Category: Home Inspection

Toxic Mold Remediation Company Tricks To Avoid

Benefits Of Hiring A Professional Mold Removal Service

Do you have excess moisture in your home? Was there a plumbing leak or sewage backup? Is your health suffering, such as hay-fever symptoms, dermatitis, or more frequent asthma attacks? You could very well have mold in your house. Hiring a professional mold removal service is the best way to go.

Get a thorough cleaning

Sure, there are a lot of DIY articles but why do you want to risk your health? If you do it yourself you are putting everyone in the home at risk for medical problems (major and minor). That and you cannot promise yourself that the mold won’t come back. It isn’t possible to completely eradicate indoor mold, no matter who does it, but a professional mold removal company will be significantly more thorough. They have the knowledge and experience to get the job done well. Mold is outside and is always in the air. It will never be possible to remove 100% of it.

Reduce the spread

During mold cleanup, spores inevitably get into the air and can spread throughout the house. Some of those DIY procedures actually contribute to the spread of mold.

Even if mold spores are killed, they can still cause problems if they are left behind. If mold spores get into your HVAC system, the spread will be even more rampant. Those contain moisture from the air conditioning, warmth from the heating system, and a food source with all of the dust. These three factors help mold to grow. Professionals are well-versed in containing the spread of spores. They will also let you know if further services, such as a thorough duct cleaning, would be necessary.

 

Discover the source

Cleaning up existing mold is a great idea, but it won’t matter in the long run if you don’t know from where the mold came. Professional mold removal services do more than just get rid of the mold in your home. They also go on a mission to locate the source. There is testing for mold and it is done by an industrial Hygienist. They can explain their process and findings with you if you feel this is a step you want to take before the mold remediation specialists come in to clean. These services know how to distinguish the discoloration usually found in a mold infestation, as well as common places where mold may be hiding.

Once the source is identified, they can help you to determine the best course of action to remedy the problem. That way, a recurrence is less likely to happen. They will also alert you as to what to watch out for, so that you can catch a recurrence before it gets out of hand.

Keep everyone and everything healthy

Swift mold removal will help you to reduce health concerns in your household. Cleaning mold by yourself can also expose you and your family to more toxins. Professional mold removal companies have all of the necessary equipment to protect themselves during mold exposure. You can also save your home and your belongings, as mold can completely destroy structures and personal items.

 

Consider the Benefits of Mold Remediation

Mold is a scary problem at best and a deathly problem at worst for homeowners throughout the Northern Virginia region. Mold can quickly lead to a variety of health problems, especially for those with weakened immune systems or respiratory problems, and in the worst cases can even be fatal. Knowing that, you surely understand the need to address your mold problem with mold remediation as quickly as possible. Here are a few reasons why you should consider hiring a professional mold remediation company, such as Envirotex located in Gainesville, VA, for your mold remediation needs.

  • As discussed, mold is dangerous and toxic. Hiring professional mold remediation experts to remove the mold from your home – and take the necessary steps to prevent it in the future – is the best decision. Rather than exposing those close to you to additional dangers associated with mold spores, the professionals have the necessary equipment and skills to effectively remove it.
  • Mold spores need water to grow and multiply. Mold remediation companies identify the areas where moisture is a problem, as well as identifying ways to prevent the moisture from returning in the future. This is key to preventing mold growth in the future.
  • Mold remediation specialists know where to look for hidden mold that you may not be aware of. Mold can grow between walls, in attics, basements, closets and anywhere else that may accumulate moisture and is dark. Mold remediation specialists understand this and can identify signs that need attention.

 

The Benefits Of Professional Mold Remediation

Mold damage is a nuisance in many homes that are exposed to water damage. Mold can also grow along the grout lines of your bathroom tiles and cause a messy discoloration. The molds can also grow in the siding, deck, and handrails if you do not address the damp conditions in the shortest time possible. Also, the mold can be dangerous if inhaled. You should address the mold damage as soon as possible.

