A Healthy Happy HOME
Maintenance & Repair

Michael - 
541 961-4213 CCB# 112223

Helping You To A More Cost-Effective,
Healthier & Safer Home Since 1986

Healthy Home Principles;
Responsible Homeowners Choose AHealthyHappyHome;
Home Maintenance & Repairs - Done Correctly - Done To Last.

Assisting Homeowners in Becoming Healthy, Wealthy & Wise by:
Providing Value, in Long-Term People Based Solutions Since 1986.
Depoe Bay, Oregon Serving Lincoln County and the Oregon Coast

A holistic approach that considers: You the occupants living in the home,
the structure as a system, & potential health hazards.

Start with People: As professionals why do we enter homes in the first place?
Is it not to solve people’s problems?
A home is a complete living breathing Eco-system that includes the people, pets their needs, desires, & habits.
A home can and usually does include systems for heating, cooling, cooking, possibly humidifying and/or dehumidifying, water, waste disposal, all of which add moisture and bi-products.
Our comfort level Temperature 65-80F degrees and relative humidity 40-70% is within the same range that most life (mold, pests, mites, fleas etc.) seek for their ideal living environment.
As far as organizing the below information, it is all interdependent in many ways, some is organized in the first category that it fits in. Others are in categories to keep them relatively even in quantity of information and ease of readability.

People are in my opinion the most important as without people there would not be a reason to view a home in the way we do.
After that if we look for areas that we can take charge of and make a difference in.
That is a good solution and it keeps us from getting overwhelmed. All progress in the correct direction is good progress, baby steps are good. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step as the old Chinese proverb states.

On the other side Mother Nature cares not what economic class we are in and will continue to challenge the maintenance and upkeep skills we acquire. This makes it important to prioritize the order we take care of maintenance and upkeep items, keeping Mother Nature outside where she is the Pro at taking care of our outside environment to make the earth a friendly place for us to grow and thrive is of the up-most importance.

Water leaks into our homes causing extensive damage, in my experience the big leaks we see and clean up, it is the tiny holes that let just a little water in the roof, wall, & basement that don't get taken care of promptly and also do not get the air necessary to dry them that cause so much damage.
We start with the full structural assessment including moisture and pest intrusion (as those continue to complicate all other areas of maintenance and repairs) then work to the areas that are less affected by the outside elements unless I have an occupant of the home that is in immediate need of another area such as Indoor Air Quality in the case of Asthma, Allergies, or a compromised immune system.



Keep it Dry: Damp houses provide a nurturing environment for mites, roaches, rodents, and molds, all of which are associated with asthma.
The EPA states 30% of all homes in the U.S.A. have leaks and 10% leak each year.

An Oregon legislatively authorized Task Force on Construction Claims discovered that over 60% of all homes built in Oregon in the last 15 years had leaks. If over 60% in the state have leaks what do you suspect the percentage is here on the coast with our wind-blown rain? The building codes and continuing education training requirements for contractors have changed and in practice, nothing has changed. Lincoln county chooses not to inspect or implement a policy of flashing or using even the basic BEST (building exterior shell training) course concepts for any other than new construction, even that only requires draining 75% of the water out from the back of the siding. R703 skip down to the R703 section to see what does and does not apply and see how easily it is mis-understood. I am seeing the flashing being stuck on the outside of the window, but only 100% of the time including the newest redo of the condos in Depoe Bay, the sticky on the flashing will eventually let loose and fail, feeding water back into the building.

With new construction the current practice is to flash the windows and doors, but it is not being implemented to run the water outside the siding, this traps it between the siding and the wall sheeting creating moisture problems and rot as shown to the left. Examine the window and you will see tarpaper outside the bottom fin, the water coming down the wall and window has water tension just like a cup, saucer etc. that holds it to the surface of the window and it follows along the bottom edge getting behind that tar paper and into the wall.

Caulk is not a fix (the window to the left was caulked), caulk is best used for beautification and keeping insects out. For caulk to be applied according to manufacturer’s directions it must have a gap of 1/8" to 3/8", a clean, dry, preferably painted surface provides the best adhesion. There is no way to know how well caulk sealed and bonded to both surfaces that are caulked without peeling it back out. 

This is the biggest single reason that over 60% of homes recently built have leaks, we quit flashing in the 90's when vinyl windows with the fins became popular and the building codes were changed to say flash appropriately except no flashing necessary if a window or door has a 1" or greater fin. We missed the point that we are not flashing the window or door we are flashing the hole in the wall that they are installed in.

