Little drip, big trouble

Location: Dublin, OH 43017

Problem: The client had a finished basement, but she never actually went down there, except maybe to store Christmas decorations. Nobody went to the bathroom in the basement either, so nobody saw the tiny leak coming from the toilet’s supply line. It was just a loose nut, but it allowed a slow drip that went unnoticed for months. The drywall in the bathroom sucked up the water like a sponge. Stachybotrys (black mold) was able to grow unnoticed in the wet walls of the basement and under the baseboard in the adjoining room.

Solution: Unfortunately, the bathroom had to be partially gutted during the mold remediation. The demolition took place inside a negative pressure containment system, so the rest of the house was not affected. Drywall and baseboard were removed, bagged and sealed. After the drywall was removed the wall framing was cleaned and sanitized with HEPA vacuuming, wire brushing, and anti-microbial made specifically for mold cleaning. After all the black mold growth was removed all the surfaces inside containment were HEPA vacuumed and damp wiped with anti-microbial.

Pro tip: Perform a quick walkthrough of your home once a month. A 15 minute inspection can allow you to find small problems while they’re still small.

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Window wells can truly be wells

Location: Columbus, OH 43220

Problem: You don’t really want your man cave looking like an actual cave. Window wells are great for letting natural light into your finished basement. Unfortunately, window wells that do not have proper drainage installed or covers over them can let water accumulate below the window. Combine that with clogged and overflowing gutters overhead and you have a recipe for real problems inside. We were recently in a finished basement with exactly this situation. Some unfortunate grading, clogged gutters, and undrained window wells allowed water to accumulate outside the foundation of the finished basement. The moisture wicked through the block to get the drywall and underlying particle board damp, and it stayed damp for a very long time. Compounding the problem was that the basement walls were papered with a vinyl backed wallpaper, completely hiding the extent of the problem. By the time we got called in, the mold contamination had spread to all the exterior walls.

Solution: At that point the only solution to the mold contamination was the removal of all the wall coverings inside a negative pressure containment system. Billowing clouds of yellow and black mold spores had to be contained inside the work area while we took the finished out of the finished basement. All this could have been avoided with $30 in clear clamshell window well covers and once a year cleaning of the gutters.

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Canned lights create problems

Location: Worthington, OH 43085

Problem: The client had just moved in and was just starting a kitchen makeover with some new cabinets. What they saw when the old cabinets came down was black mold growing on the drywall and the tops and back of the cabinets. They shut down the project immediately and called us in.

Solution: Lab testing revealed that the growth on the drywall was the worst of the worst, Stachybotrys (“toxic black mold”). We prioritized this job so that we could get in there immediately and perform the mold removal before they experience any health issues. But the mold remediation was only part of the job. What in the world caused the growth in the first place? If we don’t figure that out and resolve the issue it’s just a matter of time before it returns. The source of the problem turned out to be a combination of uninsulated air conditioning ducts and unsealed canned lights in the bulkhead above the cabinets. When the lights were switched on the bulbs got hot, creating an upward flow of air into the bulkhead. The air going into the space was also carrying water vapor from the normal activities below, like washing dishes and cooking. When the air conditioner turned on the ducts in the bulkhead would get cold and the moisture would condense on the outside of the ducts. Making a bad situation just a little bit worse, the ducts had a slope to them. The condensation would flow to the low point and just drip, drip, drip on the drywall and cabinets below. What a mess! The solution was relatively simple. The new canned lights were sealed to prevent airflow and the ductwork was insulated. Either one would have probably prevented a recurrence, but I’m a belt and suspenders kind of guy, and both solutions were relatively inexpensive. Pro tip: The same problems can occur with canned lights in your attic. Replace those old canned lights with new, sealed lights to keep from creating attic mold growth in the winter.

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Listen when your house is talking to you

Location: Dublin, OH 43017

Problem: We just finished a basement mold remediation in Dublin, OH. The basement had mold because of the high humidity in the basement. The high humidity was because of water weeping through the foundation block whenever it rained. A few downspout issues and a grading and drainage problem. All was easy enough to fix. It’s just a shame they didn’t get fixed until after they developed mold contamination.

Solution: The walls in the basement had been shouting “water problem”, likely for years and nobody heard. The white or tan crystals growing on your basement walls are called efflorescence. They are the mineral salts picked up by groundwater as it leeches through your foundation. It’s absolutely harmless, but is your home’s way of shouting “We’ve got a water problem!”. Ignore it at your peril.

