Water infiltration can lead to mold problems and sick building syndrome.

For anyone owning, managing or occupying a building or house, water leaks and water infiltration can become big problems.

Not only can extreme moisture lead to active mold growth after only 24 to 48 hours, the source of the water problem is often very difficult to find.

As Canadian building and renovations specialist and TV series host Mike Holmes explained in a recent column, there are many ways water can sneak past a building’s defenses.

Most people connect water infiltration with a leaking roof and will call a roofer right away, but Holmes points out that in many cases, the problem has nothing at all to do with the roof.

Common causes for water infiltration in a home or building:

  • The obvious causes: a hole in the roof or a crack in the foundation or caulking
  • Damp spots can be caused by water vapor entering through the exterior walls, if there is a break in the house wrap and water barrier
  • Water infiltration through permeable materials like wood or concrete
  • Condensation from inside the home or building disguising itself as a leak
  • Leak in the chimney flashing

Some of the entry points of the water can far away from where the water leak actually shows up.

How to deal with mysterious damp spots:

  1. Start with a good roofer. Water makes its way from top to bottom, and so should you.
  2. Use common sense. If the water damage appears underneath a window, it is likely because of the window.
  3. Identify the building’s vulnerable points. Materials wear out, dry out or crumble over time. Inspect the roof, the flashing where the chimney or soffits meet the roof or where different types of exterior sheathing meet, the chimney, the caulking around windows and doors.
  4. Enlist the help of a building inspector with a thermographic camera, which can be used to trace the water path and identify the source.

Source: “Water isn’t always the result of a roof leak” by Mike Holmes, Making it Right

Indoor air quality in buildings with water intrusion

Many buildings suffer from mold if water intrusion has occurred. Mold produces mold spores, which in turn contain mycotoxins that can be harmful to human health. People who react to mold can experience symptoms like nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, skin irritation and even fever and lung infections.

Besides finding the source of the water intrusion, dehumidifying the air and ensure adequate ventilation, an air filtration system with activated carbon + HEPA can improve the indoor air quality immensely by removing airborne chemicals, vapors, particles, mold spores and mycotoxins.

Electrocorp has designed air filtration systems for large buildings (facility management), mold and asbestos abatement, construction and renovation projects as well as for Home and Office use (sold under the AllerAir brand).

Contact one of our air quality experts for more information.

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