Basement Waterproofing Tips Tredyffrin Township, PA
If you have ever had experience in dealing with a wet or water-damaged basement or home, you know that waterproofing is an essential and vital part in the construction of a home, building or structure. It is best to take precautionary measures to waterproof your structure before any damage can occur, but that is not always the case. Effective waterproofing should incorporate the usage of sealers and drainage, and precautions should always be taken when eradicating any mold or water damage.
—> Radon Mitigation Testing
Radon is a chemical that you might not be familiar with unless you are well versed in dealing with basement flooding, mold, and water damage. It is one of the most dangerous side-effects of a damp or wet basement. It is an odorless and colorless radioactive gas that naturally occurs in radioactive decay chains. It is a serious health hazard and very dangerous to humans and animals. Since radon gas comes from natural sources and is high density, it has been known to accumulate in the basements and lower levels of buildings, even crawl spaces. It can also manifest in ground water, some spring waters, and even hot springs. One of the most important steps in dealing with a water-damaged basement, is to ensure no radon is present during clean- up, and that none will linger in your homes air afterwards.
Radon mitigation testing is what we call the process used to reduce any radon concentration is breathing zones of occupied buildings and edifices. The US standard is ASTM E-2121 when it comes to reducing radon levels in homes as low as practicable which is below 4 pico-curies per litre (pCi/L) or (148 Bq/m3) for indoor air. You can purchase random kits at your local hardware store as they are commercially available. Kits generally include a collector that one would hang in the lowest livable floor of the structure for 2-7 days. Then the user would send the sample to a lab for analysis. The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) would then provide a list of professionals that measure radon levels in the US. There are also long-term kits where sample can be collected anywhere from 91 days to a full year.
There are also open land kits that are used to test radon emissions from the soil before beginning construction. Radon levels are always fluctuating naturally, so any initial tests might not be 100% accurate in determining a home’s typical radon level. Fleeting weather conditions can also effect a short-term measurement. If you are purchasing real estate it is advised to decline or delay a purchase if the seller does not diminish radon levels to 4 pCi/L or lower.
In Canada however, there is no law or regulation that states what the acceptable radon gas level in a structure. It becomes the choice of the homeowner to decipher what level of radon exposure they are prepared to accept.
Due to high levels of radon gas that have been found in almost all states in the US, radon testing has become a very specialized industry over the past two decades. Several states have started programs that encourage awareness in the real estate community. That being said, radon testing is not usually mandatory unless it is requested by local jurisdiction.
—> Mold Control & Prevention
To avoid the growth of mold in your basement or home, you should consider the following:
- Repair and clean out rooftop gutters regularly to ensure moisture will not seep into your home via the gutters.
- If you have use of an air-conditioner you should ensure that you keep the drip pans cleaned out, and also ensure that any drain lines aren’t obstructed by anything and are able to flow properly.
- Check the humidity levels in your home and make sure they are not too high. You can acquire a humidity meter at most commercial hardware stores. If levels are not kept below the 60% margin, this can cause mold growth and potential major problems for your home.
- Any visible condensation or moisture must be tended to immediately. Act fast and dry the wet area while also identifying the source so it can be prevented in the future.
—> Hidden Mold
Following a major flood or storm you should be sure to look for any signs of water damage or mold growth. You can easily detect this by the odor and/or any signs of water damage on ceilings or walls. Mold can easily grow in places that aren’t immediately noticeable to the human eye, for example behind wallpaper or paneling, the top of ceiling tiles, the back of dry wall, or even underneath carpets and carpet paddings. Another source could also be the piping inside walls since pipes can leak and cause moisture or condensation to form. Be sure to also check your roof and and roof materials above your ceiling given that roofs can also leak and water can collect inside your walls and your insulation. If you suspect mold growth make sure to proceed with caution when investigating so as to not expose yourself or others to mold spores.
—> Extensive Mold Contamination
An area deemed to be extensive for mold contamination means an are that is greater than 100 contiguous sq. ft. Here are some steps to follow and what is needed:
Ensure trained personnel who have experience with hazardous materials are equipped with:
- Full-face respirators and HEPA cartridges.
- Disposable protective clothing that covers any exposed skin including the head, hands and even shoes.
Containing the affected area:
- Work area should be completely isolated from any occupied areas with the use of plastic sheeting that is sealed with duct tape, inc. ventilation ducts & grills, fixtures, and any openings. -An exhaust fan equipped with a HEPA filter should be in use to create negative pressurization, airlocks, and a decontamination room.
- Any contaminated materials that are past being cleaned should be removed from the structure, sealed in impermeable plastic bags, and disposed of properly as ordinary waste.
- Ensure the affected area and decontamination room are vacuumed and cleaned with a HEPA filter vacuum, damp cloth or mop with detergent and are visible clean before the removal of an isolation barrier.
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