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How To Tell If You Have Black Mold Growing In Your Home

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

toxic black moldThough not all indoor mold is toxic to all persons, many people are susceptible to the ill effects of black mold symptoms and growth. Black mold refers to a particularly virulent type of fungus known as Stachybotrys Atra. It’s important to be aware of suspected black mold symptoms and growth inside your home and seek professional treatment to eliminate this most toxic fungus.

Stachybotrys Atra is naturally present in the soil in most climates. However, migrating spores infiltrate houses and other structures. Inert spores remain dormant until exposed to moisture that triggers active growth. Once black mold growth begins, millions of live microscopic reproductive spores are released into the air. These spores contain mycotoxins which produce physical symptoms in most people when inhaled or ingested in sufficient concentration.

Symptoms of Black Mold

Troublesome physical symptoms should always be reported first to your physician before assuming they are mold-related. Here are some of the ill effects black mold may cause:

  • Lung congestion and other breathing difficulties.
  • Chronic coughing, sneezing and respiratory irritation.
  • Eye irritation and redness.
  • Chronic fatigue.
  • Headaches, nausea and other flu-like symptoms.
  • Impaired concentration and depression.

Signs Of Black Mold Growth

  • Black mold can take hold wherever there is exposure to moisture—or even just high humidity—as well as some form of cellulose for food. This can include the home’s wooden structure, wallboard and ceiling tiles. Carpeting accumulates microscopic organic material that settles out of the air and is also a food source for growing black mold. When black mold spores in these areas come in contact with moisture, active growth may be initiated within hours.
  • Despite its name, not all black mold is actually black in color. It may be dark greenish or even gray. It is often flat and may appear more like a dark, mottled stain on the material as opposed to fluffy growth typical of other mold.
  • Black mold infection is typically associated with a very musty odor somewhat like mildew but usually more intense within an enclosed area.

For important information about neutralizing black mold symptoms and growth, contact the mold remediation specialists at Rytech, Inc.

 

Leaky And Wet Basements: A Disaster In The Making

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

leaky basementLeaky and wet basements pose a threat to home and health. A source of perpetual moisture just beneath your living spaces, a chronically wet basement creates issues that—unfortunately—don’t stay down in the basement. Deterioration from chronic basement moisture compromises the structural integrity of the house. Critical whole-house systems such as HVAC and electrical located in the basement are also vulnerable to water damage. Leaky and wet basements provide an ideal environment for toxic mold growth that spreads contamination throughout the entire home.

Moisture accumulation in a basement generally results from one or more of these sources:

  • Ground water rising or outdoor rainwater seeping downward into the basement.
  • High levels of indoor water vapor caused by an unvented clothes dryer, a bathroom and/or kitchen added to the basement and even residual moisture contained within the concrete foundation and walls that gradually weeps into the basement.
  • Dripping condensation as humid air condenses on cooler basement fixtures, particularly plumbing pipes typically routed there.

To mitigate basement moisture sources, several alternatives—often in combination—must be considered:

  • Where a high water table is pushing water up through the foundation, install a sump pump in the basement floor. If soaking outdoor rain is penetrating basement walls, verify that the landscape gradient diverts water away from the home. Make sure roof gutters aren’t clogged and downspouts discharge water at least four feet from the house. Installation of a french drain in the ground around the perimeter of the foundation also conveys soaking water away from the house.
  • Remove accumulating water vapor from the basement by installing exhaust fans that move moist air outdoors. Vent any appliances such as dryers or stoves.
  • Reduce basement condensation by installing slip-on foam pipe insulation on exposed water lines. Consider using a dehumidifier to continuously dry basement air.
  • Where toxic mold growth is suspected, get an inspection by a certified mold remediation professional to verify the presence of mold and specialized treatment to locate and neutralize active growing mold.

For more information about dealing with the causes and consequences of leaky and wet basements, contact Rytech, Inc.

 

Rytech’s 4 Components of Success

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

Over the past 20 years, water damage restoration and mold remediation have advanced from a contractor’s sideline to a mainstream branch of building science. Research and technology targeted toward the process of drying homes and commercial structures have identified the most effective techniques in the process known as applied structural drying (ASD).

Discovering what works and discarding what doesn’t is the essence of all advancement in technology and science. At Rytech we’ve distilled the process down to a few fundamental principles that consistently produce a successful outcome in mitigating water damage and mold contamination. While no two projects are exactly the same, laboratory testing and real-world results have identified four general components of ASD success that are critical in most cases.

Extraction

Getting the water out is priority one. For every minute water and moisture remain in an indoor environment, ongoing damage exacerbates. Cutting-edge technology — such as the high-powered Hydro-X extractor as well as the Water Claw — aids in fast water removal without the need for expensive and destructive dismantling. Water extraction today is 35 percent more efficient and effective.

Enhanced Airflow

A water-damaged home requires a higher rate of continuous fresh airflow. Most home ventilation systems including fans and other devices don’t move the volume of air required to support the drying process and prevent further moisture migration. Specialized, high-volume fans purpose-built for water damage scenarios are standard equipment on any project.

Dehumidifying

Extracting humidity from the air inside a flooded structure is every bit as critical as removing standing water. High humidity infiltrates the entire house and is a major cause of secondary damage including toxic mold growth. Utilizing refrigerant-based industrial dehumidifiers to condense water vapor and/or silica gel desiccants to absorb it knocks down damaging indoor humidity.

Temperature Moderation

Temperatures that are too high or too low are bad for effective water damage mitigation. Maintaining indoor temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees is the optimal range for effectively using humidity reduction and water extraction technology.

For more, ask the professionals at Rytech about how these components work together to make water damage recovery in your home successful.

