What Is A Sump Pump and Do I Need One in My House?

Zander employee installing a sump pump
Zander employee installing a sump pump

What Is A Sump Pump and Do I Need One in My House?

Some people become uneasy when they see a sump pump in a home they’re interested in buying because they assume the sump pump’s presence means the home previously flooded. This however, is not always the case. There are many reasons homes have sump pumps, and many reasons you should consider installing one if you live in a home without one. See below for some common
reasons that homes have sump pumps.

What is a Sump Pump?

A sump pump is a small electric pump that is placed into a tub basin at the lowest part of the basement or crawlspace where water from the foundation flows to. Excess water from rain, melting snow, and ground water drain to the sump pit. As the sump pit fills with water, the pump is activated by a float switch and the water is expelled through piping outside and away from the foundation.

Which Homes Have Sump Pumps?

My Home is Located in Flat or Low Areas With Soil That Collects Water
Groundwater, or surface water, can make its way into a home’s foundation through even the tiniest of cracks. If a home is situated at the bottom of a large hill or hills, the sloping land may lead excess ground water towards the home.

My Home Experiences Heavy Rain or Snow
While flooding can occur in any home at any time of the year, there are some homes more prone to flooding – especially in the spring when snow and ice are melting and heavy seasonal rains are beginning.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) creates flood maps identifying the flood zones in your community. You can look  at the flood maps to see if a property you’re interested in, or the one you currently live on is in a flood zone.

I Have a Finished Basement
When most people invite guests over to check out their recently finished basement, they’re usually showing off a finished living space
with big screen TVs and comfortable couches. What they’re not showing off is their sump pump, which has been installed to help them avoid stained walls, soggy carpets, and ruined furniture. The sump pump adds a layer of protection for the investment of a finished basement.

Avoid Mold and Other Health Risks
Sump pumps not only protect finished basements from flooding, but also from much smaller amounts of moisture that can cause  mold growth.

Mold grows in places with lots of moisture, meaning it can grow especially well near leaks and areas where flooding has occurred. Mold can also grow on just about any of the common items found in basements, including cardboard boxes, ceiling tiles, insulation, drywall, carpet and upholstery.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that mold affects people differently causing symptoms ranging from nasal stuffiness, throat irritation and coughing to eye irritation and skin irritation. The CDC has also identified links between mold and more severe health problems.

Do I Need a Sump Pump?

As you have read, sump pumps eliminate moisture and help to prevent flooding in your basement. More than 60% of U.S. homes have moisture in their basements or crawlspaces, so it’d be wise to have yours inspected. Prior to the inspection, one of our professionals can walk you through your options for moisture prevention, which may include basement waterproofing or sump pump installation.

Do I Need a Backup Sump Pump?

Because sump pumps are dependent on your home’s electric system, if the power goes out during a heavy storm, your sump pump won’t work. Therefore, we highly recommend that anyone with a sump pump also install a battery backup as an added layer of protection.

Request a Free Home Mold Inspection and Basement Waterproofing Evaluation

If you suspect that your home may have a mold problem, or if you have noticed any of the mold warning signs above, it is essential to get help right away. Left unchecked, even a small mold infestation can spread and pose serious threats to your home and health.

Contact Zander Solutions to schedule a free basement waterproofing evaluation today. Our waterproofing pros are seasoned vets certified in the industry’s leading techniques for residential and commercial mold removal, restoration, and foundation repair. If you have a problem, they’ll find the source and prescribe the most effective remedy at a price that can’t be beat.

 

6 Warning Signs of Mold in Your Home—and Tips to Prevent It

mold in a basement wall
mold in a basement wall

6 Warning Signs of Mold in Your Home—and Tips to Prevent It

Did you ever see the episode of The King of Queens where Doug and Carrie go on vacation and Arthur calls them to say there’s a mold problem in the basement that will cost $7,000 to fix?

It made for a funny plotline, but the truth is, mold is no joke.

In this blog post, we’ll tell you what you need to know about mold in the home — why it’s serious, the warning signs to watch for, and what to do if you suspect a mold problem at home.

What is Mold?

Mold is a fungus that grows in damp places. There are many types of mold. In nature, its job is to help with the decomposition of organic matter.

Mold becomes a problem when it grows inside a home. Damp basements and crawl spaces are ideal breeding grounds for mold, but any moist or wet area will do. A leaking pipe, a leaky roof, and window condensation can all lead to mold growth.

Because mold often grows beneath floors and behind walls, a home can be infested with large mold colonies without being seen.

Top Warning Signs of Mold in the Home

Here are some of the top warning signs that you may have a mold infestation that requires basement waterproofing or foundation repair.

