Humidity is described as the amount of water vapor or water molecules that are currently present in the air. So, what causes humidity in the air to begin with? It can all be traced back to the water cycle and wind patterns on the planet. When it rains and water reaches the ground, it evaporates back into the atmosphere when it reaches a certain temperature. When you hear meteorologists talking about humidity, they are referring to "relative humidity". What does that mean? This term simply compares the current amount of moisture in the air to the total amount of moisture that the air can hold.
Warm air can hold more water than cold air, which is why you experience those unbearably hot and humid days during the summer months. So, it's safe to say that you can usually expect higher levels of humidity in warm climates, especially if they are by a large body of water or experience a lot of rainfall. Humidity is often pushed up from wind currents originating from humid places around the world. This is exactly what causes changes in weather.
Humidity outside is one thing to deal with, and humidity indoors is another. The level of humidity in your home can impact the concentration of indoor air pollutants, which relates to the overall air quality. Having excess moisture in your house creates the perfect conditions for mold and mildew to form. Mold in the home can cause a variety of health disturbances, and it can affect the structural integrity of your home if it goes unchecked. Headaches, dizziness, respiratory issues, and asthma symptoms are some of the health dangers that mold in the household can bring. Mold caused by high humidity levels can wreak havoc on your health, emotional state, and bank account if you have to resort to remediation! This is why it is important to control the level of humidity in your home, especially in unfavorable weather conditions.
September is Mold Awareness Month! This month of awareness aims to educate and raise awareness about the different effects that mold can have on your health and home. Exposure to mold and the subsequent mycotoxins produced can wreak havoc on your families health. The more knowledge that you have, the less chance you have of suffering from mold in your home.
It's true that some types of mold are a lot more dangerous than others. This is why you don't need a hazmat suit to take care of moldy leftovers in your fridge! Some of the most common types of mold found within a household include aspergillus, stachybotrys atra (or black mold), and cladosporium. Aspergillus is most often found on food and within systems of the house like air ducts and HVAC systems. Cladosporium is usually green or dark brown with a pepper like appearance commonly found in bathroom areas. Black mold is the most harmful type of mold to have in your home. This type of mold often occurs after a household has experienced heavy flooding or water damage that was not taken care of in a timely manner.
Don't be alarmed! Be aware of the conditions that mold likes to grow in, and keep an eye out for any changes in the appearance and smell of your home, as well as the health of your family. If you find mold in your home, the best thing you can do is hire a professional mold remediation company as soon as possible. Attempting to clean the mold yourself could make matters worse by spreading the spores and exposing yourself to harmful mycotoxins. A professional company can take care of any mold issues you run into in the best way possible. The longer mold isn't taken care of, the more potential it has to wreak havoc on your house and health.
The presence of mold in your home can have lasting negative effects. Not only is it damaging to the structural quality of your home, but also to your health. A lot of homeowners want to fix problems themselves to save time, money, and effort. If you're a motivated self-starter, you might have the instinct to clean the mold yourself. Before you pick up the cleaning products, do a bit of research. Always leave the mold remediation to professionals, or you can create more issues!
There are countless situations that can lead to the presence of mold in your home. You could have had a household leak or weather damage that let dampness accumulate. No matter the cause, it's important to remove the mold as soon as possible. You also want to address what brought on the mold issue, to begin with. Given the serious health risks that mold can trigger, it should not be a DIY job. Without the proper equipment, training, and experience, you could end up causing more problems in the long run.
If you don't know what you're doing when it comes to mold removal, you can exacerbate the issue at hand. Mold spores are microscopic, and you can easily spread the infestation where it wasn't present before. You might think that you're saving yourself money by tackling this project yourself, but that's rarely the case. If you aren't careful, you can double the costs by spreading spores to different areas. This will make the job more intensive when you eventually have to call a professional.
Mold remediation experts have the latest and greatest equipment and cleaning agents. They know how to tackle every stage of mold situations. Sure, vinegar might take care of a mildew smell lurking in your laundry room, but it would never kill a large colony. Powerful chemicals are extremely dangerous when they're in inexperienced hands. Professionals know how to shield themselves with respirators, goggles, and other articles of protective clothing. A simple dust mask and long sleeve clothing aren't enough to protect your health!
There are different types of mold, and some are more dangerous than others. The reality is that you don't have years of experience diagnosing and testing for mold issues. This means you can't make a distinction between different types of mold by looking up pictures and information online. Without a mold removal expert, you won't know what you're dealing with. Not only can you misdiagnose, but you can miss hidden mold completely if you aren't experienced. If you disturb black mold and release spores, you could experience symptoms like vomiting, nausea, fatigue, and even bleeding in extreme cases.
There are countless reasons why you should hire a mold removal expert. While there are many DIY resources available nowadays, mold removal shouldn't be one of these DIY jobs. Leave the job to the experts who know how to contain and remediate the mold issues in your home. It's the smartest thing for your home, budget, and health.
Mold Killers on the Market
Any sign of mold in your home can seriously impact your day-to-day life. It can appear in your shower, countertops, tile floors, drywall or cause serious damage to your roof, windows, pipes and even the air. But we’re here to tell you that you don’t have to live with this! So what are we here to talk about? MOLD PRODUCTS!
Sometimes it feels like there are so many solutions out there. Products that claim to get rid of mold, mildew, and clean your air. Luckily, we have outlined some of these home remedies and are highlighting them to show you what is in the market making these claims. These examples come with the disclaimer so please don't confuse these solutions for problematic mold that is airborne or is causing damage to your home. In this case, we 100% recommend you call a professional to assess the situation and identify the source.