 

Safety Issues From a Leaking Roof

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

A leaking roof can be an expensive nuisance. Most leaks aren’t evident by simply visually inspecting the exterior of the roof. Costly interior damage from roof leaks is often already done by the time you realize there’s a problem in the first place. However, a leaking roof can also present safety issues, in addition to the obvious dangers of climbing up there and attempting to repair the leak yourself (not a recommended DIY project).  Here are some of the safety hazards associated with a leaking roof.

leaking roofFire and electrical hazards: Household wiring is routed through the attic; recessed ceiling lights, some HVAC equipment and other electrical devices are also often present. Dripping water and electricity don’t mix. While the danger of electrocution is one hazard, a more likely consequence of a leaking roof might be fire resulting from an electrical short caused by exposure to water. If you note any signs of a leaky roof, such as a stained ceiling or water dripping into living spaces, turn off electricity at the main panel and call a qualified electrician and roofing company.

Mold contamination: The slow drip of roof leaks into a dark, warm attic provides the trigger mechanism for toxic mold growth that requires only a source of moisture to activate. Insulation installed in the attic such as fiberglass batts and blown-in cellulose remain chronically damp from roof leaks, a perfect growing environment for mold. Contamination in the attic soon spreads throughout living spaces below as millions of airborne mold spores are reproduced. Occupants of the home may experience allergic reactions and chronic illness as a result of continuous exposure to active mold spores.

Structural damage: Wooden building materials in the attic such as studs and ceiling joists form a critical part of your home’s structure. Continuous exposure to water from roof leaks causes wood rot and eventual failure of these components. Safety issues such as a potential ceiling collapse or an attic that’s unsafe to enter may be the result.

Contact Rytech, Inc. for more information about safety issues and solutions.

When DIY Water and Mold Removal is Safe

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

Is DIY water and mold removal safely doable? These two services are often mentioned in the same sentence — usually when a homeowner is discussing contracting with a certified professional water damage and mold restoration service. Nevertheless, many people consider taking on the dual tasks of DIY water and mold removal and rightly wonder what they’re up against. Here are some guidelines to make an educated decision.

  • DIY water and mold removalDue to electrocution hazard, if there’s any chance that outlets or wiring are wet, you shouldn’t consider DIY water removal unless/until a professional electrician has cleared the premises. Additionally, rooms with sagging saturated walls or ceiling should be off-limits due to the danger of structural collapse until a contractor has inspected the house.
  • Where the water originated matters a lot. “Clean” water, straight from a ruptured water supply line or fixture may be safely mopped up or removed. However, flood water from outdoors may carry a variety of toxins, and any sewage backup or spill contains dangerous biohazards. These sources of water should be avoided and left to professionals.
  • Pumps, wet/dry vacuums and fans typically available to homeowners at consumer-level rental centers are often not designed specifically for water damage restoration. If you lack the equipment utilized by professional water damage teams to get the job done, expect to get less-than-professional results.
  • If you can see mold growth on hard, impermeable surfaces, and verify that the extent is limited to an area of less than 10 square feet, you may be able to wipe it away with a 1:9 ratio of bleach to water. However, if mold is widespread and/or growing on permeable structural materials like wood or drywall, removal/replacement of these materials is typically necessary and calls for professional intervention.
  • If you suspect mold growth but can’t locate it, a mold remediation professional is needed to conduct tests that track down the location of mold and identify the type. Not everything that looks like mold is mold and not all mold is toxic.

Before you take on DIY water and mold removal, contact Rytech, Inc. about the advantages of qualified professional treatment.

4 Common Moisture Myths and the Facts You Need to Know

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

moisture mythsHousehold moisture myths abound, no matter what climate you may live in. Excess moisture may be an acute problem that results from obvious short-term events—or it may be an ongoing, chronic condition. No matter the cause, moisture spawns an array of damaging consequences inside a home. Dealing with it effectively means recognizing longstanding moisture myths, and taking steps based on facts instead. Here are four common misconceptions that just won’t go away:

Myth: Household water intrusion is usually a dramatic, acute event like flooding.

Fact: Significant moisture problems result from an accumulation of often insignificant sources: small, nagging plumbing leaks that go unaddressed, ongoing condensation that originates in the home’s HVAC system, external issues like landscape grading that directs rainwater toward the home, etc.

Myth: Moisture problems are always conspicuous and readily apparent to homeowners.

Fact: Actually, residents of a moisture-damaged home may be totally unaware of the developing problem. Longstanding moisture problems often go unnoticed because they tend to occur in areas of the house that are seldom visited or even glimpsed by occupants of the home. These include the crawl space, attic and interior wall voids.

Myth: Once the water is removed, the moisture problem is over.

Fact: The after-effects of severe moisture may not become apparent until much later. The growth of toxic mold, deterioration of wooden structural components and effects on electrical wiring and other components tend to be a delayed consequence of excess household moisture. These typically require professional treatment by a water damage specialist.

Myth: Residential building codes include many requirements that help protect against moisture problems.

Fact: Building codes typically only advise the installation of vapor barriers and ventilation of the attic as adequate moisture control. Intrusion of moisture due to rain leaks, rising ground water, basement seepage and other common sources are not addressed by most codes and may present far more troublesome moisture damage issues.

For professional help in separating moisture myths from reality, contact Rytech, Inc.

How Floodwater Affects Your Home’s Ceilings and Walls

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Floodwater damage is rarely uniform in the houses it impacts or even among different parts of the same house. This is due to the variety of building materials incorporated into ceilings and walls that react differently to water exposure. If professional water damage recovery techniques are utilized, many materials can be recovered. Others, however, will need to be replaced.

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