Curren Environmental Blog

Tiffany Byrne

Recent Posts

Mold Prevention Tips

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Sep 7, 2017 2:39:00 PM

Where there is Mold there is water!

Fix the water – stop the Mold growth.

Mold Prevention1.jpg

  • Get a dehumidifier for the crawlspace and basement areas.  
    • Keep the dehumidifier at 60 degrees or lower at all times.  
    • Never turn it off.
    • Have a hose hooked up to the water disposal and have it constantly running to the sump pump or to the sink

Mold Questions? Click Here

  • Check your attic for any water. Fix any leaks in your roof.
  • If you have an attic fan, make sure it is turned on. Better yet get one that is on a humidity thermostat. 
Mold Prevention2.jpg
  • Make sure the bathroom fans are always on during showers and stay on for at least 20 to 30 minutes after. To make sure the fan is working do the following:
    • Turn on the fan
    • Take a tissue and put the tissue up to the fan
    • Let go of the tissue
    • Does the Tissue fall to the ground? Or does the fan suck the tissue up to it
    • If the tissue falls to the ground GET A NEW FAN! If the tissue goes to the fan, that’s a good bathroom fan.
  • Check your dryer vents and clean them for any dust and particles. Make sure the vent exhausts to the outdoor.
  • While cooking use the exhaust fan, any moisture in the air can cause mold in the future.
  • Check under all faucet cabinets for any leaks, for example under your kitchen and bathroom sinks.
  • Check in your bathroom by your tub area for any calking that may need to be replaced. Calking may be old, stained and moldy.
Mold Prevention3.jpg
  • Clean roof gutters regularly. With the fall coming, more leaves will be falling clogging gutters. These gutters help water flow away from the home. Clogging gutters also lead to a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
  • Direct the water away from your home by using roof leaders with PVC piping.  PVC piping is much stronger than corrugated and will not become clogged.
mold prevention4.jpg
  • Dry any wet areas within 48 areas. After 48 areas mold can get a toehold and begin to grow.  While some mold species are perfectly acceptable in the home, others need moisture and constant water to grow; these types of mold species are the types that are cause for health concerns.

mold prevention5.jpgQuestions?  Email Curren Environmental at [email protected] or call at 1-888-301-1050. Follow these preventative tips and mold will less likely grow in your home.  

 

Mold Inspections - Inspecting for Mold

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Jun 21, 2017 9:35:00 AM

A Home Inspector finds a “Mold like Substance”,

What Should You Do Now?

Home Inspector.jpg

Curren receives many calls where the home inspection report flags a fungal like growth, possible Mold like substance, black mold and evaluation by a licensed a qualified Mold company is recommended” sometimes the home inspector adds the following “Mold is due to high moisture levels” or “a Mold inspection is recommended due to a possible allergic reaction”.  In the state of New Jersey Home Inspectors are not licensed to inspect for Mold, they can state “fungal like growth” “Mold like substance” and recommend further evaluation.  This is where Curren Environmental offers their expertise on the Mold Inspections and Mold Remediation.

When a Home Inspector finds Mold and recommends a further evaluation what should the realtor and buyer/seller do?  First, is suspect mold is found in an unfinished attic, basement or crawl space, understand these are the most common areas for growth as these spaces are unconditioned.  By unconditioned I mean not heated or cooled by a HVAC system.  Mold likes to grow at temperatures and moisture (humidity) levels humans do not.  If you find yourself holding a home inspection you should contact an environmental company that has been in business for a long time (over 10-20 years) not one with PO Box # with an address and one that doesn’t just work with Mold and is not into restoration. 

On the further evaluation on the “Mold like substance”.  If the Home Inspector sends a detailed report to the buyer/seller with photos than that document can be emailed to the Mold Inspector.  Better inspectors photo document and detail where, most home inspectors do not list the mold location in great detail.  When photos are available, often times a qualified mold consultant can determine the complaint room and if Mold is present.  Curren Environmental typically will visit the property in question, do a walking inspection, check for any ways of water entry and get measurements of complaint room to provide a scope of work involved and a detailed quote to remediate without testing (Again EPA does not recommend testing if Mold is visibly present). During this type of transaction the buyer usually is the one who has the home inspection and would like the Mold remediation.  This Mold Remediation scope and quote is given to the seller who in turn either gets the remediation done or the price is worked into the cost of the house and the buyer gets the Mold remediation done after the purchase of the home.

