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Case Studies

Landlord to AdvantaClean: Murky Bucket!
Dryer Vent Bucket Causes Mold Growth
Location: Richmond, Virginia

"Is there any way you can clean this mold up today?" Said an exasperated landlord over the phone. He owned a rental home in Carytown.

"I'm out of town so I don't know what it looks like in the basement, but the tenant moved in yesterday, and she's freaking out like the world is going to end."

We assured him that we could absolutely take a look today. If was a small job, we could do it there and then. If it needed more time, we could schedule it for the next day.

"Thank you!" He said with joy. "Also, let me know what you think caused this mold to grow on the exposed wood. I spent a lot of money encapsulating the basement last year."

After AdvantaClean got to the home and looked at the basement, we discovered a light covering of mold on exposed substrates.

"Everything else looks good," we said after calling him back. "But you need to make sure your dryer transition ducting exits the basement to the exterior. Your dryer vent bucket is causing the excessive mold growth."

The landlord agreed. "Duh, I never thought about that, but I guess you're right. That would be a big help. I always had my doubts about that dryer vent bucket. Thank you!"

AdvantaClean won the job and started work the next day.

AdvantaClean Cleans Up After Fire
Bathroom exhaust fan shorts in vacant home.
Location: Mechanicsville, Virginia
REALTOR SENDS ADVANTACLEAN SMOKE SIGNALS "We need a quote from AdvantaClean to get rid of the smoke smell and soot at a house we're selling," said a local realtor in a voice mail message for AdvantaClean. The home in Mechanicsville, Va., was vacant, but someone left the half bath exhaust fan on, and it caught fire before shorting. It left thick black soot in a few downstairs rooms, but the whole house had to be cleaned -- ceilings, walls, floors, everything. We texted the realtor; he gave us the lockbox code. We took a look and sent him a quote. "How soon can you get started?" he texted back! It took three full days to do the job, but we completed the job with a chlorine dioxide gas treatment to finish.

Her Bathtub Runneth Over
Kids Flood Home By Accident
Location: Mechanicsville, Virginia

"Hey, we got a call from a mother who says her children were playing in the bathtub," said Elizabeth at AdvantaClean's call center. "They left the bathtub running, and it flooded the home. She asked how soon you can get out there to help clean it up."

Within an hour, AdvantaClean was at the home with a trailer full of drying equipment.

"My kids were messing around in the bathtub and forgot to turn off the tap," said the homeowner. "My mother called me after she stopped by and saw all this water falling from the garage ceiling."

AdvantaClean inspected the home and thankfully found that most of the water had gone straight down into the garage. Some got into the second floor hallway and the corridor underneath.

"We can take care of this for you in no time," said AdvantaClean's chief restorer. "We'll work with you insurance company to get all the paperwork and documentation they need."

She was very thankful. "The kids are normally real good, and I know they didn't mean it," she said. 

"This might be a blessing in disguise since I've always wanted to remodel that bathroom. Now might be a good time."

What a Crock!

"Hey, Kevin, it's me again," said a three-time customer recently. "That commode has leaked again on the first floor. We saw some gook seep out from the edges."

Within an hour, we were at the customer's Mechanicsville home to investigate. After an air duct cleaning for the whole home in 2019 and a commode seal leak in the same bathroom in 2020, it seemed like this time, something was wrong with the commode.

"Let me check with the plumber I recommended, Mr. Rooter Plumbing." We had watched the old commode be re-attached firmly in place. There was no way it could leak.

The plumber recommended a new commode. They explained that every so often an older commode will still leak after resealing and reattachment. Sure enough, after a new one was installed, no leaks have occurred since.

AdvantaClean checked back after a few months. "Thanks for calling again, Kevin," said the customer with a smile, "no leaks so far, and no offense, but I hope I never have to see you again!"

Prevent Pipes from Freezing
How to Keep Your Pipes From Freezing in winter.
Location: Tri-State
AdvantaClean shows to keep your pipes from freezing in cold weather.

Crawl Space Needs Sump Pump After Flooding
The general contractor in Richmond, Virginia (Va.), asked AdvantaClean to install a sump pump in a Cape Cod home in the east end of town near where I-64 and I-95 cross. It was one of the repair items required for the home's sale. The day after installation, we had a big rainstorm. The tenant called saying the sump pump was constantly running. Guess why? Because there was massive flooding under the home! We added extra drainage ditches to help the sump pump remove water from the crawl space.

Pipe Leak Requires Hardwood Removal
"How am I?" Replied Gary on the phone. "I'm doing better than I was an hour ago!" His wife and five children had just finished drying .up the hardwood floors with mops and about 25 towels. Somehow a supply pipe to the master bathtub upstairs in their Midlothian home had come loose, and hundreds of gallons of water shot out before they could turn it off at the spiggot. They filed a claim with insurance and asked AdvantaClean to get to work with water remediation. The underlayment for the hardwood oak flooring downstairs and the laminate hardwood in the bathroom upstairs were trapping moisture, so they had to be removed. We knew Gary as a fellow member of a local chapter with Business Network International (BNI). "My wife and I are so relieved to have you working on this and helping us through the whole process," he texted. "Thank you!"

Mold Remediation and Flooding
Basement flooding cleanup project.
Location: City, State
Problem: AdvantaClean was called to perform a free inspection. A water damage problem was experienced on the basement. Microbial growth started to develop on the ceiling and walls. An independent Mold Assessment company performed an inspection and collected samples, analyzed lab results, and developed a detailed scope of work. Solution: Our crew began with the work, following the scope of work provided by the mold assessment company, we began building plastic containment to isolate affected areas from the rest of the house. We HEPA Vacuum interior of walls and ceiling and wiped down with an anti-microbial solution all cavities. Our crew also encapsulated all remaining materials with an anti-microbial paint to protect remaining material from advanced microbial growth.

Save the Wine
Mold Remediation
Location: City, State
Faulty air conditioning unit and ground water leak from a neighbors lot resulted in gross contamination of this clients wine cellar. We were able to remediate the mold and save the WINE!

Coming Clean: Commercial Dryer Duct Looks Clear

Location: Richmond, VA 23230

Problem: "It's been about five years, Kate, how are you?" I said to the owner of a nail salon on the outskirts of Richmond, Va., early Monday morning.

She had previously hired AdvantaClean to clean her dryer ducts at the back of her salon on a monthly basis. But her ducting was relatively clean, so she stopped us coming back so often.

"Yes, it has been a long time," she said. "But I think the dryer duct probably needs cleaning now."

Solution: We got to work. After disconnecting the dryer transition ducting from the dryer, we noticed it looked pretty clean.

"Hey Kev, this isn't dirty," said Aaron, AdvantaClean's chief technician. "There's only a little bit of lint there as well as in the ducting all the way to the roof. This won't take long to clean."

We let Kate know.

"Everything looks quite good already," I said showing her photos. "We've cleaned out the ducting, but I don't think you need to clean it on a regular basis -- even every five years."

We checked plumbing for leaks. Nothing. We checked for mold. Nothing. There was no water or mold remediation needed.

I advised her to give us a call at least once a year for AdvantaClean to check the ducting or if the the dryer starts taking a longer time to dry clothes.

"Thank you, Kevin, it's been good to see you again."


New Crawl Space Sump Pump Sucks Big Time

Location: Dunnsville, VA 23111

Problem: "It floods in our rental home all the way up to the joists a couple of times a year," said Jeff, a landlord with a home near the Rappahannock River in Virginia.

"We tried everything to pump it out, but it don't work," he added. "The last guy installed a sump pump, but he put it in the wrong place."

He continued that he was tired of his tenant calling every time it rained and saying how much water was under the house."

Solution: "We took a look.

"The best thing is to jack this house up about six feet," I said with a smile, "but that's not in the budget."

I added that he could use a drain tile installed in the perimeter of the crawl space, flush the discharge pipe, and add a larger, more powerful sump pump.

He agreed.

We dug a trench inside and lined it with 100 feet of four-inch perforated piping with a filter sleeve around leading to the sump pump. We covered the new pipe with gravel.

We graded soil to drain toward the sump pump. We added a new Zoeller 1/2 HP sump pump. And after correcting faulty plumbing, the new sump pump discharged excess water beautifully.

It has been several weeks since we finished. And, it has rained often. So far, the customer hasn't called us about complaints from the tenant. Mission accomplished!"


Despite Lock Down, Water Leaks And Floods Keep Happening

Location: Glen Allen, VA 23111

Problem: Plumbing problems and mother nature don't seem to change that much -- even with the coronavirus lock down.

"But homeowners do seem to be more aware of leaks now that they're spending more time at home," said Kevin Dumville, owner-operator of AdvantaClean. "Whereas they might have not noticed a stained baseboard or ceiling before, they do now."

Or it might even be the quiet drip of water. "People are just able to pick up on these kind of sounds at home these days."

When it comes to a sudden burst pipe or flooding, he added, people are also quicker to get it stopped or cleaned up."

Solution: "We've definitely seen an uptick in emergency water damage calls in the last couple of months," said Heather Profitt, co-owner of Mr. Rooter Plumbing. "In some cases, as crazy as it sounds, people are flushing their handi-wipes down the commode and causing backups."

Heather added that since more and more people are also at home for longer periods, their plumbing is getting used much more frequently. "That extra wear and tear might cause some issues."

"And if there's a heavy downpour, there's going to be flooding somewhere," she said. "That's why we're here."


AdvantaClean Mold Remediation -- With A Twist

Location: Richmond, VA 23111

Problem: "Your competitor came yesterday to do a crawl space mold inspection," said Greg. "Their mold remediation estimate involved tens of thousands of dollars and full encapsulation. That was just way, way out of our budget."

He added that they were planning to move soon, so they didn't want to spend too much on any fixes.

"We know this house needs work, so go easy on us," he said with a smile."

Solution: "Upon inspection, we found a disconnected gutter down spout and a leaking garden hose spigot.

"If you twist it all the way, it still leaks. Both are depositing water onto the ground and and under Your home," said one of AdvantaClean's chief inspectors. "Get those fixed, and that will usually go a long way to reducing your mold remediation expenses."

Under the house, we found some mold, and we recommended a new vapor barrier.

"Phew, that's great," he said. "Can you clean up the mold and lay the new vapor barrier? We'll geta plumber to fix the hose and someone else to fix the gutter."

He was relieved. "Wow, that's really awesome," he continued. "We've got a little one inside and another baby on the way, so we didn't want to spend a lot on these repairs. Thank you!"


Closed Businesses Take Time For Cleaning And Maintenence

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: (Temporarily) closed for business? Even though a lot of companies are shut for the moment during the coronavirus pandemic, some are taking the opportunity to tend to building maintenance and cleaning. "Since most who are usually in buildings are not there, businesses are asking AdvantaClean to provide COVID-19 sanitizing services," said Kevin Dumville, owner - operator of AdvantaClean of Richmond West. "A lot of them just want that peace of mind."

Solution: Some of them, he added, are also asking AdvantaClean to do mold remediation for issues they've put off doing. Ryan Walsh of EMC Mechanicial said it's been a good time for his customers to take care of HVAC system maintenance. "EMC is a local, full service mechanical contractor," said Ryan. "We specialize in commercial HVAC, piping, plumbing and refrigeration solutions. It's been a good time to perform building energy audits when these facilities are empty." Now more than ever, Ryan continued, businesses are seeing how HVAC system maintenance can reduce risk and help discover ways to positively impact the bottom line. "That's a win-win type situation right now," he said.


Covid-19 and Virtual Inspections Help Keep Things in Focus

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "Eeuuww! Don't want service providers in your house or business given the coronavirus? No problem. Let's do a virtual inspection.

While AdvantaClean performs free in-person inspections and estimates for water, mold, and moisture issues, we can also do them online -- with your help.

"We use a variety of Web sites or apps to have a customer show us the issues with their phone," said Kevin Dumville, owner - operator of AdvantaClean of Richmond West. "It's really easy, it works, and it's free."

AdvantaClean also does in-person inspections in full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) if requested. "It's better to do inspections in person, but if it has to be virtual, we can do it," said Kevin."

Solution: "Lots of other businesses are doing it this way as well. "We're doing what are known as 'desktop appraisals'," said Jerry Hoyt, a certified appraiser-consultant with Shield Asset Appraisals. "If you know commercial lenders who need desktop appraisals for assets related to business loans, give me a call."

Jerry added that he is also doing appraisals for drivers of cars damaged in accidents as well as for collectors who have classic cars.

"With COVID-19, people want to know what their assets are worth," Jerry added. "Most of the time, it's to help protect your family, your business, or even your retirement. It seems that virtual online inspections are helping to keep a lot of important things in focus for people."


Just In: Mold Still Grows And Homes Still Sell Despite Virus

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "Kevin, the housing market in Central Virginia is stable, and there are still many home buyers and sellers out there -- even with all the concern over COVID-19," said Don Cahoon, a real estate agent with Keller Williams.

"High unemployment and social distancing are affecting the market, but I believe the housing market around here is going to stay strong for a while," he added.

AdvantaClean usually sees a gradual increase in mold inspections and remediation jobs for homes at this time of year compared to winter -- and that hasn't changed in 2020. Check out this video taken during a recent AdvantaClean crawl space inspection.

"The housing market isn’t typically tied to swings in the stock market, too, because people don’t buy homes purely as investments," said Don. "Housing is a basic need, and a decision to buy one is usually prompted by entering a new stage in life.

" Newlyweds moving in together and buying a house. Couples having kids and needing a bigger place. Empty nesters downsizing.

"Recessions don’t change these circumstances," he continued. "Even in full-blown recessions, the housing market is remarkably durable."

"For all of us working in the real estate industry, we're grateful for the steady activity right now. Things will change, but despite the challenges for all of us, I am optimistic."

Solution: "The housing market isn’t typically tied to swings in the stock market, too, because people don’t buy homes purely as investments," said Don. "Housing is a basic need, and a decision to buy one is usually prompted by entering a new stage in life.

" Newlyweds moving in together and buying a house. Couples having kids and needing a bigger place. Empty nesters downsizing.

"Recessions don’t change these circumstances," he continued. "Even in full-blown recessions, the housing market is remarkably durable."

"For all of us working in the real estate industry, we're grateful for the steady activity right now. Things will change, but despite the challenges for all of us, I am optimistic."


AdvantaClean Sanitizes For Coronavirus At Local Bank

Location: Richmond, VA 23111

Problem: At 4:55 p.m. on Friday, April 3, AdvantaClean collected the keys from a point of contact at a local bank branch. A crew of two with AdvantaClean were there to sanitize for the coronavirus at the 3,152 square foot interior.

Solution: AdvantaClean used standard operating procedures recommended by industry leaders -- IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification) and RIA (Restoration Industry Association).

Our protocol centered on emptying trash cans of contents, disposing of lolly pops and other wrapped candy, damp-wiping touch points (counter tops, handles, switches, etc.), and fogging with an antimicrobial disinfectant.

Several antimicrobial agents can be used that are already EPA approved, have infectious virus kill claims, and leave little to no chemical footprint.

While AdvantaClean cannot guarantee an outcome through this sanitization process, the customer accepted and was pleased with the process.

"Here are your keys," we said to our point of contact after finishing the job. "Everything is locked back up, and by the way, we sanitized the keys, too."

"Thank you so much for getting to this so quickly," she said. "We really appreciate you doing this."


Mold Cleanup Skills Prep AdvantaClean For Coronavirus Cleanup

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: Every day, AdvantaClean takes calls from homes and businesses wanting mold inspections and mold remediation. Every day, we deliver. This experience makes AdvantaClean uniquely qualified to effectively clean, sanitize, and decontaminate homes and businesses for the coronavirus and other germs.

Solution: Got PPE? Check. EPA-approved disinfectants? Check. Lots of remediation experience? Check. We have written protocols based on industry best practices, and -- in regards to the coronavirus -- they are updated frequently to integrate information from the CDC and EPA. We collaborate, too. AdvantaClean draws on its 112--franchise network nationwide to bring unparalleled resources to bear on projects big and small. We can also mobilize on a dime to get homes back to normal and get businesses back to business. So while AdvantaClean's mold cleanup work continues, we're prepared for coronavirus cleanup at any time.


Mold Gets The Boot

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "I'm helping my customer de-clutter her home," said Amanda. "We're getting rid of a lot of stuff, but can you tell me why there's a moldy smell in this closet?"

She explained that the customer's clothes smelled of mold. Her leather boots had mold on them, and faint mold spots appeared on boxes in the room."

