Air Quality Assessors Blog

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Air Quality Assessors Blog


Mold In Your New Home
Mold In Your New Home


Mold can happen anywhere. It's particularly concerning when you notice signs of mold in your new home. Moving into a new home is one of the most exciting life events that happens! It signifies a shift in your life, and is something to be celebrated. However, it can be pretty hard to feel celebratory if you've moved into a new home that has mold or damages. Believe it or not, mold is even a common occurrence in new construction homes due to modern building practices. With the housing market being very competitive these days, things can move fast. We're here to teach you how to avoid these potential problems, and what to do if you encounter them.


Utilize Inspections

 

Scheduling your own private home inspection is so important before buying or even renting a home. It's the only way to know what you're getting into. A professional home inspector ideally has years of experience diagnosing signs of mold and others forms of damage to a home. They will pay attention to signs of water damage, leaks, and mold in both common and hard to reach areas. They can run tests for VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, which is a broad term for a multitude of substances that turn to vapor with normal room temperatures and can be harmful to your health. A professional home inspection is a simple investment that can end up saving you thousands of dollars down the road. They're able to diagnose an issue before it gets to be a costly issue, or save you from buying or renting the home if it's too big of an issue to deal with.


If You Find Damage

 

Have you noticed signs of mold or water damage in the home you've just moved into? If it’s too late to back out, you are probably wondering how to properly take care of mold or damages in a new home. It's not a bad idea to check with your real estate agent to see if there were any warranties promised in the purchase agreement between yourself and the seller. If you're renting, it's important to get in contact with your landlord immediately so that they are aware of the issue at hand. Most local laws protect renters and hold landlords responsible for remediation if the house is inhabitable, but it's important to review your specific renters agreement to be certain. In either case, check to see what your renters or homeowners insurance policy will cover.


Call The Professionals


Whether you're looking for a new home or you're already in your home looking for help, it's vital that you know how to find the best professionals for the job! Check community resources like social media groups to get relevant local recommendations for home inspection services from people who have used them in the last few years. In the case of mold growing in the home, the sooner you find professional mold remediation, the better. You want to choose a reputable company with years of experience diagnosing and eradicating mold, as well as keeping it from growing in the future. The more time mold has to grow, the worse the problem will become, and the more potential there is for your home or health to suffer consequences. Ensure the safety of you and your family by both preventing the problem, and knowing what to do if it arises!

Combat Seasonal Allergies
Combat Seasonal Allergies


Spring is in the air! Unfortunately, that doesn't bring warm and fuzzy feelings to everybody. If you're someone who suffers from allergies in the spring time, you know how these conflicting emotions come into play. We're here with some information on why this happens and how to lessen the impact this spring.


Causes Of Allergy Symptoms

What causes allergy symptoms to rise in the spring, anyway? The most common trigger for these symptoms is the rise of pollen in the air. If you weren't aware, plants in the environment release these small particles into the air to fertilize other plants. When someone is allergic to pollen, breathing it in triggers the release of histamines in the body to protect against the perceived attack to the immune system. This is precisely what gives you those annoying common allergy symptoms such as sniffling, rash, sneezing, eye and throat irritation.


Indoor/Outdoor Air Quality 

Did you know that indoor and outdoor air quality have an effect on the severity of allergy symptoms? For example, there are other factors that have a negative impact on outdoor air quality such as smoke, emissions, dust, and ozone in the atmosphere. When these combine with high pollen, you're looking at a pretty miserable time for allergy sufferers. This is why you see an increased rate of allergy sufferers in busy city environments with high pollution. It's important for allergy sufferers to reduce their exposure to pollutants, particularly indoors. Since there isn't as much circulation indoors as there is outdoors, improving your indoor air quality should be a top priority if you suffer from allergies.


