House Mold 101

The Spring and Summer months bring an increased risk of mold in and out of the home. Mold is a very serious issue that needs to be taken care of before it results in damage to your house and health. There are many different kinds of molds that have different physical appearances, effects on things around them and treatments to eradicate them.

While there are several types of mold that can be found inside the house, there are a couple forms that are more common than others.

Alternaria

While usually found outdoors, this form of mold fosters in damp places and under sinks. Water damage and leaky pipes can be big contributing factors to the development of this type of mold. Because of it’s ability to lodge in the nose and mouth, it can cause a reaction to people who are subjected to it.

Aspergillus

This type of mold is known as the most common one found in homes. Also found in wet environments, Aspergillus can be found in house dust. Exposure and inhalation of this mold can result in disease and lung problems.

Aureobasidium

Usually found outdoors, it can be found on wooden and painted surfaces. It can be black or pink in color (it’s also called “Pink Mold”), and most people will have a bad reaction when exposed to it.

Cladosporium

Known as the most common type of outdoor mold, this nuisance can enter the home through any opening and airway. HVAC is one of the most common and can result in it being spread to areas inside the house. If breathed, it can cause respiratory issues and trigger bigger health issues.

Mucor

This form of mold grows very fast and has a usual origin in soil. It appears as white or grayish in color and it’s physical makeup is like that of cotton. Inside the house, it might be found along ducts and air conditioning vents. This can cause infections of the sinuses called Zygomycosis.

Penicillium

A very mobile form of mold, it grows is areas that have been succumbed to water damage. It appears blue or green in color and can cause severe sinus infections.

Stachybotrys Chartarum

Also known as “Black Mold,” this slimy, toxic mold can cause several health problems. It produces mycotoxins that could potentially result in fatigue, asthma issues, depression and respiratory complications.

Don’t let mold grow out of control in your home. It can cause serious health issues and result in physical damage to your home. Contact a mold remediation specialist today to take care of any mold you may find in your home.

Buying a Home – Alerts and Signals

Buying a home can be one of the biggest financial and lifestyle risks of your life. You are not only digging into your pockets, but you are investing in a place you will call home. As the most popular time of year for new home purchases approaches, know the warning signs before you make such an impactful decision.

Check Structures

There are a variety of structures and hardware to check in the house buying a home.

Plumbing

Make sure to check the plumbing throughout the house thoroughly. This includes the pipes, water heater, water valve, waste system and faucets. The more information you can gather about the house’s plumbing, the less of a chance you will pay for it later.

Walls

Check all walls in the house. This includes the basement, attic, bedrooms, bathrooms and all other rooms in the house. Investigate for water damage, cracks, blemishes and anything that needs (or would have) to be fixed. Do not be fooled by a paint job. Another component of this is windows. Open and close all windows to see if any stick or won’t open at all.

Roof

To the best of your ability, do a full inspection of the roof. Look for leaks, holes, cheap material, gutters and other drawbacks. This has a direct impact on future costs as well as insurance.

Think Prospectively

The most important mindset you need to have when searching for a home, is to look ahead. Look at the features of the house and picture yourself living there. Examine the logistics of space and storage, both the inside and the outside.

Space

This includes space in the house like bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms and closets as well as outside the house like the yard, garage and driveway. Make sure that you don’t figure out that the house has too much or too little space in certain areas after you closed on the home.

Storage

This also includes inside and outside the house. Cabinets, drawers, attics, basements, sheds, barns are all examples of areas that you should include in your checklist. Storage is so important to people with families and it needs to be an area of focus when making your decision.

Use Your Senses

As you’re making decisions about your possible new home, be observant. Use your senses to detect anything that is out of the ordinary and make sure to be diligent.

Smell

Throughout the house, there are certain warning signs that can be realized by certain smells. One of these is a fresh paint job. While new paint is a good thing by itself, that could also mean it is covering something up. Another smell to be aware of is mildew. This is more likely in bathrooms and basements, and something that needs to be addressed as soon as possible before it leads to a mold problem. Sewage problems can also result in a stench that should not be ignored. This could indicate a pipe or drain problem.