Solution: "Amanda, the air supply diffuser was blocked by too many items," said AdvantaClean's chief inspector. "The louvers inside were directing air toward the wall and not the center of the closet. All this contributes to a lack of good air flow in the closet."

That's why mold was growing on so many items.

We explained how the metal diffuser can cause condensation to form on it during the hot, humid summer months. Those droplets of water can bleed onto the drywall -- causing more mold to grow.

"We can take this diffuser down and clean it as well as do mold remediation for this visible microbial growth," we advised. "Some items you can clean yourself. You might want to discard other items that are badly affected."

She promised to take the advice. "Can you also clean the air duct system? My customer has a very sensitive upper respiratory system," Amanda added. "When can you start?"



Recommendation? Add A Gutter

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23024

Problem: Kevin, we need AdvantaClean to look at this home and figure out why so much water is getting into the crawl space and tell the owners how to fix it," said Jeff, a general contractor.

"If they need to clean up for mold, change out the insulation, vapor barrier, what ever. Let them know what you think," he added. "But we've got to get our estimate to them today. Can you do it?"

Solution: "That afternoon, AdvantaClean took a look at the home.

It was built in the 1950s, but the crawl space looked clear of visible mold. There was no insulation, and the vapor barrier covered the ground.

However, there was a lot of dried silt on the vapor barrier. It was clear that rainfall coming off the roof to the side of the house was going into the crawl space via the crawl space door.

We recommended adding a small gutter at the side of the home with a downspout extension that pushed rainfall farther down the hill at the rear of the home.

"I believe that's all you need to do," I said to Jeff.

"Great. Thanks," he said. "You're the best."


Dryer Cleaning Clears Blockage For Twin City Native

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "You betcha, we had to to the same thing when we were in Minnesota," said Nils. "We don't think the dryer in our new home here has ever had been cleaned before. We had it done at our old house, so we know we needed to get it done as soon as possible after we moved."

"O'course, if we were in Minnesota, we'd be standing in four to five feet of snow right now," he added chuckling."

Solution: "Nils knew exactly why dryer cleaning was needed.

"If you don't get your dryer cleaned, you could be exposed to a greater risk of it starting a fire, dontcha know?

We stood outside with the customer as Aaron, AdvantaClean's chief estimator and senior environmental technician, ran the air whip pole down the dryer ducting. Lint kept coming out and floating to the ground.

"It looks a bit like snowfall, doesn't it," I said to the customer, half joking. Nils looked at me with smile.

"Oh, for sure," he said. "But that's a lot more lint coming out than I imagined. Thanks for getting to this so quickly."


Gobsmacked: Crawl Space Ends Up Being A Can Of Worms

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "You might as well check the crawl space as well while you're here," said Mark during a recent air duct inspection at his home. "We're moving sometime in the next year, so we need to fix what ain't right."

He asked AdvantaClean to check for moisture on a floor board in a bedroom that sagged. "I can't figure out what's going here," he added. "The floor sags real bad when I step on it."

We checked for moisture, but it was dry. "You may need to put some sister joists underneath to hold it up better. But let me go check in the crawl space. Have you been under the house recently?"

Mark shook his head. "I've been living here 26 years, and I have never been in the crawl space once. My back is so bad, I don't think I could get out if I went in."

Solution: "AdvantaClean spent about 10 minutes inspecting the entire 600 square foot crawl space. Once done, we gave him our findings.

"Did you know one end of your air duct trunk line has fallen down? A couple of the support straps have given way, and one of your air supply branch lines has come loose.

I showed him the photos. Mark was gobsmacked.

"And that sag in the floor? Well, the joist right there is completely cracked," we continued. "And the people you paid to do mold remediation five years ago? It looks like they just sprayed everything and didn't do any mold removal. See? Look at my photos."

Mark was almost speechless. "Wow! I'm glad you took a look under there," he said. "I'd never had known it was so bad in the crawl space. Thank you."

Gobsmacked1.jpg Gobsmacked2.jpg Gobsmacked3.jpg

Mind The Gap

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "We're finished, Tom," I said. "Everything is dry, and Aaron is pulling equipment as we speak in the crawl space."

Tom had recently discovered a water leak under his home that began swelling and bucking his hardwood floors.

Solution: "We had finished remediation, and we were taking down our containment and pulling equipment.

We showed the homeowner our moisture readings and extent of our demolition in the kitchenette and hallway.

"Mind the gap here," we cautioned. "There's about a quarter-inch gap between the sub floor boards when they built your home." We shone a flashlight at the spot. "Nothing to worry about, but we're going to cover it with tape until your flooring company comes to install you new flooring."

We didn't want an odor from the crawl space entering the home.

"Wow, we had no idea," said Tom. "We've only lived here a couple of years. I guess that's how they build houses around here 30-40 years ago."

MoldCrackedWood.jpg MoldCrackedWood2.jpg MoldCrackedWood3.jpg

Grills Gone Wild! Mold Flourishes On Pharmacy Diffusers

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "How soon can you, like, inspect this pharmacy?" Said Tracy, the point of contact.

A property management customer recently reached out to AdvantaClean with an urgent message in two e-mails and a phone call in the space of an hour.

"The manager is going crazy. She said that mold has been growing wild since they installed the new HVAC system at the store. I mean come on. I don't, like, think it's mold.It's probably just dust and they've never noticed it before."

"Oh-my-God. What ever you do, do NOT say the word 'mold' to anyone in the store," she added."

Solution: AdvantaClean took a look at the store within an hour. While an HVAC company was coming by to look at the system, all the property management company wanted from AdvantaClean was an estimate for mold removal. Once the estimate was accepted, we scheduled the job.

There were about 30 supplies and returns covered in relatively light debris. In the evening, we set up our equipment. All grills were HEPA vacuumed clean and taken off to clean inside the boot attachment. All affected walls and ceilings were addressed as well.

One-mil light poly was placed over shelves and inventory while working on the areas above. Surfaces were also cleaned with an antimicrobial disinfectant solution. A couple of 600 cfm air scrubbers were also set up in the store during mold remediation.

Next morning, the manager called AdvantaClean to say how nice it looked and smelled inside the store.

CeilingMold1.jpg CeilingMold2.jpg

Wut? Weird Place To Find Rolls Of Foam -- In CrawlSpace

Location: Midlothian, VA 23112

Problem: "What the heck is this?" During a crawl space mold inspection last week, we found rolls and rolls of 1/4-inch foam stapled to bottom of joists.

Most of it had fallen down, and we were pretty sure this wasn't up to code.

We were there to do an inspection for a general contractor as well as do him a favor. The home inspection report said a professional should check the crawl space and make recommendations for mold removal.

The report also highlighted a rotting sill plate at the front of the home. The contractor asked us to take a video of it as well as provide a recommendation for mold remediation."

Solution: A poor gutter system was responsible for the rotting sill plate.

But the foam? Not sure why that was there. The report did not ask for its removal either.

"Well, Chris," I said. "I don't know who installed these rolls of foam, but I would recommend removing it all. There's really thick mold here."

Perhaps it was added to provide an extra layer of thermal insulation. Maybe it was to help keep out pests. Maybe a homeowner did it himself thinking it would help keep moisture out.

What do you think?

Contractor: This Aint Dirt... I'm Pretty Sure It's Mold

Location: Glen Allen, VA 23059

Problem: "Hey Kevin, can you come check out this black stuff we found?" Said Bobby, a local contractor, on the phone. "I know this ain't dirt."

He had pulled up the kitchen floors of a customer's home when he discovered dark staining on the sub floor as well as well as a fine film of dry mold around where the fridge had been.

"I'm pretty sure it's mold, but what do I know?" He added. "You're the mold guy."

The customer also said he had turned off the water supply to the fridge ice maker, but he obviously didn't. "When I unhooked the supply line from the wall, water shot all over my pants and the floor for a couple of seconds before I could turn it off. I need you to clean up that, too."

AdvantaClean headed straight over.

Solution: Due to the heavy mold on the sub floor, we immediately set up containment around the kitchen.

Aaron, AdvantaClean's chief estimator and technician, did some mold remediation inside and in the crawl space under the affected area before setting up drying equipment.

In three days, all was dry and the excessive, black mold was gone.

Thanks for getting to this so quick," said Bobby. "That helps me keep this project on track."

Crawlspace Looks Great, But Try These Three Things

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: “We don’t know what’s bothering us, but we think it’s mold,” said Kate. “We moved in recently, and the pest guy said we had mold all over the crawl space. Can you check and let us know what we need to do?”

We looked under the home, but we couldn’t find anything.

No signs of excessive moisture intrusion. The vapor barrier covered the ground like it should. No insulation, and there were only a few spots of light surface mold.

Inside, we checked around the all the plumbing, but we didn’t find any leaks. We also checked the air duct system, but it looked pretty clean.

Solution: “Kate, your home’s in good shape,” I said. “Here are a few things you can do on your own that might address the air quality issue you feel in your home.”

I suggested keeping her crawl space vents shut all year except April and October. “That will help keep pipes from freezing in winter and help keep humid air out in summer.” Less moisture usually means less mold.

Second, I advised her to use a vacuum to clean air return plenums and supply boots as well as branch lines as far as she could reach.

“Third, clean your diffusers and the areas around them with Concrobium’s Mold Control solution,” I said. “It costs about $10 at Lowe’s.”

I asked her to try those things and to call AdvantaClean back if there was no difference in a few weeks. So far, we haven’t heard from them!


Thick Mold, Relatively Speaking

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "One of our relatives left us her home after she died," said a recent customer. "We've had to do a lot of renovations to the home, but we'd like to sell it quick."

He added that the house had been completely gutted on the inside with just sub floor and joists beams exposed.

"We've got to clean up that thick mold on the attic roofing and rafters before any of the subcontractors will start work," he added. "How do you clean up mold?"

Solution: "Well, we need to get ladders in there as well as boards to help us get to the mold," said AdvantaClean's lead estimator/technician. "Then we HEPA-vacuum the mold and wipe it off with cloths soaked in antimicrobial."

We said we'd have an air scrubber running the whole time to catch any mold or other particles dispersed into the air.

Once that was done, the sub contractors could start.

"OK," the customer replied. "The siding contractor is coming back on Monday to remove all his left-over supplies and stuff on the sub floor inside. Can you start on Tuesday?"

"You bet," we said. "We'll be there first thing in the morning Tuesday. Thanks!"


You've Got Water In Your Drier Duct

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "When's the earliest you can come back?" Said the homeowner, Mary. "We know our clothes aren't drying like they should in our the, but we're not quite sure why."

At first, Mary thought it was her drier. However, after cleaning the drier ducting from outside the home above the second floor, we found water.

"There's water in here," said Aaron, AdvantaClean's crew chief on top of a 30-foot ladder outside the home a few days before. He was using a reverse air whip to clean the drier ducting.

"We've got to go inside to clean the ducting," he added."

Solution: Inside, we found an unusual 6-inch drier duct leading to the exterior that snaked several times around the attic from the laundry room before leaving the home.

"I've never seen this kind of drier ducting before," said Aaron. "There are too many bends and areas in this ducting where the moisture from the drier can get captured."

Mary said that was good to know. "We have a company coming here to replace that drier ducting for us," she said. "Thank you!"

Sump Pump Snafu Calls For A Little Jiggle

Location: Mechanicsville, VA23111

Problem: "We've got a foot or two of standing water in our basement," said Alice. "If you can come now to pump it out, that would be great. We called another company, but they said they'd be here an hour ago."

After questioning, we discovered that Alice's 15x18 basement was unfinished and contained a water heater and HVAC unit on cinder blocks -- nothing else. They'd had trouble with their sump pump since moving into the home two years ago.

"My husband installed a back up battery and put it up off the ground," she said. "We had about three feet of standing water in there after a heavy rain about six months ago."

"My husband's at work, but I'm at home. If you can get here before the other company, you've got the job."

Solution: "Holy smoke! Look at that...that's a lot of water," said AdvantaClean's lead technician. "Let's get our gas-powered water pump set up to get all this water out of here."

After setting everything up and pumping all but a little surface water in the basement, we took a closer look.

"What's up with this sump pump," he thought. "This wire's good, that one's good. Float is good." He jiggled a few wires.


The sump pump kicked into gear after jiggling one of the wires to it. The remaining water in the crawl space was gone.

"Alice, you need to get a qualified plumber to look at this sump pump." he said. "I think this is your problem. I'd call Mr. Rooter Plumbing. Here's their contact info."

"Thank you!" she said. "I'll give them a call, but we need to get this dang thing replaced."

Unhinged Drier Duct Leads To Heated Discourse

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "Blimey! It hot in your crawl space," said Kevin, AdvantaClean's owner - operator. "I just did a spot check of our water remediation work, and I noticed your drier vent ducting was unhinged."

"I was sweating like crazy."

The customer had the drier running, but was surprised and alarmed as we had just finished the cleaning and dry-out out of her crawl space following the leak of a pipe.

She paused and shuddered slightly. "I'm sorry, but this has been an emotional week," she said. "With the water leak, all this equipment running inside, and Christmas coming up -- it's been a lot to take in."

"My husband is out of town, and now with this disconnected drier duct, I don't know what we're going to do."

Solution: "I fixed it," I said. "Don't worry. I used Nashua metal tape to put it back in place."

I showed her a photo on my phone and motioned to the fogging outside her back window.

"Do you see that steam?" I added. "That's your warm humid drier discharge hitting the cold dry air outside."

"Oh," she said with a smile. "I didn't know the drier ducting came out under the deck. That looks funny."

I told her that we already had a dehumidifier under her house. "Let's leave that running to get the extra humidity out of your crawl space."

I suggested they have a qualified HVAC company install a code-compliant drier vent duct in her crawl space -- but for now, what she had was OK.

"Thank you for doing that," the customer said. "We really appreciate it."


Pipe Leak Puts Crawlspace In Hot Water

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23139

Problem: "We knew something was wrong when the hard wood floors started to buckle," said Matt. "As soon as I opened the crawl space door, I saw steam everywhere. It was a hot water pipe leak."

He said he crouched to get a closer look.

"My back's real bad now, but I used to be a contractor," he added. "I knew how to cut the water supply and cap that line. It was hard going for me, but I got it done."

Erie Insurance recommended AdvantaClean.

"You guys must be good, but my wife wants to check with some other companies."

We explained how we would do the clean up and work with his insurance company every step of the way. We addressed all his questions.

Solution: "Later that evening, we got a text from Matt: "My wife said if you can start soon, you have the job. She doesn't want any more mold to have a chance of growing."

After a few more texts, we started the next day.

After five days, all was dried, remediated for mold, and sanitized. New insulation was put back in and the wood flooring returned to it's original shape.

"Thank you," said Matt's wife, Betty. "I knew my husband couldn't do the work, so I appreciate you coming so soon."

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Rotten Luck: Home Inspector Misses Long-Time Water Leak

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "Your husband was right," AdvantaClean's inspector said to Jill. "There is heavy mold under your commode. But it's not due to a leaking supply line. It's due to a leaking seal."

She thanked us, and said that they were filing an insurance claim and having two other companies come by to inspect.

"We're new to the area, and we'd like to get a couple more opinions on what we should do," she said. "We've only been here a couple of months, and the home inspector never mentioned the mold there or any leaking."

Solution: "The next day, Jill called us back.

"We'd like you to do the remediation in the bathroom like you described," she said. "The estimates from the other companies were way too much for this. It's just a small leak around the commode."

We coordinated our plan of action with her insurance company adjuster. We disconnected the commode and removed about 10 square feet of tile over the affected sub floor and cleaned for the mold underneath.

We discovered rotten sub floor around the plumbing. "You'll want to make sure you have a qualified contractor replace that sub floor," we told Jill. "If you need a recommendation, let us know."

Three days later, all was dried and sanitized. "Thanks for your help," added Jill. "Your guys were great and very professional."

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Is Your Mind In The Gutter? In This Case, That's Good

Location: Mechanicsville, VA. 23111

Problem: "I like your estimate," said the office store owner. "Can you please clean up the mold and help me figure out why the smell is so bad in this building?"

The tenants of this old, brick downtown storefront had moved out recently complaining about the smell of mold.

They figured it was due to a burst pipe inside a few months ago that was not properly dried and sanitized."

Solution: AdvantaClean of Richmond West remediated for the heavy surface mold in the unfinished basement and added drying equipment there and on the first floor. We let fans and dehumidifiers run for seven days until everything was back to normal. We then did three treatments of chlorine dioxide to help get rid of final remnants of smell.

