Have you given much thought to the the crawl-space below your home? Most probably not. Unless an awful smell has appeared or there has been flooding, you may never have given it a second thought. Poor or non-existent underfloor ventilation can cause major issues for your home if not taken seriously – they can also become expensive.
About Sub Floor Ventilation
Even though all homes SHOULD be built with subfloor ventilation, they are sometimes not. Or they may be built with venting… but garden beds and other structures may be built up against the home blocking any air flow beneath the property structure.
If there is not efficient air flow beneath a property, there is poor ventilation. Sometimes the air flow will need to be forced by a professional subfloor ventilation system.
The Risk of Rising Damp
When the ground is very moist, that moisture can be drawn into the air under your home. That damp air can then move up and draw into the porous building materials of your home. The real risk occurs when this damp air is not expelled from underneath your property because ventilation is poor or non existent. Mould and mildew can also begin to grow, and cause a dank musty smell.
Moisture underneath and within your building material can also attract termites as the timber that provides the foundation structure of your home begins to decay. Besides the damage that termites can cause, mould, mildew, rising damp and decaying timber can also result in health problems for the inhabitants of your home.
How do Sub Floor Ventilation Systems Work?
When your home is built the most basic of subfloor ventilation is put in through the form of air vents. Quite often this does not efficiently do the job, depending on your area, individual property and climate. Sometimes taking a look at each vent may reveal a reason why it is not working the way it should, a garden bed may be built up too high against it, the property may have inadequate drainage so rain is flooding into the subfloor, or perhaps the vents have just become blocked by debris or have been originally built in an incorrect position for airflow.
Even though all may be correct with your built in vents, it may not be enough to keep your home from being affected by damp. The overall best solution is an adequate subfloor ventilation system. But how does it work? Professional subfloor fans are positioned to draw out and externally exhaust damp air, using pumps and fans that are specifically designed exactly for the job at hand. These systems are customised for your property floor plan and the type of damp issues you face in your home. Subfloor ventilation systems are extremely quiet, run on a timer system and are generally inexpensive to run.
The Benefits of a Subfloor Ventilation System
The Benefit of Termite Protection
Termites thrive in damp conditions, while feeding on timber. The risk of termites invading your home is increased where timbers have become damp and started to decay. An effective subfloor ventilation system ensures your home is less likely to be affected by termites.
The Benefit of Reduced Structural Damage
A damp subfloor can lead to structural damage. Moist air can start decay healthy timbers and attract termites.
Good ventilation helps to ensure the healthy dry timber that is the foundation of your home stays strong structurally sound without decay, rot and termite activity.
The Benefit of Limited Mould Growth
The main thing mould needs to grow is damp air. When there is mould growing in your subfloor it can cause a range of health issues which will usually trigger respiratory reactions in people which often are mistaken for allergies.
Efficient subfloor ventilation that reduces the air moisture under your home will fortunately limit mould growth.
The Benefit of Cost
There can be no price put on the cost of good health. Damp homes coupled with mould can cause a range of health issues.
The cost of termite treatments and potential structural repairs can be extremely expensive. Quite often insurance will not even cover termite damage. In comparison, the expense of good subfloor ventilation system is minimal.
Professional Subfloor Ventilation Systems Sydney Melbourne Brisbane
If you are unsure whether your property in Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne has effective ventilation it is best to call a professional such as Zephyr Ventilation. We can inspect your property and give you expert advice on the right type of ventilation system for your property.
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So you’ve discovered you have a mould problem in your home…. And now you’re wondering… “What’s next?” It’s definitely a smart idea to call in the professionals to deal with the issue, as you don’t want it getting out of hand and affecting the health of your family. Mould spores sprout wings and multiply – so you don’t want the problem to spread. So what usually happens when you call in a mould specialist to assess the problem?
The very first step is having a mould inspection and assessment. Mould experts will search your property for visible growth AND invisible growth. Because not all mould can be seen! Sometimes it is hidden behind walls, tiling, inside cupboards and behind furniture. A mould specialist will inspect your property for invisible mould spores and higher than usual moisture levels by using professional humidity meters. Quite often the problem with mould is lack of air ventilation, so moisture builds up until mould takes hold. Once they have thoroughly analysed your property they will determine the correct course of action needed to be taken in order to remove the mould and prevent it’s return.
