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Leaky Roof: Repair or Replace?
Leaky Roof: Repair or Replace?

Home ownership comes with a myriad of responsibilities, and one of them happens to be maintenance. It can be quite expensive to embark on the home-owning journey, especially if you have a lot of renovations to do. One maintenance woe that many homeowners will deal with at one point or another is a leaky roof. However, how do you know whether to repair or replace the roof? We're here with some information to help you realize how your roof started leaking, the effects of a leaking roof, and what your best course of action is.


Leak Causes


The most common causes of a leaking roof include damage to the shingles, clogged gutters, cracked flashing underneath the shingles, condensation inside of the attic, and damaged valley seals. Damage can occur after an episode of inclement weather with strong rain, wind, or debris flying through the air. Your roof leak could also be caused by the age of the roof itself, as every roof will endure wear and tear after a number of years.


Roof Damages


The dangers associated with roof leaks can wreak havoc on the home and those who live inside of it. A long-standing roof leak has the potential to damage insulation, wood, drywall, flooring, and electrical appliances. If a roof leak drips onto electrical wiring, it can also be a fire hazard. Many leaks end up in the attic where families store sentimental and valuable belongings. Not only can a leak cause costly structural damage, it can also invite mold into the home. This is because mold and mildew thrive in conditions with excess moisture! If a mold issue keeps growing, health issues such as respiratory irritation and intense allergy symptoms can quickly arise.


Repair or Replace?


So, how do you know if it's best to repair or replace the roof? To make the distinction, you will need to introduce a professional to the situation. If the decking or underlayment of the roof is damaged, it's best to replace the roof instead of simply replacing shingles. While there are options to patch areas or shingle over an existing roof to save money, it's similar to putting a piece of tape over a pipe leak. It's better for your health, the integrity of your household, and wallet to take the steps needed to solve the problem in the most efficient way.


Call the Professionals 


If you have noticed a leak coming from your roof, get in touch with a mold remediation company as soon as possible. Professional mold remediation companies know how to distinguish whether mold has been growing in these hard to reach and hard to see areas of the home. It's time to call a mold remediation company immediately if you're noticing a mildewy smell, unexplained allergies or health symptoms, or actual mold around the home. Give AQA a call to schedule your thorough mold inspection today! We will tell you if mold is an issue, and if it is, we will take the steps to get rid of it forever.

Common Household Leaks
Common Household Leaks

As a homeowner or renter, you do everything you can to ensure your surroundings are up to your standards. Everyone wants their house as clean and comfortable as possible! Of course, as your home endures normal wear, there are some issues that are out of your control. One of these issues that are very common in everyday household leaks.

One of the most common leaks that people deal with is a leaking faucet.  Often times, this issue is fixable on your own or by calling a local plumber. Depending on the specific situation at hand, you could find yourself searching for a professional to fix a leak. Leaks whether in your faucet, toilet, roof, or any other pipe in your home, create the perfect opportunity for mold to grow and thrive. You'll know that you have a problem if you notice stains appearing anywhere on your walls, ceiling, or cupboards. 

 


 

Professional maintenance is priceless. If you've ever dealt with mold or leaking roof, you'll know that there are many reasons why having the right professionals on your side is priceless. First, nobody wants to waste expensive energy or watch their water bill climb due to a leaking pipe! It's akin to watching pennies drip down the drain. Second, many people underestimate the harmful effects that mold can have their families and themselves. Breathing in these particles over time can bring about many health problems. Some are major, and some replicate a common cold, but either way, it can be dangerous. 

From harsh weather to aging homes and clogged gutters, factors that go into a roof leak are plentiful. Roof repair is an expensive investment, but when you consider factors like your electric bill, curb appeal, and infrastructure of your home, it's one that will always make sense. A professional building damage assessor is able to use modern technology such as infrared camera evaluation and moisture mapping, giving you peace of mind ensuring every square inch of your home is inspected. 

Although it can be intimidating to hire a professional for leak repair, especially if it's your first time dealing with this type of problem, you'll find that a weight lifts off of your shoulders as you make strides towards improving the quality of your home. With today's technology, you won't have to take drastic, invasive measures to test and improve your issues with excess moisture in your home.


