The Truth About Popcorn Ceilings & asbestos

Depending on the year of your home popcorn or acoustic spray are likely to contain asbestos, a known carcinogen. Popcorn Ceilings were very popular from 1950 until 1978, when the application was banned, because it allowed builders to obscure bad sheet rock installations. When considering doing home renovations you must have a sample taken as late as 1990 before you begin any removal to make sure you don’t have asbestos fibres to worry about.

Not all popcorn ceiling contains asbestos, even if the home was built or renovated during the times in which asbestos was most commonly used. Getting a professional to collect the sample is the safest route to take before you begin any removal. If the ceiling is not disrupted, you may wish to consider getting the professional to do the sampling.

You cannot be sure that a material contains asbestos by just looking at it with the naked eye. Therefore, treat all suspect materials as if they contain asbestos.

  • Shut down any heating or cooling systems to minimize the spread of any released fibers.
  • Do not disturb the material any more than is needed to take a small sample.
  • Wet the material using a fine mist of water containing a few drops of detergent before taking the sample. The water/detergent mist will reduce the possibility of releasing asbestos fibers.
  • Carefully cut/scrape a piece from the entire depth of the material using, for example, a small knife, corer, or other sharp object.
  • Collect Multiple samples from different areas of the ceiling preferably to the depth of the material and approximately 2-3 inches long. (This allows enough material for a proper sample to be analyzed)

Credible companies can get the results back in 24 hours or less if you request for a rush sample. It is recommended that the home owner or business owner get a professional to come and collect the sample to decrease the chances of exposure and the proper amount of material is collected.

 

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.

 

Fathers Day Reflections

With Father’s Day approaching, I have been reflecting on the last few years I had with my Father. I don’t typically share personal stories but this may hit home for some people that really need to hear it.
My Father passed away 6 years ago from a rare form of blood cancer called multiple myeloma. 15 years ago, the life expectancy of someone with myeloma was less than 6 months. Thanks to advances in medicine, we were able to get an extra 5 years with him. Those were not 5 cancer free years but we had 3 years quality time with him. I am going to talk about the last 2 years, and why I am writing this.
They call it a fight with cancer for a reason. Every day that someone with cancer is alive, their bodies are in a fight for survival. Dad had a stem cell transplant to try to kill off the cancer and regrow healthy bone marrow. This left him immune compromised and susceptible to many diseases that he would normally have fought off easily. Things that he had been vaccinated for as a child, he was no longer immune to. In the last 2 years of his life he came down with Chicken Pox, Shingles, Clostridium difficile(C-Diff), and several “fungal” infections. It wasn’t until I started working at gotmold, that I understood where the fungal infection came from. It’s called Aspergillosis. It comes from a very common source of mold; however, it is immune compromised and weakened people who are susceptible to the infections.
At the time, we were bewildered as to where he would have picked up a fungal infection. We certainly didn’t have a moldy house! Looking back now however, there were several water claims in my parent’s home that would have certainly left mold behind if not properly taken care of. Knowing what I know now, I would have had the restoration/insurance company working on my parent’s claim do air sampling to ensure that they had removed any and all affected materials, sprayed an anti-microbial agent and encapsulated any materials that could not be removed. These are the proper steps to ensure a safe, healthy living environment following a water loss, or mold abatement.
I understand that this wouldn’t have cured my father’s cancer, but anyone who has lost a loved one to cancer knows that the most important part about the time you have left with them is the quality of life. Every time my father had an infection, he spent a week or more in the hospital. He hated the hospital more than anything. If I could have given my father more quality time to spend with his kids and especially his grand kids, I would have done everything in my power to make it happen. Ensuring he lived in a healthy living environment should have been the easy first step, if only I had known there were people out there to test the air in their home.

My Father and I six months before he passed away. Happy Fathers Day Dad.

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