Air Quality Assessors Blog

rss

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!

Leaky Roof: Repair or Replace?
Leaky Roof: Repair or Replace?

Home ownership comes with a myriad of responsibilities, and one of them happens to be maintenance. It can be quite expensive to embark on the home-owning journey, especially if you have a lot of renovations to do. One maintenance woe that many homeowners will deal with at one point or another is a leaky roof. However, how do you know whether to repair or replace the roof? We're here with some information to help you realize how your roof started leaking, the effects of a leaking roof, and what your best course of action is.


Leak Causes


The most common causes of a leaking roof include damage to the shingles, clogged gutters, cracked flashing underneath the shingles, condensation inside of the attic, and damaged valley seals. Damage can occur after an episode of inclement weather with strong rain, wind, or debris flying through the air. Your roof leak could also be caused by the age of the roof itself, as every roof will endure wear and tear after a number of years.


Roof Damages


The dangers associated with roof leaks can wreak havoc on the home and those who live inside of it. A long-standing roof leak has the potential to damage insulation, wood, drywall, flooring, and electrical appliances. If a roof leak drips onto electrical wiring, it can also be a fire hazard. Many leaks end up in the attic where families store sentimental and valuable belongings. Not only can a leak cause costly structural damage, it can also invite mold into the home. This is because mold and mildew thrive in conditions with excess moisture! If a mold issue keeps growing, health issues such as respiratory irritation and intense allergy symptoms can quickly arise.


Repair or Replace?


So, how do you know if it's best to repair or replace the roof? To make the distinction, you will need to introduce a professional to the situation. If the decking or underlayment of the roof is damaged, it's best to replace the roof instead of simply replacing shingles. While there are options to patch areas or shingle over an existing roof to save money, it's similar to putting a piece of tape over a pipe leak. It's better for your health, the integrity of your household, and wallet to take the steps needed to solve the problem in the most efficient way.


Call the Professionals 


If you have noticed a leak coming from your roof, get in touch with a mold remediation company as soon as possible. Professional mold remediation companies know how to distinguish whether mold has been growing in these hard to reach and hard to see areas of the home. It's time to call a mold remediation company immediately if you're noticing a mildewy smell, unexplained allergies or health symptoms, or actual mold around the home. Give AQA a call to schedule your thorough mold inspection today! We will tell you if mold is an issue, and if it is, we will take the steps to get rid of it forever.

What To Do After a Flood
What To Do After a Flood

 

Your home is a major investment, and as a homeowner, you naturally want to protect it from damage. This is why it can be very upsetting to deal with a flood in your home. Your house isn't just an investment, it's a major part of your daily life. Flooding can happen anywhere, it isn't only a regional issue. The potential for damage to your possessions and health is enough to become informed on how to deal with this issue if it arises. Flooding can damage your sentimental belongings and even create health issues for your family in the future if not taken care of in an efficient manner.

First Steps  

There are initial steps you can take if you notice signs of water intrusion in your home. Essentially, you'll want to dry the area as soon as possible. But before you do that, take pictures to fully document the issue for your insurance purposes, and turn off the electrical source to the room. Be sure to check over your insurance policy to ensure you're aware of the coverage that you have. Depending on your policy, certain items like the essential systems in the home and appliances could be the only things covered. Each policy is different, don't be surprised about what is and isn't covered when it is too late.

Don't Forget to Document 

Documentation is important before and after a flood! Always keep copies of your policies on hand along with contact information for the insurance company to review when needed. If you experience flooding, contact them as soon as possible. The longer the water stands, there is greater potential for property damage and mold growth, especially within the first 48 hours. This is why it is important to remove the water and ventilate the area to dry!

Avoid These Mistakes 

Besides the top mistake of waiting too long to remove water after a flood, there are other common mistakes to avoid. Many people decide to wade into the waters without thinking about what might be lurking underfoot. Depending on the severity and location of the flood, you could unknowingly walk into an electrical hazard, contaminated sewer water, unstable foundations, or sharp metal and glass objects. It is best to let a professional with the tools and experience to begin remediation. You might think your shop vac and household fans can resolve the issue, but this could actually make things worse. The peace of mind of knowing that mold isn't lurking and growing in unseen areas of a house is reason enough to call in the professionals.

