It is easy to forget how important proper insulation can be for your home. It is what helps keep you comfortable and warm in the winter, and cool in the summer. Good insulation can also save you plenty of money on your monthly energy bills. Although you may not notice the problem right away, neglecting to replace your insulation when it has become damaged or ineffective will cost you money and cause you problems down the road. Always make sure to do a yearly inspection of your insulation to make sure that it is fully intact and functional. Be on the lookout for any of these warning signs, and if you notice any problems, be sure to take action quickly. Contact the professionals at Urban Environmental for quick, efficient help replacing your insulation.
One sure sign that your insulation is no longer functioning properly is fluctuating temperatures in your home. If you are setting the thermostat to a specific temperature and notice that it often feels hotter or colder than normal, you should check your insulation for damage as soon as possible. Sometimes changing temperatures happen when insulation has shifted or fallen out of place, so it is easy to make things right. However, if your insulation appears to be worn out or damaged, replacement may be necessary.
If small animals such as squirrels, mice, rats or bats have somehow gained access to your home, they can cause massive amounts of damage to your insulation if they are left unchecked. If you discover any kind of unwelcome animal in your home, you should do a full inspection to make sure they have not nested inside your insulation. Animals can tear your insulation to shreds, and they can also leave hazardous waste materials behind that can compromise your health. If an animal infestation has occurred, it might be best to contact the professionals at Urban Environmental for help.
Everyone knows that the weather in Vancouver can be extremely stormy and wet at times. Water can get through the tiniest cracks and damage your home. When insulation becomes wet, it stops functioning properly and will need to be replaced. Mold can start to grow, and you and your family’s health can be seriously compromised. If you have been having a problem with water leaks in your home, you should make sure that your insulation has not been affected.
If you notice that your monthly energy bill is higher than usual, you should do a thorough inspection of your home to determine what the cause could be. Increasing energy costs are often caused by insulation that has become damaged and is not functioning properly. Though replacing all the insulation in your home can seem like an expensive proposition, you will actually save money in the long term. If you contact Urban Environmental for help, we will install the highest quality modern insulation in your home, which will often immediately reduce your energy bill. When a home improvement project can actually save you money, there is no reason to delay. Contact Urban Environmental and let us show you why people all over Vancouver trust us to replace their insulation.
Most people are familiar with ordinary household insulation, having seen it in attics and basements everywhere. But fewer people are familiar with what exactly insulation is made of. Most modern household insulation is made from recycled waste materials, including cellulose, fiberglass, and mineral wool. Another option is foam insulation, made from polystyrene or polyurethane. These different types of
insulation have different benefits and drawbacks, but are both safe, non-toxic materials that are safe for use in your home. The same cannot be said for older forms of insulation that can sometimes still be found in offices and houses throughout Vancouver.
Vermiculite is a material formed by the alteration of biotite or phlogopite, both part of the mica group of minerals. First described in 1899, it is still used today for many purposes across numerous industries. Vermiculite has fire-resistant and insulating properties, so it was a natural choice for use as insulation in homes. Pure vermiculite is non-toxic, but the conditions under which vermiculite forms can also cause the formation of asbestos. We now know that prolonged inhalation asbestos fibers can cause a host of serious heath problems, including lung cancer. But for much of the 20th century, asbestos was present in all kinds of industrial products.
A mine in Libby, Montana was the largest supplier of vermiculite in the United States. It produced insulation under the name Zonolite at facilities across the United States and Canada. All of the vermiculite mined at Libby was contaminated with asbestos. Production at the mine shut down in the 1990’s after evidence of the health risks posed by exposure became impossible to ignore. Today, all vermiculite mines are carefully checked for any asbestos contamination. But Zonolite insulation is still being discovered inside old homes.
