Recovering from the damages of a natural disaster like Hurricane Irma has been devastating! Homeowners in Florida and the surrounding areas are no stranger to these issues. Mold has the potential to leave lasting effects on your possessions and well being. This is true even months after a storm passes. You can see why it's important to think about mold damage in your home.
Researchers estimate that Irma has brought property damage around $42 to $65 billion dollars. Residential flood damage is at $25 to $28 billion dollars alone. Irma was only one of the strong storms that brought in flooding and strong wings in this season. No matter the level of damage your home, it's wise to be extra cautious about the signs of mold in your home.
The residual moisture, humidity, and loss of power after a storm offer the perfect conditions for mold to grow. Even the smallest amount of mold exposure can bring symptoms of respiratory issues and skin irritation. For those who have a mold allergy or chronic lung issues, it can bring severe reactions. This is especially true for the elderly. The longer the mold goes unnoticed, the stronger the physical reaction can be. Even healthy people can develop asthma from exposure to these damp environments. Here are some signs you can look out for when it comes to mold exposure in your home and what you can do about it.
One of the easiest ways to detect mold in your home is by the smell. If you're noticing a musty, dirty smell in your home, it's a good sign that you have mold somewhere, even if it isn't visible. Are you noticing general respiratory irritation at home but not when you're out of the house? Moisture problems can manifest as water stains on walls and floors, peeling and bubbling of surfaces, or even bowing of walls. You might even notice things like extra condensation on walls, windows, and pipes. These are all sure-fire signs of moisture damage and high humidity, which allows mold to flourish. Mold will grow faster in places where flood water remained stagnant, such as in your basement. Floods are notorious for creating mold in unseen spaces like underneath floorboards and behind walls.
The first thing you should do if you notice signs of mold damage in your home is to get in touch with a trusted professional. Crews in Florida are experiencing huge demand in the months after Irma, so the sooner you're able to call, the better. You can control the conditions where mold flourishes. Ensure humidity levels aren't higher than 50% with a dehumidifier. It's a wise idea to fix any structural damage that could further allow water into the home, such as roof leaks. Another way to combat mold is to ventilate areas that are suspect. The faster you act, the better for your home and health.
As a homeowner or renter, you do everything you can to ensure your surroundings are up to your standards. Everyone wants their house as clean and comfortable as possible! Of course, as your home endures normal wear, there are some issues that are out of your control. One of these issues that are very common in everyday household leaks.
One of the most common leaks that people deal with is a leaking faucet. Often times, this issue is fixable on your own or by calling a local plumber. Depending on the specific situation at hand, you could find yourself searching for a professional to fix a leak. Leaks whether in your faucet, toilet, roof, or any other pipe in your home, create the perfect opportunity for mold to grow and thrive. You'll know that you have a problem if you notice stains appearing anywhere on your walls, ceiling, or cupboards.
Professional maintenance is priceless. If you've ever dealt with mold or leaking roof, you'll know that there are many reasons why having the right professionals on your side is priceless. First, nobody wants to waste expensive energy or watch their water bill climb due to a leaking pipe! It's akin to watching pennies drip down the drain. Second, many people underestimate the harmful effects that mold can have their families and themselves. Breathing in these particles over time can bring about many health problems. Some are major, and some replicate a common cold, but either way, it can be dangerous.
From harsh weather to aging homes and clogged gutters, factors that go into a roof leak are plentiful. Roof repair is an expensive investment, but when you consider factors like your electric bill, curb appeal, and infrastructure of your home, it's one that will always make sense. A professional building damage assessor is able to use modern technology such as infrared camera evaluation and moisture mapping, giving you peace of mind ensuring every square inch of your home is inspected.
Although it can be intimidating to hire a professional for leak repair, especially if it's your first time dealing with this type of problem, you'll find that a weight lifts off of your shoulders as you make strides towards improving the quality of your home. With today's technology, you won't have to take drastic, invasive measures to test and improve your issues with excess moisture in your home.
Mold Killers on the Market
Any sign of mold in your home can seriously impact your day-to-day life. It can appear in your shower, countertops, tile floors, drywall or cause serious damage to your roof, windows, pipes and even the air. But we’re here to tell you that you don’t have to live with this! So what are we here to talk about? MOLD PRODUCTS!
