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In part 2 of our series on the 12 most common types of mold found in US homes we take a look at 3 mold types that can pose a threat to you and your loved ones. As mentioned in part 1 of our series, some mold types are far more dangerous to human health than others. As such, equipping yourself with the knowledge to spot dangerous molds quickly may have serious implications on the health and wellbeing of your entire household.

1. Ulocladium

A moisture loving mold that thrives in wet environments, ulocladium is typically found in buildings and homes that have suffered extreme water damage. Whether spotted in bathrooms, kitchens, basements or along baseboards or windows you can be sure that significant moisture is present wherever Ulocladium resides. Ulocladium is known amongst restoration professionals as a key indicator of the presence of water damage within a structure.

Ulocladium is known for it’s two subspecies that can wreak havoc on individuals with allergies or immune disorders. Often times those suffering from either condition will experience serious adverse health effects such as hay fever when exposed to Ulolcadium mold.

2. Stachybotrys

Stachybotrys, or as it’s more commonly called, “black mold”, is known for it’s dark green-ish black appearance. Stachybotrys is a well known toxigenic mold that’s growth is accelerated by wet conditions. Known to grow exceedingly well on cellulose-type materials such as drywall, Stachybotrys begins it’s early stages as small black spots that multiply quickly.

From severe headaches to unexplained nosebleeds and extreme fatigue, Stachybotrys is known to be extremely disrutpive to humans. “Toxic mold” as it’s also called, produces mycotoxins that can cause respiratory infections in children and adults. Symptoms of exposure typically include pain breathing accompanied with burning sensations in the lungs and throat, tightening in the chest and severe headaches.

Stachybotrys has also been linked to neurological deficiencies and “bleeding lungs” in infants.

3. Mucormycetes

This houshold mold grows in thick patches and is often white or grey-ish white in color. A fast growing allergenic species, Mucor typically grows near air conditioning systems and ducts thanks to moisture and condensation emitted from a units operation. Mucor can cause a wide variety of health issues but far and away the most commonly reported symptoms of Mucor exposure include reduced respiratory capacity, asthma and malaise.

In the most rare cases, individuals who suffer from prolonged Mucor exposure will devlop a rare illness called, mucormycosis. Mucormycosis is a rare fungal infection that damages sinuses and lungs and can even cause harm to the brain. The eyes, nose and renal systems can even be affected making this one of the scariest mold-driven illnesses on our list.


The Dirty Dozen – 12 Common Mold Types Found in Homes: PART 1

Mold spores are a pervasive fungi consisting of over 100,000 unique variations. Now, while that may sound frightening at first, it’s reassuring to learn that only a tiny fraction of those 100k unique mold species are dangerous to human beings. In this multi part blog series we will explore 12 mold types most commonly found in homes — and how to recognize them.

1. Acremonium

First up is a toxigenic mold type known for it’s ability to evolve in it’s appearance over time. What starts out as a smallmoist mold spore morphs over time into an ultra fine, powdery substance that can range from grey to pink to orange or even white in color. Acremonium is known to to grow most commonly in humidifiers, drain pans, cooling coils and along windown seals.

Exposure Symptoms Include

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fingernail and toenail infections
  • Arthritis
  • Peritonitis
  • Bone marrow damage
  • Organ damage
  • Weakened immune response
  • Impaired brain function

2. Alternaria

More prevalent than Acremonium, alternaria holds the crown as the most common allergenic mold type in the world. A velvet-like textured, dark green or brown mold with little “hairs”, alternaria, like most mold, grows exceptionally well in damp areas. Alternaria is commonly found outdoors on dead plant material and amongst grasses and soil but it can also grow quite handily indoors as well. Areas like bathtubs, showers, window seals and beneath leaky sinks seem to provide the most ideal conditions for growth. Acute water damage inside a home or business building is another major contributor. Alternaria is a quick spreading mold that requires fast action to prevent widespread infestation.

Common symptoms of alternaria exposure include asthma-like reactions in the upper respiratory tract along with irritation and itchiness in the nose and mouth.

3. Aspergillus

Found throughout American households, Aspergillus is a very common type of mold. Today there are 185 known species of Aspergillus mold. Each with varying appearances. Coming into contact with Aspergillus is all but unavoidable as it lives outdoors and is found throughout decaying leaves, compost piles, plants and trees. For most people, everyday exposure to Aspergillus is no cause for concern. However, those with weakened immune systems can suffer from significant symptoms.

Risk Factors Include:

  • Weakened Immune system
  • Low white blood cell count
  • Cavities in the lungs
  • Long-term corticosteroid usage

Call The Mold Remediation Experts at H&L Restoration Today!

Given the wide variety of mold types in existence its nearly impossible to identify harmful mold species from their non-harmful counterparts. That’s why it’s always best to hire a mold removal expert to diagnose and remediate mold conditions as soon as their spotted.

Water Damage

Water Damage Facts, Tips, & Prevention

There are very few things that can create as much damage as water. And when any flood invades your home, there is sure to be far more hidden damage than you could ever imagine. This is why you need to contact the professionals at H&L Water, Fire, & Mold Remediation as soon as you and your family have safely evacuated your San Jose home. We have team members waiting to answer your call 24/7 at (408) 645-5958 because we know that a flood in your home is absolutely an emergency.

