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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 rooves 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.

 

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.


Mold Awareness Month | September 2016
Mold Awareness Month | September 2016

 

September is here which means mold awareness month is upon us and we at Air Quality Assessors, would like to implement its purpose and inform, educate, and raise awareness so everyone knows the ins and outs of mold and its health effects. When it comes to mold, we’ve heard everything from “mold isn’t harmful because its natural” to “Oh, I just covered it up with paint so it won’t affect me”. These statements prove that there is much to be taught about the dreaded for letter word we call MOLD.  For starters, we are going to tell you a few fun facts that stand out among the rest.

 

Fact #1: Mold comes in many varieties and colors.

A lot of people assume that mold is only black, and yes, mold is black and the most occurring mold is black mold, but it comes in many different color varieties like green, orange-yellow, and gray.

 

Fact #2: Regardless of your health, mold can and will affect you…eventually.

Being healthy doesn’t mean mold won’t affect you. We highly recommend that you do everything in your power to remain as healthy as possible, but this won’t necessarily prevent mold from taking its toll on your health. Symptoms range from cold/flu symptoms to fatigue, and sometimes the worse symptoms (blindness, cancer, etc..) show up in your system significantly later then around the times of exposure (more on this shortly).

 

Fact #3: Mold destroys the material it grows on.

Mold needs 3 things to grow including moisture, nutrients, and proper temperature. Nutrients include multiple types of materials including wood, cotton, and drywall. When mold grows on these materials it is actually slowly eating away at the materials as seen in the photos below. The black mold is present on top of and inside of this wood panel and is growing within the crevices of the panel eating away at each and every area slowly but surely. 

 

 

There are many more facts about mold and some will be covered through the rest of this post. Next, we will briefly cover the effects mold has on health.

 

As stated before, regardless of your health, mold can affect you. Chances of it having a negative impact on your health has to do with the length of time you are exposed, the severity of the issue, and the condition of your health. Since mold can grow within 24-48 hours, situations where there is major water damage, for example in a flood, it is best to address the issue immediately and either vacate, or remove the affected materials.

 

The most common symptoms of mold exposure or those similar to a cold including coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, and skin irritation. More advanced symptoms include fatigue, nausea, pain in joints, and loss of appetite. As if that wasn’t enough, there are more severe symptoms including memory loss, brain damage, cancer and death. The results are plain and simple. Mold is BAD for your health.

 

There are many articles and publications that inform you of different actions you can take to rid your body of mold exposure. Some are doctor recommended and some are more natural ways as simple as drinking a combination of freshly juiced fruits and vegetables. Regardless of which path you take, its best to be proactive in ridding your body of toxins.

 

As you can see, there is much to learn about mold. We have many blog posts that can help people understand all aspects of mold including how it effects your pets,mold in rental properties, and even the effects of toxic mold syndrome.

 

Our final words of advice: Don’t ignore mold because it will continue to grow. Don’t cover it up because it will come back. Always consider your health when dealing with mold and never wait to address it. "Don't just guess it, test it!"

 


The Impact of Cleanliness on Indoor Air Quality
The Impact of Cleanliness on Indoor Air Quality


Take a deep breath. Breathe In. Breathe out. Now, consider the quality of the air around you.


Because we can’t usually see bad air particles, the assumption is that the air around us is clear. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re sitting indoors in front of your computer screen. In fact, on average, Americans spend 90% of their time indoors. Unfortunately, indoor air quality can be up to ten times more polluted than the air outside. According to the environmental protection agency, indoor air pollution is one of the top five environmental risks to public health and, in professional settings can lead to symptoms such as decreased productivity, increased employee absences, and greater health care costs.


So what can you do? First, it’s important to understand where the quality of your air sits today. 