If your house was built before 1990, you should be very careful that no contaminated insulation is still present. Zonolite is usually grey or silver in color, and has a rumpled, folded texture. It usually lays flat rather than puffing up like fiberglass. If you spot something that looks like Zonolite insulation, you can buy an asbestos testing kit at a hardware store to make sure. Once you determine that contaminated vermiculite is present in your home, you should contact a professional asbestos removal company and let them determine what needs to be done. Trying to remove this material on your own can be extremely difficult and unsafe, so don’t take the risk. Urban Environmental is experienced at spotting even the smallest amounts of asbestos-contaminated vermiculite, and we know how to safely remove this dangerous material from your home. If vermiculite containing asbestos is not handled carefully during the removal process, small particles can be left behind. Urban Environmental has the technology to remove this dangerous containment quickly and safely. We do a thorough check of your home to make sure that nothing has been missed, and our experienced technicians ensure that your home is not damaged during the removal process. Discovering that you have been exposed to asbestos can be frightening, but if you act quickly to remove the contamination you keep your risk of exposure-related health problems low. If you live in an older home that has not been thoroughly inspected for asbestos contamination, do not delay. Contact the professionals at Urban Environmental and let us restore your peace of mind.
If you are one of the many landlords in the Vancouver area, one of your greatest fears is damage to your home. Although we normally think of damages to do with parties or other unruly behaviour, damages from bodily fluids can also damage a property almost beyond repair. In this article, we are looking at what you should do if you become aware of a scene that is contaminated with blood and/ or bodily fluids.
1. First and foremost, you will need to contact the police. If this was not expected, the police may need to get involved and will be able to provide you with a point of contact, normally the lead investigator, going forward. If you are not the homeowner, this would be the time to call your landlord and have them to come down to the scene as well.
2. You need to know if you are dealing with a death or not. If the coroner is going to be getting involved, you will need to ensure you have their name. They may need to get into the scene or contact the cleanup company you will be hiring.
3. Do not enter the scene no matter what is inside. There is zero need for you to be more traumatized then you may already be. The cleanup company will be able to retrieve any belongings or things that you need when the time comes. It is also important to not enter the scene before the police clear the property. As you may contaminate evidence that they need, or spread your own DNA throughout the crime scene.
4. As a homeowner, you will need to be able to provide the cleanup company with a permission to enter form. If you are not the homeowner, you will need to contact the party that is fiscally responsible to have this form signed. A cleanup company cannot enter the premises till this is signed. A delay with this form will result in delays for a cleanup company to start the process.
5. Do not attempt to clean up the scene yourself. Bodily fluids and blood are dangerous biohazards, and contact with them may expose you to unknown risks that could cause serious illness and even death. To clean a scene, you need the proper tools and protection, and only professional technicians should be tasked with such a job.
6. Call Urban Environmental, the leaders in decomposition and body clean up in the Greater Vancouver Regional District. Our team of technicians will be able to be on scene in a matter of minutes and will ensure that your home will be back to normal as soon as it is possible.
Urban Environmental has been providing blood and bodily fluid cleanups in the Vancouver area for years, and no matter what kind of shocking scene is beyond the door, our team will be able to get your home back to normal in no time. Call us today, and experience what the premier cleanup company in the region can do for you.
When it comes to our insulation, we generally do not pay attention unless things are going terribly. Many have prescribed rules that they follow that they believe make sense. For instance, that re-insulating your house is only necessary if the house was built before 1980. This is simply factually incorrect, and here at Urban Environmental, we want to clear a few things up. Thus, we have brought together 5 things that you need to know for when you need to re-insulate in your home.
1. Your air conditioner or furnace is running continuously.
Re-insulating your home is not just about keeping warm air inside your home, it is about maintaining a steady temperature inside the home, no matter the weather outside. If you are noticing that your furnace or air conditioner is running continuously even when your thermostat is set to automatic, it may be time to look at re-insulating.
2. Rising Energy Bills
A great clue on whether you need to look at re-insulating your home is your energy bill. First, look at last year’s energy bill and compare it with your current one. There may have been rate changes or ridiculously hot or cold days, but the median should reflect that they are very similar. If you notice an upward trend you may have discovered the fact that your insulation is failing or you have air leakage within the building envelope.
3. Visible ice
If you live in a northern climate, the visibility of icicles or ice dams could be an indicator of poor or failing insulation for your home. Ice is able to form on the edge of your roofline when there is poor insulation and/or air leakage in the attic space, which makes for perfect ice making conditions. These are not only dangerous for people down below but can severely damage your roof if not taken care of! Proper insulation can ensure that ice dams are not able to be formed, and more importantly your roof and family will be safe from ice-related injuries.
