Summer vacations are when mold comes out to play

 

 

Summertime traditionally brings family trips, school vacations, as well as plenty of hot uncomfortable weather. Those sunny days, however, often come with high humidity and afternoon thundershowers — ideal conditions for annoying and potentially toxic mold.

It’s a pervasive menace that is poised each summer to grow and thrive in your house. Left unattended, fast-growing mold can cause damage that will cost in the thousands of dollars to eradicate or, worse, pose a dangerous threat to the health of your entire family.

“No one knows how many homes have mold behind the walls, but the best estimate is about 70 percent,” said Richard E. Gots, a doctor and founder of the International Center for Toxicology and Medicine, a biomedical consulting firm.

Gots’s estimate refers to mold that is at an “elevated level” and therefore should be addressed if the conditions exist for the mold to take hold and grow.

The Environmental Protection Agency sets levels for acceptable radon levels as well as a threshold for lead in the house or water supply, and states regulate termite inspections and control compliance. Yet there are no federal or state regulations that dictate a safe level of mold for a residential property.

D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) has been campaigning for several years to pass legislation that would require residential property owners, including landlords, to disclose the presence of mold in their apartment, condo or house. This legislation is still pending.

 According to the District’s housing code, the Department of Consumer Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) inspectors cannot cite a homeowner for mold because the city considers mold to be “an environmental problem,” rather than a housing or safety issue. Mold, of course, is notoriously difficult to detect, and what may look like dangerous mold can only be legitimately determined under a microscope by a competent inspector or lab. Additionally, most homeowner insurance policies will not cover damage from mold — they consider it a “preventable” condition.

In reality, mold is a fungus that can grow anywhere moisture is present. Mold spores thrive in warm temperatures (77 to 86 degree Fahrenheit) and wherever there are damp conditions. Mold spores are in the air we breathe, and they can grow on any surface. In a house, mold can be found in ceilings and walls, under sinks, in drywall, hidden behind wallpaper or baseboards, in the ductwork or even on furniture and clothes. It can also grow outdoors under wood piles or mulch, gutters or abandoned trash.

Mold in a house can lay dormant until it gets the needed heat and humidity to grow and multiply. Additionally, it needs a food source, such as dust, dirt or some other organic debris.

While not everyone will react to this growth in the same way, those sensitive to allergic or toxic mold can develop alarming symptoms upon merely entering a contaminated room. The result can be a serious — even life-threatening — illness if not treated in time.

 If you suspect that you’ve been exposed to mold — or begin to experience dizziness, fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath or other symptoms of illness — contact a mold specialist and have your property inspected as soon as possible. Licensed professionals will test the air quality of your house and take samples of the visual mold, which will be sent to a qualified lab for evaluation.

The EPA provides helpful information in its publication “A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home” at www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.html . And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focuses on the health hazards of mold exposure and provides recommendations for removing mold exposure at www.cdc.gov/mold/dampness_facts.htm#note .

In addition to the traditional methods for eradicating mold (such as using chemicals or chlorine bleach and physically removing infected surfaces), there is a new, enzyme-based alternative. Previously used as a protective spray for fruits and vegetables, it is now available for home use.

Jenn Sherwood, manager of Green Home Solutions of Maryland, says that the enzyme spray is a cost-effective, time-saving and environmentally responsible way for homeowners to eradicate mold. The process uses a “fogger,” which emits a fine spray that is able to penetrate most porous surfaces (such as drywall) or even non-visible areas — behind walls or inside insulation. This method of eradicating mold often eliminates the need to remove and replace the existing material.

The EPA regards this spray as nontoxic to humans or pets and harmless to both surfaces and belongings in the home. The enzyme works by creating a bond with the mold spore, and then breaking it down from the inside. As a result, the mold is chemically altered into a particle that is no longer allergenic, toxigenic, or able to reproduce other spores. This treatment can cost from one-third to one-tenth less than the cost of traditional methods.

Given that your insurance company may not cover mold damage, it’s important to take immediate action.

Here are three easy steps to help prevent mold when you go on vacation:

●Check for areas where water could accumulate — such as around windows, doors, bathroom leaks, kitchen sinks and washing machines.

