Hot Environmental Topics

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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Will mold be an issue in my home sale?

Jun 4, 2020 10:30:00 AM / by david sulock posted in mold remediation, Mold Testing, mold inspections, mold survey, mold consultant, professional mold remediation

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Will finding mold growth hurt my chances of selling my home?   This is a common question we are asked when a home buyer finds mold during a real estate transaction.   Mold is a known health hazard, from inhalation of mold spores to the generation of MVOC and mycotoxins, which are generated by mold growing can adversely affects human health. And although you may be living with the mold without incident, you can guarantee that the new owner will not want mold in their new home

In states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware where the housing stock is older, building materials have had more time to degrade which allows mold to grow.  Heck a 50 year old home has had plenty of time to have plumbing issues.  If purchasing an older home, expect mold during a sale.

attic mold

Finding mold and having to remediate mold is not driven by laws like a leaking oil tank would dictate remediation. Rather remediating a mold problem is going to be on the top of the buyers "To Do List" prior to purchase. Buyers can overlook the worn carpet, older windows and out-dated bathroom, but buyers can not overlook mold that tends to have buyers draw a line in the sand.  For one, buyers have plans for new paint, replacing the windows and carpet but not having to cleanup a mold problem.

basement sheetrock mold

Clearly visible mold is not a desirable feature of a home, we have never seen someone promote the presence of mold to sell a home. Sure we see homes that are being sold as is, which is a clear indication the owner knows there are defects in the home somewhere. But to say you have large walk in closets, newer kitchen and mold in the basement, yep we don't ever come across that statement.

Fretting over the type of mold and hazards associated with mold are a mute point, you won't see someone allergic to nuts try and differentiate the dangers between a peanut, walnut or cashew. 

Level heads prevail when managing a mold issue, you have to address mold on a molecular level.   You have mold growth in a home because the environment was conducive for the mold to grow.   Arguing that only a little water seeps into the basement after a heavy rain will not get a buyer to stop crowing about wanting the mold fixed. 

A competent mold company that is looking out for everyone's best interest is harder to find than you would expect, this is directly related to the fact that there are no mold regulations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania or Delaware.  Without mold regulations, you have no licensing, without mold licensing you have no competence hurdle for someone to perform mold work.   Any "Chuck in a Truck" will proclaim to be your mold expert.

At Curren we have completed 1000's of mold inspections and remediation and while each one is similar (they have mold) there are nuances to the project.  See the photo below, mold was caused by a disconnected dryer vent which exhausted moist air in the ceiling.  

mold in ceiling

We have seen a few things when it comes to mold.  We have a team of experienced inspectors and our crews are trained from the top down to do your mold job right.  This starts with finding the cause, fixing the sources and removing the mold.

mold inspections mold remediation

Mold Questions? Click Here

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Do you Smell Mold?

Mar 28, 2020 3:22:01 PM / by david sulock posted in mold remediation, mold cleanup, Mold Testing, mold inspections, mold consultant, professional mold remediation

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You can smell mold?

Spending more time at home than usual? Many people are in the safety of their homes and our office is getting called regarding musty smells, that people think relates to mold in their home. These calls coincide with rain events and we find a simple equation. People have mold in their homes they didn’t know existed. Many people find mold during a real estate transaction, since that is when a home under goes scrutiny, meaning multiple inspections occur and the wear and tear items that we often ignore are brought to light. I mean do you ever go into your attic or basement and look for mold?


mold inspections

The musty smell you have is most likely mold and it is active mold growth because when mold is consuming organic matter it off gases, hence the smell. Growth can correlate to rain events (not necessarily flooding), temperature changes, and humidity levels. In short moisture above 55% humidity as most molds in the northeastern United states will grow above that range.  Add in the fact that the northeast has an older housing stock and you have a higher probability of mold. Why older homes have mold, simple put the older a home the greater the time frame for mold to grow somewhere in the home. This gives mold the toe hold it needs as mold won’t die when it is dry it just goes dormant. This mold will then grow sporadically (no spore joke intended) over time until the owner complains of a smell, has a health concern or buyer’s inspector finds mold

