What Should You Do In the Event of a Sewage Backup?

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“Sewage backup” are two little words that nobody wants to associate with. Unfortunately, sometimes it is too late to prevent such a disaster from happening in a basement.

If that is the case with you, the first thing that you will have to do is call on the help of a professional sewage backup restoration company. Because of sewage’s nature, cleaning the mess by yourself can prove to be too dangerous. Not only is sewage disgusting: It’s also considered a biohazard. As such, you should steer clear of it. Should you, for a reason or another, need to enter the affected area, be sure to first learn about the best way to protect yourself.

In the event of the sewage threatening your electrical outlets, we highly recommend that you call your electricity provider. Likewise, calling your natural gas provider might also be a good idea if applicable.

Sewage is not water. As we mentioned earlier, do not enter your basement. Abstain from using your toilets as well and remember to keep your children and pets away from your basement. If you are covered under an insurance policy, you might want to take care of the impending claim as early as possible.

Once your basement has been thoroughly cleaned up, we suggest that you educate yourself on the possible ways to prevent such a disaster from occurring again. Fortunately for you, plenty of resources can be found online. You might also want to remain in close contact with your plumber, electrician and sewage backup restoration company for a while.

What is Asbestos?

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Widely used from the 1940s until the 1970s in the construction industry, asbestos is an inexpensive and highly-effective material that is known for its strong, non-combustible fibres. Today, those fibres have earned asbestos the nickname of “silent killer”. Though they are not dangerous when tightly enclosed, they have been known to cause lung cancers on numerous occasions when they are present in the air that people breathe. Keep in mind, however, that for that to happen a person needs to be exposed to asbestos on a regular basis.

If your house was built during the 1970s or before, then it is quite likely that the presence of asbestos can be found within its construction materials. According to the Government of Canada, asbestos fibres become toxic when the materials that enclose them (think insulation boards and ceiling tiles) become disturbed or damaged. This causes fibres to be released into the air to later be inhaled by people.

If you are thinking of remodelling your basement, it would be a wise idea to first test your home for asbestos before calling on the help of a professional asbestos abatement company. We don’t recommend doing any type of renovation that could lead to asbestos fibres being released into the air before first consulting professionals. Remember that the quicker you deal with asbestos, the safer you and your family will be… and the sooner you will enjoy your newly remodelled basement.

For more information, we encourage you to visit the Government of Canada’s website.

How to Rid Your Basement of the Musty Smell

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Are you tired of the damp, musty smell permeating your basement? You probably are not alone.

The truth is that getting rid of that smell has the potential to be more complicated than you’d like it to be. Every basement is different, and as such it is impossible to find a solution that works for everyone. It then becomes your responsibility to try and find the source of the smell.

Fortunately for you, finding the source of the smell is not that difficult. In most cases, you can link the smell to mildew, a type of fungus that feeds off the warm and humid areas of your basement. If your basement is humid, then chances are you can find mildew growing on your basement walls, tiles or even crawl spaces. How much of it you can find will depend on the severity of your situation.

After figuring the source of the smell, the next thing that you will have to do is rid your basement of mildew. If the latter has spread on objects, throwing them away might be the best idea. Furnitures and carpets should be taken outside when the sun is out and left to dry. Keep in mind that sometimes it is nearly impossible to rid objects, furnitures and especially clothes of the musty smell.

The next step includes giving your entire basement a thorough cleaning. Here is a tutorial on how to remove mildew. If your basement suffers from a severe case of mildew (or mold) we recommend calling on the help of professionals. The faster you are at noticing it, the easier (and quicker) the cleaning will be.

Following the cleaning of your basement, always ensure that the later is properly ventilated. You can do that by keeping the windows and basement doors open as well as installing a a fan and running it regularly. Make sure that the initial cause of mildew is taken care of. In other words, if your basement is too humid, install a dehumidifier. If leaks can be found along the foundation of your basement, fix them.

Keeping a basement clean and mildew-free is often the first step in ridding it of the musty smell.

