Educational Corner

Taking Care of Your Crawl Space

  • 10/15/2020
  • 10:20:19

Crawl spaces are areas of a home that are similar to a basement, but usually smaller.  They are unfinished areas located below the ground floor of the home and are typically vented to the outside of the home.  The two main benefits of a crawl space are cost effectiveness and convenience.  Building a crawl space is not as expensive as a full basement.  It can be more expensive than a slab foundation, but it negates the need for grading for a slab on a sloped property.  They’re also very convenient places for plumbing, electric, and HVAC access.  Unfortunately, crawl spaces are very susceptible to water and mold damage.

Water Damage

Standing water can easily accumulate in a crawl space from multiple sources including:

  • Sewer drain backups and leak
  • Waste line leaks
  • Flooding
  • Lack of rain gutters and improperly positioned downspouts
  • High groundwater tables
  • Pipe breaks

When water damage occurs in a crawl space, it’s important to have the area professionally cleaned as soon as the damage is discovered.  Unfortunately, damage in crawl spaces often goes undiscovered for a long time because people don’t enter their crawl spaces often.  Even water that was initially clean can grow stagnant when left alone and cause structural damage and health risks over time.  When the source of the water was sewage, the water contains bacteria and other contaminants that will eventually make their way into the home above, posing serious health risks. 

Mold Growth

In addition to being susceptible to water damage, crawl spaces are also very prone to mold growth due to being common locations for water damages as well as having high levels of moisture and humidity.  Mold growth in the crawl space, like water damage, can cause structural problems and pose a risk to your family’s health.  Although a professional remediation company can solve your mold problems and get your crawlspace cleaned up, it’s best to always try to prevent mold growth in the first place. 

  • Regularly check your crawl space for leaks and standing water.  One of the most common reasons mold damage occurs in a crawl space is unnoticed water.  Most homeowners rarely have a reason to enter their crawl spaces, so if they aren’t regularly checking water damage can go unnoticed for months leading to massive mold growth. 
  • Be aware of your gutters and downspouts.  If rain gutters and downspouts aren’t placed properly, precipitation may flow directly back towards your home and into your crawl space. 
  • Ventilation is important.  An improperly ventilated crawl space will have excess humidity which means excess moisture leading to mold growth. 
  • Consider encapsulation.  This is the process of using vapor barriers to trap moisture that evaporates from the soil and walls to prevent moisture buildup in the crawlspace itself. 
  • If your crawl space is insulated, inspect the insulation a few times a year.  Missing or sagging insulation is a sign of water intrusion. 
  • Ensure that your clothes dryer is vented properly and does not vent into your crawl space or any other part of your home, for that matter.  Dryers push out a huge amount of warm, moist air and should always be vented to the exterior of the home. 

Crawl spaces come with a wide variety of pros and cons.  If your home is on a crawlspace, make sure that you’re taking care of it properly and doing regular checks for damage or issues.  Damage in these areas often goes unnoticed and can easily cause damage to the living areas of your home if not addressed. 

Attention Armchair Quarterbacks: When Was the Last Time You Had That Thing Cleaned?

  • 10/07/2020
  • 10:40:47

Go Pack Go! Football season is heating up even as the weather keeps getting colder and we’ve all been forced to either bundle up or go inside. We aren't even going to get to use our friends' season tickets this year. We might as well make sure our Living Room Lambeau experience is top-notch.

When that cold weather hits hard, dropping into your favorite spot on the couch feels just right especially when that spot is fresh and clean. Did you know that Master Clean offers upholstery cleaning?  We can take care of all your furniture including recliners, sofas, sectionals, and more!

Whether you like curling up with a good book or watching the Packers crush the Bears you can count on Master Clean to keep your furniture looking and feeling great all winter long.  Call us to make an appointment today.  You may even be able to convince us to share our favorite tail-gating recipes that are yummy even if you aren't grilling out in a parking lot.

IICRC Certification: Absolutely Vital for Restoration Companies

  • 09/15/2020
  • 08:26:03

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is a certification and standard-setting non-profit organization for the inspection, cleaning, and restoration industries. With a board of directors comprised of 15 industry leaders elected by the IICRC shareholders, the IICRC functions in over twenty-five countries to protect the interests of both consumers and professionals.  When you hire an IICRC-certified company, you can count on a professional contractor committed to doing the job the right way the first time. 

Company Certification

A company that wishes to be IICRC certified must go through a rigorous application process and meet certain standards to ensure they’re both trustworthy and reliable.  A company with an IICRC certification is a company you can trust.

  1. Insurance

Certified companies are required to show proof of insurance, which protects both the customer and the company.Continuous coverage is required, and the company must provide documentation of this coverage when asked.

  1. Employee Training

Continuous training and support are required for all employees to gain and maintain their certifications, which ensures all member companies offer the best service possible.

  1. Code of Ethics

The IICRC has a strict set of codes set forth by which all members must abide.Called ANSI or IICRC standards, these codes set the standard of care for the entire industry.

  1. Customer Complaints

The IICRC is dedicated to customer support and satisfaction.Because of this, certified companies are required to have a well-maintained, written customer complaint policy that includes documented follow-up for all complaints.

Technician Certification

The IICRC offers certifications for individual technicians as well as companies.  Technicians are given industry-specific training that helps you, the customer, be confident that the people working in your home will maintain the utmost level of professionalism and care. 

  1. Standardized Training

All credentials offered by the IICRC are equivalent no matter where the training takes place, so you can trust that your technician has met the highest standard in the industry.

  1. Continuous Learning

Continued education is required to maintain certifications.The restoration industry is continuously evolving, so it’s necessary to stay ahead with regular training.Some of the courses offered by the IICRC are:

  • Water Damage Restoration Technician (WRT)
  • Applied Structural Drying Technician (ASD)
  • Fire and Smoke Restoration Technician (FSRT)
  • Health and Safety Technician (HST)
  • Building Moisture Thermography (BMT)
  • Applied Microbial Remediation Technician (AMRT)
  • Commercial Drying Specialist (CDS)

IICRC certified companies are the preferred choice for insurance providers and property owners.When you choose and IICRC-certified company, you can rest easy knowing that both the company and its employees abide by rigorous standards and guidelines set in place to ensure the best care possible.