Tag: mold (Page 2 of 2)

Caring for appliances to avoid costly repairs

Love your appliances, and they’ll love you back.

Clothes and linens are laundered, dishes are sparkling clean, and that shower was nice and warm all thanks to the convenience of household appliances. These marvelous inventions continue to evolve and strike our fancy with new high tech features, all working to make our daily lives easier. However, any of these wonderful amenities can be a serious water damage disaster just waiting to happen. How can you avoid the costly damage? Routine care and servicing will keep your house hold appliances working safely and properly. Add a few extra preventative measures and some safeguards in case anything does happen, and you’ll be able to continue using these lovely conveniences with peace of mind.

Washing Machines

Washing machine floods lower level in Brewster, MA business

Washing machine floods lower level in Brewster, MA business

One of the biggest culprits of water damages are one of our favorite inventions ever, the washing machine. They can leak internally, front loaders can lose their spin and not drain properly, and the hoses connecting to the water supply can go. The best ways to prevent a water damage from happening because of your washer are:

  • Turn the water supply to the washer off when you are not home, especially if you are going away for a few days or on vacation. Consider installing an automatic shutoff valve.
  • Inspect your hoses seasonally. You’re looking for drips and dampness around the fittings, or on the flooring below. Replace the hoses every 5 years.
  • Keep the machine at least 4 inches from the wall to prevent damage to the hoses such as crimping.
  • Make sure the washing machine is draining properly. If you notice your clothes are still pretty heavy and wet, or just aren’t as wrung out as they used to be, you should have the machine serviced before it stops spinning all together.

Water Heaters

Water heater causes water damage in Eastham, MA home

Water heater causes water damage in Eastham, MA home

Your hot water heater may be working much harder than you think. Time takes a toll on these great units, corroding them in areas both visible and not. For the corrosion you can’t see, the best thing to do prepare for the worst. Install an automatic shutoff valve and a sump pump. Should the unit fail and open a continuous water flow into your home, this will minimize the damage by stopping the flow before you may notice it, and the pump will drain any standing water. You could also make sure that any water that does erupt from the unit is guided to the sump pump or drainage system area. It is important to keep track of the age of your water heater. Of course, the older it gets, the more you need to pay attention to the red flags of it starting to fail. What are you looking for during your frequent inspections of the unit?

  • Any signs of any wear on the system whatsoever.
  • Noises such as hissing, rumbling, or whistling.
  • A reduction in the water temperature from the faucet or in the time it takes to heat up water after it runs out. My favorite way to test this is to run a nice hot bath!
  • Rusty water.
  • Leaks, drips, or moisture around the fittings and flooring below.
  • The age of the water heater could be coded as the serial number on the manufacturer’s sticker. Check the manufacturer’s website to decode the date, but sometimes, wherever the first letter sits in the alphabet refers to the month, and the first two digits after the letter represent the year. If it’s older than 10 years, consider replacing.

It’s never a bad idea to call the heating and cooling technician if you find even the slightest sign of wear or damage. If you see any major signs, you should have the heater replaced.


Dish washer causes water damage in East Harwich, MA home

Dish washer causes water damage in East Harwich, MA home

Dishwashers can cause both sudden dramatic water damages, and slow, stealth leaks that can easily go unnoticed, eventually compromising your flooring, walls, and surrounding structure.

  • Just like your washing machine hoses, you want to inspect your dishwasher hoses regularly for leaks, exterior moisture, or damage of any kind including deterioration. Add this to each of your seasonal to do lists.
  • Check for rust. You should never find any rust around the dishwasher, and if you do, water is getting into places it shouldn’t.
  • Only run the dishwasher when someone is home. The best way to mitigate a water damage is to immediately prevent more water from flowing, and dry the area out as quickly as possible. If you’re off to work and the hose cracks mid-cycle, instead of clean dishes to come home out, you could potentially be looking at 6-8 long hours of costly damage.

Ice makers

Ice maker leak causes damage and mold to South Yarmouth, MA home.

Ice maker leak causes damage and mold to South Yarmouth, MA home.

