SO, GOT A WET BASEMENT or CRAWLSPACE. WHERE TO START?

By | Uncategorized, Wet Basements | No Comments

SO, GOT A WET BASEMENT or CRAWLSPACE. WHERE TO START?

Having a full assessment is the wisest move. Stories are rampant of building owners who have paid for extensive and expensive waterproofing systems … only to find that by making other water-control repairs they could have avoided installation of such a system.

Needed gutter repairs is a great example: The rainwater pours off the roof, around and through the deteriorating gutter system, down the foundation  wall of the building and right into the newly installed French drains. However, if the gutters had been repaired, the need for the French drains would have been eliminated.

In performing a full assessment, all sources of water are being identified, whether they are coming from landscaping issues, issues with the exterior systems of the building, or issues with the interior systems of the building. A full assessment would start with a visual walk-through of the interior, inspecting any suspect items or areas (like plumbing) that could be a source of water entry, noting areas of concern, and taking pictures where possible. The more information one has the better. All the information will be used in developing a permanent water-control plan.

This would then be followed by a visual walk-about of the entire exterior of the building and its surrounding landscape. Possible concerns noted in a visual walk-through of the interior would include:

  • Cracks in the walls and floors.
  • Peeling paint and efflorescence.
  • Movement in the foundation or footings.
  • Water intrusions in the walls and floors.
  • Buckled or bowed walls.
  • Sump-pump issues.
  • Hydrostatic pressure or high-water table indicators.
  • Visible mold.
  • Leaking pipes.
  • Water stains.

The exterior assessment would begin with identifying any issues with landscaping and grading, drainage, gutter, downspout, roofing, or windows.

When performing a full investigation, personal safety should be considered, especially in older buildings were there could be issues with electrical wiring, mechanical systems, deteriorating asbestos-containing material, or hazardous material storage. In all buildings, radon exposure should be a concern as well. In both crawl spaces and unoccupied basements, be weary of animal and insect infestations, feces and other animal waste. Precautions should be taken to protect the person(s) performing the assessment.

All of the information gathered is then reviewed and an action plan is established. The action plan may encompass a process of making repairs and then determining if those repairs were enough to eliminate the water problem. When all repairs have been made and one finds that the water has not been controlled, it is then time to move to a water-control system, aka waterproofing.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

#breathehealthyinitiative

Time for a HEALTHY BUILDING checkup!

By | Indoor Environmental Quality | No Comments

Time for a HEALTHY BUILDING checkup!

Spring and Fall are great times to schedule your building(s) for a checkup.  In doing so, areas of concern can be identified and addressed prior to them becoming large, expensive cleanup or repair projects.  Here are just a view items that should be inspected inside your buildings:

  • Signs of roof leaks
  • Signs of plumbing leaks
  • Evidence of rodents, bats, roaches, termite and other pests
  • Paint intact
  • Dryer vents clear
  • Exhaust ducts clear
  • Gutters and downspouts intact and clear
  • No wet surfaces or puddles in crawlspaces and basement
  • Sump pump working
  • Radon system active and working
  • Insulation in place
  • Fans exhaust outdoors and are clear
  • Electrical wiring in good condition
  • Smoke and CO alarms are working
  • Refrigerator and icemaker drip pans are clean
  • Traps and drains are not leaking
  • Dehumidifiers operation properly
  • All filters are clean

For a more extensive check-up, join Baxter Environmental Group’s BREATHE HEALTHY INITIATIVE at baxtergroupinc.com.

WARNING SIGNS OF MOLD

By | Mold | No Comments

WARNING SIGNS OF MOLD

An investigation for mold contamination should be performed anytime there is an increase in allergy or respiratory problems for occupants or their pets. Chronic on-going colds, headaches, or flu-like symptoms are an indication of a potential mold contamination.

Other indications of mold contamination include musty, earth-like odors, water stains or discoloration, and/or peeling paint or wallpaper on ceilings or walls.

Dots of any color, particularly black, yellow or green, may be the beginnings of a mold colony developing.

Areas should be investigated after a high-humidity event, a water intrusion, a plumbing or roof leak, or when standing water or condensation has been noted. Warped boards also signal the presence of high humidity or a water intrusion.

Mold not only impacts our health, but it can gradually destroy the building components on which they grow.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

MOLD: MYTHS & FACTS

By | Mold | No Comments

MOLD: MYTHS & FACTS

MYTH: Only dirty environments, buildings, or homes get mold contaminations.

FACT: Dirt provides mold with a nutrient, but small amounts of dust and most building components can provide the nutrients needed to grow mold.

MYTH: There are no mold regulations.

FACT: Some states such as Florida and Virginia have established mold remediation regulations. Professional mold remediation companies typically follow the guidelines and standards set by the IICRC S520 or the EPA’s guide “Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings.” Although focused on schools and commercial buildings, this brochure is applicable to all building types.

MYTH: Mold will not grow unless it is exposed to LOTS of moisture.

FACT: All that is needed for mold to grow is one spore and a high level of humidity.

MYTH: My house is new, just recently built, so it cannot have mold.

FACT: It does not matter whether you have an old building, a new building, cheap construction, or a multi-million-dollar building. They can still become contaminated in as little as 12 hours when an environment conducive to the growth.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

#breathehealthyinitiative

WHAT IS MOLD?

By | Mold | No Comments

WHAT IS MOLD?

Mold is a fungus that grows in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae. Mold is known as nature’s recycler, since it causes the decomposition  of the organic and porous materials on which it roots and grows.

