Common Misconceptions When It Comes To Indoor Mold

mold around window

Are you concerned about mold in your house? You ought to be. Mold is present in every building on the planet. It is in the air we breathe. This does not follow that every building has a mold problem or even a high mold spore count. It is common knowledge that mold can cause or aggravate asthma, asthma, allergies, and breathing and respiratory problems. A few of these problems can persist for a lifetime. Fortunately indoor air quality can be positively affected through the efficient control of the growth of mold.

As a mold remediation company, we see many serious mold problems that were made worse because a house owner attempted to eliminate the issue without educating themselves first, or they relied upon somebody who was not really qualified to handle a mold remediation job.

Just Use Bleach & Water

In our industry, belief that a bleach/water solution will effectively kill or remove a mold issue is one of the most common myths. Surface mold will be killed by bleach however mold in a house is almost never only on a surface. Chlorine bleach includes ions which won’t allow it to permeate the surface of porous materials such as drywall. The water from this solution will permeate most of the material surfaces. This increases the problem because mold spores are always searching for sources of moisture to attach themselves to. This is an organic food source for these spores. This water source makes it possible for these spores continue to spread further. This hidden mold is the most significant aspect of any problem.

Store Bought Products

Many individuals attempt to rely on merchandise from their local stores that claim to “eliminate” mold. Truth is most of the products contain the same chemical makeup utilized in chlorine bleach. If controlling and eliminating mold were that simple we wouldn’t have an entire industry devoted to mold remediation. When completing mold remediation, an EPA registered fungicide and/or moldicide should always be used.

They are registered for a reason. Exposure to many of these products are safe for pets and humans. Homeowners need to bear in mind that mold spores isn’t sufficient. If mold spores removed and are not killed you haven’t eliminated the issue. Mold spores may be just as detrimental to a persons health as live mold spores. This is the reason. Could spores is a step into the procedure, not the procedure.

Mold Testing

Indoor air quality and environmental testing companies will tell the people who testing and inspections should be done by someone in mold remediation companies because their business shouldn’t be relied upon to perform the testing. They will attempt to convince the public that this would be a conflict of interest. This is to be expected because no one will tell you not to use their services. Truth is that no one is more qualified to ascertain the intensity of an issue than the person(s) responsible for correcting the problem. Any mold remediation business that is expert is going to have before they could put a mold remediation program together to complete a thorough inspection.

Many of these businesses tell you that testing is obviously a component of the remediation procedure. The fact is, testing is not a required part of the process. A visual inspection is the most important part of the testing. The only information is that the spore and species count of the mold present. The CDC’s site will inform you that in a residential environment, it doesn’t matter what the species of mold present is, it ought to be taken care of. Separate testing will only increase the expense of repair. There are times when testing is required in a residential surroundings along with your remediation company will understand when this really is a need.

Testing for the existence of mold is not always as reliable as the industry would have the public believe. Air samples are relied upon by too many companies that are environmental. Air samples would be the inaccurate method of testing. Airborne mold spore counts will vary with the movement of the air. Samples can be taken in an area, then additional samples obtained with results that were completely different. Always insist on surface samples to be obtained, if you have testing completed.

Although there are standards in place for labs and testing by organizations that are qualified, there’s now no standard set up that’s required. Laboratory results is not easy due to the variations in analysis reports from lab to lab. The result is that recommendations and laboratory test results will change depending on which laboratory your testing company submits samples to.

10 Things To Keep In Mind

  1. A qualified professional should inspects your home annually, this will offer early detection and help to keep mold from becoming a major issue.
  2. Mold spores are microscopic so in the event that you see mold present you have a spore count if contained to a small place.
  3. Never assume that a small patch of mold indicates a issue. Hidden mold will create the biggest and most expensive problem.
  4. Not all types of mold are harmful, many are needed and helpful.
  5. Species that discharge mycotoxins may cause or aggravate respiratory issues and considerable breathing and of mold which are dangerous.
  6. Never presume since you aren’t sensitive to mold that mold is not harmful to your living environment. Others in your family can be extremely sensitive even if you aren’t.
  7. Can get sensitive if residing with continual exposure even to spore counts that are medium level and lower.
  8. All indoor mold issues should be taken immediately.
  9. Inspections are more important in houses with older residents, infants, small children, pregnant women, newborns, and anyone with an immune deficiency or depressed immune system.
  10. If you or someone you know is pregnant, then have the home inspected for mold prior to bringing home a newborn.