4. Warm Attic or visible condensation
If you are noticing water forming in your attic and running down through your ceiling, it is directly caused by inadequate or failing insulation. If you have failing insulation you will have a warmer attic than normal, and this will lead to moisture that can condense and trickle down. Without detection, or changes to your insulation, this will lead to the growth of mould and rotting wood. Make sure to look for brownish water stains on the ceiling or wall, as well as soft spots in the drywall or plaster.
5. Varying Temperatures throughout the house
A home will have some small differences in temperatures depending on the positioning of the room, but massive temperature differences could suggest issues with insulation. A home that is well insulated should feel uniformly warm throughout. If you crank up the heat in one room, and another room feels cooler, it could be an issue of sub-standard insulation within your home.
When you need insulation removed, the only team you need to call is Urban Environmental. We have been providing the Greater Vancouver area with removal and cleaning options that fit every budget for years and cannot wait to help you and your family out with your insulation needs.
Basements and other damp areas of your home can cause significant issues if left untreated. Many of us need to rely on a dehumidifier to alleviate moisture problems before they occur. With these simple tips, you can get more efficiency and effectiveness from your dehumidifier.
Empty the reservoir often
One of the most common mistakes is simple to avoid. A damp room might require that you empty your dehumidifier more often than you think. Don’t be afraid to check out the water level daily, and it’s always a good idea to empty the chamber long before it fills to the brim. It’s easier to manage, plus you don’t risk spilling that stinky wastewater on yourself. Another idea? Consider using the drain hose feature if you can easily channel the water flow into a drain.
Location, location, location
Just like real estate, the position of your dehumidifier unit can make all the difference when it comes to performance and efficiency. Make sure to place the unit as centrally and unobstructed as possible. If you are trying to air out a room with doors and windows, it’s a good idea to shut everything to maximize the moisture removal potential. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, always place your dehumidifier unit far away from curtains and furniture.
Control the humidity level
Don’t be afraid to experiment with the relative humidity control if your unit is programmable. Depending on your climate and the seasonal weather, you may want to adjust your unit periodically to reflect the changing conditions. Typically, your relative humidity should be 30-50% but may depend on where you use it and what else sits in that room. Musical instruments, clothing, wood furniture, and other valuables may need more or less humidity than average.
Clean before you dehumidify
Dehumidifiers rely on air currents to get the job done. An unfortunate side effect of their running operation is dust in the air. It’s always a good idea to vacuum and sweep the room before you fire up your unit. This preparation might seem unnecessary, but it will greatly reduce the potential for dust in the air. It will also extend the life of your dehumidifier, and your unit will run with greater efficiency.
Timing is everything
Most modern dehumidifiers perform better in certain conditions over others. It’s counterintuitive, but they often dry out the air more effectively when there is extra moisture present. You can “hack” your dehumidifier by using it right after a shower or drying your clothes next to it. If you live in an area with time-based energy tariffs or smart metering, you might consider running it at night or on weekends to reduce the operating expense.
Hopefully, you can increase the performance of your dehumidifier and save on your energy costs. Excess moisture isn’t just bad for your home – it’s bad for you and your whole family. Mould is very dangerous to human health, and it’s unpleasant to smell and see inside your home. With a quality dehumidifier and these helpful tips, you can quickly improve the quality and safety of your indoor air in damp rooms and basements. Good luck!
With all the renovation shows on television these days and an endless stream of DIY guides online, it’s more tempting than ever to tackle home improvements yourself. Unfortunately, there are many things that are best left to the professionals when it comes to construction waste. Demolition services and environmental waste management are often seen as “nice-to-haves” from ambitious homeowners, but they are almost always a better option than tackling the problem on your own.
If you are renovating an old home, mould is almost guaranteed to present problems for you during removal. Spores from household mould can be extremely toxic and damaging to human health. Even with the proper equipment, many DIY-type will commit tragic errors in removal and disposal. Remediating mould is a professional skill that requires extensive training. If you have mould-ridden building materials, it’s a good idea to hire a trained and experienced specialist to tackle the job.
If you don’t know already, asbestos is one of the top concerns when renovating or demolishing an older home. Asbestos was extremely common as a fireproof insulator and building material that you will find in thousands of common products used in the past. Manufacturers would put it in all sort of different things – tiles, insulation, drywall, and many more. Before you start swinging your sledgehammer, you should strongly consider the services of an asbestos abatement specialist. They will quickly audit your home and let you know where any asbestos may be. Exposure to asbestos is a known cause of cancer, so it’s very important that you rely on professional help for removal and disposal.
