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A musty smell in a home is a result of inadequate cleaning, poor or stagnant air circulation, high humidity and possible moisture problems.
If you've ever noticed an odd smell coming from old furniture, clothing or books, or in a poorly ventilated area such as the attic or basement, you have a problem with mold, mildew or fungi.
If the mold and mildew growth is heavy it might look like an area of pink, orange, blue, black or green discoloration- on the other hand, if the fungi growth is light you might not be able to see where it is, though you can definitely smell it.
Old furniture is often musty and puts off a smell that I can only describe as a combination of mold and rotten eggs. The odor may start out as a minor annoyance but will eventually get to the point where the air in your home is bad for your health. So once you start smelling a musty, moldy odor, it’s time to take care of it. The poor air quality and odor problem won't stop on it's own and will only get worse.
Molds and fungi are not healthy for your lungs. Mold spores and noxious gases they put off are aggravating to your health. If you have breathing problems or the smell is particularly bothersome you may want to wear a mask while cleaning it up.
Possible Locations and Causes of Musty Odors:
First you need to figure out exactly where the problem is and what is causing the odor:
The smell is not caused by the water leaking into your house itself, it’s caused by molds and fungi that are growing where the water is pooling.
As they grow in number, mold and mildew put off a sulfur containing gas we all can easily identify. Once established, fungi can easily spread to other areas of a home so it's important to get rid of any water leaks as soon as they’re discovered. Wet basements, leaky faucets and pipes are a common culprit.
If wood remains damp it will start to rot and give off an earthy musty smell. Once again, molds and fungi will grow just like it will on any other organic material.
If you should see dark stains on wooden items, chances are that they’re becoming wet from a leak somewhere and molds and fungi are growing.
This can happen to an item left in a storage shed that water happens to drip on, or it can happen to the baseboard in your home that might have a water pipe leaking behind it.
Leaking roofs allow rain inside which often follows gravity right up to a beam or other supporting structure in a home. Wet wood will continue to rot and allow mold and mildew growth until the source of moisture is stopped.
If walls in your home are starting to look very rundown, take the time to look behind them. Most walls are made of drywall which is gypsum or plaster in between 2 sheets of paper.
Mold and mildew will grow on the paper backing and it will darken in color, start to flake, blister or peel off.
Start by looking in the area with the heaviest discoloration for moisture leaks. Chances are pretty good that either molds or fungi or both are growing behind the walls and will have to be removed.
Mold and mildew that covers more than a very small section of the wall will likely indicate a serious problem and the section of wall might need to be removed and replaced by a professional.
High Humidity Locations -Bathroom/Laundry Room
Molds and fungi love bathrooms and laundry rooms. Both are warm, moist and often leak. Basements, attics, crawl spaces and air-conditioner vents are great homes for molds and fungi.
If you start to see stains on the floors, ceilings or walls, molds and fungi may be growing. Clean the area right away to keep it from spreading further. If it's in a moist area where standing water is common, a good scrubbing along with a spray of 50/50 water and bleach will remove mold and mildew almost instantly.
Damp Furniture/Drapery Fabric:
Fabric that is moist or in area of high humidity can be a breeding ground for molds and fungi.
Damp or Moist Carpet and Rugs:
Carpets and area rugs trap dirt, hold moisture and can become wet or saturated in the case of plumbing leaks or a cracked foundation. Dust and dirt will settle in the fibers and give off a bad odor if not cleaned occasionally.
Removing Musty Odors from Hard Surfaces:
Deodorizing and Cleaning Mildewy Carpets:
Look under the carpet to see if the carpet pad is mildewed. If it is, remove that part of the pad and replace.
Clean with Vinegar:
Clean the moldy part of the carpet with a solution of one cup of white vinegar to half a cup of warm water. Then scrub the mildewed area to remove mold. Turn a fan on the wet spot to dry it quickly.