However, it hadn't rained in a week, and we worried about the gutter system at the back of the building -- it looked like it needed some TLC.

"You should have someone look at your gutter system to make sure it's pushing rainfall away from the building," said AdvantaClean's lead technician.

A few days later, it was raining heavily. We stopped by and saw rainfall pouring over the gutters down the side of the building.

We called the customer and explained what we saw. "Did you get a gutter repair estimate from my referral partner, Bubba Clarke at Your Home Repairs Inc?"

"Yes," he replied. "I'm meeting him there tomorrow. Thank you!"

Safety Warning: Packing Material Before Flight

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "Oh-my-God, the guys who installed our new air handler last year took off in a hurry when they were done," said Chad. "We knew something wasn't right, but we let it slide."

It worked fine through the summer, but when he turned the heat on last week, the thermostat started malfunctioning. I took the cover off of the air handler in the attic to see if I could figure out what was going on, and lo-and-behold, I found this packing material still inside! It was completely covered in mold. He couldn't believe it.

"I put it in the back yard. Can you come take a look to see if it has molded-up our HVAC system? I noticed this weird smell.

Solution: We stopped by on a Saturday morning. "Chad, I don't think you have to worry," said AdvantaClean's lead technician. "I've checked your system, and it looks clean." We had never seen anything like this.

"I think the odor you smell is due to the fact that air is blowing more freely through your system without obstruction," We added. "It's picking up some dust and debris in your system that it couldn't before."

We advised Chad to contact us again if the odor persisted in a week's time.

"Thank you for your honesty," said Chad. "We were expecting an enormous repair estimate or something like that."


Give Thanks, And Let Us Spray

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "You should thank your plumber for giving you the right advice on how to clean this up," I said to a recent homeowner. "You did a good job."

The water heater had leaked badly into his laundry room last weekend. He did a lot of the initial demolition and dry-out himself, but he still needed to do more.

"You need a company like AdvantaClean to finish the job properly," I added. "Let us spray with antimicrobial and dry it to pre-loss levels."

Solution: We got the job! We detached baseboards in the room and pulled up the luan (a thin piece of wood that usually goes between vinyl flooring and the sub floor).

"You've also got a couple of gallons of water in your flex duct leading from the floor vent in your laundry room," I said. "Let me poke a hole in the bottom to drain it onto the dirt floor in the crawl space."

We fixed that and dried/sanitized the affected areas in three days.

"Can you get me some kind of letter that describes what you did?" Said the customer. "We'll need that when we come round to selling the house."

"You bet!" I said.

The Rains At Jane's Fall Mainly On The Plains -- But Not Today

Location: Mechanicsville, VI 23111

Problem: "I thought it was going to be quiet Sunday," said Jane. "But not today."

While starting laundry in the morning, she heard a gurgling noise coming from the master bathroom. She looked, and the drain from the bath tub was quickly backing up and filling with water.

"It started overflowing like crazy, and before we knew it, the whole bathroom and closet, the hallway, laundry room, and bedroom had water in it," Jane added. "We called Mr. Rooter Plumbing and used every towel we had to mop it up."

Solution: "Ring! Ring! "Good morning. This is AdvantaClean. Can I help you?"

"Uh, Kevin, this is Paul from Mr. Rooter. How you doing? Good. Hey, are your free to come look at this home? Not sure where the issue is yet, but I think it has to do with all this rain and a backed up drain."

We were there in about an hour. The blockage had been cleared, and much of the standing water removed.

We detached all baseboards and shoe molding in the affected area and pulled up the carpet and removed all wet padding. We added drying equipment.

Jane had minimized damage by getting to it so quickly. In about three to five days, the home would be dried and sanitized.

"Thank you for coming out so quickly," said Jane. "Thanks for hooking the washer back up, too, 'cause we've gotta lot of laundry to do!"

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What A Load Of Sewage!

Location: Mechanicsville, VI 23111

Problem: "Um, Kevin, I got your name from Rae Nunnally, a big realtor in Richmond, and she said you're the best," said a recent caller to AdvantaClean.

"Well," he continued. "Err....We've got this weird kind of smell coming from under the home. I don't know where it's coming from, but the pest control guy who came by said there are flies and maggots and water in the crawl space. He said he won't go back in there again."

Solution: "OK," I replied over the phone. "Can we come take a look?" A couple of hours later, Christian, one of our lead technicians at the home, called me. "Hey Kev? I don't know for sure, but I think this is sewage at the front right corner of the home coming from this rusted-out sewage discharge pipe. I'm wearing my full personal protective equipment, but it's pretty nasty, so I don't want to get too close. I think they need to stop using the toilets and call a plumber." The next day, Mr. Rooter Plumbing had visited the home and made repairs.

AdvantaClean was hired to clean up the mess. We pulled the affected vapor barrier back and added fans and a dehumidifier. Within about a week, the whole area was dried. We disposed of the affected vapor barrier, added pelleted lime to neutralize the remaining area, and put a new vapor barrier back.

"Thanks for coming out on a weekend -- twice," said the homeowner. "We greatly appreciated how quickly you responded. The weird smell started to go away as soon as you started work under there."

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Chrismas Comes Early For Customer -- Every Year

Location: Midlothian, VA 23112

Problem: "How soon can you do that encapsulation work in our crawl space?" Said Fred, a recent customer. "We need it done before the end of October...because Christmas is coming soon." My first thought was "huh? Christmas is three months away." But I soon found out why the urgency. He and his wife have been running a small online business from their home selling Christmas tree ornaments and other household items. "We rent five 10x25-foot air conditioned storage units up the street to hold our inventory and supplies," Fred added. "Our rental fees are insane." It made sense for them to use their large, walk-in crawl space for storage as well as convenience. "Orders are coming in like crazy now, and we need this crawl space done as soon as possible."

Solution: "That same week, AdvantaClean cleaned out the old insulation, vapor barrier, spare fencing, cardboard boxes, random pieces of lumber, and other stuff before cleaning for mold. We replaced the insulation and graded the soil so it sloped to where we we installed a sump pump. Then, we used poly and "magic" adhesive from YourCrawlspace.Com to seal the sides, floor and columns of the crawl space. Lastly, we sealed the crawl space vents and added a dehumidifier before the end of following week.
"It looks so much nicer in here with the white poly," said Fred. "I'm glad you could get it on your schedule so quickly. We have movers scheduled on Sunday!"

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Fresh Water Leak Sits On Top Of Ceiling

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "The condo owners above us are saying this is not their fault, but I don't think so," said Janelle, the customer. "It's an empty condo, and we spoke to the plumber who went in there. He said it was a leak from the ice maker in the fridge." She explained on the phone that her elderly mother lives below, and they just found out about it visiting that day. "She doesn't go in that room much, but we cleared it out for you. Can you come clean up the mess so mold doesn't start growing?"

Solution: We arrived in about an hour. We pulled up carpet and bagged wet padding for off-site disposal. We also peeled off some baseboards and set up drying equipment. "Look at this thermocam," I said to Jannelle. "See these blue blobs? That shows the wet areas. Let me do this -- I bet there's water sitting on top of the ceiling." I grabbed a screw driver and poked some holes in the ceiling. Sure enough, water started dripping though the holes. "I tell you what," I added. "Let's get this placed dried and sanitized as quickly as we can for your mother, and then we'll figure out whose insurance policy is paying for it. Sound OK?" "Sure," she replied. "Let's get it done." As it turned out, Janelle's insurance company agreed to pay AdvantaClean. However, they planned to subrogate (or in other words, "try to get the other people to pay up").

Janelle wrote a five star review about the experience: "We were impressed with the prompt response, the team was quick and courteous through out our ordeal. I would highly recommend this company to anyone who needs their type of services."


Bored Of The Flies: AdvantaClean Finds Source Of Odor

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "I'm sick and tired of this irritating smell in my home," said a recent customer. "I've put up with it for too long. I've looked everywhere, but I can't figure out where it's coming from." "I think it's my air ducts," he added. "When can you come by to clean them?"

Solution: His air duct cleaning was put on AdvantaClean's schedule the next day. "Hey Kev," said Christian, one of our technicians on site. "I don't think the smell the customer is talking about is coming from his air ducts, they're clean. I think the smell is coming from these two dead rodents in the crawl space." "There's one that looks like it just died," said Christian's teammate, Aaron. "It's got flies and maggots all over it. Disgusting. The other one is just a furry carcass; it's been dead a while."

Christian added that he didn't recommend an air duct cleaning but rather removal of the rodents on the vapor barrier, and then replacing the vapor barrier.

The customer agreed, and the job was completed within 24 hours. The customer followed up with a five star review of the service on Google Reviews:

"Had a weird smell coming from my HVAC, thought that was the issue. AdvantaClean sent two young motivated gentleman, “Christian / Aaron” to investigate, which turned out to be something else. The guys took care of the issue on the spot. Hands down the customer service provided from Christian & Aaron is like no other. Thank you to the staff of AdvantaClean!"


Whoa! Check Out Them Crickets

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: ...No vapor barrier...light mold...some insulation missing...debris on the floor...and lots of crickets. These were the basic findings in a recent crawl space inspection by AdvantaClean. A realtor had asked us if we could check out this home's crawl space due to a pending sale. The home was on the way to our next destination Friday afternoon, so we stopped by. We passed on the information to the realtor.

Solution: "OK, thanks," texted the realtor. "We'd like you to put in a new vapor barrier, add new insulation, and move the debris to the side." "I'll call my bug guy to take care of the crickets. Thanks for letting me know."

Read 'Em And Weep, Baby!

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "Are you sure just putting holes in the ceiling will get it dry?" said Brent, a recent customer. The drain pan for an air conditioning unit in his attic was not recently installed properly, and water had leaked slowly from the attic all the way down from the second floor to the first floor, and into the crawl space. AdvantaClean was called in to "remediate" for the water loss. After removing material that typically traps moisture (like insulation, baseboards, carpet padding, vinyl flooring, and other things), we set up our drying equipment. The textured ceiling was something we were planning to dry in place.

Solution: "Well," said our lead technician on site. "You don't have any insulation above the ceiling here on the first floor." We showed Brent the thermocam images. We showed him the moisture readings as well. "By poking small holes in the ceiling -- we call them 'weep' holes -- in the affected areas, we can direct air movement toward this area and dry it very quickly." "Will that work?" asked the customer. "There are a lot of holes you've made." "You bet it will," AdvantaClean responded. "These weep holes work great. I'll show you photos of the readings as the drying progresses." Within a couple of days, the ceiling was dry. The home was completely remediated shortly after, sanitized, and all our equipment was removed. "Build back" could begin. "That's awesome," said the customer. "I appreciate you showing me the readings. I didn't think weep holes like that would work so well."

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"Tenting" Explained

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23059

Problem: "Can you get the bumps our of the floor?" Said Sabine. "Some water just leaked out of the dishwasher, but I cleaned it up pretty quick." She walked across the wood flooring of her kitchen in bare feet "I can feel it here and here," she added. "There's a little bit of edge I can feel."

Solution: I explained how we could use a drying technique, "tenting," to help reduce the "cupping" and "crowning" of the wet wood flooring. "It seems like seven out of ten times it works," I said. "It depends how much water was on the floor, how long it was there, and what kind of underlayment you have under the wood flooring." I contacted the insurance company adjuster, and we agreed to try this drying method before any potential demolition, cabinet or countertop removal. As it turned out, the technique worked.

Holy Macaroni, Batman! We've Got Losts Of Visitors!

Location: Midlothian, VA 23113

Problem: "Oh my God!" Exclaimed the customer. "Do you see those bats?" "Huh? Where?...Oh...Wow," I replied. I was there to do a mold inspection in a walk-in attic when the customer spoke. With the attic light switched on, we could see about two dozen bats silently moving up and down the far wall of the attic. She never knew they were there. She and her husband had just had a home inspection, and nothing was brought up in the report about bats in the attic, just mold.

Solution: "I've got someone who can address this for you," I said. "I don't know the exact window of opportunity, but there are only certain times of the year that pest control companies can work on eradicating bats from people's homes. "His name is Chris Noel from Lewis Pest Control," I added. "He'll be able to help." A few days later, the customer texted me. "We've got the bat issue taken care of, how much is it to clean up the mold in the attic?" "I texted back, $675." "Great," she replied. "When can you start?"

Tipsy Sump Pump Gets Sober And Dry

Location: Richmond, VA 23235

Problem: "Can you figure out why so much water is in the crawl space when you're down there today?" Said Alexandra in an e-mail message. She was representing the homeowner as a realtor trying to sell the home. "If you can figure out a fix, let me know or just do it. We've only got a few days before we close on this house."

Solution: "Hey Kev," said Aaron, AdvantaClean's chief problem solver the next day. "I'm here lookin' at this crawl space. Somehow this sump pump tipped over and came disconnected from the discharge pipe. It's just sittin' sideways in a deep puddle of water in this cheap bucket full of holes." He added that whoever put it in didn't dig a deep enough well. "If the well's not deep enough, the weight of the pump won't be enough to hold it down. All this water here just keeps pushin' the bucket back up." We pulled the vapor barrier back and leveled the crawl space floor with tiny shovels so the water drained better to the sump pump. We also dug the well deeper and laid two nearby cinder blocks in the crawl space on the bucket to stabilize it. Once the plumbing was properly connected, the tipsy sump pump was stabilized, it worked great, and it sucked all the water out of the crawl space until it was dry. Consider it a sump pump detoxified!


A Narrow Escape - Inspector Misses Crawl Space Air Leak

Location: Henrico, VA 23111

Problem: "Ping!" That sound meant one thing -- I had a new e-mail message. It was 9:24 a.m. on Saturday, June 29. I picked up the phone. I didn't recognize the name, but I read the message: "I have 2 crawlspaces with possible fungi growth. I've attached both inspection reports. Can you let me know if you're able to come and do an inspection to see if remediation is needed. Thanks. Amy. By the way, my husband, Bryan, recommended you." I knew Bryan; he's a great local realtor.

Solution: Absolutely! I thought. I took a look at both inspection reports and visited both crawl spaces in about an hour. One of the crawl spaces was at a new home, and it looked fantastic -- no visible mold, and the insulation and vapor barrier looked great. We didn't recommend any services. The second home's crawl space needed a little mold remediation, and I sent our recommendations to Amy. But there was something else I noticed in the crawl space -- a narrow escape. I saw some flapping lint next to an air supply duct connected to a plenum in the crawl space. That meant there was fresh air from the air conditioning blowing into the crawl space. Not much, but still something a homeowner should want to know. I took this video and sent it to Amy. She sent an e-mail back. "Bryan said you were awesome but you exceeded my expectations in every way. Thanks for getting there so quickly."

Integrity: Realtor Says Dry The Leak Despite Report

Location: Richmond, VA 23111

Problem: "Hey Kevin, can you go back to that house you cleaned for mold," said Sally, a local realtor. She was representing the seller. "We're closing tomorrow, and the new homeowners said they went into the crawl space and saw mold still there." I told her, "no problem." However, I had noticed a dripping pipe in the crawl space when I did the initial inspection. I mentioned it to Sally, but the buyer's inspection report did not mention it; therefore, we didn't have to address it.

Solution: Upon checking the crawl space again, there was mold in this area. Upon further inspection, I noticed that the insulation was wet this time. "Can I check inside?" I asked. "Maybe I can figure out where it's coming from." Inside, I pulled back the fridge and noticed a bead of water around the water supply line spigot to the fridge. "This's it, Sally. It must have just happened. It wasn't this bad underneath before. The moisture has gotten the floor under the fridge wet as well as the area in the crawl space. What do you want to do?" Legally, she wasn't required to do anything. "What will it cost to dry all this up and sanitize?" She said. "These cleanups usually run about $1,500-2,000. But I'll do it for $750." It was 4 p.m. "OK. Can you get started now on the inside and under the house? We just have to get all the equipment out of the house today. We close and do the walkthrough tomorrow morning. I'll explain everything to the buyers." "You got it!" I said. I called my crew to pull insulation and set up drying equipment in the crawlspace. Inside I detached about five square feet of laminate wood flooring and underlayment under the fridge. There was luckily minimal demolition needed inside. I set up a dehumidifier inside and picked it up at 9 p.m. that evening The next day, the sale went through, and AdvantaClean was paid. "Thank you very much, Kevin," said Sally sincerely. "The homeowners want you to get with them on the moisture levels inside and under the home. I gave them your contact information. Great job." We completed the remediation under the home during the ensuing days.

