Preventing Legionella from Invading Your Home

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

One of the most common environments where Legionella is in abundance is in both potable and non-potable water. The Legionnaires’ disease is a serious and sometimes even lethal lung infection or type of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria; the other is Pontiac fever, which is a milder infection. The Legionnaires’ disease can be associated with varying symptoms such as cough, fever, lack of energy, loss of appetite, muscle aches, head ache, chest pains, and even diarrhea and nausea.


Image source: Science News

Just by inhaling aerosolized Legionnaires’ disease bacteria (LDB) or drinking water contaminated with LDB, a person can develop the disease. This is why making sure that this type of bacteria is mitigated is vital if you want to protect the whole household.

The most common sources of LDB are water mist from cooling towers, humidifiers, showers, faucets, and whirlpool baths. More so, if the water is warm and stagnant; it provides ideal conditions for LDB’s growth (where the water temperature is between 32 to 40 degree Celsius or 90 to 105 degree Fahrenheit). The presence of other microorganisms can elevate the bacteria’s presence as well. Temperatures between 20 to 50°C or 68 to 122 degree Fahrenheit will allow the organism to multiply.

The US Department of Labor recommends specific preventive steps to stop the organism’s presence in your home:

  • Regularly clean evaporative condensers and cooling towers.
  • The temperature for water heaters should be at 60°C (140°F) and 50°C (122°F) or higher at the faucet.
  • Flush frequently unused water lines
  • Do not expose large water-storage tanks to sunlight.

While evidence shows that water systems used in homes are less likely to produce this organism as compared to larger systems that hospitals, workplaces and buildings often use, taking care of your family’s health should never be taken for granted.


Basement Flooding Prevention Tips

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

No one can argue about the importance of a regular basement inspection. A wet basement can cause severe damage if left unresolved; and worse, the whole house may even collapse if the situation becomes severe. Basement flooding may be caused by unsuitable location of the home, poor floor and wall sealing, blocked gutter system, poorly constructed drainage system, and debris in the eaves troughs. Here are some of the signs that are most commonly associated with basement flooding:

  • Cracks on the walls or in the floors
  • Mold growth
  • Signs of moisture or condensation in the basement even if the weather is dry

Image source: The Hamilton Spectator

A property inspector emphasizes that no basement is free from water; there is always the possibility of a flood or minor seepage, which happens when the floor gets some little puddles of water, usually between 1/4- and 1/2-inch deep. The following tips may go a long way in correcting and/or preventing basement flooding:

  • Install a check valve between your house’s drainage system and the municipal water system; this method, which may be expensive, is usually referred to as a “flood control” system.
  • Install a stand pipe only if it is just a minor backflow.
  • Consider using sump pumps, which can remove water that has already accumulated in the basement.
  • Check for debris that may be blocking your roof’s gutters and downspouts.
  • In the absence of downspouts, use drain pipes to redirect the rain water to the back or front yards.
  • Invest in a quality de-humidifier for your basement, one that has an optional drain hose.
  • For full or partially finished basements with carpet or hardwood on the floor, it is ideal to have a plastic vapor barrier between the carpet pad and the concrete slab floor.
  • Seal all cracks and install drywall walls.

Do not wait for an emergency before you take action. Seek the advice of a professional now and have your basement checked. You may also consider getting an insurance for further protection especially if your property is located along the gulf coast. Whether it is being used as a garage or a maintenance room, it still needs the same level of care you are giving to the other parts of the house.