Sprinkle with Borax:
Spread borax on the entire dry carpet. Borax will treat mold, mildew and fungi and keep it from reappearing. Let the borax sit for half an hour or so and then vacuum it up completely.
Vacuum upholstered furniture or drapes thoroughly with a vacuum. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove mold spores from the circulating air.
Steam clean or dry clean the item, dry with a clean towel to remove additional traces of moisture. Move the piece to an area with good air circulation to dry completely.
Preventing Musty Smells From Returning:
Once the musty odors are gone, it’s best to try to prevent molds and mildews from regrowing.
A dehumidifier or air conditioner will keep the air in your home drier which will help prevent new growth of molds and fungi. It will also help to remove musty odors by replacing old air with new, fresh air. Follow manufacturers recommendations on cleaning your dehumidifier and air conditioner filters to reduce mold, mildew, and odors from being recycled back into the air.
Increase Air Circulation
Increased air circulation reduces overall moisture in affected areas. A fan or cracked window will help to keep the air fresh.
All molds and mildew prefer low light conditions. Turning the lights up helps to retard their growth.
Connect with Mrs Clean!
Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Mrs Clean (Corina Wilson) is not only the owner of the company, but a very busy mother of 3 children.
Mrs Clean realized long ago, that a clean home is a necessity, not a luxury when we are struggling to find the time in our day to cover the very basic levels of work and/or family obligations. The battle seems to never end... (but that's why we're here to help!)
When Mrs Clean is not busy managing her house cleaning company or running her kids back and forth to their events, she enjoys experimenting with natural and non-toxic cleaners and learning new techniques to remove stains.
She thoroughly enjoys sharing her valuable information with the readers of her blogs and various social media sites.
Valuable Cleaning Tips!
Connect with Mrs Clean House Cleaning on Google+ for valuable House Cleaning Help from Mrs Clean. You can also find us on Facebook , Twitter and on Mrs Clean's House Cleaning Tips Blog House Cleaning Central .
Building inspections are conducted to insure buildings are constructed to minimum required building codes. These codes differ from city to city and state to state. Some municipalities require energy efficiency standards and some do not. There are also different degrees of code enforcement. You may find that your inspector is a real stickler for details. While this might be a hassle, it will help insure that your subcontractors do not cut corners.
Municipalities and Building Departments nationwide have adopted a variety of building codes as their standard. There are several that top the list are likely in use where you will be building your home.
The UBC ( Uniform Building Code ) has been the building code standard for many years. While it is still very much in play throughout the country, many cities and counties are phasing it out for the more recent IBC (International Building Code). They are very similar so don’t be overly concerned which has been adopted in your area. In addition to these standard codes, each community may adopt additional building codes to suit their particular area. Ask your inspector if there are any unique situations that you should be aware of as an owner builder.
There are also Electrical, Mechanical and Plumbing Codes that your individual subcontractors will have to follow.
Recently, many building departments have adopted or are in line to adopt the IECC (International Energy Conservation Code). Be sure to ask whether or not these codes are in use in your municipality and if there are basic guidelines for design and construction or additional requirements for building inspections.
Underground Plumbing Inspection
Underground Plumbing inspections are conducted to test the seal of waste lines underneath the slab. Plumbing lines will be put under air or water pressure. There will be an air pressure gauge or an open pipe filled to the top. The gauge is normally set at a predetermined PSI. If the inspector checks it and it is not still at that number, there is a leak. If it is a water pressure test, the inspector will shake the pipe. Water should be at the top and splash out, indicating there has been no leakage. The building inspector will also check the fall or drainage of the waste lines. If the waste lines do not flow properly, they will back up inside the house. Shading material such as sand or rocks should support the lines. This helps prevent damage when the trenches are backfilled. Normally, there is also a Sewer Line inspection at this time. This building inspection is to verify that the waste lines from the house have been connected to the city sewer. If both inspections pass, the owner builder can backfill all their open trenches.