 

mold inspections

Our calls lately have been from people who are working from home or simple spending more time at home and they either smell musty odors or are having health concerns. These people never had a mold inspection performed so the idea of a mold inspection makes sense.  Our mold inspections typically find mold, which makes sense.  The key to finding mold is understanding why it is there and how the mold can be addressed (mold remediation) and future prevention.  A typical mold survey might find a half dozen reasons why it’s there (yes there is typically more than  one cause for mold growth. We provide the homeowner a DIY  list for everything they are doing wrong and a corrective action plan (mold remediation) outline and costs. All mold remediation has a 10 year warranty against future mold growth, best in the industry.

We also teach several classes on mold so you know you are getting expert advice.
Environmental Education speaking at the Triple Play

 

All our inspector use N-95 masks and have at least five years experience with both mold inspections and remediation.  We inspect and remediate mold so we get to see mold from both sides which gives Curren a full perspective.  Different building materials from pour concrete walls, to cider block walls to wood studs to plaster wall all affect how mold can and will grow.To schedule an inspection call 856-858-9509.mold inspections and remediation

mold testing

Call for Mold Questions.

 

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Mold Remediation with Post-Air Sampling Data

Feb 6, 2020 11:22:00 AM / by Tiffany Byrne posted in mold remediation, Mold Testing, mold assessments

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Mold is the four-letter word of real estate transactions. Finding mold can pause a sale and stop the sale all together.  If mold is visually found and/or confirmed via testing, the odds of the sale failing increases, unless you can get ahead of the problem.

IMG_1015-1
There are many stories of real estate transactions with mold growth, but this one is very interesting.
The story goes that a buyer was interested in a home and the property was an in an estate.  This particular property had been vacant for some time (About 26 months).  The buyers were from out of state and mold was a concern.  During the home inspection, the home inspector took air samples throughout the home. He also found possible mold growth on some wood furniture. Those air samples were mailed to an independent lab, and once the lab finished testing the samples, they sent a report back to the home inspector. The home inspector then sent the lab data to the buyer.   Elevated mold spore count were found indoors as compared to outside levels.   The levels were also higher than you would typically find in a home sand water damage.

 

Tape sample

 

Outside sample
 

 

Tape sample

 

What does mold lab data mean?
First, as part of the story, you need to know that this property was vacant for over 2 years. The heat was on as part of maintenance but the home was not property dehumidified (air conditioned in the warmer months). Mold growth occurs where there are moisture and organic materials. In this case, again there were only visual signs of mold growth on some furniture, but no visual signs on the sheetrock walls, kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets and no signs on the ceilings throughout the home.

What caused mold to grow in a vacant home?
When the humidity is high and the property is not well ventilated, mold growth will occur. These spores can become airborne and move throughout the home. This home had a lot of carpets which contain organic matter (dirt, skin cells, etc.) and carpets hold mold spores.

Curren Environmental completed a mold assessment and found no outside water entry, plumbing leaks, roof leaks, etc. Mold growth was contributable to the home being vacant without consistent heating and air conditioning operating.  Mold Remediation at this property was performed and removed the airborne spore count to levels comparable to outside.  Remediation was performed as follows:

  1. The carpet was removed and tack strips were removed.
  2. All organic furniture that could not be wiped down was disposed of (fabric coating sofas and chairs.
  3. HEPA vacuumed walls and floors in the master bedroom, in-law suite, and 2nd floor.
  4. A broad-spectrum, FDA approved, fungicide was applied to the walls and the flooring in the rooms.
  5. Air scrubbers operated during and after the remediation based on volume of air in the space and goal of completing multiple air exchanges. 

As the story goes, post air testing showed that the elevated spore levels dropped dramatically at the property. Please see below. For this story, no walls were removed, no ceilings were opened nothing was torn down to the pre-construction stage.

