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Mold Out of Sight

This past week we received a call from Ben in Anaheim he was concerned about a musty odor in one of the bedrooms in his home. He wasn’t sure how that odor was seeping in nor why it was only in that room. We assured Ben that we would get to the bottom of the smell. Once at his home and inside that bedroom we could agree with Ben that there was a musty odor present, we decided to do a mold inspection and collect air samples throughout the home for possible mold spores in the air. The visual mold inspection gave no indication of mold but the air samples results were frightening. Ben had mold and lots of it in the musty bedroom luckily the air samples for the remainder of the house came back negative. At this point we decided to use an infrared camera to check for possible mold not visible to the human eye. The camera detects if there is moisture inside of the walls. Moisture is needed for mold growth. We also use temperature measuring devices by knowing the temperature we are able to determine if the space promotes mold growth. The infrared camera indicated the flooring as an area of concern, it was determined that there was moisture present underneath the flooring. With this information we concluded the crawlspace needed to be inspected. Our founding we scary, the musty odor was amplified in the crawl space, rotting decaying wood, and mold was visible underneath the room of concern as well as a nearby bathroom. The plumbing running to the bathroom was leaking and spraying upwards toward the bedroom flooring causing the smell, mold growth, and wood decay. We created a remediation plan first item on our list was addressing the leak. A license plumber went to Ben’s home and replace the leaking plumbing. The second order of business was addressing the mold and decaying wood. We removed all mold contaminated materials and damaged wood replacing them with new non-contaminated materials. Once we completed these steps we focused on the bedroom and addressing the musty odor. We placed HEPA air purifiers to clean the air, within a few hours the air in the crawl space and bedroom was different the musty odor had diminished. We concluded our remediation with a second round of air samples, the results this time around came back negative no mold was present in the home.

If you think you have mold and need an inspection or remediation, call the experts at Home Pro today.

Foundations 101

Many of purchase our homes and have a basic understanding of the structure itself but we aren’t structural engineers and don’t necessarily know or understand detailed construction of the home.

There are three types of foundations:

  • Raised
  • Slab
  • Basement

Raised Foundations- These consist of crawlspace foundations and beam and pier post foundations.

Homes with crawlspace foundations are elevated two feet off the ground. These foundations are typically built with cinder blocks and a brick facing. These foundations are ideal of moist climate areas where rain and humidity is common. These homes are less likely to experience water damage. The building material reduce the likelihood of termites but there are still predisposed to fungus and mold.

Homes with pier and beam foundations are typically elevated 18 inches off the ground.  These foundations are typically built with wooden posts or concrete piers. These foundations are popular in dryer colder areas. They are less expensive than other foundation choices, but do to the building materials they are best used on smaller structures. The wooden posts are ideal for termites and both the wooden posts or concrete piers can suffer from fungus and mold.

Both of these foundations allow easy access to plumbing and electrical located underneath the structure.

Slab foundation- These consist of slab-on-grade foundations.

Homes with slab foundation are built on flat concrete that has been poured. The slab tends to be about 6 inches thick and has wire mesh and steel bards embedded. These foundations are fast and easy to install. These foundations are ideal for warmer climates, cold climates and freezing temperatures can cause the slab to shift. Typically, the home’s sewer pipe is installed underneath the concrete slab. Over time the concrete, elements, and other factors can cause the pipe to break and cause a slab leak.

Basement Foundations- These consist of an 8-foot-deep hole underneath the main floor or the structure.

Homes with basements are essentially built of a concrete slab which is laced 8 feet underground. The walls of the basement are usually built with cinder blocks.

This article is a basic understanding of Foundation 101, if you have further questions don’t hesitate to call us.

Water Damage and Restoration Claims

Here at LA Mold Removal we’ve been in the Water Damage and Restoration business for 35+ years. We’ve worked on hundreds of homes and the homeowners that are face with the hardship of water damage. As Water Damage and Restoration experts we are highly experienced and work with insurance companies handling claims. When we receive that initial destress call from our clients they have many questions and one of the biggest concerns is who is going to pay. Below we answer frequently asked questions we receive regarding home insurance and water damage.

 

Will my insurance cover it?

The main determining factor of whether your insurance company will cover the damage or not is the source of the damage. What caused the water damage, was it a natural disaster such as an earthquake or flooding. Insurance companies also want to determine if preventative measures were taken. These two factors dictate if the insurance company will cover a claim

 

How can I avoid my claim being denied?

There are certain things one can do to avoid their claim being denied. First and foremost, selecting the right policy for you, make sure you understand what your policy covers and excludes, as well as your responsibilities as a homeowner. Do your research and ask questions about the protections and extras that may be beneficial to you.