Call the Professionals 

Begin your search for professional remediation immediately after experiencing flooding in your home. Ideally, look for a company that is licensed and insured for your protection. The issue is time sensitive, so they should have a flexible schedule to accommodate those with emergencies. If they aren't available within the next 24-48 hours to assess and begin remediation of the issues, it's wise to look for another company.


How To Prepare Your Home For Hurricane Season
How To Prepare Your Home For Hurricane Season


Living in a climate like Florida where severe weather is common creates challenges for homeowners. It's important to know how to prepare your home for the 2018 hurricane season! Any effort that you put into storm-proofing your house will help when it comes to the safety of your family and structural integrity of the home.

 

Hurricane Aftermath

There are plenty of issues that can occur with the damage storms bring. Even the best drainage systems and foundations can get overwhelmed with the amount of water brought in with a hurricane. Water getting into the home can weaken drywall, soak insulation and carpet. This creates the perfect conditions for mold to grow. The longer you have standing water in a home, the more potential there is for long-term damage. Furniture, electrical systems, and appliances can get ruined with any amount of water exposure. If you don't have one already, consider buying a generator for when the electricity gets knocked out. Make sure you know how to use beforehand too!

 

How To Prepare

Preparing a home for hurricane season should be a top priority for homeowners in Florida. First, be sure to review any insurance policies that are in place so you're not left in the dark. Does your policy cover damage from a flood that follows a big storm? Storm guard your home by cleaning gutters and placing storm shutters on windows. Re-caulking windows and doors add another layer of protection against water damage. You can also install bolts on entry doors to protect against high wind. Since your roof is the biggest opening within the home, you want to make sure it's secure as possible. It's worth it to spend the extra money to seal your roof deck and fasten hurricane clips to the roof and walls. Remember, any lawn decorations or patio furniture can become airborne during a storm, so place them in a secure spot before the winds pick up.

 

What Lies Ahead

The Atlantic hurricane season begins with the first of June and lasts until November 30. Several forecasts are predicting that there will be anywhere from 13 to 18 tropical storms coming through this year. They're reporting ten of those have the potential to become hurricanes. The average number is around eight named storms per-year, so we are already looking at a potentially busier than average Florida hurricane season in 2018. Some areas are still recovering from the 2017 season, so you can see the importance of preparing your home.

 

Post-Hurricane Steps

The most important thing to do when you're dealing with damage from a hurricane is to get in touch with a professional as soon as possible. There are some simple measures you can take to alleviating a problem such as removing excess water and airing out the area. But, nothing replaces the skill and expertise of professionals. You can learn more about how to detect damage and steps to take by reviewing some information we've written on the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.


The Dangers of Toxic Mold Syndrome
The Dangers of Toxic Mold Syndrome

 

Toxic Mold Syndrome, also known as mold illness, is an illness that effects many people. When people get sick, they typically assume the causes are allergies, a cold, or a bad reaction to medications. When you notice a dramatic decline in your health, you have to wonder, what is the cause? Very commonly, people blame their poor health on  outdoor environments when in reality, they should be considering their indoor environments as the main culprit. Most people spend an average of 90% of their time indoors including time at work, school and at home. This fact alone should initiate further research into your indoor environments.


You may experience symptoms that are similar to colds and common allergies when dealing with Toxic Mold Syndrome including:


·         Coughing

·         Wheezing

·         Sore throat

·         Runny nose

·         Itchy eyes

·         And more…

 

There are more serious health problems related to toxic mold syndrome. In many cases, the above symptoms are just the beginning. Not only does toxic mold syndrome affect your respiratory health, but also your nervous system, circulatory system, skin, vision and mental health. As you can see, mold and any of the symptoms related to mold are all something that should not be taken lightly. It can lead to very serious health issues and even death.


In order to avoid long term health problems related to mold exposure, one would ask what is the real cause of mold growth? The simplest reason mold forms is because of moisture. There are many different forms of moisture that cause mold formation including leaks, condensation, humidity, and flooding. When moisture comes in contact with any and all kinds of organic materials (wood, carpet, clothing, etc.…) mold begins to form. There are many great mold prevention tips listed in our “How to Avoid Indoor Allergens" blog post that are easy and affordable to implement. Doing yearly inspections and taking care of your home overall will help lessen the chance of experiencing health issues related to mold.