It Will Never Happen To Me

While you might think that water damage is not very common in the United States, or that it is limited to low lying areas that are prone to natural flooding, you would be incorrect. On average, 14,000 people in the country will be faced with water damage in their homes each day. And over the course of a single year, the repair costs for that water damage will reach 2.5 billion dollars.

Water Leaks Are Often The Cause Of A House Flood

Not all water damage is the result of heavy rain, natural flooding, or some other natural disaster. A water leak will damage many houses from inside the home. In a single year, water leaks in homes will total over one trillion gallons of water wasted. That amount is equal to all of the water that is used in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami over the same time frame.

Some Scary Numbers

You might think that a small crack in a pipe is nothing to be worried about. But that is not the case. A crack that is only 1/8” in size can allow 250 gallons of water to leak into your home in a single day. That is over five bathtubs full of water, by the way. And a faucet that is dripping just once each second will allow 3,000 gallons of water to drip into your house over the course of a year. And that same amount of water will leak into your home if just one appliance hose is dripping at a rate of one drop per second.

Water Damage Categories

While you might think that all water damage is equally bad, that is not the case. These three categories do not address the severity of the damage as much as it labels the type of water that caused the damage.

  • Category 1 – Clean water that does not pose a threat to humans, such as a sink that overflows
  • Category 2 – Grey water with some contaminants that could cause discomfort or illness if humans are exposed to it, such as a sump pump or discharge from a dishwasher
  • Category 3 – Black water that is contaminated and could cause serious illness if humans are exposed to it, such as backed-up sewage or floodwaters

Tips To Prevent Water Damage

  • Have your water heater professionally inspected regularly and complete the recommended annual maintenance
  • Replace the hoses on any appliance such as a dishwasher, washing machine, icemaker, and refrigerator at the first sign of any wear or damage
  • Pay attention to your toilet each time it is flushed. Make sure that is flushes completely and stops running once it refills
  • When you discover a leak, turn off the water to that pipe or fixture quickly and call a professional plumber to make the repair
  • Visually inspect your plumbing pipes, appliances, and fixtures regularly for leaks or signs of leaking
  • If your home has a sump pump, test it regularly, even in the dry season to be sure that it will function when you need it to

How To Know You Have A Water Leak In Your Home

The first indication of a water leak that is concealed or hidden in your home could be a very high water bill. If your water bill suddenly increases for no simple reason, like filling your new pool, then call a leak detection specialist immediately.

Another good way to check for a water leak is to look at your water meter and write down the reading. The use no water inside or outside your home for two hours or more. Then reread the water meter to determine if the reading is the same. If the meter has changed at all, you have a water leak somewhere in or under your home.

Leaking toilets are one of the most common water wasters in a home. To check your toilet, add a few drops of food coloring to the holding tank. Wait 30 minutes and then look in the toilet bowl. If the water shows any color, then you have a leak that needs to be fixed.

Preventing water leaks in your home is the best way to avoid water damage. But if you do become a victim of water damage, be sure to call (408) 645-5958 immediately. The faster the pros from H&L Water, Fire, & Mold Remediation arrive, the faster your life can return to normal.


How to Spot Water Damage Like a Pro

When dealing with your home, one of lifes largest financial investments, there are no shortage of issues that can go awry. When you consider the damage that can be done by plumbing issues, foundation damage, fires, water damage and flooding, it’s enough to make any home owner shutter with anxiety. These issues all have one thing in common, early detection will nearly always reduce damage and lessen the financial burden during repairs. This is exactly why self education is so important as a property owner. Knowing how to identify the early warning signs of these various issues before they balloon into full a full scale crises is vital.

In this post, we are going to cover how to spot some of the most commonly ignored signs of water damage in a home. If left unattended, residential water damage can deeply impact your home’s structure, compromise it’s foundation, lead to mold infestation, and cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair! And these are just the issues that can be solved with money. When you factor mold and it’s various health risks into the equation, the situation gets far more serious.

Continue reading below to learn more about methods for detecting water damage within your home.

1. Look Down

One thing is for certain across all of the possible flooring types in any home, they will all show signs of water damage if you look closely enough. The key is knowing which signs to look for in your home. For hardwood & tile flooring you will want to keep an eye out for buckled, cracked, or warped flooring. For carpet, the alarm bells should send anytime you discover unexplainable wet/damp spots, soft spots, bubbled areas, or the smell of mold or dank/dampness. These are surefire signs that water is finding it’s way to your floors. Whether it is coming from a plumbing leak, structural issue, or some other source will likely require inspection by a qualified professional. But if you notice any of the above signs, reach out to a water damage restoration company immediately for assistance. It’s the first step in insuring your home’s water damage doesn’t leave you up a creek.

