Category

Mold

Mrs. H isn’t feeling too well… Here is another story on the importance of safe renovations

By | Indoor Air Quality, Indoor Environmental Quality, Mold | No Comments

The early 21st century home was in immaculate shape, nothing seemed wrong from the looks of it as I walked up to the front door and knocked on it. I was greeted by Mr. H and he explained to me that Mrs. H hasn’t been feeling the best. I asked if she was doing anything out of the ordinary. He replied with no, she works from her new home office which is next to the newly remodeled and installed bathroom.

We proceeded to the basement where the remodel had taken place and as I walked down the hallway I started to smell a musty odor as we got closer to the bathroom and office. As we went into the bathroom the odor got worse and I asked if it has always smelled like that, he replied with no and we started investigating.

The ceiling was made up of a grid with 2×4 ceiling tiles and one had a vent to vent out moisture. As I pulled up one of the tiles I felt it was really soft and somewhat mushy on the corners, I was told it was completely out of the track and it was covered with mold on the other side. I peeked my head through the rest of the drop ceiling and 75% of the ceiling tiles in the bathroom and the adjacent office were covered in mold, along with the top 12-16 inches for the backside of the drywall that separated the two rooms. He asked me why this happened, I replied with a lack of ventilation and moisture building on the tile. He said that they use the exhaust fan every time they shower and he didn’t understand why it would build up if the fan is on.

After further investigation, we found out the duct the fan was connected to wasn’t coupled correctly causing a leak which is pushing hot moisture-filled air out of the bathroom and above the drop ceiling causing the issue.

What I take away from this experience, and what I want you to take away from this story, is to never underestimate the unseen. There are so many things behind walls and under floors and tiles that it is not always easily apparent when there is an issue.

If you suspect that something is causing sickness, it is worth it to allow us to assess your situation thoroughly and use our experience to remediate the area and protect your family once and for all.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY ebook.

WHAT CAUSES MOLD?

By | Mold | No Comments

No one likes mold in their home. Mold not only causes health problems such as allergies and even infections, but mold is an eyesore and can spread like wildfire. Understanding what causes mold in your home, is the first step in preventing mold in your home.

What causes mold?  Mold is caused by an excess of humidity in your home. The humidity levels in your home should never be more than 50%. You can test your home’s humidity by purchasing a digital hygrometer, which measures the humidity in the air of your home.

How to prevent mold?  Preventing mold is a lot simpler than it may seem. You do not need anything fancy. If you find that the humidity in the air is over 50%, then you can purchase a dehumidifier for your home or air moisture collecting bags to hang up.

There are some other measures you can take as well when it comes to mold prevention in your home too. Making sure that air is flowing freely is a must. When airflow is restricted or cut off, moisture in the air can settle and build up, causing mold. Make sure ventilation is not blocked off and that air can get through all parts of your house.

Leaks are another big culprit of mold growth. Identifying any leaks and fixing them helps to prevent excess moisture from collecting.

Flooding is also a common reason people develop mold in their homes. Even small floods need to be cleaned and dried as quickly as possible to prevent any mold in the home.

Using the right flooring is another way to ensure your home stays mold free. Certain types of flooring, such as carpet, can retain moisture more than other types of flooring, like laminate flooring. Because of this, carpet is a bad choice for places like your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room. There are a lot of opportunities for the floor to get wet in these areas. When carpet is not properly dry, it makes a great place for mold to grow. So, when your carpet does get wet, dry it immediately to prevent mold from harboring in your home.

Written and contributed by our friends at LAUNCHUX.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

WARNING SIGNS OF MOLD

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WARNING SIGNS OF MOLD

An investigation for mold contamination should be performed anytime there is an increase in allergy or respiratory problems for occupants or their pets. Chronic on-going colds, headaches, or flu-like symptoms are an indication of a potential mold contamination.

Other indications of mold contamination include musty, earth-like odors, water stains or discoloration, and/or peeling paint or wallpaper on ceilings or walls.

Dots of any color, particularly black, yellow or green, may be the beginnings of a mold colony developing.

Areas should be investigated after a high-humidity event, a water intrusion, a plumbing or roof leak, or when standing water or condensation has been noted. Warped boards also signal the presence of high humidity or a water intrusion.

Mold not only impacts our health, but it can gradually destroy the building components on which they grow.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

MOLD: MYTHS & FACTS

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MOLD: MYTHS & FACTS

MYTH: Only dirty environments, buildings, or homes get mold contaminations.

FACT: Dirt provides mold with a nutrient, but small amounts of dust and most building components can provide the nutrients needed to grow mold.

MYTH: There are no mold regulations.

FACT: Some states such as Florida and Virginia have established mold remediation regulations. Professional mold remediation companies typically follow the guidelines and standards set by the IICRC S520 or the EPA’s guide “Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings.” Although focused on schools and commercial buildings, this brochure is applicable to all building types.

MYTH: Mold will not grow unless it is exposed to LOTS of moisture.

FACT: All that is needed for mold to grow is one spore and a high level of humidity.

MYTH: My house is new, just recently built, so it cannot have mold.

FACT: It does not matter whether you have an old building, a new building, cheap construction, or a multi-million-dollar building. They can still become contaminated in as little as 12 hours when an environment conducive to the growth.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

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WHAT IS MOLD?

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WHAT IS MOLD?

Mold is a fungus that grows in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae. Mold is known as nature’s recycler, since it causes the decomposition  of the organic and porous materials on which it roots and grows.