 

There have been many case studies conducted to prove the effects of mold exposure symptoms. In this presented case study individuals that were tested ranged from 1.5 years to 52 years of age. The conclusion was conditional, however those who were involved experienced similar symptoms and reactions. Along with case studies, there are many personal stories, testimonials, and articles that present personal experiences people have had with toxic mold syndrome and mold related sicknesses. There is one story that stands out among all the rest about a woman who is now doing well, but at one point did not know what happened to her or where to turn. Kimberlyn is someone who one day, completely lost her motivation and began to become very confused as to why her personality and normal demeanor completely changed. With multiple doctor visits over 6 months, she started to find out what may be the cause of her sudden life altering ailment. If you are worried that you may be dealing with mold, her story is very relatable and could save you many unnecessary steps.


Ideally, we would like to say that mold will never be an issue in our lives, but that is not the case. Mold is everywhere. It really all depends on how quickly you handle a situation and how serious it is. Our best advice: be mindful of your surroundings and educate yourself on the signs and the steps to take to resolve your mold problem.



Recommended Links: Black Mold

                                       AMEN clinics

       US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health

                                       Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 


Articles of Interest: The Assignment of Benefits
Articles of Interest: The Assignment of Benefits

 

Very frequently, homeowners have questions about billing, insurance, and their rights when it comes to hiring companies to perform work inside their homes. We want to make sure not only our clients, but everyone is aware of all possible outcomes to ensure all jobs are performed in good faith.

 

This article presents a recent situation where a homeowner was left battling with their insurance company over 2 years because of a technicality which did not event exist. It’s a GREAT read for a quick lesson learned that could potentially save anyone from a lot of trouble in the wake of an emergency. 


Insurance Company’s Defense Based on an Assignment of Benefits Form Fails



The 411 on Leaks & the Damage They Cause
The 411 on Leaks & the Damage They Cause

 

Many times, a leak can be an easy fix with just a small replacement or adjustment as needed. Other times, a small leak can stem from a large problem where major damage control is required. If and when you detect a leak in your home or place of business, the issue should be addressed as promptly as possible. Ignoring signs of a leak can cause issues within your home that you can potentially avoid when you respond immediately.


There are many places leaks can occur:


o   Roof

o   Water Heater

o   Toilets

o   Washer

o   Faucets

o   Dishwasher

o   Pipes


Leaks can cause minor problems such as and an irritating runny faucet, waste of water, and high water bills. One household can waste up to 10,000 gallons of water per year just from water leaks. That waste not only has a negative impact on the environment, but also your wallet. Common household leaks cause your water bill to rise, which is money out of your pocket that you could have spent otherwise.


Although minor problems can be very troublesome, there are bigger issues that can severely damage your home.


Mold development is one of the most common and most consequential causes of leak damage. Mold can form anywhere moisture is present within 24-48 hours. This is the #1 reason why you need to act quickly when you find a leak because the quicker you get rid of a leak, the less chance mold has to form. To reduce the development of mold, you must control moisture. If mold penetrates an area surrounding a leak, the entire area must be removed to eliminate mold. For example, if you smell a musty odor coming from below your sink, you most likely have a mold problem. Fixing the leak will not get rid of mold, it will still continue to spread because of the existing moisture. Removing the surrounding cupboard and base may be necessary to get rid of mold entirely. This is a must especially because mold is overall very harmful and can cause serious health issues


Structure deterioration is a cause of damage from roof leaks. Chronic roof leaks can cause the wood in your home’s structure and ceilings to deteriorate. Although this can be a slow process, watch for signs of roof leaks such as dark spots in your ceiling. When you see water come through the ceiling and leak onto the floor, this means that the surrounding area within the ceiling is absorbing most of that water. Keep a close watch on even the smallest roof leaks because even one can cause wood to weaken and eventually cause a ceiling collapse.


Electrical issues can also be a factor in assessing damage from water leaks. As your household leaks pass through and comes in contact with many interiors, it will most likely reach the electrical components of your home. Uncovered wires and outlet framework can easily cause shock and even fires when coming in contact with water. It only takes one small spark to cause an entire building to burn down. Flooding can also be a factor in carrying electrical currents and causing a fire. Act quickly if you ever find yourself in a flood and turn off your electricity in the flooded areas. This can prevent your entire home from burning down and even prevent death.


To avoid major issues and costly repairs take care of leaks in your home or business facility immediately! Ignoring what might look like a small issue can uncover extreme structural damage and can even cause harm to those around it. Call your local leak detection service company at the first sign of a leak.

 

AQA Website - Leak Detection Services

Environmental Protection Agency

Alliance for Water Efficiency