The next step in mould removal is to stop any direct moisture sources that may be occurring in your home – These are usually found when looking for the invisible mould sources – such as subfloor water seepage, leaking pipes – this could be behind your walls, within your ceiling, or under the floor, depending on your building structure. Leaking ceilings are another culprit, sometimes caused by leaking gutters, roof, pipes etc. Each property will need a specific course of action for their mould removal based on their situation, so the specifics of each job will be different so it’s always best to have a professional opinion.
After the correct course of action has been determined for your mould removal, the process is started with a mist spray of mould removal agent. Ensure that your mould expert is using a non toxic, non hazardous, pet-friendly product. This mould removal agent is then spread across all surfaces of your home and extra scrubbing is undertaken on areas with visible mould growth. During the mould removal process air purifiers are used to capture airborne mould spores, removing them from the home environment completely, rather than just moving them around from one space to another.
Removing Excess Moisture
Sometimes moisture levels in a property can be particularly high. This could be due to flooding – either recently or even some time ago – or some other water damage that may have occurred. If this is the case mould professionals will place large dehumidifiers throughout the home to ensure that the building structures are properly dried out. They are also likely to suggest proper ventilation procedures for the home. If moisture is left in the air then mould can continue to thrive, grow again and multiply after the removal process.
Mould Prevention with Ventilation
The final step in removing mould is to ensure that mould does not return by rectifying the root cause of the mould and putting in preventative measures within the property to stop it from recurring. Each property and each case of mould problem is completely unique. At Zephyr Ventilation we can work with your mould specialist to advise you on the process that needs to be undertaken in order to achieve mould prevention now and into the future. Often the main cause of mould problems is lack of ventilation. We can advise on the correct roofing ventilation, subfloor ventilation, bathroom ventilation and more. Call us for advice today.
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Rising damp occurs when excess moisture from the ground absorbs up into porous building materials such as stone, brick, earth, mortar and into the structure of the building. The moisture evaporates from either face of the wall, allowing more to be drawn from below. Rising damp is common in older buildings, but can also occur in more modern buildings if your damp-proof course has been damaged.
Though rising damp may cause unsightly aesthetic damage, it can also cause the structure of the building to be compromised and cause you bigger problems in the future. Damp walls also encourage mould growth, which can lead to health problems for occupants.
You can often identify rising damp by just looking at and touching your walls, though if you are unsure whether there is a real problem, it is best to have a water damage professional do an assessment.
What are the tell tale signs of rising damp?
There are a number of typical signs that can identify rising damp including:
TIDE MARKS AND DAMP STAINING
One of the most common signs of rising damp are tide marks left on walls. Tide marks are caused by evaporation and salts from the ground. You will usually notice them anywhere up to one metre above the skirting board.
If you do not notice tide marks, another frequent tell tale sign is damp patches or staining. usually, these damp patches are yellow to brown in colour and similar to tide marks, you will notice them again up to one metre above the skirting board.
If you’ve noticed wallpaper coming off or peeling from the wall there may be a damp issue. Usually the wallpaper will start coming loose from the skirting board first, and the corner of the wallpaper may be curved up.
DECAYED SKIRTING BOARDS
As with many forms of dampness, rising damp has the potential to cause rot within timbers it comes into contact with. Look out for skirtings that are cracked, easily crumble or localised fungus growing on or creeping out of the side. Also, look out for damaged or flaky paint.
SALTS WITHIN THE PLASTER
Fluffy deposits in the plaster are a sign of salts within the plaster. This is another sign of rising damp. These salts are washed out of your bricks and into your plaster leaving what can often look like blistering patches on your walls.
If you start to notice black mould appearing above your skirting board it is a clear sign that there is some form of moisture issue affecting the area. This is especially true if you have no other black mould within the property and the black mould you see is localised from the skirting board to up to one metre above.
What are some other signs of rising damp?
If the above listed signs of rising damp don’t quite fit with the damp issue you’re experiencing, but you still suspect rising damp, start by running your hands around the suspected area. If you have wallpaper on your walls, you may hear a suspicious ‘crunching’ sound – this is the salts that have been drawn up from the ground. Then if possible, look at the exposed surface of the brick or stone work. Check to see if there are any salts forming and whether the brick is actually wet.
