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Tips to Help Protect Your Family’s Health During Forest Fires

Continental Divide fire;Harlan Kredit;July 1976

Tips to Help Protect Your Family’s Health During Forest Fires

  1. Close the windows and put on the air conditioning, but keep the fresh-air intake closed.
  2. Wear a mask or face scarf when outdoors.
  3. Change or wash your furnace filter frequently.
  4. Use a high capacity smoke removal Hepa air purifier with carbon, around the clock and have spare replacement filters.
  5. Use a sealed Hepa vacuum cleaner to sweep up all dust particles which have settled on floors and furniture.

What is the difference between testing and inspecting?

Question and answer

Q. Should I have air test samples to find out if mold is in the air?

A.  Testing for mold (lab samples) and an inspection for mold and moisture are not the same thing.

Mold inspections are primarily visual in nature. They involve environmental readings such as humidity and moisture content readings of walls floors and ceilings. The inspection is the most valuable and informative and the best way to start an investigation of a suspected mold and moisture issue.

We perform mold and moisture assessments and have prepared a process whereby we look at a property for any existing damage as well as the potential for damage. Most mold problems can be found and solved without any further laboratory testing.

Testing is unnecessary in most cases and companies that tell you they will test to see if mold is present in the air are doing you a disservice. All homes have mold spores in the air. Mold is present in EVERY building, home, office, and work environment on the Planet Earth. There is no occupied space that is devoid of mold. Therefore, when someone performs mold “sampling” or mold “testing,” they will naturally find mold. Testing should only be performed in very defined situations, and for particular goals and 1 indoor and 1 outdoor sample will not help your case.

Since we know that mold is present in every structure, the objective of any mold assessment should be to determine the significance of the presence of mold. The characterization of the significance of the presence of the mold is the foundation for determining the most appropriate action regarding that presence. The most appropriate action will be a spectrum of responses incumbent on the characterization for each individual project or space, and will include everything from “no action required” to “removal of damaged materials.” Killing the mold is entirely unimportant and is never part of a legitimate mold remediation project.

Common Sense Inspections does NOT make repairs or do the clean-up work. We exclusively conduct mold inspections. We are a mold inspection company that is working independently and remaining unbiased is in YOUR best interest. You should be aware of any Los Angeles Mold Inspection company that offers you both the inspection and remediation services. It’s a conflict of interest and many of these Los Angeles mold remediation companies have an interest in finding problems so you will pay them to fix it for a high cost!

Mapping The Hidden Universe In Your Kitchen | Popular Science

Mapping The Hidden Universe In Your Kitchen | Popular Science.

What and where are Crawlspaces and Attics

So, all  home owners out there with either a crawl space or an attic space, when was the last time you took the time to climb down or climb up into that space? There are sometimes clues to the health of your home hidden in either one of these spaces.



Crawl Spaces

Your crawl space contains a most of the piping for your water system, your heating system and your plumbing system. Any one of these can cause health issues in the upper part of your home if they are not maintained correctly.

What to look for: Your plumbing system should be checked from where the water enters the crawl space to each of the water features (e.g., water heater, toilets, sinks, tub or showers and any other water feature in your home). Each of these needs to be checked for water leaks to ensure that first, you are not using more water then you need to, and second, that the leaks are not causing issues such as mold or bacteria growing in the crawl space.

The water heater should have a blow-off or safety valve that either discharges to the crawl space or to the outside of the home. If there is water coming from this pipe you need to have the water heater checked.

If there is moisture around or on the pipes that lead to any of the sinks, tubs or toilets, this could be costing you money in your water bill and be setting you up for a major mold problem in the future.

The outside hose bib is also an area that can cause large problems if not checked on a regular basis. These faucets are designed with a long valve assembly to keep them from freezing in the winter months. I have found that many leak at the joint under the home or in the wall and have caused extensive water and mold issues.

The crawl space should be checked yearly to ensure a healthy home. Whatever is in your crawl space that is growing will eventually be in the breathing space of your home.

"Incomplete Roof" by Ventrilock

Attic Spaces

Your attic space is the area of your home that is designed to remove humidity from the breathing area of your home. If the attic is not working correctly, you can end up with a major air quality problem.

