Simple Everyday Steps to Prevent Kitchen Mould Problems

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Mould is tough stuff and in all honesty it can appear anywhere in and around the average home, as long as there is a little bit of unaddressed moisture, it can hang. One place it is very fond of however is the kitchen, as all too often all of the right conditions are in place for it to thrive and grow. Once in place it has the ability to spread very quickly and can be tough to get rid of. If though you take some precautionary measures to help prevent mould formation (as well as its closely related friend mildew) you can save yourself a lot of hassle, expense and even health problems further down the line.

Spruce Up with Mould Resistant Paint

Have you been thinking about giving you kitchen a bit of a mini makeover with a couple of new coats of paint? That is indeed a relatively easy and expensive way to breathe new life into a dull kitchen and if you splash out the extra few dollars on a mould resistant paint when you do so you’ll be adding an extra ‘layer of protection’ against nasty mould at the same time.

Keep Carpet Out of the Kitchen

Even if you think it will add a layer of warmth to a cold kitchen, and the label claims it is stain proof, carpet in the kitchen is never a good idea. This is because carpet acts like a natural magnet, pulling all kinds of things from the air deep down into its fibres, including the excess moisture that tends to be found in the average busy kitchen. This can then easily result in mould that lives inside the carpet, or on its backing, that you simply won’t be able to see and that will not be removed even if you vacuum it twice a day.

If you must add fabric to warm up a hardwood or ceramic tile kitchen floor, make it a rug instead and even then get into the habit of lifting that rug up and checking its underside for the telltale signs of mould.

Check the Wall Behind the Range

If you cook at least once a day (which most of us at least try to) more moisture is generated on a daily basis than you might imagine and much of it can find its way behind the range where it can’t be seen, leading to the growth of mould and mildew that can’t be seen as well. Or at least can’t be seen until it begins to creep up the wall above the range, at which point you may have a serious problem. It is a bit of a pain but try to get into the habit of at least occasionally checking the wall space behind the range, just in case.

Check Inside the Cupboards

Kitchen cupboards, especially the dark corners where crumbs and food remnants may have been lingering unseen for a while, are another place that mold can quite easily form and grow unseen. Therefore these are spots that should also be checked for mold and mildew often and keeping them as clean and clutter free as possible will help a great deal too.

Look Out for Leaks

Little leaks can occur all over the kitchen, and not just under the sink either. And we all know that leaks means excess moisture, and excess moisture means mould. Places to regularly check for leaks? Dishwasher and refrigerator hoses, the washing machine plumbing and around kitchen window frames.

Wash the Walls

Over time kitchen walls develop a layer of grease, moisture and dirt that is simply an unavoidable by-product of cooking in the space. To prevent this from becoming a new home for mould was the walls on a regular basis and make sure you dry them off properly when you are done.

Ventilate, Ventilate, Ventilate

Whether it means occasionally opening the windows, running the exhaust fan or switching on the ceiling fans – or a combination of all three – keeping your kitchen space well ventilated can be a very effective weapon against the formation of mould and mildew.

Avoid Costly Water Overflow Disasters with Basic Drain Maintenance

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As water damage restoration experts we know that water damage occurs in many different ways. One of the common ways we see it occur is as a result of a drain blockage that ultimately causes an overflow, often of grey or black water that, as you probably know, calls for a more involved clean up than a clean water accident.

Not all blockages can be prevented, especially if you are hooked up to a municipal water system, but too many people overlook the things that they CAN do to help prevent drain blockages and potentially very problematic overflows. Here are some of the most basic (and the most important) to keep in mind on an ongoing basis.

In the Kitchen

Your kitchen sink is probably used as much as your bathroom sink is, if not more so in some cases, but do you take the time to make sure that everything, especially the water flow, is as it should be?

Any kitchen sink is prone to blockage, but such things are quite easily prevented. Never pour oil into a sink, even if you have a disposal and after using it for any purpose allow the water to run for 20-30 seconds to help keep the drain clear.

In addition, about once every four weeks take the time to perform a little bit of simple preventive maintenance. Fill the sink full of plain, very hot water and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Using a long handled fork (to prevent scalds and burns) pull the plug out and let the hot water flow away. Thanks to the temperature it will take a lot of built up dirt and grease with it, helping keeps your drainage system free of clogs.

In the Bathroom

The big block up danger in the bathroom is of course your toilet. Often it takes very little to cause a toilet overflow, something as simple as flushing kitchen roll can be all it takes. For that reason it is important that it is a clear household rule that nothing other than a reasonable amount of toilet paper is ever flushed. And to be especially safe, look for a toilet tissue that is biodegradable next time you are out shopping.

