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!

 

Are dirty vents costing you money?

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Even though the weather is just starting to get warm, it’s never too early to make sure your central air conditioning is running at peak efficiency. The middle of a heat wave is not the time for discovering a problem with your vents.

One of the most common problems found in HVAC systems is obstructions in the ductwork. If a duct is blocked, some rooms won’t heat or cool the way they’re supposed to. Because the rooms can’t reach the temperature you’ve set on your thermostat, your HVAC system will be working constantly to keep up.  This can cause temperature fluctuations between rooms, poor air quality and an increase in your energy bill.

Here are some of the usual causes of an obstructed HVAC system:

Blocked Vents

Dust and dirt can clog vents blocking the flow of air into the room. Make sure your vents are clean both inside and out. Clear out any debris regularly. If dust is constantly accumulating from the inside it might be time for an air duct cleaning.

 

Dirty Air Filters

Air filters should be changed regularly in order to maintain energy efficiency and good indoor air quality. If your air filters are dirty and clogged, they can impede airflow and reduce the air quality in your home. If you find yourself sneezing a lot inside, check your air filter.

 

Closed Zone Dampers

HVAC systems utilize dampers in the ductwork to control the way air flows in your home. Make sure all of the dampers in your home are completely open. Sometimes dampers can get stuck closed or can become loose and close on their own. This will completely obstruct the air in that particular duct and could affect the airflow in your entire house. If all of them are open and you’re still not feeling any air coming through, you may have another obstruction farther in the duct.

 

Physical Obstructions in the Ducts

Another common source of ductwork obstructions are physical objects inside your ducts. Dust, dirt, pieces of old air filters, and ductwork insulation that has come off are especially common culprits. You may also find debris from construction or remodeling projects, such as wood chips or insulation. Vermin or insects may find their way into your ducts and leave behind debris. You should get an air duct cleaning any time you need to hire an exterminator to clean up what was left behind.

 

Keeping your air ducts clean will improve your health and save you money. If you need to schedule an air duct cleaning, call Moldbusters.

 

Spring Air Duct Cleaning

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Spring is around the corner, which means it is time for spring cleaning. One often overlooked area of the home is the air ducts and vents. Air duct cleaning plays an important role in improving the indoor air quality and making it easier for those who suffer from allergies, asthma and other chronic respiratory disorders to breathe.

So how do you ensure your air ducts are clean?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recommendations for routine maintenance of the HVAC system in your home:

Maintain filters.

Use the highest efficiency air filter recommended by the manufacturer of your HVAC system and change filters regularly. If your filters become clogged, change them more often.

Minimize dust.

Dust and vacuum your home regularly, using the highest efficiency filter bags your vacuum cleaner can take – preferably HEPA bags. If you undertake dusty construction or renovation work in your home, seal off supply and return registers and do not turn your HVAC system on until you have cleaned up the dust.

Clean cooling coils and drain pans.

Cooling coils, which are designed to remove water from the air, can be a major source of moisture contamination that can lead to mold growth in your HVAC system. Make sure that the drain pans under these coils drain properly and check any nearby insulation for wet spots. If you see substantial standing water and/or debris in these pans, contact a qualified professional right away.

While these steps are good for maintenance sometimes you need a professional to come in and clean your HVAC system. If you are constantly suffering from allergies from poor quality, try an air duct cleaning service performed by Moldbusters and your family can breathe easy.

Prevent Flooding

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With flash flooding and storms in every season, basement flooding is a serious threat. How can you protect yourself from a devastating basement flood? Just follow these steps to avoid a costly disaster:

 

  • Insurance

Unfortunately most homeowners’ insurance does not cover flooding or sewer backups. Review your property insurance policy and consider additional coverage, especially if you have a finished basement and live in a flood zone.

  • Gutters & Downspouts

Clogged or backed up gutters and downspouts can cause water to flow into your house. Keep gutters free of debris and position downspouts away from the foundation. The goal is to drain storm water at least three feet away, so if necessary, consider running extensions or troughs.

  • Foundation Cracks

If light can get in, water can get in! Inspect the exterior foundation and your basement’s walls and floors. Use epoxy to fill any foundation cracks and if warning signs are detected, apply masonry sealer indoors.

  • Sump Pumps

If you have a below-grade sump pump, check to make sure its well is free of debris. If you have a portable pump, position it in the lowest part of the basement and be sure it’s connected to a power source.

