Hot Environmental Topics

What is the driver for Mold Remediation?

Jan 25, 2021 11:30:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in mold, mold consultant, Mold, Mold growth, mold remediation

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aka How Did Covid-19 affect Mold Remediation?

About 45 days into the Covid-19 situation, we saw an uptick in mold remediation at residential properties.  In short,  Covid-19 drove mold remediation up by 27% from 2019. How did Covid-19 drive mold remediation?

    Mold growth attic Mold Remediation Attic

Typically, home inspections (home inspector) for the sale of a property discover possible mold growth and the buyer requires that the mold be addressed. Mold is not a selling feature and it's typically not promoted on the home listing information.  

Mold Growth Sell Sheet

 

Buyers finding mold in a home is your typical mold remediation driver.

Because of Covid-19 we found there were also many homeowners performing their own home inspections prior to putting their property on the market to sell. Sellers want to know what would be some of the problems in their homes to proactively make repairs. This ensures a smoother, quicker real estate transaction. What are the top repairs? During our work, we saw a lot of plumbers, and electricians doing work.   So some homeowners found mold on their own and wanted it addressed prior to listing the home.  We had quite a few remediate mold and never sell their home as they found searching for a new home too much of an ordeal.

So Covid-19 Made People More Aware of Mold?

Covid-19 put people on lockdown, on work from home, exercise from home, cook from home, people were just home more because of Covid-19.  Being home more made people aware of their homes.  Musty odors were more noticeable, discolored wood that you didn’t think twice about but would totally pass over at the lumber yard made people think about the possibility of mold being present in their homes.    Before the Peloton bike was put in the basement,  the white powder on the ceiling made  sense. 

        Mold on basement ceiling       Musty odor is active mold growth

Working in the home office in the basement, made you smells things you didn't smell before.    Is that musty smell active mold growth?  (YES). 

How about moving those boxes out of the basement to the attic so we finish the basement.  Hey what is that dark staining in the attic?   (mold)

The basement that would get wet occasionally was now a concern.  We removed a lot of sheetrock in basements during Covid. 

 

                 Mold Remediation Basement    Mold Remediation Basement

Read more at Curren's Mold Frequently Asked Questions.

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Mold Inspection & Testing. What to know before you have work performed.

Dec 17, 2020 11:45:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in mold, professional mold remediation

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Mold Inspection & Testing. What to know before you have work performed.

When purchasing a property, for due diligence a home inspection is meant to uncover defects or areas in need of repair, a mold inspection however, is performed to evaluate for mold, either the  entire dwelling or an area of concern such as a basements, crawl spaces, attics, living rooms, etc.

Everyone thinks that they are a mold expert and, in truth, few people know tons about mold. Since most states don’t have licensing for mold inspections, it is simple for someone to proclaim themselves as an expert and do mold related work such as testing and remediations.

Some of these so called "proclaimed mold experts" provide mold testing  and once the testing is complete the samples are sent or delivered to a laboratory. The laboratory tests the sample for mold spore types and provides multiple pages of the test results with filler material consisting of an explanation of different types of mold. The lab may also use colors to point out mold levels that the lab (not the mold expert) are saying are of concern.   This lab data is typically the complete report that the "mold expert" provides. 

Example sampling

Example of a Mold Report. No analyzation.

We see this on 90% of the mold reports we are provided to peer review or to provide an estimate for remediation.  The problem is the mold expert provides no narrative of what they saw, why they tested, condition of the room, photos of the area or of the area sampled and lastly and really most important what the test results mean.    

The by product of a these type of mold inspections gives you a very vague document, which many "mold experts" have told me they do on purpose.   These people don’t want to give a lot of detail and then be held responsible if its incorrect. In all actuality, you pay for a professional opinion, but do not get one.

You get what you pay for and the quality of work is directly related to the skill set of the inspector, which we have found  can have varying degrees of quality.

Lets be clear, you want a mold inspection because?

Clear project objectives are important from the start of any investigation.

