Frozen Pipes and Winter Mould Woes

Frozen water pipes caused flooding in Toronto City Hall this past week, an unenviable issue many home owners have to deal with too. Mould can’t grow at freezing temperatures, that’s a fact. But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a link between freezing water pipes and mould – when pipes burst and there’s flooding, mould is a distinct possibility.

Once water is flooding the basement, mould can grow within 24 to 48 hours if the conditions are right. It loves to eat drywall and it loves the darkness, so your basement and all those nooks and crannies where water is flowing in a flood represent the ideal breeding ground for mould spores.

The Basement Flood
The most important thing to remember when you’ve had a basement flood is to act quickly. The cold air of a basement causes the moisture to linger and also condensation of any moisture in the air, adding to the problem.

  • Rule #1: Dry out as quickly as possible. Portable fans and dehumidifiers can certainly help. If good old regular mould can grow within 48 hours, wet conditions for several days can cause the development of far worse: toxic black mould caused by the bacteria Stachybotrys chartarum.
  • Open the windows if there are any – and as long as it’s stopped raining or snowing. If the air outside is very humid, then try turning on your air conditioner and/or dehumidifier to circulate air without adding more moisture.
  • Remove as much water as you can to speed up the drying process.
  • Disconnect any electrical equipment immediately.
  • Clean up. Clean every surface and area that’s been affected.
  • Mouldy items – if you’re throwing them away, seal the bag. If there is anything you want to try and keep, freezing the item kills the mould.
  • Foundations – if there’s snow, ice and/or water and puddling building up around your home, mould could be affecting the very foundations of the building and causing mould to grow into the foundation itself. Landscaping changes and grading the yard so that water flows away from the home may be necessary. Once it’s gotten into the foundation mould can actually weaken the structure of the materials used. It’s not just an unsightly spot on the wall.

Prevention Means Maintenance
Maintaining the conditions in your basement into the future is the goal. Unless you’ve made it into a family room or office, the basement is often a neglected area used only for specific purposes and avoided the rest of the time. It’s easy to overlook the kinds of issues that can end up spreading mould spores throughout your home via your HVAC system.

  • Control humidity – this is a must at all time. Some types of mould need only 55% humidity levels to begin to develop. A dehumidifier might be called for in the humid summer months and for any extended period of rain. Drying clothing indoors can also contribute to excess humidity.
  • Ventilation – adequate ventilation will ensure that moisture doesn’t linger and turn into mould. Special areas of concern include any crawlspaces which are often entirely unventilated.
  • Exhaust fans are a good solution for real problem areas like laundry rooms where there is always going to be a certain degree of humidity.
  • Insulate those pipes so you can avoid it happening again.

Get Professional Help
You need professional help to properly clean up after the devastation of a flood. Our experienced mould removal experts offer professional, certified mould removal services to help get your living space back to normal.

In the Toronto area contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca at (416) 818-9414. Contact us for a mould removal quote today.

Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite and mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA (North York, Mississauga, Markham, Brampton, Scarborough, Ajax, Oshawa, and beyond) GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414. You’ll be glad you did.

Asbestos Abatement Firm & Supervisor Fined for Workers’ Asbestos Exposure

An asbestos removal firm in eastern Ontario and its supervisor were given fines amounting to just under $30K recently for exposing workers to asbestos.

Court heard how workers were exposed to asbestos dust on a job site. The supervisor in question pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to ensure that his workers were using protective equipment and gear. The incident occurred last spring when three employees of the company were working on an asbestos remediation job at a residential home in a suburb of Ottawa. While the area they worked on was enclosed, asbestos containing materials (ACM) were released into the air, creating the dust hazard.

The situation was brought to the attention of the Ministry of Labour when an inspector arrived on-site. This is what he found:

  • One worker leaving the enclosed area full of asbestos dust in street clothes
  • The second worker handling bags of ACM inside the area, also in street clothes
  • The third worker cleaning up the area – also in street clothes

Insanity
It shouldn’t take an unexpected visit from the Ministry of Labour inspector to point out what had clearly gone wrong with the job. The fact that this was a supposedly bona fide asbestos removal company is something we’re finding completely outrageous.

The danger isn’t only to workers on that job site. What happens when the owners/tenants of the building come back? How careful have they been to clean up well? If they haven’t been careful with their own health and safety, how well have they looked after their clients?

Working in street clothing with asbestos and in the absence of any protective gear – that has to come as a result of ignorance – the same kind of ignorance that saw asbestos become ubiquitous throughout the world as a “miracle” construction material. Surely anyone who understands the clear risks could not act so carelessly.

We couldn’t agree more with the way this was handled.

Asbestos is No Joke
It was only decades after asbestos and ACM became so commonplace that workers first began to show signs of deadly mesothelioma. That’s the risk: you won’t feel it at first, in fact you may not for many years. However, the asbestos fibres remain in your lungs – they never leave – and can create the kinds of abnormal changes that result in lung cancers and mesothelioma.

Sloppy workmanship just doesn’t cut it when you’re dealing with asbestos. It not only puts workers at risk, it puts home and business owners at risk – anyone in the area, in fact, can be affected if asbestos is not properly handled and ends up blowing friable (inhalable) fibres into a neighbourhood.

In the Toronto area contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca at (416) 818-9414. Contact us for an asbestos removal or asbestos remediation quote today.

Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite and mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA (North York, Mississauga, Markham, Brampton, Scarborough, Ajax, Oshawa, and beyond) GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414. You’ll be glad you did.