  • Sewers & Septics

If you haven’t had your sewer inspected or your septic tank cleaned, spring is a good time to address these concerns. During periods of prolonged, heavy rainfall, clogged sewers and over-taxed septics are disasters waiting to happen.

  • Window Well Covers

If you have below-grade basement windows, install window well covers that will fasten securely to your home’s foundation. You can use acrylic covers that  allow light to enter while they keep out rain, leaves, and pests.

  • Generators

Remember a sump pump only works if you have power. If you live in an area plagued with frequent storms and power outages, a generator may be a long-term investment worth considering.

 

Even when you are prepared disasters can happen. When disaster strikes call Moldbusters (631) 451-7500 for water damage clean up.

 

Prevent Burst Pipes This Winter

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When a pipe freezes and bursts is can cause some serious water damage.   Burst pipes happen when cold water coming in to the house from outside causes your pipes to contract and this contraction often causes leaks from areas of the pipe that had weakened over time.

While you can’t control the weather, keeping  an eye on your plumbing system as the temperatures change and checking to see if you have any leaks can help mitigate any looming disaster.

 

Keep the Water Running

Water moving through the system helps keep your lines from freezing. If it is extremely cold outside, keep one or two faucets running slowly at all times.

 

Know Where Your Drafts Come From

Where your house is drafty is where most pipes freeze.  Usually pipes that freeze are located near an outside wall or a window, so be sure to direct warm air to any colder areas of your home.

 

Open Your Cabinets

If your kitchen sink is on an outside wall leave your cabinet doors open to allow heat into the cabinet. Your kitchen faucet is usually a good faucet to leave when the temperatures drop.

 

Disconnect your Hoses

You should disconnect your hoses in the winter, but you should definitely disconnect them when the temperature drops below freezing. When water is not able to drain out of your hose bib it will likely freeze and break the device and can cause serious water damage.

 

Keep the Cold Air Out

The cold can get through small cracks, make sure your home is properly insulated and sealed. Even the tiniest cracks can let cold air in and freeze your pipes. Use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes.

 

 

 

Moldproofing A Sound Investment

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Every homeowner fears mold, it destroys home value and can wreak havoc on your health and pocketbook, but did you know there are ways to mold-proof your home. Here are some reasons you should look into mold-proofing.

  1. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

 

Once mold gets a strong hold in your home it can be tricky to remove. Mold remediation can get expensive and the longer a mold problem lingers the more difficult and costly it is to get rid of. Mold proofing experts will let you know where your potential problems are so you can monitor and help you develop a solid plan of action creating a home environment difficult for mold to gain a stronghold.

 

  1. Protect Your Home’s Value

For property owners, a big reason to prevent mold is to maintain property values. If you wait until mold shows up, the value of your property can take a hit. Studies show the vast majority of the general market is resistant to buying a property with a previous mold history, there have been reports of property deprecations of up to 60% if a property has a history of mold. Preventing mold before it starts is the best way to keep your home value up.

 

  1. Protect your health

 

Mold grows where it is dark and damp, basically in places usually hidden. Once a mold situation becomes apparent it means there has been a mold problem for quite some time before.  In this time the mold can make you and your family sick, see our article on Mold Sickness. Protect your family’s health with mold prevention.

 

If you are curious about mold prevention services contact Moldbusters today!

 

Air Duct Cleaning After a Roach Infestation

cockroach

You got rid of the cockroaches, do you need an air duct cleaning to get rid of what they left behind?

If you recently had a cockroach infestation, you might have gotten rid of all of the bugs, but what they left behind can be dangerous to your health.

Cockroaches are one of the most common household pests across the United States. They are the ultimate survivors, able to squeeze into impossibly small cracks and reproduce at a rapid pace. While cockroaches are generally considered gross, cockroaches can actually pose a significant health risk to your family as well. Cockroaches are associated with a wide variety of different allergens that can cause reactions from skin irritation to asthma and allergy flare-ups—these insects are even associated with a higher risk of the asthma development in children.