How to Choose the Perfect Basement Development Company

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Has the idea of developing your basement piqued your interest? While it might sound like a good idea at first (and it is most of the time), it is still wise to know what you are getting yourself into beforehand. Naturally, the first thing that you will have to do is choose the right basement development company to work with.

If you think about it for a moment, remodelling your basement is a big investment. Not only does it have the potential to increase the resale value of your home dramatically: It also has the potential to affect your life and that of your family for many, many years to come. Whether the finished product ends up affecting you for the better or for the worse will depend mostly on the basement development company in charge of remodelling your basement.

(Not to mention the numerous things that could go wrong during the remodelling process.)

So how do you know which company to choose? Quite simply, it all depends on how well you do your research. Always listen to the opinion of other people: Companies can lie but customers do not. Many websites online offer people the opportunity to leave reviews detailing their experience with basement development companies. Learn to sift through the good and the bad companies by relying on those reviews.

There are a few questions that you should always ask a prospective company as well. For one, you should educate yourself on what kind of qualifications a good company should have and ensure that they have such qualifications. Remember that the more questions you ask, the better. There should be a good amount of trust between you and the company and it should reflect in the way they engage you as a customer. If you want, don’t be shy to ask for references.

Finally, don’t settle on the first good company that you find. Keep searching and searching until you are certain that the one you have chosen will be able to make your dream basement come to life.

How to Childproof Your House

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In one of our earlier articles, we discussed the possible ways to baby proof a basement. (You can find the article here). Today, we would like to take it one step further and teach you how to childproof your home, including your basement.

The first thing that you will have to do is cover every electric outlet. Children, especially smaller ones, tend to like touching everything around, including electric outlets. Storing chemicals and other dangerous substances on higher shelves should also be high on your list of priorities, as should keeping all medicine away from your children’s reach.

Anchoring your furniture with anchor straps is also a good idea. Children have no sense of safety, and it is not uncommon for large furnitures to tip over and hurt them. If it makes you feel better, we also encourage you to cover furniture corners with foam.

If your basement is unfinished, we recommend that you install a safety gate to the stairs leading to it. Similarly, you might feel a bit more at peace with a lock on the door. If all fails to keep the little ones from exploring the basement, ensure that the latter is devoid of any harmful substances and that the walls are properly covered if the basement is currently in the process of being remodelled.

Lastly, try to see through the eyes of your child what could potentially prove to be dangerous to them. That breakable flower pot in the living room? It might not be such a good idea to leave it within the grasp of your child. What about that pool outside? Only by becoming a child will you be able to truly childproof your house and your basement.

What Causes Mould in Basements?

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As you probably already know by now, basements have a reputation of being dark, cold and… mouldy. The good news is that basements don’t have to be like this. For many people, this is when basement development companies come into play. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to afford the services of such companies. For those people, dealing with mould in their basement should be a priority. Not only can mould damage the structure of a basement: It can even prove to be dangerous to the health of young children and people with weak immune systems.

But where does mould come from? What causes mould in basements? The answer to those questions is fairly simple: humidity. Because basements do not receive much sunlight and have very little ventilation, humidity tends to take hold of them. This humidity, coupled with the condensation caused by cold temperatures are the major culprits behind mould growth. If you suffer from a humid basement, we encourage you to take a look at one of our earlier blog posts to learn how you can prevent humidity.

Another major culprit in mould growth is basement floods. After a flood, the best thing to do is to contact a professional water damage company. It is important to keep your basement dry and to remove and clean items that were previously stored in your basement.

The worst part about mould is that when it starts to grow, it can go unnoticed for a very long time. Depending on the type of mould that can be found in your basement, it can spread a lot, and it can spread quickly. We therefore recommend that you clean your basement on a regular basis. With proper cleaning, heating and ventilation, there is no reason why your basement should fall into the “dark, cold and mouldy” category any longer.

How to Prepare Your Basement for Summer Storms

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With summer right around the corner, it is important to prepare your basement against the possibly of summer storms. While the severity of those summer storms may vary from province to province, nobody is truly immune to them. If you are unprepared, the damages could prove to both incredibly expensive and time-consuming.