Where a home inspection is meant to uncover defects or areas in need of repair, a mold inspection is performed to evaluate for mold, either an entire dwelling or a specific location.

When evaluating for mold be it visual, or by laboratory analysis, explanation of observations (what was found), if mold was visually detected (why was mold present?) and when testing is performed what would be an acceptable or unacceptable results?

Surface Sampling

Example of Photographing sampling area. 

Case in point when you have a discolored area say on a wall and/or ceiling, that you suspect is mold you can test the area to confirm if it is or is not mold.    Surface sampling is performed by either "tape" sampling  or taking a "swab" of the area. This sample goes to a lab where they look at it under a high powered microscope to see if mold spores are present. This is typically a pass fail test, either you Got Mold or you don’t.   

But you also need to know the following:

  • Why is mold growing?
  • Was the cause of the mold growth fixed or is it still active?
  • What will it take to remediate the mold?  
     
    You won’t have successful mold remediation without questions 1 & 2 being answered.

Air Sampling or Spore Trap Sampling

Air sampling is how you can find mold that is not visible (behind a wall) and it can also tell you if mold found in a basement or other areas is affecting air quality on the first floor.  

When air sampling is performed, it is a sound practice, as a mold inspector, to photo document and provide a narrative description of sampling activities.   The reason the results can be biased depends on sample collection technique, height, location, room conditions, etc.   Results can also be amplified based on room contents. An empty dwelling can have a different reading than one that is occupied with possessions.

Imagine a freshly painted room with new carpets have an elevated air mold spore count. The conclusion likely to be drawn from this is that there is hidden mold, likely behind an outside wall or other area where water events may have occurred.  The painting of the room may have been performed to cover mold damage to the room.

In both air and tape mold samples certain “marker” species of mold can indicate interior water damage (as opposed to an outdoor mold) and subsequent microbial amplification.

Call Curren Today

What causes Mold?

Mold is only going to grow in the presence of moisture in a built environment. Any assessment when mold is noted or suspected, needs to determine the source of the water and often times there is more than one source.

Photo Nov 04, 11 38 20 AM-jpg

Water intrusion due to faulty downspouts and landscape grading. 

When should you remediate mold?

Initially any visible mold growth is a driver for remediation, in this case only water staining was noted, no visual mold growth. The EPA agrees that testing is not required when visual presence is noted.

 What is the minimum you want from a mold inspection?

It is critical in any mold inspection to document the condition of the room and reference the contents. This is important because items in a room can affect test results.

When mold is found, the likely cause should be identified.

If the whole room has mold it should stated, if mold is limited to day the lower section of a well, well that needs to be stated. All to often we read a report that says mold was found in the basement.   Our question is where and why?

 

Without regulatory reference values for mold concentrations (no federal guidelines), it is generally accepted that the following conditions should be satisfied:

  1. No hydrophilic mycotoxin producing fungi should be present above the detection limit of one spore (such as Stachybotrys or Chaetomium),
  2. The water-damage indicator mold species (such as Penicillium/Aspergillus) concentrations should not exceed 1000 structures per cubic meter unless room contents (possession) could cause amplification.
  3. If outdoor or background air sampling is performed, you typically want indoor samples to have lower levels than outside and similar types.   Outdoor spore count can vary greatly though out the year.   Comparison of indoor to outdoor mold levels, that each type of mold in the indoor sampling should typically be less than the same type of mold on the outdoor sample (if applicable – 10% differential).

Mold questions?  Learn more about mold frequently asked questions. 

 

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Expert Mold Advice

Aug 11, 2020 9:30:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in mold, mold remediation, mold consultant, professional mold remediation, mold professional, mold expert

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Expert mold advice, that is what you would want if you had a mold question - right?  Everybody wants the best available advice, but is it possible to get expert mold advice?   Finding a true mold professional is like finding a needle in a haystack.    It’s hard and rarely accomplished.  You can blame lack of government regulations as a source of the scarcity of mold professionals.  You see New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware have zero mold regulations, so every "Chuck in a Truck" can say they know mold.