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Leaky wall + vinyl wallpaper = hidden problem

Location: Delaware, OH 43015

Problem: One wall of the local business was partially below grade and had developed a small crack in the poured foundation. It was a tiny leak, but the wall had vinyl wallpaper and there was nowhere for the water to go. The wall developed a mold problem that was only visible when the seam of the wallpaper separated slightly.

Solution: The mold removal entailed first erecting containment to protect the rest of the space while we worked. Then we peeled back the wallpaper to see the extent of the damage. The next step was the removal of the contaminated drywall and the underlying insulation 24” beyond any visible mold. Once the damaged building materials were removed everything inside containment was HEPA vacuumed and wiped down with anti-microbial. Mold remediation complete! Since air scrubbers and vacuums tend to be noisy we had to start well before the sun came up, so the job was completed before they opened for business. We made it with 20 minutes to spare!

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You can paint the town but you can’t paint toxic mold

Location: Dublin, OH 43017

Problem: The connection to the water heater had developed a leak that was spraying water all over the utility room. All that water was wetting the wall and running down into the crawlspace, so nobody knew how long it had been going on. The homeowner called the condo management folks who sent “the guy” over right away. He painted over the mold on the wall. Problem solved! Hardly. After experiencing some health issues and doing some research on the internet the homeowner called the pros. Air sampling revealed the air she was breathing contained Stachybotrys spores (toxic black mold), Chaetomium (another toxic mold), Penicillium, and others too numerous to mention. It’s no wonder she was feeling sick.

Solution: When dealing with mold it’s not enough to just paint over what you can see. The inside of the wall typically has worse contamination than the face you can see. The subfloor under the utility room was covered with mold in the crawlspace. All those spores easily make their way into your living space. Mold removal and mold remediation are the only solution to keep your air healthy and safe.

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Gutter problems lead to mold problems

Location: Galion, OH 44833

Problem: We were called into a commercial property because they were getting water entry in the back during heavy rains. Black mold growth was visible on the inside of the wall and the water had done some real damage.

Solution: After assessing the damage inside I took a walk around the outside. What I found was that virtually the entire roof drained to a single downspout. The bottom of the downspout was not routed into a drain, or even away from the building. As a matter of fact, there was a curb in front of the outlet that would force all that water back to the base of the building. The water flow was also damaging a retaining wall in the area. The solution to the root cause was simple – route the water away from the building with $20 worth of gutter materials from the local hardware store. But, oh the damage was done! Pro tip: Look at the base of your downspouts. Has water dug a hole or trench around the drain or at the base of your foundation? That’s a giant problem indicator. Wait for the next big rain, put on your slicker and find out what’s going on. Don’t put off fixing this if it’s a problem.

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Attic ventilation mistakes lead to mold

Location: Columbus, OH 43214

Problem: Most attic mold problems originate with mistakes made in attic ventilation. Mold is the result of excess moisture and humidity in a space. In the winter attics in the winter are cold. Cold air doesn't hold as much moisture as warm air. When the warm air from downstairs enters the attic it can drive the relative humidity (the percentage of "full" that air can hold) sky high. Good ventilation can let that moisture out before it causes a problem with humidity or condensation on the roof decking.

Solution: The client had a large attic with 2 gable vents at each end for ventilation. Gable vents just stink at airing out the middle of the attic so he added power fans at both ends to aid in ventilating the attic. The problem was that he had all the fans blowing out. The effect this had was to pull an immense volume of air from downstairs, because the air for the fans had to come from somewhere. This is bad for mold growth (bringing moist air into the attic) and even worse for the gas bill! Once the mold removal was completed the solution to the ventilation problem was simple enough. The fans were set up with one blowing in on one side and one blowing out on the other, both on the same controller. Now the air pressure is balanced and not sucking air (and dollars) from the downstairs. The result is a clean attic, lower utility bills, and better control of the upstairs temperature.

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Quick crawlspace vapor barrier

Location: Columbus, OH 43235

Problem: A previous customer (basement mold) had called in the morning. They were selling their home and the buyers were asking that a vapor barrier be installed in the crawlspace off the basement. He was pleased with the job we had done in the basement and wondered if we could install the vapor barrier. Because of the home sale deadlines he needed a really quick turnaround.