There are many indicators of poor indoor air quality. Sometimes it can be difficult to decipher whether or not there is an issue without a professional test, but there are signs you can look for, and smell for, if you suspect there may be an indoor air quality issue. If you walk into your home or place of business and smell something musty, pungent, wet, or stale, you are most likely smelling mold. If you smell a chemical-like or a toxic aroma, that is also an indication that there is something that is creating air quality issues. Health-wise, you should be looking for symptoms that occur when you are in your home or place of business that continue even after you leave. For example, headaches, dizziness, light-headedness, and drowsiness are all signs of exposure to poor indoor air quality. Not only should you watch out for the immediate symptoms of poor indoor air quality, but you should also be aware of the long term symptoms that could occur. You don’t have to live in fear because there are professional services available that can help.


Measuring your air quality indoors can be easily and effectively done by an indoor air quality professional. Indoor air quality professionals, also known as Indoor Environmental Consultants, are fully trained, certified, and licensed in their field. They are able to take samples of contents in the air and building materials (damaged and not damaged) to assess whether there are dangerous materials or air pollutants present. This process is very detailed and the results can provide you with peace of mind.


There are also products that are readily available to you, that aide in improving your indoor air quality. Not only are they just a few clicks away from being in your possession, they are very affordable and help maintain the cleanliness of your space as well.

Cleanliness in your indoor spaces is the first step in improving your indoor air quality. Below are a couple of steps you can take to ensure that you are providing the best working environment for yourself and your employees.


Have your Carpet and Upholstery Regularly Cleaned and Maintained

Vacuuming your carpeting consistently prevents the particulates that get caught in carpet fibers from polluting your air every time somebody walks into your building. And deep cleaning your carpet and upholstery with the MilliCare by Cubix, Inc. proprietary carpet maintenance system has been proven to remove up to 99% of pollutants—preventing them from becoming airborne. Your space will not only look cleaner, but will feel fresh, too.


Use Environmentally Safe Cleaning Products and Methods

Environmentally safe cleaning products and methods help prevent dirt, dust, and pollutants in your textiles from becoming airborne without introducing unnecessary or unwanted VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).


Limit moisture in your workspaces

Microbial growth thrives in wet or humid conditions. By managing the amount of water leftover in your office spaces and common areas, you can improve air quality and promote a healthy and comfortable working environment free of mold, pests and insects. The dry care process used by Cubix, Inc. uses very little water to limit the potential for mold and bacteria growth.


To learn more about the quality of the air in your building or what you can do about it, contact Air Quality Assessors and Cubix, Inc. today.


About Cubix, Inc.

A single source for total floor care solutions, Cubix, Inc. was founded in 1997 by Rick and Judi DeVane and has continued to grow and develop in many great ways since then. Now home to over 40 employees who serve some of Florida's largest and most prestigious accounts, Cubix, Inc. strives to understand each client's unique needs and provide the most effective and environmentally-friendly solutions available. Cubix, Inc. offers total consultative packages including flooring maintenance, sales and installation. 


About Air Quality Assessors

Air Quality Assessors is a provider for indoor air quality and building damage testing and consultation services. Fully certified, licensed, and insured, we proudly cover the entire state of Florida while servicing commercial and residential clients. Trusting us with your testing needs since 2010. “Don’t just guess it, test it!”


Gadgets that Improve Indoor Air Quality
Gadgets that Improve Indoor Air Quality

 

Managing the indoor air quality in your home can be a struggle, especially if you've never attempted this before. Who knew you had to maintain the air you're breathing while inside the safe walls of your home? The good news is, there are ways to improve your indoor air quality, and 5 of them are listed below and are just a few clicks away from being in your home! 

 

GERMGUARDIAN


1.       GermGuardian is an Air Purifier that cleanses the air in your home by capturing dust, pollen and even mold spores. It uses a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter that forces air through it’s fine mesh, and traps unwanted particulates. It also comes with a UV-C light that zaps airborne viruses, germs and again, mold spores so they no longer exist. This is a great product to have in your home especially if you live with people with allergies, babies, or the elderly.

