Case Studies

Condo Hot Water Heater Water Damage

Location: Tacoma, WA

Problem: Over a long weekend away from home the hot water heater suddenly sprang a leak and hot water flowed out of the heater for 2-3 days while the tenant was out of town. Fortunately, the leak was on the small side so only about 25% of the unit was affected- the laundry room, the bathroom, hallway, and a small portion of the master bedroom closet. The plumber was called out immediately and stopped the leak by replacing the water heater. He then recommended that AdvantaClean be called to clean up the damage.

Solution: We arrived on site within 45 minutes of the call to assess the damage and get to work. The flooring was already buckling and would need to be removed. We were also concerned that because the walls had been wet for several days and the water that was leaking was hot water that there might be mold. Hot water leaks create an idea environment for many types of mold to thrive. While there was no mold visible, we decided to erect a containment system and placed the work area under negative pressure just in case we found it while demolition was being done. The laminate flooring was removed as well as trim and the bottom 2 feet of drywall in the areas that were wet. As we had suspected, mold was found growing on the inside of the walls. Cleaning was completed to remove the mold and then fans and a large commercial dehumidifier was placed in the work area. The remaining wood structure was dried out to prevent any further mold from growing and completed in a matter of days. Experience in matters such as these helped us realize there was likely a bigger problem that was not visible and we were happy to be able to address all the damage that was done before mold exposure or mold toxins caused any health problems down the road for the occupants of the condo.

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Crawlspace Swamp!

Location: Sumner, WA

Problem: In a newer house in the Sumner area it was discovered that the crawlspace had nearly a significant amount of standing water and had turned into a swamp that no one wanted to venture in. So much moisture under the house caused concern about mold being able to grow on the wood framing in the humid area. AdvantaClean was called in to get the water out and to find a solution to keep the water out.

Solution: We had to bring in water removal system to pump out the excess water. Once the water level had dropped, we were able to inspect the crawlspace and found that there was a sump pump installed that had failed. We were able to install a new sump pump but added an alarm so that if the pump fails again in the future the alarm will alert the owner before bigger problems develop. Once the sump pump was functioning it became apparent that a functioning sump pump was only a partial solution because water was standing and would not drain out of another area of the crawlspace. We either had to install another sump pump in the opposite corner of the crawlspace or find a way to get the water to drain to the already installed sump pump. It was much more cost effective to install an EZ Flow drain system, so we dug a ditch from one side of the crawlspace to the other. It was very dirty job in a very challenging and tight environment! The crews got it done and were able to see immediate results. The system drained the water out quickly. A new vapor barrier was installed to keep the moisture in the soil from evaporating and creating an environment conducive for future mold growth. It’s one of the dirtiest jobs we’ve done lately, but it had to be done to create a healthy environment for the occupants above!

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Attic Moisture and Mold

Location: Tacoma, WA

Problem: Poor attic ventilation allowed condensation to form on the underside of the roof sheathing during the cold and wet Pacific Norwest winters. This moisture in the attic was enough to allow mold to flourish in the attic. During the initial inspection the wood moisture content was measured as high as 82% in the attic. Mold remediation needed to be done to remove the mold and the moisture problem needed to be corrected so further damage would not be done.

Solution: The first step was to remove all the insulation in the attic. This removes the mold spores that have settled in the insulation and allows drying equipment to be placed in the attic. A heater, fans and a large commercial dehumidifier were placed and ran for several days to thoroughly dry the attic wood. The moisture levels went from over 80% to 8% when we were complete with the drying. Now that the mold no longer had enough moisture to grow we went able to remove the mold that remained. Our process consists of containing the area and placing the work area under negative pressure with the use of HEPA air filtration devices, HEPA vacuuming the entire attic, applying a stain remover, and then applying a sanitizer. Often, no visible mold stains remain after our mold remediation process is complete.
Mathematical calculations showed the attic was under-ventilated for the intake venting so we added vents to correct the deficiency. New insulation was installed and the process was complete. The attic is now clean and the moisture problems with the associated mold growth should no longer be an issue for the happy new home owner.

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Hot Water Leak Causes Big Mold Problem

Location: Bonney Lake, WA 98391

Problem: Shortly after buying a home in the Bonney Lake area the home owner noticed a water leak had developed under the kitchen sink as well as some discoloration on the drywall in the same area. She called a family friend who is local contractor to come take a look. After a short investigation, he concluded that it needed to be handled by a professional mold remediation company and had her call AdvantaClean of the South Sound. The water leak had caused some major damage in a short amount of time. Mold had grown wild due to the fact that the plumbing leak had come from a hot water supply line. Hot water leaks create the ideal environment for mold to grow. The problem affected most of the kitchen and the crawl space below.