Using best building practices, a piece on non-permeable membrane should be installed on the wall below the window before the window is installed. This membrane needs to be installed in such a way that the bottom edge comes out over the top edge of a lower piece of siding.

There is a huge mis-understanding that tar paper and Tyvec are waterproof, they are water resistant and vary in how long they will withstand being wet before they get wet all the way through from a few minutes to 1 hour. Once they are wet all the way through, they tend not to dry out in our climate. That is why it is so important to use proper flashing methods to drain the water back out from behind the siding. Siding like roofing is not water tight it has seams, joints, overlaps all of which are prone to water intrusion.

If Mold is growing (if your home smells musty it is mold) in our homes it is always due to one of the principles of a healthy home, the “Keep it dry” principle. Mold needs a food source (anything organic, including dust) and moisture above 65% humidity for 24 to 48 hours to grow.
It is always a moisture problem, created, from outside or inside such as shower or sink.

Possibly high humidity levels in the home from not enough ventilation or dehumidification.

Each human resident of our home produces approximately 1½ gallons of moisture per day, pets, plants all add to this total.

If your windows are fogged up even just a little on the bottom, it means that the humidity is to high and you need to take corrective action. This is a good indicator that you have excess moisture in your walls as well, providing a potential breeding ground for mold of dry rot..

The action may be crack a window and turn on an exhaust fan, use a dehumidifier, use the bathroom fan when showering and the kitchen fan when cooking.

These follow below in the Keep it Well-Ventilated remember to exhaust air it has to be allowed to come in somewhere.

Another huge area of impact is wet crawl spaces; the way a home is built we dig a hole in the ground. We pour a concrete footing and foundation wall, back fill the dirt and vent the crawlspace. When done to code we install 6mil plastic on the ground, up the foundation and sealed to the concrete just below the bottom plate of the home. This is to reduce the moisture that the floor structure is exposed to. We ignore the fact that we have built a shallow swimming pool under our home. The ground outside the foundation is soft and porous and allows water to infiltrate back into the lowest area, our crawl space. On the coast with our abundance of rain, it is critical that all of the water from the roof is collected in the rain gutters and drained away from the foundation. It is also critical that the ground is at least 6" below the foundation vents and drains away from the building at a minimum slope of 6" additional inches per 10' from the building. If all was, done up to building code when the house is built, there will also be a foundation drain around the outside and lower the footing draining any water that does get into the soil around the home away.

When these do not happen properly, I have seen swimming pools in the crawl spaces both with the plastic acting like a waterbed liner and completely submersed a lot more common than we would think and not even in low lying areas.

When water enters your crawl space it; brings with it any and all contaminates, pesticides, doggie/cat poop remnants and any other contaminates that have blown in, washed in, tracked in etc.. The contaminates are released into the air as the water evaporates and when the water dries it gets picked up by air flow and a vacuum in your furnace ducts and spread throughout your home.

Plants and sprinklers should be a minimum of 5' from the home for best pest elimination practices and water damage to the building. This also reduces hiding spaces for home intrusion.


Keep it Clean: Clean homes help reduce pest infestations, exposure to contaminants, as well as tripping, falling, and fire hazards.

All horizontal surfaces collect dust, pollen, dander, pollutants, & contaminates that add to our breathing burden.

We track around and bring all of the outside dirt, chemicals, lead and other contaminate dust as well as pet waste from our and others walking their pets, (even if we pick it up we still leave germs and what about the urine), into our homes with our shoes, if we leave our shoes at the door it is amazing how much less dirt (filth) we would track in and not have to clean or ingest as it dries into dust.

Cardboard boxes provide a perfect living and moving environment for cockroaches and mice. They collect moisture allowing mold a home to grow. They collect dust and any airborne contaminates such as pesticides, particulates from fuel burning appliances and our automobiles.  

We tend to collect chemicals in our garages, utility rooms, and under our sinks, these all pose risks when spelled and cross contaminated, sometimes with fatal results. It always amazes me that while we have little ones around that we know these are potentially toxic, yet as they grow up we loose that consciousness and begin collecting them again. As we age we become more acceptable to these poisons and their effects again, some people have chemical sensitivities, this should remind us that they are not good for any of us. I recommend the most environmental and people friendly products.

Dirty dishes, food and water are are an open invitation to critters of all sorts, a cockroach can live on 1 drop of grease for 20 days or 20 cockroaches for a day, not to mention ants, mice, rats etc.

