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There are some important things that you need to check before starting power washing process. We have listed some of them in this blog and few more would be covered in another blog.

Algae, Mold, and Mildew – Molds are fungi that grow on surfaces and aid in the deterioration of building materials. Mold’s role in the environment is to break down dead organic matter such as leaves and trees. Mold needs water and moisture to grow. Mold reproduces by way of tiny spores that float through the air. For mold and mildew to grow on surfaces they will need a temperature range between 40 degrees and 100 degrees, nutrients, and moisture. Mold and mildew can cause health concerns as well. Molds produce allergens, irritants, and even potentially toxic substances. In some communities a “Certificate of Occupancy” is not granted to a new homeowner until remediation of exterior mold and mildew has occurred. One way to minimize growth is to keep plants and trees away from the exterior surfaces to allow good air flow and to allow the surfaces to dry. Mold and mildew are easiest to clean with a solution that includes a detergent and sodium hypochlorite.
troubleshooting before power wash - algae - mold - mildew
Rust Stains – Rust stains on a house usually come from the water supply. We run into rust stains so often because many homes and businesses have sprinkler systems using water with some iron content. Removing the stain will not remove the problem. The problem can only be remedied by the use of an iron filter. The best recommendation is to use a product containing acid to remove the stain. Avoid using a straight acid, as this attacks the masonry as well as the rust stain without allowing the rust to lift from the surface and wash away. Use an acid-based cleaner instead. Apply the cleaner, allow it to dwell, and then use pressure to agitate the surface and rinse the rust away.

Note: Sodium hypochlorite will often set stains. If you have a rust stain, for example, it is important to remove the rust stain before applying a cleaning solution to the entire structure. This procedure will give you the most optimal result. Always remember to treat all stains first.

Bird Excrement – Stains from bird excrement can be removed with any good cleaner. Depending on the stain, it may also require some agitation to remove. Sometimes bird excrement contains staining elements of nearby berries, and these can be the most difficult to remove.

 Artillery Fungus – Artillery fungus is also often referred to as shotgun fungus. Artillery fungus is a wood decay fungus that is prominent in wood-chip mulch that is used in landscaping.

Sooner or later most of you will run into Artillery Fungus (groupings of little black specks that stick ferociously onto every surface they hit). They appear most often on light-colored house siding, but can also appear on windows, decks, cars, and other surfaces around the house.

The culprit is a fungus that thrives on the decomposition of natural landscape mulches. It grows in sunny, moist areas where there is organic, decaying mulch such as pine straw. The ideal material for this growth is bark mulch.

Sphaerobolus (commonly called either “artillery fungus” or “sphere thrower” fungus) forcibly ejects a peridiole (or speck) from the body of the fungi for a considerable distance. Peridioles can be projected vertically for more than 6 ft and horizontally for over 20 ft. As with most fungi, growth is influenced by temperature, light, and moisture. When temperatures range between 50°F and 68°F and moisture levels are adequate, the fungus produces fruiting bodies. These structures usually form on the material (bark, dung, or decaying plant material) in autumn and spring and are quite small (approximately 1/10 inch in diameter). Because of their size, they are often very difficult to find in the mulch although areas supporting growth of the fungus may appear matted or gray and somewhat bleached in color. As the fruiting structures mature, they usually remain active or “shoot” for approximately 2-3 weeks. Adequate light and moisture are also necessary for ejection or discharge of the peridiole. This process creates enough force (1/10,000 horsepower) to propel the peridioles into the air. This ejection process is phototropic (the peridioles are projected toward the light). The peridioles are typically quite sticky and, since they are forcibly ejected, they readily adhere to objects upon which they make impact. When the peridioles dry, they become very difficult to remove. Unfortunately, Sphaerobolus can be long-lived and peridioles have been found to still be viable for up to 12 years. Peridioles can also be naturally dispersed by wind or over great distances on plant debris, mulch, animal fur, and even animal dung.

Traditional house-washing chemicals aren’t very successful at removing these specks. The only effective method for cleaning these spores off of house surfaces is 1) to get to the spots within three weeks of emergence; and 2) using Artillery Fungus And Spore Remover with high water temperatures and approximately 2,500 PSI (possibly accompanied by scrubbing with a stiff brush).

NOTE: The number of spore spots that can be removed decreases dramatically in proportion to the time it has been adhered to the siding.

Preventing further outbreaks is the best way to deal with this problem. Once the Artillery Fungus has made an appearance, homeowners should completely remove all bark and hardwood mulch from around the home. This includes removing the topsoil from the mulch bed, as the spores can still grow in the soil, and replacing it with non-organic matter, such as decorative stone or rubber mulch products.

Caution during the cleaning process is necessary. Beyond the potential for damaging the surface you are cleaning, scraping the specks off and allowing them to land in a medium such as soil may set the stage for these spores to re-grow and start the cycle all over again.