Mold in Rental Properties: Suggestive Steps to Take
Mold in Rental Properties: Suggestive Steps to Take


Living in an apartment community can prove to be a great housing decision. Landscaping, roofing issues, or maintaining your pool is never a worry. It is a relief when you can give up some responsibilities to a property management team. But what happens when there is a problem, like mold, flooding, or leaks, that is directly affecting your living space and possibly your health? Many apartment complex managers take the right actions by solving building damage issues that can affect tenants’ health immediately, but there are situations where funds are not available to solve the issue, and the tenant is left with dealing with it on their own.


A lot of times, mold that forms in apartments could be considered surface mold. It can be quite alarming, especially when tenants aren’t familiar with it. Surface mold is caused by minor issues; for example, not running the fan when showering. The relative humidity levels rise and moisture in the air is not circulated, which causes mold to form. This should not be confused with roof leaks. Roof leaks happen when there is water from the outside penetrating through roofing materials, into wall cavities, and eventually through your ceiling into your apartment. This can cause major issues if not resolved as soon as possible. When moisture comes in contact with organic materials, including wood, drywall, and other building materials, it causes mold to form and spread rapidly. Health effects from mold exposure can be severe especially when exposure is prolonged.

 

What should one do when faced with this issue? Here are our suggestions for the proper steps to take.

 

1. Tell the apartment office staff. Communicating your concerns to the proper management personnel should be the first step you take. It is in your best interest that you do this in a timely manner so the issue doesn’t worsen.

 

2. Document your building damage concerns. When you document your efforts to resolve the maintenance issues in your apartment, your management team is sure to be effective in resolving the problem.

 

3. Check up on the severity of the repairs. If the repairs are of a certain scale, you may need to vacate your apartment while they are being resolved. Every state has different guidelines regarding this, so ask if this is a possibility. If you have a baby, live with an elderly person, or with someone that has a weakened immune system, this should also be brought to your apartment management’s attention.

 

4. Keep an eye on time. Make sure there is consistent progress in repairing your building damage problem (especially leaks and mold). If you haven’t physically seen or heard from your apartment’s maintenance or management regarding a schedule, a quick phone call should suffice.

 

5. When there has been no progress. There are a few things you could do if you haven’t had any success with steps 1-4. Contact the higher-ups in property management. Find out who manages the property you live in and call or email them. They should take your call and get something done for you in the matter of a few days. Make sure you inform them you have possible health concerns and ask that they assist you in resolving the issue. Another step you can take is by consulting with a professional. Call your local building damage experts and have a conversation. They will be able to come out to your apartment and test your areas of concerns, prove that there is damage to be concerned about, and you can use those documents to bring the problem to the apartment staff.

 

Typically, properties take building damage issues seriously and do their best to resolve these issues immediately. You should never have to live in an establishment that has issues that could cause negative effects on your health. Be sure to take action immediately and follow the proper steps, and your building damage should be resolved in no time!

 

 


The Dangers of Toxic Mold Syndrome
The Dangers of Toxic Mold Syndrome

 

Toxic Mold Syndrome, also known as mold illness, is an illness that effects many people. When people get sick, they typically assume the causes are allergies, a cold, or a bad reaction to medications. When you notice a dramatic decline in your health, you have to wonder, what is the cause? Very commonly, people blame their poor health on  outdoor environments when in reality, they should be considering their indoor environments as the main culprit. Most people spend an average of 90% of their time indoors including time at work, school and at home. This fact alone should initiate further research into your indoor environments.


You may experience symptoms that are similar to colds and common allergies when dealing with Toxic Mold Syndrome including:


·         Coughing

·         Wheezing

·         Sore throat

·         Runny nose

·         Itchy eyes

·         And more…

 

There are more serious health problems related to toxic mold syndrome. In many cases, the above symptoms are just the beginning. Not only does toxic mold syndrome affect your respiratory health, but also your nervous system, circulatory system, skin, vision and mental health. As you can see, mold and any of the symptoms related to mold are all something that should not be taken lightly. It can lead to very serious health issues and even death.


In order to avoid long term health problems related to mold exposure, one would ask what is the real cause of mold growth? The simplest reason mold forms is because of moisture. There are many different forms of moisture that cause mold formation including leaks, condensation, humidity, and flooding. When moisture comes in contact with any and all kinds of organic materials (wood, carpet, clothing, etc.…) mold begins to form. There are many great mold prevention tips listed in our “How to Avoid Indoor Allergens" blog post that are easy and affordable to implement. Doing yearly inspections and taking care of your home overall will help lessen the chance of experiencing health issues related to mold.