 

 

Post remediation Data 1

 

Post Mold Remediation Lab Data 2

 

 
Post remediation Data 1

 

 

The ending, a happy buyer, a happy seller, and a clean home. Not every property that has elevated mold spores needs to have everything torn down and removed.   Mold testing must be assessed facting in history of the space, current conditions and an understanding of mold spores found and what environments these spore thrive.   A mold remediation professional will look at the data, photos provided and any other detailed information before handing over a cost. It is very important to understand that mold is everywhere and there are no “Mold Free” properties.  

Call for Mold Questions.

 

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Mold Testing & Mold Inspections

Oct 3, 2019 10:19:27 AM / by david sulock posted in mold contractor, Mold Testing, mold inspections, mold survey, mold consultant

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Mold is truly a four letter word and also a very misunderstood term.  You've heard of "Black Mold" (not a real mold term) or "Toxic Mold" (no such thing)? In the mold testing and mold inspection industry "black toxic mold" should not be used.  Misinformation abounds, so here are some important facts about mold, mold remediation and mold testing

when do you test mold?

Growing mold off-gases, causing that musty odor you smell, and if you think your basements smells that way because it is a basement, you're wrong,  it's not supposed to smell musty.  Mold growth stains surfaces and is visible if you understand where and what to identify as mold.  If you see mold growing inside a building, something is wrong, it is not normal or typical, even at the shore/beach.  Curren knows because we have inspected thousands of properties and, no, they all do not have mold growing.

Pertaining to mold testing, when obvious mold is present the EPA agrees testing is not necessary.

If you have discolored building materials and are not 100% if its mold, surface sampling can be performed for verification of questionable staining indicative of mold.

mold testing

Mold Testing can verify if a stained or discolored surface is impacted with mold growth, such as  surface sampling and/or air testing (non viable spore trap sampling). These mold tests quantify both mold spore count in a room and also evaluates for hidden mold in a complaint room where no visible mold is present.

Call Curren Today

Pro Tip:  Buying a house that is being flipped and the basement is finished, get a mold inspection with mold testing.

Pro Tip:  Buying a home that was bank owned and rehabbed?  Get a mold inspection with mold testing.

mold air testing

Our ratio of finding hidden mold in both situations is around 90%, but 70% of the time we get called in AFTER someone has bought one of these types homes, in cases such as these, mold is found after you own the property.

Proper mold remediation is the removal of an unwanted condition, such as mold. This follows a multi-step process which typically entails containment of work area, followed by physical removal, cleaning and encapsulation of remaining organic surfaces and air scrubbing, all of which are appropriate and proposed for the subject site.

Curren Environmental has over 20 years’ experience in the environmental field and we provide Certified Education (CE) classes on environmental topics, including mold, so we know what we are talking about. There are only 11 states in the country that have mold regulations and licensing  programs and New Jersey is not one of them. Curren nor any other company in New Jersey holds a New Jersey license for mold remediation as the license does not exist. Generally speaking, mold remediation follows asbestos abatement guidelines to contain a workspace, establish air filtration and remove (remediate) mold. Curren has personnel that hold asbestos licensing and our personnel follow these procedures from independent training schools as well as in-house training program.

Expert advice from mold experts

888-301-1050

 

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Should I perform a mold inspection?

Feb 25, 2019 9:42:00 AM / by david sulock posted in Mold Testing, mold inspections, mold survey, mold assessments

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Should I get a mold inspection?

 

Mold inspections are commonly performed as part of many  residential real estate transactions.  Mold inspections are typically driven by the buyer as opposed  to a requirement  of the mortgage approval process.  There are three main factors that are attributable to the increase in Mold inspections.   The primary driver is consumers being more educated about mold (thank the internet).  The aging housing stock allows for degraded building infrastructure (deferred maintenance) which provides  opportunities for mold to grow.   the reverse of degraded materials is better building techniques and home improvements that create tighter building envelopes that help retain moisture in the built environment, which in turn fuels mold growth.  