Ice makers, like a small leak in a dishwasher hose, can be another sly culprit of a large scale water damage. And what comes with prolonged dampness? Mold! Plastic hoses feeding water into the ice maker are easily pinched, and can become corroded or damaged over time.

  • Check the hoses seasonally for signs of cracks, pinches, or any sort of damage. Replacing them could only cost around $6-15, but the damage that can happen by not replacing them can become thousands.
  • Instead of plastic tubing, replace the water supply line with different material such as copper or stainless steel.
  • Replace any tubes that you think are 10 years old or older.
  • Install a flood alarm. These units go from basic models to new fancy ones that you can even connect to your smartphone. They’ll sound off and notify you if there’s an increase in moisture.

Overall, with proper maintenance and a close eye on the potential sources, you can severely lessen your chances of falling victim to an appliance water damage If you have any questions, please feel free to send us a message and we’ll be happy to respond! More often than not, there are pleanty of others wondering the same thing.

Air Quality Weighing You Down? It Could be the humidity.

The days of simply opening the window to clear a stuffy house aren’t always available. For year-round relief and protection for your home start running a dehumidifier.

What do dehumidifiers do? Dehumidifiers reduce the amount of moisture in the air. They work just like air conditioners only they contain both hot and cold coils.

How do dehumidifiers work?
Air is drawn in to the dehumidifier and any moisture contained in that air is condensed onto cold coils. This dries the air. The dry air then passes over hot coils and is circulated back into the room. The moisture that condensed onto the cold coils is drained into a tank or “pint”. You have to periodically empty this tank to avoid overflow. Some dehumidifiers can simply be set to a certain humidity percentage and it will automatically run itself to maintain that specified level. If you don’t feel like emptying the you may find one with a pump system that you can then direct so that the water safely away from your foundation.

In the months that you run air conditioners in your home you may not need to run the dehumidifier if the air conditioning is keeping the humidity low enough. A hygrometer, which can be purchased at some hardware stores, will give you an accurate humidity reading.

Who can benefit from a dehumidifier?
Everyone can benefit from controlled air conditions, but even more so are people with allergies, asthma, or those who are living in moist conditions. Here on Cape Cod, being so close to the ocean, we are all very familiar with moist conditions.

Do you find that symptoms including stuffy nose, eye irritation or sneezing increase when spending time indoors? A number of irritants, including dust mites, could be the culprit. Dust mites live in mattresses, upholstery, curtains, rugs and even get mixed up the air. (This is why you should vacuum mattresses and upholstery once a week with a HEPA filter vacuum). Bringing the level of moisture in the air down will make it less environmentally friendly for mites, mold and mildew.

Controlling the indoor air humidity with a dehumidifier will also reduce the amount of dusting you need to keep up with, reduce door frame swelling, and lengthen the life of your windows by reducing any condensation on them. The air will smell noticeably fresher. You may even find that your laundry takes less time to dry, and that your food keeps longer.

What are signs of moisture?

  • Stains on ceilings and/or walls
  • A “stuffy” feeling when you enter a room
  • Rotten trim and/or wooden areas
  • Musty odors
  • Condensation found on windows
  • A hygrometer reading above 40-50%

How do you choose a dehumidifier? Your choices will be narrowed down with two variables: the amount of area the unit will cover and the size of the water tank that holds the condensed moisture. If you’ve ever purchased an air conditioner you know that it needs to be able to cover the entire cubic space of the room to work properly. Measure the area of space you’ll need to dehumidify (cubic feet) and select a unit that will cover at least that amount of space if not more. The higher the humidity in your geographical area, the larger the tank you’ll want your unit to have.

Don’t forget about maintenance on your dehumidifier. They can run above and beyond a few hundred dollars depending on the size you need so you’ll want to maintain them properly to get your money’s worth. Filters will need to either be cleaned or replaced so factor them into the cost when comparing units. Also, look for the energy efficient models to reduce the increase in electricity use. Some are also louder than others. If it’s in the basement you may not be too concerned with the noise, but if it’s close to a bedroom or entertaining space you may opt for a quieter version.