 

There have been many case studies conducted to prove the effects of mold exposure symptoms. In this presented case study individuals that were tested ranged from 1.5 years to 52 years of age. The conclusion was conditional, however those who were involved experienced similar symptoms and reactions. Along with case studies, there are many personal stories, testimonials, and articles that present personal experiences people have had with toxic mold syndrome and mold related sicknesses. There is one story that stands out among all the rest about a woman who is now doing well, but at one point did not know what happened to her or where to turn. Kimberlyn is someone who one day, completely lost her motivation and began to become very confused as to why her personality and normal demeanor completely changed. With multiple doctor visits over 6 months, she started to find out what may be the cause of her sudden life altering ailment. If you are worried that you may be dealing with mold, her story is very relatable and could save you many unnecessary steps.


Ideally, we would like to say that mold will never be an issue in our lives, but that is not the case. Mold is everywhere. It really all depends on how quickly you handle a situation and how serious it is. Our best advice: be mindful of your surroundings and educate yourself on the signs and the steps to take to resolve your mold problem.



Recommended Links: Black Mold

                                       AMEN clinics

       US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health

                                       Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 


Ways to Prevent Indoor Allergens
Ways to Prevent Indoor Allergens

 

When people think of allergens, they often think of allergic reactions to substances such as pollen, animals and dust. Allergens sometimes get confused with allergies, but the difference between the two, lie within the definitions. Allergens are substances that cause an allergic reaction. Allergies are the damaging immune system response by the body to a substance. Allergens come in many different forms including those previously listed and more. Since people spend more than 90% of their time indoors, indoor allergens are the main cause of allergies year round. Outdoor allergies happen as the seasons change and as the outdoor allergen levels fluctuate.


Indoor allergy triggers not only include common household allergens such as dust, pollen and animal dander, but also include a small list of unexpected substances. Cockroaches, fabrics, new furniture, and glue are among the many unexpected household allergens. Paint can also trigger allergy-like reactions in people, especially if they are living in a home that was newly painted or with paint that has high volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and dangerous chemicals.


A few factors that play a role in allergen formation:

 

Humidity: Humidity plays a significant role in whether or not fungi will grow in your home. Fungi, or mold, is a major cause of indoor allergy symptoms and the more you regulate your home’s humidity levels, the least likely mold is to form. Mold can be very dangerous to your health especially for those who are clinically allergic. Recommended humidity levels should fall between 30% - 50%. Condensation and fogging are both signs of high humidity levels and cracking paint; doors or trim are signs of low humidity levels.


Ventilation: It is extremely important to allow your home to have proper ventilation during every season. Opening doors and windows creates proper air flow throughout your home which prevents moisture buildup and stagnant air. Cleaning under rugs and moving furniture that is pressed against walls is also a way to ensure moisture will not accumulate.


Leaks: Check your home for leaks. A common area where leaks can be found is your roof and windows. If you find a leak, put a stop to it as soon as possible because the smallest leak can cause deterioration and significant damage to your home.

 

There are many ways to reduce indoor allergens with only just a few simple and easy everyday adjustments.

 

HEPA: Use products with HEPA filters. High-efficiency particulate air filters (HEPA) are very beneficial to those who are concerned with allergens. There are many different products that contain HEPA filters, but they all aide in the same ways. HEPA filters cleans the air of all the microbial airborne particulates and when vacuuming, ensure that dust and dander do not return into the atmosphere. HEPA filters are also available for central air conditioners which create better indoor air quality overall.


Exhaust Fans: Use exhaust fans in every room where one is provided. This will help with air flow and to remove access moisture from the air.


Carpeting: Carpeting should only be used in rooms where there is not a lot of moisture present. For example, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens should not have carpet due to the presence of water flow from sinks and pipes. A minor leak onto carpet may seem like a small issue, but once moisture comes in contact with materials, mold can form. Remember, it is more difficult to reverse damage than it is to prevent it.


Storage: Always be mindful of how you are storing your seasonal materials. Blankets and clothes should be stored in air tight plastic containers or bags and placed in areas that are not susceptible to high moisture levels. A common issue is when people store their winter materials in their basements during the summer when humidity levels are very high without protective containment. When it comes time to unpack everything, mold has had significant time to form and people are left with musty and moldy belongings. 


