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Posts Tagged ‘Basements’

Mold in Rentals

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Mold can be found almost anywhere, from attics and basements, to bathrooms, carpets, wall paneling, ceiling tiles, etc. Molds can be black, white, green, or even gray. Some are powdery, while others are fairly shiny.

Some molds are harmless, yet others pose serious health risks to you and your loved ones. But since it is often hard for a novice to tell the difference between a harmless and a harmful mold, all molds you come across should be treated as harmful and dealt with in a timely manner.

But if you live in an apartment or rental home, is it your responsibility to have the mold removed?

For the most part, landlord responsibilities regarding mold are not clearly defined in building codes, ordinances, statutes, or regulations. Some states (Maryland is one of them) and cities do have specific mold laws, explaining how landlords can be held responsible for mold problems. These laws include:

Federal Law. No federal law sets permissible exposure limits or building tolerance standards for mold.

State Laws. California, Texas, New Jersey, Indiana, and Maryland have all passed laws aimed at developing guidelines and regulations for mold in indoor air.

For example, California’s “Toxic Mold Protection Act of 2001″ authorizes the state’s Department of Health Services (DHS) to set permissible levels of indoor mold exposure for sensitive populations (like children, or people with compromised immune systems or respiratory problems). The California law also allows DHS to develop identification and remediation standards for contractors, owners, and landlords and requires landlords to disclose to current and prospective tenants the presence of any known or suspected mold. To date, the DHS has not published its findings.

Local Laws. A few cities have enacted ordinances related to mold. For example:

•      New York City. Landlords in New York City must follow Department of Health guidelines for indoor air quality.

•      San Francisco. In San Francisco, mold is considered a legal nuisance, putting it into the same category as trash accumulation or an infestation of vermin. Tenants (and local health inspectors) can sue landlords under private and public nuisance laws if they fail to clean up serious problems.

If you have found mold in your apartment or rental and you are protected by any of the laws above, it may be time to contact your landlord.

If you have any questions, contact Atlantic Environmental Solutions by calling 877-296-665 or click here today!

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The How and Why of Black Mold Removal

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Not all mold is harmful, but others – like Stachybotrys, also known as black mold – can cause adverse health problems, like: swollen, irritated, itchy and burning eyes; weight loss; constant dull, throbbing headache accompanied by sneezing; red and itchy skin; increased risk of asthma and respiratory problems; and increased susceptibility to other infectious diseases. In the most severe exposures to the fungus, brain damage, lung cancer and even death can occur.

This article from Articlebase.com explains the importance of proper mold removal and remediation.

In order to lessen health risks, black mold should be removed as soon as possible after it has been discovered.  It has a harmful toxin that affects normal body functions.

If you feel as if you have been exposed, a simple blood test can be administered to find out. Exposure to mold is seen in the human body as an allergic response to something toxic. The body will increase the amount of killer T white blood cells, producing antibodies in an attempt to destroy the mold spores. The doctor will look for a rise in the white blood cell count to confirm or disprove your worries.

Since, like most molds, black mold thrives in areas of high moisture and humidity – like bathrooms, cabinets, kitchens, basements, etc. – the only way to truly be sure you rid yourself of this harmful fungus is to hire a professional mold remediation specialist.

If you have any questions, contact Atlantic Environmental Solutions by calling 877-296-665 or click here today!

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Dealing With Mold In Your Home

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Mold. You have seen it around your home; it shows up in your bathtubs and showers and can be easily taken care of with a store-bought cleaner. Other than that, do you really ever think about mold? Probably not.

This, however, is a mistake.

As this article from ArticlesBase.com explains, mold can be present and affecting your health long before you even know it is in your home. We are not talking about a little mold around your tub, but the kind of mold infestation that you find in basements, attics, crawlspaces, and piping; the kind of mold that clings to walls and gives of a noxious, musty smell.

Most homes have warm and moist areas in which mold can easily grow. Eliminating these areas is the only way to truly make sure your home stays mold free.

-          Look for leaks or other water related problems and repair them.

-          Maintain proper ventilation in all rooms of your home.

-          Don’t leave standing water.  Make sure it is dried up.

-          Be aware of mold odors and see if mold is undiscovered behind walls or flooring.

-          Make sure your dryers and other appliances are vented outdoors.

-          Use a dehumidifier in the home if moisture is a persistent or recurring problem.

-          Keep the home as cool as possible.  This will help cut down on humidity levels.

