Common Air Pollutants & How To Improve Indoor Air Quality In Your Home Or Office

Common Air Pollutants & How To Improve Indoor Air Quality In Your Home Or Office
We spend most of our time indoors. We think we’re safe inside, but poor indoor air quality can put us at risk for health problems such as sore eyes, burning in the nose and throat, headaches or fatigue. Indoor air pollutants can cause or worsen allergies, respiratory illnesses (i.e. asthma), heart disease, cancer and other serious chronic conditions.
Some pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, can cause death! Take the time to learn about indoor air pollutants and you may be saving the health of yourself and others.
Common Indoor Air Pollutants

Radon
Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from soil. It can enter the indoors through cracks and openings in the floors and walls. It is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer in general.
Secondhand Smoke
Created by burning tobacco products, secondhand smoke can cause cancer and other respiratory illnesses. In children, secondhand smoke can cause or worsen asthma symptoms and has been shown to be linked to increased risk of ear infections and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Combustion Pollutants
These are pollutants that come from burning materials, such as are generated from improperly vented or unvented fuel-burning appliances (space heaters, woodstoves, gas stoves, water heaters, dryers and fireplaces).
Common combustible pollutants are:
Carbon monoxide (CO) – CO is colourless and odourless gas. It can cause headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea and death.
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) – NO2 is a colourless and odourless gas. It can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, shortness of breath, and
  increase the risk of respiratory infection.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
VOCs are chemicals that evaporate from paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, varnishes and waxes, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment, moth repellents, air fresheners and dry-cleaned clothing. VOCs irritate the eyes, nose and throat, and can cause headaches, nausea, organ damage, and sometimes cancer.
Asthma Triggers
Commonly found in homes, schools and offices, asthma triggers include mold, dust mites, secondhand smoke and pet dander. Mold can grow on shower curtains, dust mites can live in pillows, blankets or stuffed animals, secondhand smoke could pollute the air, and pet hair could litter the carpet or floors.
Asthma triggers cause coughing, chest tightness, wheezing and breathing problems. They can even trigger an asthma attack, which can be life threatening. Asthma triggers can be easily reduced by professional cleaning and air quality expert service.
Molds
Molds produce spores that float through the air and find damp surfaces upon which they grow. Inhaling or touching molds can cause hay fever-type symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and skin rash.
Protect yourself and your family from indoor pollutants by contacting our office to schedule an indoor air quality test.
You can improve indoor air quality at your home or business by performing these simple steps:
1. Have an Indoor Air Quality Inspection
    One cannot control indoor pollutants if they are unknown. An indoor air quality
    inspection can identify the presence and potential sources for many pollutants.
    Give us a call to schedule a free inspection at your home or business.
2. Control the Sources of Pollution
    Ventilate the area by increasing the amount of fresh air and therefore reducing the
    concentration of indoor air pollutants.
3. Change Filters Regularly
    Change the filters in your central heaters and air conditioners. They serve to trap
    dust and other pollutants in the air.
4. Adjust the Humidity
    High humidity can increase the likelihood of mold growth. Keep indoor humidity
    30-50% by using a moisture or humidity gauge, which are available at
    most hardware stores.

If you are interested in an indoor air quality test call today for peace of mind! Serving all of Saskatchewan & Alberta.

 

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

Why Is Mold an Issue With Grow-Ops?

