Can Mold In Your Home Really Cause Health Problems?

Mold is one of the oldest organisms on earth. It’s been here for millions of years, and as long as there is moisture and air, it will continue to be here. So if mold is everywhere, what does that mean for your health? The answer can be complicated.

Some people are more sensitive to molds than others. For some people, mold may only cause a stuffy nose, a sore throat, coughing, wheezing, or itchy eyes. For people with specific mold allergies, these symptoms may be more extreme and require medical treatment.

For people who are immune-compromised, the very young, the old, cancer pa-tients, people with asthma, chronic lung diseases such as COPD, and others, the presence of mold in their environment can use serious health issues that result in lung infections which can be serious enough to result in hospitalization, or even death.

The CDC states that “the Institute of Medicine (IOM) [has] found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symp-toms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children.”

So what should you do if you suspect there is already mold in your home, or if you have an incident such as a leaking pipe or other flooding issue that may cause mold in carpet or drywall? First of all, don’t panic. When dealt with by a professional, almost all in-home mold issues can be removed safely. Moldbusters has extensive experience in the identification, and removal of in—home mold issues and can not only clean and remove any mold you may have in your home, but can also restore, and reconstruct any areas that may have extensive mold infestation.

Moldbusters offers 24/7 response time to help limit existing damage and reduce the cost of treatment, and sends only highly specialized microbial remediation, water damage restoration, and structural drying technicians to your home.

If you suspect that your home has a mold issue, help to protect your family’s health. Call Moldbusters immediately. We’ll arrive quickly, get the job done right, and we’ll make it like it never happened.

Preventing Mold in Winter

Black mold buildup in the corner of an old house
Black mold buildup in the corner of an old houses 

Did you know that mold can be a problem in the winter too? When you deprive mold of moisture, warmth, and food, you will stop it from growing, but you won’t kill the mold that is already there. The mold spores will stay dormant and start growing again if they get moisture, warmth, and food. Airborne spores that spawn mold may infiltrate the house at any time of year. What’s more, active mold growth can survive at temperatures far lower than typically maintained inside an occupied house during winter.

Freezing water expands causing cracks in your home in which water can get in between the walls of your home. This moisture can spur hidden mold growth that you might not notice until it is too late. There are ways to prevent mold from growing inside your home during the winter.

Turning on the heat makes the air in your home very dry. Many people combat the dryness by using a humidifier. If you do use a humidifier make sure that your indoor humidity level is below 40 percent. If you use a humidifier, as many of us do in the winter, make sure it does not produce an excessive amount of humidity.

Remove possible sources of mold growth by regularly vacuuming and cleaning. Pay close attention to bathrooms and other areas of your home that are likely to generate a lot of moisture. It only takes 24 hours for dampness to turn into a full-blown mold problem.

Use area rugs or washable floor surfaces rather than wall-to-wall carpeting in areas or rooms that have a moisture issue. It’s not usually a great idea to have carpeting in your entryway. Snowy, wet boots can soak into carpeting creating a perfect breeding ground for mold.

Paper, books, and clothing are sources of food for mold; so don’t store them in humid parts of your home, such as your basement—especially close to the floor or walls.

Make sure your windows are properly sealed; moisture from the warm air condenses on cool glass, if there are cracks or spaces around your windows mold can form in those cracks.

Make sure that your gutters and downspouts are clean and that the area under your downspouts is graded so that water from the roof flows away from your foundation. If water pools around your home think about extending your downspouts.

In the bathroom and kitchen use exhaust fans or open windows when producing moisture, such as taking a hot shower. Exhaust fans should be vented to the outdoors and not to an attic or crawl space.

Consider getting a dehumidifier for your basement. If you have a crawl space under your house cover the soil in the crawl space with waterproof polyethylene plastic.

What to do after a pipe burst

frozenpipes

Water pipes burst because the water inside them expands as is it gets close to freezing and this causes an increase in pressure inside the pipe. When the pressure gets too high for the pipe to contain it ruptures.

