Mold awareness month part 2 of 4

Mold awareness month part 2 of 4

Welcome back to our 2nd edition for mold awareness month 2015. If you missed the first issue you can read it here. In this article we would like to discuss what you should look for when buying or renting a home. Looking for these things before you buy or move into a new environment can definitely help you with your own health and the health of anyone you may have in your home.  Are you thinking about buying a home in the near future?

The busiest time in real estate sales tends to be during the spring and summer. If you are in the market for a new home, you should be aware of mold. Since mold remediation is costly, it is much better to thoroughly investigate a home before buying and inheriting a moldy mess.
Here are three clues that you should look for when you are investigating a home purchase.
WHAT’S THAT SMELL?
A bad musty smell is not a good sign because it could indicate mold growth.
Earthy, musty, mildew and even urine like smells are often an indicator of Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds (MVOC). Which are gaseous by-products produced during fungal metabolism. MVOC’S are an indicator of active and past mold growth.
WHAT’S GROWING ON THE WALLS?
If you see signs of growth on the walls, ceilings, corners of the basement, then you should be concerned. A small mold growth can easily turn into a large mold growth. It is probably a good idea to find out if the home has had any past moisture issues and if, in fact, they have been fixed.
WHY AM I SNEEZING AND WHEEZING?
Our founder, James C. Watson, is particularly susceptible to mold and in some cases can even sense that there is a mold problem when he walks into a home or office building because he begins to wheeze and can also have difficulty breathing. Keep in mind Watson’s sensitivities can sometimes be caused by smoke and or chemicals, etc. The only way to verify a mold problem is through proper inspection and testing. If you know that you are susceptible to mold and have respiratory problems when you do a walk-through, then there is a good chance that there are mold issues.
These are just three clues you should look for.  However, keep in mind, just because you do not find evidence of any of the above does not mean that there is not mold present.
The basic problem with mold is that it can be hidden. Home inspectors are not mold remediation specialists and do not have the expertise required to identify potential mold issues. Home buyers are well advised to invest in both a home inspection and mold inspection before purchasing a home, particularly if there is any indication that there are potential moisture issues. (Buyer Beware! How Reliable is Your Home Inspection?)
Since a home purchase is such a life changing event, once you have narrowed down the potential homes you are considering, it is a wise decision to invest in a mold inspection because home inspectors lack mold expertise.
Since extensive mold in a home can make it virtually unlivable, paying for a specialized mold inspection will save you thousands of dollars and your health.

If the first half of this article doesn’t apply to you because you are a renter, you may be looking at moving into a new apartment, house, condo or basement suite… Some of the same key things to look for will obviously apply to you but you should also consider your rights as a tenant as well,
In the past we have written articles about what to do if you have mold in your apartment this article also had a part two added to it for newer information and some new regulations that Canadians have rights to as tenants.

There are many things that you can do in your home or apartment to prevent mold that doesn’t necessarily need a company like got mold? to come in and remove.

1. Identify problem areas in your home and correct them. You can’t mold-proof your home, but you can make it mold-resistant. Do an audit of your home: where are the problem areas? Does the basement flood? Do you notice frequent condensation on an upstairs window? Is there a water stain on the ceiling from a persistent leak? Preventing mold from growing or spreading might be as simple as ripping up carpet in a damp basement, installing mold-resistant products, or repairing damaged gutters. Or it may be a matter of major excavation and waterproofing. Whatever the case, address the problem now. It might cost some money up front, but it will surely be more costly down the road if mold continues to grow unchecked.

2. Dry wet areas immediately. Mold can’t grow without moisture, so tackle wet areas right away. Seepage into the basement after a heavy rainfall, accumulation from a leaky pipe, even a spill on the carpet should be dried within 24 to 48 hours. If you’ve experienced a flood, remove water-damaged carpets, bedding, and furniture if they can’t be completely dried. Even everyday occurrences need attention: don’t leave wet items lying around the house, and make sure to dry the floor and walls after a shower. Don’t leave wet clothes in the washing machine, where mold can spread quickly. Hang them to dry — preferably outside or in areas with good air circulation.