  1. A damp or musty smell. If you smell a damp, musty, or earthy odor, you might have a mold problem. That’s because mold secretes a pungent odor, and it’s one of the biggest giveaways that mold is taking hold in your home. Yet, some homeowners are so used to the smell that they aren’t even aware of it. If you are unsure, ask a friend or family member to stop by and sniff for themselves.
  2. Black spots or stains. Mold often appears as dark spots or stains on walls and insulation. But there are many types of mold which look very different — from gray or green furry tufts to white streaks to colorful splotches of orange, pink, or purple. (Trust us, it’s not nearly as pretty as it sounds.)
  3. Peeling wallpaper or paint. If you see bubbling, cracking, or peeling in wallpaper, it means moisture has gotten under the paper and weakened the glue. Mold loves to grow in these damp pockets, hiding just out of sight.
  4. Damp, humid basement. Basements are a prime breeding ground for mold. That’s because they are usually colder than other rooms in a home, and cool temperatures create condensation. In addition, cracks in the foundation can allow water to enter and provide a place for mold to grow.
  5. Condensation on windows and pipes. Mold thrives in areas where condensation creates moisture.
  6. Allergies and health problems. Toxins released by mold can cause serious health problems. Symptoms of mold exposure can include red and watery eyes, sneezing, itchiness, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. People with asthma or weak immune systems may be especially susceptible.

How to Prevent Mold in Your Home

It’s much easier to prevent mold than get rid of it once it’s there. Follow these six tips to help reduce the risk of mold in your home.

  1. Eliminate leaks and other sources of moisture. Mold needs moisture to grow. Repair all leaking pipes and plumbing fixtures to help keep mold at bay. A foundation waterproofing professional can help.
  2. Use a dehumidifier. Run a dehumidifier in the basement or any area of your home that feels damp or musty. Aim to keep humidity levels at less than 50 percent.
  3. Ensure proper ventilation. Make sure your kitchen and (especially) bathrooms have adequate ventilation. Run bathroom fans while in the bath or shower to help remove moisture from the air.
  4. Keep bathrooms clean. Clean sinks, drains, and shower walls regularly. Hang wet towels instead of leaving them on the floor.
  5. Change furnace filters regularly. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are best for trapping mold spores and preventing their circulation throughout a home.
  6. Get help from a pro. Schedule an appointment for a free foundation waterproofing evaluation to make sure your home is free of water leaks and signs of mold.

Request a Free Home Mold Inspection and Basement Waterproofing Evaluation

If you suspect that your home may have a mold problem, or if you have noticed any of the mold warning signs above, it is essential to get help right away. Left unchecked, even a small mold infestation can spread and pose serious threats to your home and health.

Contact Zander Solutions to schedule a free basement waterproofing evaluation today. Our waterproofing pros are seasoned vets certified in the industry’s leading techniques for residential and commercial mold removal, restoration, and foundation repair. If you have a problem, they’ll find the source and prescribe the most effective remedy at a price that can’t be beat.

Are You Prepared For A Flooded Basement?

Zander employees installing drain tile
Zander employees installing drain tile

Are You Prepared For A Flooded Basement?

Learning that you’ve got a flooding basement is a top-concern for home owners. If you’ve recently purchased a new home, we recommend scheduling a free in-home waterproofing consultation. However, if your basement is already flooding, the first step is to find the source of the water. Common causes of flooding are; foundation cracks, plumbing (sinks, toilets, washing machines), water pipes. If the water is coming through plumbing/pipes, shut off your water right away and call your plumber. If the water is coming through your foundation, through flooring, or through an egress window, call Zander Solutions right away, and we’ll have one of our waterproofing pros to your home in no-time with our Quick-Response Guarantee to evaluate the issue, and provide recommendations for repair. In all cases of flooding, contact your insurance company right away.

What are the repair costs after a basement flood?

A flooded basement can cost anywhere from as little as a few-hundred dollars, to several thousand dollars to repair, depending on the severity of the flood, and the solution to the problem. Therefore, it’s important to have a trusted, well-established waterproofing company to give you the best waterproofing solutions for your budget, and for your home.

How long does it take to repair a flooded basement?

Depending on the repair needed, Zander Solutions will typically have your repair solutions completed between one-week and one-month from the time the project begins.

It’s far more cost effective to have basement waterproofing done prior to a basement flood. Zander Solutions offers free in-home consultation. We’ll walk through, find any areas of concern, and share an estimate for you, so your family and home don’t need to be concern about the possibility of a flood.