Solution: Of course we can do it! We did a quick review of the wording in the remedy request to ensure we understood the specific requirements. Then we took a look at the schedule. A little rearrangement of resources and a wee bit of overtime and we could get it done that afternoon. How’s that for a quick turnaround? And so the sale progresses to the next line item…..

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Even small water jobs need a solution

Location: Columbus, OH 43214

Problem: The customer had an unfinished basement with indoor / outdoor rugs across the slab. The floor drain had backed up and covered the floor with the nastiest goo you can imagine, short of raw sewage.

Solution: We arrived within hours of the call! We sucked up all the standing water and removed the rugs for disposal. You’d never get those clean again. The flooded area then got cleaned and sanitized, so it was safe to be in the basement again. Finally, we installed a dehumidifier and fans to get the area back to dry.

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Mold in the range hood

Location: Delaware, OH 43015

Problem: The customer had a high-end Viking range and hood installed 10 years ago. Once the baffle filter (the part you can see) was removed it was apparent a mold problem had taken up residence inside the hood. There was just enough grease on the inside of the hood to provide an excellent food source. Couple that with the high humidity conditions during cooking and you’ve got a great mold incubator.

Solution: After erecting containment we removed and disposed of the blower. The inside of the blower cannot be cleaned. Once the blower motor was out the inside of the hood and exhaust ducting was degreased and scrubbed clean. HEPA vacuuming and anti-microbial damp-wiping of all the surfaces completed the remediation. Installation of a new blower motor and the job was done.

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If you fix it right the first time…

Location: Powell, OH 43065

Problem: I hate mold jobs where it’s obvious there has been prior remediation. The attic we were in recently had been remediated at least once before. There was white paint on the roof decking in the attic. White paint that was now covered with new contamination.

Solution: If you’re going to do a job, do it right. That includes a detailed analysis of what went wrong in the first place. The attic had a hip roof with a peak too short to allow adequate ventilation using a ridge vent. A simple calculation showed the exhaust ventilation was a third what it needed to be. In addition, bathroom exhausts were routed to the intake vents in the eaves. All that wet air from the bathroom was coming right back into the attic! After the remediation the ventilation needed modified. The bathroom exhaust gets ducted through the roof to the outdoors, the ridge vent closed off, and a power fan on a temperature/humidity controller for exhaust ventilation.

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HVAC fan always-on creates a muggy mess

Location: Dublin, OH 43017

Problem: The whole house had high humidity, but the basement was positively muggy. The joists in the unfinished portion of the basement had significant growth and the ceiling tiles in the finished portion was speckled with yellow spots like a field of dandelions.

Solution: There were no obvious reasons for the high humidity. There was even a dehumidifier in the basement, but it couldn’t keep up! It wasn’t coming in through the walls. There were no signs of flooding. The whole house humidifier was shut off. I asked what he had the fan on the HVAC system set at, auto-on or always-on. He didn’t know, so we checked. Always-on. The pan in the air conditioning coil inside the furnace holds a good amount of water before it drains out. When the A/C is running the pan fills and overflows into the drain. Once the house is cool and the A/C shuts down a fan on auto will shut down too. The water in the pan just sits there, not bothering anyone. When the A/C shuts down but the fan is set to always-on the water in the pan get evaporated into the passing air and goes right back into the house! Once we changed the fan to auto the humidity in the house dropped from above 70% down to the mid-’50s within just a few hours. Now that we’ve got the humidity under control we can deal with the mold growth.

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Moisture trapping in the crawlspace

Location: Powell, OH 43065

Problem: We were called in for a mold problem in a small crawlspace off the finished basement. It was located under the laundry room on the 1st floor. The door to the crawlspace was always closed, there were no exterior vents in the space, nor were there any HVAC registers. Finally, to make a bad situation just a little bit worse there was a gravel base to the crawl and no vapor barrier.

Solution: Preventing growth in a crawlspace requires the elimination of water vapor from the space. You either need to prevent the moisture from coming in or you ventilate the space to get it out quickly. The client was installing a radon system, which would serve as a very effective moisture barrier as well. The membrane of the radon system needed to be brought up the sides of the exterior walls to prevent moisture weeping through the block, but this was a small issue with big results. A nice twofer.

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Cooling tower cleaning and sanitization

Location: Defiance, OH 43512

Problem: Cooling towers lose efficiency when the fill becomes dirty and the basin fills with dirt and other debris. Cooling towers can also harbor Legionnaires bacteria, presenting a health risk to nearby workers.