Mold spores are found everywhere in nature. We inhale them everyday without any negative effects. It is when we encounter heavily concentrated mold infestations (indoors), that mold becomes a serious health hazard. The health threats posed by mold are various, from mild reactions such as coughing, sore throat, or asthma problems, to more serious issues such as respiratory problems, neurological disorders, and lung disease.

While you can deal with smaller patches of mold on your own, larger infestations should be handled by a professional. If you have any questions, contact Atlantic Environmental Solutions by calling 877-296-665 or click here today!

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Decreasing the Likelihood Of Mold In Your Home

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Mold can be very disrupting to your daily life. It can become costly to have removed, it can damage your home – requiring expensive repairs, and mold has been linked to several health issues. The simplest and most cost effective way to avoid mold problems is to avoid mold. And the only way to do this is to rid your home of any mold-friendly environments.

This article from Weather.com explains how to do just that.

Prevent Water Damage

The best way to prevent water damage is to ensure that your home is properly constructed and maintained. Common places where water intrusion occurs are:

Windows and Doors: Check for leaks around your windows and doors, especially near the corners. Check for peeling paint, it can be a sign of water getting into the wood. Inspect for discolorations in paint or caulking, swelling of the window or doorframe or surrounding materials.

Roof: Repair or replace shingles around any area that allows water to penetrate the roof sheathing. Leaks are particularly common around chimneys, plumbing vents and attic vents. To trace the source of a ceiling leak, measure its location from the nearest outside wall and then locate this point in the attic using a measuring tape. Keep in mind that the water may run along the attic floor, rafters, or truss for quite a distance before coming through the ceiling.

Foundation and Exterior Walls: Seal any cracks and holes in external walls, joints, and foundations, in particular, examine locations where piping or wiring extends through the outside walls. Fill all cracks in these locations with sealant.

Plumbing: Check for leaking faucets, dripping or “sweating” pipes, clogged drains, and faulty water drainage systems Inspect washing machine hoses for bulges, cracks or wetness. Replace them every few years or sooner if problems are found. Inspect the water heater for signs of rust or water on the floor.

Termite-Damaged Material: Check for termite damage in wood materials such as walls, beams, or floors. Any wood exposed to the exterior can potentially lead to moisture intrusion or termite infestation.

Flashing: Flashing, which is typically a thin metal strip found around doors, windows, thresholds, chimneys, and roofs, is designed to prevent water intrusion in spaces where two different building surfaces meet.

Vents: All vents, including clothes dryer, gable vents, attic vents, and exhaust vents, should have hoods, exhaust to the exterior, be in good working order, and have boots.

Attics: Check for holes, air leaks, or bypasses from the house and make sure there is enough insulation to keep house heat from escaping. Among other things, air leaks and inadequate insulation results in ice damming. If ice dams collect around the lower edge of a roof, rain or melted snow can back up under the shingles and into the attic or the house. Check the bottom side of the roof sheathing and roof rafters or truss for water stains.

Basements: Make sure that basement windows and doors have built-up barriers or flood shields. Inspect sump pumps to ensure they work properly. A battery backup system is recommended. The sump pump should discharge as far away from the house as possible.

Humidity: The relative humidity in your home should be between 30% and 50%.  Condensation on windows, wet stains on walls and ceilings, and musty smells are signs that you may have too much humidity in your home. Check areas where air does not easily circulate, such as behind curtains, under beds, and in closets for dampness and mildew. Be sure to use bathroom exhaust fans following warm showers or baths. When going on trips, turn the temperature up on the air conditioning, not off. The air conditioning system helps remove moisture from your home. If you are concerned about the humidity level in your home, consult with a mechanical contractor or air conditioning repair company to determine if your HVAC system is properly sized and in good working order.

Air Conditioners: Check drain pans to insure they drain freely, are adequately sloped toward the outlets and that no standing water is present. Make sure drain lines are clean and clear of obstructions. Drain pan overflows usually occur the first time the unit is turned on in the spring. Clean prior to first use with compressed air or by pouring a water-bleach solution down the drain line until it flows freely.

Expansion Joints: Expansion joints are materials between bricks, pipes, and other building materials that absorb movement. If expansion joints are not in good condition, water intrusion can occur. If there are cracks in the joint sealant, remove the old sealant, install a backer rod and fill with a new sealant.

Exterior Wood Sheathing and Siding: Replace any wood siding and sheathing that appears to have water damage. Inspect any wood sided walls to ensure there is at least 8″ between any wood and the earth.