Why Is Mold an Issue With Grow-Ops?
Depending on the state or province you live in, there may or may not be a list of homes or properties that were used as grow-ops, which in most instances are marijuana production sites, but can also be associated with other drug production like methamphetamines. In Saskatchewan, for instance, there is no mandated registry of grow-ops, meaning that someone could purchase a home without even knowing that it was used as a grow-op.
Mold is an issue with grow-ops for one critical reason: humidity. In order to properly grow marijuana indoors, high humidity and moisture is required. Essentially, an indoor grow-op is a greenhouse inside a house or building, meaning the plants are watered consistently and subject to grow-lights which simulate sunlight. These lights are on 24/7 and will get hot. The hot and humid conditions required to grow marijuana causes significant damage to the property: warped wood, collapsed drywall, and large amounts of mold that will begin growing everywhere. The air quality of a grow-op operation is further compromised because pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers are used to maximize production.
How do you know if the home you are living in or considering purchasing was used as a grow-op? According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (PDF), here are the signs to look out for to spot if the house you’re considering buying (or the one you’re already in) was used as a grow-op:
1. Modified ductwork that doesn’t seem to make sense.
2. Circular holes in floor joists or roof trusses from venting (look for holes that have been patched).
3. Chunks of brickwork on the exterior that have been replaced.
4. Brown stains in soffits, created by external venting, or brand-new soffits.
5. Stains on basement floors caused by containers that sat unmoved for long periods of time, or stains in laundry tubs.
6. Modified wiring and electrical panel. Sometimes, live wires can still be in the insulation.
7. New plumbing for water supply and drains.
8. Foundations and concrete walls cored or breached to get wiring around the hydro meter.
9. Warped/rotted wooden structures due to excessive moisture.
If any of these signs are present, you may be dealing with a former grow-op.
The starting point to determine the extent of mold contamination is to call an expert for a professional mold inspection which will likely require air quality tests.
If you have questions, call us toll free, 1-888-909-6653 or use the form below.

Got Mold? on Global News

Got Mold? on Global News
Earlier this week, our President, James C. Watson was interviewed by Global News for a professional opinion on how home owners can prevent flood and mould damage during wet weather. In the interview, Watson discusses ice damming, mold issues in new homes, and signs that mold may be growing.
It should be noted, in the video it shows individuals, not associated with Got Mold?, inspecting mold without taking proper safety precautions, ie. not wearing gloves and a respirator. At Got Mold?, safety is our main priority.

Why Should I Have a Spring Mold and Seepage Inspection?

Why Should I Have a Spring Mold and Seepage Inspection?
I can’t stress enough the importance of inspecting your house on a regular basis. Many people live in an unhealthy environment without even knowing they’re endangering not only themselves, but their pets and kids as well. (Robert Bollinger, President of Budget Waterproofing)
Spring has sprung, so to speak, and one of the major concerns at this time of year is seepage which essentially means that moisture and water from outside the home is getting inside the home. The part of the home that is most susceptible to seepage is the basement because it’s underground, and there’s almost always moisture somewhere nearby. Seepage will usually start because the foundation develops cracks allowing moisture in. If you think you already have a seepage issue, don’t hesitate to contact us, the sooner the situation is addressed, the better.
Here are some tips to prevent water intrusion into your home due to heavy rains and the spring melt off:
1. Clean your eaves-troughs and have them inspected yearly;
2. Make sure your down spouts are not clogged with leaves and debris;
3. Have your down spouts directed away from your house and if possible eight feet or more away from the house;
4. Make sure to build up any low areas in order to slope them away from your foundation, allowing water to travel away from your house; and
5. Install a sump pump!
It is also very important that you know where your water main valve is located just in case you spring a leak in your pipes. Your goal is to prevent excess moisture from entering your home which may occur because of rain and flooding and/or busted pipes from dramatic temperature changes.
The primary reason you want to prevent excess moisture and water from getting in your home is to prevent mold growth.
Mold needs four critical ingredients to grow:
1. Mold spores
2. Mold food which is almost any substance that contains carbon atoms, like wood, paper, and organic fibers.
3. The right temperature of 5 degrees to 38 degrees.
4. Finally, moisture.
Spring is a season that promotes mold growth because it provides the ideal environment for Mold’s Favorite Places in Your Home.
Since mold needs warmth, humidity, and organic matter to grow, it is important that you look for these key signs of growth:
1. Fogged windows;
2. Mold stains on windowsills, at roof line, in tile grout, under carpet and behind wallpaper;
3. Mildew or musty odors;
4. Dampness, condensation or rusting;
5. Worsened allergy symptoms or respiratory conditions.
Mold is a growing concern because some molds are toxic and can cause many health issues.