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Air Quality Assessors Blog


Black Mold vs. White Mold
Black Mold vs. White Mold

 

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 Exposure Treatments
Mold Exposure Treatments

 

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.

 


Exposure To Mold During Pregnancy
Exposure To Mold During Pregnancy

 

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:

  • Fetal Paralysis
  • Allergy symptoms
  • Accidental mold ingestion leading to dehydration

 

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:

 

  • Nasal and sinus congestion
  • Cough/Sore Throat
  • Chest tightness
  • Dyspnea (breathing difficulty)
  • Asthma (or exacerbation of it)
  • Epistaxis (nosebleed)
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Headache
  • Skin and eye irritation

 

Long-term exposure to indoor molds on babies can develop more severe symptoms:

  • Immunosuppression
  • Cancer
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis/pulmonary fibrosis
  • Pulmonary injury/hemosiderosis (bleeding)
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Hematologic and immunologic disorders
  • Hepatic, endocrine and/or renal toxicities

 

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.

 

Sources:

WebMD

CDC

 


Who Do You Call for Mold Inspection?
Who Do You Call for Mold Inspection?

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. 


 


Pollen Allergens | Indoor Air Quality
Pollen Allergens | Indoor Air Quality

 

 

Every year, millions of allergy sufferers are affected by pollen.  Pollen is a powdery yellow substance found on plants to help them reproduce.  In some cases, plants can fertilize themselves, but other plants rely on cross-pollination. As insects, birds, and the wind carry pollen between plants, some of the tiny particles inevitably drop. The pollen particles are then available to enter our nose, eyes, and throat, triggering varying allergies.  Pollen can travel hundreds of miles, so attempting to rid your yard of the offending plants will not help.  Ragweed, a common plant affecting many allergy sufferers, can produce over one million grains of pollen per day.  Fighting the allergenic pollen can seem like an insurmountable task.  Pollen is here to stay, but there are tips and tricks to help you cope. 

 

            Pollen allergies can last throughout the entire year, as several plants pollinate year-round.  The pollen count is dependent upon your location, and the duration of the season.  Pollen from trees is released during the spring, grass pollen is released during the summer, and weed pollen circulates during the fall.  Tens of millions of Americans are affected by pollen allergies every year and suffer from sneezing, nasal congestion, running nose, coughing, headaches, itchy and watery eyes, and wheezing, a lot of which can occur in your home. Indoor allergen levels can determine how impacted allergy sufferers will be indoors whether it be due to raised levels of pollen, mold, or chemicals. Pollen allergies can also exacerbate symptoms with asthma suffers indoors and outdoors.

 

            Loose pollen in the air can attach on skin, clothing, shoes, hair, and pets.  Once pollen enters your home it can cling to carpet fibers and furniture, and recirculate as you move around your home.  Attempting to keep pollen out of your home is challenging, but not impossible.  There are a few preemptive measures you can take to help make your home a no-pollen zone.  First, you want to keep your car in the garage.  If you do not have a garage, consider hosing down your car frequently.  Pollen can stick to your car, door handles, and windows, and spread easily anytime you touch the car or lower a window.  Next, check your shoes at the door.  Always wipe your feet, and then leave shoes and outerwear at the entry way or mud room.  Purify yourself – especially if you’ve been working outside.  Immediately throw clothing in the washing machine to prevent tracking the pollen throughout your house.  You also want to shower immediately, and always wash your hair before going to bed to prevent pollen-contaminated pillows and bedding.  Next, you want to make sure your indoor-outdoor pets are wiped down and brushed before returning indoors.  Another way to limit the pollen count from entering your home is to dust and vacuum frequently.  If you have a bagless vacuum, always empty contents in a bag outside.  Another tactic is to keep the windows and doors shut.  While it can be tempting to let in fresh air, pollen also enters the home and contaminates all that fresh air you crave.  Always remember to change HEPA and HVAC filters monthly, to ensure well-maintained units and clean sinuses.  Lastly, limit your time on the porch during high pollen count times.  When the pollen is low, or pollen season is over, clean your porch furniture and hose down the floor and screens. 