Solution: AdvantaClean arrived and advised the home owner to call the insurance company because of the amount of damage that had been done. Fortunately, it was a covered loss and we were able to get right to work. First a temporary plastic containment area was built and put under negative pressure with a HEPA filtered machine so we could control the environment in the work area. This control allows us to prevent mold contamination in other areas of the house as demolition is done. All the base cabinets had to be removed and discarded, all affected sheet rock and insulation discarded and disposed of, and all the flooring and underlayment also had to be taken out. In the crawlspace, all wet insulation was removed. After all the affected building materials were removed, a thorough mold remediation was conducted to remove the mold that remained on the wood framing. Commercial low grain refrigerant dehumidifiers and fans were set up to dry the areas so mold could no longer grow. The contractor who referred us was able to get the kitchen put back together with a new, more modern look that the home owner is happy to have.

mold containment black mold found in the kitchen in Tacoma WA black mold found in the basement beams

HEPA vac mold remediation tool black mold remediation preparation


Surprise Water Leak

Location

Problem: The home owner had just moved out a few days before and came back for some last-minute cleaning to find water dripping from the ceiling into his kitchen. After a quick investigation he found a dripping water hose where it connected to the washer upstairs directly above the kitchen. Knowing a new tenant was scheduled to move in within a week, he knew he needed some quick professional help. It was late Friday evening when AdvantaClean of the South Sound received the call for help, but we were on scene in less the 30 minutes.

Solution: The home owner was worried about loosing the tenant if it took too long to get the property ready for move in. We had a lot to do in a short amount of time. Fortunately, the water was from a clean water source so minimal demolition needed to be done. The carpet was pulled back and padding removed, some base trim carefully removed, holes drilled into the wall cavities in few select places and the vinyl flooring removed. It’s very difficult to dry through vinyl flooring, and water finds it way underneath very easily. Fans and dehumidifiers were set up and then some special drying chambers were constructed to expedite the drying process. In the mean time we got our flooring, drywall and painting people lined up to get it back together as quickly as possible. There was no way it would all be done by Wednesday, but the end of the week was a barely possible goal. We were able to get it all dry within days and all the rest of the items repaired and put back together by Saturday morning. In all it took one week from start to finish. It doesn’t always go as smooth, but our great team was able to come together and get it done to the relief of the home owner. In the end a clean and healthy environment was preserved for the new home occupants.

Testimonial: “Jared is the expert and professional in his lines of work, and he's straightforward with you. You can absolutely trust him as I do now.

He's fantastic! He arrived on site at a moment's notice on a Friday evening, assessed situation, walked me through works needed to be done and insurance processes, and basically took over from there. What he did within the short timeframe was nothing short of a miracle. He's so knowledgeable about everything there is to know about the job, and excellent at choreographing all jobs so seamlessly. I'm still mad that incident happened to me, but in the meantime I'm so glad I called Jared. Even after completing the job, he never called to push me to pay the bills because he understands insurance claims takes time and he would let it complete its process and then billed me exactly the amount he estimated in the beginning.

Jared is such a trusted expert and great person it was much a pleasure to have him work on my house.”

Water leak in kitchen water leak fixed in Tacoma

Mold Behind the Dishwasher

Tacoma, WA 98406

Problem: On a nice day Bryan and his wife went outside to enjoy the spring weather shortly after starting the dishwasher in the kitchen. While they were out on the patio they noticed water running down through a crawlspace vent near the location of where the dishwasher was located in the kitchen. After a short investigation they decided to call in the experts at AdvantaClean of the South Sound to determine the extent of the damage. Using a moisture meter, we quickly found that water had spread through half his kitchen and mold was growing rampant behind the dishwasher.

Solution: It was determined that the vinyl flooring and half the kitchen cabinets would have to be removed. First, containment and a HEPA Air Filtration machine was setup to prevent mold from further contaminating the other areas of the house. After removing the dishwasher, kitchen cabinets and vinyl flooring we found the damage to be significant. Investigation in the crawlspace found fungus growing on the wood below the dishwasher area. After a long day our team had removed and cleaned up all the mold. We also had to remove a significant portion of the plywood subfloor because of dry-rot issues. Fans and a dehumidifier were set up and left to dry the water saturated wood framing. The HEPA Air Filtration machine was left running to further clean the air of any mold spores that were suspended in the air. The final step was a thorough air duct cleaning to remove any mold spores that may have found their way into the air duct system before we had begun our work. An antimicrobial fogging was added to the duct work as a final precautionary measure. It was great news for the home owners to find that it was all covered by their homeowners insurance- even the duct cleaning.