7 Things To Consider If Your House Floods

hurricane flooding

Take Plenty Of Pictures

Before your attempt to repair your house or remove the flood water, you should first take pictures and video of everything that’s been damaged. The photos are what will serve as evidence when you present your case to your insurance company. Arguably, the digital versions are the best, since you can store them electronically and can also be easily retrieved. If you remove the water or start making any repair projects before you fully document the extent of the damage, know that you are reducing the potential amount of your coverage significantly.

Remove Excess Water

Here, the first thing you will do is to try and prevent the water from coming out, only if it is possible. If the flooding was caused by a broken or malfunctioning water pump, you should contact your local plumber for repair or replacement. The prospect of stopping the excess water will prevent any further damage to your garage, main floor or even the crawl space. Simply put, the faster you can stop the water from accumulating, the sooner you’ll complete the cleaning process and lessen the level of damage to your property.
After this, depending on the extent of your flooding, all the water will have to be removed. If the water is excess, you can use hoses and drain the water from your structure. On the other hand, if the water is not that much, you can use bins and buckets and drain it out. After you have removed all the water, use a wet vacuum to suck the remaining amounts of moisture from your floor.

Dry Everything Out

The next step will be to ensure that everything remains dry. If the electricity in your home is functioning, you can use your portable fans and your central air conditioner to dry all the wet places in your home. Again, you should ensure that your windows, doors, as well as any other opening, are opened. This will help attract fresh and dry air into your house and accelerate the drying process.

Call Your Insurance Company

A recent study revealed that a significant number of homeowners always think that they are covered under their homeowner’s insurance policy. This is not always the case!
If you didn’t know, you must buy a separate flood insurance policy for you to be covered. However, if you live in a flood plain and you have a mortgage, your mortgage company will require it. If you are not in a flood plain, you are not always required to purchase a policy but it will likely be a good idea to do so. Shockingly, it is estimated that only 20% of homeowners in low-risk flood areas have flood insurance.

If you are covered, then contact your insurer. The terms of your policy will vary, however, most insurance companies cover floods caused by backed-up city sewage systems, burst pipes, flooding caused by storms, broken sump-pumps, etc. Your insurance company will send an adjuster who will come to examine and assess the extent of your damage and determine if indeed it is a covered loss.

If your damages and losses are covered, your insurer will pay you accordingly. It is imperative to note that damage caused by groundwater is always not covered by the standard homeowners’ insurance policies. This implies that you’ll have to work in close collaboration with your adjuster and document the cause of the flood as well as the extent of your estimated coverage. It would be a very good idea to capture as many images as possible before, during and after the cleaning process. Again, your adjuster should inspect your damaged house before you make any repair projects.

Check For Public Services

Certain areas have been declared as disaster areas by the government authorities. The individuals residing in such areas may have access to resources such as public services that are intended to help protect and remediate such places, in the event of a disaster. What’s more, you may be offered the much-needed financial assistance. Your adjuster should guide you regarding this. Common places to start would be FEMA, if appropriate, your city’s government offices, or even non profits like the Red Cross.

General Clean Up

Now, the water is gone, you have called your insurer, and everything seems to be okay. The cleaning process will now begin. You can do the cleaning yourself, or you can seek the help of a cleaning professional. This process will involve separating the damaged items from the salvageable ones. Anything that is no longer safe to use or too damaged must be disposed of.
For you to thwart the potential development and growth of mold and mildew, you may be forced to remove the drywall, flooring and perhaps insulation. Dealing with mold is never an easy task. This is why is best to contact your local mold removal company for safety purposes. If you didn’t know, mold could start to develop within the first twenty-four hours after flooding. Once it has begun to develop, you’ll find it extremely hard to eliminate all of it.