 

About Cockroach Allergens

Cockroach allergens pose such a severe threat because they can affect indoor air quality without your knowledge—airborne cockroach allergens often come from insect droppings or dead insects trapped in the vents of your home, impacting your family’s health even if you have never seen a live insect in your living spaces. There are several sources of cockroach allergens  including the insects’ exoskeletons, saliva and droppings. Depending on the type and severity of the allergy, those suffering from cockroach allergies may present symptoms that include skin rashes, mouth, nose and eye irritation, congestion, difficulty breathing, and even the onset of an asthma attack. Furthermore, numerous studies have linked consistent exposure to airborne cockroach allergens with a higher risk for the development of childhood asthma.

If you discover a cockroach infestation in your home, first call an exterminator, then call a qualified and certified air duct cleaning specialist like Moldbusters to get rid of the contaminants those nasty pests left behind.

Improving Indoor Air Quality at Work

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​ Did you know air quality of the indoor environment can profoundly affect the health, comfort, and productivity of building occupants?

Indoor air quality is essential to a happy and healthy workplace so what should you know about indoor air quality? This blog should help answer your questions.

Like with most things, when everything is running smoothly, nobody really notices. The same goes for indoor air quality, when the air quality is good it isn’t something people take notice of, but it’s easy to detect when there is a problem. When the air contains dust and objectionable odors, chemical contaminants, dampness or mold that is when you have problems with air quality. When there is poor ventilation, temperature and humidity control, you have a problem with air quality. If you have issues with chemicals, fumes or ordors, you have a problem with air quality

The Importance of Ventilation

Poor air quality may develop when not enough fresh air is introduced to reduce contaminant concentrations. An HVAC system must not only control contaminants, it must also provide a comfortable environment. The perception of still or stale air, odors, draftiness or errant temperature and humidity levels are common complaints.

Proper ventilation health studies have shown that communicable diseases like the common cold, influenza and tuberculosis spread more efficiently in poorly ventilated buildings. Proper air filtration is also important.

Issues Associated with Poor Indoor Air Quality

Problems with air quality can cause health symptoms. Some health-related complaints may be due to allergic reactions. Some health-related complaints associated with poor air quality mimic those of the flu or a cold: headaches, sinus problems, congestion, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and irritation of the eyes, nose or throat.

What Can Be Done About Poor Air Quality?

The first step into figuring out how to deal with your air quality problem is to find out if you actually have an issue. Air quality testing by a licensed, trained company can help determine what your building’s issues are and how best to take care of it.

Air quality testing will also help determine if you need air duct cleaning, mold removal or other services to help fix indoor air quality problems.

Indoor air quality concerns are a fact of life for building owners, business owners, managers, and occupants. When a building is managed with an eye for preventing air quality problems this greatly reduces the likelihood of chronic discomfort and will likely increase building occupants’ productivity.

The Importance of Air Quality Testing.

moldallergy

Why is air quality testing important? Our mold experts let you know when to get your home or commercial building tested for mold.

Are you constantly feeling unwell? Are others in your family or office getting sick more often?  It’s estimated that indoor

air pollutants, including mold and mycotoxins may be contributing to illnesses.  Outdoor pollution such as smog and

smoke takes most of the blame for health problems, but many people are unaware that the air they are breathing is quite

possibly more toxic than the air outside.  Indoor toxins like mold could be making you or your loved ones sick

All mold needs to grow is a dark, moist environment.  The most common types of mold that are found indoors include

Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus. Toxic black mold, stachybotrys chartarum is a greenish-black mold,

which grows on household surfaces that have high cellulose content, such as wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper,

dust, and lint and can grow with even the slightest of water damage.

Exposure to mold and mold components is well known to trigger inflammation, allergies and asthma, oxidative stress,

and immune dysfunction in both human and animal studies.  Mold spores, fungal fragments, and mycotoxins can be

measured in the indoor environments of moldy buildings and in humans who are exposed to these environments.  Most

of the time, we are exposed to molds, like stachybotrys, through the skin contact, through ingestion, and by inhalation.

It’s estimated that as many as 25% of buildings in the US have had some sort of water damage.

 

How do you know if you’ve been exposed to mold or a water damaged building?

  • 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
  • Appetite swings, body temperature regulation
  • Increased urinary frequency or increased thirst
  • Red eyes, blurred vision, sweats, mood swings, sharp pains
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating
  • Tearing, disorientation, metallic taste in mouth
  • Static shocks
  • Vertigo, feeling lightheaded

 

If you, your family members, co-workers or employees are experiencing these symptoms it might be a good idea to get

air quality testing by a licensed mold testing company like Moldbusters.