A burst pipe can mean anything from a sink valve blowout to a water main fracture and anything in between. The most critical aspect of dealing with a burst pipe is turning off the water supply and stopping the flow of water. If the pipe is in a crawl space or a basement the water is fairly well contained. But if the pipe that burst is in a household setting, such as a toilet feed or an under-sink supply line, drying out the area becomes a bit more complex depending upon how much water has inundated the house.

As with any water damage, time is of the essence. Mold can start to develop in as little as 24 hours after an incident. The more time that passes without treatment, the more likely those materials will continue to deteriorate and may not be salvageable, especially with carpet.

If a water leak has affected multiple rooms, traveled from an upper level to a lower level of the home, or has been left unnoticed for more than 8 hours, professional water mitigation and specialized drying equipment is necessary. If you see that water has seeped into the sub flooring or the drywall, the safest step would be to contact a professional restoration company like Moldbusters. We can help remove or restore items that would otherwise develop mold. Another thing to keep in mind is the amount of time in which porous materials in your home have been exposed to water saturation.

It’s Fall, Time to Schedule Your Air Duct Cleaning

fall3

While it has been an unseasonably warm fall, there is no doubt about it….winter is coming. The dirt, mold, and dust that have accumulated within vents and air ducts all spring and summer are just waiting to go into the air. Poor indoor air quality can lead to illness, missed days of work, and a decreased quality of life.

Don’t wait until you turn your heat on to find out what the status of your air ducts is. The fall is a great time to check your air ducts for mold, dust, dirt, and other particles.

Air ducts only need to be inspected periodically, according to the FDA. However, when mold and other materials accumulate in your air ducts it can become dangerous to anyone living in the home. If someone in your home has allergies, eczema, or asthma, you may need more frequent air duct cleaning.

If in the past year you’ve had

  • Any work done in the house
  • Any pest infestation
  • Pets that shed in the home
  • Moisture problems or any other risk factors for mold

It might be a good idea to schedule an air duct cleaning for your home before you turn on the heat to prevent any of these particles from getting into the air, potentially making you sick.

If you do turn on your heat and notice more sniffles, breathing problems, itchy eyes, skin, and noses, it could mean your indoor air quality is not good. Schedule an air duct cleaning with Moldbusters and our experts can get you breathing easy again.

Flooding During a Hurricane

flood

It is hurricane season and while not entirely common for Long Island. However, because we live on an island storms that bring heavy winds and rains brings serious risk of flooding. While we can’t control the weather, there are things we can do to mitigate the damage caused by storms and flooding.

BEFORE THE STORM

-Check your storm and flood insurance policy. While you might be covered under homeowner’s insurance for a tree falling on your roof, most homeowners’ insurance policies don’t cover floods. Check your flood risk and make sure your policy is up to date. Take pictures of your home and take an inventory of your household items for insurance.

-Board up windows to prevent glass from breaking.

-Make sure your sump pump is installed properly and is in good working order. Sump pumps help pump water out of your basement in case of flooding.

-Unplug electronics and make sure valuables are kept in a safe, dry place. Important documents can be kept in the dishwasher, which is watertight. Just remember to take them out before you use it!

– Make an emergency survival kit. You don’t have to prepare for the end of days, but you should have enough tools and supplies to survive without electricity or utilities for up to two weeks. This site has a great checklist of things you may need.

AFTER THE STORM

-Don’t enter your home until it is deemed safe to do so.

-Call your insurance company.

-If you have water damage call Moldbusters. The sooner you start drying out after a flood the better. Mold can start growing after 24 hours, so most likely you will need to do flood and mold remediation if you were forced to evacuate.

While a flood can be devastating, it is possible to rebuild a house and replace things. The most important thing to remember about a major storm is things can be replaced, but you can’t replace people. Despite the instinct to stay and protect your home, keep out of damaged buildings and heed any evacuation warnings.