With all of the calls concerning mold in basements, musty bedroom and closet odors, and heat of summer mildew I highly advise that dehumidifiers are run to keep these occurrences at a minimum. If you do run into any of these while running a dehumidifier or not, always check first to make sure its not a slow leak, drip, or pending water damage. If it is, the sooner you find it the better.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Mold is a hot topic in home health today. It is also something that is inevitable and everywhere. We are exposed to many varieties of mold in the air we breathe, the surfaces we touch and the food we eat. Some of it is invasive to the surfaces of our homes potentially causing damage or illness. If you find mold in your home what do you do?

Mold in home

First try to understand mold for what it is: a natural fungus. Professionals are continuously researching mold to learn more about the potential hazards and benefits of it. Much of the research being conducted regarding potential hazards sheds interest towards workers in remediation, waste management and agricultural fields who are exposed to large amounts of mold often. Not all mold is toxic and healthy humans are mostly unaffected by it. People with preexisting respiratory problems, young children and the elderly are more susceptible to having reactions. Other than that, generally most reactions to mold are allergic reactions just like people have to food or pollen. Don’t forget that some mold, like penicillin, is beneficial.

Still, many find mold growing in their homes concerning. They key to combating mold growth is moisture control. You can’t remove all mold spores from your home. There will always be at least a slight presence of spores in the air and in dust. What you can do is try keep the spores from growing with routine cleaning and controlling the amount of indoor moisture. All mold spore types require moisture to grow, starting with a wet surface. If you find mold it must be cleaned and dried and the source of the moisture must be found and corrected. If you only clean the spot of mold you see growing, you are only partially addressing the problem and it will probably return. If the moisture problem is simply the general atmosphere of where you live you may simply need to purchase a dehumidifier to control the humidity in the area.

So, when do you call a mold remediation specialist? How you address the cleaning of the mold in your home depends on multiple factors. You must consider the size of the problem. Typically, if the mold you find only covers a small surface area then you can clean it yourself following protection guidelines. Keeping mold out of the bathroom can be nearly impossible and requires cleaning surfaces often as well as good ventilation. Frequently wet surfaces should be cleaned routinely before the mold can be visually detected. If you suspect mold in your duct work, then you should refrain from running your air system until you’ve had the ducts professional cleaned and sanitized, and the air filter replaced. If mold is found in an area that suffered water damage, then perhaps additional water damage mitigation services are required (drying, antimicrobial treatment and possibly removing any remaining wet material). If you don’t know what the cause of the mold is then you should call an air quality specialist to test the area and write you a protocol report. Air quality specialists can identify things like the type of mold, the quantity of spores in a given area, the source of the moisture they’re feeding off, and what to do to correct it. In order to ensure complete and successful mold remediation services some restoration companies even require a mold protocol report. You can have the air quality professional back to perform testing after the mold remediation services are done for great peace of mind that the services were successful.

For mold you believe you can clean on your own without consulting an air quality specialist and a mold remediation specialist here are some guidelines. You can use plastic sheets and tape to create a containment between the affected area and the rest of the house (don’t forget the air registers!). Once you touch the mold it can actually “poof” the spores into the air and quickly spread. Always wear a mask, gloves and goggles. Many people have the mask and gloves down, but then forget to protect their eyes. The EPA suggests using an N-95 respirator. After cleaning off the mold make sure that the affected areas are completely dry and start or continue controlling the humidity in the room. Strongly consider tossing porous materials and textiles if they are moldy. Mold may breed into the open spaces within porous items and those areas can be impossible to treat and then thoroughly dry.

You can help prevent mold growth in many ways. Routine, general surface cleaning is a key factor, including keeping your gutters and your roof clear. Check your foundation and make sure that the ground is properly sloped so that water will drain away from it. Make sure to clean up/correct leaks and spills as soon as you are aware of them. Protect yourself when cleaning mold, and clean areas susceptible to it often. If you encounter mold that you believe needs professional attention, have your local air quality specialist test it and then call a trusted mold remediation specialist, like Whalen Restoration Services!

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