Vermiculite is a common household building material used for decades before it fell out of favour in the 1990s. Vermiculite product manufacturers sourced most of the world’s vermiculite from a single mine, contaminated by high levels of asbestos. If you have vermiculite in your home, you should treat it just like any other asbestos materials. Leave it to the professionals, and let the experts worry about safe removal and environmentally-friendly disposal.
Dust and Airborne Particles
Any renovation or demolition project will feature a lot of airborne dust and particulate matter. While it’s tempting to tackle the problem yourself, you should rely on a professional team to minimize the cleanup required and reduce the risk of human health problems. Many people are extremely sensitive to dust and other allergens, and the professional services of a demolition expert will help you keep your family safe.
Glass, Nails, and Other Sharps
When you watch a renovation show on television, there is a lot going on behind the scenes that you don’t see. One of the most common hazards from demolition is sharp edges and protruding metal such as nails or bolts. It’s all too easy to cut yourself or injury your garbage collector with improper disposal of sharp materials. A professional-grade demolition company will safely and quickly remove any hazardous material, and you can rest assured that your construction waste won’t harm anyone.
With the wrath of weather we have seen in the Caribbean and Southern United States, now is a great time to talk about mould. Let’s take Hurricane Harvey for instance. We all saw the widespread flooding, the issues of low lying areas and of course the wind, but one thing that the news did not talk about is the widespread mould growth in the Houston area. As soon as flooding receded, the mould started to appear. It is well known in the remediation community that mould can grow within a single 24-hour period, but how is that even possible, and more importantly, what can you do to prevent it?
How mould works
You may be asking yourself who would mould be appearing a mere 24-hours after a flood, would it not take longer?! Well, the answer to that will take a little explaining. Let’s start with how mould works. Mold spores can be best described as an organism that is similar to pollen. They are very tiny and are in fact naked to the human eye, but they also are light as a feather and are able to float on air. Combine this with its ability to live a long time without a food source, and you can quickly see why mould is a bit of a problem. It also thrives outdoors, and while it cannot be active during winter, a spring thaw allows the mould spurs to be released from their dormant mode and mould will quickly become a threat once again. To survive, mould needs three things, oxygen, standing moisture and food. Their food source can be anything organic, but mould spores love cellulose which can be found in a number of textiles and carpets that are within the home. Mold is a serious concern, and you need to remember a few things about this dangerous spore and how to prevent it:
– Repair any leaks in plumbing, roof, windows, or other sources of water as soon as possible to limit the possibility of mould growth
– Mold will peak during the late summer and early fall due to the abundant wet vegetation that can be found throughout your area.
– Use a dehumidifier to control excess moisture and high humidity when needed during the warmer months
– Ensure that your home has adequate ventilation including an exhaust fan in your bathroom or any room with a shower.
– Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to help remove mould spores before they flare up
Why is it important
Mold is something to take care of immediately, and if left unattended will spread rapidly. Once a mould patch is large enough, it will produce more mould spores which will enter into your HVAC system and spread throughout the home, causing a true infestation. This is an issue as mould can cause a variety of issues that include:
– A persistent cough or a dry throat
– Irritation of the eyes
– Stuffy nose
– Respiratory issues
There is help on the horizon, and the first thing that you need to do is to call the team at Urban Environmental. We have been handling mould remediation services to the Greater Vancouver for years and will be able to get rid of your mould quickly and before it spreads to the rest of the house.
Rental properties continue to be a popular method for a family to bring in a second income, and yet these properties are not without their risks. Damage to the property is possible as well as incidental costs that can add up are a regular occurrence. But, the worst possible scenario for a homeowner is dealing with a marijuana grow-op in the property. With this in mind, here are 7 things to look for in your property if you suspect a marijuana grow-op.
If you have never noticed ductwork before, now is the time to take a look up. Ductwork that is irregular and seemingly does not make sense in its current state could be a big hint that something is up with the property.
– Circular holes in joists or ceiling
While looking up for the ductwork, make sure to check for patched circular holes. These holes will be where ductwork or ventilation would have been utilised for a grow-op on the property.
