No matter what time of year it may be, or how clean you keep your home, there can be a hidden danger, lurking, waiting to strike. It can be growing right now, as we speak, threatening to cause health problems for you and your family. It’s pervasive, invasive, and unwelcome in any home. Often, you don’t even know you have it, and it can be hard to spot, even while damage is being done. What is this hidden menace? Mold, mildew, and common allergens!
Some people are extremely sensitive to common allergens, mold, mildew, bacteria, and other unpleasant things that can develop in your home office, garage, and elsewhere. Others may not be sensitive to these problems, but can, over time, develop serious health issues as a result.
In all cases, these hidden dangers should be identified and dealt with, in order to reduce any harm that may come to you or your family members. It’s especially important for those people who have small children, the elderly, or anyone with high sensitivities or depressed immune systems to deal with these problems promptly and professionally, before they have a negative impact on your life.
The best way to ensure that allergens, mold, and mildew in your home is identified, treated, removed, and is less likely to reoccur is to have a professional inspection service conduct tests in your home. In the greater Los Angeles area, FunGuy Inspections is a leading company that performs these tests, and many other related diagnostic and investigative services. They can help identify what is growing in your home, what’s spreading in the air, and – most importantly – how to get it treated, and steps to take so that it won’t happen again.
The first thing that a homeowner or business owner tends to
do when they find mold or asbestos is try and clean it up. But then that is not
always the best course of action. Asbestos and mold removal is not easy if you
are not a professional. Mold can leave a displeasing mess that smells really
bad; but even worse, it can damage one’s home and put your health at risk.
Asbestos, is a well-known carcinogen and refers to six naturally occurring fibrous
minerals that have the ability to resist heat, fire and electricity, it
is usually found in most buildings that were built before 1980, and those houses
that were built around 1930-1950 usually have asbestos as insulation. Asbestos is
still used today in several products frequently used in construction. In
response, regulations to protect the health and safety of the employees,
occupants and contractors were made.
The Hazardous Asbestos
Before removing any asbestos, it is
important to know the safety tips, which is why asking for the assistance of
professionals is truly important. Asbestos
can cause many health risks, including cancer and chronic respiratory diseases.
It usually takes 10 – 50 years from the time of exposure for conditions to
develop, making it hard to diagnose in early stages.
These are just two of the diseases that can result from asbestos
Lung Cancer:Most commonly associated with
factors like smoking and radon, lung cancer is also known to be exacerbated by
exposure to asbestos. Researchers have found that about 3 – 4% of lung cancer
diagnoses are asbestos related.
respiratory condition results from the formation of scar tissue plaques on the
surface of the pleura lung tissue (lung linings). It can be a precursor to the
onset of mesothelioma.
Remember that there is no such thing as
safe level of asbestos exposure. Early removal of asbestos is important;
prevention is better than cure.
Importance of Mold Removal for the Health
There are numerous benefits of professional mold removal. Mold can spread
quickly which makes it hard to find where it originated. But professional
remediation will be able to locate the source of the mold where it grows and
completely remove it. Just like asbestos, mold can also be hazardous to your
health which may cause a wide range of health issues, depending on the type of
mold and severity of the infestation. The most common ailment is respiratory
infections, which can be especially hazardous to anyone with asthma and other
breathing difficulties. The longer you’re exposed to mold, the worse your
condition can get.
It surely may seem less expensive to do the removal on your own, but not being knowledgeable will end up costing homeowners and business owners more in the long run. To make sure that the mold or asbestos is removed safely at home or work, it’s best to let the professionals handle the work.
Contact Fun Guy Inspections at 818-674-7541 today.
Residents across San Diego County say they’ve seen more mold in their homes after recent rainfall.
A number of mold testing and removal companies FOX 5 reached out to said they have seen a spike in business. One company said business has more than doubled and another said this has been one of the busiest weeks they have seen in years.
Mold has kicked Fernando Perez’s daughter out of her room in her Del Mar home.
“She’s obviously not very happy about it,” Perez said.
“If you see a discoloration I would recommend to send a picture. It’s the cheapest way to do this. Find a legit company send them a picture,” Lief said. “We can tell you if you actually need us.”
In this case, the Perez family said professional help was needed and they are glad they acted fast.
“It’s scary to think that people, if they’ve got leaks and they don’t see through to the dry wall and you don’t know it and people are sensitive, or have allergies, or asthma issues. God forbid the potential health issues you could have from unknown mold,” Perez said.
