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.

Seasonal Allergies or is Something Sinister Growing Behind Your Walls

USA, New York, New York City, Manhattan, Central Park, Close up of woman sneezing
USA, New York, New York City, Manhattan, Central Park, Close up of woman sneezing

Allergy season is here, but how do you tell if your sneezing and watery eyes are due to typical spring pollen, or something a bit more sinister like a mold problem lurking in your home.

Do your allergies seem to get worse or better when it rains?

Most pollen gets washed away in rain so if your allergies seem to get worse when it rains you might have a mold problem.

Mold allergies are generally not life threatening. But they can impact your ability to lead a productive, comfortable daily life. Here are a few tips to help you spot mold allergies.

Mold grows in moisture, either indoors or outdoors. While the mold spores constantly floating in the air can trigger reactions, the problem worsens when those spores attach to a wet surface and mold begins to grow. You may have mold growing inside your house and not know it. This could be due to an unknown leak, moisture buildup in a basement, or damp areas under carpet that have been left unchecked.

Because mold grows year-round, mold allergies generally aren’t seasonal like other allergies. Those who are allergic to mold can experience symptoms any time, especially if they live in an area that tends to get rain fairly often.

If you’re allergic to mold, you’ll likely experience histamine reactions similar to those from other types of airborne allergies. Those symptoms include:

  • sneezing
  • coughing
  • congestion
  • watery and itchy eyes
  • postnasal drip

 

You may initially mistake your mold allergies for a cold or sinus infection, since the symptoms can mirror each other. If your allergies are compounded by asthma, you may notice your asthma symptoms worsening when you’re exposed to mold. Symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, and chest tightness. You also may experience wheezing and other signs of an asthma attack. While mold exposure is generally not deadly, increased exposure can make symptoms worse. Mold allergies are progressive. Over time the attacks become more severe. The key is to prevent moisture from building up by repairing any leaks in your home.

If you notice a water build-up in any part of your home, stop the leak immediately. When working in situations where outdoor mold may be present, wearing a face mask can drastically reduce your exposure to the allergen. Then called a certified mold professional to see if you need professional mold remediation.

 

Mold Remediation Contractor Rules for New York About to Change

Effective January 1, 2016 all Mold Remediation Contractors, and Assessors must be licensed by the New York State Department of Labor.  Anyone who conducts home inspections as part of potential real estate transactions must also be licensed as a “Mold Assessor” if their inspections/reports include an assessment of mold conditions in the home or property in question. Persons who perform Mold removal or remediation must be licensed as a Mold Remediation Contractor.

 

While companies will be able to hold both licenses the law prevents persons licensed to perform mold-related services from acting as both the mold assessment contractor and the mold remediation contractor. This is to prevent  a conflict of interest. In other words, contractors who currently provide mold inspections and perform the remediation as well, will no longer be able to do both.

 

Here at Moldbusters we are prepping for the new law change as standard Industry Certifications that were accredited in the past do not apply to the current licensing requirements.  We will be in compliance with the new law by January 1, 2016 and will continue to be the mold remediation contractor you can count on.

 

External Link….

 

https://labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/safetyhealth/mold/mold-program.shtm

 

Air Quality Testing

Symptoms-of-Indoor-Air-Pollution

You take care to make sure the food you eat is free from chemicals and contaminants, why are we more blasé about the air we breathe?  There are a number of contaminants that can potentially make you or your family ill or worse.  Even if you keep a spotless house, airborn toxins can still be present in your home.

 

  1. Combustion/CO

CO is colorless and odorless, so the best way to detect it is by installing CO alarms near bedrooms and fuel-burning appliances. Those appliances should also be inspected at least once a year by a qualified technician, as should chimneys, flues and air-handling systems.

CO causes a number of symptoms from headaches and nausea to confusion and unconsciousness — and kills about 500 people in the U.S. per year. Airborne particulates can lodge in the lungs, potentially damaging tissue and even working their way into the bloodstream.

Always make sure the areas around stoves and heaters are well ventilated and always keep your CO monitors in working order.

 

  1. Asbestos

Most modern homes and offices now use alternative materials, but older buildings may still contain asbestos. Even then, the fibers only become airborne when they’re disturbed, so the most practical solution is often to simply leave asbestos alone. That’s not always an option, though — an aging home may need repairs in its asbestos-lined attic, for example, or squirrels may have kicked up the fibers while looking for a place to spend the winter.

Given the risks involved, DIY asbestos remediation is rarely a good idea. Even taking your own samples for testing isn’t recommended. If you suspect a material contains asbestos, look for signs of damage without touching it, then contact a professional inspector to learn more.  NY State law requires a licensed Asbestos Remediation contractor to perform asbestos removal.

 

  1. Mold and Mildew

The best way to fight mold is to fight moisture. Keep the relative humidity indoors below 60 percent, and use a dehumidifier or fan to dry out the air if needed.  Mold and mildew grow in dark damp places, and more often than not by the time you see mold on a wall, there is so much more behind it. Health effects vary by mold type and personal sensitivity; symptoms may include nasal stuffiness, wheezing and skin irritation. Studies have also linked indoor mold exposure to asthma development in children.

If you suspect there may be mold in your home,  contact a licensed professional to test your home for mold.

 

  1. Dust, Dander and Droppings

Many buildings are plagued by rodents, dust mites and cockroaches, two very different arthropods that both leave a trail of allergenic feces and body parts. Fumes from rodent urine and droppings can also cause breathing problems, as can pet dander and airborne proteins from cat saliva.

These contaminants often trigger allergic reactions and asthma, and symptoms can grow worse with chronic exposure. Children, elderly people and people with other breathing issues are especially at risk from biological agents in confined areas, the EPA warns.

Regular sightings of roaches, rats or their droppings point to an infestation, in which case pest control is likely the best way to clear the air. Dust mites aren’t visible to the naked eye, but we can see piles of their namesake food — and cleaning up dust may also alleviate allergies from pet dander. Beyond good housekeeping, ventilation can help keep unavoidable allergens from reaching high concentrations.

After you get rid of pests, you should do a thorough air duct cleaning to make sure the remnants of those critters are not lingering in the air long after they are gone.

Ebola in the USA: Protecting NYC and Long Island with Moldbusters Surface Antimicrobial Treatments

Are you concerned about the recent outbreak of Ebola in the United States? If so, you are not alone. People all across the country, and indeed around the world, and concerned that what is currently a contained situation could easily get out of hand. For those living in NYC and Long Island, the reported October 23, 2014 case of Ebola confirmed in a Doctors Without Borders medical aid worker back from Guinea, hits a little too close to home. While the patient is in isolation (as of the time of writing), public health officials are conducting ongoing contact tracing and investigation—as reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Continue reading “Ebola in the USA: Protecting NYC and Long Island with Moldbusters Surface Antimicrobial Treatments”