 

 To review, here are our best tips for keeping pollen out of your home:

▪   Keep your car in the garage

▪   Check your shoes at the door

▪   Shower and wash clothes after outdoor activities

▪   Bathe your indoor-outdoor pets

▪   Vacuum and dust frequently

▪   Clean outdoor furniture after pollen season

 

            If pollen has already entered your home, you are not out of luck.  You can still remove the pollen from your space with a few easy housekeeping measures.  Make sure to frequently wipe down surfaces with a damp microfiber cloth to trap the particles.  Thoroughly clean all surfaces and ceiling fans, and follow with vacuuming and mopping.  Be sure to use the suction attachment to clean upholstery, and navigate the corners and crevices in your home.  You will also want to wash all bedding in warm water.  Bathe and brush pets, and clean their paws as well.  Change all air filters once per month, and use vent filters for room vents to help trap pollen in the air ducts.

 

            There are many affordable products on the market today that can help improve the air quality in your home and trap the offending pollen particles.  HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters are designed to prevent 99% of pollen from entering the home.  HEPA filters help to clean the indoor air and prevent allergens from circulating.  HEPA filters are used in many air filters, air purifiers, and vacuum cleaners.  When used in conjunction with a well-maintained HVAC system, HEPA filters can drastically improve the air quality of your home. Air Quality Assessors can determine allergen levels in your home and offer advice to help you get through this allergy season.  We are licensed and certified professionals, with 30 years of experience in maintaining high indoor environmental quality.  Call today to schedule an assessment of your indoor air quality, and let us help keep you and your family protected this allergy season.

 

 



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Every year, millions of allergy sufferers are affected by pollen.  Pollen is a powdery yellow substance found on plants to help them reproduce.  In some cases, plants can fertilize themselves, but other plants rely on cross-pollination. As insects, birds, and the wind carry pollen between plants, some of the tiny particles inevitably drop. The pollen particles are then available to enter our nose, eyes, and throat, triggering varying allergies.  Pollen can travel hundreds of miles, so attempting to rid your yard of the offending plants will not help.  Ragweed, a common plant affecting many allergy sufferers, can produce over one million grains of pollen per day.  Fighting the allergenic pollen can seem like an insurmountable task.  Pollen is here to stay, but there are tips and tricks to help you cope. 

 

            Pollen allergies can last throughout the entire year, as several plants pollinate year-round.  The pollen count is dependent upon your location, and the duration of the season.  Pollen from trees is released during the spring, grass pollen is released during the summer, and weed pollen circulates during the fall.  Tens of millions of Americans are affected by pollen allergies every year and suffer from sneezing, nasal congestion, running nose, coughing, headaches, itchy and watery eyes, and wheezing, a lot of which can occur in your home. Indoor allergen levels can determine how impacted allergy sufferers will be indoors whether it be due to raised levels of pollen, mold, or chemicals. Pollen allergies can also exacerbate symptoms with asthma suffers indoors and outdoors.

 

            Loose pollen in the air can attach on skin, clothing, shoes, hair, and pets.  Once pollen enters your home it can cling to carpet fibers and furniture, and recirculate as you move around your home.  Attempting to keep pollen out of your home is challenging, but not impossible.  There are a few preemptive measures you can take to help make your home a no-pollen zone.  First, you want to keep your car in the garage.  If you do not have a garage, consider hosing down your car frequently.  Pollen can stick to your car, door handles, and windows, and spread easily anytime you touch the car or lower a window.  Next, check your shoes at the door.  Always wipe your feet, and then leave shoes and outerwear at the entry way or mud room.  Purify yourself – especially if you’ve been working outside.  Immediately throw clothing in the washing machine to prevent tracking the pollen throughout your house.  You also want to shower immediately, and always wash your hair before going to bed to prevent pollen-contaminated pillows and bedding.  Next, you want to make sure your indoor-outdoor pets are wiped down and brushed before returning indoors.  Another way to limit the pollen count from entering your home is to dust and vacuum frequently.  If you have a bagless vacuum, always empty contents in a bag outside.  Another tactic is to keep the windows and doors shut.  While it can be tempting to let in fresh air, pollen also enters the home and contaminates all that fresh air you crave.  Always remember to change HEPA and HVAC filters monthly, to ensure well-maintained units and clean sinuses.  Lastly, limit your time on the porch during high pollen count times.  When the pollen is low, or pollen season is over, clean your porch furniture and hose down the floor and screens. 

