Indoor Air Quality and health as the days get colder.

Indoor Air Quality and health as the days get colder.

September is already more than half gone, the leaves are changing colour, the cool fall nights are upon us.  We want to remind our followers of what to prepare for with the upcoming months ahead. As the leaves around your home or office building fall, they tend to land in the eaves troughs and clog up the flow. Once the leaves have all fallen, make sure to clean out your eaves to allow proper water flow for the fall rains and of course the snow melting during and after winter. Make sure that all downspouts are at least six feet away from the house, and that they are not clogged.

Now is a great time to have your attic inspected to make sure you have enough insulation and that it is spread evenly with adequate ventilation. Having proper insulation and air flow in your attic will help to prevent ice damming.

Our busiest time of year for mold inquiries is always the last quarter as people start spending more time in their home with the windows closed and the furnace blowing warm air around. All mold needs water to grow however, some mold is water loving and needs lots of water to stay healthy and some mold is non water loving and needs very little water to be healthy.

Some types of mold produce an odour typically described as musty, earthy, urine like and most commonly, like Grandmas old basement. As the rain stops falling and the basement or other affected area starts to dry out the water loving mold begins to starve and releases spores into the air in an effort to find better living conditions. When certain water loving mold types are starving they not only release spores into the air but also a microbial volatile organic compound (MVOC), which excretes an odour. This also works vice versa, when a non water loving mold is fed too much moisture, it will also produce MVOC’s along with an odour.

Having a fall mould inspection performed should be one of the first things to consider as the cold winter months will require you turn on your furnace and potentially cause cross contamination of blowing up mold spores that could be in the basement or other areas of the home.

Better Health

Unfortunately, when Fall and Winter arrive, many blame health issues on colds and the flu. However, what most people do not realize is that mold spores can cause many of the symptoms we experience when we think we have a cold or flu:

  1. The sudden onset of allergic symptoms involving the respiratory system such as cough, congestion, sinus infection, asthma, and bronchitis.
  2. Unexplained headaches, decrease in attention span or memory, difficulty concentrating, or dizziness.
  3. Other physical symptoms of mold could include skin rash, itchy eyes, fatigue, and a general unwell feeling that disappears when you have been out of the house for periods of time.

Many of the symptoms above would be diagnosed as cold or flu symptoms by a Doctor. As our toxic mold survivor interviews show, this is a common occurrence simply because most Doctors are not trained to identify sickness caused by mold.

In the 1990s the Mayo Clinic published findings from a study that suggests that NEARLY ALL chronic sinusitis (inflammation of the membranes of your nose and sinus cavities) is caused by mold, but blamed on bacteria—then mistreated using antibiotics. In fact, according to their study, 96% of the people who suffer from chronic sinusitis are “fungal sensitized,” which means that they have an immune response that is triggered by inhaling fungal organisms.

The incidence of chronic sinusitis has been increasing because most physicians still believe that bacteria and not mold is the cause. As a result, Doctors prescribe antibiotics which do not provide long term relief.

If you suffer from a chronic sinus infection, you may want to have your home inspected for mold, which is probably the root cause of the problem.

If you experience these symptoms soon after turning on your furnace, then you likely have mold spores circulating in your home.

Peace of Mind

Trained mold inspectors follow a step by step protocol to determine if there is a mold problem. They will do visual inspections; ask questions to get a better idea of the building history to find out about leaks, floods, etc. any indication of past moisture issues; measure the moisture levels; and may recommend that tape, swab, or air quality tests be done to determine the type of mold and the spore count in the home.

The relative cost of a mold inspection compared to the potential health issues and eventual structural issues that mold can cause in a property is minor and should give you a significant amount of peace of mind knowing that you have had a professional inspection performed.

Bottom line, if you suspect that you have any mold concerns, we strongly recommend that you have a professional examine the problem so that you can prevent the spread of the mold throughout your home when you turn on your furnace.

 

got mold?™ Saskatoon & Regina Team members

got mold?™ Saskatoon & Regina Team members

Left to right, Erol Oktay, Tony Subaday, Stephen Weyo, Billy Apostal, Matt Drinkwalter (Team Leader), Talin Ross (Team Leader), Chris Mysiorek (Senior Project Manager)

Many of us in business have heard the popular aphorism, “People are your greatest asset.”, at got mold?™, we believe that “The right people, are our greatest asset”. For this reason we use a very comprehensive hiring process developed by our Emissary, Les Postnikoff. Essentially we seek out A team players that are willing to put in an A+ effort. We are interested in individuals that strive for excellence in everything they do.