●Clean surfaces of oil, soap, dust and dirt. Those materials are a feeding ground for mold when moisture is present.

●Set the temperature inside the house in the low 70s, if possible. If you suspect humidity, set a dehumidifier to keep the moisture level below 60 percent. In your closet, place a hanging moisture absorber (such as Damp Rid) that will trap excess humidity and eliminate musty odors.

Sandy Gadow, a freelance writer and author of “The Complete Guide to Your Real Estate Closing,”

Blackburn sues over residence hall mold flare-up

CARLINVILLE – Following years of mold troubles in one of its residence halls, Blackburn College administrators have decided to sue the company that installed its heating and air conditioning system, alleging that poor design triggered a dorm-wide mold outbreak.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Macoupin County court, is seeking at least $600,000 in damages from Henson Robinson Co., the Springfield-based HVAC company that performed the design and installation of the system in Jewell Hall, the largest of the college’s six dormitories. Administrators estimated mold cleanup had cost the school at least $200,000 and that tearing out the system and replacing it will cost $400,000.

In the lawsuit, which presents only one side of a case, administrators said the HVAC system, which was installed in 2012 and 2013 at a cost of $322,986, was a problem from the beginning.

“From the onset, the system installed by Henson Robinson experienced problems with its functionality,” the lawsuit said. “For example, Henson Robinson’s design did not fit the space available for piping, there were various issues with condensate lines and related design issues. Blackburn worked to ensure Henson Robinson addressed these issues and in the summer of 2013, Jewell Hall was turned over to Blackburn for student use.”

More failures followed, the lawsuit contends. According to the suit, “once turned over to Blackburn, the condensate pumps immediately failed and additional sweating and leaks occurred with the system along with thermostat problems in virtually all of the dormitory rooms.”

Then, in October 2014, students living in Jewell Hall began complaining of mold growth in their rooms. The college moved the students to different rooms while the mold was cleared. While the college battled mold for nearly two years, the problem eventually became so significant that administrators arranged for a major inspection in December 2016. Students were paid to put their belongings into storage for the duration of the inspection. According to the suit, the inspection turned up mold in nearly every room in Jewel Hall. College administrators hired an outside firm to determine what was causing the problems.

“After investigation and sampling, Blackburn’s consultants concluded that the mold growth in Jewell Hall was attributable to extreme levels of humidity … trapped in Jewell Hall dormitory by the system designed and installed by defendant,” the suit said. “Likewise, Blackburn’s consultants concluded that the [HVAC system] had been ‘over-designed’ in such a manner as to create negative pressure in the Jewell Hall dorms resulting in significantly increased humidity and mold growth.”

Henson Robinson, according to the court filing, has denied any responsibility. Lawyers for the college said the company recommended students leave their windows open to address the problem and called the refusal to take responsibility for the mold problem “shocking.”

According to the filings, the mold problem is ongoing, and students are still displaced as a result.

Article Source: https://www.myjournalcourier.com/news/article/Blackburn-sues-over-residence-hall-mold-flare-up-12740466.php

Aldi rolls out natural refrigerants across UK stores to cut emissions

German discount supermarket group Aldi has invested £20m in natural refrigerants which will be installed across all of its UK stores to reduce its environmental impact.

A CO2 refrigeration pack during construction. Up to 100 of Aldi's UK stores will incorporate CO2 refrigerants by the end of 2018

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A CO2 refrigeration pack during construction. Up to 100 of Aldi’s UK stores will incorporate CO2 refrigerants by the end of 2018
The transition to CO2 refrigeration units will see Aldi’s potential refrigerant gas carbon emissions cut by 99%.

The units are already in use across some of Aldi’s portfolio, including its recently opened Nuneaton store, and up to 100 of Aldi’s circa-700 stores are set to incorporate CO2 refrigerants by the end of next year.

“By choosing natural refrigerants, we are reducing our impact on the environment while also assuring our stores are future-proofed for years to come,” said Aldi’s communications director Mary Dunn.

“We are continually looking for ways to improve our environmentally friendly credentials, and upgrading our entire stores to energy-efficient refrigeration is a key part of our commitment to being a responsible retailer.”

