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How to Identify and Stop Termite Damage

When dealing with a termite infestation, taking protective steps can eliminate the need to have your house fumigated. Photo: Van Hooser Enterprises, Inc. (2011)

When it comes to dealing with termite infestations, prevention is always the best policy. Regular monitoring can prevent up to 90 percent of termite damage, so watch for telltale signs of termites and have them exterminated before they get too out of control.

One of the most obvious signs of a termite infestation is the presence of earthen tubes (also called migratory tubes) outside your house. These tubes are the result of termite swarms during the spring and fall, when it first starts to rain. Another thing to watch for is irregularly shaped piles of a powdery, brown substance protruding from your structure’s framing—usually in attics and crawlspaces or on windowsills.

There are several steps you can take to prevent termite damage and sustain an effective termite treatment plan throughout the year. Consider the following tips for making your home a less attractive target for wood-boring insects:

Take care of moisture problems

  • Keep gutters and downspouts as clean as possible. Wet leaves provide moisture and food for termites, and since the gutters are attached to your home, they’re easy points of entry. Clogged gutters can also contribute to moisture problems by soaking wood off the roof and fascia boards.
  • Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and air conditioning units
  • Divert water away from the foundation.
  • Remove excessive plant cover.Get rid of standing water on your roof.
  • Keep vents open and clear.
  • Seal entry points around water pipes and utility lines. Continue reading “How to Identify and Stop Termite Damage” »

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Control Moisture to Control Household Mold

By Matt Solis, Senior Editor

The best way to prevent mold growth is to keep all materials in your home as clean and dry as possible. Make sure your house is well ventilated with a relative humidity between 30 and 50 percent. To reduce indoor humidity, vent bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; use air conditioners and dehumidifiers; increase ventilation; and use exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing or cleaning. To further protect your home from mold growth, consider the following tips:

  • Standing water sources promote mold and bacterial growth, so it’s important to cover sump pumps, enclose fish tanks and ensure basement drains (for air conditioning hoses, humidifiers and washers) aren’t clogged. Find and correct obvious sources of moisture such as leaky faucets, dripping pipes or cold surfaces where moisture condenses.
  • Use a dehumidifier, air conditioner or furnace to help dry the air in your home.
  • If you have crawl spaces in your house, install a vapor barrier over the ground (4 to 6 millimeter polyethylene plastic) to prevent soil moisture from evaporating and filling your home. Damp crawl spaces can lead to wood rot on floor joists, beams and sills located directly above. You can further minimize humidity by placing vents at opposite sides of your crawl spaces. Also, the grading around your home should be sloped to prevent water from pooling underneath it. Continue reading “Control Moisture to Control Household Mold” »

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