3. Prevent moisture with proper ventilation. It may be that your routine domestic activities are encouraging the growth of mold in your home. Make sure an activity as simple as cooking dinner, taking a shower, or doing a load of laundry doesn’t invite mold by providing proper ventilation in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and any other high-moisture area. Vent appliances that produce moisture — clothes dryers, stoves — to the outside (not the attic). Use AC units and dehumidifiers (especially in humid climates), but make sure they don’t produce moisture themselves by checking them periodically and cleaning them as directed by the manufacturer. Your energy-efficient home may be holding moisture inside, so open a window when cooking or washing dishes or showering, or run an exhaust fan.

4. Equip your home with mold-resistant products. Building a new home or renovating an old one? Use mold-resistant products like mold-resistant drywall or mold-resistant Sheetrock, and mold inhibitors for paints. Traditional drywall is composed of a gypsum plaster core pressed between plies of paper. Mold-resistant drywall is paperless — the gypsum core is covered in fiberglass, making the surface highly water-resistant. Moisture-resistant drywall is especially valuable in areas prone to wetness, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, and kitchens. Not only is traditional drywall more susceptible to mold than the paperless kind, but it is also difficult to rid of mold, and removal and replacement can be expensive. Mold-resistant gypsum board is also available; the core of the drywall is developed in such a way to prevent moisture absorption, and thus prevent mold growth.

5. Monitor humidity indoors. The EPA recommends keeping indoor humidity between 30 and 60 percent. You can measure humidity with a moisture meter purchased from your local hardware store. You’ll also be able to detect high humidity by simply paying attention to potential problem areas in your home. Telltale signs of excessive humidity include condensation on windows, pipes, and walls. If you notice condensation, dry the surface immediately and address the source of moisture (for example, turn off a humidifier if water appears on the inside of nearby windows).

6. Direct water away from your home. If the ground around your home isn’t sufficiently sloped away from the foundation, water may collect there and seep into your crawlspace or basement.

7. Clean or repair roof gutters. A mold problem might be a simple matter of a roof that is leaking because of full or damaged gutters. Have your roof gutters cleaned regularly and inspected for damage. Repair them as necessary, and keep an eye out for water stains after storms that may indicate a leak.

8. Improve air flow in your home. According to the EPA, as temperatures drop, the air is able to hold less moisture. Without good air flow in your home, that excess moisture may appear on your walls, windows and floors. To increase circulation, open doors between rooms, move furniture away from walls, and open doors to closets that may be colder than the rooms they’re in. Let fresh air in to reduce moisture and keep mold at bay.

9. Keep mold off household plants. They’re beautiful and help keep your indoor air clean — and mold loves them. The moist soil in indoor plants is a perfect breeding ground for mold, which may then spread to other areas of your house. Instead of getting rid of your plants, try adding a bit of Taheebo tea to the water you give to your houseplants. The oil of this tree, which withstands fungi even in rain forests, helps hinder mold growth in plant soil and can be found at natural food stores.

Finally, educate yourself on your region’s climate — be it the cold and wet Northeast, the hot and wet South, the hot and dry Southwest, or the cold and dry West — and how it responds to moisture. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to mold prevention. Knowing what works for your climate and your home is an important first step

 

Thank you for reading part two for mold awareness month. Please help us share this information with your friends and family. You never know who you could help. Stay tuned for part 3 of 4.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact us anytime at 1-888-909-6653

Are airborne particles linked to sleep insomnia?

Are airborne particles linked to sleep insomnia?

They say the most intelligent people have the hardest time falling asleep at night because they have lots of things on their minds. Many things go through your mind a million times a minute once your head hits the pillow, in many cases this is the time of day when you can actually think clearer about the decisions and things that happened during the day. But, for many the thoughts don’t stop and things seem to pile up and this is when people begin to become more anxious and sometimes even depressing thoughts start to kick in.

Recent studies have shown a connection between hay fever and insomnia. In the North America alone, some 50 million people suffer from allergies as a result of changing seasons.

Research indicates that hay fever victims suffer from insomnia twice as much as people without allergies. Experts say people with allergic rhinitis on average take a longer time to get to sleep and they wake up more easily during the night. They also have to take more naps during the day and they get tired more easily.

