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What it Means to Make Your Home “Rytech Dry”

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

Where restoration after water damage is concerned, there’s “dry,” then there’s “Rytech Dry.”  Rytech dry means more than simply extracting pools of standing water. It extends deep into the structure to mitigate all the unseen contributors to water damage, as well as the potential for after-the-fact issues like mold contamination. Here are some crucial elements of the “Rytech Dry” concept:

  • flood restorationFirst, get to the source. Water often travels far from its source inside a house. Whenever and wherever water damage happens, the immediate concern is tracking the flow of water to its origin and stopping the flow.
  • Identify and extract. Clean water that originated from a ruptured supply line or overflowing fixture can be a straightforward extraction procedure. However, equally common scenarios like sewage back-flow, water entering the house from outdoor flooding and other unknown sources are more complicated. These issues present a toxic biohazard and impose decontamination procedures in addition to extraction to ensure the highest standard of damage recovery.
  • Advanced technology.  Discovering everywhere the house is wet is vital. Specialized moisture-detection technology reveals all water-affected areas, including unseen zones like the interior of wall voids and beneath flooring.
  • Cutting-edge hardware. High-volume pumps quickly move standing water outdoors. Powerful extractors suck clean water out of carpets without removing them. Industrial dehumidifiers knock down high levels of water vapor that typically permeate the entire house after flooding.
  • Staying ahead of mold. Without proactive, preventive treatment after water inundation, active mold contamination of a house is frequently a matter of “when,” not “if.” Quickly removing residual moisture from hidden areas where mold flourishes, disinfecting affected areas and testing the premises for the presence of airborne spores — now and in follow-up visits — maintains an upper hand on mold contamination.
  • Test and verify results. Knowing when the house is fully dry is also critical. Determining dryness isn’t guesswork or a gut feeling — it’s a matter of scientific testing and verifying the that the house meets pre-determined industry target levels throughout the structure and in the air.

For more about what makes a water-damaged home “Rytech Dry,” contact the professionals at Rytech, Inc.

How to Prevent Broken Water Pipes

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

Take a few steps to prevent broken water pipes and reduce your chances of expensive water damage and mold contamination, too. The most common cause of catastrophic water inundation isn’t outdoor flooding, it actually originates indoors with your own plumbing. A ruptured residential water supply line can release up to 50 gallons per minute. How many minutes will elapse before you are able to turn off water to the entire house at the main shutoff valve? Worst case scenario: Suppose you’re out of town for a few days when it happens?

Compared to all other alternatives, anything you can do now to prevent broken water pipes is clearly the preferred course.

prevent broken water pipesGet Your Pressure Checked by a Plumber

Water pressure in the main municipal water line is too high for residential plumbing. It’s typically reduced by a regulator valve located at your water meter or where the water supply line enters your house. If the regulator’s defective or improperly adjusted, indoor water pressure may be excessive and cause a ruptured pipe. In most cases, household water pressure should not exceed 65 p.s.i.

Don’t Put up With Leaks

Pinhole leaks, dribbles or seepage from indoor water supply lines, no matter how minor, should never be dismissed as “normal.” In most cases, the leakage you can actually see is only the external indication of major corrosion inside that may cause a total rupture — or a weakening joint that may blow out any day now. Visually inspect all the water supply lines for any signs of dripping or seepage, past or present, and call a plumber now if you see any.

Replace Galvanized Pipes

If your home was built in the 1970s or earlier, it may have galvanized steel piping. Over the years, this material internally rusts and corrodes, becoming prone to sudden failure. Galvanized pipe that is 40 years old is at the end of its expected life and should be replaced now with copper or PEX as a preventive measure to avoid flooding.

The water damage professionals at Rytech, Inc. are ready with more advice to prevent broken water pipes.

 

What Should You Do If You Suspect a Mold Problem in Your Home?

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Is it possible you might have a mold problem in your home? Yes, but don’t jump to hasty assumptions. Not everything that looks like toxic mold actually is. Moreover, if anyone in the household is experiencing unexplained physical symptoms or illness, definitely seek a diagnosis from a physician before assuming it’s mold exposure. Here are some things to think about if you suspect you might have a mold problem in your home.