Most attic spaces have soffit vents around the eaves of the home that allow the air to come into the attic and exit either through a ridge vent or gable vent. This air movement draws the air and moisture out of the home and out the gable or ridge vents of the home. Without this working correctly, moisture will stay in the home, which can cause air quality issues with the higher humidity in the breathing space. The higher humidity can then foster mold or virus growth in the breathable air.

The attic also house the exit ducts for the bathroom fans, the plumbing vents for the sewer system, and sometimes the return air ducting for your furnace system. All of these need to be checked yearly to ensure that they are working correctly. I have found many bathroom vents are not connected to the outside air in a way that moves this hot moist air out of the home. Many times these vents are put up next to a roof vent in a short cut method, by a contractor, to remove the moist air.

The roof vents are designed with a screen just inside the vent that will become plugged with lint that is blown out of the bathroom. When this vent is plugged the moist air then is pumped into the attic space causing mold and water issues in the home. All exhaust fans need to be run to exit the home to the outside air. This is an example of the bathroom vents run up to a roofing vent. This particular home had a bloom of mold on the ceiling of the home due to the moisture buildup in the attic.

See Any Issues?

If you have any of the issues I describe, it may be worth taking a closer look at whether there is any mold buildup or other air quality problems that have resulted. I am happy to visit your home and investigate whether problems in your crawl spaces and attics are having an impact on your indoor air quality. Please feel free to contact Common Sense Inspections if you would like to schedule a visit, or just have a question about these and other indoor air quality issues.

Get a mold inspection before you show your house


So, you are selling your home and with the market the way it is today, you wonder if it is necessary to have your home inspected for MOLD. Some property owners fear the consequences of a mold inspection before a real estate transaction. This fear is unfounded since mold inspections have become more common place in the last few years. Especially here in the southern California. A properly conducted mold investigation provides an honest assessment, which in the event a problem is found, allows the owner to rectify the situation and provide a clean bill of health for the home or property.

We have, in the last few years, been called in at the last minute to come perform an inspection so the home can close on time. In a number of these cases, the closing had to be moved back a few days to get the final inspection report. Our inspections consist of a full evaluation of the property with an infra red camera, inside and outside, in the crawl space or attic (if necessary), and checking the entire inside of the home. We check all walls, under all sinks, around all toilets and shower enclosures, the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedrooms and of course, the main part of the home. What we are looking for is moisture. Moisture is necessary for mold growth along with the sheet rock or the wood. If we find moisture in the home that is high enough to sustain mold we will take  pictures of our measurements to include in the report and  lab samples as needed.

So, why should you call a mold inspector before you show your house. One, to ensure that the home is clear of any mold. Two, if there is an issue we can formulate a protocol to eliminate the issue before a buyer walks in the front door. Three, you receive a written report that will give the buyer more security in purchasing your home.

We work throughout Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura Counties and will go where we are needed within a 50 to 75 mile radius. Have your Real Estate Professional give us a call and we will answer any questions they might have for us.

Spring Cleaning Mold

home imp mold busters

From Mold Busters, the Mold Removal Experts

While the majority of us welcome spring with open arms, a great deal of work accompanies this season, namely home improvements and spring cleaning. The roof, windows, and foundation of your home bear the brunt of winter weather. As a result, repairs are nearly inevitable once spring rolls around.

Some property owners love spring cleaning and repairs, whereas others could do without. No matter your stance, it’s the perfect time for spring cleaning mold. A comprehensive clean, as well as taking care of leaking windows, leaking roofs and flooding basements will help you detect and prevent mold.

Leaking windows

Windows certainly bear the brunt of winter weather. Ice storms and heavy gusts of wind can seriously damage a window and its frame. It’s common then for cracks and leaks to develop throughout the winter.

When water enters your home through cracks in the windows or the window frames, you’re immediately at risk of mold. Following water intrusion, mold can grow within 24 to 48 hours. Therefore, it’s imperative you check your windows this spring; look closely for leaks of any size. Also keep your eyes peeled for black spots (potentially indicating mold) on or surrounding the window frame.

In order to prevent mold, detect and eliminate the source of moisture. Patch up all window leaks as soon as possible.

Leaking roofs

Your roof is always susceptible to leaks; it’s usually the first to get hit with rain, sleet and snow. Shingles deteriorate and fall off over time. That said, after the winter, you’re going to want to ensure the roof is still intact.