The CO2-based refrigerant Aldi is converting to has a global warming potential (GWP) of one – thousands of times lower than commonly used alternatives such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). CO2 refrigeration is also significantly better than the level stipulated by the incoming EU Fgas regulations which come into effect in 2030.

Almost 200 nations reached an agreement in Kigali, Rwanda, last year to amend the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and introduce a global phase-out of hydro-HFC refrigerants. Earlier in 2016, fellow supermarket group Sainsbury’s became the first company in the world to incorporate “closed-loop” natural refrigerant trailer units for its delivery vehicles.

In 2015, Aldi announced a three-year plan to replace all its chest freezers with more environmentally-friendly models. And earlier in 2017, the German firm announced plans to install 96,000 solar panels across its stores by the end of the year.

Article: https://www.edie.net/news/6/Aldi-to-slash-emissions-with-natural-refrigerant-rollout

Mother sues apartment owner over toxic mold

GRETNA – A mother is seeking damages, claiming that toxic mold in an apartment harmed her family.

Aisha Greenaway, individually and on behalf of her minor children, filed a suit against Live Oak Manor LP in the 24th Judicial District Court on Dec. 12, 2016.

According to the claim, the plaintiff and her family were tenants at 21 Megehee Court, unit No. 21, when the incident occurred. The suit states that the location contained toxic mold that the defendant should have made clear to the plaintiff and her family.

The defendant is accused of negligence through failing to make the plaintiff aware of the danger and failing to take the necessary steps to prevent damages to the plaintiff.

The plaintiff is seeking an unspecified amount in damages. The plaintiff is represented by James Willeford of Willeford & Toledano in New Orleans.

The case has been assigned to Division E Judge John Molaison Jr.

The 24th Judicial District Court Case number 767388.

Article Source: http://louisianarecord.com/stories/511057606-mother-sues-apartment-owner-over-toxic-mold

How Clean Indoor Air Helped a Cancer Survivor

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Several homeowners nationwide regard Field Controls’ Healthy Home System as a premium-tier whole-house indoor air quality solution. In addition to offering multiple layers of fresh, pure, and clean air, the Healthy Home System recently played an ancillary role in one family’s recovery from the aftermath of childhood cancer.

A PARENT’S WORST NIGHTMARE

Kevin and Jessica McKnight were due for some relaxation. The pair, along with their then 3-year-old daughter, Evelyn, had just arrived at Myrtle Beach and prepared for a few relaxing days along the Atlantic Ocean shoreline. Under the shade of a beach umbrella, the McKnights watched their daughter repeatedly lift handfuls of sand only to let the grains cascade between her fingers as gravity returned them to the shoreline.

As Evelyn turned to scoop another handful, Kevin McKnight noticed something abnormal just below his daughter’s shoulder blade, along her ribcage. Bringing her near, he examined the spot and confirmed the existence of an odd-shaped protrusion beneath her skin. Concerned, he and his wife called the children’s hospital in Greensboro, four hours away from the beach. Staff encouraged the pair to bring her in immediately for an examination. They quickly packed and headed home. After several X-rays, CT scans, and other medical tests, the doctor brought the McKnight’s terrifying news: “Your daughter has cancer.”

The lump was identified as a Wilms tumor, which doctors identified as the most common cancer in children. Surgery to remove the lump would occur in two short days.

“It was a very emotional time for our family,” said Kevin McKnight. “We discovered the lump on Saturday, she was in the emergency room on Sunday, and she was in the operating room on Tuesday.”

The surgery was a success, though doctors did have to remove one of Evelyn McKnight’s kidneys completely. On the bright side, the physicians assured her parents that it was highly unlikely the cancer would reappear. The road to recovery would include a full year of chemotherapy, multiple years of observation, and consistent testing.

FRESH, CLEAN, AND PURE AIR

Doctors urged the McKnights to take every precaution possible to ensure their daughter’s full recovery. This involved identifying and overcoming the challenge of IAQ threats in the family’s recently purchased home.

“We were just moving into a new ‘old’ house when we discovered Evelyn’s cancer. The house is really old and had some carpet and other concerns that needed to be replaced,” said Jessica McKnight. “It was pretty obvious the previous owners had dogs. We were already sensitive to the quality of the air, and that concern only grew given Evelyn’s condition.”