While a project of this nature is almost always a huge inconvenience, in the end the homeowners were able to fully remodel their kitchen. They upgraded the cabinets and flooring as they had been thinking of doing for some time. A huge problem turned out to be a blessing in the end!

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Attic Mold Remediation

Belfair, WA 98528

Problem: Mold had developed in the attic due a moisture problem caused by the combination of poor ventilation and the fact that air sealing of all ceiling penetrations was missing. These two factors allowed the warm moist air from the house to accumulate in the attic space. With cold January temperatures outside, condensation formed on the attic sheathing which allowed mold to grow over time.

Solution: Wood moisture content in the attic sheathing was very high so we first had to dry the space out with a combination of fans, a commercial dehumidifier, and heat. Attic insulation was removed in order to remove all the settled mold spores in the insulation. Spores are like seeds which can grow in the right conditions so it is important to get these "seeds" out of the space. Removing attic insulation also allows air sealing to be done prior to the insulation being re-installed. The mold remediation was conducted by HEPA vacuuming the entire attic space to remove as much mold as possible, applying a stain remover, and fogging an anti-microbial.

black mold in attic in Belfair, WA mold fungus reproducing in Belfair, WA attic

mold removal in Belfair, WA mold and moisture testing in Belfair, WA

mold spores removed from Bek after photo of a mold removal in Belfair, WA


Master Suite Flood

Location: Tacoma, WA 98406

Problem: In early January, a flexible water supply line for a large soaker tub in the master bathroom suddenly broke. Fortunately, the home owner was home at the time and turned off the main water supply as quickly as possible. The bad news was a lot of water was released before the water could get shut off. The home owner was able to squeegee the majority of the standing water in the bathroom to the walk-in shower, and because the floor was tile, they didn’t think too much of it. No water they could see had made it to the hardwood floors in the bedroom. They called a plumber out to repair the broken supply line. After he had removed some tile from the built-in tub enclosure stand, he was able to access the supply lines and cap off the line so water could be turned back on. The plumber was not educated in structural drying and he mistakenly instructed them to run a small fan into the small hole he had created to access the plumbing under the tub to dry the area out. Unfortunately, the small fan was not nearly enough to prevent the problems that would soon be revealed. 2-3 weeks later the home owners noticed that the hardwood flooring in the master bedroom began to cup, crack and lift from the floor.

Solution: AdvantaClean of the South Sound was called out to assess the situation. After a thorough inspection both of the interior and the crawlspace below it was confirmed the that water had seeped under the hardwood floor in the bedroom and also under the tile in most of the bathroom. Our high-quality moisture meters displayed elevated moisture content in many areas even though a fan had been running for weeks. No mold was visible; however, we were concerned that due to the length of time the building material had been wet, there was mold growing in areas that were currently inaccessible.


The scope of work required setting up a large containment area and to place the work area under negative pressure so no disturbed mold spores could escape into the unaffected areas of the house. Next, we removed all the plumbing fixtures in the bathroom, trim, hardwood flooring, tile, and affected drywall. As the building materials were removed, black colored mold was found on the sheet rock and trim in areas on the opposite side of the room from the where the pipe had burst. Under the house we removed the insulation and cleaned the wood framing to remove any mold. Once all the demolition and mold remediation was completed, drying equipment set up to dry all the building materials out so mold could not continue to grow.


At that point, the process of putting it all back together began. Due to custom plumbing fixtures, intricate and extensive tile work, and other job complexities it took a while to get it all done. Now the home owners master bathroom and bedroom have a new and updated look they will enjoy for years to come.

Testimonial:We had a great experience with AdvantaClean of the South Sound, Jared Toppenberg, and his crew. I found their work and professionalism to be of a high caliber. We had a terrible leak in our master bath that caused the hardwood floor in the bedroom and all of the bathroom tile to be replaced. Part of the process involved making sure that all of the mold and moisture were eliminated. We have a whole new look and feel in our master suite now. I would not hesitate to use them again and will not hesitate recommending them to others.

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