If there are leaks in your roof, your chance of developing a home mold problem increases. Attics contain a great deal of cellulose-rich materials, including insulation and wood. If water seeps through your roof and accumulates on cellulose-rich material, you have the ideal conditions for mold growth.

If a roof inspection or repair isn’t already included in your spring-time maintenance routine, consider it.

Flooding basements

Spring is a popular time for basements to flood. After all, spring is notorious for wet weather and the melting snow puts substantial pressure on your drainage system.

Whether it’s because of snowmelt, problems with your piping or cracks in your home’s foundation, a basement flood in the spring is common. If you don’t act quickly to ensure proper flood restoration, mold grows—and fast. Because it’s so damp to begin with, the basement is extremely prone to mold growth following a flood.

Cleaning to find mold

Spring is the most popular time to thoroughly clean your home. It’s rejuvenating to push open the window and inhale fresh air, while you toss the old for the new and tidy every crevice of your home.

While you’re cleaning, pay attention to any signs of mold in your home. Ask yourself: Are the walls discoloured? Is there black spotting underneath sinks or in other highly humid areas? Are there any musty odours?

Cleaning to find mold takes time and special attention. Clean areas you tend to overlook, such as the crawlspace or the attic. These rooms are often hard to reach but the most prone to mold, as they’re usually dark, damp and cramped.

There are several signs of mold, but these signs are not always visible. In fact, you might need an infrared camera to detect moisture or mold behind walls or underneath floor boards.

Spring is a time for renewal; it’s a fresh start for many men, women and their families. The only way you can truly start fresh, with a clean and healthy home, is to ensure it’s mold-free. Otherwise, your health and the structural integrity of your home will remain in jeopardy.

This spring, clean mold and you’ll be well on your way to achieving a happy, healthy home.

As Seen On The Doctors – How To Rid Your Washing Machine Of Mold

Mold  in washing machine found during one of my inspections.

I was a guest expert on the Doctors TV Show, December, 2nd 2013, talking about mold growing inside washing machines. I wanted to put his information online so that people can have more information about this subject that concerns all people.

Mold thrives in moist, dark environments and must have a good food source. These conditions are often met in our washing machines for the following reasons:

· Most high-efficiency washers are front-loaders. Front-loaders, by nature, must be sealed watertight and often don’t have good internal ventilation. Residual water is not allowed to evaporate out of the washer between loads and is allowed to stagnate.

· High-efficiency washers, because of the low volume of water used, have a harder time maintaining a warmer water temperature. This is compounded if the user tries to conserve energy even further by selecting lower water temperature settings. Cool water is not as effective at allowing detergent to fully activate and to dissolve dirt and oil. These, as well as the detergent itself, are then allowed to deposit inside the washer, which provides a food source for mold to grow on.

· Excessive detergent use is another major culprit. Detergent that is not needed to break down dirt and oil will build up inside the washer and provide a perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Excessive suds can also deposit these contaminants in areas of the machine which normally don’t get rinsed. High-efficiency washers, because of their low water usage, require significantly less detergent. No more that 1 Tbsp of detergent should be used unless the clothes are heavily soiled. This is especially true if your water is softened or if you are using liquid detergent. This runs counter to what most of us are accustomed.

· Liquid fabric softener is another source of problems. Softener will leave significant residues which can harbor mold.

· Foreign objects caught in the drain sump, or even in the pump itself can impede the washer’s ability to drain the water and also provide another good breeding ground for odor causing agents. This is very common in front-loaders.

The following tips should be helpful in preventing this problem from occurring in your high-efficiency washer.
Leave the door/lid ajar between uses. This will help to ventilate and dry out your washer.
Use warmer temperature settings whenever possible.
For loads that aren’t heavily soiled, use no more than 1 Tbsp of detergent despite the recommended amount listed on the product’s label. Use only HE detergent. You may even need to consider different brands of detergent.
Avoid liquid fabric softener. Use dryer sheets instead. Periodically use a product designed to clean washing machines such as Affresh®. Once a month should be adequate.

