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3 Common Sources of Indoor Pollution

Indoor pollution can stem from a variety of sources. These sources may originate from the air outside of the house, but they can also originate from inside the house. Indoor sources of pollutions may become particularly problematic during colder seasons when we seal up our homes to conserve heat.

Let’s review three of the most common sources of indoor air pollution. We’ll cover how these pollutants can be detected as well as what to do about them if you do detect them.

Gases from combustion

Combustion devices such as cookstoves, heating stoves, fireplaces, and space heaters, can release deadly pollutants such as carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) into the atmosphere. CO can lead to a variety of symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and even death. Around 500 people in the U.S die from exposure to CO every year. Because it is odorless and without color, the best way to detect the gas is by installing CO detectors near bedrooms and near combustion appliances. NO2 can lead to shortness of breath, and long-term exposure can lead to more serious complications such as infection or emphysema.

Unlike CO, NO2 is easier to detect because it has a reddish-brown color and produces an acrid odor. NO2 detectors are useful for detecting the gas when low levels are being emitted and are otherwise difficult to detect through sight or smell.

Radon is another gas difficult to detect because it has no color and it is odorless. Unfortunately, it is also very dangerous, causing lung cancer and responsible for the deaths of around 20 thousand Americans every year. Soil usually contains trace amounts of decaying uranium, which emits radon. Usually, it dissipates in the air, harmlessly, but it can also flow into buildings through gaps and can reach dangerous levels in the lower floors of a building.

Asbestos

Much like radon, asbestos can be found naturally in soil. It was also commonly used as a building material prior to around 1980. This is why if you’re living in an old building it may be a good idea to test for asbestos. Along with causing lung cancer, it can lead to long-term lung scarring and mesothelioma. Because the risks are so high, when you’re checking for asbestos it’s advised that you contact a professional to do the testing for you.

Mold

Mold grows in damp, humid conditions and grows across a wide range of organic material such as wood, carpet, upholstery. Mold infestation can also take root in places you’re not able to see, such as behind walls, or beneath floors. Symptoms of exposure to mold can vary from coughing, wheezing, headache, and skin irritation. It can also exacerbate underlying respiratory issues such as for people who suffer from asthma. Be wary of areas in your home that are quick to accumulate moisture, such as around pipes or in bathrooms. Also note that while you may not be able to see mold, you may be able to smell it. If you suspect you have a growth of mold somewhere in your home, contacting a professional is usually your best bet. Be careful of using do it yourself mold testing kits, as they are often inaccurate and are particularly difficult to interpret.

 

Do You Need an Indoor Air Quality Test?

Society has become increasingly more environmentally conscious. Few people, however, pay attention to the air quality in their own homes. This is problematic if the air is polluted with toxins and other irritants. If the goal is to improve the quality of the air we breathe, why not start at home?

If you’re not sure whether you should have your home’s air quality tested consider some of the factors below.

Listen to your body

One of the ways you can test for air-quality is by paying attention to your own body. For instance, ask yourself, do you frequently suffer from allergies or find yourself experiencing nausea, fatigue, headaches, or irritated sinuses? These may be symptoms that originate from the air in your home being over-filled with irritants such as dust and debris. These irritants may be comprised of dirt, air from outside, cleaning supply particles, dead skin, and mold—to name just a few.

Ventilation

Another way to gauge whether the air in your home is of poor quality is by checking your air vents. Do you notice clumps of dirt building up on the outside of the vent? When you open up the grate and see the ventilation filter, is the filter overfilled?

Your Heating

Sometimes people notice headaches after turning on their heaters. This is often a sign that the ventilation is over-filled with dust and debris. Kerosene heaters are also potential health risks depending on where they are placed. Studies show that if heating occurs in areas with poor ventilation there are a multitude of potential health problems that this can lead to. It’s well-advised to become familiar with the heat source keeping your home warm. Depending on the kind of heating your home uses, it’s often a good idea to install carbon monoxide and radon detectors in your home, as these gases are lethal and impossible to detect otherwise.

Moisture

Pay attention to the moisture levels in your home. It’s important to recognize any areas in your home where moisture frequently builds up and to keep them as dry as possible. Areas such as bathrooms, pipes, confined spaces, areas of condensation etc. are the usual suspects. If moisture is allowed to linger in any area for too long it’s an invitation for mold and mildew to take root. Not only is mold unpleasant to look at, it can also pose a significant health risk. If you do happen to find mold in your home it’s highly recommended to perform an air quality test as soon as possible.

The Age of Your Home

Another factor to consider is how old your home is. Homes built before around 1980 used harmful materials such as lead-based paint, or asbestos. If you’re living in an older home consider having an air-quality test performed for your peace of mind.