14 Basement Renovation Ideas (and Why Waterproofing First is a Must)

Zander employee applying epoxy flooring
Zander employee applying epoxy flooring

14 Basement Renovation Ideas (and Why Waterproofing First is a Must)

Finishing your basement is one of the best ways to increase your living space and add value to your home. On average, finishing a basement will give you a return of 70 to 75 percent of your investment. And that’s on top of the enjoyment you will get from living in a new space that you’ve made your own.

What can you do with this exciting blank canvas? The possibilities are endless. Here are 14 ideas to help you get started.

Basement Renovation Ideas to Increase Your Living Space

  1. A basement guest suite. Forget the couch or kids’ futon—put your overnight visitors up in style in your new basement guest room. Deck it out with a kitchenette and bathroom to turn your basement into a rentable studio apartment.
  2. A basement family room. Create a cozy space for family fun with large sectional couches and side tables arranged for TV viewing. Add warmth and visual interest with wall art and a stone-veneer gas fireplace as the centerpiece.
  3. A kid-friendly playroom. Give the kids their own safe and comfortable space equipped with desks for arts and crafts, and shelving and cubbies for storing toys and supplies.
  4. A family game room. Create a dedicated space for fun and games with a basement game room where family and friends can play darts, billiards, ping pong, board games, and more.
  5. A basement bar and lounge. Buy or build a small bar to create your own subterranean speakeasy. Complement with comfortable seating and colorful accessories—think neon signs!—and you’ll have a space that’s perfect for relaxing and entertaining.
  6. A basement home gym. Hard floors and wide-open spaces make a great foundation for a home gym. Lay down foam tiles or rubber mats and equip with free-weights, punching bags, a treadmill or stair climber—whatever you need to reach your fitness goals.
  7. A basement home theatre. Every night can be movie night when you turn your basement into a five-star cinema. Get a large TV projector system and create a second tier of seating behind the couch using a tall, slim table and bar stools. Accent with movie-themed wall art for a theatrical flourish.
  8. A basement den or home office. Work from home like a boss with your very own basement home office. Assistant not included.
  9. A stylish storage room. Get organized and keep you space looking good at the same time with colorful shelving units and matching storage bings for attractive wall-to-wall efficiency.
  10. A posh party annex. A finished basement provides precious extra space for hosting parties and gatherings. When the rest of the house is full, give your guests a secondary space with its own unique look and feel.
  11. A basement man or “mom” cave. Create your very own place to get away from it all with comfy seating and all of your favorite things.
  12. An arts and crafts studio. Transform unused space into a maker’s studio with storage-equipped work tables and colorful wallpaper to inspire your creativity.
  13. A basement workshop. Save the garage for the cars. A well-equipped basement workshop makes an ideal space in which to create all year round.
  14. A hideaway hangout. Escape from the world in a space dedicated to rest and relaxation. Decorate with hanging string lights and a hammock swing chair for an uncommon treat anytime.

What to Do Before You Begin

Because basements are surrounded by soil, they are notoriously susceptible to water infiltration. Small cracks in the foundation allow moisture to seep in, damaging property and worse. Mold is one dangerous side effect that can cause both serious structural problems and health problems.

Even if your basement shows none of the warning signs of water damage—such as water stains and standing water—it still may have problems with moisture.

Tip: Here’s a quick DIY test to find out if your home needs basement repair. Cut a 12-inch by 12-inch square of plastic kitchen wrap. Duct tape it to a concrete wall in your basement and wait for 24 hours. If condensation forms on the inside of the plastic, your home may need basement repair.

Keep in mind, small cracks are just one of the ways water can enter your basement. Other entry points include pipe penetrations, windows and window wells, failed sump pumps, and more.

That’s one reason we recommend contacting a waterproofing pro to assess your foundation health. Another reason is that basement waterproofing can be a touch project, especially if your house sits in an area with a high water table or a region prone to flooding.

Get a Free Basement Waterproofing Evaluation

Regardless of whether or not you plan to renovate your basement, it is important to protect your home from water problems.

Contact Zander Solutions to request a free basement waterproofing evaluation today. Our waterproofing pros are seasoned vets certified in the industry’s leading techniques for residential and commercial foundation repair. They’ll make sure your home is sealed, safe, and structurally sound—so you can protect your investment and enjoy your home to the fullest.

Radon Mitigation: Why and How to Reduce Radon Gas Levels in Your Home

Zander employee setting up radon mediation system
Zander employee setting up radon mediation system

Radon Mitigation: Why and How to Reduce Radon Gas Levels in Your Home

Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas that results from the natural breakdown of uranium in rock, soil, and water. Often called a “silent killer,” radon gas cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted as it rises up through the ground and into our homes.