 

 To review, here are our best tips for keeping pollen out of your home:

▪   Keep your car in the garage

▪   Check your shoes at the door

▪   Shower and wash clothes after outdoor activities

▪   Bathe your indoor-outdoor pets

▪   Vacuum and dust frequently

▪   Clean outdoor furniture after pollen season

 

            If pollen has already entered your home, you are not out of luck.  You can still remove the pollen from your space with a few easy housekeeping measures.  Make sure to frequently wipe down surfaces with a damp microfiber cloth to trap the particles.  Thoroughly clean all surfaces and ceiling fans, and follow with vacuuming and mopping.  Be sure to use the suction attachment to clean upholstery, and navigate the corners and crevices in your home.  You will also want to wash all bedding in warm water.  Bathe and brush pets, and clean their paws as well.  Change all air filters once per month, and use vent filters for room vents to help trap pollen in the air ducts.

 

            There are many affordable products on the market today that can help improve the air quality in your home and trap the offending pollen particles.  HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters are designed to prevent 99% of pollen from entering the home.  HEPA filters help to clean the indoor air and prevent allergens from circulating.  HEPA filters are used in many air filters, air purifiers, and vacuum cleaners.  When used in conjunction with a well-maintained HVAC system, HEPA filters can drastically improve the air quality of your home. Air Quality Assessors can determine allergen levels in your home and offer advice to help you get through this allergy season.  We are licensed and certified professionals, with 30 years of experience in maintaining high indoor environmental quality.  Call today to schedule an assessment of your indoor air quality, and let us help keep you and your family protected this allergy season.

 

 

Every year, millions of allergy sufferers are affected by pollen.  Pollen is a powdery yellow substance found on plants to help them reproduce.  In some cases, plants can fertilize themselves, but other plants rely on cross-pollination. As insects, birds, and the wind carry pollen between plants, some of the tiny particles inevitably drop. The pollen particles are then available to enter our nose, eyes, and throat, triggering varying allergies.  Pollen can travel hundreds of miles, so attempting to rid your yard of the offending plants will not help.  Ragweed, a common plant affecting many allergy sufferers, can produce over one million grains of pollen per day.  Fighting the allergenic pollen can seem like an insurmountable task.  Pollen is here to stay, but there are tips and tricks to help you cope. 

 

            Pollen allergies can last throughout the entire year, as several plants pollinate year-round.  The pollen count is dependent upon your location, and the duration of the season.  Pollen from trees is released during the spring, grass pollen is released during the summer, and weed pollen circulates during the fall.  Tens of millions of Americans are affected by pollen allergies every year and suffer from sneezing, nasal congestion, running nose, coughing, headaches, itchy and watery eyes, and wheezing, a lot of which can occur in your home. Indoor allergen levels can determine how impacted allergy sufferers will be indoors whether it be due to raised levels of pollen, mold, or chemicals. Pollen allergies can also exacerbate symptoms with asthma suffers indoors and outdoors.

 

            Loose pollen in the air can attach on skin, clothing, shoes, hair, and pets.  Once pollen enters your home it can cling to carpet fibers and furniture, and recirculate as you move around your home.  Attempting to keep pollen out of your home is challenging, but not impossible.  There are a few preemptive measures you can take to help make your home a no-pollen zone.  First, you want to keep your car in the garage.  If you do not have a garage, consider hosing down your car frequently.  Pollen can stick to your car, door handles, and windows, and spread easily anytime you touch the car or lower a window.  Next, check your shoes at the door.  Always wipe your feet, and then leave shoes and outerwear at the entry way or mud room.  Purify yourself – especially if you’ve been working outside.  Immediately throw clothing in the washing machine to prevent tracking the pollen throughout your house.  You also want to shower immediately, and always wash your hair before going to bed to prevent pollen-contaminated pillows and bedding.  Next, you want to make sure your indoor-outdoor pets are wiped down and brushed before returning indoors.  Another way to limit the pollen count from entering your home is to dust and vacuum frequently.  If you have a bagless vacuum, always empty contents in a bag outside.  Another tactic is to keep the windows and doors shut.  While it can be tempting to let in fresh air, pollen also enters the home and contaminates all that fresh air you crave.  Always remember to change HEPA and HVAC filters monthly, to ensure well-maintained units and clean sinuses.  Lastly, limit your time on the porch during high pollen count times.  When the pollen is low, or pollen season is over, clean your porch furniture and hose down the floor and screens. 