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Blockbusters! Backed Up Drain And HVAC Flood Basement

Location: Glen Allen, VA

Problem: "My plumber say to call you," said the customer in a broken Chinese-English accent over the phone. "Can you hurry? Rain come into basement, and we don't want mold." It was a Sunday morning, and I told her we would be there in about an hour.

Solution: A drain at the base of an exterior stairwell to the basement was blocked with debris. Mr. Rooter Plumbing installed a temporary pump to drain the stairwell of water. They recommended to the customer that she call AdvantaClean. "How you get dry?" Asked the customer. We explained that we would need to pull up the carpet to dispose of any wet carpet padding as well as peel off affected baseboards to make sure the walls could dry behind them. We would also need a lot of equipment set up to begin the drying process. We were hired! I also noticed an orange colored residue by the air handling unit mixed with flood water. "I think that's rust from your air handling unit," I added. "You might want to have that checked out. It could be leaking there, too." I gave her the name of Mark from Blankenship Mechanical. We finished the job a few days later. "There was something clogging the pipe near the HVAC," the customer texted me. "And the pipe was not leveled properly, so the water was overflowing from the HVAC. They fixed it late Friday afternoon, and I have been monitoring ever since, haven't found any more water." "Thank you so much!"

Rehab Gets Rehabbed 2.0

Location: Mechanicsville, VA

Problem: "We couldn't get a contractor in here quick enough to caulk the window-wall hole," said a local rehab facilities manager. "You were in here the first time a couple of weeks ago to dry things up, but now it's a lot worse." The affected carpet was about four times as large, and this time, some drywall was now wet. It was Sunday morning, too.

Solution: Didn't matter. We were there within an hour. We moved the furniture aside and put some chairs in another room. We set up more fans than before, an air scrubber, and we removed the affected baseboards and about five square feet of affected drywall. We dried everything, sanitized everything, and taped up the drywall demo area with poly. "I don't know when my contractor can get out here to plug the hole," she said. "But if it rains heavy again, I'll be calling you back." "Let me set up a temporary tarp covering outside around where the rainfall comes in," I said. "At the very least, that will hold back the water a bit until your contractor gets here." She thanked me. "Do you know anyone who can do that kind of work?" She added. I did, and I gave her a few of names. Next day, I checked back with her to find that she had scheduled one of our referrals. "They're supposed to be coming out this afternoon. Thank you for all your help!"

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Sump Pump Discharge -- Looks Like A Fountain

Location: Mechanicsville, VA

Problem: "Kev, the customer doesn't care about mold, vapor barrier, or anything else," said a local real estate contractor. "All they want is a sump pump installed to get rid of all the water in the crawl space's rear left side. The electrical outlet has already been installed."

"When can you do the job?"

"How about tomorrow," I replied.

"Great," he said. "Let me know when you're done."

Solution: The owner had already installed something that looked like a sump pump, but there was still about 300 square feet of standing water in the rear left side of the crawl space.

We removed that DIY sump pump. At the corner, the water was at least a foot deep.

With about four feet clearance, we sat on plastic stools with water-proof suits and boots to dig the sump pump hole.

After about 30 minutes, we were done and had installed a sump pump basin riddled with holes like Swiss cheese; our discharge access point went through the mud plate and vinyl siding.

Once plugged in, the sump pump discharged water from the crawl space into the back yard like a fire hose.

When all the water was extracted, we sealed and secured everything and notified the contractor. Job complete!

Local Rehab Facility Gets Rehabbed -- By AdvantaClean

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "Let's see what this is on the calendar," I said to myself looking at my e-mail messages. "Looks like a local physical rehabilitation center got some storm water flooding in the foyer."

I called the point of contact right away even though our inspection appointment was booked for that afternoon.

"Some rainfall got under the window-walls of the facility's foyer last night," said Erica. "We got a lot of rainfall, and somehow it affected about 30 square feet of the carpet. It's starting to smell a bit, so the sooner you can get here, the better.""

Solution: "In about 30-45 minutes we were on site. The affected area was already cordoned-off. The carpet tiles on the concrete were slightly wet. We set up a couple of fans and a dehumidifer. We made sure the discharge hose was not a tripping hazard.

We put a small wooden bookshelf on drying blocks and cleaned the bottom with antimicrobial.

Since the nearest plumbing drain was in a bathroom too far away for our discharge line to reach, we decided to use a nearby garbage bin -- we'd just have to make sure it was emptied daily.

In about 48 hours, the affected area was dry and sanitized with antimicrobial. We recommended that the facility clean the carpet or replace the affected carpet tiles.

"Thank you for getting to this so quickly," said Erica. "The last thing our rehab patients want here is a respiratory issue.""

Huh? There's Another Leaking Pipe?

Location: Midlothian, VA 23112

Problem: "'The other two companies that gave us an estimate didn't go under the house," said the homeowner. "I'm glad you did. But there's another leaking pipe? Oh boy."

The other companies also gave us some "astronomical estimates" to clean up the original water leak -- under the dishwasher.

"They said they had to detach all our kitchen cabinets and counter tops and do a bunch of other stuff," added the homeowner. "We didn't have a lot of confidence in them, so we called our State Farm insurance rep."

Their rep referred them to AdvantaClean. "She told us we could trust your assessment.""

Solution: "'After our inspection, we figured that the cabinets and counter tops could probably stay in place.

"The tile doesn't go under the cabinets," said AdvantaClean's lead inspector. "That means we can peel off the toe kick and remove the baseboard on the other side of this cabinet to dry underneath. We can also attempt to remove the tile and underlayment with the cabinets in place."

We saw a lot of wet substrates in the crawl space as well as another leaking pipe.

"Our plumber was supposed to tighten that pipe and spigot," said the homeowner. "We'll have to get him back out here. Thanks for pointing that out."

"By the way, we want to schedule AdvantaClean to clean up our kitchen.'"

Guess What's In Your Air Duct, Honey Bunch!

Location: Dunnsville, VA 22454

Problem: ""As far as I know, these ducts have never been cleaned," said the homeowner. "We've been here 10 years, and I'm sure the previous owner didn't clean them."

"We're starting to see mold growth around a bunch of these registers in the ceiling, so they gotta be pretty dirty.""

Solution: "AdvantaClean was hired to clean the one system in this home with 20 air supply and return registers.

After taking off one register in the master bedroom, we found the cover of a Honey Bunches cereal box spotted with mold.

"Man! The guy who built this place did such a crummy job," said the homeowner. "Who knows what else you'll find in there?"

AdvantaClean completed the air duct cleaning, but we didn't find any other foreign objects in the ducting.

"Well that's a relief," added the homeowner. "We've got children and grandchildren coming this summer, so we want get this place cleaned up as much as possible. Thanks so much!""


That's It? Just A Disconnected Gutter?

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23139

Problem: ""Wow, you have a lovely home," I said to the customer. She was walking to the affected area of her basement.

"Thank you," she said. "We've been here 10 years, and we noticed a kinda moldy smell in the unfinished area of our basement last fall. We don't know where it's coming from or why it's there.'"

Solution: "I inspected the area, and I found no visible mold or moisture. "Let me check outside," I said.

"Bingo! This has got to be it," I thought to myself. "The gutter downspout is disconnected, and this spot is above the very corner of the basement where the customer notices the odor." I explained this to the customer.

"Ugh! The guys who spread the mulch last fall must have knocked the gutter downspout," said the customer. "You think that's it? Just a disconnected gutter?"

"Let me adjust the downspout gutter connection so it fits, and let me know if that makes a difference."

"OK, that's great," replied the customer. "I thought we were gonna need some expensive drainage system -- that's a relief. I'll let you know if it doesn't work."

(P.S. Six months have passed, and we haven't heard back from the customer about it!)"


Fog It! Attic Gets Treated With Antimicrobial

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "I can't find any excessive mold or moisture in this attic," I said to the realtor. "There is some staining on the roof rafters, but that's not mold.

" The realtor explained that the home inspection report required that a recommended treatment for mold be done in the attic before it could be sold.

Solution: The attic was unfinished, not used for storage and only accessible via a six-foot step ladder, so we recommended a simple antimicrobial fogging.

The fogger -- or micro-mister -- disperses tiny droplets of antimicrobial liquid that attach to mold spores in the air and on surfaces to help retard mold growth.

"We don't want to recommend something you really don't need," I said. "This won't cost much, and it should satisfy the buyers. The attic really looks in good shape."

Watch Out For The Big Snake!

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "I was told there was a big snake in the crawl space, so be careful," said Kim Sebrell of Keller Williams Realty after explaining that a home inspection report had discovered standing water under the home. "I'm sure I'll be fine," I said. "Thanks for the call."

Solution: After crawling to the far rear corner of the crawl space, I saw thick, black caulking around the edge of a crawl space vent.

"Wait," I thought. "That's not caulking. That's a snake.

" But it looked like a black snake, so I pressed ahead. It was about 3-4 feet long -- not that big. I was just a few feet away, and he didn't seem that bothered with me at all. His head was poking outside the crawl space through the side of the crawl space vent cover.

This crawl space needed a sump pump installed as well as a new vapor barrier installed. We were hired for the job!

"Thank you for getting this done," said the homeowner moving out a week later. "We had a pest control company come to catch and release the snake as well. It's a pity, but the home inspection report required it. That snake meant we never had any mice problems."


Wut? Inspector Halts Sale With A Square Foot Of Mold

Location: Richmond, VA

Problem: "It ain't much, but the buyer says we've gotta get rid of it," said the homeowner about a small patch of mold. "The home inspector says there's little bit of mold right there," continued the landlord pointing at a joist through an open crawl space door. "It's right near this door.

" Once the remediation was done, the sale could proceed.

Solution: "Is that it?" Said AdvantaClean's Certified Mold Inspector, "I can do that right now if you like.

"It's a deal," replied the homeowner. We got suited up and cleaned the area of mold with an antimicrobial.

"Thanks for taking care of this so quickly," added the homeowner. "Could you do me a favor and send me a paid receipt? We need that for the closing. I can't thank you enough. I've been renting this house out for years, and I can't wait to get rid of it."


Steam Leak Completely Soaks Crawl Space

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: Plumber found mold in crawl space. Pipe leak fixed. WHO WILL MEET US AT THE HOME? Margaret and Alonzo. These were the notes I read on on the tablet before I opened the truck door.

The front door of the home was cracked and began to open. "We're so glad you came so quickly," said Margaret. "Let me show you the crawl space and go wake up Alonzo."

I suited up and entered the crawl space to inspect. The elderly couple were waiting outside the crawl space door when I came out.

"You've had a hot water leak," I said. "Let me show you the video and photos. Everything is soaked in there, and it should be cleaned up soon."

Solution: "I would recommend filing an insurance claim as I'm sure the costs will go way up if we have to do a lot of demo in the bathroom and kitchen," I said.

"Oh OK, what do we tell them?

"Well, call their claims hot line and tell them that this leak was just discovered, you had it fixed right away by a plumber, and that AdvantaClean is here to start remediation," I replied. "We work with insurance companies and do this kind of stuff all the time." I added that they should be sure to get the adjuster's name and contact information as well as a claim number. They went into another room of the home and came back 15 minutes later.

"Here's your contract with all the information on it," said Margaret. "When can you start?"

Nothingberger: Home Inspection 'Stain' Is A False Alarm

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: Beep. "Hey Kevin, this is Bryan. Can you guys come over to took at this house," said a local realtor on AdvantaClean''s voice mail. "The home inspection report says there's 'suspected fungi' under the sink in the master bathroom. Estimated cost to remediate, $1,000. We don't know what's going on, and we want to know what your expert opinion is. Give me a call as soon as you can. Thanks." Beep.

Solution: AdvantaClean met the realtor at the home and took a look at the sink cabinetry in the master bathroom. After testing with a moisture meter and other places all around the bathroom, AdvantaClean determined that there was no excessive moisture present -- especially under the plumbing in the cabinet.

"This looks like a dried bag or box right here under the plumbing," said AdvantaClean's moisture/mold inspector. "It's not wet. Probably some liquid like shampoo or something dripped here and dried. Seems like the home inspector was being a little over-zealous."

"Fortunately, this looks like a nothingberger as it relates to moisture. Just wipe this up with a cloth and a little bit of water, and you're good to go."

The same realtor later wrote a five star review on Google about the inspection: "As a Realtor, I rely on honest contractors. Kevin Dumville with AdvantaClean has always been someone I can count on."

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Four-Inch Thick Tile Floor Gets Demo'd

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: These type of bathroom floors were built to stay. But a leaking pipe on the second floor of this rental home soaked the walls and underlayment in this bathroom. "Insurance is covering for the removal of everything in this bathroom and in the bathroom above," said the landlord. As tile floors and underlayments can trap moisture underneath, they usually have to be removed to properly remediate.

Solution: Tenants on both floors moved off site while AdvantaClean began work in the first floor bathroom first. "This floor was a bear to get up," said Aaron, AdvantaClean's crew chief. "The tile and underlayment were four inches thick. To protect the sub floor, we had to chip away at it like we were miners in a coal mine!"

After two days of demo and sanitizing as well as another four days of drying, AdvantaClean was done. Plus, the moisture in the upstairs bathroom was gone -- no demo was needed there.

"Drying underneath the bathroom upstairs let us to extract the water with our dehumidifer and fans underneath," said Keith.

AdvantaClean's work helped speed the project along so the landlord could start rebuilding and getting the tenants back in.

"We are very pleased with the work," said the landlord.

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Out Of Odor: Toilet Detached After Leak

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: Luckily, the customer caught this leak early. "I saw some dark staining on the wood floor behind the commode just last night," said the customer. "So I turned off the water supply to the toilet right away." "It must have just happened, 'cause I've never seen it before." The customer didn't want to file a claim and asked if AdvantaClean could save the floor.

Solution: We detached the commode and about six linear feet of baseboard and shoe molding. We checked under the home and pulled aside insulation under and around the commode -- nothing was wet or stained.

"Let's try drying this for a few days with the dehumidifier," said AdvantaClean's lead tech. "The leak may not have gotten to the sub floor. It may still be sitting on top of the black tar paper." "That way, we can keep your floors in place and drastically lower your expense." The plan worked.

After three days, the floors were dried/sanitized and the commode was put back. "We needed this commode back in place quickly," said a happy customer. "It's probably the most used toilet out of four in our home. I'm delighted AdvanaClean could help us so quickly and help keep the charges so low."

Basement Flood Cut And Dry Out

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "I've been putting this off," said the customer. "But I had to get two knee replacements, so wanted to wait until I could walk around good."

He quickly added, "But I need to get this cleaned up soon because it smells bad now." He added that insurance was covering the cost of this clean up for basement flooding due to heavy rains. The sump pump motor had failed.

Solution: The customer told AdvantaClean to dispose of many items in the basement; we covered those he wanted to keep.

As the drywall had become contaminated, we did a four-foot flood cut around most of the walls in the basement. Carpet and laminate wood flooring had to go. Tile could stay.

AdvantaClean dried and sanitized as much as we could in place. After five days, we were done.

"Your guys did a great job," said the customer. "Make sure you give 'em a pay raise!"

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You've Got Water In Your Ducts!

Location: Richmond, VA 23228

Problem: "We can't figure out where the smell is coming from in our rental home," said the landlord. "They left about a month ago, and the place is empty. So can you take a look around and let me know what you think?"

Solution: After AdvantaClean inspected the whole home from the attic to the crawl space, we shared our findings, photos, and videos with the landlord.

"Here's why there's an odor in the home....There is heavy mold in the crawl space, the two commodes are leaking around the flange, and you've got a lot of water in several of your flex ducts."

"What?" Exclaimed a startled landlord.

After going through the history of the home, we determined that a "small" leak from an old water supply line reported by the previous tenant must have been more extensive. "They said it was just a little water," said the landlord. "It must have come across the wood floor and gone down the floor vents."

"We thought they'd cleaned it up, but obviously not!"

After explaining our recommendations, the landlord hired AdvantaClean to remediate for the water losses, clean out the mold in the crawl space, and add new vapor barrier and insulation. We also got the water out of the ducts and cleaned them all.

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Crawl Space Braces For Pump Out

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "We've got gallons and gallons of water in our crawl space," said an upset customer. "It's been there months. We don't know how it got there. Can you help?"

She added that they didn't think it involved plumbing. "Our water bill has been the same all year, so we don't think it's a broken pipe. But we can't get a plumber in there to check it out because there's about six inches of water all over the place.""

Solution: "We needed to pump it out. After that, we would add fans to dry the ground.

