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

Mold in the News: Issue 11

Mold in the News: Issue 11
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.
Halstead: ‘Mould making me ill’: A family say they don’t know where to turn after being told their windows will not be replaced for another three years despite pools of water appearing inside their house. Mum Lisa Scrimshaw, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, says her condition has been made worse because the house is so cold. She also said the family have been forced to buy electric heaters and blankets at their own expense to keep warm during the winter because the windows won’t close properly.
Safety of students priority after mould discovered in school, says government: Newfoundland and Labrador’s education minister is trying to quell concerns after mould was found in a small community’s only school. Clyde Jackman says the safety of students at William Gillett Academy in Charlottetown, along Labrador’s southeast coast, is a priority for the government. Jackman says preliminary results of testing carried out last week by an independent consultant found elevated levels of mould in some areas of the kindergarten to Grade 12 school.
Labrador town needs new school because of mould problem: A leaking, mouldy school in Charlottetown, Labrador, needs to be replaced, says MHA Yvonne Jones. Several tests have shown mould at William Gillette Academy despite some remediation measures, Jones stated in a news release. The school was closed three weeks ago after a leaky roof led to water-soaked ceiling tiles falling into classrooms. Since then, students and teachers have been using church basements as a temporary school.
Prevent mould in key areas of the home: Singapore has a climate of high humidity and creates the perfect conditions in which mould likes to grow. A key area of mould growth is the bathroom, not surprisingly because it is an area of the house that attracts condensation and water retention.
Waterford voters reject school upgrade prompted by mold problem: Township residents on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a $9.2 million plan to upgrade local schools in the wake of a mold infestation. Residents voted 738-369 to defeat the plan, which called for improvements to Waterford?s three elementary schools. Those schools closed for a week last fall due to mold problems, and district officials had said the project would address structural problems, such as leaky roofs, that had led to the infestation.
Mold causing health concerns in Hartford School: Numerous parents, the leader of the local teachers union, the director of the national group that supports the union are concerned for the safety of teachers and students at William Paca/Old Post Road elementary schools after new reports and photos of black mold and rust in the facilities have been revealed.
Video: Little Havana Apartment Residents Living With Mold: Carla Balladares has to wash her dishes with extra care because she can only use cold water. She says the owner of her Little Havana apartment building has failed to provide hot water since January. “It’s difficult when you have three children. You want them to have a house, a home,” she told CBS4’s Natalia Zea in Spanish with tears in her eyes. She says her six-year-old daughter keeps getting colds despite her attempts to give her a warm bath using water she heats up in the oven.
Lead, Mold Contaminate Honolulu Hale: A new report says mold and lead dust has been found in Honolulu Hale, raising health concerns for those who work and do business at City Hall. Indoor mold, the report notes, proliferates in moist or humid areas and can induce “allergic respiratory disease” for some individuals. Lead, meanwhile, is often found in paint flakes and poses more of a concern for children younger than 6 than for adults.
Blight fight: Ypsilanti Township targets 10 property owners with mold, mice and other code violations: Once again, Ypsilanti Township’s Board of Trustees approved staff and its legal department moving forward with court action against multiple property owners. At its March 12 meeting, the board unanimously approved staff to take legal action – if necessary – against 10 property owners, which is triple the usual load.
Spring cleaning efforts can lead to healthier lifestyles: Annual U.S. Prevalence Statistics for Chronic Diseases reports that allergies and asthma strike one out of five Americans each year, and though there is no cure for allergies, simple measures such as spring cleaning can greatly impact the physical and mental health of those living in a home. A sure sign of spring is increased pollen and mold counts, but bacteria, mold and haphazardly stored items throughout a home can negatively impact a person’s health as well, according to health experts.