Call for Mold Questions.

On a fairly consistent basis (almost daily to be fair) we get calls from people all over the country  that have questions about mold, or need us to interpret mold testing that a professional they hired cannot explain.   Fact, if you hire a professional, they should be able to provide professional advice in writing and be able to understand test results.   If your expert has a Gmail account, works out of their home or says they are licensed, I would say these are three common threads we find from people who have complaints with a mold company. 

expert mold advice

 

No mold regulations, means no licensing, no required competency or required training and testing, so what is stopping someone from changing careers,  say from selling cell phones to doing mold consulting.   True story I met someone with just that background at an event down the shore, suffice to say what they knew about mold was very little.  Or should I say, what they knew about mold was mostly inaccurate. Did you know the salt air and the pressure treated wood that are prevalent in coastal areas inhibits mold growth?  Well, either did he and he told me not to tell people that its bad for business, he said fear of mold sells.   Sorry, I can't make this stuff up.   

As an environmental consultant that consults on mold, you need to inform clients and provide recommendations on risk and courses of action.   You do not sell fear.   Mold is harmful to human health, that is established, I have had people not be able to inhabit a home, or office where mold growth was present.  I also have people who live in an environment where mold is present and levels in the air are in concentrations where I know health issues were triggered in other people, although the current occupants had no apparent ill health effects from the mold.   This is actually not uncommon as we all have our sensitivities to gluten, lactose and mold, so what might be harmful to one person may not be to another.  That is not to say mold is a selling feature of a property, it certainly is not but mold has to be looked at objectively.   

How to pick a mold company?

  1. Look for a company that at least 10 years of experience, 20 is better.
  2. Google their address, make sure they work out of an office, not a home.
  3. Check the ago of their web site address:  https://www.iplocation.net/domain-age     The longer a domain has been in operation, means the longer the company has been operating.   
  4. Ensure everything provided to you is in writing, meaning scope of work, what they will do, how they will test and what the test results will mean.  Look we all know an A grade is better than a C, and an F is the worst, well translate that into mold test results. 

At Curren Environmental we have built a base of knowledge on mold consulting and mold remediation over a 20 year period.   We meet all criteria listed above.

 

Mold expert

 

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Bank Owned Homes & Mold

Jun 19, 2020 8:45:00 AM / by david sulock posted in mold, mold remediation, mold cleanup, mold contractor, Mold Testing, mold inspections, mold survey, mold assessments, mold consultant

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The recession of 2008 can still be felt today in the form of foreclosed properties that have been flipped.    These flipped homes look nothing like the home when it was bank owned.   Flipped homes certainly hold appeal for homeowners who want move in conditions homes.  The photo below shows a house that went through renovations.

flipped home-1

This is a photo of the same home same area pre renovation.   Note the mold on the wood furniture on the left hand side of the photo.

mold in home before flip (002)

Bank owned houses due to no occupancy, have wildly ranging temperatures and humidity fluctuations.  In short, the house gets hot and humid in warmer months, which allows mold to grow.  We have done homes where we come across mold on walls, trim, furniture, attics, basements and crawl spaces due to the house not being heated and cooled.  These homes also may be like this for years.  This certainly makes for homes that are in desperate need of rehabilitation, the question you have to ask is was the mold addressed?

Almost certainly mold in attics and crawl spaces are typically not addressed as these are not areas where the flipper will get bang for their buck or even look for repairs.

Basements typically get partially redone because it creates a living space that was not present before.  The problem is mold that has grown during the foreclosure process gets covered over by clean sheetrock, concealing the mold.  We have seen cracks in foundation walls covered by fresh sheetrock.

Basement mold

 

Basements in bank owned homes typically will have some levels of mold growth.  Again, when these homes are not occupied, there is a high possibility of mold growth.  

Why Mold Test a Flipped Home?