There are thousands of known species of molds. They all require moisture for growth. Like all fungi, molds derive their energy not through photosynthesis but from the organic matter on which they root and grow.

Molds reproduce by producing large numbers of small spores. These spores are adapted for wind dispersal and may remain airborne for long periods of time.

The presence of mold is not visible until it forms large colonies. A mold colony is an interconnected network of hyphae.

When conditions do not enable mold growth to take place, the mold spore remains alive but dormant. Some molds remain dormant during harsh conditions, such as low temperatures and snow-cover, then propagate when conditions improve.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

                                       

#breathehealthyinitiative

A STORY: “MONSTER IN HER BASEMENT”

By | Mold | No Comments

“A Monster in her Basement?”

The white-haired 85-year old lady reminded me of my grandmother as she opened the front door with a huge smile, followed by a deep exhausting cough. She gestured for me to enter her exemplar home. Although the furnishings were dated, every piece was placed with purpose. The living room and kitchen were immaculate, spotless, absolutely pristine. The surroundings wreaked of pride in her home.

She immediately dove into reflecting upon her concerns. With a heavy gasp, she mentioned that her “smeller” didn’t work so well anymore. Her grandbabies had visited and expressed a concern about the odor in the basement. Her breathing was labored, and she appeared quite fatigued. Could her home be making her sick?

The minute I opened the door to the basement I recognized the familiar smell . . . the musty, wet-soil odor of mold. As I ventured down the steps, she began to tell me how much she missed her husband. He had passed away two years ago. He was the one who would be investigating this mystery odor, if he were still here on Earth with us. As the odor engulfed my senses, there was no doubt that this basement was occupied by a monster! Had the sump pump failed? The dehumidifier been disconnected? The pipes been leaking?

This story reflects just one of thousands we hear every year. A home or building in the midst of a crisis that could have been avoided. Someone dismissed the leaking pipe, the broken fence, the dirty filters, the mouse dirt, the shingle in the yard, the disconnected downspout. In this particular case, our client’s husband had always been the one that emptied the dehumidifier in the basement. She didn’t even know there was a dehumidifier in the basement. Mold grew thick in the corners, had consumed all the cardboard boxes, and destroyed her teddy bear collection . . . the collection she was saving to leave to her grandchildren.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

 

#breathehealthyinitiative

We smell mold. It is agitating my sinuses. But, I cannot find it. What do I do?

By | Mold | No Comments

We smell mold.  It is agitating my sinuses.  But, I cannot find it.  What do I do?

Mold is vicious.  It can hide above ceilings, behind walls, in furniture, under carpet.  If you suspect mold, but cannot find it, we recommend having air samples collected to determine if there is a mold contamination hiding in your property.  If the samples indicate a problem, then it’s time to move into an investigator role, just like a CSI Agent.  Using a moisture meter, infrared camera, and other tools, a mold inspector can track down the colony or colonies.

CAUTION:  Avoid a massive release of mold spores.  When checking behind walls, wall paper, ceiling tiles, the inspector must be very cautious not to expose the living area by opening up the areas where mold hides and releasing spores.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

                 

Indoor moisture leads to mold growth. What are some things that may be done to prevent excessive moisture indoors?

By | Mold | No Comments

Indoor moisture leads to mold growth.  What are some things that may be done to prevent excessive moisture indoors?

Mold needs moisture to grow.  The moisture does not necessarily come from a water intrusion, but from humidity levels in excess of 60%.  To prevent mold growth, the moisture in our homes and buildings needs to be controlled.

  • Set humidity gauges in each room, especially high-humidity rooms such as the bathroom, laundry room, kitchen, and basement.
  • Vent appliances that produce moisture to the outdoors. Especially clothes dryers, stoves, and kerosine heaters, all of which produce moisture.
  • Use dehumidifiers in damp areas.
  • Run exhaust fans while showering and cooking and then for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Address water intrusions and leaks immediately.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

#breathehealthyinitiative

Time for a HEALTHY BUILDING checkup!

By | Mold | No Comments

Time for a HEALTHY BUILDING checkup!

Spring and Fall are great times to schedule your building(s) for a checkup.  In doing so, areas of concern can be identified and addressed prior to them becoming large, expensive cleanup or repair projects.  Here are just a view items that should be inspected inside your buildings:

  • Signs of roof leaks
  • Signs of plumbing leaks
  • Evidence of rodents, bats, roaches, termite and other pests
  • Paint intact
  • Dryer vents clear
  • Exhaust ducts clear
  • Gutters and downspouts intact and clear
  • No wet surfaces or puddles in crawlspaces and basement
  • Sump pump working
  • Radon system active and working
  • Insulation in place
  • Fans exhaust outdoors and are clear
  • Electrical wiring in good condition
  • Smoke and CO alarms are working
  • Refrigerator and icemaker drip pans are clean
  • Traps and drains are not leaking
  • Dehumidifiers operation properly
  • All filters are clean

For a more extensive check-up, join Baxter Environmental Group’s BREATHE HEALTHY INITIATIVE.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

#breathehealthyinitiative

Just cleaned up a mold colony. How do I know when the cleanup is completed?

By | Mold | No Comments

Just cleaned up a mold colony.  How do I know when the cleanup is completed?

  • Visible mold is no longer present.
  • Moldy odors are no longer present.
  • All building components with evidence of mold growth have been removed or encapsulated.
  • Occupants are no longer evidencing symptoms of mold exposure.

After an extensive mold remediation project, we highly recommend having an air sample collected to confirm that the remaining levels of mold are low.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

#breathehealthyinitiative