So without further ado, here is how to prepare your basement for summer storms:

1. Check your basement for cracks in the foundation walls. You might want to consult this wonderful guide if you are unsure of how to repair those cracks.

2. Do not store valuables or emergency equipment in your basement. While this might sound obvious, some people still fail to follow this step.

3. Regularly check that your sump pump is working properly. Also note that sump pump do not work without electricity. As such, we recommend that you equip yourself with a backup generator.

4. During a severe storm, reposition your downspout to direct water away from the foundation of your home. However, if your property is surrounded by trees you might want to do that before the storm strikes.

5. Ensure that your eavestroughs are clear and free of debris. Clogged eavestroughs often cause rainwater to run down the sides of a house, ultimately accumulating in the basement.

6. The day before a storm is expected, move electronic equipment out of your basement, if possible.

7. Finally, we also recommend that you familiarize yourself with what to do in the event of a basement flood. The most important thing that you have to remember is to protect yourself against electric shock. Do not, under any circumstances, enter a flooded basement without rubber boots.

Plenty of information can be found on the city of Calgary’s website regarding storm season. Remember that prevention is always key.

How to Baby Proof Your Basement

BabyLittle ones enjoy exploring. It is in their nature to wander around the house, opening doors that they should not open and crawling in spaces that they should not be in. Unfortunately, a basement could prove to be potentially dangerous to those curious little ones. As a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure that your basement is baby proofed. Here are some tips that might be useful to you:

1. Install a baby gate at the top of the stairs. This is the best way to prevent falls and to ensure that your baby does not stray where he or she should not.

2. Consider also installing a door lock. A door lock would give you peace of mind through its extra protection.

3. Inside the basement, ensure that every shelf and furniture is secured with a L-bracket. This will prevent those furnitures from tiping over and hurting your child.

4. Make sure that the area is devoid of mold.  While mold can be dangerous to just about anyone, mold is especially dangerous to infants and children.

5. Keep chemicals and potentially dangerous supplies at bay. Should your baby somehow manage to find his or her way into the basement, it is crucial that you learn to keep such chemicals and supplies away from their reach. Consider storing them on a very high shelf or locking them up in a cabinet.

6. Clear out the clutter. Even if you think that an object could never hurt a baby, it is always a good idea to keep your basement in order. You never know what might be hiding inside that box.

7. Finally, cover the walls if your basement is unfinished. This will provide a safer environment as exposed installations could prove to be dangerous.

Letting your baby wander the house is necessary for your baby to develop a healthy curiosity. It is the best way for them to experience and learn about the world. However, there are places that your baby should not explore, and your basement is among them.

Preventing Humidity in Your Basement

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A high level of humidity in a basement is not only uncomfortable: It can also cause damage to the structure of the basement itself. What’s more, as you probably already know, moisture and mold tend to go hand in hand. Since mold can be dangerous to your health (and mold in the basement is probably the last thing that you want to deal with) preventing humidity in your basement should never be overlooked.

A dehumidifier truly becomes your best friend in humid weathers. Dehumidifiers prevent and can even repair damage to your home. How it works is fairly simple: A fan in the unit removes excess moisture from the air. When the air passes through the dehumidifier, the cooling coils proceed to pull the moisture from it. The air is then reheated and redistributed throughout the room. You can usually find the moisture that was pulled from the air in the unit’s reservoir.

If this is not enough to prevent humidity in your basement, it is always a good idea to speak to professionals. Your ventilation contractor, for one, might help you figure out whether your system is properly equipped to remove humidity in your basement.

Remember that small things help too. Try to leave the door to your basement open as often as possible. You might even want to consider buying a fan and running it every now and then.

If those tips still don’t work, you might be suffering from basement water leaks. In this case, you will need to call on the help of a plumber. Water leaks can signal important damage to the foundation of your home, so it is important that you never leave them untreated.

Enjoy your dry basement this summer!