Q: What Are Some Of The Key Questions That People Should Ask When Interviewing Inspection And Remediation Companies
A: The first thing that I would do is I would interview an inspector and a remediator separately. I dont think it should ever be the same person . I think that theres a conflict of interest there.
Hire one person that the only interest they have is making sure theyre identifying the problems inside that could be causing you adverse health reactions. Then you have a person thats going to take that data and actually be able to fix it.
And then the nice part about this checks and balances system is that the person who found the issues is going to come back and verify that the other person did it properly. Make sure you have an unbiased project and that the product is done right.
Id also ask the testing company and remediation companies if they typically work with immunocompromised individuals even if youre not immunocompromised yourself. This allows you to weed out people who dont necessarily have the health effects in mind.
If they dont think mold impacts your health, they might not be a company youre looking for. I dont think that theyre going to be as thorough as one would like, and making sure that its fully eradicated.
Do I Need A Mold Remediation Professional
The answer to this question depends on a lot of factors, such as how big the mold problem is, what surface the mold is growing on, and how handy you are. But, in general, the answer is that the smaller the mold problem, the less likely you are to need a professional.
Mold problems go hand in hand with water problems, so when youve got a water leak or flooding that isnt taken care of quickly, mold is usually soon to follow. But it doesnt just take a catastrophic water event to bring on mold. For example, almost every home I have been to has some mold growing in the bathroom.
Now, Im no doctor, but Id stake my reputation on stating that common bathroom mold in your tub or shower isnt going to kill you. But lets face it its gross, its unattractive, and it doesnt give you a feeling of cleanliness. The reason its so prominent in homes is because the bathroom is a high humidity environment, and most people dont take the time to properly ventilate it and dry it out.
But do you need to spend a lot of money on a mold professional to get rid of bathroom mold in your tub or shower? No! It is completely unnecessary. Any moderately handy person can buy some over the counter mold cleaner and clean their tile and grout and replace their caulking all for the grand total price of under $10! Just make sure to ventilate your bathroom going forward, so all your hard work wont be wasted.
Resources And State Laws On Mold In Homes
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides extensive information in the Molds and Moisture section of the EPA website, including advice on cleaning up mold after a flood in your basement. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has useful resources on mold on its website.
Most of the mold-related regulations occur at the state level. For example, California, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, and Texas have passed legislation aimed at developing guidelines and regulations for mold in indoor air. Here are some resources to find out your state rules on mold:
- Check the state agency responsible for mold and indoor air quality. You’ll find links to your state agency and resources on the EPA site. Many state agencies have useful guides to dealing with lead in your home (see for example, the California Department of Public Health publication Mold in My HomeâWhat Do I Do?.
- The National Conference of State Legislatures has an Environmental Health Legislation Database that tracks state legislation on environmental health hazards, including mold.
For more practical homebuying tips, get Nolo’s Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home, by Ilona Bray, Alayna Schroeder, and Marcia Stewart .
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What Are The Laws Regarding Mold Remediation And Who’s Responsible To Pay For It
New York state requires that all mold assessment and removal professionals be licensed, and details a framework for how the jobs are to be planned and carried out.
If a consumer believes a mold assessor/remediator hasn’t followed the law while on the job, he/she can fill out a state mold contractor complaint form.
Neither federal nor state law addresses a landlord’s responsibility when it comes a mold outbreak in a rented space, other than broad standards that require them to keep living spaces in a safe and sanitary condition.
Landlords of multi-family units like apartments can have their own property managers handle mold, and are exempt from state licensure laws, said Nardozzi.
“People fight about this every day,” he said. “It is a constant battle in our world.”
His tip for both tenants and landlords for a relatively small fee, you can get a professional into the space in question to assess whether a problem exists and how severe it is.
If a tenant feels a landlord has ignored a repair issue to the point that it has become a health concern, he or she can bring the matter to court and consider rent withholding or “repair and deduct,” during which the tenant repairs the issue and reduces his or her rent.