Drywall: Since drywall is an extremely porous material and is difficult to dry out completely, damaged areas should be replaced if any signs of moisture are present. One way to protect drywall from moisture intrusion in the event of a flood is to install it slightly above the floor and cover the gap with molding.

Exterior Walls: Exterior walls should be kept well painted and sealed. Don’t place compost or leaf piles against the outside walls. Landscape features should not include soil or other bedding material mounded up against walls.

Landscaping: Keep trees trimmed so that branches are at least 7 feet away from any exterior house surface. This will help prolong the life of your siding and roof and prevent insects from entering your home from the tree. Vines should be kept off all exterior walls, because they can help open cracks in the siding, which allows moisture or insects to enter the house.

Irrigation: Inspect and adjust the spray pattern of the irrigation heads to minimize the water sprayed directly onto the house to avoid excessive water near the foundation.

If you find problems in any of these areas of your home, act quickly so you can keep your home mold free. However, if you feel as if you may already have a mold problem, it is best to call a mold remediation professional to come investigate your home. If you have any questions, contact Atlantic Environmental Solutions by calling 877-296-665 or click here today!

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Dealing With Mold in Your Home

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Mold comprises well over 100,000 different species in the world. And if you couldn’t guess from those numbers, mold can be found pretty much anywhere, especially in your home. Mold thrives in moist and humid conditions, which is why it most often occupies bathrooms and basements. But there are ways to control mold growth in your home.

This article from Weather.com explains a few of those techniques.

How can I control mold growth in my home?

Fix any moisture problems in your home:

•     Stop all water leaks first. Repair leaking roofs and plumbing fixtures. Move water away from concrete slabs and basement walls.

•     Increase air circulation within your home, especially along the inside of exterior walls, and ventilate with fresh air from outside. Provide warm air to all areas of the home. Move large objects away from the inside of exterior walls just a few inches to provide good air circulation.

•     Install and use exhaust fans in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.

•     Ventilate and insulate attic and crawl spaces. Cover earth floors in crawl spaces with heavy plastic.

•     Clean and dry water damaged carpets, clothing, bedding, upholstered furniture within 24 to 48 hours, or consider removing and replacing damaged furnishings.

•     Vacuum and clean your home regularly.

How do I clean up mold?

Large Areas:

1.    Consider having a professional cleanup the area. To find a professional, check under “Fire and Water Damage Restoration” in your Yellow Pages. If you decide to clean up on your own, follow the guidance below.

2.    Protect yourself by using goggles, gloves, and breathing protection while working in the area. For large consolidated areas of mold growth, you should use an OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) approved particle mask.

3.    Seal off area from the rest of your home. Cover heat registers or ventilation ducts/grills. Open a window before you start to clean up.

4.    Remove all your furnishings to a neutral area to be cleaned later. Follow cleaning directions below.

5.    Bag all moldy materials, you will be discarding.

6.    Scrub all affected hard surfaces: First with a mild detergent solution, such as laundry detergent and warm water. Then use a solution of 1/4 cup bleach to one quart of water. Wait 20 minutes and repeat. Wait another 20 minutes. Last, apply a borate-based detergent solution and do not rinse. This will help prevent mold from growing again. To find a borate-based detergent, read the ingredients listed on the package label for borates.

7.    Give the entire area a good cleaning. Vacuum floors, and wash bedding and clothes if exposed.

Small Areas:

1.    Protect yourself by using goggles, gloves, and breathing protection while working in the area. For small isolated areas of mold growth, a cotton dust mask should do.

2.    Seal off area from the rest of your home. Cover heat registers or ventilation ducts/grills. Cover all your furniture. Open a window before you start clean up.

3.    Bag all moldy materials, you will be discarding.

4.    Scrub all affected hard surfaces: First with a mild detergent solution, such as laundry detergent and warm water. Then use a solution of 1/4 cup bleach to one quart of water. Wait 20 minutes and repeat. Wait another 20 minutes. Last, apply a borate-based detergent solution and do not rinse. This will help prevent mold from growing again. To find a borate-based detergent, read the ingredients listed on the package label for borates.

5.    Give the entire area a good cleaning, vacuum floors, and wash bedding and clothes if exposed.

So if you feel you may have a mold outbreak in your home, it is probably best to call a professional mold detection/remediation service to inspect your home and remove any potentially harmful mold. If you have any questions, contact Atlantic Environmental Solutions by calling 877-296-665 or click here today!

Make sure to check us out on Facebook and Twitter as well!

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