Sometimes this is categorized as the sewer inspection and is conducted at the same time as the Underground Plumbing Inspection. However, the municipality may require a building inspection to verify waste lines to the septic and an additional septic system field inspection, where they check to insure the septic field has been installed to meet the engineered specifications that have been written for the septic. Septic systems are complex and will impact your project a great deal. To read more about septic systems click here.
The main item that is called on a plumbing inspection is leaks. If your plumber waits till the day of the inspection to put the house plumbing under pressure, you run the risk of failing. Have the plumber put the lines under pressure for a full day before the inspection, any weak joints or leaks can be addressed. It is also important to protect any lines that pass through wood members.
Water leaks, incomplete work, toilets that do not have proper clearance or an unlit gas water heater are just a few of the items that can fail a plumbing inspection. Be sure to walk the house and test all faucets for hot and cold water, toilet flushing and light your range and fireplace.
The plumber will put the finished gas lines under air pressure. A building inspector will check to see if the air pressure gauge is holding pressure and then double check all the different gas stubs to make sure that they are not buried in the walls. The owner builder will receive a tag that authorizes the local gas company to hook up a gas meter.
Final Building Inspection
The final building inspection is an overall review of construction. Steps may be measured for proper height. The garage door is normally tested to make sure it is self-closing. Smoke detectors will be tested as well as all items already passed in the previous 3 inspections. Don’t be offended if the final inspector fails you on an electrical item. He is there to double check everything.
Your municipal building department may have other inspections than those listed here. It is imperative that you consult with them prior to building your home.
Acrylic caulk and silicone caulk have very different qualities and are designed for specific purposes. Caulking has many applications, and these products are designed to meet these separate needs. Caulking can be applied to seal cracks in painting applications, for prevention against moisture, and lastly, to insulate against cold air coming into a house, or hot air from leaving a house.
Acrylic or Silicone Caulking
For most caulking applications, homeowners will either use an acrylic latex caulking material or one made from silicone compounds. Acrylic caulking is more popular because of its ease of use and because it cleans up well. It also provides a clean, neat seal. This caulking works very well for painting applications as it fills any gaps between walls, ceilings, and woodwork trim. It can also seal gaps around windows, doors, and electrical switch plates, preventing heat loss and guarding against cold drafts. Although acrylic caulking can be used to guard against water penetration, due to its propensity to shrink and distort over time, it is not the best choice.
Silicone caulk, often referred to as rubberized silicone caulk, remains flexible for most of its lifetime without peeling, cracking, or distorting. It will maintain and keep a waterproof barrier against moisture much longer than acrylic caulking as a result. This trait makes silicone the caulking of choice around showers, bathtubs, sinks, and toilets. Additionally, due to its long-lasting nature and its ability to retard moisture and maintain its strength, silicone caulking is an excellent choice for outdoor use and for protecting the home from outdoor wet-weather conditions. It should be noted that due to silicone caulking’s moisture repelling feature, paint will not adhere to it.
The main purpose to applying caulking is to fill a gap. Although bathrooms, kitchens, and most outside applications require silicone caulking, and interior applications require acrylic caulking mostly for sealing unsightly gaps, most of the same rules apply for applying either of these.
Be sure to cut the tip of the caulking gun at a 45 degree angle and the right size for the appropriate application. Usually cutting the tip smaller rather than larger will produce better results, but the tip can always be cut larger if initially cut too small. This will eliminate messy clean up, save material, and allow a neat, small bead of caulking to be applied.
Apply a small bead of caulking evenly and swiftly. Plan on layering the caulking through multiple passes, rather than using big globs all at once. Whether using acrylic or silicone caulking, clean up will be quicker and easier when there is less spillage to worry about, so also clean and wipe as you go. Have sufficient scrapers, cloths, or rags to wipe caulking into place and remove excess.
You'll also want to keep the area, tools, and equipment clean as the job progresses. This will ensure professional results and limit cleaning time to a minimum.
