Mold Growing On Walls

5 Things You Need to Know About Mold

Mold, The Smelly Killer

There’s a musty smell in your basement bathroom.  It’s not strong enough to make you nauseous, but it’s unpleasant.  You can’t ignore it.  It’s mold, and it’s a hazard to your health and home.  Here’s what you need to know about mold.

Hazard Classes

mold removalMold falls into three hazard classes: A, B, and C.

Class A molds are the most hazardous. Exposure to Class A mold will result in headaches, fever, coughing, severe allergic reactions, and some are even known to cause cancer.

Class B molds are potentially dangerous because they produce allergic reactions in some people.  The reactions become stronger the more you are exposed to them.  They can worsen asthma and cause serious breathing problems.

Class C molds are not known to be hazardous to health and are not known to cause allergic reactions.  They’re still a problem, however, because they destroy paint, drywall, and wood.  An infestation of Class C mold will ruin the value of your home.

Most molds in your home will fall into Class B, but regardless of their class, you should take care of them as soon as you find them.

How Does Mold Grow?

Mold reproduces by spores, which are spread through the air.  They begin to grow as soon as they land on a material that provides them with what they need.

First, they need a food source, like wood, drywall, or cotton.  Secondly, they need moisture and oxygen.  It also can’t grow under ultraviolet light, so they colonize dark places.  Finally, they need warmth, as the cold makes spores go dormant.  When these conditions are met, it can start to grow in 24-48 hours.

Where Does It Grow?

Mold can grow just about anywhere when the conditions are right.  They prefer to grow on porous, organic surfaces.  The most vulnerable materials are wood, drywall, and paper.  If mold takes root in them, it’s impossible to remove it.  Once it infects these materials, you must remove and replace them.

It can also grow on tiles and concrete, though since these are not organic materials, they aren’t growing on them directly.  Usually, they have some organic material on them, such as dust, or dead skin.  Since it isn’t growing on these materials, it’s fairly easy to clean them off.  You can often wipe it off with a damp cloth.  You can also find mold killing products at home and garden stores that help.

Your Basement is the Most Vulnerable Place

Given the conditions required for mold to grow, the most vulnerable place in your house will be the basement.  It’s underground, so it rarely gets direct sunlight.  Basements tend to be poorly ventilated, so you get pockets of stale, moist air.  As the lowest point in your home, water will always flow towards it when you have a leak or a flood.  All of these conditions combine to make basements the perfect breeding ground.  You should regularly check your basement if you want to keep your house healthy.

5 Signs of Mold Infestation

  1. Odd Smells: Unexplained musty smells are a good indicator of an infestation.
  2. Peeling Wallpaper: Wallpaper is a good source of food for mold. If it takes root, it will cause it to peel, crack, or bubble.
  3. Dark Colored Spots: Mold comes in a variety of colors. If you see any dark, discolored spots on any surface, that’s probably mold growing on it.
  4. Recent Water Damage: With the wet spring we’ve had this year, this is going to be a problem. Water damage creates excellent places for spores to grow, so if you’ve recently experienced flooding or leaks, have your home inspected for mold.
  5. Health Issues: The health effects include worsening asthma, cold symptoms that won’t go away, or allergic reactions. If you suffer from these symptoms, you might want to have your home checked.

 

Be Safe

Alpine Cleaning and Restoration SpecialistsHere at Alpine Cleaning and Restoration, we’re mold experts.  If you’ve noticed signs of mold in your home or office, get in touch with us right away.  Alpine can do testing in your home to find it.  Don’t delay, since the longer it goes untreated, the more difficult and costly it becomes to remove it.

We can take care of the problem from start to finish.  We’ll identify, contain, and remove the mold, and then treat the area afterwards to help prevent further breakouts.  We’ll also help you find the source of the mold, fixing leaky pipes, condensation, and anything else that might be contributing to the infestation.  We do it all.

carpet cleaning

Carpet Cleaning in Utah and Idaho

Spring Carpet Cleaning

If you haven’t started already, now’s the time to get on the business of spring-cleaning. There’s all kinds of cleaning that we put off during the winter because of the cold. This is mostly outside work and that’s usually what we think of catching up on. Don’t forget carpet cleaning, though. It’s very important to get your carpets deep cleaned after winter.
Here’s why.