This brand offers an array of mold removal products. Mold Armor uses a powerful bleached-based formula that claims to kill mold without scrubbing on multiple surfaces including interior walls, bathroom surfaces or exterior areas such as brick, vinyl siding or concrete.
How to use:
Simply spray on to the desired surface, let stand 10 minutes and rinse off.
Using bleach as an attempt to remove mold, won't always work. Beach opaques mold which turns it white instead of getting rid of it. Using bleach on porous surfaces such as wood and concrete can permanently damage those surfaces and may eat away at them worse than mold would. Also, this product has a strong chemical base which can be dangerous when inhaled or used in closed areas.
Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover
With a heavier focus on interior areas, Tilex uses a Clorox bleach formula to kill mold, mildew and other bacteria found on any nonporous surface such as showers, counters, sinks, bathtubs or tiles. This spray also claims to remove tough mold stains commonly found in the home.
Spray on surface affected by mold or mildew, let stand for five minutes and rinse off.
Again, bleach does not always solve the problem. Our advice would be to use an anti-bacterial soap to clean nonporous surfaces. Why? It's in the name! ANTIBACTERIAL. Mold is a bacteria.
Concrobium Mold Control
This product claims to serve as a green approach to mold removal. Concrobium is a product that aims to prevent and eliminate mold without harmful chemicals or bleach. On the bottle, it mentions it can be used for general interior maintenance, damage repairs, and construction or renovation projects.
Apply a thin layer of the solution to the desired surface and allow it to dry thoroughly. Once the surface is dry, wipe clean and use again for any residual staining. For mold prevention, leave a thin layer on the surface.
We like that this product contains no harmful chemicals and also claims to encapsulate mold spores. Even though it may get growing mold spores under control, It almost sounds too good to be true. we would probably classify this as more of a cleaning product rather than a mold killer.
Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit
While this product is not a “mold killer”, a home mold testing kit claims it can help you identify potential harmful and toxic mold spores. Pro-lab offers three types of testing: indoor air quality, AC/heating air test, and surface mold sampling. There is an optional mail-in lab analysis that can tell you the type of mold for an extra $40 fee.
We won’t bore you with the exhaustive instructions, but each kit comes with all of your testing supplies and a detailed step-by-step guide. The entire process could take about an hour.
If your mold issue is unexplained growth, it's best to consult with a professional and we'll tell you why. Even though this test may tell you whether or not you have mold in your home, this test still doesn't tell you where the mold is coming from. A lot of surface mold leads to a source of hidden mold which a lot of times is more severe than what meets the eye. If you're using this test to cut cost and you find you have mold, you're missing vital steps in the mold detection process including consulting, support with questions, expertise, and a post-remediation clearance test to ensure the mold is completely removed. After sampling and sending in the results, the cost difference is not that large and with professional mold testing, you get a professional with years of experience and more assurance.
Until we use these products and conduct the proper before and after testing, we will not be able to fully judge whether or not they work. A case study with a record of results is what is needed to really judge the effectiveness of each product. Remember, these products are only designed to rectify mold to a certain extent. We would always advise consulting with a professional, like Air Quality Assessors, to determine what type of mold you are dealing with to prevent any further damages.
Water damage is an occurrence caused by many different factors which include one we've been hearing about a lot in the news; hurricanes. Other natural disasters that cause major water damage are heavy rainfall, tsunamis, and storm surges. You would have to be really unlucky to experience all of them, or even one, but there are more common causes of water damage that typically happen more frequently inside of homes including leaks, plumbing issues, HVAC systems, household appliances, and issues caused by clogged gutters.
Water damage in Florida is typically an ongoing issue especially during the hurricane and heavy rain seasons. There are several parts in Florida that have a greater chance of experiencing floods and water damage with the main reason being living near large bodies of water. The main areas in Florida that are likely to flood are:
Flooding in and of itself is difficult to deal with, but when you consider everything else that comes along with water damage (mold growth) the stress of it all begins to rise. Because of mold growth, water damage over time can affect your health and can become very dangerous. Black mold infestation is one of the consequences of not taking the proper actions when water damage occurs that can increase health risks to many individuals. People suffering from asthma and allergies are typically affected the most as well as infants, children and the elderly. They can experience respiratory problems, eye and skin irritation, and many other long-term affects down the line. Black mold is especially dangerous within your home because flood waters are contaminated from sewage and can bring on more severe problems.
Luckily, there is one major sign of water damage you can look out for: brown stains on your ceilings and walls. This a key sign of roof leaks caused by rainfall. If there are streaky stains on your walls in the bathroom, this could be a sign of a burst pipe. Streaky stains on the walls of your home can also be caused by overflowing gutters or appliances. Floorboards can show signs of water damage too. If your floorboards have discoloration or changes in texture, this is a clear indication of water coming from somewhere. Some signs to look for in your floorboards include:
Believe it or not, you can use your ears to detect water damage. If you can hear dripping or rushing water, you may have a problem. If you hear a noise similar water dripping, look for things in your home that have changed appearance. Another sense you can use is your sense of smell, for instance by smelling musky/rotten mold.
As always we want to reiterate how important it is that you look over your insurance coverage to see if flood damage is covered. When your property is damaged, please don't wait to take action! It's also a great idea to have a plan-of-action in place in case you do experience water damage. Do your research now on water damage companies in your area and let them know they're part of your emergency plan. Lastly, do not worry because, in the end, everything will get better and be okay.
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
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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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.
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 it's 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 than 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 are 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, it's 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!"