Many house flippers tend to look over the mold growth in basements, one because they are not aware it is mold growth and two, they are unaware of any water issues.  It is Curren's recommendation to always do  Mold Testing in basements of those homes that are being flipped, especially if they were once not occupied and a Foreclosure, sheriff sale, tax sale or bank sale property. There are times when basements are finished or re-finished and the mold growth is covered up, but not specifically remediated.  Meaning, mold will continue to grow and fester in these areas and will not just disappear.  

Attics are yet another area that are not in the realm of a house flipper.  When an house is not occupied for a period of time, humidity and moisture builds up, especially in an area that has no air flow.  Non-occupied homes do  not always have electricity and whole house attic fans, attic fans and humidistat attic fans will not turn on when necessary.  These situations lead to mold growth in attics.

mold can grow in an attic

Curren Environmental suggests Mold Inspections and testing in homes that have not been occupied for a period of time.  Mold growth will occur within 72 hours in the right environment.  Its not to say that home flippers are hiding the mold, they may just be missing that what they see is mold growth.  They are not mold experts.

Questions?

Call Curren Today

or email at info@currenenvironmental.com

 

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Mold Growth. Learn Fact from Fiction.

Dec 20, 2018 11:09:00 AM / by Tiffany Byrne posted in mold

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Fact: Mold needs water to grow.

“There is always some mold everywhere – in the air and on many surfaces. Molds have been on the Earth for millions of years. Mold grows where there is moisture”

From CDC (Center for Disease Control)

When you see mold, it indicates water issues - water is the fuel that propels mold growth.

Fiction: The leak just went away.

No, the leak didn’t just “go away” it was diverted and is leaking into a different part of your home. The leak could also happen when certain conditions are met, such as rain from a Northeastern direction or when your guests are using the spare bathroom. Take care of any leak be it  roof, bathroom or basement right away before it can turn into mold growth.

Promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows, and pipes will save you from mold. Mold growth can begin to occur 48 to 72 hours after water/moisture appears on organic surfaces.

Fact: Mold comes in many different colors, green, yellow, black, white…etc. 

Mold Color Collage

Fiction: Black mold is the bad toxic mold.

Black toxic mold is a myth. There is a mold of color that is black but there is no such mold as the “black toxic mold”. There are thousands of mold spores that have different colors and have different health effects. Find out more at Types of Mold. 

 

Humidity caused mold

Fact: Mold growth can occur due to excess humidity.

When your home does not have the proper (habitable) humidity and temperature inside, mold growth can occur, without any water leaks. American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHREA), recommends 30 to 60% RH (Relative Humidity) indoors. (Read more here).

 

 

Fiction: Houses do not need gutters.

House needs gutters

When you don’t have any gutters, rain water falls directly adjacent to the dwelling foundation. This water can cause damage to foundation and find a pathway into your home. In the image, no gutters were installed and water drained into  the crawl space, causing mold growth. The HVAC system was located in the crawl space, where airborne mold spores were brought into the HVAC from the crawl space and distributed throughout the entire house. This caused a musty smell, and after air sampling, showed high levels of mold spores.

Fact: Exposure to damp and mold environments may cause health effects.

Many government organizations (EPA, CDC, Health Canada) agree that water damaged building materials can have adverse health effects to humans exposed to these materials. Who is most likely to be affected by mold depends on the sensitivity of those exposed. People with allergies may have more severe reactions to mold. Those that are immune compromised, have chronic lung illness, infants and young children or the elderly are also more likely to have an allergic reaction to mold growth.

Fiction: Any exposure to mold will cause health effects.

Again – mold is everywhere. It is inside and outside and everyone has different reactions to different types of mold spores. The specific type of reaction a person will have to mold depends on that person.

More Facts:

Fact: Subterranean spaces need dehumidifiers.

 Dehumidifier

True. Managing relative humidity is key to preventing mold growth. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHREA), recommends 30 to 60% RH (Relative Humidity). Subterranean spaces such as basements and crawl spaces by nature have higher relative humidity, which can be controlled by utilizing a dehumidifier.