The McKnights dialed up Chris Tucker, residential sales and installation manager at Air Treatment Inc. in Greensboro, North Carolina. Tucker suggested the family consider installing Field Controls’ Healthy Home System, a whole-home indoor air quality solution that improves air quality by treating the entire home as a system. Tucker said the Healthy Home System’s controller, ventilation, filtration, and purification components would offer the family a comprehensive IAQ solution.

Fresh Air Dampers were tied into the return via flex duct. The dampers automatically power open when the system requires fresh air, and, as outside air enters the return, it’s filtered, purified, and tempered before entering the home. The system’s Media Air Cleaner traps particles as small as 1.0 micron — including pollen, dust, and dander — creating fresh, clean, and pure air. Providing yet another layer of purification is the system’s UV-Aire® product. Available in portable or in-duct configurations, UV-Aire neutralizes and reduces airborne germs, bacteria, viruses, mold, and fungi; eliminates mold growth on air conditioning coils; and prolongs the life and efficiency of the equipment.

All components are managed through an intelligent control that monitors central fan activity and engages the fan on a regular schedule to keep air that is fresh, clean, and pure circulating throughout the entire home, even when the system’s neither heating nor cooling. The Healthy Home System Control is set by the contractor and works independently of the thermostat, providing consistent operation.

“Field Controls makes great products,” said Tucker. “The instructions are easy to understand. The UV lights, media filters, and fresh-air dampers are extremely effective on homes, especially when a home’s been tightened up.” The McKnights’ two-story colonial structure was served by a 3-ton Trane gas pack system, which is controlled by one thermostat for both levels.

Since the Healthy Home System is installed as an add-on to an existing HVAC system, Tucker said it’s often a better value than stand-alone systems that can cost thousands of dollars more. “The McKnights’ new home really had no IAQ system in place until we added in the Field Controls unit,” said Tucker. “We performed a home analysis and located some missing duct wrap and a section of crawl space that was unwrapped and took care of both of the areas. With a two-man crew, the entire job probably took us a bit more than six hours to complete.”

CANCER-FREE

Three years have passed since Evelyn McKnight’s diagnosis, and, other than a scar that traverses across her stomach and a few lingering doctor visits, her bout with cancer is in the rear-view mirror. “We were determined to make sure there was nothing in the air that was going to hurt her,” said Jessica McKnight. “We don’t have to worry about that anymore.”

In addition to helping Evelyn McKnight recover, Jessica McKnight noted the Healthy Home System has helped minimize the family’s spring allergies, which tend to be problematic in North Carolina. “Last spring, Evelyn’s eyes were puffy and runny, and, this year, that hasn’t been the case,” she said. “Kevin’s also struggled with allergies, but we’ve noticed those have not been as bad since we added the Field Controls system.”

With very little upkeep, the family gets to enjoy the benefits of fresh, pure, and clean air with very few maintenance concerns. “All we have to do is change the filter and, over time, we’ll have to change the UV bulb, but that’s it,” said Kevin McKnight. “You essentially set it and forget it.”

Tucker said the McKnight install has been one of the most rewarding he’s performed in his career.

“When you see a little girl dealing with something like that, it’s human nature to want to help as much as you possibly can. We feel the Field Controls products can help her prolong a healthy lifestyle, and that’s touching. All the sweat, pounding of the pavement, and crawling into crawlspaces that comes along with being an HVAC contractor — this makes it all worth it.”

At the end of the day, Jessica McKnight said she’s absolutely pleased with the Healthy Home System. “I’ve been recommending it to friends and family,” she said. “Whether it’s allergies or ridding a residence of stale air, the Healthy Home System is just what the doctor ordered.”

Article Source: http://www.achrnews.com/articles/134575-iaq-and-chemotherapy

How Hot Summer Months Can Bring Mold Straight Into Your Home!

Summer’s Great But It Can Bring Mold Home Too

It Is Hot & Humid Outside Again

Well, the summer has more than arrived, and everybody is feeling it for the most part. The blistering heat has affected many of our daily lives, and the humidity has drenched us in sweat time, and time again. Summer does not just affect you personally, though, it affects your house too. Of course, it takes a toll on your wallet through your electric bill. Your air conditioning unit is going to have to work a lot harder to keep your house comfortable. That is not all it does, though, and the other effects can be much worse. We are talking about water damage, mold odors, and all different kinds of mold problems.

