Case Studies

Containing your contamination

Location: Frederick, MD 21704

Problem: HVAC Ductwork Microbial Growth Contamination

In this obvious example, the contaminated HVAC system has infected the surrounding drywall and flexible ductwork. Full microbial growth remediation of this area could have been avoided with proper maintenance and attention."

Solution: You should consider having the air ducts in your home cleaned if:

There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system. There are several important points to understand concerning mold detection in heating and cooling systems:

Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection, so ask the service provider to show you any mold they say exists.

You should be aware that although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination of whether it is mold or not can be made only by an expert and may require laboratory analysis for final confirmation. For about a small fee, we can test and send the results to a laboratory to determine if it is mold or simply a substance that resembles it.

If you have insulated air ducts and the insulation gets wet or moldy it cannot be effectively cleaned and should be removed and replaced.

If the conditions causing the mold growth in the first place are not corrected, mold growth will recur.

Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects).

Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.

Some research suggests that cleaning heating and cooling system components (e.g., cooling coils, fans, and heat exchangers) may improve the efficiency of your system, resulting in longer operating life, as well as some energy and maintenance cost savings.

It's imperative you choose a reputable company with the proper equipment to do the job.

Our systems utilize an exclusive 3-stage filtration system, which includes the final stage HEPA filter rated at 99.97% @ 0.3 micron particles and larger, DOP tested. This actually meets or exceeds OSHA, EPA, and NADCA standards for cleaning the air of toxic and nuisance dust."

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Downspouts = Basement Moisture

Location: Taneytown, MD 21787

Problem: “Water is the No. 1 cause of damage to the homes we live in,” says Jamison Brown with AmeriSpec Home Inspection Service. “Excessive water around and under the footprint of the home can produce a host of unwanted consequences — fungal growth and structural damage.”

This is a great example of what can happen if you don't properly handle your downspouts and lot grading near the structure. Here at AdvantaClean, we come across this type of situation regularly. It is extremely important to direct the water away from the home. Or, serious microbial growth issues can occur.

A good rule of thumb: One downspout should not drain more than 35 feet of gutter. The gutters must be clean to prevent clogging. The downspouts need to be extended away from the home a minimum of six feet, with ten feet being preferred.

In this instance, the homeowner allowed the downspout issue to compound for a long period of time and it created moisture issues in the unfinished basement.

Solution: "Lot grading near the house is also very important. The dirt/grass/mulch should be much higher as your near the property foundation. Creating a slope away from the property, directing water away from the basement is imperative. Typically, the recommended slope is one inch per foot for at least six feet away from the home. This rule of thumb is not always possible for hard surfaces like drives and walks. However, with these impervious surfaces, water can keep moving away from the home even if the slope is less.

If you do not handle these types of issues in a timely fashion, this is what can happen. In this case, it was necessary to remediate the entire basement. The most helpful and easiest solution would have been to install additional solid polypropylene flexible piping to extend the downspouts appropriately. The pipe is flexible and expandable to bend easily around obstacles, has soil tight fittings that lock securely with a snap."

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basement moisture in frederick, MD

Radon Mitigation System Installation - Large footprint multiple units needed

Location: Frederick, MD 21704

Problem: Due to the size of the basement of the home (the basement was approximately 2200 sq ft) plus some foundation issues that were hidden from view by flooring materials (the tile floor was installed over a concrete floor that had several long cracks), coupled with significantly elevated Radon levels in the home (Prior to mitigation the Radon Test results were 48pCi/L), the Radon levels were not able to be reduced by a single Sub-floor Depressurization Radon Mitigation System.

Solution: We initially had installed a single RadonAway RP-145 series Radon Fan utilizing a single 3" sub-floor penetration in an area at one end of the home, as per the customer request, because all other areas of the basement were finished. The vacuum gauge indicated that we were well within the operating limits of the fan (1.2" vacuum as read from the u-tube manometer). When making the penetration we found a small layer of gravel on top of a dirt/clay mixed soil which was a slight concern but was not dissimilar to several other Radon Installations that we had previously performed. The Radon test results were not reduced to below the US EPA recommended action level of 4pCi/L, with the result being 20pCi/L.

We decided to install 2 additional 3" penetrations to extend the reach of the vacuum field as much as we could, staying within the unfinished area of the basement where the homeowner wanted to keep the system components. After installing the piping and restarting the RP-145 Radon Fan the vacuum pressure reading dropped to 0.4" which we were very concerned with because it was much lower than expected. We went ahead and started the testing to see where the levels were, and within 8 hours we knew that the levels were still going to be too high (The average level during the first 8 hours was still around 15pCi/L). We discussed the situation with the homeowner that had just recently purchased the home and they said that they were not aware of any large cracks or holes or any floor drains that may be impacting the system. We knew that there had to be something going on that we just couldn't see because the vacuum pressure reading was so low and all piping was checked and rechecked and was not leaking.