In The Walls And On The Floor
From top to bottom, mold growth is likely in a bathroom. In addition to the places mentioned above, pay attention to any water leaks coming from the walls or floors these leaks can cause mold to grow quickly. Bathroom rugs are also known to harbor mold, and are usually not washed as often as they should be.
Some tips to keep your bathroom free of mold
- Use a ventilation fan during your bath or shower, and keep it on for at least 30 minutes after
- Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to keep humidity levels down throughout your home
- Keep all surfaces, including counters and floors, clean and dry
- Check for leaky faucets and pipes
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How To Identify Mold Vs Mildew In Your Home
Mold and mildew are often spoken of together, almost as if they were the same substance. We fear mold and mildew growing below our homes in crawl spaces, under house siding, around the bathroom wall surround, and behind the sink. Excessive, pervasive mold and mildew can hamper a house sale or cause homeowners to move their bedroom elsewhere. Neither mold nor mildew is welcomed in the home, in any form.
Though related, mold and mildew are separate microorganisms that grow differently and must be treated differently. Safely eradicating mold and mildew is crucial to keeping you safe and your home in good shape.
Bigger Problems With Mold
The issue of house mold can be more than JUST health effects, however. While health effects from toxic mold and house mold are the REASON we address this home issue, it can also have hideous effects within your home.
Mold that grows on small surface areas like around a tub or a sink can oftentimes easily be removed. However, as with any surface, if it doesnt get dried out and removed right away, it can begin to grow behind caulking, behind cabinets and travel to drywall eventually.
This is when the problem of house mold can grow and become even bigger than just a problem with a humid bathroom. Once mold travels behind walls and begins to grow on a porous surface like insulation or drywall, it can continue to grow and spread as far as it can. This is when whole sections of your home can become a center for mold growth.
When this happens, the only remedy is to contact a mold remediation company to properly remove all the affected areas as well as fix the reason the mold began in the first place. Unfortunately, when mold becomes THIS prevalent in a home, it can be very difficult to remove and there are often times a change that it will return.
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Look For Signs Of Moisture Or Mold
- Mold can have a cottony, velvety, granular or leathery texture
- The color of mold can vary from white, gray, brown, black, green or other colors
- Mold damage may look like discoloration or staining on the surface of building materials or furnishings
- Noticeable mold odors are described as musty or earthly
Is Mold Dangerous To Your Health
There are also concerns about the health impact of molds in the home, but most studies show that most of the more extreme claims of illnesses caused by it are unfounded. Since molds fill the air of our homes constantly, most people do not have any reaction to mold unless there is very high exposure rates.
Wardlaw said every state has different regulations when it comes to mold, with Californiaâs being among the strictest.
The phrase, âblack mold,â does have an ominous connotation, but in reality there is no single type â many molds are black. The term usually refers to a type called Stachybotrys chartarum , also known as Stachybotrys atra. There is no scientific evidence that links exposure to S. chartarum as more dangerous than exposure to any other type of mold. There are about a dozen types of mold that are routinely found in the home, and they become problematic only when allowed to grow unchecked.
According to a report in the Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology in 2017, âtoxic mold syndromeâ or âtoxic black moldâ are exaggerated by the media and have no basis in science. The report says there is no evidence that exposure to black mold in apartments, homes, buildings causes memory loss, inability to focus, fatigue, and headaches that were reported by people who believed that they were suffering from âmycotoxicosis.â
- sore throat
- difficulty breathing
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Get Professional Help If The Moldy Area Is Larger Than 3 Square Feet
Even though minor mold-related issues in buildings can easily be dealt with by untrained individuals, a mold infection larger than three square feet should be cleaned by an expert. The mold facts show that the reason for this is that a greater mold infection may be much more hazardous. However, keep in mind that black mold removal services for commercial buildings are expensive.
Most Common Places To Check For Mold In Your Home
If you have allergies or a chronic lung disease like asthma, youre probably very aware of the effect mold can have on your health. But even if you have a healthy immune system and no allergies, mold can cause a variety of health problems coughing, wheezing, and throat, skin, and eye irritation, to name a few. Mold is everywhere and, though you cant fully control your exposure to it outdoors or in public spaces, you can check for mold in common places around your home and take measures to prevent and remove it.