We are always looking for great people to help us fulfill our mission to find and fix sources of unhealthy indoor air. Are you looking for a new and rewarding career, we may have a fit for you.

We have review process that is based on our corporate values, as follows;

Dependable – We make commitments and meet them
Resourceful – We find a way or make one
Knowledgeable – We are certified and constantly learning
Productive – We get it done right ASAP
Trustworthy – We have a great reputation
Loyal – We are proud of our company and its values
Ethical – We don’t compromise our values and we don’t cut corners
Respectful – We care about people, property and good stewardship of money

In the event that an employee does not live up to any one of our values, we know they are not the right person for the team.

Thanks to all of our team members, company wide for your safe, hard work that you do for the company. We want our staff to know that we see all of the hard work they put in every day. Our employees work long hours to service our clients. Our teams are involved in many challenging situations where they perform work in tight crawl spaces all day on their hands and knees all wrapped up in hot tyvek suits. They are put into high risk situations such as attics in +32 degree temperatures, raw sewage backups, rodent dropping clean up and more.

Stay tuned for future posts of our teams at each location, stories of projects we are working on, certifications and training, trade show events we attend and much more.

 

got mold?™ at the Regina Spring Home Show

got mold?™ at the Regina Spring Home Show

We invite you to come join us at the Regina Spring home show at Evraz Place, this weekend. You can enter both of our draws, one for a free Radon test kit, and another for a mold and or asbestos assessment/survey with a detailed report.

We are in the Canada Centre Complex, Aisle C, Booth 204, directly across from Emterra Environmental.,  Right beside us is Pro solutions and Infinite Water Solutions, in case you are thirsty due to all the walking around the sho.

There are several other great exhibitors such as That Guy Contracting, Full Throttle Furnace & Duct Cleaning and many more.

Wether you are renovating, thinking of renovating, looking for a tiny home, need a brand new home, are in need of a new roof, or anything else home related, this trade show is for you.

There’s plenty of candy, balloons and other treats for the kids, come out and show your support for local trusted contractors.

Dates, Times & Admission

Location:

Canada Centre Building – Evraz Place

Dates/Times:

Thursday, March 30th: 3pm – 9pm
Friday, March 31st: 1pm – 9pm
Saturday, April 1st: 10am – 8pm
Sunday, April 2nd: 10am – 5pm

Admission:

Advance Tickets Are Available Now!
Tickets available at the Brandt Centre Box Office.

Box Office is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 am till 5:00 pm and Saturdays from 10:00 am till 4:00 pm.

One Day Admission – $12.00 per person
Two Day Pass – $19.00 per person

$1 from each admission on Saturday, April 1st will be donated to Habitat for Humanity Regina

Includes Parking
Kids 12 & Under are Free

Congratulations To Our Most Recently Certified Water Restoration Technicians

Congratulations To Our Most Recently Certified Water Restoration Technicians, Matt Drinkwalter  & Billy Apostal

We are very proud off all of our employees and are committed to providing them with the latest in education. We keep our team members certified and constantly learning.

The Water Damage Restoration Technician course is designed to teach restoration personnel that perform remediation work to give them a better concept of water damage, it’s effects and techniques for drying of structures. This course will give residential and commercial maintenance personnel the background to understand the procedures necessary to deal with water losses, sewer back-flows, and contamination such as mold.

There are two key questions your water damage restoration contractor must be able to answer. First, what is the category of water? Second, how much damage or destruction has the water caused? Answers to these questions enable the water damage restoration contractor to create a professional scope of work and action plan.

What are the categories of water?

According to the IICRC, there are several different levels and classes involved in liquid destruction. From the IICRC’s S-500 standards, there are three categories describing the type of liquid involved:

Category 1 Water (Clean Water)

Water that originated directly from a sanitary source and when exposed to it, either through the skin, inhaled or ingested, does not cause a great deal of harm to humans. Examples of Category 1 Water: broken water supply lines, melting ice or snow, falling rain water, and tub or sink overflows (no contaminates).

