fungi, like yeast and mushrooms. Like all types of fungi, they both produce the enzymes that let them to breakdown and digest types of organic matter. Also, they produce spores that let them spread easily and reproduce. There’s over 100,000 types of them and they’re found everywhere. They will thrive in humid, moist, and warm surfaces and environments and often they look for organic material like food and wood. Because of this, your home’s will be a potential magnet and target for them.

    How are they different?

    These two items are fungus cousins, basically. Mold usually will manifest as brown, green, or black fuzz or film that will attack and thrive on any type of organic material like rotting food. It also can survive on materials that aren’t living like plastic, tile, sheetrock, and insulation. Mildew is usually powdering and will form in a pattern that is flat. It will target organic, moist products and surfaces made from plants and animals like paper, books, leather, clothing, walls, furniture, floors, and ceilings. Generally, where you find mildew or mold you are going to find its partner close by. They can be found in any part of the home, outdoors or indoors, but crawl spaces, kitchens, and bathrooms usually will be the common areas where you’ll find them.

    How do they develop?

    Spores from mildew and mold can travel easily through the air to settle in the home. they require moisture so that they can start growing and some organic matter to eat. Therefore, they are going to gravitate to any type of surface where water or a lot of moisture is building up. This moisture can happen because of bad drainage, poor ventilation, faulty plumbing, high humidity, a leaky roof, and problems with your HVAC system.

    What are the signs I have a problem?

    The signs that are most obvious are speck clusters or thread-like growths on surfaces that are prone to fungus. Other types of signs include moisture inside and around a surface. You also might notice an odor that is musty. Even though smell, feel, and sight are great indicators that you have a problem, it’s not always going to be that obvious. Hidden mildew and mold often can grow behind ceilings and walls or under carpets and floors. Or a lot of other places.

    A sign that is less obvious could be health. If you have asthma or allergies, it may be that you are sensitive to it. You may be experiencing symptoms like skin rash, eye irritation, congestion and cough, or runny nose. Other people might have fatigue, headaches, muscle pain, eye and respiratory irritation, and fatigue. If there are health problems that you might think are due to mildew or mold exposure, talk to your doctor.

    Controlling Growth

    The bad news is that you can’t completely prevent or get rid of all of it. But you can control it by controlling moisture. The best way to do this is to keep the places that are prone to fungus clean and dry.

    Fix all problems with moisture in the home

    Look for any water leaks. Repair a leaky roof or plumbing fixture. Replace or repair old air conditioning, ventilation, and heating systems. If moisture and water is accumulating in basement walls and concrete slabs, it may be time to install a dehumidifier or sump pump. Don’t put it off. When you delay, it could make the problem a lot worse.

    Increase your home’s air circulation

    Ventilating your home with dry, fresh air from the outside is a great idea. Provide air that is warm to all of your home’s areas, particularly along your exterior walls’ inside. Regularly open your windows and use fans. Move larger objects a couple of inches away from your exterior walls so that the circulation is better. Installing and using exhaust fans in laundry rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms is also a great idea. Using propeller fans and ceiling fans in your home is also advisable.

    Seal any air leaks

    It’s a good idea to use caulk to seal up windows, walls and doors. You can also use stripping and other kinds of sealants to prevent moist air from the outside, mildew, and mold spores from getting into your home.

    Don’t allow wet items to linger

    Wash and then dry carpets, bedding, upholstered furniture, and clothing that is water damaged in 1-2 days. You can also think about removing and then replacing the furnishings that are damaged. Also mop up and dry any types of leaks and spills on surfaces and floors.

    Regularly run the air conditioner

    When you use your air conditioner regularly, it will keep your home dry and cool during the summer, when a lot of problems with mildew and mold growing happen.

    Have a Dehumidifier/Humidifier

    Available with most of the modern HVAC systems or available to add to the older systems, these controls allow you to set the best dryness and moisture levels for your home. This also lets you experience the best air quality indoors no matter what month it is. Humidity levels inside from 30% – 50% is the general recommendation.

    Regularly clean and vacuum

    Sweeping and dusting are going to kill or remove a lot of the mildew and mold on the surface before they can settle down to spread.

    Insulate and ventilate crawl spaces and attics

    Moist, warm air is going to rise up and then collect in the attic. When you ventilate the attic space properly, it will go out from the house. If your crawlspace has a dirt floor, you should cover it with a tarp so that you have a barrier against vapor to prevent the moisture in the soil making your home’s humidity levels higher. If the soil’s wet or there’s standing water, use fans to dry it before you cover your floor.