Solution: AdvantaClean can clean and sanitize your cooling towers. Utilizing specialized detergents and low-pressure flushing we clean the fill and the basin/sump. All the mud, dirt, and debris is removed from the system. The cooling tower structure is cleaned using high-pressure flushing. Once the system is cleaned we apply a sanitization agent to kill any remaining bacteria and other microbes.

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Don’t let a leaky crack ruin your day

Location: Delaware, OH 43015

Problem: The homeowner called complaining of a musty smell in the basement. Musty smells are an indication that you could have moisture and mold problems. After thoroughly inspecting the basement I found high moisture levels along the base of one exterior wall and a distinctive musty smell in the area. Wet drywall is a perfect environment for mold growth.

Solution: The source of the water turned out to be a crack in the mortar in the stone facia of the home. Wind-driven rain was invading the crack, then pooling and spreading along the inside of the wall. It wasn’t much water coming in, but it was enough to keep the wall damp all the time. The drywall and baseboard were removed under controlled conditions.

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We can make a whole new dog

Location: Delaware, OH 43015

Problem: It was an average house in an average neighborhood. Mom, Dad, 2 kids approaching college and 2 medium sized dogs. Just your typical American household. Their ducts hadn’t been cleaned since they moved in.

Solution: HVAC system cleaning and sanitization is right in our wheelhouse! We attached our 5000 CFM HEPA filtered system vacuum to the mains in the basement. Then we went to each register in the house to send compressed air agitation tools down the branch line. After dislodging all the dirt, lint, and hair from the ducts we sanitize with an EPA registered anti-microbial. The system cleaning includes cleaning the furnace and the air conditioning coil. Did I tell you the family included 2 medium sized dogs? We pulled enough dog hair from the system to make a whole new dog. If you have pets with fur you have ducts with fur. A lot of fur. Regular HVAC system cleaning will keep the system flowing freely and improve energy efficiency.

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Home inspectors are not mold inspectors

Location: La Rue, OH 43332

Problem: The backstory: The homeowner put the house on the market. They got an offer on the house that they accepted. The buyers sent the home inspector in. When he went in the crawlspace he found standing water. At some point in the past (Months ago? Years ago?) the sump pump had gotten unplugged and was no longer doing its job. The inspector wrote it up as “standing water can lead to mold and microbial growth”. He also noted there was no visible growth. The buyers asked for an inspection by a certified mold inspector. I found signs of microbial growth all over the joists in the crawlspace from the damp conditions caused by the sump failure.

Solution: Home inspectors are not mold inspectors. Many of them have not been trained to spot mold and microbial growth in all its different forms. Your new home is one of the biggest investments you’re ever going to make. Have it inspected and air sampling performed before the sale by a mold inspector certified by NORMI or MICRO.

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No Mo Mold

Location: Dublin, OH 43017

Problem: Mold growth in the attic caused by condensation on the roof decking during the winter months. Exhaust ventilation was provided by a power fan with a temperature-only controller. It never turned on in the winter!

Solution: Remediation of the mold on the roof decking using HEPA vacuuming, a 2 part solution to eliminate the mold and remove any stains caused by the mold, and an anti-microbial spray. After the remediation was completed, the temperature-only controller was swapped out for a controller that triggers on either temperature or humidity. Temperature in the summer (to keep the attic cooler) and humidity in the winter (to keep the attic dryer).

Attic mold staining

Location: Dublin, OH 43017

Problem: Even though the mold is gone it can leave staining that’s still a problem. It can cause delays and unnecessary expense during a home sale and it can hide the problem if regrowth appears in the same space.

Solution: We don’t just get rid of the mold, we deal with the staining as well. We have an array of stain management solutions that will solve the black decking blues.

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Mold down under

Location: Columbus, OH 43235

Problem: The client had found an issue under the basement stairs. The A/C coil in the HVAC system nearby had been going bad for quite some time. They thought they could nurse it along until they could budget a repair. Unfortunately, what they didn’t know was that the system had been dripping condensate water behind the furnace and pooling under the enclosed basement stair.

Solution: Advantaclean set up a containment zone to contain dust and mold spores from spreading to other areas of the house while we worked. The drywall that was contaminated with mold had to be cut and removed; it was bagged, sealed and we took that with us. We HEPA vacuumed all the surfaces inside the containment, then damp-wiped with anti-microbial. The mold is gone, the HVAC system is repaired, and the air is clean and free of mold.