If your washer already has an odor or has visible mold
If your washer has already developed this problem you have several options. You can try to resolve the issue yourself. Hot water, bleach, and products like Affresh® are sometimes all that is needed. However these measures will not be sufficient in every case. Sometimes a service technician will be necessary. A technician will have access to technician-strength Affresh® which is significantly more powerful than the consumer version. A service technician can clean out the area around the water pump, a common source for these odors. The rubber door gasket may need to be replaced if the mold can’t be removed from there. Depending on the severity of the problem, the basket may even need to be pulled out and the interior surfaces cleaned. In any case, once your washer is clean you should follow the steps outlined above to maintain it and prevent the odor from coming back.

Its important to point out also that not everyone who has a high-efficiency washer has this problem. High efficiency washers are a responsible option for our society today. They conserve water and energy and are easier on our clothes. They have been generally shown to wash more effectively and often have larger capacities. With a little attention and care these benefits can be enjoyed without any accompanying odor.

PBS: Hot, Dry Winds Help Spread Deadly Valley Fever Infections

Image courtesy of sippakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

I am posting this because one of  my friends’ parents has become ill because of  coccidioidomycosis, which is also known as “cocci” or “valley fever”,  and I wish to raise awareness of this fungal infection. Most fungi are harmless, but some types can make you sick. Coccidioidomycosis, also called valley fever, is an illness caused by a fungus that is common in the south western part of the United States.

In the Mojave Desert, extreme heat and wind made worse by more intense weather conditions in recent years has helped the spread of a resilient fungus that causes a deadly infection known as Valley Fever. Ray Suarez reports on the role of dust in the dramatic rise of Valley Fever in the clip above.

How to clean mold from bathroom cabinets

How To Be Organized Cleaning Mold

Mold Problems in Foreclosed Homes

House With A Stethoscope" by nirots

Mold Problems in Foreclosed Homes

House With A Stethoscope" by nirots


By Harold Kevin

As the Great Recession grinds on, the number of REO (Real Estate Owned) properties continues to rise. Because of this, the link between foreclosure and mold keeps growing. The real estate collapse in the US has led to a growing number of abandoned REO homes with big mold problems.

The infestation of mold in bank-owned, vacant houses exists throughout the country, but particularly in the South. Water leaks and flood problems go untreated without a homeowner to take care of the place. In the event of natural disasters such as hurricanes, unoccupied homes in humid locations can become mold infested within weeks. Unattended indoor swimming pools can provide enough moisture to contaminate virtually every interior surface of a home. In that case, the entire home has become a virtual Petri dish.

Exposure to mold can cause a variety of health problems. The most well-known type of mold is the “black mold” (Stachybotrys chartarum or Stachybotrys atra). The term ‘toxic mold’ refers to molds that produce mycotoxins. Not all mold that appears black is true Stachybotrys mold, but any mold in a home is bad for your health. People suffering from asthma or allergy, including small children, infants, the elderly, and people with acute health problems are more susceptible to health problems related to mold infestation.

Any toxic mold contamination, but particularly visible black mold, can scare away buyers and drive down the asking price. Where you see mold, you can be sure that more exists where you cannot see. Because of this, any mold damage may be intensive and might require expensive remediation efforts to once again make the home habitable.

Common health-related problems related to toxic mold exposure include allergic reactions, asthma flareups, bronchitis, sinus congestion, headaches and even immune system disorders. Researchers believe that continual exposure to mold over time might contribute to certain types of cancer. This is not proven at this time, but some species of mold contain toxins that are similar to toxins found in individuals who suffer from kidney and liver cancers.

Once a residence, condominium or apartment building is severely infested with mold, it can become extremely difficult to fix. In these cases, a qualified mold inspector should be called int. In the worst cases of mold infestation, the floors and walls must be completely torn away to correct the problems. Many REO properties will not have documented histories about past conditions or treatments. Buyers purchase the homes in an as-is condition.

Infested properties present real challenges to the real estate market. The issue has not helped an already-depressed marketplace. However, a properly cleaned up home that had mold can be sold again. However, if the mold issue not properly handled by a professional, there may be a high risk of lawsuits in the future, particularly if the new owner experiences health problems due to mold growth from an inadequate prior remediation job.

Call H&H Environmental Construction and Consulting for your Connecticut mold removal needs. We also provide water removal services. Serving New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Harold_Kevin

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