– Changes to the exterior of the home
When taking your initial walk around the property, is there new siding, or new brickwork that has been completed without talking to you? Outside access is always necessary when growing plants inside, and the side of the house is normally the fastest way out for grow-ops.
– Bald spots on the roof during winter
If you are lucky enough to live somewhere with an actual Winter, looking judgingly at your Vancouver, bald spots on the roof during the summer will be a huge red flag. Ventilation will either go through the roof or the side of the house, both of which will melt snow in a distinct pattern.
– Modified wiring
Seasoned electricians will not make a mess of an electrical panel, and when hastily setting up a grow-op people do not care about the tidiness of their work. Look for bare wires, and a jerry-rigged electrical
– Toxic Moulds in the basement or interior walls
Growing a plant indoors creates a humid environment, and with that comes mould. Look on the inside of windows, ventilation systems and of course the roof. Mould can be deadly and will be needed to be taken care of by professionals.
– New plumbing in the basement
If you are the homeowner, you know your plumbing system, and if something seems off, it probably is. Make sure to look for water supply lines as well as drainage coming in and out of the room.
If you have spotted any of the above issues, especially toxic mould, you need to contact Urban Environmental immediately. We are the proven solution for those facing hazardous material removal issues in the Greater Vancouver area. If you have any questions about grow-ops or any other issues you may be facing contact us today.
Demolishing a house can be a great thing when making room for a new home to go in its place. Whether it’s bigger, better or just plain new, it can be a great thing. With that in mind, here are the best reasons why demolishing your home to make room for a new one is a solid idea.
When someone owns a plot of land on a lake, it is sometimes easier to remove a house and rebuild on the same spot. Whether it’s a bigger house that’s needed, or just the location that is perfect, by demolishing the house and building the perfect one in its place, demolition makes things much easier.
Using the land more efficiently is another reason to demolish a home as well. If the property lines change or the land erodes, it can open up or remove a lot of land, completely changing the layout of the system. By demolishing the home and rebuilding, it can use the land way more efficiently and improve the property value.
- The Perfect Home:
Sometimes people have unrealistic expectations about their dream home. And sometimes instead of forcing a home to grow into the dream home, or letting the dream change, demolishing the original house to rebuild the dream home is easier than taking it one step at a time. By doing it all at one, and getting it right the first time it saves time, money and a whole lot of hassle.
Older homes have tons of little cracks and ticks that can leave a family in trouble. Sometimes, instead of waiting for that wall to fall, or the ceiling to come crashing in, it’s easier to plan it, demolish the home and take care of the family. When a home becomes unlivable and seems to be coming apart on its own accord, it just helps to do it before it can be done to you.
A very specific and dangerous reason to demolish a home can be because it is infested with wildlife. Whether it’s racoons, squirrels, or something like termites or ants, this can cause huge problems for a homeowner. Bugs like termites or ants can ruin a home, and are very difficult to get rid of, even with extermination. Once termites damage the structural integrity of the home, it is cheaper sometimes to break down the old home and build up a new one that will save time and money at the same time.
There are many reasons to demolish a home and these are the top five. Saving the headache and the money, in the long run, gives great reason for the homeowners to demolish. By demolishing once, early, and making it count, they can maximise the value of the property while building their dream home or getting rid of the bugs. As extreme as it may seem, it follows the one and done mentality. By demolishing, the house, you something right the first time and it will pay off in the long run.
Your roof is a principal component of your home, and if you live in a single family dwelling – it’s your roof alone. You’ve bought it,paid for it, and we imagine you’d like to get as many years out of it as possible. Needless to say, re roofing a home is an expensive venture. But when you get to that point, it’s not an optional one. You have to replace it!
As a premiere home restoration service provider here in Vancouver, those of us here at Urban Environmental have learned a thing or two (or two hundred) about what it takes to properly maintain a roof, so we’ll share some of that with you today.
All of this is particularly relevant given the fact that we live in the Lower Mainland of BC, which is a rain forest and gets a LOT of precipitation in the winter, not to mention the constant dampness that means your roof may still be wet long after the rain has stopped. There’s nothing you can do stop Mother Nature’s fondness for the wet stuff, so you’re only option is to be proactive in maintaining your roof
Here are seven tips and insights on how you can make your roof last for decades.