Why Is Mold So Bad in my Home?

Mold is not good for a lot of reasons. Aside from the fact that it destroys items and property, it can also make you sick. We are not just talking about regular sick like the flu either. Certain types of mold can make you really sick. Not just you either, your pets as well. If your beloved pets consume mold or breathe airborne mold in too long, they may have problems easier than you. Your children and grandparents are also more susceptible to the nasty effects of mold. With that said, mold can do a lot of damage, to you, your home, and your family. There is even a type of mold that can destroy a house over the proper amount of time if left unchecked. How can mold destroy a house, though? Every time your air conditioner clicks on and slowly cools the air, small micro-droplets of water condense on the cold coils, coalesce, and create water.  A drain usually facilitates the collection and removal of the moisture.  Yet, when the drain system backs up minor drips begin to back up, and slowly move moisture to the walls.  Along with time and moisture, mold grows a little bit like weeds as other plants do. It will grow until the space it is in does not fit it anymore. Does that mean that the mold stops growing? Absolutely not, it means that it expands the space it is in on its own.  It will fill the interior walls and spaces below your air conditioner with visible mold and mold spores inside your home.

How To Prevent Mold From Growing

There are a lot of ways to prevent different kinds of mold from growing. There are a lot of old wives tales of how to do it too, so you need to beware of these.  First, you need to know how mold grows in the first place. Mold grows when it is moist in an area with no ventilation or very little. It forms from bacteria thriving on that moisture and a lack of moving air to move it out of one particular place. Where does this normally happen, though? A lot more places than you may think.   Mold forms easily in the following places; Close off rooms and closets. Clogged air conditioning drain lines. Dirty air conditioning ducts and vents. Humid bathrooms ceilings and window frames Sink and tub drains or tile grout and even silicone water proofing seals. Damp or wet bathroom mats or towels. And that is just to name a few of the many places that mold can develop quickly. All of these are simply caused by a combination of moisture and lack of ventilation. With that said, the very air you are breathing right now might have mold particles in it from your air conditioning or other areas of your home.

Mold In Your Air Conditioning

There are a lot of causes that can create mold in your air conditioning system and a lot of areas mold can be found.  Black mold spores may be in the air conditioning coils, plenum, and even the air conditioning ducts.   You actually can prevent a fair amount of these problems simply by having your air conditioning system Inspected or cleaned out regularly. Sure you could do this yourself, but it might be better to have someone with the proper tools do it for you.  A professional Air duct cleaning company or specialized air conditioning company can usually clean your system. The price might be a tad high, but the hospital bills or funeral will not have to be covered that way. Seriously, if you have not had your system cleaned in a while, then it is probably time to get in inspected, or just do it. Black mold is one of the worst kinds of mold, period, and it grows it most air conditioning systems regularly when water damage occurs. Aside from the ducts and vents themselves, mold loves to grow in and around your air conditioning. If you have your system in the garage, closet or even the attic of your house, it might be a good idea to take a look around. You will be surprised by what you find.  Water stains, water damage, and mold growing on the drywall. Aside from hiring a professional to clean your system, you should regularly clean and make sure there is proper drainage for things like your air conditioning drain or hot water heater. Mold, dust, pet hair, and particulates that impact the air conditioning filter also significantly reduce the airflow into your house from your air conditioning. Not only will that make your system work harder to cool your house, but naturally it will cost you more money and the electric bill. It is just worth it to spend 5 minutes and inspect your air conditioning system and keep it free of all types of mold.

Steps You Can Take To A Cleaner A/c System

  1. First, you need to take a look at your vents with the air blowing to check for small debris or odors coming from it.
  1. Check or have your air conditioning filters changed routinely.  Usually every 3-6 months is recommended by most manufacturers.
  1. If you smell heavy odors coming out the closet or attic, then this is a likely sign of water damage and bacteria build up that need to be cleaned out.
  1. Keep a good eye on how often your a/c runs.  Do you hear it cycle on and off?
  1. How often are doors and windows opened?
  1. Do not run your system forever, it needs a break too.  Listen for loud system starts and stops, as this can also be a sign of a problem.