The tank is among the 2 main components that form a tank toilet. It is connected and housed on the rear of the toilet bowl and contains mechanisms that force water into the bowl. The action allows water flow to flush waste through the toilet bowl and water trap. The tank of a toilet bowl has several parts that are usually unknown to the average person.
Water enters the toilet tank through the intake valve. A water supply pipe feeds the intake valve, which allows the toilet bowl to fill with water. The valve is linked to the refill tube of the bowl, which is responsible for refilling the tank with water after every flush. The tube is located above the overflow pipe. Water that is in the overflow pipe is channeled to the toilet bowl, which is then drained.
The tank flushing mechanism is mostly inside the toilet tank, with the handle being the only piece outside the tank. Once you push the handle down, the lift arm raises. A metal chain connects to the flapper, which is located on the opening at the tank base. Once this flapper is lifted, water inside the tank flows with a strong force into the bowl, flushing its contents into the waste line.
The ballcock assembly is linked to the intake valve and set at a specific water level height. The end of the assembly is connected to a float, which rises with the water level as the tank fills up with water. Once the right level is achieved, the ballcock assembly stops the water flowing into the toilet.
Toilet Base Tank Connection
There is a large extension hole located on the exterior, into which water flows. A large rubber gasket is fitted around the hole extension. The bolts which pass through the tank base secure the tank in place. These bolts go through the 2 holes that are on the topmost part of the toilet base rear. Nuts are then used to secure the bolts from the underside. You will also find the water feeding line linked to the water feed under the toilet tank.
Toilet Bowl Connection
The bowl is the part of the unit that you use when you go to the toilet. It is linked to the flange, which is linked to the closet bent pipe drain. The flange is set on the same level as the toilet floor. You will find it fitted with holes to accommodate the bolts for the toilet bowl. A wax ring is utilized in order to make the toilet flange and seat connection air tight.
More outdoor fun means more dirty clothes. Be sure to check your washing machine hoses for bulges, leaks or cracks and be sure to remove dryer lint regularly. Remember-—washing machine hoses should be replaced approximately every three years.
Move your washing machine at least four inches from the wall to prevent hose kinking and damage, and never leave your home while the washer is running.
In humid weather, your ductwork may sweat from condensation. This can cause a backup if the drains are not clear. Leaks in the seams can also cause condensation. If you have an attic installation, be sure there is no water in the drain pan. If there is water, call ARS / Rescue Rooter today, as it could save your ceiling.
Be careful what you put down your kitchen disposal after your cookout. Most are not equipped to handle cornhusks, celery, banana peels and other fibrous or “stringy” foods. Some other items to stay away from are fats or cooking oils because they form clogs in the pipes. Run cold water at full pressure for 15 seconds before and after you put anything down the disposal to flush it through. Never put instant stuffing, potato mixes or similar “just-add-water” foods down the drain—they'll create an instant clog when you add water. Pasta, rice and eggshells should also be avoided.
One of the best home tips for saving money and energy while on your vacation is to turn down the temperature of your water heater and turn up the temperature of your refrigerator. Of course, you should remove highly perishable foods, like dairy, produce and meat first.
The best defense to ensuring your plumbing systems are running properly is to schedule annual maintenance inspections, and keep on top of your systems before it’s too late, or when you need them most.
When it comes to simple kitchen plumbing repair, you don’t have to be an expert plumber. Not to take away business from the plumbers but it would be a waste of money to hire an expert to come in and fix a small leak that could be fixed by a simple tightening of the pipes or a simple replacement. Here are 5 tips to make the job as easy as possible.
Tip 1: Know Your Kitchen Sink Plumbing Parts
You will have to become familiar with the components that drain the water down your kitchen sink before you can begin to repair it. This understanding will give you the knowledge to be able to troubleshoot problems.