Prevent Floods

Taking the right measures after flood damage is the sure way to succeed in your mold removal initiatives. The mold removal specialists have the necessary training that can help when it comes to remediation. Flood mitigation can help you to succeed whenever you embark on your mold removal operations since the dry surfaces will curtail the development. However, you must be cautious during mold removal. If you disturb the spores, they can fly around your home and spread quickly, causing severe mold damage.

Safety precautions

The experts must be careful during the commercial mold damage removal. There is a risk of spreading the mold in home walls if you do not seal off the working zone. Commercial mold damage elimination calls for a restoration company that can prevent the spread by taking the necessary safety precautions during the exercise. While the fungus and mildew have a smelly odor, deodorization is not always advisable. The mold in home surfaces can cause a smelly odor. While you can rely on deodorization to get rid of the smelly odor, it is not a lasting solution. The removal of mildew, fungus, and mold in home floors can be a daunting task if you do not have the necessary expertise.

Avoid DIY

Whether you are grappling with black mold, dry rot, or mold growth behind wall, you should not attempt the project alone. The dry rot can cause the spores to move to various parts of the house and land on your furnishings, walls, and floors. The mold growth behind wall can be quite difficult to handle if you do not know the extent of the black mold development. If you want to control the dry rot and prevent the mold growth in the future, you must undertake a thorough inspection. Since you do not want to expose your family to the black mold, a restoration company will handle the operation in a professionally.

Remediation

Besides taking the right measures during the remediation process, mitigation is also vital. Since the fungus and mildew develop under damp conditions, preventing the possibility of flood damage is a great remedy against mold growth. Mold remediation and mitigation involve removing the visible fungus and mildew. However, the elimination of mildew and fungus is not sufficient to prevent the mold growth. It is vital to engage a commercial mold damage specialist to come up with the bespoke mold remediation and mitigation plans for your home.

 

Mold Removal Process

Mold remediation entails mold clean up and removal by professionals to address the damage caused by mold. Using bleach and water to clean mold will not kill it.

The process of getting rid of mold involves removing the affected material and reconstructing the damaged area. Therefore mold elimination is best handled by a professional who has the training to handle hazardous material. Expert mold remediation includes:

Assessment

A mitigation professional will come into your location to identify moldy areas and the source of the problem. The mold damage expert will then create a plan to remove mold, fungus, mildew and smelly odor.

Containment

It is crucial to set up containment, so that other areas of the building are not contaminated. The source of the moisture issue is addressed and appropriate steps are taken to avoid spreading mold spores during the removal process.

Removal

Personal belongings and building materials can be affected. Keep in mind, mold ingrains itself into materials, so it is advisable to get rid of all porous materials. The safest way to make sure that mold does not return is to dispose of all affected materials. Sealants can be applied to treated areas to make them more resistant to mold, and also to help with smelly odor. Nonporous materials may be cleaned with antimicrobial cleaning products. It is important to have air conditioning and heating systems professionally cleaned.

Drying

Cleaned items must be thoroughly dried. Remember, excessive moisture is what started the problem. As a result, a reliable professional will likely utilize moisture management techniques to ensure your property doesn’t encounter future problems.

Repair

After all contaminated materials are removed, the reconstruction process begins. Some mold mitigation companies or professionals also do repair and restoration work. Restoration can usually be more costly than the mitigation depending on factors such as the style of residential or commercial structure or building materials used.

Testing

In some cases, testing is necessary in order to be sure there is no mold in home. Following remediation, professionals search for any indications of recurrent water damage, smelly odors or visible mold to make sure the cleanup, deodorization or restoration has been successful.

Must Know How To Find Good Mold Inspection

QUESTIONS TO FIND A QUALIFIED MOLD INSPECTOR

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR INSPECTION PROCESS?

This is such a simple question, but you can learn so much from their answer. The visual assessment is the most important part of the visit. Without a thorough and comprehensive inspection, how would they know where to sample? Here are some things to listen for. If they don’t mention these, then they likely aren’t the company for you.

HOW LONG SHOULD I EXPECT FOR A FULL HOME INSPECTION?