 

 To review, here are our best tips for keeping pollen out of your home:

  • Keep your car in the garage
  • Check your shoes at the door
  • Shower and wash clothes after outdoor activities
  • Bathe your indoor-outdoor pets
  • Vacuum and dust frequently
  • Clean outdoor furniture after pollen season

 

            If pollen has already entered your home, you are not out of luck.  You can still remove the pollen from your space with a few easy housekeeping measures.  Make sure to frequently wipe down surfaces with a damp microfiber cloth to trap the particles.  Thoroughly clean all surfaces and ceiling fans, and follow with vacuuming and mopping.  Be sure to use the suction attachment to clean upholstery, and navigate the corners and crevices in your home.  You will also want to wash all bedding in warm water.  Bathe and brush pets, and clean their paws as well.  Change all air filters once per month, and use vent filters for room vents to help trap pollen in the air ducts.

 

            There are many affordable products on the market today that can help improve the air quality in your home and trap the offending pollen particles.  HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters are designed to prevent 99% of pollen from entering the home.  HEPA filters help to clean the indoor air and prevent allergens from circulating.  HEPA filters are used in many air filters, air purifiers, and vacuum cleaners.  When used in conjunction with a well-maintained HVAC system, HEPA filters can drastically improve the air quality of your home. Air Quality Assessors can determine allergen levels in your home and offer advice to help you get through this allergy season.  We are licensed and certified professionals, with 30 years of experience in maintaining high indoor environmental quality.  Call today to schedule an assessment of your indoor air quality, and let us help keep you and your family protected this allergy season.

 


In The News: Mold & Insurance Claims
In The News: Mold & Insurance Claims

Water damage and mold are words that no homeowner wants to hear. Luckily, there are types of insurances that can cover such losses. Recently in the news, there has been speculation that insurance claims have spiked and for no good reason at all. The real question is, who decides what a good reason for an insurance claim? We take a look at each piece to this puzzle and analyze whether or not this speculation is one sided, or all facts are being considered. 

 

First, let's examine what constitutes as a good reason to make an insurance claim. Should homeowners only be able to make a claim in the event of a large natural disaster such as a hurricane, or, should they have the freedom to make a claim if they have a plumbing leak that could potentially cause more damage that previously mentioned hurricane? What if the plumbing leak flooded their entire first floor and the hurricane only caused a minor roof leak? These are the factors that should be considered when all parties including the homeowner, insurance company, and contractor, assess damage and decide if a claim should or should not be made. 

 

In the featured video below, News 9 reports on a sudden rise in insurance claims featuring Citizens Property Insurance and highlights a bad experience of one set of homeowners.



The purpose of the Assignment of Benefits (AOB) is to give the homeowner the complete right to choose what contractors work on their home and to ensure repairs and damage control will begin in a timely manner. You would hope it is easy to trust contractors that are presenting homeowners with an AOB, but unless you already have a trusting relationship with them, you really can’t be 100% sure, right? There may be companies that abuse the power of an AOB, but you must not let those companies hinder the reputation of all companies that use an AOB because it is used to benefit the homeowner when they are faced with damage and a claim needs to be made. In any given industry you would assume that there are those who have bad experiences and those who have GREAT experiences. Luckily, there is something homeowners can do to safeguard themselves so they don’t repeat the similar outcome as we saw in the video and that is EDUCATION.

 

One way to ensure you are not being deceived by your insurance company or contractors when you have water or mold damage to your home, is to understand all factors that are involved when making a claim. These 5 factors are:

 

·      Know your insurance policy

·      Know your rights

·      Research your contractors

·      Get familiar with your state’s insurance claim laws

·      Documentation

 

 

