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The Hard Facts about Hard Water Damage

Hard water shortens the life of your water-using appliances, pipes, and plumbing fixtures (like faucets), increasing the chances of having devastating water damage to your home. Because you can’t see the damaging effects of hard water until a leak or flood occurs, the key is taking the proper steps to prevent the damage caused by hard water.

Hard Water for Dummies

Here in south Florida, the water is extremely hard, meaning it has one of the highest concentrations in the country of the dissolved minerals calcium, magnesium, and manganese and lets not forget other chemicals used in treating the water supplied by the processing plant! As soon as untreated hard water runs through your pipes, the calcium crystallizes. The crystals adhere to one another and to pipe and appliance surfaces, immediately producing damaging limescale buildups. This is especially true where there is heat. Limescale is highly conducive to rust, which leads to corrosion, which leads to devastating water damage. Limescale buildups not only reduce the efficiency of your water-using appliances but, worse, damage them and your pipes, severely reduce their longevity, and put you at risk for severe water damage from a compromised appliance or pipe fitting.

       Limescale buildup in pipes and valves, especially where hot water runs or collects, causes pipes and valves to rust, corrode, clog, and leak.

       Limescale buildup in plumbing fixtures like faucets, causes them to calcify and leak.

       Limescale buildup in the hoses of washing machines causes the hoses to leak.

       Limescale buildup in hot water heaters causes them to rust and leak.

Inherent in all of these problems is the potential for devastating water damage to your home.

An Ounce of Prevention

Hot water heaters can be one of the most damaging appliances in your home. Some hot water heaters that last up to 25 years in another locale will last only a couple of years in Pompano Beach or Ft. Lauderdale.

A tell-tale sign of a failing hot water heater is a puddle of water underneath the hot water heater, indicating a slow leak, or rusted or corroded fittings on the top of the heater. Because water heaters are under pressure, a small or slow leak can quickly flood your home.

Luckily, there are a few ways you can increase the longevity of your water heater, along with your other water-using appliances and your pipes, and thereby prevent water damage from a leaking hot water heater or other water-using appliance.

       Install a water-softening unit on your plumbing system to treat hard water. This can drastically extend the life of your hot water heater, your pipes, and your other water-using appliances. Water softeners remove calcium and magnesium ions from the water, thus removing the potential for limescale buildups.

       Install an expansion tank on your hot water heater.

       Install a PRV (pressure regulating valve), especially if you have very high water pressure, above 90 PSI. High water pressure can cause your hot water heater to fail prematurely.

       Flush (drain) your hot water heater annually, which helps prevent sediment buildup.

       If your hot water heater is installed in a closet or attic instead of in a basement or utility room, install a pan with a threaded valve, made especially for a water heater, so that you can route the water to an outside drain.

       Install a water-detection system on the hot water heater, which automatically shuts off the appliance when the sensor detects moisture where there should be none. Many of these sensors sound an alarm and can be connected to home alarm and automation systems.

       Install a whole-house water detection system, which shuts off the water supply to any water-using appliance when the sensor detects moisture where there should be none.

       Turn off your water heater and its water supply during extended absences.

       Turn off the main water supply during extended absences

If you do become a victim of the ravages of hard water, call on the professional experts at Flood & Fire Restoration to restore your home and assist you in preventing future damage.

Do-It-Yourself Mold Removal: How Effective Is It?

Mold Image

Most people who try to remove mold themselves use chlorine bleach, vinegar, or similar disinfectants to get rid of household mold. However, these chemicals are not always adequate mold-remover tools and appear to work only on the surface. Bleach is made up primarily of water, so it can actually help mold thrive. Additionally, these household products typically will not penetrate into wood to fungal rot and do not address the issue of spores that may have aerosolized (become airborne) in your home. When used incorrectly, they can produce toxic fumes that can make you sick and, in some cases, can be deadly because mixing some chemicals produces a lethal toxin.

Ever notice that, when you use a popular mold-removal disinfectant in your bathroom, you have to keep cleaning the same mold spot off the bathtub tile every week? That’s because all bleach does is remove the discoloration mold produces. It does not remove the microscopic plant that will return and grow in the same place. Professional mold-remediation services like us use industry-specific antimicrobials formulated to destroy the mold at its many growth phases and not just “bleach” the discoloration of the mold.

Did you know that you can’t always see mold? When you can, there is usually more of it hiding behind wallpaper and paneling, on the backsides of carpet and carpet padding, in the HVAC system, on top of ceiling panels, and in drywall. A common misconception is that you can smell mold. Sometimes you can, but not always. Another common misconception is that once you find and repair the water problem that created the humid, moist habitat in which mold thrives and then clean up the mold, the problem is solved. Not necessarily. In fact, most likely, you have uncovered only the tip of the iceberg. Mold releases spores that travel through the air in your home and find all kinds of new, nicely hidden places to grow.

So, let’s say you’ve had a water problem and notice visible mold and decide to tackle the job yourself. You get out your wet vac and rent some equipment from Home Depot to dry out the area. Most wet vacs are not built to handle heavy extraction, and you will burn out the motor. Secondly, in addition to other types of secondary damages you may cause, you risk contaminating the wet vac, which will require detailed cleaning to prevent contaminating other areas later.

If you decide to dig around for hidden mold on your own, guess what? When you rip down that wall paper or remove those ceiling tiles, you inadvertently release a plethora of mold spores. And, chances are, you were not wearing the right protective gear when you released those spores and slathered bleach all over the infected area, and now you can add medical bills, lost wages, and a growing mold problem to the mounting cost of that bargain-basement do-it-yourself remedy.

As soon as you suspect mold, do what the EPA recommends: call a professional mold-remediating service like us. Our professionals are trained to follow the protocols required and use the appropriate antimicrobials and equipment to remove mold without cross-contaminating the rest of your home’s environment, to remove existing mold spores, to find and remove hidden mold, and to safely clean or remove damaged building material. There simply is no substitute for professionals trained in mold remediation, who use specialized, expensive equipment, effective and safe chemicals, and innovative techniques to extract water and permanently remove mold and mold spores. Flood & Fire Restoration Inc. has the training, equipment, and expertise to restore your home to a clean and safe environment.