Less Moisture, Less Mold

For homeowners that live in a humid climate, the humidity can become a huge problem. More often than not, moisture progresses because the basement has design flaws in waterproofing and thermal insulation. Condensation due to poor ventilation can also occur. The higher the humidity, the more condensation.   The moisture and condensation that accumulates in the basement can lead to mold growth. If not caught immediately, mold can cause property damage as well as health issues for those living in the establishment. Professional mold removal may be required before any repairs can be made to get rid of the cause of the mold.   The following are the most common things to look out for when it comes to preventing moisture, which in turn will prevent mold:
  • Defective Waterproofing:  If the home is waterproofed incorrectly, groundwater and melt water can seep through the homes foundation. To determine if you have any issues with waterproofing, check the walls of the basement for moisture and condensation.
  • Cracked Walls: Actual breaks in the walls of the home can increase humidity. Where there are cracks, there is the opportunity for water to seep through. Condensation would always appear in the same spots in this case.
  • Improper Ventilation: Without ductwork, there is no natural exchange of air. The air in the basement becomes stagnant and carbon dioxide increases. The humidity rises, and depending on the temperature, condensation can occur as well.
  • Faulty Utility Systems: If there are hot and cold water pipes in the basement, it is important to check them regularly to ensure that they aren’t leaking. Leaking pipelines can increase the humidity in the basement.
  Some common solutions to these issues are candles, small coal ovens, and dehumidifiers. Candles that are propped under the exhaust of the ventilation system slowly helps dry up the basement by increasing the air. Coal ovens quickly remove the humidity by filling the basement with both hot and cold air. Those sensitive to smoke should avoid this method! The most effective method when it comes to removing moisture from a basement is with a dehumidifier.  The machine can be kept in the basement for use over time in order to create a normal humidity level for the home.   If all of this fails and mold happens to appear, a professional will be able to come in and get rid of the mold for you, while determining the cause of the problem and offering suggestions on how to prevent it going forward. While waiting for the professional, you should remove all wooden items that are kept in the basement, as the mold will feed on them.

Mold Detection

The most effective way to treat mold is by preventing it. You can look around your house and do a spot check to prevent small areas of mold, which will prevent more severe issues in the long run. Most common household molds can be treated with a generic store cleaner and it takes little to no time to get the job done. These pesky indoor molds do have the potential to cause health risks over time if not treated, so addressing the situation is imperative.   To check your home for mold, you need to know two things:
  • The Sight of Mold: All molds have a very distinct look to them. They appear spotty and can be multiple different colors depending on the type. The most common are dark green and black. When you are on the hunt for mold, begin in the rooms that hold the most moisture, like bathrooms and the basement. If you happen to see a water leak or a damp section of flooring in your home, mold is most likely growing nearby. Check pipes, windows, and doors. Discolored flooring or walls are also good indicators that mold is brewing under or in them.
  • The Scent of Mold: Mold can be hard to see when it begins to grow in certain areas of the home. If it begins under the floor, or on the interior of a piece of drywall, there is no way that you would be able to see it. Fortunately, mold can usually be detected by smell as well. When mold begins to grow, it absorbs the nutrients from wood, paper, and other organic fibers that it comes in contact with. This creates a distinct smell, almost like the musty smell of rotting leaves or soil. If you smell this in your home, there is mold around.
  These mold checks are important to do periodically to maintain a healthy environment for both you and your family to live in. Not all molds can be handled with an over the counter cleaners. For molds in hard to reach areas, or for large mold infestations, you should contact a professional to handle the situation. Not only will they ensure that all mold has been removed, but they will help you understand preventative measures to the infestation does not occur again. Some molds are more toxic than others and special chemicals and suits may be required for treatment. Professionals will get it done right the first time.

Mold Effects

When it comes to mold, there are more than 100,000 different varieties and all of them can be harmful. Those exposed to different types of mold may not feel the effects of it right away, but over time your health is in jeopardy. There are over 30 different health problems that have been linked to mold exposure, the most common being allergies, asthma, and other respiratory issues.

The mold itself is not what is hazardous to the body. But, the mold produces mycotoxins that lead to health issues. On the minor side are rashes, but on the larger scale are different cancers. It all depends on what type of mold you have been exposed to, and for how long you were exposed to it.

The most common reaction to mold is allergy-like symptoms, with some experiences more symptoms than others. The length and type of exposure will determine the gravity of the symptoms that you are feeling. If your eyes are itchy, you are coughing, experiencing shortness of breath, have a stuffy nose or a sore throat, or have skin irritation, you may have been exposed to mold.

For those with asthma, mold can also trigger attacks. One may feel tightness in the chest, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and other symptoms. In children, exposure to mold can sometimes lead to an asthma diagnosis. Chronic sinus infections are also linked to mold exposure.