It starts by a strainer that is fitted into a strainer body that’s sealed with putty into the sink hole. Below that a rubber gasket and metal washer, which helps seal the connection, is tightened by a large retainer or locknut. A threaded coupling mounts a tailpiece to the strainer.
At the tee in the drainpipe, a short threaded nipple and the main parts of the trap are connected by slip-joint couplings. The trap, which is a curvature in the piping, has the purpose of preventing sewer gases from coming up the piping and into the home and is always filled with water. The water along with the curvature acts as a water seal. The waste water will flow through the trap to the main.
If there is a garbage disposal, it will be connected above the trap and mounted to its own special strainer. There are different types of disposals and set ups. You should refer to the owner’s manual of the garbage disposal to become familiar with the set-up to better understand possible problems.
Know that the plumbing will be directly below the sink. Take care not to confuse the plumbing with gas supply pipes.
Tip 2: Examine the Leak
Different types of leaks require different repairs. There is a difference when the leak is around the base of the spout as opposed to a spout that drips. A spout base leakage is caused by O-rings that are worn out. They can be easily removed by pulling up on the spout and wiggling it free. You may also need to remove other parts such as the handle. The O-ring can be lodged into place pretty good so it may take some determination to remove it.
Tip 3: Turn Off the Water Supply
There are usually two valves underneath the sink that turn off the water supply, one for cold water and one for hot. You will have to shut off your main if there are no valves under the sink. This will prevent a horrible mess and the need to rent a wet/dry vacuum.
Tip 4: Repair Leaks Timely
The floorboard beneath your kitchen sink will most often be made of wood. Wood will be warped and damaged when exposed to water or a long period of time. In addition to the warping, there is also the trouble of mold and buildup of waste water sediment that will give your kitchen a foul odor.
Tip 5: Know When to Get Help
While most repairs can be done by you with the only cost being a replacement part or the energy it takes to tighten a bolt, there are other repairs that require a professionally trained person. If you find yourself fixing the same problem over and over again, you may need bigger repairs and a more thorough replacement of your kitchen components. Damage caused by you may be more than the original cost of having somebody repair the initial problem.
In case of a plumbing emergency, it is always a good idea to educate yourself on how (and where) to turn off your main water supply – as well as the isolation valves on your various plumbing fixtures. A ruptured line, burst pipe, or sewage backup can wreak havoc on your home and potentially cost you thousands in water damage and water bills.
In severe cold weather, the water in your pipes can freeze. When water freezes, it expands and can burst the pipe, not matter how thick or strong it may be. But, if it’s too late and the pipe has already burst, turn off your main water valve as fast as you can to prevent further damages.
Being able to contain the situation as soon as possible will greatly help with damage control and allow a wider window of time for help to arrive (if the situation calls for it). Everyone in your home should know exactly where the water shutoff valve is located and how to turn it off.
Additionally, if you are going to be away from your home for an extended period of time, it is highly recommended that you turn off the main water valve.
Where is the main water shutoff valve located?
This is the million-dollar question. Your main water shutoff valve could be located in several different areas. If you have a home with a basement and crawlspace, it is probably located on an interior wall near the front of the house, where the water comes in from the water meter. In this case, it is most likely hiding in plain sight. If your home was built on a slab, the valve might be located near the hot water heater or inside your garage.
WARNING : Never touch the pressure regulator, located just above the shutoff valve. Only a licensed plumber should adjust your water pressure.
If the valve can’t be found inside the home, the next location to check is near the end of your property line (or street) in a covered box within a “pit” underground. This is normally a cement box buried in the ground near your front curb; however, you may need a special “meter key” (available at local hardware stores, like Ace Hardware, Lowe’s, and Home Depot) to open the box.
Once you fit the meter key into the “lock,” turn it counter-clockwise, and then tilt the key toward the outer edge of the box to lift the lid open. Be careful when opening the box. Sometimes, small critters, reptiles, bugs, and other surprises are waiting for you.