    Get an HVAC professional

    Asking a HVAC professional to check your system to ensure it’s properly sized and working so that you’re removing the humidity is a good idea. If your system’s too large or if your airflow’s not right, your AC won’t remove the humidity properly. You also should ask the professional to look at your ducts to see if you have air leaks and make sure that they have the right airflow and size for each of the rooms.

    Call other professionals

    If you are having moisture problems because of leaks in water pipes, showers or bathtubs, or toilet, a plumber is the one to call. If you have a leaky roof, walls, or ceiling, call a roofer. If there is a lot of structural and water damage or if the infiltration of mildew and mold is very extensive, you’ll want to contact someone who is experienced in water damage and mold remediation repairs.

    Get some bleach

    Counters, floors, window sills, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, and appliances all should be regularly cleaned with something that contains ammonia bleach. Just be very careful, since bleach can damage clothing, skin, and surfaces, especially when it’s not diluted. Wear some gloves while you’re using it and protect surfaces and yourself from any splatters.

    Try natural remedies

    If you would rather try something that is effective and safe, you should open up your cupboard. Chances are that you have distilled vinegar in there. Tea tree oil and grapefruit seed extract also work. Use them straight or mix any items with water, then put the mixture into a bottle. Wipe it with a sponge onto most surfaces to prevent or clean up formations of mold or mildew.
    Other cleaning tips

    When you clean and remove them from your surfaces and rooms it’s best to minimize the exposure you have to the spores. Try determining how much infestation of mildew and mold you have. If it’s a small area and it’s well defined, chances are you can do it yourself if you don’t have allergies or health problems. However, if there’s a big area of it, professional cleaning is best.

    If you want to try doing it yourself, these steps are the ones you should follow:

    1. Wear protective gloves, goggles and a breathing mask when you’re working inside the infested area, especially if it’s a tight space.

    2. Seal off the areas from the remainder of the house. Cover up the vents and heat registers. Cover up all of your furniture. Open at least one window before starting.

    3. Scrub all of the affected hard surfaces. Use a mix of warm water and laundry detergent first. Then make a solution of one-quart water and ¼ cup of bleach. Wait for 20 minutes and then repeat. Then wait another. Then apply a detergent solution based with borax and don’t rinse. This is going to help with killing any existing fungus as well as preventing future growth of fungus. Clean the whole room, vacuuming and dusting it. Wash the curtains, clothes and bedding if they’ve been exposed.

    4. Bag up and discard any type of moldy materials, like sponge, rags and anything you used to clean.

    Cleaning Household Items

    • Bedding, fabrics and clothing – Run them through your laundry using detergent. For linens and whites, use bleach.
    • Ceramics, glass, plastic, metal, and wood – Mix a capful of bleach and a quart full of water. Colors can be faded by bleach, so test it before you use it. If its fine, wipe the articles down using the solution, then dry using a towel.
    • Books, furniture, beds, and other types of unwashable items – If they are moldy, its best to discard the items and replace them. If you want to keep them, take the items outside, thoroughly vacuum them and allow them to air out. Afterwards, if the item is free from odors, it’s likely okay. But you should be on the lookout for future growth of mildew or mold.

    Conclusion

    If you have mold and mildew in your home, you aren’t alone. This is one of the most common problems that homeowners have. But hopefully you know a bit better about how to take care of them and what you can do to prevent them. They are a problem, but they are a problem that has a solution – you just have to know what it is.

    Hiring a Pro

    Many plumbing issues might seem like an easy fix for DIY homeowners, but often there are jobs that should be left to the professionals. Sometimes an easy and cheap fix can be complicated by somebody who does not have certified training.

    Don’t turn a cheap fix into a real problem by trying to do things yourself.

    About TitanZ Plumbing

    Titanz Plumbings home office is located in Charlotte County. Kenny and Rachael Lowe grew up in Charlotte County and are raising their family here in Port Charlotte. Titanz Plumbing has service technicians dedicated to the Charlotte County, Lee County and Sarasota County area, from Englewood to North Fort Myers.

    Call us today for any Southwest Florida, Charlotte, Lee or Sarasota County plumbing services you need!

    In business since 2007, Titanz Plumbing Inc. offers professional plumbing and emergency repairs in Southwest Florida and the surrounding area. Family owned and operated, we pride ourselves in offering customer satisfaction with friendly, reliable service. Contact us today!

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