 

 

iROBOT ROOMBA


2.       How can a vacuum help improve indoor air quality you ask? Dirt, debris, and settled particulates are constantly being released into the air when people walk around, open doors, and go in and out of their homes. Running the Roomba, especially when you don’t have time to vacuum, will aide in ensuring your home (at least the floor) is kept clean, and dirt is controlled. The Roomba has a very powerful suction, but low air return that reduces the release of particulates into the air while vacuuming.

 

If you don’t have a Roomba and use traditional vacuuming, make sure the filtration system is cleaned regularly and working properly. It is also recommended that you purchase a vacuum with a HEPA filter which will not only vacuum, but filter the air it draws in and releases. To read a more detailed and technical explanation of how vacuuming contributes to indoor air quality read Clean Link’s article.

 

SAFE-T-AIR


 

3.       Safe T Air contains tea tree oil which serves as a natural fungicide which basically means it destroys fungi. This gel seeks and destroys mold and bacteria in the air, and most importantly its NONTOXIC. Bringing chemicals into your home to reduce mold formation can do as it says, but also emits harmful chemicals called VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) into the air of your home at the same time. Just place this clever little jar in areas of high moisture or where mold concerns occur, and see the difference. Purchase on amazon here and read about the many great reviews this product has.

 

 

AIR KNIGHT


4.        Air Knight is an ionizing air purification system for your home. It is installed alongside your HVAC system that uses a broad spectrum UV light to kill mold spores, break down dangerous chemicals, and control odors in your home. It also reduces germs and purifies the air as well as surfaces through a hydro peroxide method similar to hydrogen peroxide on a cut. Air Knight is sold through third party vendors like Top Tech Parts and Amazon. Contact your local HVAC or Air Conditioning Professional for purchasing and installation.

 

NEST


5.       One way to improve the indoor air quality in your home and prevent mold growth is by controlling relative humidity. The NEST is a thermostat that has many other properties other than just controlling the temperature. One of its best components is the Cool to Dry feature. What this does is works with your AC unit and dehumidification system to ensure the relative humidity in your home is managed properly throughout the entire day, even when you are not home. If you don’t have a dehumidification mode, you can view the relative humidity with your NEST app and adjust the thermostat yourself, from your mobile phone. Keeping the relative humidity at the proper levels will ensure that it’s not too high and creating humid/wet air, or not too low and causing condensation which in turn creates access moisture, then mold. Note: Relative humidity should always remain between 40%-60%

 

If you find you have a mold or indoor air quality problem in your home, it is best to contact a professional indoor air quality testing company to assess the source of the problem. The above products are great for preventative action and if you are looking to improve the air quality in your home. Breathe easy!


How Mold Affects Your Pets
How Mold Affects Your Pets

 

Managing a full household can be a challenge from keeping up with cleanliness, to making sure all of the errands get done, to caring for children and pets. It can be overwhelming. What makes things even more difficult, is when a problem that is not so easy to fix, arises. For example, when a window breaks. This issue must be solved in a timely manner because it can endanger children and pets living in the home. So what happens when there is a problem that is not so obvious and just won’t get solved with a band aid?

 

Building damage is frequently overlooked because it occurs on the inside of a building structure. It is basically out of sight, out of mind. But, when you begin to see signs of damage, more destruction than you expected could have already occurred. What exactly are we referring to? Mold. Mold is a hidden danger that can affect the health of everyone living around it especially pets. Pets feel the negative effects of mold exposure more than people because their immune system is smaller and more sensitive than ours.