Air Duct Cleaning After A Renovation

airductcleaning

Renovation; are a great way to update and add value to your house; but they are also costly, take time, and cause stress. When a renovation is finished there is a wave of relief and excitement to start living in your new updated home; however, once the contractor leaves you still are not done with the renovation!

Renovations increase dust whether they include drywall sanding, demolition, or any other interior home project. Dust and debris from renovations often travel beyond the work area, and into the ductwork of a home. Keep in mind dust goes everywhere air flows! So scheduling an Air Duct Cleaning post-renovation and cleanup is the most beneficial.

Duct Cleaning improves indoor air quality through removal of dust and debris, creating a healthy living environment for you and your family. Some construction materials can be toxic if breathed in. Most of the time workers will be using masks while working in your home, but once they leave that same potentially toxic dust is being pushed through your HVAC system and into your family’s lungs. Clogged or unclean vents can also make your HVAC system to run less efficiently and cause an increase in air conditioning and heating costs.

Air duct cleaning should be part of your planning and factored in to the cost of a renovation; but if you or your family are experiencing increased allergies, breathing problems, headaches or other signs or symptoms that can occur when indoor air quality is poor, you may need to call in a professional.

Moldbusters are experts in indoor air quality and will be able to tell you if you could benefit from an air duct cleaning.

Hiring a Mold Remediation Professional

Black mold buildup in the corner of an old house
Black mold buildup in the corner of an old house

Mold in the home is no joke. When you spot it your stomach drops because you know how mold can cause health problems for you and your family, as well as negatively affect the value of your home.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to mold. Educate yourself about the sources of moisture and on situations that cause mold in order to prevent any from ever getting a strong hold on your property.

Unfortunately, even if you check every nook and cranny with maddening constancy, scrub any moldy spots, remove or fix any sources of water mold, it can still get into the drywall and start growing colonies behind your walls.

If mold has gone airborne, or has gotten into too many of the structural elements of the house, you will need help from a pro. The first thing you will need to do is find a professional mold remediation service in your area—one that is fully certified and you feel you can trust—and have them send someone over to estimate the extent of the damage.

Certified and licensed mold remediation specialists like the ones at Moldbusters have the tools and training to get rid of mold in your home for good without taking your wallet to the cleaners.

How To Dry Out After A Flood

floodinhome

A flood from a burst pipe or leak never comes at the right time. In the humid, hot summer months, however, homeowners are put on a serious time crunch to get things dried out before the mold sets in. Here are some tips to help prevent mold in your home after a pipe burst or leak.

  1. Get The Water Out Fast

Use a wet/dry vacuum to clean up as much water as soon as possible. If you do not have one at your disposal our flood remediation specialists are available 24/7 to help you get the water out.

  1. Use fans to speed up the carpet drying process

Unfortunately, even with fans running 24 hours a day it still takes a few days to get fully dry. Don’t let carpet that’s dry to the touch fool you: it is still wet!  Again, hiring a professional to dry out your home will ensure your carpet dries correctly.

 

  1. Use a dehumidifier to dry out the room

These machines remove excessive moisture, which makes the air feel cooler and limits mold and mildew growth. Any equipment that helps dry out the air and the ground will speed up the drying time for your damaged floors and coverings.

 

  1. Steam clean carpet and flooring

Steam cleaning all carpets sanitizes and deodorizes. Typically, water-damaged carpet padding must be replaced. Replacing just the padding is much less expensive than having to re-carpet your entire home.

 

  1. Sanitize walls and baseboards

Anything touched by the water should be sanitized. Clean all walls, hard-surface floors, and other household surfaces with soap and water. Sanitize them with a solution of 1.5 cups of chlorine bleach to one gallon of water. Remember to wear rubber gloves during cleanup.

 

  1. Stay Vigilant

Look for water damage and remove furniture from wet flooring. Water damage can easily be hidden underneath rugs or carpet, so be sure to give your home a thorough inspection if you suspect water damage.

 

Cleaning water-soaked carpets and floors is difficult under any conditions, but if done properly a disastrous mold situation can be avoided. Calling a flood remediation specialist to prevent a costly mold remediation.

