More Identification Problems: Mold Testing
Mold testing is hugely controversial. Since mold is always present, air-based mold testing is extremely unreliable. Plus, airborne mold levels fluctuate throughout the day, so multiple, long-term testing is the only way to determine if your mold content is increasing and represents a mold problem. On the other hand, if someone in your home has a known allergy to mold, you might want to invest in a mold testing kit so you can verifiably know as soon as mold levels begin to rise out of acceptable ranges for that household member.
Protecting Yourself During Mold Cleanup
Before starting your cleanup process, make sure you have the proper equipment and take precautions to protect yourself.
- Avoid breathing in mold or mold spores. In order to limit your exposure to airborne mold spores, you may want to wear an N-95 respirator, available at many hardware stores and from companies that advertise on the Internet. Some N-95 respirators resemble a paper dust mask with a nozzle on the front others are made primarily of plastic or rubber and have removable cartridges that trap most of the mold spores from entering. In order to be effective, the respirator or mask must fit properly, so carefully follow the instructions supplied with the respirator. Look for the label of N-95 and NIOSH to assure the respirator will provide the protection needed.
- Wear gloves. Long gloves that extend to the middle of the forearm are recommended. When working with water and a mild detergent, household rubber gloves may be used. If you are using a disinfectant, chlorine bleach or a strong cleaning solution, you should select gloves made from natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile, polyurethane or PVC.
- Wear goggles. Goggles that do not have ventilation holes are recommended to avoid getting mold or mold spores in your eyes.
Some Natural Recipes To Stop Mold
- Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is one of several natural mold killers that can be used as an alternative to chemicals such as bleach. Combine about 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil with water in a spray bottle. Apply the mixture where you see the black mold. Allow it to saturate, then reapply if necessary. Tea tree oil is said to be one of the best natural mold killers.
- Baking Soda
Baking soda works as a remedy for mold because of its antifungal content. Mix baking soda with water, and spray the content on the moldy area. Scrub off the mold using a brush, then rinse and respray the surface, without scrubbing allow it to dry.
Spay undiluted vinegar on moldy areas, do not rinse or wash off. After a while, the presence of the mold will begin to fade and so will the vinegar smell.
- Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract offers an alternative to vinegar because it is odorless and contains an antifungal property that helps fight off mold. Add grapefruit seed to water and spray on the affected area.
- Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide can be used to fight black mold. Spray the hydrogen peroxide around the affected area, let it saturate for about 10 minutes and then scrub thoroughly. Wipe the area with hydrogen peroxide when youre done scrubbing.
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I’m A Renter Or Landlord What Help Can You Provide For A Mold Problem
Mold problems in buildings are a result of water and moisture problems. Excess moisture comes from leaks or condensation. Tenants and landlords both have responsibilities for addressing water and moisture problems that can cause mold. Generally, fixing leaks is the landlord’s responsibility and reducing condensation is the renter’s responsibility. See our mold resources for renters and landlords.
How To Test For Mold
You probably dont need to do mold testing or buy a mold test kit, especially if the fungus is visible. Because the health effects of mold vary from person to person, the CDC says that if you can see it or smell it, it should be removed, no matter what type of mold is in your home.
While its not possible to completely eliminate mold in your house, you can prevent a build-up by cleaning up any wet or damp spots and fixing any existing water leaks.
Neither the CDC nor the EPA recommends doing routine mold samplingsboth organizations point out that there are no federal limits for mold in buildings, so people cant check their apartment complexs compliance with the law, for example. Plus, the testing can be expensive.
Once In The Home Heres What To Expect From A Professional Worth Their Salt:
- Proper safety gear should be worn when dealing with mold. A high quality, high filtration face mask is a must, as are vinyl or neoprene gloves. A full protective suit is recommended when using harsh chemicals and for larger mold remediation projects.
- Mold professionals seal off the work area, often using plastic sheeting, so that mold spores do not become dispersed throughout the home.
- Mold professionals use expensive, professional equipment such as HEPA air scrubbers, HEPA vacuums, commercial-strength dehumidifiers, etc. Regular handymen wont have that stuff.
- After mold is physically removed from its source, the air should be cleaned of airborne mold spores using HEPA air scrubbers and air exchange
- When vacuuming and using air scrubbers for mold remediation, the filters used should be HEPA . Only HEPA filters are designed to capture particles as small as mold spores. Regular filters will not work, and could make the problem worse.
- Mold professionals usually discard moldy porous building materials such as drywall, insulation and baseboards. These materials are relatively inexpensive to replace and difficult to impossible to restore to their previous uncontaminated condition.
- Mold professionals will use an antimicrobial chemical to clean any remaining mold and mold stains after demo.