If their answer is anything less than 2 hours, then they are likely not performing a thorough and comprehensive inspection. Our average time for a full house inspection ranges from 2.5 to 5 hours depending on the size of the house. Sometimes we’ve been at homes for 8 hours!

WHAT PERCENTAGE OF YOUR CLIENTS SUFFER FROM LYME DISEASE, CIRS (CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE SYNDROME), MCS (MULTIPLE CHEMICAL SENSITIVITY) OR ANY OTHER SERIOUS MEDICAL CONDITION THAT CAN BE IMPACTED BY MOLD?

If the bulk of their clientele are people dealing with similar issues as you, then they will understand your situation and the need for a thorough inspection and complex sampling methodologies. About 75-80% of our clients suffer from these or other similar issues.

WHAT IS MSQPCR?

Mold-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction. This is a sampling methodology used to identify the species of molds that may be present within your home. It’s basically DNA formatting of mold. If they don’t know what this is, then they are not educated enough to provide the deep dive inspection you deserve.

WHAT ARE ERMI AND HERTSMI?

Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI) is a panel of 36 molds developed by the Environmental Protection Agency. It uses MSqPCR to identify species of molds that may be present, then compares those to an index to provide a score that rates the relative moldiness of your home. Some doctors prefer to see an ERMI score.

 

IS TESTING FOR MOLD A SCAM, OR WORTH IT?

My first house had obvious mold, so I had a professional mold assessment done. When the inspector finished assessing my house, I was provided a lengthy report showing the various mold strains and concentrations. While it was a relief to know I didn’t have the infamous toxic black mold, Stachybotrys chartarum, the conclusion that the house was full of mold came as no surprise.

However, what was valuable was the water assessment. The mold inspector went over the house from top to bottom with a moisture sensor, and he showed me exactly where water was infiltrating the framing of the house and causing mold and rot. It turned out that in addition to a problem with water in the basement, rainwater was seeping in around both chimneys and through some invisible roof leaks.

As we inspected the house together, I was also able to determine that it was structurally sound. Learning that my problem was more about cleanup, than carpentry, helped ease my peace of mind.

Despite how helpful the mold inspection was; if I were doing it again, I think I could skip the expensive assessment. Water damage and mold are pretty easy to spot, if you’re willing to crawl around with a flashlight, so I probably wouldn’t pay for another mold inspection unless.

 

Should I Get A Mold Inspection When Buying A House?

What Is A Pre-Purchase Mold Inspection?

A pre-purchase mold inspection is when a professional who is trained to look for mold — it may be a home inspector, contractor, or technician — performs such an inspection prior to a home purchase. The mold inspection may be purely a visual inspection of the property for mold, or it may include swabs and air tests that is sent to a laboratory.

What Are The Benefits Of A Pre-Purchase Mold Inspection?

As a licensed home inspector, I have seen many properties that had hidden mold issues — where the average person simply wouldn’t see it. I have seen mold growing in corners, under stairs, on windows, inside furnaces, in the air ducts, and a variety of other locations. With some states, a seller may not be required to even disclose that the home has or had mold contamination — check your state disclosure laws!

Do Home Inspectors Check For Mold?

Not all home inspectors check for mold — we are all a bit different — there isn’t a national standard for mold inspecting. There is also an extra cost for inspectors to buy mold detectors in the form of air pumps and lab testing. In my home state, there also is no state licensing for mold inspections or mold detection.

Inspecting The HVAC

Most of the time, mold is in the indoor air handler or furnace and on the air vent covers. In my home inspections, I would say about 90% of the time, I find mold in the HVAC system. Of course, this is also the most problematic, because the mold spores can circulated throughout the entire home — compared to mold growing in an isolated location.

Inspecting The House

It’s important to know if the professional will be inspecting the entire house for mold. During my home inspections, I am already thoroughly evaluating the entire home for mold, literally going over every square inch with a flashlight. Most mold professionals (not home inspectors) do not usually inspect an entire home the way a home inspector does — it will be much more brief.