Touch

Touch everything that you can (within reason). The more that you can get your hands on, the more information you are going to gather. A good rule of thumb is to perform as many daily activities as possible that you would if you lived in that home. This will help you build a portfolio of what may need a second look before going further with the house. This also limits the surprise costs after you closed the deal.

Sight

In summation of all your senses, know what you’re looking at. If you see something out of place, or something that does not look right, do further research. Get to all parts of the house, in every crack and crevice and examine as much as you can. Use a flashlight, ladder or whatever you need to get a quality look at as much as possible.

Examine the Land

If you are buying a house in conjoined with land, then that means you have more work to do. Get outside and comb through the surrounding area to make sure it is going to be the right as well as spot potential problems.

Neighborhood

If your prospective home is located in a residential neighborhood, be sure to get to know the area. Look around, talk to the people and get a general feel of what the community is like. Make sure it’s a good fit for you and your family before putting down your roots there.

Yard

Check the yard for holes, pest problems, buried animals, vegetation issues, downward slope (could cause water damage) towards the house and every part of the land. This is the area that you, your kids and your pets are going to play, hang out and exercise. Make sure that there are no safety hazards to you or your house and make sure to look for problems with the septic system.

Get Help From a Professional

Make sure to get the help of a professional when examining a potential new house. This is especially true when dealing with parts of the house that you are not highly knowledgeable about. For example, hiring a plumbing or electrical expert may help in identifying future problems. It will also help with not getting tricked by staging. The other party involved may have the help of a staging expert, which can be geared towards hiding negative aspects of the house.

Make sure to make a list of things that need to be fixed while examining the house. After your list is completed, work hard to communicate that each needs to be fixed before closing. It is vital to address all problems before moving forward so that there are no costs that could have been avoided. After the deal is done, you will have limited options, so have a plan in place beforehand and a list of deal breakers.

Call Eastern Plumbing before your home search. We’d be happy to guide you through your review of a possible future home.

Expanding Your Shower – Tips

Most Americans shower daily. When you add it up, you’ll see you’re spending a lot of time spent in an enclosed space so you might as well be comfortable. Unfortunately, home shower stalls are often three by five feet or smaller. Most are barely large enough for an adult to spread out their arms. A bigger shower would allow you more space, however, you may not want to break the bank on a plumbing rehab. If you’re lucky in your current bathroom configuration, there may be a way to expand your shower space without spending a fortune or rearranging your pipes.

Limited Space, Limited Options

Your options for expanding your shower will largely depend on your bathroom’s layout. If you’re on a budget, you don’t want to knock out or move any of the walls. It’s also easier if you can avoid moving your supply lines or getting into other plumbing repairs. So, that limits your expansion options to two directions – away from the shower head and away from the side wall.

If you’re fortunate enough to have some spare space, the project to move the shower walls or door by a foot or more may not be too daunting – either of which could make a huge difference in your bathing experience. You could also upgrade the space with features like a bench, or smart bathing technology. A larger shower area can also make your bathroom more accessible to those with limited mobility or disabilities.

Putting the Pan in Place

The most critical aspect of enlarging your shower is replacing the shower pan. If you’re an expert DIYer, you can build your own custom shower pan using cement and a special membrane. However, most people will have an easier time purchasing a pre-existing shower pan, which will limit your options with the size and dimensions of the shower and may also require you to move the floor drain to line up with the hole in the pan.

It’s absolutely crucial that you install the shower pan correctly; otherwise, water can leak around it promoting mold and mildew growth and slowly undermining your infrastructure. Once the pan is in place, reinstalling larger shower walls and a door is a much less complicated affair – just make sure all the seals around the door are tight so water won’t leak out onto the floor.