There are thousands of known species of molds. They all require moisture for growth. Like all fungi, molds derive their energy not through photosynthesis but from the organic matter on which they root and grow.

Molds reproduce by producing large numbers of small spores. These spores are adapted for wind dispersal and may remain airborne for long periods of time.

The presence of mold is not visible until it forms large colonies. A mold colony is an interconnected network of hyphae.

When conditions do not enable mold growth to take place, the mold spore remains alive but dormant. Some molds remain dormant during harsh conditions, such as low temperatures and snow-cover, then propagate when conditions improve.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

                                       

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A STORY: “MONSTER IN HER BASEMENT”

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“A Monster in her Basement?”

The white-haired 85-year old lady reminded me of my grandmother as she opened the front door with a huge smile, followed by a deep exhausting cough. She gestured for me to enter her exemplar home. Although the furnishings were dated, every piece was placed with purpose. The living room and kitchen were immaculate, spotless, absolutely pristine. The surroundings wreaked of pride in her home.

She immediately dove into reflecting upon her concerns. With a heavy gasp, she mentioned that her “smeller” didn’t work so well anymore. Her grandbabies had visited and expressed a concern about the odor in the basement. Her breathing was labored, and she appeared quite fatigued. Could her home be making her sick?

The minute I opened the door to the basement I recognized the familiar smell . . . the musty, wet-soil odor of mold. As I ventured down the steps, she began to tell me how much she missed her husband. He had passed away two years ago. He was the one who would be investigating this mystery odor, if he were still here on Earth with us. As the odor engulfed my senses, there was no doubt that this basement was occupied by a monster! Had the sump pump failed? The dehumidifier been disconnected? The pipes been leaking?

This story reflects just one of thousands we hear every year. A home or building in the midst of a crisis that could have been avoided. Someone dismissed the leaking pipe, the broken fence, the dirty filters, the mouse dirt, the shingle in the yard, the disconnected downspout. In this particular case, our client’s husband had always been the one that emptied the dehumidifier in the basement. She didn’t even know there was a dehumidifier in the basement. Mold grew thick in the corners, had consumed all the cardboard boxes, and destroyed her teddy bear collection . . . the collection she was saving to leave to her grandchildren.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

 

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We smell mold. It is agitating my sinuses. But, I cannot find it. What do I do?

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We smell mold.  It is agitating my sinuses.  But, I cannot find it.  What do I do?

Mold is vicious.  It can hide above ceilings, behind walls, in furniture, under carpet.  If you suspect mold, but cannot find it, we recommend having air samples collected to determine if there is a mold contamination hiding in your property.  If the samples indicate a problem, then it’s time to move into an investigator role, just like a CSI Agent.  Using a moisture meter, infrared camera, and other tools, a mold inspector can track down the colony or colonies.

CAUTION:  Avoid a massive release of mold spores.  When checking behind walls, wall paper, ceiling tiles, the inspector must be very cautious not to expose the living area by opening up the areas where mold hides and releasing spores.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

                 

Indoor moisture leads to mold growth. What are some things that may be done to prevent excessive moisture indoors?

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Indoor moisture leads to mold growth.  What are some things that may be done to prevent excessive moisture indoors?

Mold needs moisture to grow.  The moisture does not necessarily come from a water intrusion, but from humidity levels in excess of 60%.  To prevent mold growth, the moisture in our homes and buildings needs to be controlled.

  • Set humidity gauges in each room, especially high-humidity rooms such as the bathroom, laundry room, kitchen, and basement.
  • Vent appliances that produce moisture to the outdoors. Especially clothes dryers, stoves, and kerosine heaters, all of which produce moisture.
  • Use dehumidifiers in damp areas.
  • Run exhaust fans while showering and cooking and then for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Address water intrusions and leaks immediately.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

#breathehealthyinitiative

Time for a HEALTHY BUILDING checkup!

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Time for a HEALTHY BUILDING checkup!

Spring and Fall are great times to schedule your building(s) for a checkup.  In doing so, areas of concern can be identified and addressed prior to them becoming large, expensive cleanup or repair projects.  Here are just a view items that should be inspected inside your buildings:

  • Signs of roof leaks
  • Signs of plumbing leaks
  • Evidence of rodents, bats, roaches, termite and other pests
  • Paint intact
  • Dryer vents clear
  • Exhaust ducts clear
  • Gutters and downspouts intact and clear
  • No wet surfaces or puddles in crawlspaces and basement
  • Sump pump working
  • Radon system active and working
  • Insulation in place
  • Fans exhaust outdoors and are clear
  • Electrical wiring in good condition
  • Smoke and CO alarms are working
  • Refrigerator and icemaker drip pans are clean
  • Traps and drains are not leaking
  • Dehumidifiers operation properly
  • All filters are clean

For a more extensive check-up, join Baxter Environmental Group’s BREATHE HEALTHY INITIATIVE.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

#breathehealthyinitiative

Just cleaned up a mold colony. How do I know when the cleanup is completed?

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Just cleaned up a mold colony.  How do I know when the cleanup is completed?

  • Visible mold is no longer present.
  • Moldy odors are no longer present.
  • All building components with evidence of mold growth have been removed or encapsulated.
  • Occupants are no longer evidencing symptoms of mold exposure.

After an extensive mold remediation project, we highly recommend having an air sample collected to confirm that the remaining levels of mold are low.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

#breathehealthyinitiative