Knowing that this was still not going to be sufficient, we decided to install a higher CFM rated fan, the RadonAway RP-265, to increase the vacuum field and flow rate from beneath the slab. This helped but it didn't solve the problem completely, with the testing showing the average Radon concentration level over 48 hours to be 8.4pCi/L.

The vacuum pressure was still relatively low at 0.8" considering the increased CFM air flow that the RP-265 fan produced, so we contacted one of the flooring contractors that had done the recent renovation work. He indicated that there actually were a few significantly long cracks in the cement floor that they had not sealed when they installed the tile flooring, and also a couple others down on that end of the home that were covered up by the newly installed carpeting. He also told us that there were not any significant cracks in the cement floor down at the other end of the home.

After this we got permission to put in another Radon Mitigation System at the opposite end of the basement, in a partially finished area where the HVAC system was located. We decided to install 2 sub-floor penetrations from the start and to use another RP-265 model Radon Fan for the 2nd system. The vacuum reading was at 1.2" with the system running which was more in line with our expectations.

With both Radon Mitigation Systems running, Post Mitigation Radon Testing was performed, resulting in an average Radon Concentration of 1.1pCi/L over a 48 hour test period.

The customer was extremely happy and we learned a lot in the process.

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Radon mitigation system installation

Basement Water Damage and Mold Remediation

Location: Bethesda, MD 20815

Problem: The homeowner had recently had her basement finished after installation of a French drain on the exterior of her home. When the French drain was installed the company mistakenly caused a different area of the foundation to have a grading/slope problem where there was previously not a water intrusion problem.

The homeowner noticed some areas were wet and upon inspection it was determined that there was significant water damage and mold contamination that required decontamination and full remediation, followed by structural drying and mold inspection and testing to confirm that Condition 1, as per the IICRC S-520 standard for mold removal and remediation, had been met.

Solution: AdvantaClean of Frederick technicians removed all of the mold contaminated and water damaged materials that could not be salvaged. After removing all necessary materials the areas were thoroughly detail cleaned using HEPA filtered vacuums, followed by 100% wet wiping of all surfaces with an EPA registered antimicrobial solution to complete the source removal of all contaminants. After the detailed cleaning was completed the area was dried using dehumidifiers and significant air movement until the building materials met requirements for moisture content to mitigate potential risk of recontamination. After drying was completed, HEPA filtered Air Scrubbers were allowed to run for an additional 48hrs to remove any airborne contamination.

Spore Trap Air Samples we’re pulled from all affected areas with an exterior control sample for comparison. The Mold Testing Clearance Samples were then shipped to an accredited 3rd party laboratory for analysis to determine conformance with Condition 1, per the IICRC S-520 standard.

All samples met requirements and the areas were released to the homeowner to have additional repairs performed and for her contractor to perform the rebuilding necessary.

The homeowner was advised to allow the walls to remain open until her contractor could determine the exact cause of the water intrusions. With help from the AdvantaClean technicians the primary area of concern was found and fixed.

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Radon Mitigation System Installation - Insulated in Attic

Location: Leesburg, VA 20175

Problem: We received a call from a homeowner that just moved into a brand new home that was interested in our services. They had recently performed Radon Testing which showed elevated Radon levels according to the US EPA recommended action level of 4pCi/L. After discussing their options for the installation of a Radon Mitigation System, they indicated that they had additional concerns regarding how Radon Reduction Systems were installed. They were concerned regarding the possibility of condensation forming on the exterior of the exhaust piping that would be exposed in the attic, and wanted to ensure that it would be addressed so that they would not need to worry about water damage or mold contamination.

Solution: Our NRSB (National Radon Safety Board) Certified Radon Mitigation Specialist performed a site inspection and determined that there was already 3" schedule 40 PVC piping installed during the construction of the home that led from the ceiling of the basement up to the floor of the attic. Additionally, there was a perimeter drain system (sump pump) installed that was already set up to receive 3" schedule 40 PVC with a sealable sump pump pit lid.

AdvantaClean technicians ran the piping from the penetration in the sump pump pit lid and connected it to the existing 3" PVC that led to the attic. Once in the attic, they installed a RadonAway fan and ran the exhaust piping up and thru the roof, using a standard roofing boot for the penetration. In order to alleviate the homeowners concerns regarding condensation, we installed insulated flex-duct around the exhaust piping.