"Let's try adding gutter down spout extensions to help push rainfall farther from the home," said AdvantaClean's inspector. "Let's watch it for a while and check the plumbing."

"If we find a leak, fix it. If it's dry, then the down spout extensions worked. If it's still wet, there may be an issue we can address with a sump pump and new vapor barrier."

"Great!" The customer said eagerly. "When can you start?"

"Tomorrow. Freezing weather's coming, and you don't want an ice rink under there," we said.

We pumped the water out, dried the crawl space, and added gutter down spout extensions. In the end, that did the trick! No sump pump needed.

"Thank you for getting the water out," said the customer. "You saved us a bunch of money."

Tenant: Fix My (Four-Year-Old) Sink Leak

Location: Mechanicsville, VA

Problem: "My dad's had these apartments for years," sighed the landlord. She looked at the kitchen sink. "But recently, he just hasn't been able to take care of leaks like this. I'm stepping in."

Mr. Rooter Plumbing had referred her to AdvantaClean. The floor around the sink was so rotten that it sagged.

"The plumbers said AdvantaClean should clean up all the water and mold before they start," said the landlord.

The elderly tenant shuffled into the kitchen. "When I moved in four years ago, I did notice the drip. But I didn't think it would do all this damage."

"Well," said the landlord circling her eyes, "if we'd been told about this leak early on, we could have taken care of it right away. But's just going to take a lot more work."

Solution: AdvantaClean asked the tenants to clear out all personal belongings in the kitchen. We contained the area with poly and painters tape.

We shut off the water supply via city spigots under the sidewalk. "You can never be too careful with these old copper pipes," said AdvantaClean's senior tech.

After detaching the sinks and cabinets, we tested the walls and floors for moisture; we only removed drywall and flooring covering affected areas.

Following that, we set up drying equipment and covered the floor holes with boards.

It took about three days to dry and sanitize. The customer appreciated it: "Thank you for helping us in this part of the process. I hope it doesn't happen again."


Who Would Have Thought Mold Grows In The Garage?

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: "I haven't parked my car in the garage for years," said a recent elderly customer. "I just use it for storage."

After getting Christmas decorations out for the holidays, she noticed thick, fury mold growing on the finished and unfinished sections of the garage wall -- and on some of her belongings.

"I think I need some kind of new caulking on the top of the garage door to stop so much water getting in," she added. "I'll get someone to do that, but can you clean up the mold?"

Solution: After setting up a staging area under a tent outside her garage, we began moving her many belongings out of the way so we could get to the sides of the garage where the mold had build up.

"I'm sorry I've got so much stuff in your way, but you know how it is," she said. "You never know when you may need these things, but I've labeled some things you can throw away."

After mold remediation, AdvantaClean moved her other items back into the garage.

"I can't believe you did it so quickly," she continued. "I'm just glad you could get to it between Christmas and New Year's. Thank you!"


Is Your Floor Cupping? Try Partial Crawl Space Encapsulation

Location: Mechanicsville, Va

Problem: "I ain't going to spend much more money on this house," said a prospect shaking his head. "We're not going to live here much longer. But we do want to fix the hardwood floors that have started cupping."

"What can you do?"

Solution: We suggested a partial crawl space encapsulation.

"Cupping" and "crowning" on hardwood floors happens when they soak in excessive moisture. This can come from higher levels of relative humidity in the crawl space.

We could not find other sources of excessive moisture around the home.

"Your crawl space is divided into three equal sections, and each one has a nice 6-mil vapor barrier," AdvantaClean said. "You've been getting some rainfall seeping into the center one."

The customer was already planning to address the gutter drainage issue at the rear center of the home.

"If we seal your crawl space vents, partially encapsulate your center section, and add a dehumidifier venting to both sides, that will solve the problem. Plus you'll reduce the potential for mold growth and you won't have to spend any where near as much as a 'full' crawl space encapsulation."

We got the job! After completing the work, the customer was pleased. "The partial crawl space encapsulation looks very good," said the customer in an online review. "Thanks."


Advantaclean Solves Mystery -- The Source Of Moisture

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: A senior couple contacted AdvantaClean to help figure out where the water was coming from on their basement floor. They wanted it cleaned up, too.

"We hardly ever go over to that corner of the basement," said Mary. "My husband's hard of hearing, and he didn't hear any dripping either."

They thought it might have been because of the recent heavy rainfall. Or it could have been a leaking pipe they had fixed a while ago. Or maybe it was the wet bar sink plumbing in that corner of the basement. They didn't know.

Watch for more here:

Solution: After arriving and getting background info, AdvantaClean looked for clues to solve this mystery: How did the water get there?

We looked at the landscape outside and determined that it was not because of rain. There was good drainage and sloping around the home.

"We've lived here decades, and we've never had any flooding from rainfall before," the homeowner added.

The cabinetry around the wet bar was dry, and it's plumbing didn't appear to leak. We checked the kitchen floor around the sink and washing machine, and it was dry.

"Let me check outside along the basement wall under the deck," I said. While there, the homeowner turned on the kitchen sink. "Woah!" I said "Look at this water." It was running down he exterior of the home over the basement window.

"Found it!" I told the homeowners as I went inside. The sink plumbing had a leak. We'd have to remove the cabinetry to get a plumber to fix it.

"Thank you!" They said. "We'll call a plumber, but when can you start?"


Relax! Your Crawl Space Looks Great

Location: Mechanicsville, VA

Problem: A prospect called AdvantaClean worried about mold in his home's crawl space. A pest control company had just visited and said there was mold everywhere.

"We were freaked out what was down there, so we wanted to get an expert opinion," said the homeowner.

"We had a lot of rain this year, and we started to get a wet, musty smell around the center of the home when it rained heavy."

Solution: AdvantaClean inspected the home up and down, inside and out. We looked around all the plumbing and appliances -- but nothing big stood out.

The exposed substrates and insulation looked great.

There was no visible mold in the crawl space either. The only "red flags" were gutters dumping water next to the side of the home, some silt on the vapor barrier, and the crawl space vapor barrier missing in some areas around pillars.

The exposed earth could have caused some excessive relative humidity in the crawl space -- in turn, this may have lead to some musty odors rising into the home.

We recommended covering the exposed areas with 6-mil poly and adding gutter downspout extensions to divert rainfall father away from the home.

"There's no mold? That's all we need to do?" The prospect asked. "The other guy made it sound like we had a big mold problem. We thought were going to have to tear the whole place apart and replace everything." He thanked us, and we went on our way.

Later, the prospect wrote a five-star positive review on Google Reviews: "If you are looking for a honest contractor that wont sell you something you don't need then give them [AdvantaClean] a call."

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Bath Tub Vanishes After Water Damage

Location: Mechancisville, VA 23111

Problem: A customer's plumbing on the second floor burst after freezing during a January evening.

They awoke to the sound of water spewing from a dormer storage area behind their second floor bathroom bath tub. Water was gushing everywhere, including over the first floor bathroom directly underneath.

"We were were calling everyone we could find on the internet to help," said the customer. "No one was available or we were told we were on a waiting list."

"We needed help quickly!"

Solution: The customer called AdvantaClean after getting no where for hours. We arrived at the home to begin remediation in the wee hours of the morning.

About 90 percent of the 1,000 square foot, two-story home was affected. All belongings of the home needed removing off site.

After all the home's contents were moved to an off-site storage facility, AdvantaClean began removing all items that were trapping moisture -- carpet padding, baseboards, vinyl flooring, insulation, tar paper, under layment, cabinets, counter tops, appliances, and more.

After getting approval from the insurance company adjuster, we even had to remove the bath tub under the master bath room above as everything around it was saturated.

After about seven days, the home was dried, sanitized, and ready to be put back together again.

"Thanks for helping us out," said the customer. "We'd rather live in our home than a hotel room."

Duct Cleaning "High Wire" Act At Senior Home

Location: Midlothian, VA 23112

Problem: An elderly resident with upper respiratory health issues could not dry her laundry using her "stacked" washer and dryer.

The facility management office contacted AdvantaClean to clean the drier vent ducting at her second story apartment-home.

Challenges included two 90-degree turns that the ducting took close to the laundry closet behind the wall-ceiling. The vent exited the building high up on the second floor, and the landscaping outside dipped steeply beside the building.

Solution: After detaching the two appliances and moving them aside from for space, we tried two cleanings from inside to get through a blockage in the ducting.

The second time we used our more rigid Viper Whip poles. WE COULD NOT GET THROUGH! We also set up a 30-foot extension ladder on the outside to try from the exterior, but the slope was too steep. But at least we tried!

To get around this, we asked permission of the resident and facility to remove 2-3 square feet of wall and ceiling to give us access to the drier ducting. Once there, we could detach the ducting and get straight shot at using our Viper Whip poles to dislodge the blockage.

Once done, we reattached the ducting and left the drywall open for easy access and future cleanings.

The resident was pleased they could finally dry their clothes.

Boom! Four Water Leaks In Home Dried-Out

Location: Glen Allen, VA 23060

Problem: Customer contacted AdvantaClean after a home inspection reported lots of water in the crawl space.

An offer had been made on the home, and the homeowner needed it cleaned up as soon as possible.

After AdvantaClean inspected the crawl space, we noted four water leaks! A hot water pipe leaking, a commode seal leak, a fridge ice-maker leak, and a kitchen sink leak.

The crawl space substrates were heavily saturated and all insulation was soaking.

Solution: Luckily, the homeowner filed a homeowner's policy claim on the hot water pipe leak that covered payment for remediation of the other leaks.

AdvantaClean pulled all wet insulation in the crawl space (it looked aweful), and we remediated for the mold that had built up.

We had to remove all laminate all wood flooring that covered 90 percent of the first floor. We also had to detach the granite counter tops in the kitchen and detach the lower cabinets (which later had to be replaced).

AdvanaClean also assisted with the rebuilding of the home's interior. "Thank you for your help," said the homeowner. "I'm living in an apartment right now, and the new homeowners want to move in 30 days -- otherwise they're pulling out of the deal."

After a lot of hussle, AdvantaClean got it done!

Basement Floods - Overseas Owners Call For Help

Location: Glen Allen: VA 23060

Problem: A prospect's friend contacted AdvantaClean to look at his vacant, finished-off basement. The homeowner's had been out of the country for a while, and they were going too be out of the country for longer.

"The basement sump pump is broken," said the homeowner's friend. The 1,500-square-foot basement flooded with about 2 inches of water all over the carpet.

All baseboards were ruined, and mold had begun forming one to two feet up each wall.

"Can you start today?" We arrived on site on a weekend without knowing what to expect. Luckily, we had drying equipment.

Solution: The prospect's friend said he wasn't sure if the loss would be covered by the homeowner's insurance policy. However, he wanted a fixed price and a start date."We can start right now," I said. We could start demolition the following day, Monday, but we could set up drying equipment immediately.

Monday morning, we began extracting water with a carpet extractor and cutting up all carpet and carpeting padding for disposal. We knew it would be a few days before a large dumpster could be delivered to the home.

We also started making a four-foot flood cut around the entire basement; this meant, from the ground up, we would remove all baseboards, drywall and any insulation. We chose this height because the contamination was so bad, and the horizontal 4'x8' drywall boards would make demolition easier.

Outside, it was hot, hot, hot. We piled the wet carpet padding and carpet on the brick stairwell stairs leading to the basement. This would help allow some of the water to evaporate and seep into the stairwell drain; it would also make it lighter and easier to carry to the dumpster.

We set up tents and a large fan outside to help keep us cool. By the end of the week, all demolition was complete. All affected areas were dry and sanitized.

"Thank you for getting to this so quickly," said the homeowner's friend. "Who do I make the check out to?"

"Great!" We accepted payment and said we could leave the dumpster on site for a few more weeks. "We've paid to have the dumpster for six weeks," I said. "Feel free to let the contractors use it that you hire to put everything back together."

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Broken Fish Tank To Content Clear-Out

Location: Richmond, VA

Problem: A customer's son recently discovered that his mother's vacant second home had been burglarized and a 200-gallon fish tank was smashed. The home was fully furnished, but no one had lived there for more than a year. The son, a contractor, wanted all but the large pieces of the one-story home cleared out so he could start repairing the home. Eventually, they wanted to put renters in the home. He wanted all mold and water present to be remediated. The insurance company had already cut them a check for the claim. He contacted AdvantaClean for guidance and help.

Solution: Upon arriving at the home, we noticed no excessive moisture; the water from the fish tank had apparently dried up. However, the wooden floor next to it under the red carpet had buckled badly. We rented a large dumpster and began emptying the home.

"Whoa!" Said the mother in a startled voice. "You can't throw anything out! I have so many personal items and memories with everything here."

"Mom, this stuff has gotta go," said the son. "No one has lived here in over a year, and we can't clean this place up with so much stuff inside."

After some negotiations between mother and son, the mother decided to pick out a hand-full of things she wanted keep. The rest -- aside from a few pieces of large furniture -- we could throw in the dumpster. The most difficult piece was the fridge. It contained most of the mold in the house; it had rancid food with maggots and a stench that could repell the bravest of skunks.

We removed the warped floor boards, but we noticed that the sub floor was completely rotted. We notified the son that more extensive repairs would be needed. There was no excessive mold growth detected in the home.

"Thank you for your help," said the son. "Your work saved me a lot of hassle, and it gives me a chance to make this place livable again. I'll call you if I need any more assistance!


Advantaclean Pulls Out The Stops -- And Insulation

Location: Beaverdam, VA

Problem: "Kevin, we like your crawl space mold estimate," said John Fehr, a realtor from Hometown Realty, "But we really need to get the work done before Friday. We close the following week, and we need to get a contractor in there to do some repair work as well."

It was Monday evening, and AdvantaClean had a fully-booked schedule that week.

"Consider it done," said Kevin. "I'll get a start on it tomorrow."

Solution: Since the crawl space was 440 square feet (comparatively small) and had 3-5 feet of clearance, AdvantaClean peeled off one team member to do the work after other inspections and jobs were completed earlier in the day.

On Tuesday, all the insulation was removed and bagged. On Wednesday, the crawl space was cleaned of mold. Thursday the vapor barrier was added and the debris was hauled away. Friday, the new insulation was added.

Job complete! "Thanks for getting the work done so quickly," said John.

Kevin mentioned that after having cleaned every exposed beam and joist in the crawl space, AdvantaClean did not find any rotten wood.

"I'm not sure what the contractor has to repair, but if they have to pull any insulation down, let me know when they're done. I'll come put it back up."


"We're Done With The Insurance Company!" Please Clean Up The Mold

Location: Aylett, VA

Problem: We received a call back from a senior couple after a few weeks since our initial inspection and estimate.

"Kevin, they denied our claim" said the customer in a dejected voice. "We're done with the insurance company. But we've got to get that mold cleaned up in our crawl space."

A water heater in the center of their one story, 2,700 square foot home had leaked. Heavy mold had grown around the affected area. Besides that, the crawl space looked neglected, and it needed some TLC.

Since they were going to pay out of pocket for the expense, they asked AdvantaClean if we could take that into consideration and revise our estimate.

After considering the circumstances, we discounted our services, arranged to get supplies from a vendor closer to the job site, and scheduled additional labor (a.k.a., the owner).

The customer had gotten other estimates, but they chose AdvantaClean for the job.

Solution: Low clearance in the crawl space made this job challenging. There was also only one crawl space door at the side of the home. This made it physically demanding since we had to move around on our bellies and backs across the entire crawl space.

We spent partial days at the home Monday-Wednesday after we had finished other jobs at other homes. This helped to preserve our energy.

By Friday, all the old insulation and vapor barrier had been removed, and all the excessive mold in the crawl space had been remediated.

The company owner joined the crew on the final day to help install the new vapor barrier and insulation. An extra person at this point can really speed up the work of a two-man crew.

"You guys don't have to finish today," said the customer. "You can take a break. Your guys have really worked their *sses off this week. We really appreciate it."

Nonetheless, we were almost done, and we pressed on. We were finished by 2:30 p.m. on Friday. Drenched with sweat and tired, we were definitely ready for the weekend!

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Clean My Crawl Space And Fix Weird-Looking Duct Insulation

Location: Midlothian, VA

Problem: A young couple's home inspection report came back with some unexpected repairs and mold issues.

"We needed a qualified mold remediation company to come by our home to inspect the crawl space," said the customer. "We didn't know exactly how to address the mold issues brought up in the report." Kim Sebrell of Keller Williams Realty recommended they contact AdvantaClean to review the report and inspect the crawl space. "The report also said there was some weird-looking duct insulation around a supply line that had to be replaced," she added. "I think the previous homeowners did that -- they were do-it-yourself (DIY) types."