I seem to be in the very small minority that remembers why we have indoor plumbing and am thankful that my mom potty trained me to use the indoor facilities. I know people that have trained their cat to use the toilet, and people that say a cat is 3 times smarter than a dog.
We seem to be able to toilet train severely retarded people, so I am thinking that it is only an issue of desire, or lack thereof, that keeps us from having our animals use the toilet, just think how much cleaner everything would be, not to mention the money saved on cat litter or bags that we have to dispose of in the garbage that take forever to decompose, from picking up dog waste.


Keep it Safe: The majority of injuries among children & the elderly occur in the home.
Did you know slips, trips, and falls constitute the majority of accidents. They cause 15% of all accidental deaths, and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities. OSHA

The leading causes are furniture in the way, throw rugs, clutter, loose or missing handrails, inadequate lighting, in the bathroom install handrails and non-slip mats in the bathtub or shower.

On stairways install handrails on both sides, providing twice the protection and allowing the use of the same hand going up and down. These are followed by injuries from objects in the home, burns, and poisonings.

Clean out the chemicals from under the kitchen and bathroom sink, they leak or spill and mix, sometimes causing toxic fumes.


Keep it Pest-Free: All pests that enter our home like the same living environment that we do, that is why they come in "shelter, warmth, food, water" it does not get any better than that, they tend to hide in areas that are a source of heat.

Recent studies show a causal relationship between exposure to mice and cockroaches and asthma episodes in children, and the elderly; yet inappropriate treatment for pest infestations can exacerbate health problems, since pesticide residues in homes pose risks for neurological damage and cancer.

IPM is the coordinated use of pest and environment information and available pest control methods to prevent unacceptable levels of damage by the most economical means with the least possible hazard to people, property and the environment.-EPA

Using IPM (Integrated Pest Management) methods eliminates most if not all exposures to hazardous chemicals used in traditional pest management.

IPM is pretty simple: Sanitation "Keep it Clean" don't attract them in the first place. I am referring mostly to household IPM, but similar practices apply to the yard, garden, and farm. http://npic.orst.edu/pest/ipm.html is one such link.

Exclusion seal entry points "Keep it Well-Maintained" are the 2 biggies. If/when you discover you have pests then Identify the pests and decide which methods of elimination are most appropriate to start with, the goal is elimination.

Keep in mind that a furry animal is a furry animal and they all have dander, go potty, track around the litter box or outside where they pick up the remnants of other furry animals and bring those wonderful bi-products back into our homes.

In urban areas pests are the biggest Asthma trigger, in suburban areas pets are.

Infants less than 6 months exposed to cockroaches double their risk of developing asthma. 1 pregnant cockroach in January will be 18,400 cockroaches in June.

The preferred initial step for small infestations of cockroaches is to start with sticky traps. Cockroaches love cardboard boxes as they provide tunnels to live in as well as a way of being transported. Cockroaches need water at least weekly but food only monthly to keep alive. The drip pan on a refrigerator or freezer is a great source of water for all pests check it and around it for signs of pests. As with all pests seal holes with caulk to prevent their entry.

The reason that cockroaches, mice, rats as well as pets and pests are causes of asthma is that their poop and urine dry and become airborne dust containing many disease bacteria that infect our lungs and in more vulnerable people cause asthma attracts. The hair, and dander are triggers for allergies as well.

When we vacuum unless the vacuum is HEPA equipped or a central house vac that exhausts to the outside (not outside an open window) a good portion of the dust collected bypasses the filtration and winds up back in our air for us to breath and collected as dust on the horizontal surfaces to be cleaned again in our next cleaning cycle.
It has been determined that it takes 7 days for all of that dust to filter back out of the air we are breathing and settle as dust.

A single mouse can carry over 200 infectious diseases. They dribble urine constantly 3000 - 5000 drops and 30-50 poops per day, both of which all contain allergens that cause asthma. Mice can enter a hole as small as a pencil and rats a hole the size of a dime, fill the hole with stainless steel scrubbing pad and caulk over it. Mice like to live inside our homes, rats on the other hand like to live outside and come in for food. Mice are curious and will explore a trap and be caught, rats are scaredy cats and won't, so with rats bait the trap for a few days without setting it to allow them to get used to it, then set it and get them. Both follow the walls so set the traps along the wall, out of areas where your children or pets can get hurt by them. Always wear gloves and dispose of them when handling rodents and birds as they carry so many diseases.
The National Asthma & Allergy Association performed a survey and found 85% of all residential homes of all socio-economic levels had mouse allergens present and 95% of low income homes have mice.