Fact: Mold can be carried into your home by attaching itself to clothing, shoes, bags and pets.

True, old books, magazine and cardboard boxes can harbor mold spores. Pets that go outside and stay in the bushes or lay in the grass bring mold into the home. 

Fact: Mold can grow inside during cold weather.

In the winter, when buildings are heated, mold often grows in cold, uninsulated exterior windows and walls, including uninsulated closets along exterior walls where building surfaces are generally cold relative to the indoor air temperature. These temperature differentials can allow condensation and are associated mold growth.

Fact: Temperature affects mold growth.

Different types of mold have minimum, optimum and maximum temperature ranges for growth. Many fungi grow well at temperatures between 60- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit, which are also ideal temperatures for human comfort. In addition, as mentioned above, temperature gradients often produce the moisture needed for mold growth. The relative temperature will dictate what type molds are more likely to grow in a that given environment.

Questions? Call Curren Environmental at 856-858-9509 or email us now at info@currenenvironmental.com.

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Black Mold? Mold comes in many different colors...not just black.

Apr 24, 2018 3:02:00 PM / by Tiffany Byrne posted in mold, mold remediation, Mold Testing

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Did you know that Mold comes in many different colors? The color doesn't matter, what matters is if it there is mold growth and if you stopped the water filtration. 

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.

1-888-301-1050 

 

 

 

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What is Mold and why is it not black or toxic Mold.

Feb 21, 2018 6:00:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in mold, mold remediation, mold cleanup

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What is mold and is mold dangerous?   Two common questions regarding mold.  First let’s start with "What is mold?". Mold is ubiquitous in our environment.  There are few places on earth, where molds are not present.  That said, mold (which is also called fungi) is a broad-spectrum term to describe fungi, mushrooms, rusts, mildew, and yeast. As humans, we simply complex things by using the term “mold”. Any mold is a eukaryotic organism, meaning one that has a defined nucleus.  Molds lack flagella and reproduce by means of spores. Spores are released from the mature mold body and spread by air currents on people, animals, and/or materials that travel from place to place. These spores can remain viable for extended periods of time, which, in short, is as long as it takes for a suitable environment to occur which allows the mold to form new colonies.

What is Black Mold? What is toxic Mold.

The next two most common questions. First, black mold is not a mold it is a color, the term was made up by the media. There is no mold that has the scientific name as black mold. The same goes for toxic mold, we think the name toxic mold came from the mold industry to scare people. Again no mold has the scientific name toxic mold.

bathroom mold-1.jpg


Molds are fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae that spread to form a network or colony called mycelium. When you see visible mold (spotting, staining, discoloration) you are observing a colony of mold. Most all fungi require oxygen to survive and all fungi need an organic food source.   Unlike humans, molds do not ingest their food but rather absorb nutrients by attacking dead organic matter or parasitizing living organisms. In an outdoor environment you can think of molds as nature’s composers as many molds live in the soil and are active in the decomposition of organic matter.

1-888-301-1050
Molds are not strictly confined to the outside, although that is their primary habitat.  Molds can grow indoors in a built environment (built being man made structure).  Molds can grow anywhere if the following four primary conditions are satisfied:

  1. Mold spores must first be present in the area.
  2. Food source such as wood, drywall, the paper part of insulation, skin cell fragments, cardboard, carpet, paper, etc.
  3. Appropriate temperature – this is a variable as molds can grow dormant when the temperature is out of range for required growth and then when the temperature is within range mold will grow.  (Think grass growing in summer and growing dormant in winter)
  4. Water or Moisture – if mold was a building, water/moisture would be the foundation, without it, you will not have molds growing and it is the one of the four conditions that can be controlled. Bottom line, if you have mold you have a moisture issue. 
  5. Moisture sources in a built environment are most commonly brought on from water and/or sewer leaks, moisture intrusion (rain) through walls and foundations.  In practice, moisture issues that fuel mold growth are associated with humidity or as condensation in HVAC systems. In terms of relative humidity, causing mold growth, is more of an intermittent issue that can occur at certain times of the year.   Damp, wet times of the year being more likely as opposed to winter when temperature may remove humidity.