Solution: After AdvantaClean inspected areas brought up in the report, we recommended full crawlspace remediation (remove-replace the vapor barrier and insulation and clean for mold). We also noticed that the DIY insulation around that supply duct (about five linear feet long) had two holes in it that were blowing air-conditioned air into the crawl space. "Wow, we never knew that," said the homeowner. "The home inspector apparently didn't know about the holes either."

Once we had completed mold remediation, we removed the affected duct insulation and replaced it with silver "bubble wrap" insulation and sealed the holes with metal tape. "Everything looks so clean and neat down there now," said the homeowner after we had shown her photos of the finished crawl space work. "Thank you so much!"

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Competitor Botches The Job - Advantaclean Cleans It Up

Location: Mechanicsville, VA

Problem: A customer contacted AdvantaClean to help finish a water damage clean up job from one of its competitors.

"We don't know what happened to these guys," said the customer. "They just disappeared. A frozen pipe burst in the attic in January. We called our insurance, and they sent this company over there to clean up the mess."

Water had leaked into a hall bathroom underneath and seeped under the laminate wood flooring in the master bedroom next door as well as onto the ceiling in the garage below that.

"They dried out the bathroom, bedroom, and garage," added the customer, "but when they started to pull up the affected flooring in the bedroom, they saw mold and stopped. They said they had to get approval from the insurance company to continue."

Well, the insurance company gave approval to continue. Two months went by. Nothing got restarted. The customer gave up trying to get the competitor to finish the job.

Solution: AdvantaClean arrived on scene to inspect the damage. Even though the flooring was now dry, we suspected there was significant mold growth under about 200 square feet of flooring.

We asked the customer to empty the bedroom of all personal belongings before we could contain the room and begin remediation.

AdvantaClean pulled up the affected flooring and removed the heavy mold by using a HEPA vacuum, scrubbing, damp-wiping with antimicrobial and a heavy dose of "elbow grease."

While all the mold was removed, a little mold "staining" (or mold waste) was left of the sub floor.

The customer also asked AdvantaClean to remove any drywall with water stains "just in case there was mold behind it." We also did some exploratory cuts into other areas to check for mold.

"Thank you for finishing the job and helping to get rid of as much of the mold staining as possible," said the customer. "It makes us feel a whole lot better that we've finally been able to put this episode behind us. We can now start rebuilding!"

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City Sewer Backs Up, Advantaclean "Un-Duz-It"

Location: Richmond, VA

Problem: "Kevin, the city sewer system backed up in the basement of my office building," said a recent customer one afternoon. "You clean up this kind of stuff, don't you? Can you come take a look?"

The customer had recently scheduled AdvantaClean to inspect his home to put together an estimate to remove drywall that had been damaged by a leaking roof.

"We're waiting for a plumber, and the basement smells a sewer."

Fortunately, the finished-off basement was unoccupied, and there was no flooring on the concrete floor. The office is in older building in a historic area of the city.

Solution: AdvantaClean arrived a couple of hours later to inspect the site. A water drain by the water heater under the stair case had belched-up sewage covering about 60 square feet.

We arrived the next morning with equipment and supplies. Using full Personal Protective Equipment, we cleaned up the solids and removed porous, non-structural substances touching the sewage (like baseboards and drywall).

We thoroughly cleaned the concrete floor and structural elements around the stair case with antimicrobial disinfectant and OdorX "Un-Duz-It." We used a pump sprayer that turns the Un-Duz-it solution into a foam for spraying. We let this enzyme counteractant help with the ordor and eliminate harmful bacteria.

We also set up drying equipment to further reduce the amount of excessive moisture in the area. We used other equipment to reduce the foul odor.

Using a hose spigot in another area of the basement for water, we noticed another leak!

This time, it was a fresh water leak from the water supply line to the hose. We shut off the water line immediately and mopped up the water. Since we had our equipment with us, we dried up the area.

"I guess the best time to find a water leak in the building is when you have AdvantaClean right there," said the customer. "You guys cleaned it up in no time."

Two days later, everything was dry and sanitized. Better yet, we'd shown another customer how AdvantaClean "Un-Duz-It."

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Check Out The Fungus Among Us -- Under The Dishwasher

Location: Henrico, VA

Problem: A recent customer knew something was wrong in his kitchen when water appeared seeping from under the cabinetry around the dishwasher.

"I figured there had to be a leak," said the husband. "I unscrewed the kick plate under the dishwasher and saw this orange fuzzy fungus on the sub floor. I knew that couldn't be good."

He Googled water-mold clean up companies and chose AdvantaClean to come and inspect.

Solution: We came out on a Sunday. The husband showed us the fungus among us under the washer. The excessive moisture had swollen the lower wood cabinetry severely. There was also moisture under about 40 square feet of kitchen ceramic tile.

Did the orange mold smell or affect the customers in any way? "No," said the husband. "We just want to get rid of it."

The counter top needed detaching, and the cabinetry needed to be removed and disposed of so we could dry the sub floor. The cabinet had storage shelves inside on the reverse side.

"That used to be my hiding place," said the couple's six-year-old daughter. "Well," I said with a smile. "We're going to have to find you a new hiding place -- 'cause this cabinet has gotta go. Look at that fungus."

After starting remediation the next day, we removed tile above the affected area as well as insulation in the crawl space underneath. Some plumbing connected to the washer had sprung a leak.

The orange mold was cleaned up and the affected substrates were sanitized. We set up a dehumidifier and fans to dry the place. In three days, we completed the job.

"We were hoping to replace these cabinets and flooring one day," said the husband. "So thank you for helping us to get there sooner!"

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Tenants Cause A Stink - AdvantaClean Controls Odors

Location: Richmond, VA

Problem: "My tenant had recently moved out, and I was looking forward to moving back into my old home," said a recent customer. Unfortunately, she didn't know that the tenant's cats and dogs had sprayed the upper floor all over with urine.

She called her realtor for help -- Janice Carter-Lovejoy of Long and Foster Realty. Janice recommended contacting AdvantaClean to get rid of the stink.

We arrived on a Sunday to inspect the home. The homeowner was very upset. "It smells so bad, I hate to go inside. I certainly can't move back in," she said.

Using an ultraviolet (UV) flashlight, we showed the homeowner the extent of the affected areas. A UV light reveals changes on the surfaces of materials like drywall and baseboards as animal liquids like sweat, saliva, or urine cause a specific fluorescence in these materials.

Solution: We recommended using a chemical treatment on the drywall -- OdorX Un-duz-it. This combines oxidizers with enzymes and odor encapsulants to remove tough pet urine odors and stains.

We used the same treatment on the tile, hardwood floors and laminate wood floors.

We also set up and inserted a carbon filter in one of our air scrubbers to help. A carbon filter helps provide "adsorption." Basically, this causes the pollutant molecules of urine in the air to stick to the carbon filer.

We wiped away dried-up urine crystals on all non-porous surfaces like baseboards and cabinets, and we used a heat fogger with OdorX Thermo55. This treatment blends highly purified petroleum solvents and odor-controlling essential oils to prevent malodors from finding their way into the home's air.

After two days, it worked! The landlord was more than happy. She could now put her move-in plans back on track.

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Nice Save! Hard Wood Floors Dry In Place

Location: Richmond, VA

Problem: A young couple's water heater had recently leaked into the laundry room and nearby hall. Each area had "cupped" or swollen hard wood flooring.

To get hot water back in their home as soon as possible, they quickly installed a new water heater. But unfortunately, the thin wood underlayment and sub floor underneath were not dry.

They needed help quickly. If excessive moisture stayed under the floor for much longer, a lot of mold could develop and cause indoor air quality issues. Plus, the floor's cupping could get worse.

They searched the Internet and found AdvantaClean listed as a trusted resource on We arrived promptly for our initial inspection.

They requested that, if at all possible: "Do not pull up the wood floors to dry them." They had young children at home, they preferred to do without the distraction, and they did not want to patch with replacement wood flooring (or deal with any sanding or re-staining needed).

Homes like theirs usually have impermeable vapor barriers between the hard wood and the sub floor. Unfortunately, this prevents sub floors with water damage from drying. To dry and sanitize properly, AdvantaClean normally pulls up hard wood floors covering the affected area.

Solution: Hmm. What could AdvantaClean do?

Two things helped us. One, since the hard wood did not go under the washer and drier; we could pull up the underlayment and vinyl under them as well as around the water heater.

Two, the crawl space was high enough to allow a dehumidifier to sit directly under the affected area.

So, with dehumidification and evaporation (using fans) inside and under the home, the wood floor dried after three days.

Moisture testing inside and under the home indicated that the vapor barrier between the hard wood flooring and the sub floor was probably semi-permeable.

Cupping reduced drastically, and the hard wood floor was saved!

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AdvantaClean Helps Flooding Church

Location: Richmond, VA 23222

Problem: After dropping donations off at a local church on Sunday, AdvantaClean's water cleanup services were suddenly needed!

A local church and day care center classrooms saw the results of water shooting from two broken sprinkler heads in January 2018. They didn't know who to call, but one of our chief crew members just happened to be stopping by.

If at all possible, the day care center rooms on the ground floor needed to stay open.

Solution: The very next day, when AdvantaClean was given access to the facility, we arrived on site with the expertise and equipment to dry and sanitize everything in short order.

Classroom rugs and cove were removed and drying equipment set up after the day care closed. While classes were in session, access holes were cut into strategic areas of the other affected drywall in hallways, rooms and a stair well. Limited demolition as well as dehumidificaiton and air movement quickly removed excessive moisture.

The ceiling of the stair well (25-feet high) was saved by adding an air mover to the attic space. A plumber had created an access hole to the area when he repaired the sprinkler leak. As there was no insulation above this ceiling, it dried quickly.

After testing for asbestos (which came out negative), about 200 square feet of VCT was removed from the second floor community room and storage room.

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AdvantaClean Helps Customer With "Build Pack"

Location: Glen Allen, VA 23059

Problem: Customer experienced a second-floor water loss from the master bathroom. It leaked into the master bedroom, the second-floor foyer and nearby bedroom.

It also leaked through the chandelier in the kitchenette underneath and onto the laminate tile flooring.

Tile flooring in the master bath needed removing as well as damaged carpet and carpeting padding upstairs. Laminate tile flooring downstairs also needed removing (a black and white vinyl flooring cover was underneath). The kitchen ceiling was affected a needed removing and replacing as well.

They needed a rapid response from a water remediation company. They chose AdvantaClean.

Once everything was cleaned and sanitized, they needed help with the "build back," or putting everything back together -- new flooring, drywall, baseboards, painting, etc.

Solution: AdvantaClean oversaw the remodeling and repairs to the home at the customer's request.

The customers felt that this was a good time to do some remodeling to the master bathroom and replace the carpeting and with laminate tile in the home with new flooring.

AdvantaClean assisted with the remodeling and repair work by meeting with the customers to learn about their ideas and desires. Then, after forming a plan, we used trusted, experienced professionals in their various areas of expertise -- interior design, tile, hard wood flooring, drywall, carpentry, cabinetry, plumbing, painting, and more.

We scheduled and monitored the work of each professional who visited the home, followed up with the customer, and made adjustments as necessary to keep things on track and moving promptly.

The customers were very pleased with the finished work. Take a look at the before and after videos for yourself.

Watch Clogged Drier Duct Get Cleaned

Location: Louisa, VA

Problem: Customer contacted AdvantaClean of Richmond West to clean their drier ducting. "Our clothes take too long to dry," said the customer. "We don't know why. Can you figure it out?"

They added that the drier was on the first floor."We don't know where it exits the home. We think it goes out under the porch decking."

Solution: AdvantaClean tested the drier upon arrival. It was blowing lots of warm air from the exit ducting at the bottom rear of the drier.

AdvantaClean that found the drier vent ducting exited under the front porch. We turned the drier on to test the air flow. See the video. Pretty weak air flow.

We used our "forward" and "reverse" air whip hoses to clean as much debris was possible. We tested the air flow again. Still weak.

We entered the basement to look at the drier vent ducting only to see that IT MADE FOUR 90-DEGREE TURNS BEFORE EXITING THE BUILDING. We disconnected the ducting to look inside; it was almost completely clogged. See the videos.

Once clean, the air blew forcefully through the drier ducting once the drier was turned on. Check out the video. Now, the customers clothes dried much more quickly, and they were happy.

AdvantaClean's mission was accomplished!

Willie - Wonka-Like Drier Vent Duct Cleaning Gets Cleaned

Location: Louisa, VA 23093

Problem: Customer could not figure out where her drier vent ducting exited the building at her new home. Clothes were taking an extra long time to dry.

Solution: AdvantaClean discovered that the drier vent ducting exited under the front deck. The ducting from the drier went into the basement and took four right angle turns before reaching outdoors.

AdvantaClean took several videos of the cleaning process. 1. Air flow before the drier ducting was cleaned. 2, 3, and 4. Cleaning the ducting and taking apart the ducting for a deep cleaning. 5. Air flow after the drier ducting was cleaned.

Gutter Downspout Extension - Simple Moisture Control Solution

Location: Henrico, VA 23238

Problem: New homeowners wanted to do everything they could to get rid of crawl space mold. They also wanted to prevent excessive rainfall from entering a small, partially walled-off crawl space section at the rear of the home by their driveway.

Solution: After a full crawl space remediation (removing/replacing the insulation and vapor barrier and cleaning excessive mold from the area, AdvantaClean did more.

Unfortunately, the asphalt driveway sloped toward the affected area of the home's crawl space. The best (and most cost-effective solution) was to add a long gutter downspout extension to a gutter that deposited rainfall along that side of the home by the drive way. AdvantaClean also used masonry caulking to help stop water penetrating the brick masonry from the top of the asphalt.

It worked! So far, the customers have not noticed excessive water in that area of the crawl space.

"Reverse" Air Whip Cleans Dryer Vent

Location: Richmond, VA 22111

Problem: When cleaning air ducts at a customer's home, AdvantaClean heard the customer say that the clothes in her dryer took a long time to dry (a symptom of a dryer vent clogged with debris).

When the dryer was turned on, not much air was coming out the dryer vent ducting at the exterior of the home. Since the dryer was on the first floor and the ducting to the exterior was only a few feet long, AdvantaClean offered to clean it for free.

Solution: We used a "reverse" air whip ball head to enter the dryer ducting from the exterior of the home. This air whip ball blows air back towards you to dislodge lint and debris.

Connected to our gas-powered Pullman-Holt air compressor in the van with long air hoses, AdvantaClean cleaned the dryer ducting without any trouble. Look at all the debris come out.

Hot, dry air from the dryer was now coming out strongly, and the customer says that her clothes dry much more quickly.

Contractor Needs Mold Removed From Basement

Location: Richmond, VA 22111

Problem: A local contractor, Highland Building, was hired to remodel a customer's home, and they discovered heavy mold on the base and corners of basement walls. Some were behind drywall.

The contractor wanted suggestions on how to keep excess moisture from basement masonry as well as a plan for mold remediation.

The contractor was not concerned about mold staining on the masonry once the mold was removed. He planned to add a foam sealant over the masonry after we were done.

Solution: AdvantaClean recommended several ways for the contractor to divert rainfall away from the exterior of the home to prevent it from seeping towards the basement.

Contractors contained the basement before demolition. After contractors had removed the carpeting, baseboards, drywall, and drywall support slats, AdvantaClean began removing visible mold using a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEA) vacuum.

HEPA vacuums remove 99.7 percent of all particulates larger than 0.03 microns in size. A "micron" is measurement representing a millionth of a meter in width. Most mold spores (hyphae and hyphal fragments) are larger than that.

Once done, AdvantaClean used an antimicrobial disinfectant solution to remove the remaining mold and mold roots (mycelium).

The contractor was more than happy with our work.

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Mold Around Ceiling Air Duct Diffusers

Location: Richmond, VA 23230

Problem: Customer hired AdvantaClean to clean the air duct system at her home. She had heavy mold building up around the ceiling diffusers.

This is common when the humidity in the home's air attracts to the cold metal diffusers in the summer. This can cause excess moisture to build up on and around diffusers.

The diffusers were quite rusty in many places; the customer asked us to clean them. However, she was planning to replace them at another time.

Solution: AdvantaClean cleaned her air duct system and used a HEPA vacuum to clean the visible mold off the ceiling. We followed this up by cleaning the mold off the diffusers with an antimicrobial disinfectant solution.