 It is safest to get the mold work done before you buy, in the event that additional mold is found, say behind a wall or above a sheetrock ceiling. After any mold remediation is performed, we provide a detailed checklist with how to remain moisture free (ex. Adding gutters, leading water away from the dwelling, closing cracks in the foundation. Etc)

In most cases Mold takes years to grow, especially in older homes.  If a qualified Home Inspector provides a detailed report there typically is no need to test the Mold unless the seller wants to contest that what was found is actually mold.  Again EPA does not recommend testing when obvious Mold growth is present. The only reason to test for Mold is if the buyer really wants to know what type of spore it is such as Cladosporium or Stachybotrys or one of the 100’s of thousands of spores.

Now, in the case that there is no visible sign of Mold but the home inspector feels as if there might be a moisture problem and a Mold Inspection should be performed than there should be Mold Testing.  Mold inspections are a safe bet when you are dealing with a house that had undergone rehab, a flipper is involved or in general the house has been improved specifically for sale.  From years of experience it is these homes where we find mold.  Since the cosmetic work performed is meant to give the home inside curb appeal, people take short cuts, as we have found the following. 

  1. They may remove mold themselves not following proper procedures and we find high levels of spores in the air. We also find that they don not address the water issue that caused the mold.
  2. Mold gets painted over.
  3. Moldy basements get finished with sheetrock, covering over the mold.
  4. Insulation is placed on moldy ceilings in basements and crawl spaces.
  5. Crawl space openings get sealed over to avoid access for inspection.

This is when Curren Environmental would perform a Thorough Mold Inspection.   When no mold is visible present but there is reason to believe mold is present, inspections look for hidden mold, this is where testing (air) is mandatory as this form of testing is highly reliable in finding hidden mold.

  • Visual Inspection of the outside of the property
  • Visual Inspection of the inside of the property
  • Infrared inspection
    • Moisture reading
    • Check walls for moisture
    • Air testing (one outside and one in complaint rooms)

 

As a realtor or a buyer be very careful in a situation like this.   Mold can be hidden, and hidden well behind those freshly painted walls and newly painted trim. Above that painted ceiling as well.

 homeinspector3.jpg

Remember, most common areas of a residential property for Mold growth are in areas where moisture is high.  Areas that are cold damp or have a high humidity - such as the attic, crawl space, basement, under the sink, next to the bathtub or in a closet.  Other areas highly likely areas for Mold to grow are around the furnace (might be leaking or wet), near a sump pump or in an area that you haven’t been in a very long time (like that closet in the basement with all those empty Amazon boxes!).

If the Home Inspector requests a further evaluation by a qualified Mold company it’s in your best interest to do so.  In New Jersey there are NO licensed Mold companies, (only 4 states have licensing) go with a referral or again one that has been in business for a many years and is an Environmental company.  

Tags: Mold Testing

What Can You Do On Earth Day?

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Apr 21, 2017 8:55:00 AM

Earth_day_photo.png

Earth day became a National day from Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin.  Founded in 1970, Senator Nelson was inspired after witnessing the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.  Following the anti-war movement, Senator Nelson thought that he could bring this to colleges across America with campus teach-ins. Working with Pete McCloskey, a Republican Congressman as co-chair they recruited Harvard student Denis Hayes.  Denis Hayes was very interested in what Senator Nelson had in mind for the environment that he directly went to interview Senator Nelson and from the interview, Denis Hayes became the national coordinator building a staff of 85 to promote events, selecting April 22nd as the Earth Day date because it fell between spring break and final exams. 

On April 22nd, 1970 over 20 million Americans were lead to streets, parks and large gatherings to demonstrate the need to for a healthy and sustainable environment. Earth Day received such support from both the Republicans and the Democrats that by the end of the first year (1970) the government created the Environmental Protection Agency, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Acts.  By 1990 Earth day became global with more than 200 million people in over 141 countries involved with environmental issues taking the world stage.  Recycling efforts became more global leading to the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit.  Senator Nelson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995 for his contribution of Earth Day.

Now, Earth day is celebrated by more than a billion people ever year.  What can you do on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2017?

Events in New Jersey, Central PA,  Philadelphia, and check out the EPA for events around the country.

Don't Let Your Pipes Freeze!

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Jan 5, 2017 9:51:00 AM

There are many horror stories regarding pipes freezing. Pipes freezing can lead to bigger problems. Don’t let this be your story…

Going to on vacation?

A family of 5 was on their way to their vacation. Before vacation the family prepped the house for departure -  they closed all the bedroom, bathroom and basement doors.  Temperatures plummeted to below freezing for a day and two nights. The pipes froze.  Two days later the temperature rose to above freezing and the pipes burst. Water poured through the house and the walls to the basement.  The water stayed there for more than 48 to 72 hours allowing for mold growth. Don’t let this happen to your home.