Signs of a Blockage

Even if you follow all of the advice above a blockage can occur, and it may take a while before it causes damage, giving you time to act. All of the following are signs that a problem is brewing:

  • When you flush your toilet, a small amount of water bubbles up through the tub drain or the bathroom sink.
  • As you empty the bathtub, some of the water bubbles back at you rather than draining away immediately.
  • When you run the washing machine soapy water appears in one of your sinks, the toilet or the bathtub.

Don’t Rely on Chemicals

Many people’s first reaction to a probable blockage is to run to the shops to buy a big bottle of ‘liquid plumber’ type solutions. However that is a course of action that needs careful consideration.

If the liquid does not clear the blockage – which is often the case, as even the ‘heavy duty’ stuff is not very powerful – then the chemicals will cling to whatever is blocking the drain, making it even bigger and harder to shift than before. Calling a plumber may cost more but, much as we, and our colleagues all over the country, are always ready to step in and help clear up the damage after a water overflow, we really don’t want to have to if it could have been prevented by a five minute visit from your local plumber!

The Little Signs That Point to Bathroom Water Damage You Can’t Ignore

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tumblr_inline_ndsrj1RwcL1r0zbcvWhen people think about water damage in the home their thoughts almost immediately turn to damage caused by huge events like a sudden flood. Water damage can also occur slowly and almost silently though, and if the causes are left addressed eventually the damage and devastation can become as serious as it would be if your home had been flooded.

One place that this silent damage often occurs is in the bathroom and in the most innocuous of places, your nice clean shower. Often everything seems to be fine. You scrub the shower enclosure clean on a regular basis, the shower head is OK – well it drips a bit and the spray sometimes escapes the shower curtains but that’s no big deal right? – and the tiling grout is in pretty good shape. A few bits could do with a touch up but you’ll get around to doing that when you have time.

However, cursory looks can be very deceptive. A shower like the one described above may in fact very well be the cause of creeping bathroom water damage that you really won’t notice, maybe until its too late. There are warning signs though, and you should always be on the look out for them:

Those Little Mouldy Patches

Occasionally you’ve noticed a little mould building up in the corners of the shower enclosure, or around the edges of the attached bathtub, but you just spray it with a bit of bleach and it seems to go away again, so where’s the real harm?

There is no such thing as harmless mould though, especially as far as your home’s structure is concerned. Bleach may cut away at some of the visible mould for a short time but more of it may be quietly eating into your floorboards and your walls, causing slow, steady damage that will eventually become a real problem.

Peeling Paint

Just like your skin will peel when you get a nasty sunburn the paint in your home will begin to crack and peel as moisture seeps into it. All too often this peeling is not caused by a need for better ventilation (although that is very important) but a shower that is leaking behind the wall, a common problem that is very hard to diagnose with the naked eye of course.

Grotty Grout

In most bathrooms grout is the thing that holds everything together in the bath/shower area. In order for it to actually do its job grout needs to be clean, uniform and free of cracks, chips and stains. Damaged grout is however a veritable breeding ground for water damage. Its very porous nature draws in all of the moisture that surrounds it where it will then spread into the walls and/or floor. Cracks begin to form there and eventually the very structure of your home becomes compromised.

As you can now see ignoring little things in your bathroom can end up costing you big, so addressing issues, however small they seem and however annoying it may be to take the time out of your schedule to deal with them doing so is a must, even if you have to call in the pros to help.

Understanding the Types of Water Damage That May Affect Your Property

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tumblr_inline_nf22f10pFR1r0zbcvDid you know that there are different types of flood water, and that what type is affecting your property makes a real difference to the way your property is restored in the aftermath? In fact, when a water restoration specialist first visits an affected property the type of water involved is the very first thing they will determine. So what are these water types? Read on to find out.

Clean Water

If the water that has flooded a property would normally be considered safe for human consumption then it is referred to as clean water damage. Water from a sink overflow, a shower or bath spill, a dishwasher disaster or something similar would usually be classed this way and it is certainly the easiest type of water damage to deal with in many ways.

One thing that should be kept in mind however is that clean water damage, if not properly addressed can still cause long term damage, especially to any floors that were affected.

Grey Water

Grey water is more problematic. The term usually covers water that has spilled from a washing machine, overflowed from a toilet or has been washed in from outside. All such water can can contain substances that may be harmful to humans if they are exposed to it for a long period of time. This type of water also has a tendency to literally mould within hours, especially on carpeted surfaces.

Black Water

Black water damage is a real problem and it must be addressed as soon as possible both for the sake of your property and for the sake of you and your family’s health and safety. Black water is considered to be hugely unsanitary, and should not be touched by anyone without the proper equipment and protective gear. The term black water refers to sewage spills, grey water that has been allowed to stagnate and flood waters caused by seriously inclement weather.

