One of the most obvious warning signs for mold growth is water damage, whether it’s recent or from a past incident. If you have a leaky roof or dripping toilet that you’re putting off fixing, they can create the perfect environment for mold growth. But people often overlook the possibility of mold in areas of past water damage. Don’t assume that just because visible water from a burst pipe or stormwater flood has been cleaned up that there is no longer a risk of mold growth. Water from these types of events can seep under flooring or behind walls and lead to mold growth that isn’t visible without further investigation.
Ask anyone who owns an older home and they’ll tell you that odd odors come with the territory, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Often times a musty odor is the only sign of mold that is growing in places you can’t see. If the musty odor in your home is persistent and stronger in one specific area, it may be time to call in a professional to take a closer look.
It can be difficult to distinguish between health problems caused by mold and seasonal allergies because the symptoms are so similar. Common symptoms of mold exposure include sneezing, itchy eyes, and nasal congestion. When trying to determine the cause of your symptoms, consider when and where your health issues are at their worst. If sneezing and itchy eyes are only happening when you’re inside your home, there’s a good chance that mold could be the culprit.
Condensation is moisture and moisture is fuel for mold growth. If you’re seeing condensation more often than simply in the bathroom after a hot shower, it may be a sign of a high humidity level in your home. Purchasing a dehumidifier is a simple way to correct the issue before it leads to mold growth. You may also notice condensation on metal pipes, which can be rectified by wrapping them with added insulation.
Hidden Home Warnings
Water damage and mold don’t always show up with clear warning signs. Instead, some of the quirky things that you’ve noticed in your home could be telling you about a bigger problem. Is there a section of your floor that feels squishy? It could be more than just your home settling – there’s a chance that the subfloor has water damage and/or mold growth. Have you noticed bubbles in the paint on your walls, particularly in the bathroom or near a window? One of the most common causes of paint bubbles is moisture, and as you know, moisture often leads to mold growth. It’s important not to overlook or put off these seemingly small issues and bring in an expert to take a closer look before it turns into a much bigger problem.
Ready or not, cooler weather is on the way, if it hasn’t arrived already. You may be ready for the change, but is your home prepared? The arrival of Fall can bring with it wind, rain, snow, and freezing temperatures. Take these steps now to prepare your home and prevent any weather-related damage.
Clean Your Gutters
Gutters exist to divert rain water away from your home. It’s crucial to be sure that they are clear and that water is flowing smoothly. Clogged gutters can not only lead to roof damage, but also water that seeps into your exterior walls and even the basement. Once you’ve removed any debris, consider adding a mesh covering to prevent leaves from coming back and forming new clogs.
Inspect and Clean Your Chimney
For most homeowners, this one is best left to the professionals. Hire a chimney sweep to inspect and clean your chimney system before you decide to burn the first fire of the year. Burning wood produces a flammable by-product called Creosote that can build up in your chimney. If left uncleaned, it can cause a disastrous fire. It’s also important to check for any obstructions, such as bird’s nests, and to be sure the damper is in working order.
Give Your Furnace a Check-Up
If it has been more than a year since your last professional service, consider scheduling one before you need to turn on the heat. Be sure that your pilot light is functioning and clean off any dirt or grime that you notice. It’s also a good time to change your filters. Once you turn on the heat, pay special attention to any unusual noises, odd behavior, or odors as these can be signs that there is a bigger issue that needs to be addressed.
Insulate Exterior Pipes and Faucets
When temperatures drop below freezing, exposed pipes can start to freeze. This can lead to burst pipes and major water damage in your home. For any outdoor faucets, you’ll want to turn off any shut-off valves and then open the faucet to drain the line. If you don’t have shut-off valves, you should cover the faucet with an insulated cover. If you have unprotected pipes, cover them with foam sleeves.
Weatherproof Windows and Doors
Air leaks around windows and doors can cost you serious money in increased heating bills. Do a visual check around windows and door- frames for gaps in caulk, which can be easily remedied. Weather-stripping is another simple way to reduce drafts, but it can deteriorate over time. It’s important to check it yearly and replace as needed.
Perform a Safety Check
Unfortunately, cooler weather often brings an increased risk of home fires. While we all hope that it will never happen to us, it’s important to be prepared by doing a safety check as the seasons change. Replace the batteries in each smoke and carbon monoxide detector, and test each one to be sure it is working properly. Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher, but having more in various locations is even better. Do a quick check to be sure that the extinguishers are in good working order by looking at the pressure gauge and ensuring that the lock pin is in place. Experts recommend that fire extinguishers be replaced every 6 years.
A little preparation at the beginning of the season can save you a lot work, stress and money down the road. If you do experience a loss, Delta is ready and available 24/7 to help. Give us a call at(303) 933-4888.
While we all hope it will never happen to us, it is estimated that there are over 300,000 residential fires each year in the United States. The fall and winter holidays always correlate with an increase in the number of fires, so it’s important to know what you can do to prevent this tragedy from occurring.
Here are a few fire prevention tips to keep in mind:
Use caution when cooking. Cooking tops the annual list as the leading cause of home fires and related injuries in the United States and Thanksgiving is historically the top day each year for these accidents. Unattended cooking is one of the biggest contributors to residential fires. If you’re frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food, stay in the kitchen while it is cooking. When simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it often and never leave home while it’s cooking. Another important safety tip is never to throw water on a grease fire. Instead, keep a lid within arm’s reach and place it over the pan if a grease fire starts. Then turn off the burner and leave the pan covered until it is cool. Also, be aware of flammable objects near the stovetop, such as towels and loose clothing. Lastly, teach small children the dangers of a hot stove and the importance of keeping a safe distance while food is cooking.
Be aware of heating sources and open flames in cooler months. While heating your home during cooler weather is necessary, heating sources can be dangerous if you aren’t careful. Space heaters are one of the leading causes of fires each year. If you have to use portable space heaters, place them on level non-flammable surfaces, like ceramic tile, rather than rugs or carpet. Be sure to keep flammable items, such as clothing, rugs, drapes, and blankets at least 3 feet from heating sources. Always turn off any portable heaters when you leave the room or go to sleep.
Utilize safe smoking practices. Another leading cause of residential fire deaths in the United States is smoking materials. If anyone in your home is a smoker, it’s imperative that they follow safe smoking practices. The safest choice a smoker can make is to smoke outside and douse cigar or cigarette butts with water before disposal. If smoking outside is not an option, be sure to never smoke in bed or while drowsy, and definitely do not smoke in the presence of anyone using portable oxygen.
Perform routine maintenance checks on your home heating sources. Many residential fires are caused by poorly maintained furnaces, chimneys, and other heating sources. These incidents can be prevented with a little routine maintenance. Before cool weather arrives each year, make sure your furnace is clean and in good working order. Look for any cracked or rusted parts and consider having a professional inspection yearly. Also, check your chimney before lighting that first cozy fire. Creosote buildup is incredibly common and extremely flammable. It’s recommended to have a professional chimney sweep inspect your fireplace yearly, and remove any buildup.
Prepare your home and family in case a fire occurs. While no one wants to think about a fire occurring in their home, advanced preparation can save lives and lessen property damage. First, be sure to have smoke alarms in every sleeping room and on every level of your home. Also, test each smoke alarm monthly using the test button and replace batteries as needed. Next, be sure everyone knows what to do upon hearing a smoke alarm go off — this is especially important with small children. Make an emergency plan, and practice it with your family. Think through things like escape routes from various rooms, a family meeting place once safely outside, and which family member will be responsible for getting small children and any pets to safety.