Category 2 Water (Gray Water)

Defined as water with bacteria present, but no solid waste, carrying microorganisms and nutrients for microorganisms. Category 2 water does have the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if consumed or exposed to humans. Examples of Category 2 water: discharge from dishwashers or washing machines, toilet bowl overflows (urine, no feces), seepage due to hydrostatic pressure, and sump pump failures.

Category 3 Water (Black Water)

Contains pathogenic agents and is grossly unsanitary which includes raw sewage and other contaminated water sources, such as flooding from sea water, ground surface water and rising water from rivers or streams. To learn more about Category 3, read our two part series which described some of the challenges we faced during the Calgary flood in 2013.

HOW MUCH DAMAGE OR DESTRUCTION HAS THE WATER CAUSED?

According to the IICRC there are four classes of destruction:

Class 1

The lowest and easiest to deal with, this has a slow evaporation rate. Only part of a room or area was affected, there is little or no wet carpet, and the moisture has only affected materials with a low permeance rate, such as plywood or concrete.

Class 2

With a fast evaporation rate, this level affects an entire room, carpeting, or cushioning, the wetness has wicked up the walls at least 12”, and there is moisture remaining in structural materials.

Class 3

This class has the fastest evaporation rate, and ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet and sub-floors are all saturated. The liquid may have come from overhead.

Class 4

This class is labeled as specialty drying situations, which means there has been enough liquid and time to saturate materials with very low permeance, such as hardwood, brick, or stone.

It is important to understand that when you experience water damage, the longer you wait to begin dealing with the concern, the worse it can get. You should not allow the water to sit because the risk of bio-hazard increases. In short, in 2 to 3 days, category 1 water can turn into category 2 water and eventually category 3 water as other bacteria and pathogens begin to proliferate.

Bottom line, act immediately. Call a restoration professional to assess the category of water and extent of damage. Once this is determined, the scope of work will assess structural issues based on the class of damage, outline what contents need to be removed, how to deal with and remove excess water, a drying and monitoring strategy using air movers and dehumidifers, and a sanitizing plan to ensure a healthy environment.

It is important to understand that the goal of water damage restoration is to restore the property to pre-loss condition. With this in mind, once all the work has been done we strongly advise that you hire a Third Party Environmental consultant to perform post-remediation tests, particularly, if any mold or category 2 or 3 water was present. This final step will provide further peace of mind that the water damage restoration contractor you hired did a professional job.

 

Do you work for a company that renovates buildings built prior to 1990?

Do you work for a company that renovates buildings built prior to 1990?

We had a successful first year at the Homestyle’s show with many contractors and home & building owners coming to our booth with questions about mold, asbestos and radon.

I was prompted to write this article after one particular visitor came to our trade show booth for some answers and explained his concerns of his employer not testing for asbestos on their job sites. This gentleman told me that since the downturn in the economy the well known Saskatoon company he works for has moved from constructing new buildings to demolition and renovation work, just as many other builders have done in an effort to keep their businesses afloat.

The story is that they are running into vermiculite and other questionable building materials that most likely contain asbestos and when it has been brought up by himself or other employees, they are told that the materials most likely don’t contain asbestos. They are also told that in order to have the materials tested and analyzed, it would take a couple weeks for results and that they would have no work for employees in this case. The truth is samples can be analyzed within 24 hours of testing. To me this is a very sad and scary situation to think that an employer is so desperate for work that they would be negligent and put their employees and customers life at risk just to keep busy. WorkSafe BC has stated in this youtube video that “Since the year 2000, more workers have died from asbestos disease than any other workplace injury”.

If you work for a contractor that does demolition and renovation work in buildings built prior to 1990 without first having a hazardous building materials survey/audit performed, you must speak to your OH&S committee and state your concerns. If the company does not have an OH&S committee, you may want to consider finding a different job or go directly to OH&S. Here is the Saskatchewan asbestos abatement manual & regulations, your employer and all employees should be familiar with this manual.

Key lessons to be learned from this story are as follows:

1. Before starting a renovation project, your employer must hire a professional consultant to determine whether the building has materials that contain asbestos.

2. Determine whether or not the project will potentially disturb the asbestos.

3. Determine if the materials are friable or non friable which will help determine if the project requires low, moderate or high risk abatement.

4. If the consultant finds that the renovation project could release asbestos fibres into the air, then your employer must have an abatement plan in place by working with a professional abatement contractor.