- Mold professionals often use a sealer or encapsulant to make the treated areas more resistant to water damage and mold, and also to help with odor control.
How Do I Dry Out Under My House
Use Fans Fans are an incredibly effective way to dry out an area that has condensation and moisture. Using fans in your crawl space drain system will help dry out the area thoroughly and quickly, and will help prevent the growth of mold. Afterward, be sure and have a dehumidifier in place to keep the area dry.
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Identify And Fix The Moisture Problem
The most important step in solving a mold problem is to identify and correct the moisture sources that allowed the growth in the first place. Common indoor moisture sources include:
- Inadequate venting of kitchen and bath humidity
- Improper venting of combustion appliances
- Failure to vent clothes dryer exhaust outdoors
- Line drying laundry indoors
- House plants – watering them can generate large amounts of moisture
To keep indoor surfaces as dry as possible, try to maintain the home’s relative humidity between 20-40 percent in the winter and less than 60 percent the rest of the year. You can purchase devices to measure relative humidity at some home supply stores. Ventilation, air circulation near cold surfaces, dehumidification, and efforts to minimize the production of moisture in the home are all very important in controlling high humidity that frequently causes mold growth in our cold climate.
If You Think Anthrax Is Hard To Identify
Then, you should try identifying mold. While anthrax can appear like salt grains, raw sugar, or sand, there are 100,000+ types of mold spores, all of which are impossible for a homeowner to identify. Mold can be black, white, yellow, green, pink, all in a number of different shades or hues. Worse, the same mold can appear to have a different color depending on the situation. In fact, its often pointless to identify a specific mold spore. Unless you are experiencing serious health problems, rather than spending time trying to identify the mold, simply call a mold remediation contractor and have it removed.
One of the trickiest elements of dealing with mold in the home is trying to identify whether you have a mold problem behind a sealed interior wall. The most telling sign is yellow or pinkish stains on the wall, but just because there are no visible signs doesnt mean you dont have a mold problem. In fact, smelling mold can be almost as reliable as seeing mold in terms of identifying a mold problem in your home.
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Do Molds Affect My Health
Most molds do not harm healthy people. But people who have allergies or asthma may be more sensitive to molds. Sensitive people may experience skin rash, running nose, eye irritation, cough, nasal congestion, aggravation of asthma or difficulty breathing. People with an immune suppression or underlying lung disease, may be at increased risk for infections from molds.
A small number of molds produce toxins called mycotoxins. When people are exposed to high levels of mold mycotoxins they may suffer toxic effects, including fatigue, nausea, headaches, and irritation to the lungs and eyes. If you or your family members have health problems that you suspect are caused by exposure to mold, you should consult with your physician.
Cleaning Up Small And Medium Mould Problems
Bleach is not necessary to clean up mould.
You can clean up small areas of mould if you follow the proper procedures and use the right protective equipment. Unless the mould growth is on smooth surfaces such as bathroom tiles, surface cleaning will not eliminate the problem.
In most cases you can clean up medium areas of mould if you follow the proper procedures and use the right protective equipment. Materials damaged by mould must be physically removed and disposed of under safe conditions. However, it is important to seek professional assistance if there is a large mould problem or if mould comes back after cleaning.
Susceptible individuals such as pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly, and occupants with asthma, allergies or other health problems should not be in or near the area where the mould is being cleaned up.
Minimum protective gear needed:
- a disposable N95 mask and
- household disposable gloves.
You can purchase an N95 mask from a hardware store. Make sure that the label says “N95”. Other masks are designed to provide limited protection against dust and are not suitable for protecting against mould exposure. Make sure that the mask is properly fitted and you can breathe through the mask.
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Addressing Your Drainage Problem Better Now Than Later
Addressing the drainage problems in your lawn is better done now than in the future. The damage that drainage problems cause to foundations, basements, and landscaping can be costly. Dont ignore potential problems.
We hope that this article helps you address your lawn drainage issues. We want to help you protect your home. Stay dry and have fun!
Dennis is a retired firefighter with an extensive background in construction, home improvement, and remodeling. He worked in the trades part-time while serving as an active firefighter. On his retirement, he started a remodeling and home repair business, which he ran for several years.
Geography Dealing With What Is Around You
You must contend with what nature gives you in the way of terrain. This terrain is often the source of water drainage problems and maybe well outside your property boundaries. Dealing with these kinds of drainage problems means that you need to consider your options carefully.
Finding yourself and your home at the bottom of a natural drainage area for the rest of your neighborhood can be a huge problem. In some cases, all the water for several hundred yards uphill may naturally drain through your property. Protecting your home is essential in this instance.
The solutions to this kind of problem will, more than likely, require professional design and installation help. Redirecting and controlling large flows of water is not a typical do-it-yourself job. Consult with a landscape architect or a certified stormwater management professional if you have such a problem.