- General Inspections
If you want your roof to serve you for decades, you need to inspect your roof on a regular basis to see if there is no definitive structural damage occurring. Moreover, you need to do a thorough check-up before the onset of winter and after the wet season has passed. You will probably notice cracks and other points of breakage. Make sure you start your inspection at the ceiling. Keep an eye on rust when checking metallic materials on the roof. Ensure the flashing is in good condition. The general examination is important because it tells you if the roof needs repair.
If you notice something that looks damaged or not quite right in any way, now is definitely the time to move on it and prevent it from degenerating further.
- Frequent Gutter Cleaning
Your gutters are hard working fellas, and if they don’t ever get a reprieve from all the debris and whatnot that accumulates there then you’re going to eventually have problems. Clean them – thoroughly and regularly.
It ‘s not a good idea attempting to clean from the top of the roof. What you need to do is to stand firmly on a ladder, making sure to avoid the top three rungs. You will need two buckets; one for the debris and another for the tools you will use. It is safe to use wire hooks when attaching the buckets to the ladder, and the best place to start cleaning is the downspout. A trowel is essential in removing large debris. For finer materials, a hose can be used to flush them. If you see the water not draining after cleaning, it may be a sign of the downspout clogging. Take the time to carefully remove the downspout and clear it before re-affixing it. Take the time to do it correctly – it’s well worth it in the long run
- Repair Broken Gutters
Yes, this is a more tedious task than cleaning, but if you do in fact have broken or damaged gutters you definitely want to be putting in the work now rather than later. If after you flush the gutters there is standing water remaining, it is a sign that the gutter needs repair. If the gutter doesn’t slope well, you should detach the hangers and fix the drain. Check if the hooks are missing and replace them. If the channel lengths are not tight, repair the seams. Apply some paint to cover any rusting so that the circuit may look desirable. There is usually a close connection between the gutters and the roof. If water is not flowing well, the water may overflow from the gutters, and later spread on the roofs.
Long story short, water and debris that linger in a gutter can (and likely will) become a threat to your roof’s structural integrity. Be proactive in repairing your gutters to
- Get Rid of Moss
Nip this problem in the bud. As soon as moss growth appears, get up there and remove it thoroughly. If you get after it right away it won’t take long or be a particularly laborious job. Moss affects asphalt and wood in particular. Moss starts growth as a thin layer between and on the shingles. With time, they lift the shingles and water can seep through, which can then lead to wood rotting. Don’t use a pressure washer – it can damage the shingles. Many home renovation and supply stores sell a moss remover product.
To prevent moss from returning, you can install copper or zinc coated metal sheets beneath the top ridge on either side of the roof.
- Trim Overhanging Branches
Overhanging tree branches aren’t harmless. Not only do they let wildlife access your house with greater ease, they can actually damage the roof themselves. While trimming tree branches, you need to take more care, especially while dealing with the large ones. The safest process is to cut the branches into small sections. It allows for easier removal without the risk of damaging the roof. Don’t hesitate to call in a tree trimming service if you think the job is going to be too much for you. Cut branches that tumble onto your roof can actually cause the damage you’re working to prevent.
- Remove Rust Spots on Flashing
Any iron or steel component that’s directly exposed on a roof top is going to rust. That’s just how it is. The rust will then stain – and degrade – your shingles or other roofing material. Keep the spots clean by hosing them several times a year. Also considering using an additional sealant coating on the shingles that are in the path of the rusty water as it trickles away from the metal. Again it’s time consuming, but again it’s worth it.
- Replace Blistered Shingles
There are two primary reasons why shingles blister. The first is when moisture becomes trapped and then exterior temperatures vary. The other problem is when the roof is installed poorly and not properly ventilated. Blistering shingles are not a concern to many people if they still keep granules, but if allowed to continue unchecked they will eventually pop. When this occurs, it dislocates the granules. The shingles then become exposed to the UV rays, and the loss rate for the granules increases rapidly. Which eventually leads to – you guessed it – leaking. To prevent blistered shingles from progressing to this stage, replace them when you see the first signs of blistering. Replacing during the warmer months of spring or summer is highly advisable.
This is only an introduction. There’s much more you can do to maintain your roof long-term, so feel free to do some online research of your own. And of course, for any property restoration needs in Vancouver or the surrounding areas, you’re always in the best hands with Urban Environmental.