 

Important information regarding mold inspections

Mold testing in southwest Florida, Bonita Springs.  What Is Mold Testing? How Is Mold Testing Performed?

Broadly speaking, most mold testing involves taking a sample of either the air or a surface. Essentially, a mold inspector “tests” the air or surface to find out what kind of mold exists and/or if the mold found is able to grow in the area tested.

Mold Testing: Air Samples

Air samples can be taken and analyzed in a variety of ways. The most common method uses a “spore trap” and is called a “spore trap sample.” Spore traps work by having a known volume of air pass impact a sticky surface as it passes through the spore trap sampling device. Most of the particles in the air also impact this sticky surface and consequently adhere to, and are captured on, this sticky surface. Mold spores comprise a subset of these ‘particles in the air’ and also are captured on the sticky medium inside the spore trap. When the spore trap is sent to the mold testing laboratory for analysis, the mold laboratory opens the spore trap, applies some stains to the sticky surface that the mold spores can absorb, and then identifies and quantifies the types of mold spores captured during the sampling process. There are other methods of mold sampling, including culturing or growing the mold spores captured from the air, but these are less commonly used.

 

Residential Mold Inspections

Awarded by unanimous vote of a nationwide panel of industry peers, the Council-certified Residential Mold Inspector (CRMI) certification identifies a professional with at least ten (10) years of verified field experience in microbial sampling investigations.

Each CRMI has verified his or her knowledge of proper techniques for mold inspection, microbial investigations and sampling by passing an accredited, psychometrically rated examination based on peer-reviewed industry standards.

The CRMI examination ensures that certificants understand how to (1) distinguish among the significant types of microbial contamination, (2) identify, select and calibrate appropriate microbial sampling equipment, (3) design an effective sampling regimen, (4) employ proper sampling techniques, and (5) correctly interpret data collected from a microbial sampling regimen.

To maintain the CRMI designation, certificants must participate in 20 hours of professional development activities each year to ensure that they stay up to date with current trends in the field of microbial investigation and sampling.

Find Out How To Do Water Testing In Your Home

How to test water quality? Chemical tests for limited budgets

Chemical water quality parameters

Having identified various test formats, the next question is: What do we test for?  UNICEF recommends prioritizing fluoride, arsenic, and nitrate for chemical monitoring.  In areas where the earth is naturally rich in minerals that contain fluorine and arsenic, levels in well water can be high enough that chronic exposure is dangerous to human health.[1]

How can we test for these elements?

  • Fluoride: At least one color disk test kit is available for fluoride. However, portable digital colorimeters are often preferred because of concerns over accuracy.  Ackvo Caddisfly, a testing system, recently described a colorimetric fluoride test that can be read by a smartphone app.
  • Arsenic: Portable field testing options for arsenic are limited; this contaminant is best measured in a laboratory.  Commercially available test kits do exist, but they are relatively complex and require several steps.  Although the arsenic concentrations “measured” with these test kits may be inaccurate, the kits do detect arsenic in nearly all samples greater than 100 micrograms per liter (ug/L), as well as in most samples in the 50-99 ug/L range. UNICEF has therefore recommended reporting arsenic monitoring results from these portable tests as “present” or “absent” using a reference concentration of 50 ug/L—the drinking water standard in many countries that are affected by natural arsenic contamination.
  • Nitrate:  Both test strips and color disk test kits are available for nitrate testing. Nitrate can also be measured  with a digital meter. High levels of nutrients are associated with agricultural pollution from fertilizers (nitrogen and phosphorous) and animal waste (nitrogen).  Latrines, sewage, landfills, and industrial pollution can also contribute nitrogen.  Monitoring for nitrate is a simple way to assess the impacts of agricultural and human waste on water quality.

 

How to Test Your Tap Water

If you’re on well water, you won’t get a CCR, so you should get your water tested. That’s also a good idea if your home was built before lead-free pipes were mandated in 1986: Even if your CCR says that the municipality’s water is free of lead, it can leach into your water from the pipes in or leading to your house.