All homeowners should have a complete print out of their insurance policy in an easily accessible, safe place. Homeowners should also make sure they know their coverages in detail, especially in the case of an emergency. Your rights as a homeowner are very important to also be aware of. This way, you are less likely to be taken advantage of. Before a catastrophe such as water damage, or mold, have a ready-to-dial contractor you already built trust with. Have them input your information into their system so that if and when there is a hurricane or major plumbing leak, you are already in the system and you don’t have to waste time going through that sometimes lengthy process. Also, check your contractors licensing and online reviews. This will give you real life experiences of the company you're choosing to work with and provide you with a sense of security when you know they are properly licensed and insured. Knowing your state’s insurance claim laws can be very helpful not only when you need to make a claim due to damage, but also when you are shopping for your insurance policy. This way, you will know certain limits and regulations related to insurance claims. Document any and all claim related damage of your home. When your home is in tip-top shape, take the before photos. Take photos of ceilings, inside of cabinets, floors, and anywhere you have plumbing. If you find you have mold or water damage, take multiple photos of the damage and date the photos. By following these 5 pieces of advice, you will be more knowledgeable and prepared in the event of water damage and mold related claims.


Remember, knowledge is power and not all contractors are the same. The AOB can be very beneficial to homeowners especially in an emergency situation. For more information, view our blog page and website. 


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Orlando Homes Stricken by Mold
Orlando Homes Stricken by Mold


When considering large purchases, people tend to take their time, do research, talk to experts, and consider multiple outcomes. This is typically the case when purchasing a home except when an unexpected affliction is unforeseen, and already present.

 

When shopping for a home, it is common to hire a home inspector whose purpose is to make sure everything is functioning and the home is safe to move in to, and up to codes and standards. What people don’t realize is that there are conditions home inspectors are not liable to look for. In Orlando, Florida, there has been one reoccurring issue that emerges after people purchase a home, that seems to repeatedly get overlooked. It is something that new homeowners are surprised and extremely blindsided by, and if they knew about this beforehand, they would not have gone through with the purchase. This reoccurring issue is mold.

 

Mold appears in many homes around the Central Florida area, because of many reasons. Humidity is a strong force and is always present because of the tropical climate Orlando has. Of course, the outside conditions impact the indoors. When a home becomes for sale, and previous owners move out, people tend to turn everything off including the air condition system. This one of the worst things you can do especially because this can provide the perfect conditions for mold to grow and you want to preserve the condition of your home while its up for sale.

 

Mold can form when the relative humidity of your home falls outside of 40%-60%. In order to keep a house within the 40%-60% relative humidity, you must keep the air conditioner on especially in the summer months. This can and will negatively impact the sale of any home. Mold can form as soon as 24-48 hours if there are 3 components present: temperature between 70-100 degrees, a food source (wood, drywall, cotton), and moisture (humidity). With this, you can assume that if you turn off your air conditioner in Orlando, then your temperature and humidity will rise creating the perfect condition for mold to grow. 


The sale of a home in Orlando can still happen even when mold is present because there are no current laws against this. This is why it is the responsibility of the potential homeowner to understand the full list of responsibilities of the people servicing the home sale and purchase. Realtors are not obligated to inform homeowners of mold, especially if they are unaware themselves. Home inspectors are not mold inspectors. WE REPEAT, home inspectors are NOT mold inspectors. Yes, you can trust home inspectors, yes, you can trust realtors, but they are typically not trained or licensed to inspect homes for mold. It is best, that potential homeowners hire a third party mold inspection company, like Air Quality Assessors, to conduct a full mold inspection. This will not only ensure that the home is mold free, but mold inspectors’ mission is to share valuable information with all parties involved in a purchase of a home to prevent future mold formation.

 

The most recent situation similar to the content above, is a 3rd time homeowner who sought out to purchase a new home. They found a home built within the past 10 years, wonderful upgrades, mid-upper-class neighborhood, and all the features they wanted and more. The first few days after moving in, the new homeowners started to notice discoloration in the ceiling. They called their local mold inspection company, Air Quality Assessors, and the findings were shocking. Mold formed between the wall cavities due to cracks in the outdoor building material, stucco. The new homeowners, once excited to move into their new home, had to move out and live in a hotel for over a month.


Situations like this can all easily be prevented when you consider a mold inspector as an intricate part of your home purchasing team. It is worth it to invest in the inspection of you home, rather than going through the pain of purchasing a home that was not fit to move in to. For more information, please visit our mold inspection services page, and spread the word to those in the market for a new home.

 


Mold Testing & Inspection in Orlando, FL
Mold Testing & Inspection in Orlando, FL

Mold.

 

It's an ugly word, isn't it?

 

The mere mention of mold can paint a disastrous picture in our minds.