If your property suffers a flood of black water then you will need to contact a certified water restoration company right away. You should also make sure that humans and pets are evacuated from the affected area right away and are not allowed to return until the cleanup professionals say that it is safe to do so.

There are many more factors that will go into the effective management of your water restoration project but being aware of this very basic information will help you determine your first course of action should disaster strike.

Mould Facts and Myths Every Homeowner Should Understand

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mold_petri_good_house-34171826-copyAt Restoration 1 Kitchener we spend a lot of time dealing with mould, and in doing so we encounter a lot of myths and misconceptions about the stuff that we try to dispel whenever we can. Recently it occurred to us that we should probably collect some of the most repeated of our little nuggets of mouldy wisdom into an article of some kind, so that we could get the word out to even more people. So, here we go..

Not All Black Mould is Bad

There has been a lot written and talked about over the last few years regarding black mould and how dangerous it is to both your house and your health. And there are such things as toxic moulds and yes, a lot of them are black. But not all black moulds are toxic.

The fact is that mould comes in all kinds of colours. We’ve seen white mould, bright yellow mould, brown mould, green mould, mould that is the kind of delicate pink that would actually make a rather nice paint colour and everything in between.

Whether or not a mould is toxic depends upon its chemical makeup, not on its colour. So if the mould you find in your home is black don’t panic and make plans to leave town immediately just yet. Call in a company like Restoration 1 Kitchener to come and perform professional mould testing to find out what kind of mould it really is, regardless of its hue.
Bleach Kills Mould, Not.

OK, we admit it, this is the myth that drives us nuts. No, whatever you read online, or saw on a late night infomercial, bleach does not kill mould. It bleaches it, which means you probably won’t be able to see it anymore. It’s still there though and in fact it is probably really enjoying the tasty bleach you just fed it because that actually makes mould stronger and more resistant. There are indeed solutions that kill mould but bleach isn’t one of them.

Keeping an Area Dry Will Not Kill Existing Mould

OK, so you found a big patch of mould, figured out the problem was your leaky showerhead, had the local plumber come in and fix that and now everything should be great, the mould will go away.

Well no, it won’t. We all know that mould needs excess moisture to grow, but once it is past its ‘toddler’ stage, which only takes a few days, it can survive very well on the moisture in the air, and the air is moist everywhere. The less powerful ‘nutrition’ will probably mean that the existing mould won’t grow or spread very fast, but it will still have the ‘strength’ to carry on doing what it always has, eating away at whatever surface it calls home.

Initial Mould Testing is Not Invasive or Intrusive

In order to perform a mould test in your home we, or any other professional mould remediation service, are not going to come in armed with scissors and hammers to rip up your carpets or knock holes in your walls. Our testing methods are seriously more advanced than that and we can get to the root of any problem without creating a mess of any kind.

You Can Recover the Value of Your Property After a Serious Mould Problem

A serious mould problem is just that, serious, but it does not mean that all is lost or that your home is now ‘damaged goods’ that can never be resold for its proper value. As long as the mould remediation service you use is properly certified and experienced – ie a company like Restoration 1 Kitchener – and the problem, has been solved no one will ever be able to really tell it existed in the first place.

Any Home Can Fall Victim to Mould, However New and Clean

Contrary to popular opinion, mould, even though it is indeed a living organism, does not discriminate. Give it what it needs to grow and it will grow, even if your house is only six months old and a cleaning lady comes in every day.

While You Wait – What to Do After Flooding Until Professional Help Arrives

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Flood_InsuranceIt happened. A flood. Your home is filled with water and no mop or bucket is going to take care of this problem. You need help and you have been smart enough to call for it. The pros are on their way. But what should you be doing in the meantime?

Safety First

The immediate primary concern in any water damage situation should be safety. If the flooding is excessive it may not even be safe for you to stay in your home. If that does not seem to be the case however – let’s say the basement is flooded, or your washing machine went a bit nuts and the laundry room currently looks more like a paddling pool – you still need to exercise caution. In these situations slip and fall and electrical accidents are all too common so only do what is absolutely necessary and think safety first at all times.

What to Do After Flooding While You Wait For Help to Arrive

As long as you have determined it is safe to do so, while you wait for the professional cleanup crew to arrive doing the following will help minimize the damage and maybe even salvage a few beloved possessions:

  • Where it is possible, begin to remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
  • As soon as possible wipe excess water from wood furniture to prevent permanent damage.
  • Remove and then prop up wet upholstery and cushions from sofas etc, taking them outside if at all possible.
  • If you have a colored rug laying on a wooden floor – or even on carpet – try to get it up and outside to prevent permanent staining.
  • Gather up as many loose items from the floors as possible.