  If you don’t hear the AC cycle, or it makes really loud noises you may need to turn it off and call a professional air conditioning contractor to inspect or repair the ac unit.

What About The Rest Of The House?

  Well, it does help if you clean out things like drainage pipes in general. This covers your sink, toilet, and tub drains. You also want to wash damp clothes and linens quickly, even if they are not that dirty, as they are a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Forget the fact that is stinks, it is bad all around. Closets should be regularly cleaned, and the door left open from time to time, to allow for good ventilation. Just keep the place clean, tidy and well ventilated in general. That way you will have less of a problem with mold.   If you need help finding mold within your home be sure to call FunGuy Mold Inspections in Los Angeles.

11 + 13 =

Mold In Your Air Conditioning

There are a lot of causes that can create mold in your air conditioning system and a lot of areas mold can be found.  Black mold spores may be in the air conditioning coils, plenum, and even the air conditioning ducts.   You actually can prevent a fair amount of these problems simply by having your air conditioning system Inspected or cleaned out regularly. Sure you could do this yourself, but it might be better to have someone with the proper tools do it for you.  A professional Air duct cleaning company or specialized air conditioning company can usually clean your system. The price might be a tad high, but the hospital bills or funeral will not have to be covered that way. Seriously, if you have not had your system cleaned in a while, then it is probably time to get in inspected, or just do it. Black mold is one of the worst kinds of mold, period, and it grows it most air conditioning systems regularly when water damage occurs.

Steps You Can Take To A Cleaner A/c System

  1. First, you need to take a look at your vents with the air blowing to check for small debris or odors coming from it.
  1. Check or have your air conditioning filters changed routinely.  Usually every 3-6 months is recommended by most manufacturers.
  1. If you smell heavy odors coming out the closet or attic, then this is a likely sign of water damage and bacteria build up that need to be cleaned out.
  1. Keep a good eye on how often your a/c runs.  Do you hear it cycle on and off?
  1. How often are doors and windows opened?
  1. Do not run your system forever, it needs a break too.  Listen for loud system starts and stops, as this can also be a sign of a problem.

If you don’t hear the AC cycle, or it makes really loud noises you may need to turn it off and call a professional air conditioning contractor to inspect or repair the ac unit.

We don’t often think that our air conditioning system that cools our house can cause water damage and mold problems.  In short, an air conditioner removes moisture from the air and it naturally drains outdoors or in a dedicated drain line.  Clogging of the drain can cause water damage and real mold problems.  Learn how to prevent mold in your air conditioning system and schedule a routine inspection today.

  1. Closed Off Rooms, Closets, Doors, and Mold That Grow’s Black.
    1. Improper ventilation and increased humidity in a room or closet can cause mold growth on walls and ceilings.
    2. Not only on the surface of the walls, but also you clothes, bags, and other belongings.
    3. This problem is easy to remedy : learn more and contact funguy
  2. Clogged Air Conditioning Drain Lines.
    1. This problem can occur naturally and unless you monitor the air conditioning closet you’ll probably never know about the water damage and mold problem that exist.
    2. Some bacteria, dust, and debris built up on the coils over time can reduce air flow and increase the chance of clogging the drain, water damage, and then eventually mold.
    3. Looking for a solution to this problem, contact a funguy mold inspector today to look at your air condition system.
  3. 4 Steps to a Cleaner Air Conditioning System
    1. Look: Do you notice fiber glass, heavy dust, or odors coming from the air conditioning ducts or registers?.  This could be a sign of contamination.
    2. Smell: Check for  heavy or unusual odors coming from normal operation of your air conditioning system?
    3. Monitor: Overuse, opening doors, and Improper cycling can cause continuous running of the system and blockages.
    4. Listen: Do you notice that air conditioner never shuts off and on?  Listen closely, does it run continuously?    A healthy air conditioner will cycle on and off during normal operations.  Of course upon starting up and heavier indoor loads an air conditioner will run to meet demand.

Maintenance – Contact a certified mold inspector or air conditioning specialist for maintenance and scheduled maintenance plans today.