2. Keep an Eye Out for Stains

Visible water stains on flooring around your bathtubs, shower pans, toilets, or sinks, as well as discolored areas on ceilings & walls, are amongst of the most tell-tale signs of water damage. Regardless of the location of the pooling water or water stains, you should treat them all with the same level of seriousness. Especially given the fact that stains along walls & on ceilings are a pretty good indicator of a leaking or busted plumbing pipe. Remember to never take plumbing leaks lightly. Pressurized pipes with small pinhole leaks can turn into complete ruptures spilling water a rates upwards of a 25 gallons per minute!

3. Damage Can Also Happen on the Outside

It is often recommended that homeowners perform a semi annual inspection along the exterior of their homes to check for signs of water damage. From blocked rain gutters to cracked & weather damaged seals along windows and doors, there is much to take into consideration when performing these checks. It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for pools of standing water on sidewalks, patios, and in your yard. Standing water in your yard can be an indicator of poor drainage at best and a damaged or cracked sewer line at worst. Keep in mind that any of the above issues can quickly threaten the foundation of your home if left unresolved.

4. Mold

First, you’ll want to perform the obvious visual inspection for any active mold growth inside closets, under sinks, along windows, & in attics and basements. Even the smallest amount of moisture in the right conditions can lead to a boom in microscopic mold spores growth. Some types of mold are toxic to humans and animals and can cause a slew of very debilatating health issues. Do not allow your home or most importantly your family to fall victim to a toxic mold infestation. Remeber to also be on alert for musty, unpleasant smells throughout the different rooms in your home. Trust your senses. If you think something is off, it probably is.

If you’re looking for water damage restoration in San Jose, or any city in the South Bay, contact the Bay Area experts at H&L Restoration today! We provide free on-site inspections and estimates on all water & mold remediation services!

Water Damage

The 3 Most Common Causes of Water Damage

Although residents in some states throughout the US must deal with floording from rising waters, it is rare that this happens in California. Unfortunately, there are many other ways water damage can wreak havoc on residential and commercial properties. Oftern times the damage is hidden, progresses slowly, and causes catastrophic issues by the time it is detected. Certain areas of a home are more prone to water damage than others. For instance, you’re likely to see spot a leaking dishwasher or overflowed toilet straight away. But areas  we less frequently perform restoration services in might include crawl spaces, basements, & attics.

Problem under slabs or inside walls can remain hidden for weeks or even months in some cases. They go unnoticed until they have had time to manifest in ways that can be seen by the nake eye. This is why it’s so important for homeowners to keep an eye out for discoloration on walls and flooring, dampness, mold and mildew, as well as off-odors throughout their homes.

Most of the calls we get are from customers who believe that they  have already indentified where the link is coming from, only to later find out that they are mistaken. The problem with water is it can travel easily and move a great distance before you even realize it’s there. Sometimes our customers need leak detection services to detect the source of the leak. Other times the source is obvious.

Below we have outlined some of the most common causes of water damage that we see here at H&L Restoration.

Roof & Window Leaks

Roof leaks are a homeowners nightmare. Not only are they an urgent issue that must be fixed immediately, they are usually a costly one. And when you consider the potential for water damage to occur before a roof leak is even detected, this cost only goes up. Checking gutters and downspouts on a quarterly basis is a good way to keep water from collecting on your roof and deteriorating it prematurely. It will also go a long way to prevent water making it’s way from a clogged gutter or downspout into your attic and eventually the ceiling of your home.

Often times it does good to check on the obscure elements we tend to forget about. Flashing that is laid around vent pipes and chimneys can wear with time. Does your home have windows? Of course it does. Checking the seals around windows and monitoring the amount of condensation that collects during the winter months is a good proactive measure.

Finally, when is the last time you’ve been on the roof? Checking for bad or missing shingles at least once per year is a good idea. This will go a long way to preserving the integrity of your home’s roof and ensuring you catch small issues before they turn into big ones.

Home Appliances

Most homeowners are unaware of this fact but laundry washing machines are one of the leading causes of residential water damage and home flooding. Usually washing machines fail in 1 of 2 ways. First, they are likely to overflow when a drain gets clogged, or when worn and weathered hoses burst or become disconnected. Either issue can lead to hundreds of gallons of water spilling out into your home before you even know what’s happening. Imagine running a load of laundry and heading out to run a few errands only to come home to a flooded house. This is why it is a good idea to check connections, your washing machine drain, and hoses on a regular basis.

Hot water heaters are another under estimated cause of residential flooding. From leaking fittings and valves, to rust and deterioration of the tank, to extreme scenarios like a complete hot water heater rupture, there are really no shortage of ways a water heater can wreak havoc on your home.

Finally, another appliance that we see cause water damage in homes is the dishwashing machine. Much like laundry washing machines, clogged drain lines and damaged hoses are a leading cause.

Humidity and Condensation

Often times what may seem like some sort of plumbing or roofing leak at first, turns out to be condensation. A common problem we see in older home’s with single pain windows or poor insulation, and in bathrooms and showers. This is why it is so important to have properly functioning exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms in your home. Checking vents for obstructions, and ensuring your fans are working properly will do much in the fight against condensation that can lead to mold and mildew growth.

Condensation on windows can drip down and cause water damage on the frame and window sills.  If you notice this often, consider using a dehumidifier or installing a whole-house dehumidifier.