What Not to Do After Flooding While You Wait For Help to Arrive

  • Don’t turn electrical appliances in the affected areas on and off. Never touch electrical outlets in these areas either.
  • Don’t smoke or light candles – a spark may trigger an electrical fire as electrics may have been compromised by the water without you knowing it.
  • Don’t let kids or pets ‘play’ in the water.
  • Don’t panic! However bad things look right now you have done the right thing in calling in the pros and they will help you get things as straight as possible in the shortest time possible.

Easy Ways to Avoid Water Damage from Clogged Gutters

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clogged gutters Cleaning the gutters that run around your home is an easy task to forget, especially as very few of us ever really give them a thought (or a second look) The average homeowner often just assumes they are there doing their job; until they don’t.

The problem is of course that blocked and/or damaged guttering can cause all kinds of issues, both large and small. Just a single blocked gutter can lead to water pooling around the foundations of your home and seeping into both the foundations and into the basement.

Further up, a blocked gutter can allow water to begin seeping into the walls of your home and damage their structure, leading to mould, dry rot, insect infestations, roof leaks and more. And whether water damage occurs over time or a heavy downpour or snowfall causes a flood, failing to maintain your gutters can cost you big in the long run.

DIY Gutter Cleaning – Tips, Tricks and Precautions

There are of course many professional gutter cleaning services that can be called, and if you are not much of a handyperson then doing that might be the best idea. But it is possible to clean your own gutters if you keep certain things in mind. Here are some of the important basics:

Use the Right Ladder(s)

For your own health and safety, using the right ladders is a must. Ideally the ladder you use should be a four legged model, as that is of course far more stable. Before you use the ladder inspect it, especially the steps and try to set it on the levelest ground possible. And, if the ground is soft soil then you should consider placing the legs of the ladder on a plywood board.

Wear the Right Gear

There is likely to be more than just dead leaves cluttering up your gutters, especially if you have not cleaned them for a while, so therefore make sure that you wear both a thick pair of work gloves and a pair of protective goggles, just in case there are loose stones, shards of glass or even just little sharp twigs in the gutters, things that can all cause injury.

Use a Plastic Gutter Scoop

Using a metal tool to clean out your gutters can actually do more harm than good. Most modern gutters are plastic, so they can easily be pierced by a sharp metal tool.

Consider Investing in Gutter Guards

Gutter guards are specially designed to allow rainwater to flow unobstructed through a gutter while also preventing large debris from entering them in the first place. They won’t keep all of it out but they will help a great deal. Gutter guards can be obtained at almost any hardware of home store and are not overly difficult to install. There is of course a small(ish) financial investment involved but it is one that may very well pay off big time in the long run.

Easy Ways to Help Prevent Home Water Damage Before it Occurs

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tumblr_inline_nd6sshJX2N1r0zbcvWater covers 70% of the planet. It also makes up 70% of the human body. Without water most living things on the planet would wither and die, humans included. But it can also cause some huge problems and headaches, especially when it gets into a home in places it should not.

Water damage in the home can lead to mould, wood rot, insect infestations, permanent damage to furnishings, a shorter useful lifespan for many of its elements (floors, roof etc) and in general make an affected home a terrible – and often unhealthy – place to try and live.

At Restoration 1 Kitchener we specialise in water damage remediation, aka the big cleanup after a water related disaster, whether that event was a washing machine out of control, frozen pipes that burst or Mother Nature wrecking her vengeance. But we also believe in helping to educate people about the simple ways they can help prevent water damage to their home in the first place. Here are some of the most effective:

Check Your Windows and Doors

Water damage that builds up slowly can eventually cause as much damage as a flood. One place that water damage can occur over time is around your windows and doors. That it why it is important to check the all from time to time. Peeling paint, minute cracks in the frames, randomly discolored paint and general swelling can all be signs of early water damage.

Probe for Pipe Problems

Pipes with tiny ‘dripping’ leaks (often found underneath kitchen and bathroom sinks), sweating pipes and bulging hoses leading from washers and dishwashers can all be little problems that turn into big disasters very quickly. Check all of these things on a regular basis and do not put off any necessary repairs and replacements, as your procrastination could really cost you in the long run.

Outdoor Issues

When was the last time you checked your exterior walls or your home’s foundation for new cracks? If it’s been a while you should put doing so to the top of your household to do list as new cracks can allow moisture to seep into your home gradually and cause all kinds of problems.

You should also take a look at the landscape around your home in general. Tree branches should be trimmed so that they are at least seven feet away from the home and you should make sure that there are no ground cover plants, shrubs or weeds blocking the drainage paths around your home. And speaking of drainage, make sure that gutters are in good repair and are clean, as blockages caused by a simple build up of leaves can cause all kinds of problems, especially in the winter months when melting snow and ice poses a big water damage risk.