During springtime our immune systems work to repel tree pollen from oak, elm, ash, birch, hickory, maple, cypress, walnut…and the list goes on. As a result, you will sneeze, cough, drip and blow and wipe your nose until it’s red as a stop sign!

In summer, you can look forward to spores coming from weeds, grasses and outdoor mold.

Come fall, there’s ragweed, sagebrush, and thistle to clog your nose.

During winter, you figure you’ll be indoors most of the time, so no worries, right? Wrong! Welcome to dust mites, animal dander and indoor molds. Now, you can add colossal headaches to your nasal congestion. Also, if you weren’t keeping an eye on your nooks and crannies you may even have mice living in your home causing a whole other issue with respiratory issues.

All of these particles build up in your nasal passages and your lungs causing your body to react differently, everyone reacts differently to different particles they breath in from their indoor environment. So, this is why it is so hard to prove if the link between mold and insomnia is a fact, other then most patients that came into contact with mold and other indoor airborne particles lived in homes that have flooded and were not properly remediated, or still have water damage in them.

If you believe that your home may be the reason you are sleep deprived, don’t wait until it starts effecting you! There are some beginning steps you can take to give you some peace of mind.

  1. Get an Inspection done. Either a visual inspection with an environmental professional who is trained to assist people and assess the building envelope and surroundings or, if you visually see that your home has water damage in it or can see mold. Get some samples taken!
  2. Ask your professional if they they believe it could be covered under insurance.
  3. After your tests come back from sampling (if needed) or after your evaluation with a professional, book with a trusted company that’s track record proves they do the job the right way the first time! Look at customer reviews, read testimonials, and above all else make sure they are educated!
  4. Enjoy a good night sleep knowing you did the right thing and hired the right company!

 

For more information please call 1-888-909-6653

 

Mold in the News: Issue 15

Mold in the News: Issue 15
At Got Mold? our goal is to keep our followers aware of mould related news stories. Each day, we scour the internet looking for relevant information. Here are some stories we thought may interest you!
Please share this information so that we can continue to increase awareness of mould and mould related illnesses. Follow us on twitter because we tweet important mould news. Our facebook page is also full of mould news…please LIKE us. Our founder, James C. Watson, is donating $0.50 for every new LIKE we get to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Thanks for your support.
Mould found at seniors centre: Breathing complaints at the Katrine Community Centre led to the discovery of mould in the seniors centre downstairs. Township of Armour Reeve Bob MacPhail explained that a few years ago there was a leak near one of the staircases and since then work was done, including extending the roof, however a recent discovery of mould caused concern with seniors using the facility.
Solving the mold problem: Steve Tilman estimates that he’s looked at more than 3,000 homes in his eight years as a licensed home inspector for HomeCheck Inspections in Winston-Salem. In many of those inspections, Tilman – a certified mold investigator and assessor and certified indoor-air-quality technician – was checking for mold. But Tilman discovered that his customers had difficulty finding reliable companies to solve the mold problem.
Parents Allege Mold in Middle Township Elementary No. 2 : Pink painted ceilings don’t seem to be able to contain the black stains seeping through from what appears to be a proliferation of mold in Elementary No. 2.
Tips for preventing, removing mold, mildew: Spring is officially here and Fort Leavenworth Frontier Heritage Communities would like to remind residents that mold and mildew are common in this part of the country because of the warm and moist air that this season brings. Though mold and mildew spores are always in the air, the types that cause mildew need moisture and can only grow in certain temperatures and can commonly develop in Kansas.
Allergy season gets off to early start: Elizabeth Harris Krasnoff knows this spring is turning into a terrible allergy season.
Mold testing set for Middle school: A Pennsylvania firm is expected to conduct mold testing at Middle Township Elementary School No. 2 this weekend. A parent recently raised concerns over ceiling tile discoloration in the one classroom at elementary school, said Superintendent Michael Kopakowski. But Kopakowski did not want to say if mold is present. That’s why testing is being done, he said.
Video: Allergens target nearly half of people in the Ozarks: Treatment can be tricky. “The mold is a very bad thing in the Ozarks. But most people don’t talk about it that much because there is not that much we can do about it,” explained Lux. “There are molds that don’t grow in culture, so we don’t have them available for testing. So there’s a lot of people who suffer from mold in the Ozarks, but we don’t have an allergy test for it.
Military housing firm cites progress in mold abatement: Despite delays that Lincoln Military Housing blames on new state standards related to mold, the company has made marked progress in cleaning up hundreds of its houses across Hampton Roads, Lincoln officials said this week. But for several families who may sue over the issue, it’s too little, too late, according to their lawyer.