How can you keep your pipes from freezing?

Pipes Freezing.jpg

Ten Tips for keeping your pipes from freezing during the colder months:

  1. Insulate your pipes. Insulate all hot and cold water pipes located in the crawlspace as well as under your house and in in the basement, attic, and exterior walls (if accessible) with snap-on foam insulation (https://www.lowes.com/pd/Frost-King-0-75-in-x-6-ft-Foam-Plumbing-Tubular-Pipe-Insulation/3133245). Make sure foam insulation fits tightly without gaps.
  2. Secure the basement doors and close and weather strip the exterior basement windows and doors.
  3. Drip both your hot and your cold water faucets in the kitchen and bathrooms. This helps keep water moving through the pipes and relieves built-up water pressure in the pipes if they should freeze. Pay particular attention to the pipes running in the outside walls.
  4. Turn off your sprinkler system and make sure you blow out compressed air through the irrigation lines to ensure the water is drained.
  5. Disconnect and drain garden hoses.
  6. Open up the cabinet doors under the sinks in the kitchen and bath if they are on exterior walls to allow heat to flow through to the interior pipes.
  7. Wrap your water heater with an approved manufacturer’s blanket.
  8. Don’t set thermostat lower than 55 degrees when traveling. Ask a neighbor to check on your house during below freezing temperatures.
  9. In your laundry room make sure your faucet is on drip and set your washing machine on warm and start the fill cycle periodically for few minutes to run the water through the pipes.
  10. Keep your garage doors closed during extreme cold weather.

Remember don’t let the temperature in your house get too low.  If you have a second home and you do not turn off the water make sure the heat is turned on at a temperature of 55 or higher.  Make sure you use the tips above…since you are not at that location all of the time and if the pipes burst/thaw and you will have a water problem. If that water problems sits for more than 48 to 72 hours than your problem becomes more than a water problem.  It becomes a mold problem.

What do you do if your pipes freeze? Locate the main cut-off valve and have the water cut-off key handy before attempting to thaw out the frozen pipes.  Open the faucet the pipe runs to before actually thawing the frozen pipe to allow water to flow through the pipe and relieve any built up pressure in the pipe.  You could also use a hair dryer, heat lamp or a portable space heather to thaw out the frozen pipes to help with any pressure built up in the pipe

Make sure you follow the 10 tips to keep your pipes from freezing.  Whether you are home or not you do not want your pipes to burst.

Tags: mold

What Can You Do On Earth Day?

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Apr 21, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Earth_day_photo.png

Earth day became a National day from Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin.  Founded in 1970, Senator Nelson was inspired after witnessing the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.  Following the anti-war movement, Senator Nelson thought that he could bring this to colleges across America with campus teach-ins. Working with Pete McCloskey, a Republican Congressman as co-chair they recruited Harvard student Denis Hayes.  Denis Hayes was very interested in what Senator Nelson had in mind for the environment that he directly went to interview Senator Nelson and from the interview, Denis Hayes became the national coordinator building a staff of 85 to promote events, selecting April 22nd as the Earth Day date because it fell between spring break and final exams. 

On April 22nd, 1970 over 20 million Americans were lead to streets, parks and large gatherings to demonstrate the need to for a healthy and sustainable environment. Earth Day received such support from both the Republicans and the Democrats that by the end of the first year (1970) the government created the Environmental Protection Agency, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Acts.  By 1990 Earth day became global with more than 200 million people in over 141 countries involved with environmental issues taking the world stage.  Recycling efforts became more global leading to the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit.  Senator Nelson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995 for his contribution of Earth Day.

Now, Earth day is celebrated by more than a billion people ever year.  What can you do on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2016?

Events in New Jersey, Central PA,  Philadelphia, and check out the EPA for events around the country.

Did you know that Mold comes in many different colors?

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Apr 13, 2016 10:18:00 AM

Did you know that Mold comes in many different colors?

 At Curren, some of the most common questions are regarding the color of mold. For example:

 "Is this mold bad because the mold is black or grey?"

 "What type of mold is black mold?"

 “Is black mold toxic?"

The most popular used term for describing mold is “Black Mold”. Technically, there is no mold that is named black mold, many sources attribute the term black mold to the media. In reality there are many different types and colors of mold. Some types of Mold can be harmful (regardless if the mold is black) and can cause health issues.

Molds come in many different colors and can mean many different things. As you can see below, mold may be black, grey, orange, green, brown and even white. Many molds may not be harmful. Black mold may be completely innocuous (not harmful or producing no injury) or it could be problematic. Mold can be difficult to determine on your own. The mold you think you see might just be mildew or dirt. Remember, mold is usually not a problem unless mold spores land on something wet  indoors. Mold evaluation and interpretation is best left to the experts. At Curren, we have over 20 years’ experience testing mold, air testing and mold remediation.