Outdoor allergens are more difficult to control, but you can help prevent access formations outside your home. To help reduce the effects of outdoor allergens, you must take care of your lawn frequently. Regularly raking and mowing can help reduce the buildup of allergens outside your home. Raking prevents mold growth within leaves and mowing helps reduce the production of pollen. The safest way to prevent buildup is to keep your grass short. Always wear protective gear including gloves, sunglasses, a hat, and long clothes. This will prevent pollen from sticking to you and tracking it into your home. Do yard work either in the morning or evening when pollen counts are the lowest. If you have a severe allergy to outdoor allergens, asking someone to help you with yard work or hiring a company to take over the responsibility will help your allergies greatly. 


Recommended Links:  AQA Website

EveryDayHealth.com

ApartmentTherapy.com

Asthma and Allergy Foundation


Articles of Interest: The Assignment of Benefits
Articles of Interest: The Assignment of Benefits

 

Very frequently, homeowners have questions about billing, insurance, and their rights when it comes to hiring companies to perform work inside their homes. We want to make sure not only our clients, but everyone is aware of all possible outcomes to ensure all jobs are performed in good faith.

 

This article presents a recent situation where a homeowner was left battling with their insurance company over 2 years because of a technicality which did not event exist. It’s a GREAT read for a quick lesson learned that could potentially save anyone from a lot of trouble in the wake of an emergency. 


Insurance Company’s Defense Based on an Assignment of Benefits Form Fails



The 411 on Leaks & the Damage They Cause
The 411 on Leaks & the Damage They Cause

 

Many times, a leak can be an easy fix with just a small replacement or adjustment as needed. Other times, a small leak can stem from a large problem where major damage control is required. If and when you detect a leak in your home or place of business, the issue should be addressed as promptly as possible. Ignoring signs of a leak can cause issues within your home that you can potentially avoid when you respond immediately.


There are many places leaks can occur:


o   Roof

o   Water Heater

o   Toilets

o   Washer

o   Faucets

o   Dishwasher

o   Pipes


Leaks can cause minor problems such as and an irritating runny faucet, waste of water, and high water bills. One household can waste up to 10,000 gallons of water per year just from water leaks. That waste not only has a negative impact on the environment, but also your wallet. Common household leaks cause your water bill to rise, which is money out of your pocket that you could have spent otherwise.


Although minor problems can be very troublesome, there are bigger issues that can severely damage your home.


Mold development is one of the most common and most consequential causes of leak damage. Mold can form anywhere moisture is present within 24-48 hours. This is the #1 reason why you need to act quickly when you find a leak because the quicker you get rid of a leak, the less chance mold has to form. To reduce the development of mold, you must control moisture. If mold penetrates an area surrounding a leak, the entire area must be removed to eliminate mold. For example, if you smell a musty odor coming from below your sink, you most likely have a mold problem. Fixing the leak will not get rid of mold, it will still continue to spread because of the existing moisture. Removing the surrounding cupboard and base may be necessary to get rid of mold entirely. This is a must especially because mold is overall very harmful and can cause serious health issues


Structure deterioration is a cause of damage from roof leaks. Chronic roof leaks can cause the wood in your home’s structure and ceilings to deteriorate. Although this can be a slow process, watch for signs of roof leaks such as dark spots in your ceiling. When you see water come through the ceiling and leak onto the floor, this means that the surrounding area within the ceiling is absorbing most of that water. Keep a close watch on even the smallest roof leaks because even one can cause wood to weaken and eventually cause a ceiling collapse.


Electrical issues can also be a factor in assessing damage from water leaks. As your household leaks pass through and comes in contact with many interiors, it will most likely reach the electrical components of your home. Uncovered wires and outlet framework can easily cause shock and even fires when coming in contact with water. It only takes one small spark to cause an entire building to burn down. Flooding can also be a factor in carrying electrical currents and causing a fire. Act quickly if you ever find yourself in a flood and turn off your electricity in the flooded areas. This can prevent your entire home from burning down and even prevent death.


To avoid major issues and costly repairs take care of leaks in your home or business facility immediately! Ignoring what might look like a small issue can uncover extreme structural damage and can even cause harm to those around it. Call your local leak detection service company at the first sign of a leak.

 

AQA Website - Leak Detection Services

Environmental Protection Agency

Alliance for Water Efficiency