 

The photo below represents deferred maintenance that allowed mold to grow.   To know the exact reason, you would have to speak to one of our environmental managers.

mold inspections are part of the home buying process

 

There are a few situations that should make you look for a mold problem.  Mold inspections should be completed on homes that  have been unoccupied for extended periods of time. If a house has been closed up and unoccupied for months or years, humidity most likely has built up inside and caused mold to grow.  All bank owned properties should have a mold inspection performed due to the humidity concerns mentioned above.  Homes that have been flipped or rehabbed should have a mold inspection performed because these homes have a high probability of growth (Most were bank owned) and we have found that often times the mold has been covered over or ignored by the real estate investor.  Flipped homes should have mold inspections with air testing to search for hidden mold.

 

The piece of furniture in the photo below, has mold growing on it.  The mold manifested itself over a period of weeks after moving into an older rehab home.  Curren found mold behind the newly finished walls and water entry from the foundation wall that was not properly water proofed prior to sheetrock.

mold inspections can find hidden mold

 Home inspections typically do not cover mold inspections and most home inspectors are not experienced with mold.

 

The photo below was flagged for having mold, a part of the photo has mold and  apart is not mold.  Do you know which is which?

IMG_3698-1

 

Mold inspections should be performed on homes where water damage has occurred either one time or when chronic water issues are present.  Basements and crawlspaces are target rich environments for mold growth.

 

1-888-301-1050

 

What affects the cost of a mold inspection?

Two main factors determine the cost of a mold inspection.  Mold inspection costs are based on the time it takes to complete the inspections, simply put larger homes take longer to inspect than smaller homes. If mold testing is needed it will add to the inspection cost as you now have laboratory analysis to pay for and time for the mold professional to interpret the data.

The best mold inspections are professionals that have experience in both mold inspection and remediation.  Finding mold during a mold inspection and following the project through to remediation provides the firm a 360 degree view of the mold problem.  We have completed thousands of mold inspections and remediation and while they all have similarities there are nuisances to each project.  

 Do I need to inspect a  new home for mold? 

New homes should have mold inspection because there is actually a term we use called new home mold.  Mold can grow during the home construction process, the crews working on a new home don't have the experience with mold and accordingly are not aware that growth has occurred.

 

 

residential mold inspections

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Don't Let Your Pipes Freeze!

Nov 15, 2018 8:35:00 AM / by Tiffany Byrne posted in Mold Testing

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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…

Before vacation a family prepped the house for departure - they closed and locked all doors, left some lights on and turned down the heat (50 degrees). The family even called a local friend to keep an eye on the home. But what they didn't pay attention to was that that the temperatures plummeted to below freezing. The family forgot to turn off their outside plumbing hose bibs.  The pipes froze to the outdoors. Two days later the temperature rose to above freezing and the pipes burst. Water poured into 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.

 

Outdoor pipes freeze

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

  • Disconnect and drain garden hoses from the outdoor faucets (NOW).
  • Turn off water inside the home to these bibs.
  • 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.
  • Secure the basement doors and close and weather strip the exterior basement windows and doors.
  • When you leave your home in winter, 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.
  • Turn off your sprinkler system and make sure you blow out compressed air through the irrigation lines to ensure the water is drained (October or November) If the water is not drained it can freeze inside the lines damaging your expensive water system.
  • In your laundry room, turn off the water valves to the washer and dryer.  The hoses hold pressure which builds up the longer the washer and dryer are not used.  
  • 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.
  • Wrap your water heater with an approved manufacturer’s blanket.
  • Don’t set thermostat lower than 55 degrees when traveling. Ask a neighbor to check on your house during below freezing temperatures.
  • Keep your garage doors closed during extreme cold weather.

IMG_5978

 

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

Whether you are home or away, don’t let your pipes burst - make sure you follow the above 10 tips to keep your pipes from freezing.

 

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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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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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Mold Inspections - Inspecting for Mold

Jun 21, 2017 9:35:00 AM / by Tiffany Byrne posted in Mold Testing

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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.  

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