It is also important to note that rising damp only occurs on ground floor levels as it is moisture from the soil that is being drawn up the walls and therefore causing the rising damp problem.
If your damp problem is on the first floor or above, you may just simply have a condensation problem or a penetrating damp issue.
Identifying rising damp
Sometimes rising damp can be misdiagnosed. So if you are not sure and you want some expert advice, give us a call at Zephyr Ventilations. We can assess your moisture problem and give you the right specialised advice.
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What conditions in the home are best for mould growth?
Keeping mould from growing in your home is really important for the health of you and your family. The first step in keeping mould under control in your home is discovering what areas and conditions are best for mould growth. Mould spores thrive and multiply in moist wet conditions. How does mould grow? Mould grows easily when moisture and humidity are present. Mould spores search for a damp surface in your home so that they can begin to grow and thrive.
What does mould need to Grow? Mould spores need three things in order to grow and multiply. That being nutrients, moisture and time. Mould can start to grow on a surface in the right conditions in as little as 24 hours.
How can I prevent mould growth in my house?
Mould spores are everywhere. They are carried by air currents throughout your home. They look for a moist dark environment where they settle and multiply. In order to prevent mould growth in your home is to maintain your home in order to keep out excess moisture. This includes having your roof checked regularly for leaks, have plumbing maintained and drying any spills, leaks or flooding that may occur.
It is recommended that home humidity levels are kept to to 30-50% to prevent mould growth. Mould also grows efficiently in warmer more humid climates, and blossoms at 25 to 30 °C. Condensation on or around windows can be an indication that your home’s moisture levels are too high. Two ways a homeowner can decrease the humidity in the home is by increasing ventilation and buying a dehumidifier.
To increase your home’s ventilation, be sure to use correctly vented exhaust fans while in the kitchen and bathroom, to reduce the moisture in the air. Ensure that ventilation throughout your home is adequate to keep up with moisture levels, consider sub-floor ventilation and roof ventilation as well as high quality bathroom and laundry ventilation systems. If your home is still struggling with higher than advisable humidity levels, consider buying a dehumidifier to maintain a optimum levels of humidity resistant to mould growth. Make sure you purchase a dehumidifier that will cover the square footage necessary for your building.
Flooding and other water damage
Flooding is a serious risk factor for mould growth. When excessive amounts of water enter a building and remain for a period of time, mould will begin to develop in as little as 24 hours. Therefore prompt action is needed in the event of a flood to prevent or reduce mould damage in your home.
You may wish to hire a professional to restore your home after a flood. This is a very good option because a professional water damage specialist has the credentials and equipment to deal with flood and water damage in a home most flood damage specialists will even deal with your insurance for you.
Where does mould grow best?
The kitchen and bathroom are often places in your home that mould likes to grow. The humidity from baths, showers, cooking, and washing dishes is often higher in these rooms. Kitchens and bathrooms usually have more plumbing than other areas of your home which could develop leaks within the walls. If you have a roof leak, the ceiling could be harbouring mould. It is important to check for leaks in these areas, monitor the humidity, set up proper ventilation and dry up any condensation that develops. Be sure to also check for mould in air conditioning and heating ducts, washing machines, dishwashers, and in the shower and bathtub.
Preventing mould Indoors
Prevention is better than cure and it It is always better to take action to prevent mould through keeping your home in the right conditions rather than dealing with an expensive and unhealthy mould issue in the future. The right ventilation systems and performing routine maintenance can save a lot of money by avoiding mould contamination in the long run. The following six steps will significantly reduce your risk of mould or other issues in the home.
Monitor indoor humidity
Clean and repair roof gutters
Dry wet materials quickly
Have your roof checked regularly
So, how do we prevent mould growing in our house? The key is to reduce the conditions that are best for mould growth. What does mould need to grow?Nutrients, moisture, and time If you control the moisture, clean up and dry water damage, and reduce the time water or moisture is allowed to remain (within 24 hours), mould will have less of a chance to take up residence in your home.
