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.

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.

6 Sneaky Places Mold Can Hide in Your Home

behind refrigerator

Listen to a mold remediation specialist, mold can grow almost anywhere damp and dark.

When we think of mold problems, we immediately think of damp basements and black gross mold growing on drywall, but mold is insidious and can grow in places where you least expect it.

To get rid of mold, think like a fungus and search out these six moist places where mold likes to grow.

 

  1. Chimneys

Brick crevices collect water, dirt, and other organic debris. Rusted chimney caps and faulty flashing let in rain and snow, encouraging mold to grow.

Your best bet is to replace rusted caps and fix flashing. Call a licensed mold removal specialist to remove the mold in your chimneys. To prevent mold, get your chimney cleaned by professional chimney sweep at least once a year.

 

 

  1. Refrigerator Drip Pans

The spaces behind and under your fridge rarely see the light of day, which make them perfect breeding grounds for mold.

To avoid the problem: Make sure all water lines and drip pans are clean and not leaking as even a small leak can lead to a huge mold problem. When you do your spring cleaning, take the extra time to check and clean behind and underneath your refrigerator.

 

  1. Front-Loading Washing Machines

The gasket around the door on front-loading washing machines often stays wet because the door is usually closed when not in use. Add some lint to the moisture, and mold happily munches and multiplies.

To help stop the gunk: Wipe the gasket and glass dry before you shut the door. If you spot mold, run a hot water wash with some chlorine bleach (no clothes), which will kill the fungi.

Check behind and underneath your washer and dryer to make sure there are no leaks or source of moisture. Clean out vents and lint traps to prevent mold havens as well as fire hazards.

 

 

  1. Window Sashes and Seals

Condensation from windows provides the moisture mold loves, and the dirt and dust that collect provide the perfect place for the mold to settle.

to fix it: After heavy rains, open windows and wipe moisture from the bottoms of sashes and window sills. Replace any broken seals, and if you notice any water has leaked into the wood and walls, call a professional to see if the problem has caused mold.

 

  1. Dishes

Why mold grows there: When you stack dishes that are a little wet and a little cruddy, mold has the perfect environment to grow — especially party platters and dishes you only use for special occasions. Damp dishes go into the wood cabinets where the mold multiplies creating little villages and cities of spores in your cabinets.

To stop it: Run moldy dishes through the dishwasher, and wipe cabinets with a vinegar-soaked rag. Completely dry dishes before you store them.

 

  1. Air Conditioners

Air conditioning units trap dust and pollen (a good meal for mold) and grab moisture from the air. If you don’t run your AC unit at least every 24 hours in warm weather, humidity in your house climbs and mold may grow in AC ducts and drain pans, and on coils.

Drip pans and drainage hoses on window units can leak causing mold to grow into the window sill and dry wall.

To stop the mold:

If mold grows in your central air conditioning unit, you’ll have to hire a mold remediation pro to clean out the system. If mold shows up in a window AC unit, remove the front plate, clean the blower with a HEPA filter vacuum, and flush out the coils and clean the drain pan with a 1:1 solution of bleach and water.

Of course, prevention is the best remedy. Keep drainage hoses away from the walls and make sure they aren’t leaking into the window. Run your AC for at least 10 minutes every day to keep air circulating when it’s hot and humid outside, and keep the humidity in your home below 55%.

How To Catch Flood Damage Risks

house-underwater

Flood damage can be expensive. When purchasing a home or just deciding to purchase separate flood insurance it is important to take into consideration all the risk factors for flooding your home may have. Even if you are not located near water, other factors can put your home at risk of flooding. Experts say you should check for soil erosion, poor sewerage and drainage systems, overflowing creeks, rivers or lakes near the site, siltation problems, water ceilings and water leaks of existing structures to calculate risk of flood damage.

1.Spot the leaks. A good place to start is the windows. Leaks at window sills are normally caused by driving rains during storms and typhoons, which means the window sealant used is ineffective.

2.Be wary of the toilet. If the water goes up before flushing down, this may mean septic tank effluents are prevented from coming out because of floodwaters.

3.Note the watermarks.  Water marks on the ceiling would mean there are leaks, while water marks on the floor may mean water has been seeping into the floor joints, or at the joint between the floor and the wall. Also  look for flood markings on nearby fences or walls, or even on the tree trunks around the vicinity after heavy rains.

4.Peek into drainage manholes. Check drainage manholes, ideally after heavy rains, through the scupper, to find out whether the drainage line is running smoothly. Still water in drainage manholes could mean constricted or clogged drainages. This may also mean that it’s just a maintenance problem, but buyers must demand proper maintenance to be done before it becomes a bigger problem.

5.Look up, check the roof. Flapping roof sheets caused by strong winds, and clogged gutters could be a sign of a potential leak.

7.Ask the neighbors. Still, one of the best ways to know if the area is prone to flooding is to ask the people living in the vicinity.

8.Mud on the road.. Mud on the road is a tell-tale indication of the “looseness” of the soil where the road is situated. One should first look at the “ingress and egress” (entry and exit) of the location, or the accessibility of the location as access roads are as important as the site itself.

Testing for Black Mold Before You Sell Your Home

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Selling your house can be difficult enough as it is, but uncovering a black mold problem after your house goes to market can be disastrous. Toxic black mold can be expensive to remove and even cause a range of health problems — so it usually is a deal breaker for most home buyers.

Black mold is insidious and loves to grow behind walls, in crawlspaces and under floorboards anywhere that is damp, dark and humid. By the time you see signs of it, the problem is usually much bigger.

Sight and smell may give you a good indication of whether or not you have a black mold problem — black mold tends to have a strong, musty smell, and of course it displays a trademark black color. If you believe you have black mold growth in an area of your home after these initial inspections, you should contact a professional mold testing company.