Recently, Perez said his teenager noticed a spot on the ceiling that appeared to be wet and stained. He called professionals to take a look — who in turn told him his family not only had a leak, but a mold problem in the already nearly renovated room.
“You would never know by opening this up that you would see that it would have been this bad,” Perez said as he showed FOX 5 the wall that was infested with mold.
Orange Restoration, a company that removes mold, stepped in to help. Owner Yaron Lief said the wet winter months have kept him and his employees busy answering calls.
“The average would be five or six a day and now we are maybe at 25 a day,” Lief said.
For those who think they might have a leak or mold issue, Lief suggests to get in touch with a professional because mold can affect people’s health — especially if they have underlying medical conditions.
With heavy rainfall comes a tremendous amount of moisture. Leaks and condensation increase, temperatures and warm drying daylight decrease.
These are optimal conditions for mold growth, both interior and exterior. As exterior mold spores explode in number some of them are bound to settle in our indoor environments. Here’s an overview from the EPA on Mold growth in the home.
So what can you do to reduce to likelihood mold will take hold?
I have some tips to minimize the conditions conducive to mold growth and maximize you and your family’s health.
Mold needs 3 conditions for optimal growth:
The Right temperature. Some mold species can grow at low (below 50 degrees F) and other species at high (above 90 degrees F), but most common mold species that grow indoors grow ideally at 55-85 degrees F. Unfortunately this is the optimal temperature for human comfort. So it is unlikely you can keep your home at a temperature that is inhospitable for mold growth. So we will not concentrate on that.
An organic food source. Different species of mold like to eat different things, but they all need something organic to munch on. Many mold species love cellulose, i.e. wood and paper. These are the natural composters and when it rains these species start to eat up all the fallen branches and leaves in the forest, as well as our yards emitting millions of spores that make their way into our homes. Inside our homes molds like to eat wood. This is what “dry rot” is, fungi usually consisting of 2 species, Ascospores and Basidiospores. Other species like to eat paper, such as cardboard boxes, books, and paper backed wallboard, such as sheetrock. Pennicillium/Aspergillus and Stachybotrys (colloquially known as toxic black mold) are often found on wet or moist paper. Cladosporium, the species most often found growing on windowsills and in bathrooms, can eat a variety of Biofilms (household dust consisting of epithelial cells (dead skin cells) insect parts, pet dander, natural fibers such as cotton and linen, etc.). Some mold food sources we cannot easily remove from our home such as framing lumber and wallboard, but others we can, such as cardboard boxes.
This is the big one and the one I will be giving tips on below. Mold needs moisture. There is a common saying in our business: “Mold is the symptom, moisture is the problem”. Mold growth either needs liquid water or high humidity. Liquid water can come from condensation on windowsills and in bathrooms, or from leaks, either internal or external. Without liquid water mold will not become active unless the humidity is high, usually 60-80% RH depending on the species. When the humidity is high enough, mold can become active and grow by absorbing moisture directly from the air.
Here are some tips to reduce both food sources and moisture in your home and thus reduce the likelihood and amount of mold that may grow inside your home:
Let’s start outside. When it rains water can easily enter what we call the “Building Envelope”. It is very important to make sure your site drainage system is clear from debris and working properly to move rain water away from your home, foundation, and crawlspace.
Clean the roof of any leave or other debris.
Make sure downspouts are in good repair, not clogged, and properly attached any extensions or the site drainage system.
Make sure all property drains are clear of debris and flowing freely.
Check the “Building Envelope” for possible sites of water intrusion, i.e. leaks.
Window and doorframes are spots where water can intrude. Check all door and window frame caulking for cracks and gaps and repair where necessary.
Inspect the sealant around roof penetrations. Repair where necessary.
Check building siding for cracks, peeling paint, holes, etc. Anywhere water may be able to get in.
After a heavy rain walk around the entire house and look for standing water, and clogged drains. Look inside the crawlspace and make sure there is no hidden flooding. Carefully check the inside of the house, take a close look at the ceilings, around windows and doors, and walls for small leaks. Because all big leaks start out as small leaks! Check under sinks and around tubs and toilets to make sure there are no plumbing leaks adding moisture to the interior of your home.
Assuming there are no leaks and your drainage system is working well, what other sources of moisture can address?