 

With Spring Cleaning, Mold Is No Joke.

Mold is no joke. That’s what about 100 of LAPD’s finest are finding out, according to the local ABC News. Reports of mold-related illness, including respiratory issues, have been pouring in.

The police union claims that the mold that is growing in the station house is causing officers to become ill; and while the city acknowledges that there is an issue with mold, they claim it is not dangerous. Officers are pushing back, insisting on a full inspection and proper cleanup with the mold.

Many experts agree mold can have disastrous effects on a person’s health. Some of the signs/symptoms typical of toxic mold exposure are

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Headache, light sensitivity
  • Poor memory, difficulty with word finding
  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Morning stiffness, joint pain
  • Unusual skin sensations, tingling and numbness
  • Shortness of breath, sinus congestion or chronic cough
  • Red eyes, blurred vision, sweats, mood swings, sharp pains
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating
  • Vertigo, feeling lightheaded

 

The common misconception about mold is that a surface can be cleaned and that will take care of the mold. THIS IS NOT TRUE! If you see mold growing on your walls you can bet there is more behind your walls, as mold likes to grow in damp, dark areas. A bad mold problem needs to be taken care of by a licensed professional.

If your employees start to exhibit symptoms of mold exposure it is important you get your building tested and treated for mold remediation.

Bait and Switch

When you call to get your ducts cleaned, do you really know who’s showing up?

 

Duct cleaning is a necessary part of home ownership. Over time, HVAC systems become a haven for dust, allergens, and even dust mites, pollen, and mold spores.

Having your ducts clean can result in an immediate improvement in air quality, and even a noticeable difference in quality of life for allergy sufferers. For some, heat and air conditioning use can even decline due to an increase in air flow.

The National Air Duct Cleaners Association recommends getting your air ducts cleaned every 3 to 5 years, but some owners may want to do it more often, depending on lifestyle habits, including indoor pets, smoking, etc.

Unfortunately, while there are many reputable, and experienced businesses, such as Moldbusters, who are certified with state licenses, and specifically, Mold Remediation Licenses, there are some businesses who prey upon an unsuspecting public, and seniors in particular.

According to the Better Business Bureau, it’s a scam called a “bait and switch,” and the BBB says it’s happening all across the country. The BBB claims that there are actually dozens of connected companies involved in the scam. These companies have been systematically ripping off homeowners for more than a decade to the tune of millions of dollars.

Over the years, the BBB has been bombarded with hundreds of similar complaints about the scam. Victims say that the service techs get in with a sweet promise:

Full house duct cleaning for only $49.99.

This should be the first red flag. While a real duct cleaning isn’t astronomically expensive, it can take over 4 hours, and will definitely cost more than $49.99. Once the technician gets inside, they will routinely mislead them into paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars for additional work. Many were told they had dangerous mold. Others had their homes unnecessarily flooded with noxious chemicals. Some said they were afraid of the workmen. All said they were duped into paying hundreds more than the promised $49.99 advertised price.

How can you know if you need your ducts cleaned? These tips can help:

A few indicators that your air ducts and/or furnace require cleaning:

  • When you constantly find dust on your furniture.
  • After cleaning, there is still dust floating around the house.
  • You find it more difficult to sleep; you experience headaches, increased tendency to snore, congestion, or sinus problems.
  • Rooms in your house have little or no air flow from the vents.
  • You are constantly getting sick or are experiencing more allergies than usual.
  • Musty or stale odor comes from the air ducts vents.

 

If you see these problems in your home, before calling a technician, remember!

  • Check them out with the BBB.
  • If you suspect mold, or are worried about it, make sure that the people who come to your home are licensed though the state for Mold Remediation.
  • A real duct cleaning company will come to your home, do an inspection, and THEN give you a price for the work.

Following these tips can help to keep your home and ducts clean, and your bank account safe from duct cleaning scammers!

Check out some of these videos to know what to look out for!