Professional mold testing companies will take samples of the air and any areas of mold growth, identify precisely what type of mold is present, and recommend next steps for remediation.

Black mold can be an expensive and potentially unhealthy problem for homeowners, but by testing for black mold, you can take care of the problem before you scare away any potential buyers.

Mold testing and mold remediation companies will often point out potential problems for mold so you can fix them before a home inspector catches you off guard and you take a hit on your asking price.

An all clear from a professional mold testing company can also help you win points with a potential buyer.

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.

 

5 Signs that your Air Ducts Need to be Cleaned

ductcleaning

It’s spring cleaning season. While you scour every inch of your house don’t forget to clean your vents. The EPA suggests that you clean your vents on an as needed basis, but what does that mean? Here are five signs that you need an air duct cleaning. Make certain that you hire a professional with the experience and the training for this type of service. If a service technician fails to follow proper cleaning protocol, it can cause indoor air problems and possibly damage your ductwork.

 

Visible Mold Growth

Mold free air is vital for your family’s health and the comfort of your home. If there is visible mold growth in any part of your home, your vents may also be affected. Mold in your ducts can lead to serious breathing and other health related problems. If you notice mold in your ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system, you probably need your ducts cleaned by a professional.

 

Signs of Rodent or Insect Infestation

Do you see any signs of shells or husks from insects, small scratches or droppings along the side of your ducts? If you do, then chances are you have an insect or rodent infestation. Insect and pest leavings can cause serious adverse health effects in those with weakened immune systems. Once the exterminator is gone get those ducts cleaned as soon as possible to remove harmful pest leavings.

 

Excessive Dirt and Debris

Overtime, ducts become clogged with dirt and debris. Clogged ducts can affect the overall efficiency of airflow and release these pollutants into the air of your home through your supply registers.  If you are suffering from allergies or just want to lower your heating and cooling bills, a vent cleaning can help you out.

 

Carbon Monoxide

If you use a fuel burning stove, furnace or fireplace, you’re more susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning. To help combat this hazard, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends homeowners to have their ducts inspected, cleaned and/or repaired prior to each heating season.

 

Air Duct Inspection Reveals Need for Duct Cleaning

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Preventative maintenance can save you a lot of money in the long run. It is logical to expect your ducts to get dirty over a certain period of time. Get them cleaned when needed as preventative maintenance to ensure the efficiency of your HVAC system.

 

Duct cleaning is a process that involves cleaning the various components of your heating and cooling system including your registers, grilles, heat exchangers, heating and cooling coils, ducts and drip pans.

Are Long Island Homes in Need of Air Duct Cleaning?

Air Duct Cleaning Long Island

Feeling stuffy? Can’t seem to get rid of that cold or tired, run down feeling? Did you ever think it could be the air you’re breathing? There is nothing like good, clean fresh air, but even if you live in a place with great air quality outside, the air quality inside your home can be putting your health and your family’s health at risk.

Most heating and central air conditioning systems on Long Island use vents to move the hot an cold air around your home, and because they are hidden in floors, ceilings and behind walls most people don’t give a second thought about air duct cleaning.

According to the national Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), the average six-room house collects 40 pounds of dirt, dust and allergens in its air ducts each year. That’s a big problem, considering that 40,000 dust mites can thrive in only one ounce of dust that may contain a host of unhealthy bacteria, fungi and mold. The EPA estimates indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. Even worse, the contaminated air circulates throughout your house every time the heating or cooling system kicks on.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted. Contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work harder and shorten the life of your system. Although filters are used, the heating and cooling system still gets dirty through normal use.

When an HVAC system is clean, it doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain the temperature you desire. As a result, less energy is used, leading to improved cost-effectiveness.

You should contact a licensed and insured air duct cleaning company for the job to make sure that the job is done properly.

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.

Black Mold Prevention and Remediation

mold

Stachybotyrs black mold is mostly common and best known in media and most common potent toxic mold to remediation companies as well.  Most Physicians have no mold toxin training which is sometimes overlooked by the severe effects it could have on patients physically.  Especially, with compromised immune systems such as children and the elderly.

This black mold requires water and not just high relative humidity to start to grow. Most common is sheetrock, wood especially exposed to outdoor conditions such as a construction site. HVAC air handlers and internally lined acoustical ductwork with fiberglass is another main culprit, due to high moisture and dust that is not cleaned periodically. Makes for a perfect breeding ground, for mold to thrive.

Typically when a homeowner has water leak behind walls, water will seep out and they will cleanup excess water on the ground ignoring the fact that water is still behind the walls and if there is insulation between studs it will wick up the water causing mold to bleed through the wall over time.  Of gassing bacteria to escape into air causing musty odors and mold spores to get airborne, and they will attach themselves to other items such as contents of the home.

Professional mold remediators should always isolate the area with a least 6 mil plastic walls to create and isolated area to keep contamination contained within that space. HEPA air scrubbers and negative air machines that vent outside are important to capture air borne mold during the remediation process. Before hiring someone to test or remediate your home or office, you should know some basics on mold testing and remediation.  If your remediator never heard of the EPA or OSHA guidelines, hire a different company.   Read about basic mold remediation and clean up principles at www.epa.gov/mold.

Professional remediation company should be licensed and insured in there state, carry mold pollution, give at least 10 reference of similar scope of work, and give a certificate of guarantee of the work up to one year, and should be more then trained then  a couple of days in a classroom vs. the field.

After 28 years in this business working for the super-rich or the common home the concept is primarily the same, “Awareness, Prevention, and Response”

There are plenty of publications for the homeowner to educate themselves and even do small projects themselves, with the proper protection of course.