  

Black Mold                    Green Mold

Mold_in_Basement3-424194-edited         Green_mold

White & Black Mold        Brown Mold

IMG_5501-877705-edited        Brown_mold-968330-edited

Grey Mold                     

Grey_Mold-078065-edited

Please don't hesitate to call us for your mold testing, mold remediation and mold questions at 888-301-1050.

 

How Can You Conserve Water?

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Mar 23, 2016 3:00:00 PM

Are you taking a 20 minute shower? Do you leave the water running while washing dishes?

There are many theories and thoughts about our water supply.  Are we going to have enough in the future?  Is our water supply depleting?  We have stories from NASA, CBS News, and the National Geographic, these stories are telling us that we need learn how to conserve water.  Water conservation is using water efficiently and avoiding waste. Everyday use of water such as dishwasher use, laundry use and long hot showers significantly reduce clean water and add to more strain on septic and sewage systems which then lead to contamination of groundwater.  Conserving water is a national topic and the information that can be found on the web is abundant. 

Earth is made of 70 percent of water but only 1 percent of that is considered fresh, clean water available for use.

Tips for conserving water: 

  1. When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  2. Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
  3. Run your dishwasher only when it is full and you could save 400 gallons a month.
  4. Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost instead and save gallons every time.
  5. Plant during the spring or fall when the watering requirements are lower.
  6. Use a layer of organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and save hundreds of gallons of water a year.
  7. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save 3 gallons a minute. That's more than 1000 gallons a year.
  8. Direct downspouts and other runoff towards shrubs and trees, or collect and use for your
  9. Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes. You'll save up to 1000 gallons a month.
  10. Consider installing new appliances. They are more water and energy-efficient than older appliances. A new washing machine can save up to 20 gallon per load.
  11. Install low-volume toilets.
  12. Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl, you have a leak. It's easy to fix, and you can save more than 7000 gallons a year.
  13. Soak your pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
  14. Do one thing each day that will save water. Every drop counts!
  15. Start a compost pile. Using compost when you plant adds water-holding organic matter to the soil.
  16. Aerate your lawn. Punch holes in your lawn about six inches apart so water will reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
  17. Turn off the water while you shave and you can save more than 100 gallons a week.
  18. Do not use water to defrost your food, put it in your refrigerator to defrost.
  19. Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than letting the tap water run cold
  20. Install Rain Barrels

What are Rain Barrels?

A Rain Barrel (rainwater tank) is a water tank used to collect and store rain water runoff, typically from rooftops via rain gutters.

Why install a Rain Barrel?

Drought and aquifer mining are increasing in terms of use. Many people are looking for a ways to minimize the impact of their municipal water supplies. Installing a rain barrel is way to help conserve water.  You will have your own water source in case of a drought.  You can water your garden from your rain barrel reserves.  Having your own rain barrel helps reduce runoff pollution by collecting water before it hits the fertilizer, and increase algae growth in lakes. Rainwater, unlike tap water, doesn’t have the salt and chemicals.

rain_barrel3.jpg

Photo courtesy of Emma Howell, Shawnee High School.

Some interesting facts about Rain Barrels: 1-inch of rain on a 1,000 square foot roof yields 623 gallons of water. Calculate the yield of your roof by multiplying the square footage of your roof by 623 and divide by 1,000. Depending on your roof area, a rain barrel can fill up when there has been as little as 1/10th-inch of rain. To collect twice this volume from the same downspout, connect the overflow hose from the first rain barrel to a second rain barrel.

Conserving water helps the community, the environment and may even help lower your electric bills.  Conserving water may also help keep moisture away from your house, keeping possible mold from growing in your home.

Check your local County website for different ways you can help and conserve your own water.  Many counties offer free classes on conserving water and how to build your own rain barrels. 

When is the first dayof Spring?

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Mar 8, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Why does the 1st day of Spring Start on March 19th?

What is the first day of spring?  Well, naturally it means the flowers are supposed to bloom, the day is longer, the weather gets warmer and the rain never stops.  Astronomically speaking, it is when the equinox occurs when the Sun crosses the celestial equator on its way north along the ecliptic.   

Spring_image.jpg

In the years 2008 and 2012, those living in Alaska, Hawaii and the Pacific, Mountain and Central Time Zones on March 19. And in 2016, it if you are in California it will start on March 19, for the Eastern states it will be on March 20th at 12:30 AM.