Mold under the stairs Mold under the stairs after remediation


Sump crock mold incubator

Location: Dublin, OH 43235

Problem: A portion of the basement had been finished to add a bedroom. Nobody wants a sump crock in the corner of their bedroom, so the homeowner had walled the crock in with a small panel for access. Unfortunately, the crock was not covered or sealed and had created a perfect mold incubator. For years the water in the half-filled sump crock had evaporated into the non-ventilated enclosure causing black mold growth on the drywall and foundation block.

Solution: The drywall, baseboard, and all the insulation in the enclosure had to go. The framing, joists, and subfloor could be cleaned and sanitized as well as all the wiring and plumbing. Once the mold was gone the crock could be capped and sealed, preventing a repeat of the issue when the new walls went in.

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Mold in the storage unit

Location: Dublin, OH 43017

Problem: The client had just moved to California, but had left some furnishings behind in storage. When the movers came to pick up the items left in storage they found mold on some items. “We can’t put that on our truck!”

Solution: We came out later that week, after checking the weather forecast. In addition to our normal remediation equipment, we brought a portable generator, moving pads, and picnic canopies. We set up containment inside the unit and HEPA vacuumed and sanitized each item. No harsh chemicals for this lot! Gentle cleaning with an anti-microbial that doesn’t stain the wood.

mold in storage unit dublin oh

dublin Oh, mold underneath wood table


Duck season! Wabbit season! Mold season!

Location: Marysville, OH 43040

Problem: A small leak in the exterior of the four seasons add-on caused water to migrate all around the perimeter. The drywall looked fine until the baseboard was removed. Mold growth had formed on the baseboard and drywall and inside the wall. That explains the musty odor.

Solution: Advantaclean of Dublin removed all the contaminated drywall and baseboard and sanitized the rest of the structure, including the furnishings. All the work was performed under HEPA filtered negative air pressure, so airborne spores didn’t spread to the rest of the house. The source of the leak was pinpointed so repairs could be made and the mold won’t come back.

mold in sunroom before

mold remediation in sunroom


Attic ventilation and mold removal

Location: Upper Arlington, OH 43220

Problem: The roof decking and rafters were heavily contaminated with mold growth. The root cause of the mold problem was bad ventilation. The attic had been designed with sufficient ventilation, but over decades of use, the under-eave vent screens had become clogged with dirt, bugs, and insulation. The lack of airflow had allowed the buildup of household air in the attic. In the winter, normal household air entering a cold attic raises the humidity and can cause condensation on the even colder decking. Good ventilation will flush that moisture-laden air from the attic before it can build to mold-conducive levels.

Solution: Of course we completely removed the mold from the attic – that’s what we do! We also prevented the problem from coming back by restoring the ventilation to its original volume by removing and replacing all the clogged under-eave vents. As an added measure, we also weather stripped the access hatch to cut down on the air loss from downstairs. That’s good for mold prevention and good for the gas bill!

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Dublin Water Damage Case Study

Location: Grove City, OH 43123

Problem: A small ranch style home in rural Grove City hired AdvantaClean to address the major water loss they had experienced. A frozen water pipe burst while the home was vacant, completely flooding the first floor and finished basement. The pipe had sprayed unabated until the rising water had resulted in the loss of electricity, cutting power to the well pump. Widespread water damage was present throughout the house due to high water in the basement, high humidity, and seepage into the drywall and carpet.

Solution: AdvantaClean was hired to remove all water and to dry out the home and contents.

The scope of work included water removal, demolition of all wet drywall, drying woodwork and carpet out with fans and dehumidifiers, and removing water damaged paneling and laminate flooring.

All carpet padding was removed and disposed of. Furniture was either relocated to a designated dry area or had foam blocks placed underneath to protect from further damage. Important papers and family photos that had gotten wet were frozen to stop decomposition and aid in future freeze-drying.

Water was extracted, then blown dry with high powered axial fans and centrifugal fans until moisture readings were normal. Our dehumidifiers played a big role in the drying process as well.

With any home or business, we will respond anytime to an emergency water loss. Whether it's during or after business hours, we will be there to take on the task. Now that this beautiful ranch style home is dry with the help of AdvantaClean, the homeowners are now ready to rebuild.

water damage restoration dublin

We provide the residents of Dublin, with the warm customer care of a local business and the skilled service of a national franchise. AdvantaClean has been improving its work continuously throughout its more than 20-year history.

Call us to set up a consultation (614) 412-0325!

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