Do regular maintenance on your home. By doing so you can prevent costly surprises. Make sure you maintain records of any repairs, maintenance, or work you get done on your property. These records come in handy in the event of a loss or when filing a claim.

 

What if my claim is denied?

There are instances when insurance companies find they are not responsible and deny a claim. But there are things you can do to combat this. First, get informed ask for an explanation as to why the claim was denied, and ask them where exactly in your policy this explanation is given. If you still have doubts or do not understand why the claim isn’t covered, ask for a review or second opinion. Lastly, if you are certain that the claim should have been covered or that something is wrong, consider getting a second opinion by a professional, contact an advocacy organization, or contact your state insurance commissioner for guidance or to file a complaint.

 

Why would my water damage claim be denied?

Often we see that claims are denied because the homeowner had knowledge of the problem or failed to take action to avoid or repair the issue. For example, if there has been a long ongoing leak and the homeowner failed to prevent the issue with maintenance or proper repairs the insurance company may reject the claim. Other times the homeowner is missed informed as to what their policy covers. They believe there are covered for water damage caused by a natural disaster and are surprised after the fact to learn that they are not covered.

 

If you are in need of Water Damage and Restoration experts call LA Mold Removal today. We work with insurance companies on a regular basis and can help you submit your claim properly.

Don’t Pour That Grease There

Have you ever poured cooking grease down the sink? Many of us have or still do so. But doing so can have damaging effects on your pipes. When grease is poured down the drain it sticks to the pipes. One common myth is that hot water prevents this from happening but that is incorrect. Keep in mind oil and water do not mix, when water and oil get together they separate and the oil sits on top, the oil then sticks to the top of pipes and once the water is gone the remaining oil gets stuck to the bottom of the pipe; eventually coating the entire pipe and causing blockages. Clogged drains and blockages are a major issue and yet it’s a common occurrence. As grease accumulates inside pipes it begins to block the waterflow, often a foul order. When a grease clogged drain occurs everything can get smelly, messy, and unhygienic in quite a hurry, it is perhaps the nastiest of drain issues, and the hardest to deal with.

 

Signs Your Drain is Clogged with Grease

  • Slow water drainage
  • Gurgling sound
  • A bad smell emanating from your drains
  • Continuing to put grease down the drain

Tips

  • Pour baking soda and vinegar down the drains, this will help break down the fats and oil as well as making the drains smell fresher
  • Pour a small amount of ammonia down the drains, this will help clear any extra grease from the pipes
  • Get a sewer camera inspection, new technology allows a visual inspection of plumbing pipes and sewer lines. High-resolution water proof camera reveals any blockages and issues in the plumbing.
  • Hire a professional, leave all the plumbing needs and problems to the pros. Hiring a handyman or doing it yourself can sometimes cost you more in the long run. If you are in need of plumbing services call us today at 562-818-6946.

 

Epoxy Lining

A home’s plumbing is constantly in use, toilets flushing, washing machine is going, dishes are being washed all these activities take a toll on the plumbing. Over the years regular wear and tear occurs causing pipes to corrode, clog, leak, and even break. Repiping a plumbing line can be extremely expensive depending on its location luckily with new technology there is an alternative method to fix plumbing. Pipes are able to be relined with an epoxy material which creates a new interior surface. The epoxy lining method is best suited for non-galvanized sewer systems.

 

The Process

The first step is inspecting and mapping the plumbing pipes. Then, the pipes are dried with heated, compressed air. Afterwards, we blow an abrading agent through the pipes to remove rust, corrosion, and other by-products that may be stuck to the pipes. Then, we reach the optimal pipe surface temperature and conduct an air pressure leak test before we begin coating. Once that is complete we use a high tech air system to uniformly distribute the epoxy coating throughout the pipe. After the epoxy coating dries the plumbing’s valves and couplings are refitted. Lastly, we do a final leak test and to assure the lining integrity and water quality, volume, and flow test to confirm the plumbing’s system functionality.

 

Benefits of Epoxy Lining:

  • Typically, lower cost than replacing a pipe
  • No busting up driveways, landscaping, flooring, or streets
  • Faster than pipe replacement
  • Lining is a long-term solution
  • Preventative solution to:
    • leaks and breaks in pipes
    • pipe blockages
    • pipe erosion
    • mold growth
  • Maintains water flow
  • Epoxy is environmentally safe
  • Lining material complies with building code regulations

 

  • If you have questions, need more information or to schedule an appointment with one of the highly trained professional in the Los Angeles area please give us a call at 562-818-6946.