We further damp-wiped mold and any mold staining off the ceilings since they were covered with a semi-gloss paint.

The customer was very pleased with our work.

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Bird's Nest Removed From Drier Vent

Location: Richmond, VA 23230

Problem: Customer's clothes were taking too long to dry. The laundry room was humid when the dryer was running. The electric bill was higher than normal.

Solution: AdvantaClean used its air compressor, air hoses, and air whips to clean the dryer vent of lint and debris.

A birds nest was removed from the dryer vent ducting near the exterior of the home. Dried grass from the bird's next, twigs and other material were blocking air flow in the ducting as well.

Once it was cleaned out, the customer's dryer problems went away -- clothes dried much more quickly, the laundry room did not get filled with warm, humid air from the dryer, and the dryer did not need to run as long.

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AdvantaClean Cleans Up Water Loss At Church

Location: Richmond, VA 23230

Problem: Water leaked into the offices of a community church after a heavy rain storm. The roof was in the process of being replaced.

The church needed the water cleaned up ASAP.

Solution: AdvantaClean responded to an evening call to clean up the water leaking from the roof inside church offices.

Church officials moved much of the furniture aside to allow AdvantaClean to remediate the water loss.

Steps included detaching or disposing of items that trapped water -- baseboards, cove, insulation, and carpet padding. "Weep holes" (small holes) were made in ceilings to allow water to drain down and air flow to help evaporate moisture. The carpet was pulled up and air movers ran underneath them to dry the carpets.

A dehumidifier was positioned in the affected area to capture moisture in the air and discharge it down a drain. In four days, the offices were dry and sanitized so rebuilding could begin (roof repairs were finished, too).

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Dirty Ducts Cleaned At Museum Workshop

Location: Richmond, VA 23230

Problem: The air duct system in the wood shop of Richmond's Science Museum needed cleaning since it was contaminated with heavy visible debris. Occupants also noted the poor air quality as well.

The aged metal ducting was entirely lined with insulation padding, and the customer wanted this padding to be encapsulated to help retard the growth of mold.

Solution: AdvantaClean cleaned the air duct system using its portable power vacuum and air compressor with air whips. Due to the length of the ducts, access holes had to be cut into the system.

Once the ducts and diffusers were cleaned, the duct insulation lining was encapsulated with IAQ8000 encapsulant.

Air samples were taken before and after cleaning. The results showed a vastly improved quality of air with much fewer contaminants and mold spores in the air at the wood shop.

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High End Condo Needs Mold And Water Damage Cleanup

Location: Richmond, VA 23229

Problem: A new high-end condominium had a slow leak in its sink plumbing. Upon moving in, the new homeowners noticed the wood flooring (on a slab) behind the sink bar was a different hue from the other wood flooring.

They thought to note of it until a few months later when they noticed the baseboard next to the wood flooring was discolored. They also noticed an odd odor.

The condo owners contacted the warranty office at the new home builders. They called AdvantaClean.

Solution: AdvantaClean arrived promptly and suspected a slow leak in the plumbing.

After testing the affected areas with a moisture meter and adding an air scrubber, AdvantaClean removed about eight square feet of drywall to expose the plumbing and allow for the careful removal of the affected baseboard.

More mold was found on the cabinetry and drywall. After completing mold remediation. AdvantaClean proceeded to rescue the wood flooring and cabinetry with specially constructed containment (poly and painters tape), a dehumidifier and a fan.

The wood floor was dried, sanitized, and saved.

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New Wood Floors And Granite Countertop Saved In Water Damage

Location: King George, VA 22485

Problem: New homeowners had a water leak in their master bathroom. It affected their master bedroom, the hallway (with new wood flooring) and the basement underneath.

Homeowners particularly wanted to preserve the new wood flooring. They also had a new granite counter top in their master bath they wanted to save.

Solution: AdvantaClean responded promptly and used one of its Phoenix Firebird heater fans to rapidly dry the wood flooring outside their master bathroom.

The carpet was floated dry in the bedroom after carpet padding and furniture was removed. Baseboards were detached as well since they were trapping moisture.

The master bath cabinetry also had a new granite counter top that needed removing. A specialty company, James River Granite and Marble, were called in to detach the counter top so the cabinetry could be removed. They later came back to re-attach the counter top.

The wood flooring was also saved.

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AdvantaClean Gets Water Out Of Uncle Bob's Storage Facility

Location: Midlothian, VA 23112

Problem: Uncle Bob's Storage Facility was adding a new building when heavy rain caused leakage into its existing building. Some storage units were empty, but others had customer items in them.

Speed was very important. The management needed the standing water extracted and dried up completely as soon as possible.

They notified the affected customer units and kept the facility open.

Solution: AdvantaClean was called by the construction company.

We extracted standing water with our portable water extractor and quickly set up a dehumidifier and fans in the affected area. We taped extension cords to the ground and over doorways to be less of a hazard for customers.

The contractors made a temporary tarp covering the area that was letting rainwater into the existing building.

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Bathtub Removed In Water Loss

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: Customer experienced the second story frozen pipe bursting and flooding the entire center of their home and affecting every room.

Miraculously, the floor under the bathtub in the bathroom directly under the source of the moisture was not affected. However, the insurance company adjuster requested that the bathtub is removed anyway.

Solution: AdvantaClean promptly removed the bathtub to find no moisture underneath. Nonetheless, the task was done in short order to keep the remediation on track.

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"White Stuff" On Masonry Was Not Mold

Location: Henrico, VA 23233

Problem: A previous customer contacted AdvantaClean to check some "white stuff" growing on the masonry wall in one of her storage rooms. She wasn't sure if it was mold.

Solution: AdvantaClean provided a free mold removal inspection. We explained that the white powder-like material on the wall was "efflorescence."

Efflorescence is not mold. It is a fine, white powdery deposit of water-soluble salts left on masonry (like cinder blocks) as water evaporates. It is a common occurrence in buildings with masonry underground.

AdvantaClean advised the customer to keep her small dehumidifier in the storage room and to keep a look out for any excess water leaking or rainfall around the exterior of the home above this masonry.

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Wood Floor On Slab Removed - Extra Containment Set Up

Location: Henrico, VA 23233

Problem: Rainfall had seeped into the concrete flooring of a home in Henrico, Va., over a long time. The moisture stained the wood flooring on top of the concrete slab floor and caused a small amount of mold growth behind a baseboard.

The customer was especially sensitive to any disturbance of any extra mold spores into the air of the home.

Solution: Six-millimeter polyurethane ("6-mil poly") sheeting was set up around the doorway entrances to the affected room with painter's tape. The air supply diffuser on the ceiling was sealed, and the chandelier was protected with poly and tape as well.

Technicians wore personal protective equipment (suits, gloves, and respirators) to help minimize the spread of mold spores going into and out of the containment.

The wet and stained wood flooring was removed, and the affected area was dried and sanitized. An air filtration device ("air scrubber") was left at the home running for three days following remediation.

The customer was happy with our work and could breathe easier.

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Thermocamera Finds Water On Ceiling

Location: Mechanicsville, VA

Problem: Customer's young child caused a second-floor toilet backup upon flushing.

The Category III water (sewage) overflowed long enough to cover the bathroom floor and drip down through the ceiling below. Luckily, the homeowners discovered the problem early and cleaned up the standing water before contacting AdvantaClean. Water damage mitigation had to be performed.

Solution: AdvantaClean of Richmond West detected water under the tile of the two-room bathroom upstairs.

The commode was detached. The vinyl flooring and underlayment, as well as the baseboards and toe, kicks the water touched had to be removed and disposed of off site. Everything was sanitized.

A "thermocam" detected water staining in the ceiling. This helped AdvantaClean to determine the affected area.

The affected ceiling drywall and some insulation above were removed and disposed of off site. Care was taken to protect the chandelier as well as the plumbing in the ceiling cavity. Everything downstairs was sanitized, too.

Wet Lint Removed From Drier Ducts

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: Customer complained that she had not been able to dry her clothes for more than a week. She didn't know why, but she contacted AdvantaClean to have her dryer ducts cleaned.

On the Internet, she saw that AdvantaClean of Richmond West had a five-star average on a popular online review Web site, She chose us because of that.

Solution: AdvantaClean arrived at 4 p.m. on a Friday.

Upon set up and cleaning, we discovered moisture in the dryer ducts (the air ball in the ducting made a gurgling sound).

This indicates moisture is trapped. Humid air from driers can build up at turns in the ducts. This can cause wet lint to accumulate and block air. This "bottle necking" can cause driers to take longer to dry clothes.

We used a wet vac to extract the wet lint 18 inches or so from the duct boot in the laundry room. We used our forward and reverse air ball assemblies to extract the remaining wet lint from the ducting.

On completion, we reconnected the drier and tested the air flow. It was strong and uninhibited.


The customer was delighted and promised to write a positive review online for AdvantaClean of Richmond West.

Dog Urine Smell Solved

Location: Glen Allen, VA 23060

Problem: Customer's most recent tenant had left, but they found a lingering dog urine smell in one of the bedrooms on wood flooring. They needed the smell removed before they could rent it out again.

They had used other companies to clean the affected area but to no avail.

Solution: AdvantaClean used Step 2 of odor remediation -- Remove contaminated material containing the odor.

After a lot of sweat equity, AdvantaClean removed the contaminated wood floors. The sub floor underneath was not affected.


Customers were happy and soon had the wood floor replaced and the home rented to new tenants.

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Private Parking Garage Flooded

Location: Richmond, VA 23111

Problem: The blocked drainage for a private parking garage downtown Richmond, Va. caused problems after heavy rainfall.

About three inches of standing water at the bottom of the garage had seeped into the stairwell and foyer.

Solution: AdvantaClean used a portable water extractor and long hoses to move water from in the affected area to street drains.

About 12 square feet of drywall and insulation was removed in the stairwell foyer. A dehumidifier and a couple of centrifugal fans were added for a few days to dry the structural substrates.

The customer was pleased with our performance, and they stayed open for business. Same thing happened a few weeks later, and we were called out again to help.


The customer has subsequently had the blocked drains cleared.

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Children's Murals Saved In Basement

Location: Richmond, VA 23111

Problem: Customer saw flooding into the basement after a heavy rainfall. The moisture affected more than 1,000 square feet of carpet and several rooms. Some of the rooms had murals on the walls for their children.

They wanted these murals saved!

Solution: AdvantaClean was swift to respond to the emergency call.

We extracted water with our portable power vacuum and removed wet carpet padding. We detached baseboards along the walls that the water had reached.

We added drying equipment and sanitized areas affected by the water. The drywall on which the murals were painted dry in place and were saved. Same with the rest of the basement.

Customers were happy.

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Thermocam Helps Find Source Of Water Damage

Location: Richmond, VA 23111

Problem: Customer scheduled a mold inspection with AdvantaClean to determine why mold was growing on a downstairs bathroom ceiling 9 feet high.

Solution: Using one of AdvantaClean's thermocams, we determined that the moisture source was active and coming from one place. See the blue patch surrounded by yellow on the thermocam screen in the photo.

The blue color indicates a different surface temperature of the drywall (cooler). This often indicates that the drywall is wet.

After looking upstairs, we determined that the commode seal in the bathroom directly above was leaking. Using another device -- a moisture meter -- we determined this to be true.


Water was under the tile and leaking onto the ceiling below. Customer hired AdvantaClean to remediate for the water loss. The affected ceiling was removed, and the customer had the commode seal fixed from leaking.

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"Tenting" Helps Dry Sub Floor

Location: Mechanicsville, VA

Problem: Customer had a frozen pipe burst and run in their home for 90 minutes before the water could be shut off.

Foyer at the bottom of the stairs had tile and two layers of underlayment. While the rest of the home was remediated for the water loss. The foyer could not be addressed until a moving company had moved all the homeowner's furniture from the home.

Solution: Using one of AdvantaClean's thermocams, we determined that the moisture source was active and coming from one place. See the blue patch surrounded by yellow on the thermocam screen in the photo.

The blue color indicates a different surface temperature of the drywall (cooler). This often indicates that the drywall is wet.

After looking upstairs, we determined that the commode seal in the bathroom directly above was leaking. Using another device -- a moisture meter -- we determined this to be true.


Water was under the tile and leaking onto the ceiling below. Customer hired AdvantaClean to remediate for the water loss. The affected ceiling was removed, and the customer had the commode seal fixed from leaking.

Granite Counter Tops Removed And Re-Attached

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: Water supply line to a second floor commode burst and left for several hours. Water traveled and leaked all the way to the kitchen and then the basement.

The wood flooring in the kitchen and dining room could not be saved as the water damage went on for too long. The adjuster gave the permission for the cabinetry to be removed along with one-of-a-kind granite counter tops.

The large island and gas burners presented problems.

Solution: AdvantaClean hired James River Marble and Granite to remove the granite counter tops over affected cabinetry. They stored the items off site while remediation and build back continued.


James River Marble and Granite successfully re-installed the counter tops. The cabinet company that installed the custom cabinets came to detach, remove, and eventually re-attach the cabinets.

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Sewage Loss Means Wood Floor Had To Be Removed

Location: Richmond, VA 23219

Problem: A ninth-floor condominium saw sewage back up from another condominium. The sewage liquid covered the entire, empty condo on all sides up to about 1/4 of an inch.

In cases like this, any porous, non-structural material that comes in contact with the sewage must be removed and disposed of due to the bio hazard.

Solution: We removed all with hard wood floor glued to the cement flooring as well as all baseboards and wood luan under tile flooring in the condo.

The insurance company adjuster put up some resistance, but AdvantaClean insisted on proceeding according to IICRC industry protocol.


All exposed structural material (cement, wood framing) was cleaned and sanitized in place by AdvantaClean.

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Insurance Denies Customer Water Claim AdvantaClean Helps Anyway

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Problem: Customer filed a water damage claim due to a leaking water supply line to an ice maker in their kitchen.

However, their insurance company denied the claim due to the extent of the damage and the length of time the line had been leaking. Some of the kitchen floors were sagging.

Solution: AdvantaClean carefully removed the Vinyl Composite Tile (VCT) in the kitchen, but the sub floor underneath crumbled into the crawl space as it had been so damaged by the water loss.

AdvantaClean installed temporary wood flooring, sealed it with tape and set up containment walls with 6-mil poly and ZipWall doors.

The damaged floor was removed and the affected areas were dried and sanitized. The customer's son helped with the remaining demolition of the kitchen cabinets and replacement of the floor.


AdvantaClean assisted the customer by dividing the invoice into payments that fitted the customer's budget.

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New To Area Homeowners Have Air Ducts Cleaned

Location: Powhatan, VA 23139

Problem: Customers new to the area contacted AdvantaClean to have the air ducts cleaned in their new home. Lots of visible lint could be seen in and around the air supply diffusers, in the ducts, and on the padded insulation at the air return grill.

Solution: AdvantaClean used a 'push and pull" system to clean the ducts. It's portable power vacuum (pull) and air compressor attached to air hoses (push) were used at key areas in their air duct system to help clean the system.

We used another High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuum to clean the air diffusers as well as the metal boots they were attached to.

A great deal of debris was removed from the system in the large portable power vacuum (see before and after photos of the vacuum's netting).


Our portable power vacuum is usually attached near the air handling systems using specially made access points. Each of these access points is sealed when we are done with sheet metal, screws and metal tape.

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Water Damage From Frozen Pipes

Location: 23113

Problem: A freezing cold January Sunday morning burst a lot of pipes, including a home in Midlothian, Va. The water spigot to a hose at the rear of the home had ruptured and dumped hundreds of gallons of water in her finished-off, 2000-square-foot basement.

"I called Kevin and he immediately came out and bought in a crew to begin the clean up and started the drying out process within hours," said the homeowner in an online review.


The carpet was "floated" dry, and some drywall had to be taken out around where the affected baseboards had been.

"Kevin and crew were courteous, thorough, and extremely respectful of my home while reclaiming the water and drying out my basement."

"I have heard horror stories of companies that just wreck people's homes in the process, but they made every effort to dry out my home quickly, minimizing damage, and cleaning up spotlessly so I could begin the restoration process."

She added that she cannot say enough about the professionalism of AdvantaClean and the team of employees.


"I hope nobody ever experiences having your house damaged from water, but if you do this is the company to call!"

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Inherited Home Needs Mold Remediation

Location: 23235

Problem: The homeowners of this home had passed away and left it to their daughter who lived out of state. A bathroom water leak had gone unnoticed for months, and heavy mold had formed on the adjacent bedroom' ceiling and walls.