 

Allergy flare-ups. Coughing fits. Cleaning nightmares.

 

And that's just for starters.

 

Here's the really scary thing about mold, though: oftentimes it's hiding right under our noses and we don't do anything about it until it's too late. Fortunately, you can take steps to detect a potential mold infestation in your Orlando home and deal with it quickly and quietly.

 

That is, if you know where to look.

 

By understanding the where and why of a potential mold mishap within your home, you can save yourself money and a potential headache at the same time.

 

When It Rains in Florida, It Molds

 

While Florida may be known for its sunny skies, long-time residents understand that with sunshine also comes muggy, balmy conditions and frequent showers. No big deal, right?

 

Unfortunately, such conditions represent a breeding ground for mold growth.

 

That's because damp conditions sew the microscopic seeds for a mold infestation. When it rains, mold spores in the air tend to increase and spread: this effect can be doubled by humid conditions. If you've ever had a sneezing fit or cold-like symptoms in the wake of a rain shower, chances are that mold was to blame.

 

Remember: it's not the rain itself that's causing the mold, but the growth and spread afterward thanks to the temperature outside.

 

Could Mold Be Hiding On Your Windows?

 

When we think of mold infestations, we might picture spores hiding in air ducts or perhaps those slimy pink films that show up in the shower.

 

But what about your windows, which are prone to harboring mold and can easily, go undetected?

 

Even if you regularly apply household solutions to your windows on a regular basis, they could still be hiding a more serious infestation. Consider also the following places where mold may be lingering such as...

 

  • Between the actual window and the window sill, which naturally retains mold and moisture (especially in the case of wooden sills)
  • On the actual windows themselves, as well as within their tracks (both interior and exterior)
  • Tucked within the joints of the frames of the windows

 

Thankfully, each of the aforementioned mold hot spots can be detected and dealt with rather swiftly.

 

But how?

 

Mold Remediation: How It's Done

 

While we do not provide remediation services, we can lead you to some great companies that can help you out after our thorough testing process. (It is illegal in the state of Florida for the same company to test and treat a mold problem)

 

Not all mold is created equal: likewise, not all infestations are treated in the exact same manner.

 

That being said, the process of mold remediation is rather straightforward.

 

In short, we assess the specific areas of your home to isolate the infestation and determine the cause of contamination. Once the cause is detected, we can recommend removal. The affected area will be cleaned, sterilized and reassessed.

 

Following the cleaning process, we retest the area to make sure it is free of contaminants and allowed time to properly dry. In extreme cases, some materials in the affected area may need to be removed altogether.

 

Mold shouldn't be taken lightly. Likewise, infestations should be treated sooner rather than later to not only protect your home, but also the health and well-being of yourself and your family.

 

Interested in Mold Testing?

 

Whether you think your home is prone to an infestation or you simply want more information on the process, feel free to contact us. Our experts have seen just about everything when it comes to mold and we'd be happy to help you out.


Roof Issues
Roof Issues

 

Roof issues can be very concerning to homeowners especially when they go unresolved. Not only does roof damage deteriorate your roof, it can also cause damage to the inside of your home. The dangers that a damaged roof can cause are not worth putting off the repairs. One tiny abrasion to your roof can mean you now have a roof leak, and if we know anything about roof leaks, that means water has intruded and is on its way to forming mold. There are also many factors that need to be considered to ensure you have a full functioning roofing system.

 

Mold can form if roof leaks occur. There are many ways this can happen. Loose shingles from storm damage and aging building materials are two ways roofs can become damaged. Wind is also one of the main culprits for causing roof damage. When heavy wind blows, it can cause shingles to chip away at the edges causing them to lift and become loose. This can actually impact the surrounding shingles to become out of place as well. If the damaged shingles aren’t immediately fixed, the next time high winds occur, the surrounding shingles will continue to become unbound and impact the shingles surrounding them.

 

There are signs you can look for when assessing whether or not you have a major roofing issue. Clear signs of a problem include yellow/brown stains in the form of puddles on the ceiling that can be viewed from the inside of your home. Roof leaks are very common especially if you don’t perform routine maintenance on your home. There are also many signs to look for on the exterior of your home. Again, pay attention to the placement of your shingles. Are they curling or cracked? Are they loose? It is also best to pay attention and maintain your gutters. Your gutters are directly connected to your roof. When gutters go unmaintained, they tend to sag adding access weight to you’re the roofing structure. This can cause your roof to be susceptible to mold formation due to access moisture buildup.