    Both national and international health agencies agree that molds can cause health issues to varying degrees.   To the extent anyone is affected by molds relate to the types of molds, concentration, exposure duration and genetic factors of the individual.   There is no perfect fit that would say a certain person would be affected and this person would not.
Home Inspector-1.jpg

 

IMG_2645.jpg

 

IMG_4757.jpg

 

Mold affects humans through the inhalation of spores, which is how mold reproduces, so you should realize that when you see mold, spores are present and you could be at risk.  Molds also produce mycotoxins which are chemicals that are created during certain parts of the mold life cycle.  Mycotoxins having the word “toxic” in the name underlines them as a concern.  Mycotoxins can evoke a toxic response, for example, allergic reactions, respiratory irritation, the exacerbation of asthma symptoms as well as other respiratory reactions to an irritant.  Mycotoxins have this affect because they have very low volatility, meaning they have relatively low concentrations in the air, so contact or ingestion rather than inhalation is often the main route of exposure for these chemicals.
Since molds digest matter, they will naturally off gas.  The off gassing of mold often referred to as the musty odor is scientifically called MVOCs or microbial volatile organic compounds.  Their olfactory presence signifies actively growing mold. Fortunately for humans MVOC's have a very low odor threshold, thus, making them easily detectable by smell. Exposure to fungal MVOC's has been blamed for headaches, nasal irritation, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.   So, while someone may refer to an odor as musty it signifies the presence of mold and compounds that are airborne that can have detrimental health effects in humans.
Chronic exposure to large airborne concentrations of fungal spores can induce allergy or hypersensitivity in certain individuals. In some cases, chronic exposure to fungal spores can result in a flu-like debilitating disease known as hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

Mold is confusing and the many unlicensed firms that perform mold work dont help to demystify mold.  At Curren will off a free initial consultation.  Call our office Monday to Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm EST and speak to one of our professionals.  888-301-1050.

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Why do I have Mold?

Sep 30, 2017 9:36:24 AM / by david sulock posted in mold, mold remediation, mold cleanup, mold contractor, Mold Testing

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                                                   Why is mold so prevalent?

Mold is a four letter word and strikes an emotional cord in people when spoken and encountered. Health concerns are a major factor on people’s perspective of mold. Mold is ubiquitous in our environment and to have a mold free environment is practically impossible. That said, if you see growth (often described as discoloration), you have mold that is or was actively growing and spreading. In short there is an environment that is allowing the mold to grow, which is a preventable situation. Here are some of the environmental and situational causes of mold growth.

mold prevention5

 

Aging Housing Stock. (Deferred Maintenance)

As the homes in the United States get older, the repair and maintenance needs for these homes are on the rise. Older homes are in need of much more care. Gutters clog, caulk dries out, foundations settle and cracks appear, soil erodes away from foundations, dehumidifiers break and don’t get replaced, sump pumps die, exhaust fans break. Homes that have been missing general upkeep have been labeled deferred maintenance abodes.

When gutters are filled with debris water cannot flow from the roof and away from the dwelling perimeter. Water can pour over lengths of horizontal gutters placing water close to the structures foundations and allowing moisture to enter subterranean spaces.

Downspout

 

Caulk around windows dry out and holes appear. Rain events can allow water to enter through worn caulk and enter the building structure.

Over time, foundations can settle and cracks can form. Hydrostatic pressure is strong (ever get pushed down by a wave at the beach?). Water from rain events or melting snow can enter these cracks and crevices; again allowing moisture to enter the space.