Where Mold Comes In

Mold can also be a cause for allergies. The respiratory irritation that we associate with spring time allergies is another symptom of mold exposure. If there is increased humidity and insufficient circulation of air in your house, it's a good idea to diligently check for mold. It thrives in damp conditions that come with the spring time. There are other possible causes for an increase in symptoms, too. Dust mites are another common indoor allergen that can cause trouble for allergy sufferers!


How To Tackle Your Symptoms

You don't have to continue suffering through allergy season every year! We all know to keep the windows closed when those high pollen days roll around, but there are also different treatments and ways to prevent it from becoming too intense. Be sure to keep an eye on the pollen count with your favorite weather channel so you're never taken by surprise. Spring cleaning is another way you can tackle indoor allergens head on! Be sure to clean from top to bottom to ensure you're getting all the allergens and dust that escape from surfaces as you're cleaning. Be sure to replace the filters on your furnace, air conditioners, and air purifiers if you have them. It's also a good idea to team up with a local air quality assessor, like AQA, to ensure that you're doing all you can to keep your house free of indoor allergens.


Spring Into Cleaning!
Spring Into Cleaning!


Spring is the perfect time to start off with a fresh slate by ensuring that the surroundings in your home are as clean as possible. But, spring is also a suitable season for mold growth when you consider the increased moisture in the environment. Are you ready to make sure your home is both immaculate and hygienic with the arrival of the new season? Get a head start on your spring cleaning with some of the following information and tips!

 

Areas To Look Out For

 

It becomes easier to guard yourself against mold and mildew when you're informed about the common areas where mold and mildew occur around the home. Mold and mildew thrive in humid and damp conditions found in basements, kitchens, and bathrooms. It's also important to pay attention to areas that often go overlooked such as ventilation ducts, areas around HVAC systems, crawl spaces, and underneath surfaces like carpet.


Mold v. Mildew 


Are you aware of the difference between mold and mildew? You can tell mold and mildew apart by how it looks, where it grows, and the effects that the two substances have. Mildew has a powdery or fluffy appearance that forms on the surface of an area, while mold tends to have a fuzzy or slimy appearance that is often green or black. Mildew can damage the surface of whatever it grows on, but it's not known to be quite as harmful to health when compared to mold. Mildew is also easier to remove than mold, as it only requires a cleaner and a scrubbing utensil as opposed to a professional remediation team.


Best Cleaning Products 


It's helpful to be informed about the best cleaning products to use, especially for the indoor air quality of your home. If you're cleaning mildew, consider using a gentler cleaner that doesn't contain harsh chemicals that affect indoor air quality. You can use simple cleaning ingredients found around the house such as vinegar or carefully diluted bleach. If you have a mold issue in your home, it's best to consult the professionals to remediate the problem. Otherwise, you could make the issue worse by spreading mold spores to new surfaces.


Why Spring Clean?


A clean home is important for your health. Not only are mold and mildew unsightly and unpleasant to smell, but they can also cause serious health problems if not taken care of. Exposure to mold over a prolonged period of time can induce asthma-like symptoms in the form of respiratory irritation. Have you noticed that yourself or the people in your household have unexplained symptoms like sneezing, coughing, eye irritation, skin irritation or chronic headaches? Your bodies could very well be reacting to mold and mildew in the household.

The best way to stay on top of the mold and mildew in your home is to stay vigilant. When you make sure that moisture and humidity are in check throughout the household while spring cleaning, you will enjoy having a healthy environment free of mold and mildew.

At Risk Areas of Your Home
At Risk Areas of Your Home

Not all rooms in your home are created equal! This is definitely true when it comes to areas of the home that are highly impacted by excess moisture, leaks, and mold. So, how do you know which rooms to keep an eye on and what extra precautions to take to make sure your home is free from excess moisture? We've provided you with some helpful tips to ensure that every square inch of your home is as dry and clean as possible for you to live your healthiest life.