Inside a home the occupants can produce a tremendous amount of moisture. On average each human occupant expires (breathes) and perspires (sweats) about 2 POUNDS of water into the air a day. Pets can also add to this moisture source. During the winter we often close out windows, as it is cold out, and most residential heating systems have no way of bringing in fresh air or ventilating out moist, stale interior air. Thus interior humidity can often increase to levels above 60%, which is ideal for mold growth.
So what can we do about Mold Growth?
Monitor interior humidity. Small, portable humidity monitors are available for around $10-15 and can be placed around the home. If RH (relative humidity) is consistently above 65%, action should be taken. Ideally, interior RH should be between 45-55% RH. Below 40% RH mucous membranes start to dry out and can cause occupant discomfort.
Open windows when practicable to help flush out moisture and other interior contaminants. Even 1 hour a day can make a big difference, although 3-4 hours is recommended.
Run ventilation fans in bathrooms and kitchens to help exhaust excess humidity from cooking and bathing. Run fans in bathrooms for at least 20 minutes after bathing. Timer switches can be installed on most bathroom exhaust fans and are highly recommended.
Wipe excess condensation from windowsills. Inspect windowsills often. Do not keep curtains closed as this can trap moist, cool air and promote excessive condensation.
The above tips can help reduce moisture sources, what can do we do about reducing mold food sources?
Do not keep books, papers, or cardboard boxes in moist areas such as attics, garages, basements or crawlspaces. Attic and crawlspaces should not be used as storage areas, but if you must store items in a garage or basement, we recommend sealed plastic bins.
Keep areas mold likes to grow clean and dry. This means cleaning dust (biofilms) from windowsills, baseboards, and doorframes. Vacuum carpet regularly with a HEPA vacuum. The recommendation is to vacuum and sweep one day per week PER OCCUPANT, including pets!
Check behind drapes and furniture for hidden condensation and biofilms. Allow airflow to reach these areas by opening drapes often and moving furniture a few inches from walls, especially exterior walls that can become colder and promote condensation.
Also, trust your nose, that musty smell is a sure indication of active mold growth. That musty smell is caused by microbial VOC’s, airborne chemicals that are a metabolic by-product of mold digestion.
If you think you have a hidden source of mold, call a professional Certified Microbial Investigator for a full mold inspection. Excessive interior mold can cause structural damage to your home and its contents, as well as allergic and respiratory reactions in some occupants. Take heed and be diligent, and you can survive this hopefully wet winter relatively mold-free.
At the end of the day, after work or school, we always look forward to coming home again. Our minds and hearts are attached to our homes because of the sense of belonging, comfort, and safety that it provides. Feeling safe is the state of not being exposed to danger or risk, and that is how our homes should feel, right? So, let me ask you, are you sure you are safe within your home?
You may feel that there’s nothing lurking within the corners of the rooms of your home. However, if you are setting aside the fact that there could be molds in your house, then you are getting further away from the sense of safety that your home should provide. Molds are not something you should overlook.
Molds usually appear on damp building materials and may look like stains. They can come in various colors and sizes. You may have seen some sort of spot growing in the interior of your house, and that is not something that should be ignored.
Molds can create a lot of nuisance and danger for you and your loved ones. It can give your family nasal and sinus congestion, coughs, headaches, asthma, skin irritations, and much more.
If your home is attacked by molds, you have to do something about it. Here are some signs that your house may have been infected by molds:
Allergic reactions. If you notice that your allergies tend to react and even get worse while you’re at home, chances are there are molds growing in your house. Some allergic reactions to mold could be sore eyes, sneezing, and nasal congestion.
Mold odors. A musty or moldy smell can be a great indicator that there are molds in your home. If you can smell mold, then you probably have mold. You should thoroughly inspect your home before it gets worse.
Visible signs of molds. When you see greenish black spots of molds, then it’s obvious. Take action immediately.
Water issues. If you have experienced water leakages, condensation, or past floods in your house, mold growth is likely to have occurred. If there are water stains or discoloration of the walls due to a moisture problem, there is most likely mold growing behind the material.
Your home is where your family should feel safe. If you’ve noticed the above-mentioned signs of mold growth in your house, please do not ignore it. Ignoring it might cause you bigger problems in the future.
If you want to be sure of your homes safety, contact Fun Guy Inspection and Consulting Inc. They will provide a thorough inspection of your home and you can have peace of mind.