Let's watch the video to know how turn off your Water Meter:
Why Won't My Dishwasher Drain?
By Timothy Dahl
If you've recently installed a new garbage disposal, that might be why your dishwasher is plugged up.
A clogged dishwasher that won't drain is a common and disgusting kitchen issue, but the problem might not be the dishwasher itself. Rather, it could be your newly installed garbage disposal.
If you've got a water sitting in the bottom of your dishwasher, the first thing you want to do is check the drain plugs for blockage in the dishwasher pan. Large chunks of food and other items may be preventing the dishwasher from draining. If the drains are clear, then move along to the draining tube which often dumps into your garbage disposal.
The top rubber tube drains the dishwasher into the garbage disposal. The port on a new garbage disposal will have a plastic plug inside. If that plastic plug isn't popped out, then the dishwasher won't drain and the water will pool back into the washer.
Unplug your garbage disposal before working on it. To remove the plastic plug, simply release the clamp holding the rubber tube and pull it off.
Then take a screwdriver and feel for the plug. If the screwdriver pushes all the way into the disposal, you've got a blockage somewhere else. But if you can feel the plastic plug then you've found your issue.
Use a hammer to lightly bang against the back of the screwdriver and punch out the plastic plug. Make sure you've removed it around all of the edges. Reach into the top of the disposal through the sink and pull the plug out and any remaining plastic pieces. Then reattach the hose and your dishwasher should now drain properly.
Contact us at Joe the Plumber . We wake care of all your plumbing needs!
You invested in a water filtration system to ensure that you can easily get clean, safe and healthy water for your whole family at home. You can rely on your water filters for quick and easy drinking water when you’re in a rush, and it has become part of your daily routine. However, without regular and proper maintenance, your filtration system can become less effective at removing contaminants from your water, leaving a less pleasant taste in the liquid you drink every day.Water Filtration - Clean Water
It is quick and easy to get in the habit of cleaning and maintaining your water filter system on a regular basis, which will help to enhance the effective and efficient performance, making it last longer. Consider trying some of these hints and tips to improve the lifespan of your filtration system.
Regular cleaning routine
Cleaning the inside of your water filter system frequently and thoroughly is important to avoid a build-up of minerals, contaminants or dirt in the filter. Try not to use any harsh cleaning products and gently rinse the system with warm water. You do not want to add any harmful toxins to your system that could be absorbed into the water that you and your family drink. Make sure to clean all elements of the system, preferably on a weekly basis. Ensure you sanitize the different parts of the system when cleaning your water filter, including the water dispenser, line, and cap assembly.
The water softener that you use may contribute to a build-up of salt in your water filter, meaning you will need to clean your system more often. Newer water softeners are efficient in how salt is used in the water, causing the excess to sometimes form a blockage within the system. When cleaning out your water filter, simply switch off the system, remove the majority of the salt and use hot water to dissolve the blockage.
Remember to monitor your water filter whenever you use it, looking out for signs that it may need cleaning. There is often also a monitoring system on your water filter, which can differ depending on the brand or type you have.
Where and When
There are several things that could cause your toilet to make gurgling sounds; a blockage in the toilet or drain for that toilet, a blockage in the vent stack leading up to the roof that may have a nest or leaves in it, or most commonly a main sewer drain blockage. The gurgling sound you hear is from air that escapes backwards into the toilet and is the first sign of a more serious issue occurring and a messy disaster waiting to show itself at the most inopportune time. - See more at: http://www.3wayplumbing.com/FAQ-Blog/ArtMID/1709/ArticleID/23/What-does-it-mean-when-I-hear-gurgling...
Not all gurgling sounds are caused by problems in the plumbing draining/venting system. It is normal to hear these sounds in the toilet at the end of every flush because of air suction into the toilet bowl.
Gurgling sounds are not normal when we flush the toilet and hear the sound coming from a nearby vanity sink or bathtub drain.