 

Rooms At High Risk

So, which rooms of your house are at the highest risk for moisture and mold growth? Any room that is consistently exposed to moisture is higher at risk for mold exposure. This is because those are the conditions that mold thrives in. So, as you can imagine, rooms like the bathroom and basement have the highest risk for excess humidity and mold growth. Bathrooms are especially prone to mold due to the amount of plumbing present and how much humidity occurs daily with bathing. But, mold can grow in any room where there is excess moisture in the form of a household leak, high humidity from the climate, improper ventilation or improper insulation within the home. Mold can even grow on your mattress over time if you tend to excessively sweat at night!


Signs To Look Out For

If you're worried about mold sneaking up on you, there are signs to look out for. You should be especially vigilant if you know that there is excess moisture recently within the home. If you happen to notice visible spots on the surfaces of your home which could be fuzzy or flat, that's a sign that there is mold growing. Mold often has a distinguishable musty and earthy odor, which is another thing to look out for. Finally, listen to your body! Mold impacts the air quality by saturating it with spores that contain mycotoxins. If you're displaying unexplained allergy symptoms such as respiratory irritation, headaches, or dizziness, you could be exposing yourself to mold within the home.


Steps To Take

If you notice excess moisture in any of the rooms in your home, there are steps you can take to solve the problem. Make sure rooms are ventilated properly, use a dehumidifier where needed, and check for excess moisture where plumbing is present. You can also take advantage of products like mold resistant paint for areas such as the basement and bathroom. It's also a good idea to get your HVAC systems maintained to ensure they're working. A professional mold remediation company can help you if you're looking to make sure the room is completely free of moisture, or if you need a mold problem remediated. Professionals have years of experience and first-hand knowledge on how to remedy excess moisture and mold within the home. With these tools at your disposal, you're well on your way to having a perfectly balanced and healthy home that's free from excess moisture.

Steps Towards a Healthier Home – After a Major Storm
Steps Towards a Healthier Home – After a Major Storm

Has your home recently been affected by a major weather event such as a hurricane or tornado? Perhaps you're anticipating a big storm and want to be sure you're protecting your household as much as possible. It can be a scary thing to experience an intense weather episode no matter how many times you've been through it before. Each storm is different and has the potential to damage your home.


Impacts of a Major Storm

Your house is one of your biggest financial assets, and it's also a sanctuary for all who inhabit it, so it's natural to want to make sure it is in the best condition possible. For those living in a climate that has unpredictable storms or a predictable storm season, there's a lot to think about when it comes to securing your home against damage during a weather episode. Intense storms can seriously take their toll on the structural integrity of a home if proper steps aren't taken after damage occurs. It's easy to get overwhelmed with damage to your home after a storm, after all, it can get pretty costly. However, when all is said and done, the most important thing is that your home is still a healthy environment to live in after a storm.


Common Household Damages

So, what type of damage can happen to a home after a storm? Of course, the more intense a storm is, the more potential it has to cause damage to structures in the area. The most common damage you will find to a home will be due to water from precipitation getting into the house along with damage from high winds that often accompany a storm.


High winds most commonly cause damage to the roof including the shingles and gutters, siding, windows, garages/sheds. Powerful wind can uproot trees, bring down power lines, and even turn a seemingly lightweight object into an airborne danger. When the high-velocity wind picks up an item in the middle a storm, there's no predicting what route it will take or what damage it will cause! Water damage can quickly turn into a mold remediation issue if you do not take steps to get rid of the water in the home as soon as possible. Mold resulting from water damage can seriously affect the health of those who live in the household!

 

Steps Toward a Healthier Home

Here are some quick steps you can take to protect your home after a major storm like a hurricane:

  • Create airflow through the house and ventilate the area by opening doors and windows
  • Dry any wet items that you find as soon as possible, and throw away anything that was damaged too badly for use in the future
  • Ensure any mold remediation is done by a licensed professional in the field
  • Deep clean the entire home to make sure there isn't any moisture lurking around
  • Take precautions to prevent future water intrusion with home repairs both indoors and outdoors
  • Create a structured plan for cleaning, drying, and remediation so you aren't scrambling if it happens again