The visible mold had settled on the ceiling and upper portions of the bedroom walls as there was no air flow in the home. The mold staining was severe, and the drywall had to be removed as part of remediation.

The water leak was repaired, and the home was remediated for water and mold.

The affected portion of the home was contained with 6-mil poly, painter's tape and ZipWall doors. Air filtration devices were set up in the contained areas. Technicians work Personal protective equipment and remediated the entire area.


The daughter planned to repair everything and put the house back on the market. She was very pleased with AdvantaClean.

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Mold From Crack In The Bathroom Tub

Location: 23229

Problem: Alecia S. discovered that her bath tub crack was leaking water into the closet underneath. She didn’t realize how bad it was until she took a closer look after noticing an odor from the closet. Mold had built up on the drywall.

Solution: She called AdvantaClean. AdvantaClean contained the closet and removed the contaminated drywall, cleaned the substrates with antimicrobial and dried everything in containment with a dehumidifier. An air filtration device was added to the home to help clean the air in the home of any mold spores that had escaped prior to remediation.

Customer Testimonial:


"Kevin and his crew were prompt, very neat, explained everything in detail,” she said in an online review at “They performed the work, came back every couple of days to check out the drying situation and I felt he was quite reasonable. I most definitely would refer Kevin and his crew to others. Kevin even went above and beyond in recommending some contacts to restore my sheet rock along with getting quotes on having s new tub installed. Very honest, reliable, and (he) truly cares about doing not only a great job but goes the extra mile to help the customer in any way he can. I would rate AdvantaClean 10 stars but since I can only do five stars - five stars it is!" 

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Water Damage Removal Over Kitchenette Tile

Location: 23111

Problem: Commode water supply spiggot leak in the second-floor bathroom. Bathroom needed remediation as well as kitchenette ceiling and tile floor underneath. Crawl space under the bathroom, too.

Solution: Customer searched online using for a company to clean up and sanitize areas of the home affected by the water damage.

The customer chose AdvantaClean due to our good online reviews and speedy/professional service.

AdvantaClean responded promptly. As kitchenette tile could be matched and replaced, AdvantaClean strategically removed only tiles over the affected area to reduce costs for the homeowner.


The home was remediated for the water loss successfully. The customer was happy.

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Crawl Space Mold Remediation And Vapor Barrier

Location: 23111

Problem: A poorly installed vapor barrier had led to moderate surface mold growth on exposed crawl space substrates. The insulation looked unaffected. The customer complained of a "moldy" smell in the home.

Solution: AdvantaClean recommended leaving the existing insulation in place and cleaning the exposed substrates with a HEPA vacuum and treating the affected areas with antimicrobial (see photos).


The existing vapor barrier was in pretty good shape, so AdvantaClean recommended patching the vapor barrier with matching poly taping it in overlapping areas. The exposed crawl space floor was now covered to help reduce the amount of morning-dew moisture from evaporating each day.

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Mold Remediation, Content Cleaning, And Urine Cleanup


Problem: A son visited his parents' home several months after their passing.

Since he lived a fair distance away, he didn't know how much surface mold had built up on the wood siding and contents in the finished-off basement. The air conditioning system was not working in the basement.

His parents were collectors. While the customer packaged and stored a lot of the items, he asked AdvantaClean to clean the wood paneling, many of the contents -- including arm chairs, sofas, and non-porous bric-a-brac on shelves.

Solution: AdvantaClean painstakingly removed the surface mold using High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuums. We damp-wiped non-porous personal belongings with clothes and an antimicrobial disinfectant.


On site, AdvantaClean noticed a strong odor of cat urine in a corner of the garage. We provided an estimate for cleanup using an enzyme-based odor removal solution. The customer agreed, and the odor removal was successful.

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AdvantaClean Gets Rid Of Roofer To Make Way For AdvantaClean

Location: Richmond, VA 23227

Problem: An apartment building owner contacted a roofer to put a new surface on the roof of his 20-unit apartment building.

However, the roofer did not put a cover over the building roof before a big storm. Storm rainfall leaked into four apartments. The roofer also said he could perform water damage removal, but he didn't! Thick mold had grown in the apartments over two weeks.

The owner fired the roofer, but he needed the mess cleaned up quickly.

Solution: The owner called in AdvantaClean to perform mold removal for the mold and dry the apartments so he could rebuild and put new tenants in them.

AdvantaClean quickly surveyed the property, took moisture readings and photographs, and determined the scope of work.

Four apartments were affected. More demolition had to be done, and drying equipment needed setting up.


Within two weeks, the apartments were remediated for mold and water. The owner was happy to start reconstruction so soon.

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University Mold Removal Must Go Before Students Return:

Location: Richmond, VA 23284

Problem: The new main cafeteria at a Virginia University had 400 linear feet of exposed metal ducting 16-20 up from the main seating area on the second floor. The lint on top of the air ducts had left dark mold staining in some areas. The school wanted it all gone before students returned for the fall semester, and there were only 10 days left before they returned to school.

Solution: Mold removal had to be done. A five-man crew from AdvantaClean worked 10 hours straight on the Saturday and Sunday before term started to remove the offending mold stains.

We used four 12-foot step ladders so AdvantaClean could cut the cost of renting scissor lifts to get the job done. Tables and chairs could be easily moved around to make way for the step ladders.

A de-greaser solution was used to remove the lint and grease on the ducting with new clothes. Four open grills in the cafeteria left a greasy, sticky film on the top of these ducts. An antimicrobial solution was used where there was heavy mold staining. We used a HEPA vacuum to remove lint in areas not badly affected.


The customer liked our work so much, they hired us to clean lint off the two dozen lamp shades hanging from the ceiling of the massive foyer to the cafeteria.

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Roof Leak Floods A Local Church And Caused Mold Removal

Location: Richmond, VA 23284

Problem: We see leaky windows cause mold far too often. This is yet another example of why you should verify that the people installing your windows know how to do it correctly. This window was obviously not installed correctly as it began to leak; as it began to leak, mold began to grow. The homeowner called us to come out and eradicate the mold issue so he could sell his home. As the wall where the growth was found was taken apart, we found that the mold had spread all the way down the wall. Mold removal had to be performed immediately.


Solution: When we arrived we started by removing all the contaminated wall materials. It was then bagged and removed. HEPA air scrubbers were set up to make sure we didn't have any loose mold spores getting to any other parts of the home. We used HEPA vacuums to clean up any loose debris and mold spores for the same reason. When we remove drywall we make sure to cut it out with as straight a line as possible, that way, when the homeowner goes to put in new drywall, it's easier for them. We use laser lines to ensure a nice straight line. Once the effected material has been removed and everything has been vacuumed, we can begin treating the surrounding areas. The whole of the inside of the walls must all be treated with an antimicrobial chemical per IICRC standards to ensure that it is all dead. We do not want any new growth appearing. The homeowner must now have someone come in and fix the leaking window as well as rebuild the areas that had to be torn out in order for the house to sell. 

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Crawlspace Make Over - Good Enough For Dinner Time

Location: Powhatan, VA 23139

Problem: Customer complained that the floor of their new home was too cold, their crawl space was dirty, and the storage space of their crawl space was not optimized. Plus, they didn't have a sump pump in their crawl space.

Solution: AdvantaClean recommended remediation of the mold, taking debris from the crawl space, as well as the old 4-mil vapor barrier.

Then AdvantaClean added new 12-mil poly to the walls and pillars of the whole crawl space. We used butyl tape, poly tape, and foundation pins to hold the poly in place.

After adding "dimpled" crawl space liner, AdvantaClean added 12-mil poly to the entire floor and taped everything tight.

A new Santa Fe Advance 2 dehumidifier was after sealing crawl space vents and any holes in the foundation. We also added a sump pump and back up battery.

Now, with added storage space, the homeowners can enjoy better energy savings as well as a reduced likelihood of mold growth and pest infestation.


Looks so nice and clean now, you could camp out in your crawl space and eat dinner there, too!

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Water Trapped Under Laminate Tile Floor ("Floating Floor")

Location: Glen Allen, VA 23060

Problem: Customer's commode backup on the second floor. Water ran for a few hours before discovery. It spread into a few second-floor rooms as well as through the dinette ceiling underneath and onto the laminate tile floor.

At first, the tile looked like it was not damaged. Moisture meter testing did not reveal any water present.

However, after a few days, the edges of the squares started to cup. Lifting up the tile flooring at the carpeted edge, water could be seen underneath. So -- after clearing it with the insurance company, the flooring was removed.

Solution: Tile flooring came up easily. Underneath, however, was a black-and-white checkered vinyl floor on top of luan. This had to come up as well.


Water staining could be seen on the sub floor better now with all floor coverings removed. It was dried and sanitized according to industry protocol (in the crawl space as well).

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Encapsulate That Apartment's Dirty Duct Lining

Location: Richmond, VA 23233

Problem: An upscale Richmond-area apartment complex with more than 500 units calls on AdvantaClean to clean it air duct systems, treat for mold and encapsulate the padded lining on the boots of its apartment ducts.

After more than 15 years since being installed, this lining has become infested with mold.

Solution: Replacing the ducting is cost prohibitive for the property owners. The next best thing is to clean the ducts, treat for mold and encapsulate the lining with IAQ8000.

The encapsulate coats the lining with an impenetrable layer -- like varnish -- so it is impossible for mold to grow there anymore.


The customer (and tenants) are pleased, and they keep calling us back to do more.

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Pining Down Poly With Wire Supports

Location: Midlothian, VA 23112

Problem: Customer hired AdvantaClean to remove and replace the vapor barrier and insulation in the crawl space of a newly-purchased home. There was also light visible mold to remediate for as well.

One challenge was the relatively steep slope of the crawl space floor. The old vapor barrier (4-mil polyurethane or "poly") had slid down the edges.

This allowed moisture from the ground to evaporate and help cause mold to grow on the joists and insulation.

Solution: AdvantaClean removed the old vapor barrier and insulation as well as remediated for the mold.

To help keep the new 6-mil poly in place, AdvantaClean used crawl space wire supports bent like an upside down "U" to hold the vapor barrier in place.


This will help keep the poly covering the entire floor, keep moisture under it, and greatly reduce the speed at which mold will grow on the joists.

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Mother Of All Bird's Nests In Dryer Vent

Location: Glen Allen, VA 23060

Problem: Customer hired AdvantaClean to clear out the dryer ducting for their home as their clothes were taking too long to dry. The customer had already disconnected the transition ducting and cleaned it out.

Unfortunately, the dryer was stacked on the washer, and the transition ducting went down to the floor then into the wall. In the wall, the ducting went straight back up and over the bedroom ceiling next to the laundry room to exit the home.

The dryer duct exit was basically on a third floor.

Solution: While cleaning the dryer duct, multiple bird's nests were found in the ducting. Check out the video.


AdvantaClean installed an In-o-Vate Defender drier duct grill on the outside of the home to prevent birds from making nests in the dryer vent ducting.


Disconnected Flex Duct Found - Pro Bono Cleaning

Location: Richmond, VA 23225

Problem: Customer contacted AdvantaClean of Richmond West for a free mold inspection. Visitors to the customer's home said there was an odor in her laundry room and bathroom.

Solution: Upon inspection, AdvantaClean found no excess moisture intrusion or any visual mold.

However, we did find that in the bathroom, the ducting leading to the floor vent was disconnected. You could see straight into the crawl space. We notified the customer; she had a new HVAC system installed the year before. We suggested contacting them to see if they could re-connect it.

That was probably causing the bad odor in the bathroom. We could not smell or even determine a source of the smell in the laundry room.

AdvantaClean offered to inspect the home's other bathroom. Upon looking at the ducting, we discovered a lot of debris inside. We helped the customer vacuum it out with her own vacuum cleaner. We took a couple of short before-and-after videos.


No charge, no estimate needed.

Brand New Home Water Loss - Containment Needed

Location: Aylett, VA 23106

Problem: A senior couple had recently purchased a newly-built home. Unfortunately, the installers of the fridge did not connect the water supply line correctly.

After several months, the homeowners noticed that he floor was swelling around the fridge. They contacted the flooring company; they pulled up 60 percent of the flooring in the kitchen revealing a slow leak and heavy mold. The flooring company put sheets of luan over the exposed flooring.

Solution: Upon inspection, AdvantaClean noticed heavy visible mold exposed in the kitchen around the makeshift covers the flooring company had left behind. The homeowners were adversely affected by the excessive mold present in the home.

After explaining what needed to be done to remediate (clean up), AdvantaClean -- on the spot -- cleaned up the visible mold around the edges of the make-shift luan left behind and attached it to the subfloor with tape and staples. This helped to contain the mold and provide a better air quality in the home.

The insurance company approved water remediation steps, but nothing was covered for mold remediation.


AdvantaClean cleaned up the mold all the same and set up poly containment in the home while water remediation was going on to help improve the air quality in the home and reduce the likelihood of cross contamination.

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"Containment" Saves Old Bathroom Tile

Location: Richmond, VA 23229

Problem: Customer had a slow leak from a water supply spigot in a bathroom with tile floors and tile up a portion of the walls.

The homeowner had already removed about 35 square feet of textured ceiling drywall below as well as about 75 square feet of an affected wall. The mold was visible on the ceiling joists and sub floor.

The customer wanted mold remediated and THE TILE LEFT IN PLACE. He was not going to file an insurance claim.

Solution: AdvantaClean removed the mold using a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuum, antimicrobial, and clothes (to help remove some stubborn staining).

When completed, AdvantaClean set up "containment" chamber using 6-millimeter (6-mil) poly (polyurethane), painter's tape and ZipWall poles (to help hold up the containment). A dehumidifier, an air scrubber, and one centrifugal fan were placed inside the containment.

After seven straight days of drying and daily monitoring, the moisture levels under the affected tile floor had dropped to pre-loss levels (under 15 percent moisture content).


Some additional ceiling was removed before taking down the containment and pulling equipment. Problem solved!

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Danger Wet Ceiling Above

Location: Ashland, VA 23005

Problem: AdvantaClean responded to a water loss involving an overflowing commode on the second floor. The whole adjacent bedroom floor was wet as well as parts of the laundry room next door and the entrance to the bedroom in the hallway.

In addition, the ceiling in the garage under the bathroom and bedroom was saturated. Beads of water could be seen forming on the ceiling below!

Something had to be done quickly as a U.S. gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds. If the ceiling collapsed, it could seriously hurt someone below.

Solution: AdvantaClean quickly determined that there must be insulation above the ceiling.

Weep holes were not draining the water quickly enough. If there was no insulation present, water on top of the drywall ceiling would drip down rapidly through the weep holes. However, ceiling insulation will trap moisture like a sponge and not allow the water to be extracted easily.

The traditional use of a dehumidifier and fans would not be able to dry the ceiling or extract the water in any timely fashion.

The ceiling had to come down -- and fast.

AdvantaClean moved as much of the homeowner's personal belonging aside and covered the floor and remaining items with 6-mil poly. Parts of the ceiling were pulled down along with the wet insulation.

After the center of the ceiling was pulled and wet insulation removed, AdvantaClean bagged up all the debris and disposed of it all off site. A dehumidifier and axial fan were set up to dry the remaining drywall, sub floor, and joists.

The insurance company was contacted and sent photos of the initial remediation efforts. A storage pod, as well as pack out, was likely needed -- and permission would be requested.

Remediation efforts up stairs were completed in a couple of hours. Fans and a dehumidifier were set up there. But in the garage, a potential hazard was addressed promptly.

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Hard Wood Floor Saved By AdvantaClean

Location: Richmond, VA 23233

Problem: Homeowners contacted AdvantaClean through to respond to a water tank leakage in the laundry room. The hard wood floor in the laundry room and in the near by hall had buckled a little. The homeowners had several young children, and they did not want to see the wood floors taken up and their laundry room out of action. However, they wanted everything dried and sanitized according to industry standards.

Solution: AdvantaClean of Richmond West swept in to help. At first, we were concerned that the paper underlayment between the hardwood floor and the subfloor would trap the moisture -- as is common. If the underlayment was impermeable, the wood floor would have to be removed. However, the crawl space clearance underneath allowed for a dehumidifier and fan to be added. So, with air movement and humidification in the house and below, excessive moisture levels in the affected areas went down to acceptable levels. The paper underlayment appeared to be semi permeable. Cupping of the floor was reduced significantly. The wood floors were saved, and the customer, and insurance company were happy. 

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