Mold in the News: Issue 14

Mold in the News: Issue 14
At Got Mold? our goal is to keep our followers aware of mould related news stories. Each day, we scour the internet looking for relevant information. Here are some stories we thought may interest you!
Please share this information so that we can continue to increase awareness of mould and mould related illnesses. Follow us on twitter because we tweet important mould news. Our facebook page is also full of mould news…please LIKE us. Our founder, James C. Watson, is donating $0.50 for every new LIKE we get to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Thanks for your support.
FEATURED STORY: Video: Condo Association Accused Of Hiding Mold Problems From Tenants: A company managing condominiums and apartment rental units is being accused of exposing residents to potentially dangerous mold and not telling them about it. CBS 2′s Dave Savini investigates the conditions and a woman’s fight for justice. Sonia Alvarado’s home is sealed in plastic. To get a glimpse inside, she puts on a special protective mask and mentally braces herself.
Mold problem at DHS nearly gone: Responsibility for a mold problem at Demopolis High School lies with air conditioning maintenance and drainage according to a report presented to the board of education Monday night. Last week, representatives of Safety Environmental Laboratories and Consulting, Inc (SELC) conducted a Limited Indoor Environmental (Fungal/Mold) Assessment of Select Areas of Demopolis High School, which was requested due to concerns of fungal contamination at the school.
Mould and Your Health: Mould and Your Health Home is where the heart is – it’s where we spend time with family, friends and loved ones. Because we spend much of our time at home, home is also where our health is. That’s why it’s important to make sure that our homes are healthy environments. The steps to make your home a healthy environment may not all come as a surprise to you. But you may be surprised at just how much those little actions can help your health!
Court Rejects Teacher’s Suit Over Classroom Mold: A Virginia teacher who suffered sinusitis, bronchitis, and other ailments because of exposure to excessive mold in her classroom could not sue her school district on a constitutional claim that her bodily integrity had been violated, a federal appeals court has ruled.
More floods means more mould – and more respiratory problems?: We know that Australia is a country of droughts and flooding rains, but recently it has seen more rain than usual. By Dr Tom Jeavons and Professor Michael Abramson In the past five years there has been record rainfall and flooding in many towns and cities across eastern Australia. The floods themselves are dangerous, but there are also health hazards associated with the indoor dampness that follows, and more specifically the excessive mould this encourages.
Floods herald creeping problem of mould and growing health risks: The past five years have seen record rainfall and flooding in many towns and cities across eastern Australia. The floods themselves are dangerous, but so are the health hazards associated with the indoor dampness that follows and, more specifically, the excessive mould it encourages. A lot of indoor mould growth resulted from Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of homes in New Orleans in 2005.
First Nations students likely to lose school year: Most elementary school students in Pikangikum First Nation won’t be passing this year. They’ve lost 57 days of class time since December, when teachers left the community after mould was discovered in their homes. Repairs have been made and trailers brought in for alternative accommodations, but Principal Joanne Donnelly said teachers won’t be back until next week at the earliest. They’re still waiting for the results of air quality testing before returning. The delay will have consequences for students.
Province goes to war on scofflaw landlords: The provincial government has slapped notorious landlord Gurdyal Singh Sahota with a $115,000 penalty for failing to maintain a water-damaged Surrey apartment building despite several orders from the Residential Tenancy Branch. The penalty against Sahota, a wealthy landlord who has long been criticized for allowing his buildings to fall into disrepair, is the first administrative penalty under the Residential Tenancy Act.
Video: Mold forces elderly woman out of West Palm Beach condo: A 78-year-old Century Village resident says she complained about a leak in her unit years ago, but no one believed her until the problem got so bad she became sick and her entire kitchen had to be gutted.