General Dirtiness

carpet cleaningCarpets get dirty on their own, just like anything else in your home, but carpets attract a lot of dirt because we walk on them. We get dirt on the bottom of our shoes, which the carpets then loosen up and absorb. Because we walk on it, the dirt sinks in deep and gets packed down. It becomes hard and embeds itself into the fibers of your carpet, damaging them.
This deep-down dirt can be impossible to clean by just regular vacuuming. Even the best vacuum cleaners always miss some of the dirt. Without a professional deep-cleaning, the dirt builds up and causes lasting damage to your carpets. Eventually, you’ll need to replace your carpets and that can be expensive.

Winter is Especially Hard

Because winter is a wet season, you will have more dirt on your shoes. This means more dirt will get into your carpets and be trampled in deep. It isn’t just dirt that’s the problem, though. Cities spray the roads down with salt and other chemicals to keep them from icing up. This is necessary for safety, but these chemicals are very bad for carpets. Alkaline and acidic compounds formed by these chemicals cause more damage to the fibers of your carpets than just dirt on its own. It dissolves the fibers, and when it dries, it hardens into crystalline structures that form sharp edges, cutting deeply into your carpet fibers. The wear and tear from this is far more serious than at any other point in the year. The damage is gradual, however, so we often don’t notice it as it happens. It’s only once the carpet’s ruined that we realize how bad it was.

Allergens

Dust Mites and other allergensAllergies suck. They’re a lot worse when the allergens get into your carpets, though. While you may not have had to worry about them over winter, now that it’s over, they’re starting to come up again. And since this spring has been an especially wet one, there’s a good chance you tracked those allergens into your house and trampled them into your carpets without realizing it.

Not just pollen, though, dust mites are a problem, too. Dust mites produce 200 times their weight in waste each day and this (literal) crap is a very common allergen. Since mites prefer warm, humid environments, they’ll love taking refuge in your damp carpets over the winter. You can’t clean these creatures with just a vacuum cleaner. You need a good, deep cleaning to rid yourself of these pests.

Get Your Carpets Cleaned Today

Once the chemicals and dirt get into your carpet, it’s nearly impossible to clean without professional tools and techniques. That’s why people in Utah and Idaho trust Alpine Cleaning and Restoration for this job. We use state-of-the-art equipment and special shampoos designed to clean up exactly this sort of mess. We also do PH balance for your carpets so they stay cleaner longer. A regular deep cleaning from us can increase the lifetime of your carpets by several years.

So, if you want to get a good deep clean and increase the lifetime of your carpets, get in touch with us today. We’ll give you the best carpet cleaning service you can get anywhere.

Wax Ring

Wax Ring: Problems You Didn’t Know You Had

Unheard of Problems

Everybody’s got problems.  Whether it’s money concerns, health issues, or just Frank next door not returning those yard tools he borrowed, there’s always something going wrong.  It’s easy to fix most problems if you get on top of them right away.  To do that, however, you have to first know what they are.  So I want to let you know about a problem you may not even realize you had: the wax ring under your toilet.

The Wax Ring

Wax RingThe wax ring is an airtight and watertight seal that prevents leakage of fluids and gasses from your toilet and the sewer it connects to.  The reason we never think about this is because generally, it’s not a problem. The wax seal is designed to last as long as your toilet does – up to 30 years or more!  Under normal conditions, you won’t have any problems.  If something DOES go wrong, though, the problems it can cause will be expensive if you don’t take care of them.

The Problems of A Broken Seal

If the wax seal breaks, the toilet will leak. However, most of the water will leak underneath the floor.  This will warp the wood your bathroom tile normally protects, weakening the floor. If left too long, you’ll need to replace the whole floor.  That’s expensive, time consuming, and worst of all, most insurance companies don’t cover it.  They claim you can’t prove who is at fault – you, or the previous owner of the house.  It’s a dirty way to get out of covering a major issue, but it’s what many do. This will often put the repairs completely on you.

3 Signs the Wax Ring Might Need Replacing

 

1. Odors

The wax ring is supposed to be an airtight seal. That means no air from the sewers bellow should be able to get through it into your house.  This is important because aside from the terrible smell, sewer gas contains hydrogen sulfide, which can be harmful to your health.  If you smell a distinct rotten egg odor from your bathroom, then it’s a good sign that the seal cracked.

 

2. Leaks

problemsIf the wax seal cracks, then water from the toilet will start to form puddles around the base of your toilet.  However, a puddle doesn’t automatically mean a broken seal. It can also be condensation on the tank, or a leaky joint where the water line meets the tank.  Before you try replacing the ring, you should check to make sure that these other issues aren’t the real problem.  Either way, water puddles rot your floor. Don’t delay fixing it.