While radon is present in every home, it is a particular danger in Wisconsin, where 1 in every 10 homes is estimated to contain elevated levels of radon. (The national average is 1 in 15.)

Here’s what you need to know about this lethal gas—including health risks, testing, and how to reduce radon gas levels at home to keep your family safe.

Radon Gas Health Risks

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, and the number-one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. EPA estimates that exposure to radon gas causes 21,000 deaths per year—more than twice the number of drunk-driving fatalities (10,511) in 2018.

Symptoms of radon poisoning include persistent cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, and weight loss.

People who smoke are especially at risk. If you live in a home with high radon levels, smoking increases your risk of lung cancer by a factor of 10.

Testing for Radon Gas

Any home can have high radon levels. New homes, old homes, homes with basements, and homes without. For Wisconsin residents, the risk of radon exposure is especially high during the winter when closed doors and windows trap the gas inside.

The good news is, radon testing is easy and inexpensive to do. 

Radon test kits are readily available online and in many home-improvement stores. If you are not the do-it-yourself type, Zander Solutions has certified radon professionals that would be happy to conduct the test for you.

The best place to start is with a short-term test. Short-term tests are placed in any potential at-risk areas of a home, and typically collect readings for two to seven days. The test kit is then sent to a laboratory where the results are calculated and communicated back to the homeowner.

A short-term radon test is required as part of a home inspection when buying or selling a home. However, this is not the only time to test for radon. Radon gas levels can and do change all the time. What’s more, structural changes to your home—including the addition and removal of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning equipment—can affect radon levels in a home.

For these reasons, the EPA recommends testing your home for radon after any renovation and every two years as part of routine maintenance.

Keep in mind, short-term radon tests only tell you about the radon levels in your home for the short time the tests are run. They won’t provide any information about how your home’s radon levels may change over time. To ensure your family’s safety, you should also conduct long-term tests (typically 90 days) at different times of the year.

How to Reduce Radon Levels in Your Home

If radon levels in your home meet or exceed safe living standards (four picocuries per liter (pCi/L)), you will need to reduce the threat through mitigation.

Radon mitigation systems come in several types. Some are designed to prevent radon from entering the home. Others aim to reduce radon levels after the gas has entered. None of these systems require major changes to your home.

One of the most common and effective ways to reduce radon gas in homes is called sub-slab depressurization. In this type of system, a pipe is passed through the concrete foundation into the crushed rock or soil underneath. An exhaust fan connected to the pipe draws the radon gas from below the house and releases it into the outdoor air. Similar radon mitigation systems exist for homes with crawl spaces.

The cost of installing a radon mitigation system is about the same as for other common home repairs. Most homeowners can expect a total cost of between $800 and $2,500.

For More Information About Radon and Radon Mitigation Systems

It is important to act quickly if elevated levels of radon are present in your home. To find out if your home is at risk, call Zander Solutions at 1-833-928-1429 or email us at info@zandersolutions.com. Our certified radon experts would be happy to answer any questions and help you arrange a professional radon test in your home.

Once you know your home’s radon levels, you can breathe easy in the knowledge that this invisible gas is no threat to you or your family. And if your home should require the installation of a professional radon mitigation system, we can help with that, too.

Before You Buy: 4 Tips for Homeowners

a house on a sunny day
a house on a sunny day

Before You Buy: 4 Tips for Homeowners

At Zander Solutions, we speak to many home owners. In our over 40-years of experience, we’ve learned a lot from our customers about how to prepare for homeownership, or lessons they’ve learned in purchasing new homes.

  1. Understand Your Home Warranty: When purchasing a new home, you may be offered “whole home warranties”.  Take the time to understand if this is the right warranty for you, and how it works. It’s often assumed a whole home warranty covers everything, but this isn’t always the case.
  2. Research Insurance Plans: Do your research – understand what your insurance plan covers. Are you fully covered, what would be prorated, etc.
  3. Schedule Inspections: We consistently hear new home owners ask “why didn’t my home inspection catch this?”. When buying a new home, you’ll have a “general inspection”, which is a great place to start, but likely won’t catch everything 100% of the time. In addition to your general home inspection, we recommend having specialists in different fields conduct inspections. These inspections include, but aren’t limited to: plumbers, electricians, roofers, waterproofing
  4. Prepare Your Budget :  When determining a budget for your new home, account for unexpected repairs and maintenance, try as we might, it’s difficult to predict everything, so leaving some wiggle room in your budget will pay off in the long run.

Owning a home is an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Taking these steps before making a purchase will make owning your new home that much more enjoyable. Happy house hunting!

Click here to schedule a free in-home consultation with one of our waterproofing pros.