So far am not aware of West Nile Virus in Oregon and we want to keep it that way, by eliminating as many sources of standing water as possible we reduce the places mosquitoes can breed and lay their eggs. The area of our home that is hardest to see and do that on seems to be the rain gutter, most of the gutters I see have standing water in them and most of the gutter installers say that it does not matter. It does if we care to eliminate that breeding ground. Screens installed and in good repair reduce the possibility of them getting into our homes biting us and infecting us. Mosquito repellents assist us when we are outdoors, the more active ingredient in the repellent the longer it will last and protect us. 

Bedbugs are not all over the news and impossible to eliminate without professional help. They are not a product from dirty or poverty conditions they are found in fancy hotels and well cleaned and maintained homes equally.
Do not bring home used furniture of mattresses, just don't do it as it is not worth the risk the cost to treat each room for bed bugs is hundreds of dollars.


Keep it Contaminant-Free: Chemical exposures include lead (homes built prior to 1978 should be tested and need to use lead-safe construction practices), asbestos is another hazard that is quite prevalent in homes built prior to 1978 and should be tested for and re-mediated if found, radon, CO (Carbon Monoxide), pesticides, volatile organic compounds (pretty much anything we can smell is in this category however cleaning products are big contributors), molds, building products, furnishings, and environmental tobacco smoke.
Exposures are far higher indoors than outside, due to it being concentrated with not enough ventilation.Professional pest control applicators are trained, certified and licensed to use pesticides that are unavailable to homeowners.
Labeling on a pesticide package is the definitive source of information about what pests the product will control, it is also federal law.

Remember they are still poisons intended to kill. Little ones and older ones are more susceptible (people too).



Keep it Ventilated: Studies show that increasing the fresh air supply in a home improves respiratory health.

The EPA now recommends .35 ACH (Air Changes per Hour), which equates to approximately 60cfm (cubic feet per minute) for a 2-3 bedroom 1501-3000 square foot home.

Remember to exhaust 60cfm we must allow 60cfm to enter by natural air leaks or opening a window etc. this is equivalent to an average bath fan running continuously.

The new mantra is “Build it Tight – Ventilate Right”.

As our homes get tighter we are trapping more contaminates and pollutants inside so ventilation and filtration is increasingly important.

I think we have all read a story about a shut in that suffocated in their home as they did not allow fresh air in to save on heating costs.



Keep it Well-Maintained: Poorly-maintained homes are at risk for moisture and pest problems.

Deteriorated lead-based paint in older housing is the primary cause of lead poisoning, which affects some 240,000 U.S. children.

In Oregon the numbers I am hearing is that less than 5% of our homes have lead based paint issues, it does not appear to be a huge problem.
I recommend all homes built prior to 1978 be tested for and confirmed to not have lead based paint issues.

I know it is a matter of time before lead, asbestos, Radon, and all other deteriorating hazards will cause more problems, they also get more costly to remove as time continues.

Let’s identify and remove them so we can do the most to protect our children and future generations.

Lead was an expensive additive that
 was used to enhance the durability of paint added to its ability to hold its color.

It was used predominantly on trim around doors, windows & stairways.
Once testing is done and confirms your home does not have this hazard you can rest easier as well as have this documentation when repair or sale time comes.
Let’s get the lead and hazards out!

Let’s do all we can to protect and show our children as well as future generations how responsible we are, and make the world a safer better place while we are in it.


Your Home Is Your Sand Castle

Mother Nature Will Recycle It.

Making it all Work: The health hazards are a “susceptibility & exposure relationship” i.e. the more susceptible we are, the less exposure and vice-versa with higher exposure we don't need to be as susceptible to manifest symptoms. It is also a compounded and cumulative effect, which means as we continue being exposed to the hazards and age weakens our immune systems, we become more susceptible to the effects of the exposures.

Most people’s immune systems are strong enough that each of the above areas is tolerated quite well. However for some; with Asthma, Allergies, or a compromised immune system, have more severe reactions to the above and all of us with a high enough concentration of the any or all of the above will start feeling the effects over time as they attack our immune systems.

Remember that the effects in our homes is concentrated and has a synergistic effect as it is added to our outside environmental exposures so during allergy season, weather inversions, smog days, etc., we have an additional respiratory load.

A whole house ventilation system, which is being used in new construction, can filter out some of these pollutants, reducing the burden. A whole house filtration system is another option for an older home retrofit.