If you have pets, it is important to know that they are affected by mold in the same ways that we are. When they are exposed to mold, they can have difficulty breathing and may be wheezing, coughing, scratching, and licking to show that they are uncomfortable. Don’t let them ingest mold! Pets that eat mold can experience body tremors and muscle spasms.

If there is any concern with mold in your home, it is best to contact a professional with experience in finding the mold and the cause of it, while providing a solution to get it out of your home once and for all. Mold is no joke, and improper handling can cause it to spread and lead to further sickness for loved ones living in the home. It may seem like a minor issue, but you never know where else it could be lurking. The mold doesn’t always make itself visible, and those trained in the field know exactly where to look to find it.

Sickly Symptoms of Black Mold

When it comes to black mold, it is a major issue for any home or business. If it is not taken care of immediately, it will cause severe respiratory issues for those that are exposed to is. When you notice mold in your home, it is important to contact a professional to ensure that it is a common household mold, and not the dreaded black mold that causes so many issues. Professionals are ready to take on the mold, and are trained to take on the challenge of getting it completely out of the building in question.   The most common symptoms of black mold are:
  • Reproductive Symptoms: miscarriage, fetal development issues, and infertility.
  • Exhaustion and Discomfort: chest pain, fatigue, fever, nausea, and joint pains.
  • Vision Issues: blurred vision, bloodshot eyes, jaundice, and eye damage.
  • Neurological Symptoms: shortness of breath, disorientation, dizziness, depression, anxiety, and confusion.
  Other symptoms include:
  • Liver Damage
  • Hair Loss
  • Coma
  • Death
  • Weight Loss
  • Allergy-type Symptoms.
  As you can see, this type of mold exposure is very severe, and can even be fatal. It the very least, letting this type of mold linger within the walls of your home will create respiratory issues for all those living at the home. It is not worth putting the people you love at risk for these conditions when a simple call can get the home checked out and assessed.   Of course, not all mold conditions are black mold and there are many more common household molds that you can encounter when owning a home. Simple shower or sink molds that accrue in kitchens and bathrooms can usually be treated with a topical cleaner from the convenience store. You will know the difference based on the seriousness of the outbreak and how you are feeling. The best way to know for sure that you don’t have black mold in the home is still to contact the professionals though. Guaranteeing health for your family certainly takes the lead when it comes to treating the issue.   If you are questioning what could be lurking in your home, don’t wait until it is too late. Try the topical solutions to treat common molds, and leave the rest to the professionals. In severe cases, it is not safe to treat the mold without heavy duty equipment and specific suits designed to keep the spores out. They will come in and ensure that your home is safe for you and your loved ones when it comes to mold.

Mold Warning Signs

Every day, millions of people come in contact without mold without even realizing it. Mold loves damp areas with little to no ventilation (like behind walls and under floors). Wherever water travels, mold can arise. Unfortunately, it is usually in places hard to see with the naked eye. There are true medical effects that mold can have on the human body, so it is not something to take lightly. If you have had a flood in your home and see any of the following signs, contact a professional immediately to ensure that you are protecting both your home and your loved ones.  
  • Musty Odor: Use your nose! As you are walking through your home, keep a conscious note of all the smells. Mold typically has an earthy or musty smell, and can find a home under floors or behind wallpaper. In these circumstances, smelling the issue is the only way to detect the issue.
  • Visible Mold: If you see a blotchy substance on your walls or in another place of your home, it could be mold. The most typical colors for mold are green and black, but white and grey molds also exist. While it is easy to see around a sink or shower, it may take some investigating to locate it in different areas of the home.
  • Allergy Symptoms: If you or a loved one have started to experience common allergy symptoms, such as: sore throat, stuffy nose, sinus congestion, skin irritation, eye irritation, cough, or upper respiratory infections, you may have a mold situation in your home.
  • Water Damage: If you have experienced a water condition in your home due to weather or internal flooding, the moisture cause by it will most likely result in the growth of mold. If you see that the walls are becoming discolored, wood is getting warped, or paint is peeling, mold is probably the culprit.
  A professional will come to your home at your convenience and get the situation under control, while looking at other areas of the home to ensure there isn’t any other mold brewing. They usually have specific chemicals to use based on the type of mold in the home, and protective suits to ensure that they stay healthy while treating the condition. If treated incorrectly by an inexperienced individual, the mold can spread and cause more damage to the home, and health issued for those living in it.

Winter Mold

As temperatures drop into the lower digits, homeowners tend to stop thinking about mold and begin to think about cold weather issues that can arise. But, it is important to note that mold can occur in the winter as well as the more humid months. Even though mold thrives in warm, damp climates, moisture is actually the key to its existence and it can get out of hand during any season.