The physical destruction that occurs as a result of flooding depends on the level of the water, the terrain and soil conditions, flood duration as well as the built environment. However, even a few inches of flood water in your home can cause significant damage to your properties and other valuable items. Your flooring might require replacement or repair, your windows and doors may also need to be replaced. Again, some of your home appliances and electronics that were submerged in water might never function again. This may include your computers, laptops, television sets as well as other vital electronic devices. As you may have seen, you’ll have a lot to deal with. To help ease the whole situation, you will have to hire a reputable construction company that is well versed in matters relating to natural disaster repairs. An experienced contractor will determine if your affected walls or floors need to be repaired or replaced.

Prevent Potential Health Issues

If you fail to clean up a house that has been affected by floods, be aware that you are creating an ample environment for the growth of mold and bacteria. Mold, in particular, can develop quickly in damp conditions. Mold is specifically dangerous for those with breathing health problems caused by asthma or allergies. However, relatively higher levels of mold can also cause lots of potential problems even for people who are healthy. This is why it is important to halt the development of these pathogens before they invade your home. The symptoms of your exposure to mold may include, shortness of breath, fatigue, wheezing, sore throats and flu-like aches and general pains.

Immune-compromised people, as well as those suffering from chronic lung illnesses, may get serious infections in their lungs when they get exposed to mold. The toxic black mold, known as Stachybotrys chartarum, usually releases spores as it dwells on common household materials such as carpet, drywall or insulation that have been exposed to water. This particular type of mold can be costly to eliminate. According to the National Center for Healthy Housing, you only have between twenty-four to thirty-six hours to act and clean your house after floods.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help curb the growth of mold after floods. You can call a professional company for help; you can use certain chemicals or even specialized equipment. You can either buy or rent a dehumidifier to help lower the level of moisture in the air especially in areas you are trying to dry.

For precaution, you should purchase an air purifier to prevent the development and the spreading of mold spores. This essential device can help keep the indoor air in your house free from mold spores. Besides, an air purifier can eliminate unpleasant smell, pet dander as well as pollen from your environment, thus boosting the overall health of your home.

In Conclusion

The safest way to survive any flooding incidence is to evacuate the area if advised to do so. To ensure that you will act quickly should the need arise, you must have a plan. This implies that you must identify numerous escape routes in your local area. On the issue of resources, there are local non-profit organizations that usually provide clean-up kits, food and perhaps the safety guidelines on how to handle food after floods. Again, many government agencies provide funding and other supplies after flooding. Do your due diligence and ensure that you know all your local community resources for those affected by floods.

Common Health Issues Related to Exposure to Black Mold

girl sneezing because of black mold

Black mold truly is a silent killer. This type of infestation is easy to overlook as it tends to hide out in areas that are not always the easiest to detect. Before you know it, toxic black mold has done more than damage your home: it has affected your health as well.

Below, we will outline the basics of black mold and what makes it so infamous of the common house and building molds. We will go over the common health issues that are thought to be related to black mold exposure, as well as what to do if you think you may have come in contact with this substance or if you believe your house has an infestation.

What is Black Mold?

Black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, is different from other types of mold because it is extremely toxic to humans. While exposure to any type of mold is never advised, black mold stands out in the severity of problems it may cause. While other types of mold are much more common, black mold isn’t necessarily an uncommon problem for homeowners. Mold can be found in old homes and buildings as well as newer builds.

Black mold typically has a greenish-black hue and looks slimy. You’ll be able to see it, and you can often identify it by its mildew-like odor.

As previously stated, black mold tends to grow in hidden areas, typically where moisture is present. It thrives in warmer areas that have higher levels of cellulose and lower levels of nitrogen. This can mean under your kitchen or bathroom sink, in cabinets, in HVAC ducts, through drywall, behind wallpaper, in carpeting, and in wood paneling. Buildings that have experienced a flood or internal leak are more likely to develop an unwanted mold growth.