All perimeter foundations should have what’s called in industry parlance as “positive drainage”. Meaning the exterior grade around a foundation should slope away from the foundation, thus diverting water from the foundation.

mold prevention4

 

Dehumidifiers can be called the devil’s machine, how many times are you going to trek down the basement and empty the dehumidifier? Until you simple stop doing it (leaving a full tank) and just simple turning off the unit. Dehumidifiers don’t have to break, they just have to stop capturing moisture and discharging it. Eighty percent (80%) of residential single family units that have mold below grade (basements and crawlspaces) had a dehumidifier present, but it was not operating.

Set dehumidifiers to 55 and plug a hose into the unit and drain it directly to a sump or sink. You do not need the unit set to 60 or 65 like the one in the photo

IMG_3323

 

Sump pumps are the workhorse of a high water table and wet basements. They are your last line of defense to keeping storm events out of your home. These electric pumps will eventually clog and burn out and some simply die from years of unappreciated faithful service.

Mold Prevention1

Sump sumps? Cover the crock, water evaporates and adds to over all moisture.

humidifier set up

.Exhaust fans are loud and who wants to exhaust anything anyway from a bathroom? These fans just make you cold and in an attic, it just makes a lot of noise. But these locations when fans operate, help control environmental conditions that can hinder mold growth.

Bathroom mold

All these seemingly minute items can allow a conducive environment for mold to grow. Truth be told most mold impacted areas did not get moldy over night, most have had a slow steady mold buildup for years and the older the home the more time mold has to grow. The environmental disaster event, where a dwelling is flooded, roof leaks, plumbing line breaks, do happen but they are the minority on average. Attics, crawl spaces, basements by nature of their unconditioned environment are hot beds for mold growth.

 

attic mold

 

Aging Population.

As long time homeowners get older, they age out of skill sets required for homeowner maintenance. As general mobility decrease so does the ability to climb a ladder or walk downstairs. Some people just throw in the towel knowing that the fight they had with mother nature was lost and water will get in and it eventually dries out so why bother?

First Time Homeowners.

Much has been said about younger generations, and not always in the most flattering light. There are no courses you get about home maintenance when you sign a mortgage, more people buy books about rearing kids than about how to take care of a home. Television is no help, the home improvement shows don’t show you how-to-do mundane tasks, they show you backyard retreats you can build, bathroom and kitchen makeovers. All sexy cool stuff, that doesn’t help with home maintenance when it comes to mold.

New Home Construction.

You would think a new home would be a problem free home, well - not for mold. Today’s tighter building envelopes trap moisture indoors allowing mold to grow. New homes tend to have wetter, less dense wood than older homes, primary because the wood comes from new growth forests making the wood young or immature. In short, the wood hasn’t had decades to dry out. In addition, this newer wood often is not kiln dried, which means it did go through a process to fully remove all the moisture, why, because it’s more expensive.

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10 Things You Need to Know About Black Mold

Jan 12, 2017 10:09:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in mold

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 Woolwich collage.jpg

 

  1. Black Mold is one of the most misused words when referring to mold.
  2. Black Mold is a term made up by the media.
  3. There is no mold that has the scientific name Black Mold. In all the thousands of types of molds present in our environment, there is no mold called Black Mold
  4. Molds have difficult names to pronounce like Cladosporium, Basidiospores, Chaetomium, and Periconia. Having a mold named Black Mold would make things too simple. 
  5. The term Black Mold is misinformation, a term that is meant to confuse and scare you. You will see the "Black Mold"  most often utilized by someone in the mold industry.   These simplistic references to Black Mold as an actual type of mold clearly shows that the individual is not familiar with mold... at all. 
  6. You cannot identify mold by color.
  7. The color of mold has no correlation to how it will affect someone. (black,brown, yellow, orange, greent...etc.)
  8. If you are told you have "Black Mold" you are being told a lie. 
  9. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) does not recognize the term Black Mold.
  10. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) does not recognize the term Black Mold.

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Are your pipes freezing!

Jan 5, 2017 9:51:00 AM / by Tiffany Byrne posted in mold

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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?

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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.

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