True Comfort in Your Bathroom

Expanding your shower can be a tricky, time-consuming process, but the rewards are self-evident when you enjoy all that extra space while you bathe. If you need help with a bathroom remodel or any other plumbing repairs, get in touch with Eastern Plumbing today.

Tips for Remodeling your Bathroom

Spring is the busiest time of the year for remodeling your home. People are coming out of hibernation with the warmer weather and are ready to change their surroundings. The bathroom is a practical area to renovate first, and it’s one of the best ways to improve your home’s resale value. Are you considering remodeling your bathroom? Read the following tips before you begin your next home improvement project.

1. Investigate.

Before purchasing new materials for your bathroom, make sure you evaluate the current structure of the room. If you have any hidden rot, rusty pipes or frayed wiring your project can quickly escalate in cost.

2. Plan.

Check the blueprint of your home to determine the plumbing and electrical layouts. You’ll save time and money if you work with the existing system, as rerouting plumbing and electrical lines is expensive.

3. Measure.

Don’t forget to measure your bathtub and any fixtures that you’ll be replacing. Try the showroom samples out before you buy and check to see if the products are user-friendly before you mount them in your bathroom.

4. Choose the right products.

Think about your carbon footprint and choose plumbing fixtures that will help you save money on your water bill. Consider energy-efficient light bulbs to brighten your bathroom. Make the most of the space you have. Glass doors on showers and tubs can make your bathroom appear bigger than it actually is. Additionally, a pedestal sink takes up less space than a vanity. If you need extra storage, consider installing a medicine cabinet.

5. Order beforehand.

Large items like special-order toilets and vanity tops can take several weeks to arrive. Before you demolish your bathroom, make sure everything you need is on hand. Waiting for parts to arrive can be frustrating, but it’s better than tearing up your fixtures and having an unusable bathroom until the new items arrive. When your new products arrive, you’ll know if you need to do any extra work before you rip up your walls.

6. Don’t be afraid to call a professional.

If any part of remodeling takes you out of your comfort zone, call a professional. You might need Eastern Plumbing’s help if your water or drain lines need to be moved. When you’re dealing with electrical or plumbing, DIY mistakes can be a costly disaster.

At Eastern Plumbing, we specialize in remodels and installs. Give us a call today for help with your home renovations.

5 Jobs Best Left to a Professional Plumber

As a homeowner, you know firsthand that plumbing repairs are needed when you least expect it. Your first instinct is to follow directions you find online or in repair manuals. However, some jobs are better left to professionals. You could spend hours of valuable time fixing the problem. If you don’t repair it correctly, you can end up paying more money out of your pocket. A small water leak can quickly turn into thousands of dollars of damage, and plumbers charge a premium to make an emergency call.

Here are several examples of jobs you should consider hiring a professional plumber for:

1. Permits

A bathroom remodel or adding a gas line to your backyard for your grill will require a permit and inspection. A professional stays up to date on local, state and national codes and regulations and will know what permits to pull and make sure the job will pass inspection.

2. Low water pressure

Many factors can cause low water pressure, occurring anywhere between the well or city water supply and the water lines. If you try to find the cause by yourself it can take hours, but a professional plumber can quickly troubleshoot the problem and fix it.

3. Sewer line problems

A tree root may be the cause of your sewer line not draining properly. You can rent a machine to fix the problem, but trying to remove the tree root can cause extensive damage to the sewer line. A plumber can resolve the issue without causing further damage.

4. Problems with the main line

Notice any backup in your tub or shower? Your main line may be blocked. Repairing the main line requires special equipment most homeowners do not have. You can rent the equipment, but professionals have the experience to use it to get the problem fixed quickly.

5. No hot water

A number of problems can cause a loss of hot water. If your tank isn’t visibly leaking, it can take hours to find the problem. A professional can troubleshoot both gas and electric heaters to quickly find the problem and make repairs.

Frustrated with plumbing repairs? Our experienced and reliable plumbers are here to help. Give Eastern Plumbing a call!