  • mold problemDo you have a moisture problem? Then you may have a mold problem. The trigger factor behind the growth of toxic mold is always moisture. Has there been a major event, like flooding or a water pipe rupture, that caused indoor water damage in the recent past? What about smaller, ongoing issues? Maybe there are nagging minor plumbing leaks or a leaky roof during storms. Even chronic high indoor humidity can be a trigger.
  • Have you noticed what could be unidentified fungal growth in out-of-the-way places like inside walls, the undersides of rugs and carpeting, around bathroom fixtures or in the attic or basement? It could be common mildew — or one of the species of toxic mold that typically thrive indoors. What about odors? Mold releases airborne reproductive spores that produce a noticeable musty scent that never quite goes away.

If any of these scenarios seem to fit your household profile, now’s the time to get an evaluation from a mold remediation expert. A qualified professional will arrive armed with the expertise and specialized technology to confirm and track down the source of mold contamination inside the house. This includes:

  • Identifying risk factors such as moisture sources.
  • Air sampling to determine the type of airborne spores and extent of contamination.
  • Tracking airborne contamination to the source of active growing mold.
  • Physical sampling of suspected mold growth to confirm the type.
  • Executing a treatment plan to remove existing mold growth utilizing EPA-approved fungicides.
  • Removal of any contaminated materials that cannot be disinfected.
  • Disinfection of premises to remove residual spores.
  • Address contributing moisture issues.

For professional service to diagnose and treat a mold problem in your home, contact Rytech, Inc.

Got Mold? 3 Things to Think About Before You Attempt a DIY Removal

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Mold remediation specialists are frequently asked about the pluses and minuses of DIY vs professional mold removal. We have to be honest, so the answer is: there are very few pluses associated with do-it-yourself attempts at mold removal and a whole lot of potential minuses. Certainly, for a superficial, one-time appearance of mold on a hard household surface, wiping it away with disinfectant will probably do the trick. But where serious toxic mold has gained a foothold inside a house, releasing reproductive spores into the indoor environment, the alternatives available to the average amateur are not sufficient to counteract the contamination and achieve permanent control. In fact, DIY methods may actually make the contamination more widespread.

Qualified mold remediation services use methods developed by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) that does the research and establishes standards for the mold remediation industry. DIY attempts at locating and identifying mold are often based on folklore or, worse, just guesswork. Professionals also have access to EPA-approved fungicides and disinfectants specifically formulated for particular types of mold—do-it-yourselfers typically rely on a spray bottle of bleach and water.

When Not To Do It Yourself

  1. Any mold that can be detected on a single area in excess of 10 square feet is a job for a professional only. Where mold has grown to that extent or larger, amateur methods and homemade products aren’t sufficient.
  2. When mold growth has penetrated below the surface of building materials such as drywall, wooden structural members like studs or joists or plywood sub-flooring, get an inspection by a mold remediation specialist with the necessary training and expertise.
  3. If residents of the home are experiencing chronic physical symptoms such as allergy-like respiratory reactions that have no other explanation, definitely see your doctor first. Also, talk to a mold remediation specialist about an inspection including air sampling to detect the type and concentration of mold spores that may be infecting your living spaces.

When DIY vs professional mold removal is the question, the answer is qualified mold remediation by the trained specialists at Rytech, Inc.

The 3 Top Causes of Mold in the Home

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

The usual causes of mold in the home are rarely beyond your control. Mold growth is not a random event and typically occurs in predictable patterns. Mold spores exist all around so you can’t eliminate every mold risk factor. By focusing on these three top causes of mold in the home, however, you’ll greatly reduce the odds that active growing mold will ever gain a foothold in your house.

1. Water damage and flooding. Water inundation anywhere in a house and subsequent toxic mold growth go hand-in-hand. Dormant microscopic spores lie in nooks and crannies inside every structure just waiting for a sudden source of moisture to bring them to life. Mold growth following water damage should not be considered merely a potential—it should be considered presumptive and effective preventive measures by a qualified mold specialist should begin ASAP. Reduce the chances of toxic mold growth by taking steps to prevent water damage inside the house including prompt attention to plumbing leaks, roof leaks and chronic issues such as A/C condensate spills.

2. Poor air circulation. Where air is moving, humidity is generally lower and indoor temperatures are more consistent. These factors are important contributors to mold growth inside a home. Closed-up, chronically unventilated spaces that stay warmer than the rest of the house are ground zero for mold growth. Keep air circulating into all parts of the home—including cabinets and closets—to cut the chances of dormant mold spores becoming activated.