Sometimes it feels like there are so many solutions out there. Products that claim to get rid of mold, mildew, and clean your air. Luckily, we have outlined some of these home remedies and are highlighting them to show you what is in the market making these claims. These examples come with the disclaimer so please don't confuse these solutions for problematic mold that is airborne or is causing damage to your home. In this case, we 100% recommend you call a professional to assess the situation and identify the source.
This brand offers an array of mold removal products. Mold Armor uses a powerful bleached-based formula that claims to kill mold without scrubbing on multiple surfaces including interior walls, bathroom surfaces or exterior areas such as brick, vinyl siding or concrete.
How to use:
Simply spray on to the desired surface, let stand 10 minutes and rinse off.
Using bleach as an attempt to remove mold, won't always work. Beach opaques mold which turns it white instead of getting rid of it. Using bleach on porous surfaces such as wood and concrete can permanently damage those surfaces and may eat away at them worse than mold would. Also, this product has a strong chemical base which can be dangerous when inhaled or used in closed areas.
Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover
With a heavier focus on interior areas, Tilex uses a Clorox bleach formula to kill mold, mildew and other bacteria found on any nonporous surface such as showers, counters, sinks, bathtubs or tiles. This spray also claims to remove tough mold stains commonly found in the home.
Spray on surface affected by mold or mildew, let stand for five minutes and rinse off.
Again, bleach does not always solve the problem. Our advice would be to use an anti-bacterial soap to clean nonporous surfaces. Why? It's in the name! ANTIBACTERIAL. Mold is a bacteria.
Concrobium Mold Control
This product claims to serve as a green approach to mold removal. Concrobium is a product that aims to prevent and eliminate mold without harmful chemicals or bleach. On the bottle, it mentions it can be used for general interior maintenance, damage repairs, and construction or renovation projects.
Apply a thin layer of the solution to the desired surface and allow it to dry thoroughly. Once the surface is dry, wipe clean and use again for any residual staining. For mold prevention, leave a thin layer on the surface.
We like that this product contains no harmful chemicals and also claims to encapsulate mold spores. Even though it may get growing mold spores under control, It almost sounds too good to be true. we would probably classify this as more of a cleaning product rather than a mold killer.
Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit
While this product is not a “mold killer”, a home mold testing kit claims it can help you identify potential harmful and toxic mold spores. Pro-lab offers three types of testing: indoor air quality, AC/heating air test, and surface mold sampling. There is an optional mail-in lab analysis that can tell you the type of mold for an extra $40 fee.
We won’t bore you with the exhaustive instructions, but each kit comes with all of your testing supplies and a detailed step-by-step guide. The entire process could take about an hour.
If your mold issue is unexplained growth, it's best to consult with a professional and we'll tell you why. Even though this test may tell you whether or not you have mold in your home, this test still doesn't tell you where the mold is coming from. A lot of surface mold leads to a source of hidden mold which a lot of times is more severe than what meets the eye. If you're using this test to cut cost and you find you have mold, you're missing vital steps in the mold detection process including consulting, support with questions, expertise, and a post-remediation clearance test to ensure the mold is completely removed. After sampling and sending in the results, the cost difference is not that large and with professional mold testing, you get a professional with years of experience and more assurance.
Until we use these products and conduct the proper before and after testing, we will not be able to fully judge whether or not they work. A case study with a record of results is what is needed to really judge the effectiveness of each product. Remember, these products are only designed to rectify mold to a certain extent. We would always advise consulting with a professional, like Air Quality Assessors, to determine what type of mold you are dealing with to prevent any further damages.
What is Mold Awareness Month
Mold Awareness Month is a national month that recognizes the importance of getting to know and understand the impacts of mold. There are many things you want to keep in mind when you first learn about mold and that is the dangers, the signs, and how to handle it.
Mold can be very dangerous to your health and symptoms of black mold range from feeling a little stuffed up and drowsy all the way to being so sick you can’t get out of bed. Based on the severity of the mold and the length of time exposed, mold can cause liver failure, cancer, and even death.