 

3. Wobbling Toilet

If your toilet wobbles, that might mean it’s sitting on a broken flange.  If so, you’ll have to replace it, and that also means replacing the wax ring.  The ring should not be jiggled.  Even if the flange isn’t broken, even if your toilet only wobbles a tiny bit, constant movement weakens and eventually cracks the seal.

Moving Your Toilet

Whether temporarily removing it, or completely replacing the toilet, if you pull the toilet out for any reason, you will have to replace the ring.  Pulling up the toilet , or even just repositioning it slightly, can break the seal apart.  When you replace the seal, be sure that you remove all of the old ring.  It will usually peel off in chunks, requiring the use of a putty knife to remove it all.  If don’t remove all of the old ring, the new one won’t sit right on the flange and will break much faster.

Worse Comes To Worse

Alpine Cleaning and Restoration can help.  If the wax ring cracks and floods, we can clean up the mess and help you restore the damage.  Our experts are ready to act as soon as you call. Since water damage is harder and more expensive to fix the longer it lasts, we guarantee that if you call for water damage we will arrive in 60 minutes to get started on it.  However, you can usually spot and fix this problem before you need our help.  If you notice any of the warning signs that the seal might be going bad, check up on it, don’t ignore it.  Replacing the wax ring is much easier and less expensive than repairing and restoring after flood damage.

Don’t wait.  Hesitation can cost you big time.

Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs: What To Do

“Good night.  Sleep tight.  Don’t let the bed bugs bite.”

My mother used to say this to me every night before bed when I was a child.  For a while, I actually ended up thinking that bed bugs were just an old wives’ tale; something mothers say just because their mothers said it.  But no, bed bugs are real and they are one of the biggest nuisance pests in the world.

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed BugsBed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on blood. The species Cimex Lectulariusin in particular feeds exclusively on human blood.  The insect requires blood to complete each of its stages of metamorphosis.  They use body temperature, moisture, carbon dioxide, and visual cues to locate a sleeping host to feed on.  Bed bugs were almost completely eradicated in the developed world in the 1940s.  In the mid-90s, they began to reappear, most likely because of increased international travel, bans on certain pesticides, and increasing poison resistance.

 

What’s The Danger?

If you’re worried about diseases, you can relax – at least a bit.  So far, all research indicates that, although they can carry a number of human pathogens, they do not transmit them.  While this makes them less worrisome than fleas or ticks, they are still a nuisance.  Their bites cause swelling and redness often mistaken for rashes, and scarring.  Most bites show no symptoms at all, but occasionally they can cause moderate to severe allergic reactions.  If the bites are left untreated, or are scratched, it is possible for them to become infected.

 

How Do I Spot Them?

bed bug eggsIf you suffer bites during the night, it’s a pretty obvious sign that you might have an infestation.  The bites will appear on exposed skin, most commonly the neck, shoulders, arms and other areas of the upper body.  Occasionally, there will be multiple bites in a tight line or cluster.  If you experience any reaction, it will usually occur within 1-10 days.  If you experience bites, they will usually heal within a few days if you don’t scratch them.  Speak to a pharmacist or doctor about getting some anti-itch cream to help.

Since bites often don’t get reactions, you may need to look for other indications.  Look carefully in your mattress and linen for eggs.  They will look like small, pale poppy seeds.  You might also recognize their droppings.  Look for small rust-colored or dark brown stains.  The material they fall on usually absorbs them, but they may also form small beads. Large-scale infestations also begin to give off a noticeable odor described as being like coriander.  At higher concentrations, this odor becomes highly unpleasant.

 

Can Alpine Get Rid of Them?

We get asked this question a lot. Unfortunately, Alpine Cleaning and Restoration does not have the proper training to get rid of bed bugs.  That requires an exterminator.  We personally would recommend 5 Star Pest Control.  They have the know-how and tools to get rid of infestations of all kinds, from rodents, to biting insects.  Bed bugs won’t stand a chance.  It is best to call a pest control company rather than try to do it yourself, as bed bugs can easily stow away on clothing, moving from one room of the house to another as you try to get rid of them, and they can go for days and sometimes weeks or months without feeding, depending on the stage of their life cycle. Without professional assistance, it is very difficult to get rid of them.

 

Good Luck!

While we can’t help you get rid of them, we get asked this question enough that we felt it might be a good idea to give some basic information on how to spot them and what to do about it.  For all your other cleaning and restoration needs, feel free to get in touch.  We will be glad to help you out with any problems we’re qualified to deal with. If it’s a pest problem, contact a local extermination company.