 

More signs of a roof/household leak are:

  • Unexplained musty odors in any part of your home
  • Bubbling paint
  • Brown stains on your ceiling
  • Curling shingles
  • Condensation such as fogged windows
  • History of past flooding or water damage
  • Health symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, rashes, congestion or headaches

 

Different seasons can bring on a plethora of roofing issues. If you live in a climate where all four seasons occur, your roof goes through different wear and tear then someone living in a tropical climate. What everyone needs to know is all rooves are not created equal. Metal rooves may be best for cold climates and clay tile roofing system may be best for tropical climates.

 

Performing your own visual inspection is a great way to figure out if you have roof issues. However, when you start to see signs of damage, or after a storm, it is best to call a licensed professional to do a thorough inspection. A tip your future self will later thank you for is to update your homeowner’s insurance to cover roof damage. Homeowners are surprised when they find they don’t have coverage at times when they need it the most. The easiest way to do this is by contacting your insurance provider directly. 


Resolving what can be seen as small issues, can save the longevity and quality of your roof. Performing independent inspections can help identify problems, but remember to always confide in a professional inspection/roofing company when issues arise. 

 


Black Mold Symptoms
Black Mold Symptoms

Black mold, a species of toxic mold, is a type of fungus that thrives off of moisture-rich areas.  Black mold can appear slimy, and often show up as darkly colored, speckled discolorations.  There can be a distinctive smell with a musty odor, which is sometimes the first clue of a black mold contamination.  If left neglected, black mold can threaten the health of people and pets alike, as black mold species can produce vast amounts of mycotoxins.  Mycotoxins are toxic substances produced by fungus released into the air, and when these mycotoxins are ingested or inhaled, symptoms will develop.

Black mold requires specific ideal conditions in order to grow and thrive in your home.  Initially, mold spores must be present in your home.  Black mold also requires a food source (such as wood or drywall), darkness, warmth, oxygen, and moisture.  When the conditions align, black mold can grow within 24-48 hours.  Other contributing factors can cause black mold to develop, such as leaking pipes and roofs, floods, and poor ventilation which leaves pockets of trapped moisture-rich air.  Black mold does not always require warmth, as it can develop when condensation collects on cold pipes or concrete.

The symptoms of toxic black mold vary greatly depending on the duration of the exposure and the species of the mold.  Toxic black mold is highly dangerous.  Immunocompromised individuals such as babies, pregnant women, and the elderly may have intensified symptoms. Exposure to toxic black mold can affect several body systems including the nervous system, respiratory system, circulatory system, immune system, reproductive system, and the muscular system.  The mycotoxins produced by black mold are neurotoxins, which lead to varying neurological symptoms.  Feelings of brain fog, dizziness, mood swings, hallucinations, anxiety, depression, seizures, and numbness are just a few of the nervous system effects.  The mycotoxins can also cause eye inflammation and vision problems.  People who breathe in toxic black mold and mold spores experience breathing problems (wheezing, coughing, nasal congestion) and more severe issues such as breathlessness, and swelling or bleeding of the lungs.  The circulatory system is easily susceptible, as toxic black mold can be inhaled and ingested, or absorbed through skin.  Once the black mold enters a person’s body, it travels through the blood.  This can lead to inflammation and irregular heartbeats, blood clotting issues, and hemorrhaging.  The chemicals in toxic black mold suppress the immune system.  If a pregnant woman is exposed to toxic black mold, she can suffer a miscarriage or experience fetal development issues, as the black mold can cause cell mutations.  The muscular system can be attacked with aches, pains, and chronic fatigue.  A person can also experience rashes, severe itchiness, and hair loss.  Toxic black mold is hazardous to the entire body, internally and externally.

If you see or suspect black mold in your home, it is best to call a professional to assess the contamination and properly remove it.  There is a specific protocol to follow for safely removing the black mold from your home, and the licensed professionals at Air Quality Assessors are trained and experienced.  We have high-tech, up-to-date equipment to help us perform a thorough inspection of your home.  Our guaranteed service helps protect you and your family.