There are a few reasons why seasonal dates can vary from year to year.

A year is not an even number of days and neither are the seasons. To try and achieve a value as close as possible to the exact length of the year, our Gregorian Calendar was constructed to give a close approximation to the tropical year which is the actual length of time it takes for the Earth to complete one orbit around the Sun. It eliminates leap days in century years not evenly divisible by 400, such 1700, 1800, and 2100, and millennium years that are divisible by 4,000, such as 8000 and 12000.

Another reason is that the Earth's elliptical orbit is changing its orientation relative to the Sun (it skews), which causes the Earth's axis to constantly point in a different direction, called precession. Since the seasons are defined as beginning at strict 90-degree intervals, these positional changes affect the time Earth reaches each 90-degree location in its orbit around the Sun.

The pull of gravity from the other planets also affects the location of the Earth in its orbit.

So Spring doesn’t start on March 21st not even March 20th for the western and mid-western states. Find your date and mark your calendars for the first day of spring! Get the garden tools out, check the lawn mower and prepare your cleaning supplies a day earlier.  Also, check your downspouts and make sure there is proper drainage that slopes the ground away from the foundation of your house or dwelling to ensure no water or moisture gets in to prevent against indoor mold.

For more information about Curren Environmental click here

 

The Truth about Mold in your House/Business.

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Feb 16, 2016 2:30:00 PM

Raised_mold1.jpg

(Raised Mold On Wood)

There are so many myths out there regarding Mold.  If you Google “Does Mold Cause Cancer” you will get many different answers.  Let’s see if we can find the truth.

The best and only place that you should ever visit on the web regarding mold are government sites, such as the CDC, EPA  or state sites. Many states have no standards regarding mold and Mold Inspectors and Remediators do not have to be licensed.  New York is one of the only states at this point that Mold Inspectors and Remediators have to be licensed and this began starting this January (2016).

Examples of Government websites.

www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs

This website details many different issues that arise regarding mold.

http://www.epa.gov/mold

Good information on keeping a home mold free.

The State of New York

http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/environmental/mold.shtml

Can Mold really make you sick?

No and yes, not all molds cause illnesses or even cause cancer.  There are thousands and thousands of types of mold and mold spores that are alive in every area of our living space. This means both inside and outside there are some levels of mold.  The most important part of understanding mold is finding where the moisture problem is – take care of the moisture problem first, then address the mold.  With that being said, if mold is present and there is belief that this is causing some sort of illness, testing for types of mold and mold spores would be a good idea.  In the event that you have certain types of mold spores a remediation would be necessary. For example, if there is Aspergillus spores, there is a possibility of illness in those with weakened Immune systems. (https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001326.htm).  That is just one example of types of spores that have possibility of causing illness. 

Remember – always double check your information.  The internet is not always correct.  Double check the information and again make sure that these sites you receive your information are government websites.  

For more information on Types of Mold click here.

Questions about Mold?  Please call us at 888-301-1050 or fill out the form below.  Thank you.

Tags: mold

Is a Tank Sweep (tank scan) necessary?

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Feb 4, 2016 8:30:00 AM

GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar)

Ground Penetrating Radar surveys (GPR) can locate subsurface obstructions – including utilities, Underground Storage Tanks (UST), former swimming pools and more.  For more information GPR systems click here.

Why do you need a tank scan (tank sweep)?

Sometimes homeowners are unaware that they are the owners of an Underground Oil Tank (UST). They had gas since they bought the house, or there was an above ground oil tank but had no knowledge of an UST. When the homeowner decides it’s time to sell notably there is no evidence of an UST. This is when the Buyer makes the decision to do a tank scan. 


Things to know if you believe a tank scan is necessary.
1. House built before 1985
2. Above Ground Oil Tank
3. Fill Pipe
4. Vent Pipe
5. Copper lines
6. Neighborhood that typically has Underground Storage Tanks
7. A furnace chimney
8. Oil Emergency Shut Off Switch by heater

House built before 1985
Almost always there was an oil tank if the house was built in the 1940’s and early 1950’s
If the house was built before 1985 you should presume that there is an Underground Oil Tank unless the seller provides otherwise.

Above Ground Oil Tank
Before oil tanks homes were heated with coal. Then the underground oil tanks were followed by above ground oil tanks. If there is an Above Ground Oil tank there is a large possibility that there, at some time, was an Underground Oil Tank.

A Furnace Chimney
In many old homes the chimney was not just used for wood burning, it was used for coal or oil. Check the chimney and see how many flues there are.

chimney.jpg

Need a tank scan (tank sweep)?  Please fill out the form below or please call at 888-351-1050.