 

Mold sickness was first discovered in animals in the 1930’s in Russia when farm animals became ill from sleeping on and eating damp hay where mold formed. These days, black mold information is readily available therefore mold is thankfully more controllable. The signs of mold sickness can be difficult to spot, especially because they are very similar to those of a cold. If your pet shows any signs of a cold or similar illness, mold should be considered a cause. Symptoms of mold exposure in pets is very similar to those of people including:

 

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Skin rashes
  • Lethargy
  • Trembling  

 

 

While not an overwhelming amount of stories are in the current media about pets and mold exposure, there have been multiple reports since 2000 of situations where pets have been affected. In this particular story, two cats were living in a home where there was flood and water damage in the direct area where the cats dwelled. Although no one likes hearing sad stories with animals (we don’t like anything short of funny cat videos on the internet) this unfortunate situation helped raise awareness and probably saved many pet lives. If you have an ill pet and have had water damage in your home, it’s best to let your veterinarian know if your home has been exposed to water damage whether it’s from a flood, roof leak, or a common household leak.

 

The best action to take when you find your pet is suffering from any of the above symptoms related to mold is to relocate them. Take them somewhere where they can be comfortable and away from the effected home. Taking them to the vet is always a good precaution to take as well. The veterinarian should run routine tests to make sure the health of your pet is not declining. As petful.com states, “treatment may involve a blood transfusion (if the pet bleeds unduly) and antibiotics to fight secondary infections. Your vet will repeat blood tests to monitor liver function.” As you can see, mold and pets is very serious and for the sake of your little loved ones, should not be taken lightly.

 

What should you do if you find signs of black mold? There are many resources that can lead you in the right direction to solving your mold problem. If you are reading this blog, you probably already completed step #1 which is identifying that you have a mold problem. As indoor environmental professionals, we have multiple blog posts with advice on how to handle your mold issue. If you take away one thing from this blog, remember that mold should not be ignored, and even though you don’t see symptoms now, they can show up later. So keep you and everyone in your home safe including your pets.

 

Resources: Petful.com

     Cat Channel

                     Center for Disease Control and Prevention

                     Black Mold

                     


Black Mold - Is it a Threat?
Black Mold - Is it a Threat?

 

When people think about mold, the picture that comes to mind is black and green fuzzy stuff on sliced bread and fruit. Here we are going to have a closer look into this common fungus. Black mold is one of the most common types of mold that forms in homes. Other names for common black mold is stachybotrys chartarum, and toxic black mold. Black mold comes in many different species and classifications. It might be hard for some to believe, but not all types of black mold are toxic.

 

There are thousands of different kinds of back molds, but only some will affect health in humans and pets. Although it is difficult to determine which species are dangerous and which ones are not on your own, we want to inform you as much as possible so you are prepared to make the right decisions and keep your family safe.

 

 

         

 

 

What does black mold look like? Black mold isn’t just black; it can be gray, green and sometimes look dark blue. It forms in clusters and can sometimes look slimy, fluffy growing outward, and spotty. It can come in the form on small dots or large round patches that are staggered along a wall. You may also notice that around the areas where black mold has formed, there are signs of moisture. Bubbling and cracking paint, brown spots on the ceiling, and areas of condensation are all signs of moisture damage and possible mold formation. Floods and leaks are two main causes of excess moisture that cause mold. Moisture is one of the sources needed for mold to grow. Other sources include organic materials (wood, drywall) and temperature between 70-100 degrees.

 

It is no secret that black mold can cause health problems. From watery eyes to fatigue and eventually brain damage, the symptoms range from common and temporary symptoms to serious life threatening sicknesses. One common sickness caused by mold is Toxic Mold Syndrome. Many people have suffered from this and if you have never heard of TMS before, read our previous blog post “The Dangers of Toxic Mold Syndrome”. In a report conducted by CBS, a family’s story is exposed when they ran into a major mold problem.

 

 


If you have found that you are living in the presence of black mold the BEST way to resolve the problem is to get the effected materials removed by a mold professional. Sprays, tapes, and wiping surfaces can only temporarily fix the issue and possibly spread the mold more. Proper mold remediation and testing are the only ways to solve the problem and prove that it is gone 100%. If you are sick and think that black mold may be the cause, mention to your doctor that you think you may have a mold problem.