The signs of mold (also known as mould) vary greatly, but if you follow these few guidelines, you will be able to see the obvious signs. First, use your nose. If you can smell an old, musty, thick, and dirt smell, you may be smelling mold. If you see black-ish spots or brown stains on your walls, in corners, or on your ceiling, you may have found a mold problem. Also, pay attention to how you feel. How you feel on a daily basis can say a lot about your surroundings. If you feel sick at home, you may have a “sick home”. If you feel sick at work, the building you work in could have major issues. The key is, is to be aware of your surroundings.
Colors and types of mold
Back mold is what people think of when they think of mold, but the reality is, mold comes in many different colors. The main colors you would see are green, gray, brown, and white. Mold comes in many forms, colors, and types and they're all different. White mold (like white vs black blog) is difficult to recognize as mold and is often looked over as nothing to be concerned about, but of course, this is not always the case. To determine whether or not the mold you are seeing is dangerous or not, get it tested by a professional.
Types of mold that are bad & molds to worry about
Not all “molds” should be treated the same. One major confusion is that mold and mildew are the same. Mildew is not something to be severely concerned about because it isn’t dangerous to your health in small quantities. You typically see mildew in bathrooms, particularly between shower tiles and on the ceiling. Regular cleaning with an antibacterial soap can prevent mildew from getting out of control. Food mold is also not a big deal IF you don’t eat it.
The mold removal process is a process that only a licensed professional should conduct. It requires testing, taping off affected areas, and air cleansing machinery. There are specific bags you need to dispose of affected materials, protective safety gear, and other very specific precautions that need to be taken in order to not spread mold spores and properly remove all traces of mold.
Water damage is an occurrence caused by many different factors which include one we've been hearing about a lot in the news; hurricanes. Other natural disasters that cause major water damage are heavy rainfall, tsunamis, and storm surges. You would have to be really unlucky to experience all of them, or even one, but there are more common causes of water damage that typically happen more frequently inside of homes including leaks, plumbing issues, HVAC systems, household appliances, and issues caused by clogged gutters.
Water damage in Florida is typically an ongoing issue especially during the hurricane and heavy rain seasons. There are several parts in Florida that have a greater chance of experiencing floods and water damage with the main reason being living near large bodies of water. The main areas in Florida that are likely to flood are:
Flooding in and of itself is difficult to deal with, but when you consider everything else that comes along with water damage (mold growth) the stress of it all begins to rise. Because of mold growth, water damage over time can affect your health and can become very dangerous. Black mold infestation is one of the consequences of not taking the proper actions when water damage occurs that can increase health risks to many individuals. People suffering from asthma and allergies are typically affected the most as well as infants, children and the elderly. They can experience respiratory problems, eye and skin irritation, and many other long-term affects down the line. Black mold is especially dangerous within your home because flood waters are contaminated from sewage and can bring on more severe problems.
Luckily, there is one major sign of water damage you can look out for: brown stains on your ceilings and walls. This a key sign of roof leaks caused by rainfall. If there are streaky stains on your walls in the bathroom, this could be a sign of a burst pipe. Streaky stains on the walls of your home can also be caused by overflowing gutters or appliances. Floorboards can show signs of water damage too. If your floorboards have discoloration or changes in texture, this is a clear indication of water coming from somewhere. Some signs to look for in your floorboards include:
Believe it or not, you can use your ears to detect water damage. If you can hear dripping or rushing water, you may have a problem. If you hear a noise similar water dripping, look for things in your home that have changed appearance. Another sense you can use is your sense of smell, for instance by smelling musky/rotten mold.
As always we want to reiterate how important it is that you look over your insurance coverage to see if flood damage is covered. When your property is damaged, please don't wait to take action! It's also a great idea to have a plan-of-action in place in case you do experience water damage. Do your research now on water damage companies in your area and let them know they're part of your emergency plan. Lastly, do not worry because, in the end, everything will get better and be okay.
Mold comes in many different forms, shapes, sizes, smells, colors, you name it, the differences are endless. The most speculated types of mold are white mold and black mold with the black mold being the most common. A frequently asked question that sometimes goes unanswered is, what are the differences between white mold and black mold?