Is Black Mold Harmful?

Black mold is a big deal. If you find black mold growing in your home, the time to act is now. Infants, children, the elderly, people who suffer from allergies, people who have an underlying lung disease, and people with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of developing any symptoms. That being said, anyone who comes in contact with toxic black mold may also be at risk for developing any symptoms. Black mold may also cause harm to your house pets.

Mold exposure in general may cause sinus and nasal irritation, headache, cough, fatigue, and skin and eye irritation. More severe symptoms triggered by mold exposure are upper respiratory infections, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing (dyspnea).

Black mold poses these risks, but to greater severity. Mycotoxins, which are lipid-soluble toxins released by black mold, can easily be absorbed through the lungs, skin, and intestinal lining. These mycotoxins may cause some of the previously mentioned symptoms, but they can also cause much more severe problems. In the most severe cases, black mold has been thought to be the cause of neurotoxicity, hematologic disorders, immunologic disorders, endocrine or hepatic toxicities, problems during pregnancy, gastrointestinal problems, cardiac problems, and cancer.

If you believe that you are suffering from any of these symptoms, seek a medical evaluation immediately.

How to Remove Black Mold

If you think you have black mold in your home, do not touch it or disturb it in any way. This includes pulling back wallpaper to expose the infestation. This can cause the mold spores to spread into the air, causing harm to you and potentially spreading the infestation. When investigating the suspected mold spot, be sure to wear safety goggles, a respirator, and rubber gloves.

Black mold can be tricky to remove, but it isn’t impossible. We highly recommend that you do not attempt to remove black mold on your own. Instead, we recommend that you bring in a professional for the job.

If you do choose to use a professional to do the hard work for you, know that the removal process can be expensive, but just remember that the alternative is sacrificing your health and the health of your family.

That being said, it is not entirely impossible to remove the mold on your own. If you do feel qualified to tackle the mold removal process on your own, you can expect to go through the following steps:

  1. Before approaching the infected area, be sure you are properly protected. This means wearing a respirator that is meant for this type of project, gloves, and protective goggles. It is also advised that you wear clothes that you can dispose of after you’re done, or else wear a full body cover. This may seem excessive, but black mold can be irritating even if it touches your skin. It is better to be overly careful when handling this hazardous mold.
  2. Diagnose the source of excessive moisture in the area where the black mold is growing. Whether it is a leaky pipe under your sink or improperly installed windows that are causing your moisture issue, you must take care of this first. If you don’t, you risk the black mold returning.
  3. Seal off the area of your home where the mold is present. Take special care to block off airways in an effort to prevent the mold spores from spreading to the rest of your home when disturbed.
  4. Lightly spray the infected area with water. This will help prevent the mold spores from shooting out when you begin cleaning.
  5. Using a sponge and soap, scrub the visible mold as best as you can. There may be some staining that you are unable to scrub out, which is okay for this step. Be sure to dispose of your used sponge after you are done.
  6. Using a either a black mold removal product or bleach, carefully disinfect the area covered by the mold and surrounding areas. Be careful, as bleach can discolor and damage certain surfaces.
  7. Once you are finished, be sure to seal all products used that came in contact with the mold (sponge, gloves, clothes, rags, etc.) in a plastic bag and dispose of away from your house.

If followed correctly and completely, these steps should fix your black mold problem. However, you should continue to carefully monitor the previously infected area to see if the mold starts growing back. This is a sign that the black mold was not completely removed in the first place. When in doubt, call in a professional mold removal specialist who can tell you if the mold has been successfully contained or if more treatments are needed.

Conclusion

Black mold can take over your home without you even knowing it. Ignoring the problem could lead to some pretty serious health concerns for you, your family, or your pets. Regularly inspecting your bathrooms, basement, kitchen, outdoor sheds, and any other area of your home that you suspect could be fostering a mold infestation is key to catching the problem before it’s too late. When in doubt, call in a mold removal specialist. When it comes to a problem as serious as toxic black mold, it certainly is better to be safe than sorry!

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