Many kits are available for do-it-yourself tap testing, but it’s not always clear what they test for or how accurate they are. The EPA recommends using a certified lab. Find one on the EPA’s website. Testing typically costs $20 to $150; your community might provide test kits free of charge.

Once you know what’s in your water, choose a filter that suits your needs.

For multiple or high levels of contaminants, reverse osmosis filters are often best. They can remove lead, arsenic, bacteria, and other contaminants. But they take up a lot of space (typically under your sink), require additional plumbing, and often go through several gallons of water for every gallon of filtered water. They’re pricey, too, some costing $1,000 or more. You might also have to pay a professional to periodically service the system.

 

How to Test the Quality of Your Drinking Water

How Does Our Water Become Contaminated?

The contaminants that degrade the water quality come from a number of sources. Some of it gets there from people dumping it down their toilets, while other chemicals show up thanks to runoff from farms or mining, leaching from landfills, or improper storage and disposal at manufacturing plants. In addition to the chemicals, many of our waterways are filled with harmful bacteria, such as E. coli.

Is Your Drinking Water Safe?

The Environmental Protection Agency regulates a number of harmful substances, such as uranium, lead, and arsenic. For each of these, the EPA sets a Maximum Contaminant Level indicating at what concentration these chemicals and minerals can exist in our drinking water before it is considered unsafe to drink.

The Downside of the EPA’s Annual Water Quality Report

While these reports are a great resource that provide a high-level overview of what’s in the pipes in your home, they cannot reliably provide a complete picture of your water quality.

When Should You Get Your Water Tested?

The EPA recommends you test your water annually to get a sense for what you may be drinking and if there are changes over time. In addition to yearly water tests, some of the things that should prompt you to test your tap water immediately include.

 

How to Test Water Quality

Understand what you will be testing for. The quality of water depends primarily on the concentration of bacteria, lead, pesticides, nitrites/nitrates, chlorine, hardness, and the water’s pH. Chlorine aids in disinfecting; nitrates leached from fertilizers are harmful to infants; calcium and magnesium (“hardness”) can cause scale buildup in pipes; and water with very high pH levels (acidic water) can corrode fixtures.

Purchase a home water quality test kit. There are many manufacturers of these kits, but they all function similarly. They will contain test strips that you will expose to water, causing them to change color based on the water’s mineral content. You will then match the strip’s color to a color chart.

Read the directions. In your test kit, there will be some directions. These will explain exactly how long each type of strip should be exposed to water, as well as what temperature the water should be. These directions can vary from test kit to test kit, so even if you have done this before, it is crucial to read and follow the instructions.

Expose each strip to water. Follow the guidelines in your test kit to expose each strip to water. Typically, you will start by filling a glass with room temperature water. Then, you will dip the strip into the water and keep it submerged for about 5 seconds, moving it back and forth gently.

Remove the strip from the water. Pull the strip out of the glass and shake off any excess water. Wait for the strip to slowly change color, as you compare it to the color chart included with the testing kit.

 

Afraid of Contamination? How to Test the Water in Your House

Water. It comprises more than two-thirds of the weight of the human body and nearly 95 percent of your brain. You need it to live, and hopefully, you’re consuming between 2-3 liters of water a day. But if you are, what else are you drinking? What is in your well and what microscopic baddies have hitched a ride on your H2O? The DIY experts at Stack Exchange offer a few tips on spotting contaminents in your drinking water.

You can buy a test kit from your local home center or online. The kits usually come with a package of strips that contain reactants that change color to indicate the presence of various contaminants in your water.

But beware: the kits are not terribly accurate, and they don’t test for all harmful contaminants. If there are very high levels of certain contaminants in your water, the kit very well may flag the problem. But don’t expect high accuracy or a guarantee that your water is safe.

There are currently (to my knowledge, at least) no continuous processes for checking bacteria — though I do know of at least one company who has been working on it for commercial applications (I would guess it would cost upwards of $20k). There are some sensors that can monitor other attributes. Most are prohibitively expensive for a home.

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