First, we’re going to give you the rundown on black mold. Black mold, technically termed Stachybotrys chartarum, is both dangerous and toxic to both humans and pets. The way black mold forms is by feeding off natural food sources including wood and dust in moist areas. The CDC offers a large collection of information on black mold and common questions asked. The most common places in homes and buildings black mold forms are under sinks, in basements, inside walls, and around windows and AC units. Often times, some molds can look just like black mold but actually are very dark green, gray, and brown and just assumed to be black mold. Depending on whether or not people living in homes with black mold are experiencing symptoms and how severe the infestation is, will determine if you need to leave completely, or just avoid areas where black mold is found. We suggest airing on the side of caution and removing yourself and pets from homes and buildings where black mold is found.
Industry professionals have long debated the categorization of white mold. White mold can be considered the beginning stage of many different types of mold. To simplify this, white mold can be a young black mold or a growing Stachybotrys chartarum. White mold is also an adult type of mold. Generally, white mold is identified as what you see growing on food and plants at the beginning stages before it turns into a different color but is also prevalent in homes and buildings. Just like black mold, people should consider white mold dangerous and get it tested as soon as possible. If it is mold at the beginning stages, it is best to catch it before it spreads and releases spores into the air.
To conclude the differences between black mold and white mold is mold is mold and it should be treated the same. Take the same precautions with white mold, as you would with black mold. Always air on the side of caution when dealing with the mold of any color. Be sure to reach out to mold professionals in your area when you find mold whether it be white, black, blue, gray, or green.
Mold toxicity, mold sickness, black mold poisoning. These are just some of the names used to describe the ailments related to mold exposure. Mold exposure can cause minor ailments including headaches, coughing, runny nose, and body aches, but depending on the length of exposure and the severity of the mold, can cause serious conditions such as cancer, disease, and even death.
There are many stories related to the sicknesses caused by mold exposure, but luckily, there have been many cures both natural and medical, that have healed those who have suffered. The video below features Dr. Josh Axe, who we have featured before, explaining the symptoms of mold exposure and natural remedies that have helped those dealing with possibly misdiagnosed as something else.
A very important step that Dr. Axe didn’t mention is to be sure to leave the place that is causing your sickness. If you are exposed to mold in your home, move out as soon as possible. If it is from your workplace, consider working from home or exploring other options. Be sure to see our blog on who to call for a mold inspection for more information on the proper steps to take.
The next video features Julia, who had extreme mold exposure symptoms and was even wheelchair ridden. She saw approximately 25 doctors and spent around “$80,000 or more” on treatments that just did not work. In this video, she talks about her horrible experiences with being misdiagnosed and overmedicated by doctors who did not know the cause of her pain. Watch the video to find out of Julia finds her happy ending during treatments with Sponaugle Wellness Institute, or is still dealing with the symptoms of mold exposure.
For more information on how to rid your surroundings of dangerous toxins and harmful mold, give us a call at (844) CALL-AQA.
Pregnant mothers are very susceptible to the ill effects of molds in the environment because of their delicate condition. Infants, babies, and toddlers can also have significant reactions to even the smallest amount of mold. Everyone is actually exposed to mold (and mildew) every day but depending on the type and level determines if and how you will be affected. Black Mold is an unwelcome and dangerous guest in your home and one that should not be taken lightly, but it can be prevented and treated.
Becoming pregnant and having mold grow in your home can cause a multitude of problems for you and your baby’s health. Generally, molds cause respiratory problems such as asthma, skin rashes, unsightly smells and other allergic reactions. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that exposure to certain types of molds to individuals, particularly to pregnant women is quite dangerous. Studies have shown that of all the types of molds, the black mold (Stachybotrys Chartarum) is the most dangerous and exposure to it whether pregnant or not, can be a threat to one’s health. In an article by The New York Times reported on several similar occurrences of bleeding lungs in children from newborns to 10 months old due to mold exposure. Food mold is a whole other subject and definitely deserves some attention. For more information on food mold and what types you should avoid especially while pregnant, view this excerpt from the USDA.
Pregnant mothers will do anything to protect their growing babies. Unfortunately, it sometimes goes unknown when mold exposure occurs. Repeated and prolonged exposure to black mold can affect the physical development of a fetus. Severe maternal allergies secondary to black mold exposure can lead to serious damages to the growing fetus. This includes brain damage and problems with the respiratory system. Also, the exchange of gases is not facilitated in a manner that is sufficient to supply the oxygen supply of the mother. If this happens, less is delivered to the fetus thus causing alarm since oxygen is necessary for optimum brain and respiratory functions. Women who are pregnant can suffer birth defects, miscarriage, and infertility later on.