In the winter, moisture is caused by a number of things. Plumbing leaks, leaking roofs, indoor humidity, condensation, and water damage are all contributor to it. If there is condensation in or around your windows, it may seem harmless. However, it is one of the biggest contributors when it comes to moisture. Moisture occurs when the warm air inside of your home liquified upon hitting the colder glass of the window. High humidity increases this process because of the extra moisture in the air. Of course, minor condensation will not always lead to a problem, but it is important to dry the surfaces of your windows regularly to keep condensation from accruing and being absorbed by the wood and other surfaces around the windows. Mold feeds on these organic items and can develop in under a day!

Winter mold is the same as mold during any other time of year when it comes to treatment. Keep your home’s humidity level under control. This may mean investing in some dehumidifiers if you find that your house is still humid after preventative measures have been taken.

Most household molds can be treated with store-bought cleaners and a bit of elbow grease. The first step after finding mold in your home is to clean it up. Then identify what caused the mold. If you clean it up without identifying the problem, it will occur again.

If you find that mold keeps returning after all of your efforts, or that you or your loved one are falling ill quite regularly, it is time to call in the professionals to do a mold test and take care of the mold in the home. They will work diligently to ensure that all mold has been cleared out and that the problem that was causing it has been mitigated, or at least addressed, so the proper routes can be taken to fix the underlying issue. With their help, mold will be gone in no time, and you can go back to living a healthy life within the walls of your home.

After Flooding

When thinking of home ownership, there are many natural disasters that can strike. Depending on where the home is located, tornadoes, snow storms, hurricanes, and flooding may be common. Although this is frightening, it is a reality that we all must face.

When looking back just this year, many families were displaced because of severe flooding of their homes due to hurricanes and other natural disasters. It is important to know what to do after the flood has occured in order to prevent further damages.

After a flood occurs, a major concern is the growth of mold and bacteria in the home. Wet environments are ideal for mold growth, and just a couple spores of mold can quickly turn into a major problem for the integrity of your home and the health of your family.

A team of experts has come up with the following steps to help prevent mold in a recently flooded home:
Act Fast: Within the first 2-48 hours, you have the best opportunity to prevent mold from occuring.
Stay Safe: Ensure that your home is structurally sound before heading back in to check out the damages and look into preventing the mold. When you have the okay, begin to assess damages.
Throw Away Compromised Materials: Anything cloth or anything located below the water line should be thrown away in order to prevent moisture from becoming the ideal home for mold. Tear up the carpeting, toss compromised furniture, and remove any belongings that may have been damaged as soon as possible.
Dry it Out: Open the windows, bring in heavy duty fans, and keep the air moving in the home in order to dry it out.
Treat It: If you see that mold has already started to grow, don’t just cover it up!
Call the Professionals: Mold isn’t something that should be handled by a novice. It is best to call those who are experienced in mold removal after a flood in order to ensure that there is none growing and lurking in the shadows.
We understand that it is devastating to come back to your home after a major flood, but the first step to rebuilding is taking care of any issues that have come up as a result of the disaster. Fast and affordable professionals can help with this process and get you back into your home quickly. Both preventative and treatment options are available based on needs. Protect your most valuable investment!

Black Mold Blues

If a homeowner finds mold in their home, it becomes a major concern. Everyone knows that it is imperative to take care of the issue immediately before the matter becomes worse. Typical household mold comes in many forms, and the one to really concern yourself with is what people call “black mold.” This type of mold isn’t specific to any specific climate or home size, and really can show up anywhere. Black mold has toxic spores that can lead to many health issues, and significantly decline the air quality of the home.

There are many ways to get rid of black mold if you perform an online search. Don’t do it! Trying to remove black mold yourself can make the issue worse and put those living in the home at risk for more serious health conditions. It is important to understand the risks of exposure to black mold in order to protect those in the home.

Professionals have the right tools and resources when it comes to getting rid of the black mold issue. If you are exposed to black mold, you may experience headaches, tiredness, skin issues, respiratory irritation, and continuous coughing or sneezing. In more serious situations, vomiting, bleeding in the lungs and nose, nausea, and other conditions may occur. With these conditions looming, hiring a professional is the best way to go when it comes to getting rid of the mold.

In addition to keeping you and your loved ones away from the health concerns that arise with black mold removal, professionals ensure that there is no hidden mold left in the home. Mold has been known to hide in places that one would never think of looking. While you would be able to remove the mold you saw, you wouldn’t know the other vital areas in the home to look at when determining that all of the mold is gone. Specialists have specific equipment to get rid of the black mold, including: air filters, protective suits, containment systems, and other heavy-duty machines.

The main reason homeowners look into the do-it-yourself option is because they don’t want to be bothered with the cost of hiring someone to take care of the mold problem. Though it is a tempting option, it isn’t wise in the long run. If done incorrectly, it can lead to a bigger problem in the future, and high medical bills for the homeowner and their loved ones living in the house.

Get it done right and make sure it is gone by hiring a professional with experience in removal and get piece of mind knowing that it is gone and that your home is safe again.