Give us a call at Zephyr Ventilations. We can advise on the best solutions for ventilation for your home to prevent mould issues. If you feel you may already have a mould issue our sister company www.mouldpro.com.au will be able to assist you with mould removal services.
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There are many reasons a home can be flooded – flash flooding from a blocked street drain, heavy rain, river banks bursting due to king tides, plumbing mishaps and damaged pipes that fail. All of which can cause mild to severe water damage in your home.
Is my home safe to enter after a flood?
When a house is flooded it can cause major problems for the structure of your home, your belongings and health of your family environment. As flood water can contain mud, wildlife, rubbish and other contaminants. Cleaning up is a long process and much will need to be sanitised and or discarded. A severe flood may even damage ducts, air conditioning units, the roofing and sometimes even the foundation.
The first thing after a flood is to call your insurance company. If you are covered for flooding they will advise on what they need from you in regards to making your claims. Secondly it is best to get your home checked over by a water damage expert to ensure that it is safe to enter structurally. Depending on the severity of the flooding, major damage can occur to buildings during a flood.
The big cleanout begins
After you have been given the all clear to enter your home you will need to start the big cleanout. The first step is to shovel out all the mud, and wash away from hard surfaces. Most furniture will also need to be moved out of the home. Mattresses should always be disposed of, as well as any soft toys and decor that can’t be machine washed, and upholstered furniture should only be cleaned by a professional if not, they may be too contaminated to be salvaged.
Photographs, books and any important paperwork can be popped into a snaplock bag, frozen and cleaned later on. They will need to dry slowly and carefully, while sometimes need professional cleaning and restoration services.
Clothing, toys, bedding and soft furnishings should all be washed on hot cycles to kill any germs. All kitchenware and harder toys should be disinfected. Cupboards and counters in the kitchen need to be cleaned the same way before kitchenware can be stored again. In fact all surfaces within your home should be cleaned with hot water and heavy duty cleaner.
Mould after a flood
Sometimes after flood waters recede there has already been a significant amount of time for mould and mildew to develop in your home. If you see the tell tale signs of mould, it is best to leave it to a professional to assess the situation. Mould spores spread and scatter so easily within a house, and breathing them in can be harmful to your health. If you do need to keep working on cleaning out your home in the interim, be sure to wear a two-strap protective mask to prevent breathing in the mould spores, and do not do anything that may cause the mould to spread further.
Ceilings and walls after flooding
Sometimes walls will need to be remediated professionally or fully replaced. It depends on the severity and depth of the flood waters and their contaminants. Once again it is best to have your building fully assessed by a flood damage expert to see what needs to be done. Sometimes if flood depths are high enough even roof insulation will need to be replaced. Sometimes it can be salvaged, depending on it’s type and the damage that has occurred. Plaster and paneling can often be saved, but air must be circulated in the wall cavities to dry the studs and sills.
Electrical and appliances in the flooded home
All electricals must be switched off and inspected by an electrician before they can be turned back on. The wiring must be completely dried out, even behind the walls. Mud can be widespread and possibly may have contaminated electrical components.
Appliances may obtain stains, odors, silt deposits, and gritty deposits and will need to be serviced, cleaned and sanitised. Running equipment before it is properly cleaned could seriously damage it and/or shock you. Professional cleaning and servicing is recommended for electronics, TVs and radios, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, and vacuum cleaners. The hard exterior can be hand cleaned. All metallic appliances that have been flooded should be properly grounded to prevent electric shock.
All carpets must be removed so that a water damage expert can inspect the subflooring and commence professional floor drying services as soon as possible.
Wooden floors should be dried gradually. Sudden drying could cause cracking or splitting. Wood fly drying specialists can advise on the correct procedures and timeframes.
How ventilation systems can help
After a home has been flooded it is extremely important first of all that a structural drying service has been commenced. There will always be an excess of build up in moisture and risk of mould unless you get a specialist in to set up effective ventilation within your home. Roof ventilation will help with completely drying out the roof cavity and ceiling while sub-floor ventilation will ensure that underneath your floors get the drying they need to combat water damage.
Zephyr have a team of ventilation specialists who can visit your home and provide professional advice on the best ventilation system for your type of property. Give us a call and one of our staff will assist you with your questions on water damage today.
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