Other symptoms when pregnant can include:
Mold exposure can impact your health in many ways. Mold releases lethal mycotoxin spores and can cause neurological breakdown, pulmonary decay, immune system degradation, skin irritation, and even death. The spores released by black mold attach your brain’s neurons—incapacitating your mental ability. The reaction to black mold can be tremors, mood swings, and other neurological shifts. If you’re exposed for long enough, black mold spores can shut down your organs, incapacitate your immune system, and damage your brain—resulting in death. Other symptoms of black mold exposure include fatigue, headaches, seizure, tremors, mood swings, confusion, fever, eye irritation, sneezing, rashes, coughing, bleeding of the lungs, and sometimes death.
When experiencing mold within your home, there are short term/long term effects your babies and toddlers can experience. Exposures to molds growing indoors for babies are often associated with:
Long-term exposure to indoor molds on babies can develop more severe symptoms:
Very commonly, mold smells like mildew and must, so it can be detectable even when you can’t see it. To be on the safe side, it is reiterated that pregnant women should stay away from molds. Pregnancy should be a pleasant experience unmarred by the presence of trouble-causing molds. Therefore, it will be best to get help from mold inspectors, like Air Quality Assessors, to help you act on such situations before they worsen.
Many people aren’t familiar with what we do at Air Quality Assessors until they find themselves dealing with an issue they’ve never dealt with before. Mold can be a troublesome disturbance to deal with, but luckily there are knowledgeable experts that can solve your problem so you don’t have to. We want you to be informed on how to make an educated decision on who to go to when you find you’re dealing with mold and know the full process, so here are some things to consider when you find yourself faced with a mold problem.
There is perhaps no houseguest more unwelcome than mold. Not only is it unsightly; untreated mold can grow out of control and cause an abundance of problems, including structural damage and even severely harm your family’s health. We aren't talking about a little bit of bathroom mold and mildew. We are talking about dangerous embedded growth that you can't get rid of by turning on your vent fan.
If you see any of the following signs of mold in your home, you should call the qualified inspectors at Air Quality Assessors right away:
· Unexplained musty odors in any part of your home
· Finding mysterious dirt or soot
· Bubbling paint
· Brown stains on your ceiling
· Condensation such as fogged windows
· History of past flooding or water damage
· Health symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, rashes, congestion or headaches
Mold Inspection vs. Mold Treatment
The state of Florida mandates that the same company that tests for mold cannot treat any mold that may be found on your property. This is for the protection of consumer’s health and safety and to make sure you are getting the most accurate and honest service. Air Quality Assessors specializes in the detection, testing, and assessment of mold. Our three-pronged approach to mold evaluation guarantees that your home will be thoroughly vetted. If any mold is found, we will then refer you to one of our trusted mold removal partners who will work with you to make sure your property is completely clear of any damaging fungi.
At Air Quality Assessors, our mold testing specialists are trained and certified as Florida Licensed Mold Inspectors with the training and experience necessary to find the past and current mold growth. Not only do we check for mold, but if you have a mold problem you most likely have other hidden issues you should get inspected.
Our specialties include:
· Mold assessment
· Allergen testing
· Water testing
· Written protocols for mold remediation
· Mold inspection
· Chinese drywall
· Bedbug DNA testing on mattresses and other surfaces
Here are a few things you’ll want to know about mold inspections with Air Quality Assessors:
We look for both past and current growth. Past mold indicates a water problem which may return if there is a specific problem like a recurring leak.
We inspect both inside and outside your home. This is to find places where hidden mold can cause structural problems like inside walls and crawlspaces.
Some mold growth is normal. The operative word is some. However, we will test all mold found to determine if it is harmful or could be a problem in the future.
We look for moisture. Water is mold’s best friend so we check your property for sources of moisture that could contribute to mold growth.
So you feel confident is choosing Air Quality Assessors for your mold and indoor air quality needs, here is a little information about us. We have been serving Central Florida since 2010 and have almost 20 years of professional experience in the mold testing and remediation field. We operate in complete confidentiality and partner with trusted Indoor Environmental Professionals to give you unbiased results and the fast, effective solution you need to keep your home healthy and strong.