Mold Tape Sampling

We recently received a call from James, a homeowner in Los Angeles, regarding mold testing. He heard one of his neighbors got mold testing done and the results came back positive, he wanted to get his unit checked out especially the wall between his unit and his neighbors. Upon our initial inspection, there was no visible mold nor moisture present so we determined to use a surface test known as tape sampling. There are three kinds of methods used for mold testing:

 

  • Air Test- with the use of special equipment the concentration of mold spores in an air space are measured. This test can detect mold even if it is not visible.
  • Surface Test- with the use of swabs, tape sampling, and other methods potential mold surfaces are tested to find the amount of mold growth and spores deposited. Surface tests are effective but unlike air test the exact concentration of mold spores in an air space cannot be measured.
  • Bulk Testing- involves collecting piece(s) of material and examining them under a microscope for mold spores. Bulk tests can determine if a mold problem is present and give an idea of the concentration of mold particles.

Tape sampling is quite common due to its accuracy and the valuable information one obtains from this test. Here at LA Mold Removal we use clear cellophane tape to directly sample areas of concern, such as wall, base boards, and other hard surfaces. We place the tape adhesive against the surface to collect the sample and send it to the lab for analysis. Once the lab analysis the sample a report is generates with the king of mold species of, the degree of contamination, and the potential for airborne spore production. We conducted the sampling on the shared wall between James and his neighbor and luckily his results came back negative and the potential for airborne spore production was in a normal range.

Leaks 101

Read all about leak detection services, how trained professionals use the most advanced leak detection devices and methods to detect leaks not easily found. What they use to locate, identify and pin point exactly were leaks are for repairs. Leaks occur in a variety of places and due to many causes.

Where leaks commonly occur:

Interior plumbing- the most common leaks are found with in walls and flooring of a property and they can be caused by:

  • Broken Seals
  • Clogged Lines
  • Pipe Corrosion
  • Damaged Pipe Joints
  • Excess Water Pressure
  • Loose Water Connectors
  • Rapid Temperature Changes

Slab- slab leaks are often cause by three reasons, the first is forceful water pressure, the second is the pipes rubbing against the concrete causing them to wear down over time, and the last being intruding tree roots

Main service line- the plumbing from the meter or pump to the property typically runs under the yard, driveway and other exterior areas tends to break or leak due to natural wear and tear

 

We use three methods for leak detection:

Sewer Camera Inspection – Using a video camera we are able to take pictures and videos of the interior conditions of pipes. With this method property owners get a better understanding of any plumbing issues they may be experiencing including any leaks that may be present

Infrared Detection – With the use infrared technology we see into walls, beneath floors, and underground to locate leaks

Ultrasonic Detection – Specialized sound wave technology measures variation and sound loss in plumbing pipes to identify leaks

If you experience a leak the first thing you should do is turn off the main water line. Often the main water shut off is located outside the property, in the laundry area, or basement and is labeled. Once you’ve done that call an emergency plumber.

Expert Advice

Being in the business as a mold remediator for as long as I have means I’ve come across different situations and problems. The career of a mold remediator comes with a lot of responsibility, this isn’t a career in which you can get by with mediocre work, mold is a sensitive matter, my ultimate goal is to help individuals have a safe mold free home or work space. It is important to remember that mold is a type of fungus that occurs natural in nature and acts as a decomposer. Mold outside in nature is needed but in one’s home or work place mold can act as a health hazard and as a decomposer destroying the property. The important fact to remember about mold is that if its growing inside it must be removed as quickly as possible. Recently, we were contacted by Tracy, a single mother in Los Angeles, she called to schedule an appointment for our $85 mold inspection. The very next day we went out to her home where she directed us to a bathroom covered in mold. As we turned to speak to her she broke down crying, telling us she knew it was mold and had gotten two other companies to go out to her property only to rip her off. Both companies test to determine if it was indeed mold, which was necessary because if you are a mold remediator and you see an infestation like this testing isn’t needed. Both companies presented astronomical estimates to fix the issue. Tracy hired the less expensive one in hopes to save money but she says all they did was wiped the wall down with something and within two day the mold started growing. As Tracy continued to break down she explained she didn’t have money to be throwing away, she knew the mold problem had to be fixed but she couldn’t afford the ridiculous $6000 estimate she got from the other company. Hearing that number shocked us for $6000 we could tear down her bathroom and build her a new one! We presented Tracy with a reasonable bid to remediate the mold. Our expert advice is to do you research in regard to who you hire to repair your home especially with such a sensitive matter. There are companies out there that are reasonable in their pricing and will work with you. If you are in need of property services we will do our best to assist you or refer you to someone who can.