Post mitigation Radon testing was performed by an NRSB Certified Radon Measurement Specialist which indicated a reduction of the Radon levels from 6.5pCi/L down to 0.7pCi/L."

PVP pipe installed for radon mitigation system PVP pipe installed for radon mitigation system

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Water Damage Mitigation - Flooded Basement

Location: Potomac, MD 20854

Problem: The basement does not have a perimeter drain and sump pump system. The basement took on a lot of water during a sudden major storm, soaking the carpets and impacting the drywall on several walls.

Solution: Within hours of being called regarding the flooded basement AdvantaClean personnel were onsite to perform an initial assessment. After discussing the options with the homeowner, AdvantaClean was hired to perform the Water Damage Mitigation and Structural Drying. Resources were redirected from an ongoing operation to provide emergency water damage mitigation services. Containment was set up on the entrance to the basement to act as a drying chamber. After the saturated materials were removed, the entire area was treated with an EPA registered antimicrobial solution and a system of air movers and dehumidifiers were set up for structural drying. Approximately 3 days later, all moisture values were within normal limits and all equipment was removed from the home. The home is now ready for repairs/rebuild, and the customer was extremely satisfied.

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Basement Mold Remediation with Extensive Demolition

Location: Silver Spring, MD 20904

Problem: Our customer inherited a very large home from his mother when she recently passed away. The basement of the home was in very bad shape because his mother did not use it for several years, and foundation leaks had allowed repeated water intrusions into all areas of the basement which were never properly addressed. This resulted in a great deal of mold and decay behind the walls and ceilings. A full demolition and decontamination was required in the entire basement space.

Solution: All items and all materials were removed from the basement and a full-scale mold remediation was performed. In total, 3 full 30-yard dumpsters were removed from the basement. All areas were HEPA vacuumed, with some areas requiring scraping, wire brushing, or grinding in order to achieve source removal of the mold contamination. After the demolition and HEPA vacuuming were concluded, the ceilings, walls, and floors were all treated with an EPA registered antimicrobial solution and wiped down to remove any traces of mold or soiling that remained. Additionally, at the conclusion of cleaning, all areas were treated for a second time with antimicrobial and the floors were steam cleaned using antimicrobial as the cleaner.

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Radon Mitigation in Gaithersburg MD

Location: Gaithersburg, MD 20879

Problem: Radon testing in the home came back at elevated levels, with readings around 18pCi/L. The National Radon Safety Board (NRSB) recommends mitigation for any test results greater than the established 4.0pCi/L action limit. The home has a finished basement, with only a small area of the basement used as a utility area/storage area where a Radon Mitigation System could be located without impacting the living space. The area inside was not really a problem, although there was a basement window directly above where the system was requested to be installed. The main problem was on the exterior; the area directly outside was not a good place to run the exterior piping in order to safely vent the exhaust above the roof-line without being run next to windows and being very unsightly.

Solution: The interior piping was located in the requested area, with the piping being routed out thru the block wall beneath the window. On the exterior, we dug a trench next to the house where the piping was placed below ground level, out of view. The piping was routed approximately 20 feet to the corner of the home, completely hidden, with the Radon fan and exhaust piping being located on the side of the home, partially hidden by a bush. Additionally, we utilized plastic white downspout for the exhaust piping, which helps the system blend into the normal look of the home.

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Heavy Duty Mold Job - REO/Foreclosed Home

Location: Clarksburg, MD 20871

Problem: Foreclosed home was winterized improperly, causing a significant water leak from the hot water baseboard heating system, resulting in extremely bad mold growth throughout the entire home. There was no power or water available at the home which compounded the already difficult situation. The new owner contacted AdvantaClean of Frederick to remove the mold and get the home ready for renovations.

Solution: AdvantaClean of Frederick came in and the entire structure was gutted down to the contaminated structural materials. Generators were used to supply enough electrical power to perform the remediation and power the equipment that was needed. We performed detailed cleaning and decontamination of the entire home to the absolute delight of the homeowner. It was a big job and our team performed extremely well. Review Received: "Dave and his guys did an excellent job with a heavy duty mold removal project. They went over the areas multiple times to ensure all of the areas were clean of all residual molds. VERY difficult job- well done! Very friendly group, very professional. Absolutely recommend."

Check out the pictures below!

Mold Removal Before and After Mold removal before & after Mold removal before & after
Mold removal before & after Mold removal before & after Mold Removal Before & After
Mold removal before & after Mold removal before & after Mold removal before & after
Mold removal before & after Mold removal before & after Mold Removal Before and After
Mold removal before & after Mold removal before & after Mold removal before & after Mold Removal Before & After . Mold Removal Before & After

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