How Can Basement Waterproofing Improve The Value of My Home?

Zander employee shoveling out a window well
Zander employee shoveling out a window well

How Can Basement Waterproofing Improve The Value of My Home?

Thinking about selling your home (today or five years from now)? Trying to decide if basement waterproofing is worth the costs? As advocates for helping our clients save money, we wanted to share all of the ways waterproofing your basement can improve the value of your home. We’re here to answer one of our customer’s top-waterproofing questions:

How can basement waterproofing improve the value of my home?

  1. When house hunting, buyers will gain confidence knowing your home has recently been waterproofed, and is now better protected against the elements.
  2. Waterproofing will reduce moisture in your basement, and thus increases the likelihood that your house will pass a house inspection.
  3. Basement waterproofing before you sell your home means the basement is all set to be finished without additional waterproofing steps for the new home owner.
  4. A new home is a major investment, and waterproofing shows potential buyers that their home has an extra layer of protection.

How Much Does Basement Waterproofing Cost?

Zander employee working on an exterior waterproofing project
Zander employee working on an exterior waterproofing project

How Much Does Basement Waterproofing Cost?

Waterproofing prices can fluctuate from home to home, with many contributing factors. The cost of waterproofing can be impacted heavily by the following factors:

  1. The scope of work

    • Example: Are you seeking repairs for a few foundation cracks, before flooding begins?
    • Example: Does your project require a new egress window well?
  2. Accessibility of the repair

    • The location and accessibility of the repair can impact waterproofing prices
  3. Remodeling needed

    • In some instances, for waterproofing projects with larger scopes, your home will require remodeling
    • This is something Zander Solutions sees more often when your home has already experienced flooding, if foundation cracks are not identified before it’s too late

In all cases, waterproofing your home, and scheduling a free inspection will reduce costs, and eliminate concerns for future water damage. We recommend scheduling a free waterproofing consultation with one of our waterproofing pros. We’ll visit your home, conduct an evaluation, and give you an estimate for your project. Our waterproofing pros will have a quote to you within 24 hours of the on-site visit.

Schedule your free waterproofing consultation today. 

Waterproofing Beyond Basements

Zander employee digging a hole
Zander employee digging a hole

Waterproofing Beyond Basements

While the basement is one of the more common areas in your home to consider when waterproofing, waterproofing your home goes far beyond your basement.

Zander Solutions recommends a consultation to help you determine where in your home you could use waterproofing services. Common places to consider are; foundations, doors, windows, roofing and siding. Your home’s windows and doors need to be properly sealed and waterproofed, and your roof and siding require proper installation to prevent leaks and floods as well.

When considering adding onto your home, whether it be an indoor addition, or a patio addition, we recommend a consultation with a waterproofing pro to ensure you’ve got the best waterproofing plans in place.

Basement Flooring Considerations

Zander employees installing epoxy flooring
Zander employees installing epoxy flooring

Basement Flooring Considerations

Everyone loves a freshly renovated basement, and adding extra usable space to your home. But before you spend your hard-earned money adding livable square footage to your home, it’s important to ask “what’s the best basement flooring”. We’ve put together some basement flooring tips and advice to consider before taking the next steps towards your basement renovation.

First, before selecting flooring, we recommend having a basement assessment to ensure your basement is not prone to flooding, and to allow a waterproofing professional to find any warning signs of flooding.

Next, ask your waterproofing pro about installing an interior drain tile with hydro channel. In the event of a flood, this will help alleviate water build up and mitigate damage.

Basement Flooring Options:

  • Epoxy Flooring:

     Epoxy floor coatings come in a variety of colors and styles, quickly adding a touch of personal style (and durability) to your basement flooring. Should water find its way to your basement, epoxy floors will prevent water from getting under the floor, and allowing mold growth.
  • Snap-Lock Flooring:

     Snap-lock flooring is a great, removable flooring option. This option allows for the flooring to be removed and re-installed as needed for cleaning (or in the event of a flooded basement).
  • Hardwood Flooring:

     Real hardwood flooring can add a nice, finished touch to your basement, but it’s important to consider that in the event of a basement flood, this flooring is not easily salvageable.
  • Carpeting:

     Carpet can provide a nice, comforting feel in your basement, but before selecting this option, consider that in the event of a basement flood, carpet is not easily salvageable.

In summary:

  1. Schedule a free consultation with a waterproofing pro
    • (Don’t forget to ask about the interior drain!)
  2. Find the flooring option best for you
    • We recommend Epoxy flooring for its clean finish, custom colors, and durability
  3. Schedule your flooring installation!
  4. Sit back and let the pros take it from there