3. Inefficient filtration. Since mold spreads by releasing airborne spores, the filter in your HVAC system is an important ally in mold control. Select pleated cotton or polyester air filters with a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating of at least 8 to ensure that the filter media is efficient enough to capture microscopic mold spores circulating through your system airflow. Once you’ve got the right filter installed, change it regularly. Neglected, dirt-clogged air filters themselves may become a mold breeding ground.

Ask the mold specialists at Rytech, Inc. for more information about eliminating the causes of mold in the home.

Worried About Mold? The Importance of Air Sampling

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Air sampling for mold provides important information for mold remediation. It’s critical for a qualified mold specialist to know which specific genus of mold he’s dealing with so the appropriate fungicide or disinfectant can be applied. One way to determine this is by capturing the airborne reproductive spores released by active growing mold. After this air sampling process, mold can be grown from the samples and lab-tested to identify the type. Since all mold types aren’t created equal, this is vital information to develop an effective treatment plan.

Air sampling for mold also helps mold remediation specialists estimate the extent of contamination within the house. Whether contamination is mild or extreme, the spore count revealed in air sampling will reflect that fact. By collecting samples in different areas of the home and noting trends in the results, the process may also help pinpoint likely locations of active mold.

Three methods are commonly utilized for air sampling:

  • Impaction methods capture spores in a calibrated air sample, then use air pressure to apply the spores to a slide for microscopic examination.
  • Single-use cassettes connect to a suction air pump and gather spores from the air for a predetermined time frame, usually about 5 minutes. Captured spores are then injected onto a slide to be examined.
  • Airborne particle collectors capture spores directly onto a glass culture dish to grow the mold for examination and typing.

Air sampling methods for mold also have some limitations and are rarely utilized alone in a mold evaluation procedure. Because mold spores are all around, the true extent of mold growth inside of house can only be determined by comparing levels to a baseline figure of outdoor spore counts. If the indoor level exceeds the outdoor baseline by at least 75 percent, mold contamination inside the house is likely. To verify air sampling readings, other methods such as tape-lifting and swab samples of active mold growth are usually utilized.

For more information about air sampling for mold and other methods to identify and eliminate mold contamination, contact Rytech, Inc.

How Does Mold Remediation Work?

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Mold remediation is both a hands-on skill and a science, standardized by years of research and industry feedback. Most professional mold specialists are certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), which publishes standards for mold detection and treatment methods. The result of this is consistency in both remediation techniques and optimal results, benefiting the homeowner with a healthier indoor environment at lower cost. So what’s involved when you contact a mold remediation professional about potential contamination issues in your home?

  • First, maybe it’s nothing to worry about. Some forms of mold are benign and require no treatment beyond simple cosmetic removal. A professional mold specialist will use techniques like air sampling to identify both the mold type as well as gain an idea of the extent of contamination, if any, inside the house. If the results of testing indicate presence of toxic mold, he’ll present a written treatment plan aimed at eliminating both the short-term and long-term consequences of mold contamination.
  • Next, the focus changes to locating the area(s) of contamination and removal of the active mold growth, then treating affected surfaces with approved biocides to prevent recurrence. Where extensive mold infection has penetrated beneath the surface of building materials like structural studs or drywall, removal may be recommended.
  • After the locations of contamination have been removed and treated, the house will be vacuumed with HEPA-filtered equipment to remove airborne spores that have settled out of the air. HVAC filters will be removed and replaced with new pleated filters to capture residual spores in the air. All dust will be bagged and disposed according to IICRC standards.
  • Most mold specialists schedule follow-up inspections and testing at specific time frames following the primary remediation procedure. This will typically include simple air sampling and visual inspection to confirm that the remediation is successful and there is no recurrence.

For more information or to schedule professional mold remediation services, contact the mold specialists at Rytech, Inc.

The Top 3 Health Risks of Home Water Damage

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

The health risks of home water damage begin with the flooding, but may persist after the clean-up. Water intrusion into any indoor environment causes a number of primary and secondary hazards to residents. Any time significant flooding from any source—exterior or interior—affects your house, it’s a good idea to consult a water damage specialist ASAP to deal with the immediate issues, as well as, any long term health risks of home water damage that may ensue. Here are three major issues:

  1. Standing water. Wherever standing water—even if it’s rain water or fresh water from a source, like a broken water line—remains in a house for any length of time, microorganisms develop and multiply. Standing water is a common breeding ground for viruses and bacteria that typically become airborne. Outdoors, these pathogens usually disperse in open air with little threat of illness. However, inside an enclosed house, they may reach concentrations that cause illness when inhaled, including pneumonia and other respiratory issues.
  2. Sewage reflux. Localized flooding may swamp municipal sewer systems and cause raw sewage to reflux into residences. Or, your own sewer line may become blocked and back up. Raw sewage is a biohazard associated with many illnesses. It should be approached by qualified water damage experts with the proper equipment to clean up sewage and the disinfecting chemicals to fully neutralize the health threat.
  3. Toxic mold growth. The presence of water inside a home converts dormant mold spores into active, growing mold. This process begins within hours of flooding or other water damage and continues unabated, even after the water is removed. Active mold releases millions of reproductive spores into your indoor environment, a frequent source of allergic responses and a wide variety of symptoms in susceptible individuals. As soon as home water damage occurs, the clock is ticking on serious mold contamination. Professional mold remediation experts should be consulted to take the necessary steps ASAP to inhibit mold contamination in the home before it becomes widespread.

Minimize the health risks of home water damage by contacting the water damage and mold remediation specialists at Rytech, Inc.

 

3 Ways to Prevent Mold Contamination

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Anything you can do to prevent mold contamination is a better alternative than trying to control mold once it’s already gained a foothold in your home. Dormant microscopic mold spores are everywhere in nature, so attempts to keep them out of the house are generally futile. What you can prevent, however, are the set of conditions that activate dormant spores and cause them to become growing mold colonies that disperse toxic reproductive spores into your indoor environment. Here are three steps to prevent mold contamination:

Eliminate Moisture

Moisture is the single most important factor that activates dormant mold spores. Where mold contamination is a problem in homes, the presence of moisture is always the common denominator. Install ventilation fans in chronically moist areas like bathrooms and kitchens. Don’t allow nagging plumbing leaks or other sources of moisture like A/C units to create chronic wet spaces. Keep indoor humidity levels between 30 percent and 60 percent—for mold protection, the lower, the better. Inspect the attic periodically to ensure that roof leaks aren’t creating a hidden haven for mold. Clean up any minor water spills as they occur and consult professional water damage specialists if major water inundations occur.

Starve Mold

Mold needs food to grow and generally finds it as microscopic airborne particulates of organic matter. Install a quality and efficient air filter in your HVAC system and change it regularly, ideally every month. Vacuum frequently to remove small bits of organic matter including food, natural textile fibers and other mold menu items. Keep hard surfaces clean of dust and smoke residue from cooking.

Control Temperature

Mold generally likes indoor temperatures that are slightly warmer than you prefer, generally over 80 degrees. Even in an air conditioned home, temperatures in certain enclosed areas may stay in this warmer range. Often, these zones are under-ventilated and receive little or no conditioned air circulation. Make sure cool air circulates into closed-up areas like cabinets, closets and utility rooms to inhibit mold growth and reduce humidity.

Ask the mold remediation experts at Rytech, Inc. for more effective strategies to prevent mold contamination.

Should I Install a Sump Pump in My Basement? Tips for Deciding on a Sump Pump

Monday, August 24th, 2015

When water damage restoration and mitigation is required in a home, it’s often the basement that’s been hit first and hardest. As the lowest point in the house, the basement is a prime location for water damage from rising ground water, infiltration through basement walls during heavy rain and outdoor flooding and inundation from indoor sources like a broken water supply line. The need for extensive water damage restoration and mitigation can be reduced when a functional sump pump system is installed to provide a 24/7 safeguard against flooding. Here are some guidelines for selecting the right system:

  • A submersible pump, completely enclosed within the covered sump basin in the basement floor, is usually preferable to a pedestal pump that is mounted at floor level. Enclosed submersible basins keep debris out and moisture from infiltrating water in.
  • High-quality sump pumps are made of cast iron—not plastic. There’s a good reason for this. Iron effectively disperses heat from the pump into the water in the basin. A cooler pump has a longer service life.
  • Choose a pump with a no-screen intake design to minimize clogging. The impeller in the pump should be designed to discharge solid debris up to a half-inch diameter.
  • Look for a mechanically-actuated float switch, not a switch that responds to water pressure. Make sure the float is fabricated of solid material that won’t become waterlogged over time.
  • Install a backup pump. Severe weather conditions that cause flooding often trigger power failures, as well, causing the pump to fail just when you need it most. A battery backup pump can run for up to two days on battery power if the grid goes down or the primary pump malfunctions.

Contact Rytech Inc. for more information about professional water damage restoration and mitigation.