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Q: How Can You Tell If You Have A Mold Problem In Your Home
A: Sight and smell are pretty obvious. Discoloration on your ceilings, drywall, on your caulking and sealants around wet areas like kitchens and bathrooms are a good sign that there are some issues there.
Theres a neat trick which is not scientific at all, but its a theory of mine:
If you go over to your toilet tank and you pull off the cover and you look at the underside of the lid, or if you look inside the toilet tank, and if you see mold, theres a pretty good chance that theres an abundance of spores somewhere in the environment.
Its not full-proof and its not perfect, but its a sign for me to get an inspection.
But from a testing standpoint, you can do an ERMI test. Its a decent entry-level test you can do at home and it tests the dust to see what mold particles are in the dust.
It was developed by the EPA by analyzing 1096 homes, and allows you to compare spore counts to what was found in those homes to determine which types of mold might be a problem for you.
A mold-free home doesnt exist, but you do want to have an environment thats under control where mold cant grow once it starts growing, thats when theres a problem.
Mold Can Spread To The Hvac System
Mold infestations get exponentially worse if they spread into heating and air conditioning systems.
Mold feeds on dust and moisture, which is plentiful inside of an HVAC system. This increases the likelihood of mold spores circulating in a home. Spores can spread through the air, entering into your familys lungs and causing potential health issues. Having mold around is never healthy and it gets exponentially worse when that mold is breathed in. This is one of the major causes of the health risks associated with having mold inside of a home.
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How Mold And Mildew Affect Your Home
Mold needs to consume something to survive, and its perfectly happy eating your house if you let it. Some molds and mildews are fond of the cellulose in the paper backing on drywall, insulation and wallpaper. Others have a ravenous appetite for the glues used to bond carpet to its backing. Left unchecked, mold eventually destroys the parts of the drywall, wallpaper and carpet it attacks.
But many molds just like to feast on the every day dust and dirt that gather in the perpetually moist regions of your house. They wont destroy your house, but they can sure make it look, feel and smell bad. Mold can mar your walls with white spider weblike growths or clusters of small black specks. It creates the smell we often refer to as musty. This white mold in a basement can be slippery and dangerous when it grows on damp basement stairs. Molds rarely go so far as to rot wood or do structural damagetheyll leave that to their fungal cousinsbut they can wreak plenty of havoc. We cant overemphasize that mold needs moisture to get established, grow and reproduce. Mold problems and longstanding moisture or high humidity conditions go hand in hand. To conquer mold, you must also conquer moisture problems. Fig. B shows common hangouts for mold and some steps you can take to minimize its growth and the damage it inflicts.
When Should A Mold Inspection And Mold Testing Be Considered
- When visible mold is not present, but the smell of mold is. Here a mold inspection and mold test can reveal whether there is indeed elevated mold, and where it is located.
- There have been plumbing leaks or water issues and there is a suspicion that elevated mold may exist in the air and/or behind walls.
- Post Mold Removal Clearance Testing to ensure that the previous mold issue has been resolved and mold counts have returned to levels found in normal environments of the same type.
- Health Concerns: In some cases, a doctor or the patient has a health issue that they cannot pinpoint the cause but seems to be related to mold symptoms . Here, a mold inspection and test may help to confirm whether the doctors or patients suspicions that a mold problem exists.
- For real estate transactions for the protection of Buyers and Sellers.
- Landlord/Tenant disputes as to whether there is a mold problem.
- Someone thinks they see or smell mold but are not sure.
- Someone is interested in a general Indoor Air Quality test of their environment.
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Mold And Mildew Health Concerns
The health of both humans and pets may be affected by the presence of mold and mildew in the home. While some people may not be affected at all, others who are especially sensitive may experience symptoms such as itchy eyes, wheezing, or a runny nose. People with asthma or allergies will feel the most severe reactions to mold and mildew.
Ten Things You Should Know About Mold
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