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 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.

Mold in the News: Issue 13

Mold in the News: Issue 13
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: Mould is so bad it grows in our food cupboards: Kelly Mercer has lived in the house in Kennington Road, Radford, for four years – and says that for the past two years, mould has affected every room. Mould misery Kaira, 4, right, and Rianne, 5, in their bedroom, with mould evident on the ceiling and, below left, a close-up of the problem.
Labrador school to stay shuttered for months, mould cause: Residents of Charlottetown want a new school to replace the current aging one. Pictured is water damage that closed the school last month. The school in Charlottetown on Labrador’s coast will be closed for at least another two months. Western School Board officials confirmed last night that more mould has been found at William Gillett Academy. School council member Lisa Dempster said the priority now is to find places for students to attend classes.
Scrub your way to a cleaner kitchen: Spring cleaning should begin in the kitchen, but shouldn’t end when summer arrives. Kitchens provide ideal places for mold and bacteria to grow and because of the close proximity to a family’s food supply they should be cleaned often. Microscopic dangers can hide behind appliances and forgotten crevices or in plain site in high traffic areas like counter tops and light switches if they are not cleaned regularly.
Allergy season rushes in: Jennifer Maryniak holds her son, Collin, almost 2, in the kitchen of her Rexmont home. Before them sit the many medications she takes for allergies and asthma. She has suffered from allergies since she was a teenager.
Video: Angie’s List: Water Damage: Now that we’ve had an early spring thaw, it’s time to do an assessment. You need to make sure water damage isn’t washing away your most important investment, your home. The solutions are usually simple and inexpensive, but waiting too long can be costly. Time is of the essence when you have water coming into your house. It can quickly lead to wood rot, structural damage and mold.
Better Science Means More Toxic Mold Lawsuits: Toxic mold lawsuits have historically been met with speculation. Much of this was the result of the science — differing opinions on causation and whether visible mold automatically implies the presence of toxins. Some even went so far as to claim mold litigation was based on “junk science and hysteria.” However, a recent ruling from a New York appeals court suggests that prevailing opinions about mold science may have changed.
Mold is not just indoors and can cause infection: Does mold cause serious health problems? — T.J., Seneca A: People who are sensitive to mold usually present with allergy symptoms of stuffy nose, watery eyes, sneezing or skin irritation.
Video: Vancouver tenants protest so-called renovictions from moldy building: About two dozen people rallied outside an apartment building in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood Monday to protest so-called renovictions. Residents of Richard Watson Manor, at 577 East 8th Avenue, say they’re being forced out by Carrera Management Corporation. Of the building’s 39 units, tenants say just four remain occupied because unsafe, unnecessary and disruptive renovations have pressured tenants to leave.
Mold in the Attic: If you see black stuff covering or growing on the roof sheathing in your attic, it’s probably mold. It’s never fun to find out that your house has mold, but the fix for mold in the attic is usually quite straightforward, and doesn’t involve the services of any ‘mold remediation experts’. There are a lot of folks in the real estate industry, including home inspectors, who get very excited when the word ‘mold’ comes up.
Hagens Berman: Portico Decking Customers File Lawsuit, Claim Deck Mold Policy Violates Warranty: Consumers, represented by Hagens Berman, who purchased Portico-brand decking manufactured by Fiberon have filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that when their decking developed mold and fungus, the company failed to honor its warranty and pay for the deck to be repaired or replaced.
Couple claims mold due to improper plumbing: Local residents Samuel and Carol Rogers allege plumbing work and subsequent repairs at their Dickinson residence resulted in “significant” mold growth, recent court documents say. The Rogers are suing Keystone Foundation Repair Ltd., Vornkahl LLC and Irving Williams, doing business as Williams Plumbing Co,. in Galveston County District Court.
Nearly 70% of Americans Have Found Stains, Mold, Hair and More in Their Hotel Rooms: Quarter of Americans Admit to Cleaning Their Hotel Room with Disinfectant Wipes. Whether checking into a hotel for a night or for a weeklong vacation, nearly 9 in 10 (87%) Americans inspect their hotel rooms for cleanliness upon arrival, and 49% of Americans, clean all or part of their hotel rooms themselves, according to a survey issued by Wakefield Research.