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Is It Safe To Sleep In A House With Mold
Because of the risks that come with mold exposure, it can be unsafe to sleep in a house with mold, particularly in the affected areas because you put yourself at risk of mold allergies. This becomes especially concerning if you are sensitive to the mold. When mold grows indoors, it can often be found in the bathroom.
Should I Test For Mold
Testing for molds is not recommended. Reliable sampling for mold can be expensive and unreliable, with results that may be inconclusive. Instead, you should simply assume there is a problem whenever you see mold or smell mold odors. Testing should never take the place of visual inspection and it should never use up resources that are needed to correct moisture problems and remove all visible growth.
Sometimes, mold growth is hidden and difficult to locate. In such cases, a combination of air and bulk samples may help determine the extent of contamination and where cleaning is needed. However, mold testing is rarely useful for trying to answer questions about health concerns.
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How Do I Stop Water From Going Under My House
How to Stop Rain Water From Draining Under Your House Ensure the soil is graded to slope away from the house. Soil that slopes toward the house traps water by the foundation, and flat ground doesnt channel water away. Install a rainwater catchment system. Add an extender to each downspout. Install storm drains.
Are Some Molds More Hazardous Than Others
Some types of mold can produce chemical compounds although they do not always do so. Molds that are able to produce toxins are common. In some circumstances, the toxins produced by indoor mold may cause health problems. However, all indoor mold growth is potentially harmful and should be removed promptly, no matter what type of mold is present or whether it can produce toxins.
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What Makes Molds Grow In My Home
Mold enters your home as tiny spores. The spores need moisture to begin growing, digesting and destroying. Molds can grow on almost any surface, such as wood, ceiling tiles, wallpaper, paints, carpet, sheet rock, and insulation. The mold grows best when there is lots of moisture from a leaky roof, high humidity, or flood. There is no way to get rid of all molds and mold spores from your home. But you can control mold growth by keeping your home dry.
What To Do About Mold In Your Home
If you recently found mold in your home, you are probably searching the internet to figure out what to do. This step-by-step guide will answer all of your questions. Dont panic, it may take some time but you will get past this. The key is to educate yourself and do it right the first time so the mold does not return.
Please note that this page was written to help homeowners. If you live in an apartment or rental house, here is information about the landlord responsibility for mold.
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Hotel Owners Shouldnt Ignore The Signs Of Mold Damage
Many types of mold like black mold release mycotoxins into the air. These airborne toxins lead to respiratory problems, headaches and produce a foul odor. Its that odor that you notice first.
- Mold Odors When you walk in the lobby of a hotel, take a few deep breaths. If there is a severe mold problem, your nose, congestion and sinuses will sniff it out fast. Do the same once you enter the hotel room.
- Bathroom Mold The bathroom is the likeliest culprit for mold in a hotel room. The moisture and humidity from near-constant use allow mold to grow between the grout. During a room inspection, if you discover some fungus, send it out for testing.
- Wallpaper Nothing is more evident to a hotel client than peeling wallpaper. Its a flashing warning sign when they enter the room. Often, significant peeling or abnormalities may be a sign of moisture, which means mold.
- Health Symptoms Hotel goers arent the only ones who will experience health symptoms of mold exposure. If your employees start to feel ill, such as a runny nose or sneezing, chances are there is mold in the air. Address these symptoms before they worsen and note if they increase after cleaning a particular room.
- Itchy Feelings Its not uncommon for guests to leave damp towels on the floor or for laundry to pile up. Mold can grow in wet clothing and fabrics. If you or anyone else experience itching after using the towels, sheets or rags, there is likely mold.
Typical Lawn Slope And Grade Changes
Regrading an entire lawn or home lot is usually not a task most homeowners are willing to undertake. If your issue is poor slope and grade of a relatively flat lot, most professional landscaping companies can address the issue.
Professional landscapers can assess your lot by measuring the slope and grade. A recommendation on regrading your lawn is the usual course, along with an estimate of the cost. In some instances, the landscape professional may suggest bringing in more soil to build up low areas. In any case, the project should include returning the landscape and lawn to as near their original condition as possible.
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Why Basements Are Problematic
Basements are prone to musty odors and mold growth. This isnt surprising. If you dig a giant hole in rain soaked dirt, the water will quickly fill the cavity. We really shouldnt be surprised when water enters our basements instead, we ought be amazed it doesnt happen every week. In the Pacific Northwest, a basement is essentially a concrete boat attempting to float in a muddy pond It can work, but we shouldnt be startled by the challenge.
Moisture wants to move from areas of high concentration to low concentration. If the soil surround your home is wet and your basement is not, the laws of physics are compelling the water to enter your home.