Moisture causing mold in house

Mold, Moisture and your home

With the variety of issues facing the environment in 2016 from air pollution to mold many feel as though there is nothing they can do that matters enough. We can clean up all of the messes after they’ve happened, but more importantly it’s what we do to prevent them that create an impact.  Mold and Moisture continue to be one of the leading issues faced in the environment, and the key to changing this problem is prevention.

The EPA has released a guide for homeowners and renters alike which provides information on how to clean up residential mold and how to prevent mold growth. This 20 page guide is easy to read, provides pictures to refer to and provides additional resources for those who wish to learn more.  If you are a homeowner, property owner or renter, we suggest you download and read the guide here: A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home.

Prevention truly is important when dealing with mold and the more information that you know, the better!  Our blog includes past articles such as Preventing Mold in Your Attic and Controlling Mold in your Bathroom which are two areas very susceptible to mold issues.

Like all issues facing the environment, we know that taking steps to prevent them is what matters. If you do your part to prevent mold growth, you are part of the movement to help reduce the number of people affected with health related issues due to mold and decrease mold problems in homes. Get ahead of the issue now by reading the guide as well as our blog posts and then get to work!

Mold in Home

Black Mold and Insurance Claims

If you’ve ever encountered a major problem in your home, one of the first questions you’ve probably asked yourself is “does my homeowners insurance cover this?”  With Black Mold, the question is even more important for you to understand a head of time. Not only does black mold cause damage and unsightly messes in the home, but it also poses health problems. Costs can get out of control when it comes to abatement, and with inadequate or no coverage, you could be on the hook. Here is what you need to know regarding black mold and insurance claims.

  1. As black mold becomes an increasingly common problem, it’s important that any time you take on new homeowners insurance, or switch companies that you specifically ask about coverage for mold related issues.
  2. Although black mold may be covered due to the event that caused it, many insurance companies set limits or exclusions in their policies. It is important to ask your agent about any limits or exclusions set forth in the policy.
  3. If you do not have flood insurance, mold caused due to a flood may not be covered. Again, important to read and understand your policy. You may want to have flood insurance depending on your area.
  4. Mold issues due to neglected maintenance on your home may not be covered! Mold caused by leaks, seepage or poor drainage will most likely not be covered which means you need to do your due diligence and make sure those problems aren’t happening on your property.

The bottom line is that you need to know what your insurance covers and what it doesn’t. You’re your insurance company today! Ask them what mold related coverage you have, what the limits are, and what any exclusions would be. You may need to add coverage such as flood insurance in order to be completely covered. Also, review our top ten list for what you can be doing to prevent mold in your home and protect yourself now!

Immune System

Exposing young Children to bacteria

In today’s world of antibiotic use, hand sanitizing and anti-bacterial soap, is it any wonder that allergies are at an all-time high, and that children’s immune systems aren’t as strong as they used to be? We came across this great video that we’d like to share with you regarding allergies.

Mold allergies, asthma and other respiratory concerns are a big consequence of mold growing in homes. Children with low immunity can have a stronger and more impacted response tom mold and allergens inside the home. Because children are our future, and we want to see them thrive with a strong immunity, we’d like to highlight this video posted by David Wolfe, on his Facebook page we hope you enjoy it.

You can view the video here.

With over 7.6 Million views, we know that this short video will make some sort of impact on you. Even if you just learn something new in regards to auto-immune disease, immune systems, or overuse of antibiotics you will walk away a more informed individual.

Allergies to mold can look just like any other allergy symptom. That is why it’s so important to really do some investigation into your home, look for areas of moisture, and get your home inspected if you suspect mold is the culprit. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for more!

Environmental Protection Agency

FREE EPA Webinar

As a mold inspector and assessor, we deal with mold and indoor air quality issues every day. One of our favorite places to go to keep up to date and for information is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Occasionally the EPA offers free webinars with discussions which are open to professionals as well as the general public, but many don’t even know about them. Today, we are sharing with you a link to an upcoming webinar on a topic related to indoor air quality issues so that you can be more informed and up to date on these and related issues.

Webinar: What Have We Learned about the Microbiomes of Indoor Environments?

Thursday, September 22, 2016 11am-12pm with Q&A from 12-12:30pm

Here is what the EPA has to say about the upcoming webinar:

“Within the built environments, in the air, water, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and on surfaces, there exist a vast number and diversity of species of bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa. These microbial communities or “microbiomes” are influenced by interactions with humans, animals and plants. They are also affected by factors such as air flow, temperature, humidity, chemical exposures and building materials. These factors are in turn, shaped by the design, construction, operation and use of the built environments.

 

For a better understanding of microbiomes in the built environment and their impacts on human health, the US EPA along with NASA, NIH and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation tasked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) to convene a panel of experts to examine the formation and function of microbial communities in the built environment, their impact on human health, and how human occupants shape complex indoor microbes.

 

Dr. Brent Stephens, Associate Professor of Architectural Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology, presented a well-received overview of the current state of the science on microbiomes and the built environment to NAS’s microbiome consensus study panel of experts. Dr. Stephens has agreed to reprise (with some modifications) his overview as part of this webinar.”

 

We hope you enjoy this webinar, and make sure to come back to our blog for more information regarding indoor air quality and other related subjects.

mold in attic

Preventing Mold in your Attic

Preventing mold growth and proliferation in your attic is a simple task if the proper time and effort is put into the process. There are two different things that you should check to ensure that your attic is as protected as it can be.

Roof: Check your roof for leaks; some are easy to spot with marked discoloration of the insulation and warping accompanied by discoloration of wood.  Any place that two materials meet such as roof valleys, skylights, chimneys, windows etc. are all susceptible to leaking if not properly joined or sealed. Check around the perimeter of each in your attic and look for signs of leaking. If you find any leaks, take immediate action to handle the situation.

Ventilation: Poor ventilation can cause a moisture problem especially due to two of the most common culprits: improper vapor barrier installation and insulation covering vents. As moisture travels up to the attic from normal everyday activities of cooking and taking showers, it needs to be able to escape. Proper ventilation allows the moisture to escape quickly and not settle in the attic.

Taking the time to do a thorough check of your attics roof and vents is definitely worth it in the long run. If you don’t feel comfortable checking the attic, or find signs of mold growth that you’re not sure how to handle, contact an expert. The sooner that you handle moisture issues or combat existing mold issues the better!

bleach for mold

Will Bleach solve my mold problem?

Finding mold in your home is a scary event, with knowledge that mold is “bad” it is usually first instinct to try to tackle the problem immediately with a household cleaner and remove the visible mold. Bleach is probably one of the most common household cleaners that are used for its combat activity on mold. There are a few things to keep in mind in the mold vs. bleach battle that you should know before believing that bleach has won the fight.

Bleach kills bacteria and viruses and is used for its sanitizing qualities on surfaces. It will kill surface mold on non-porous surfaces (glass, tub, tile etc.) but it cannot ever completely kill mold that grows on porous materials (drywall or wood).  Recommendations from the EPA do not include bleach for killing mold as it is a corrosive material that can be harmful if inhaled and can cause burns with exposure.

A good rule of thumb when dealing with the first sight of surface mold is to use whatever method, bleach or natural mold killing products that you are comfortable using. If after a waiting period you see the mold return, then you can be sure that the mold is deeper in the material and will only be wasting time continually using that product over again.

If you begin to realize that the visible mold that you’ve tried to combat is returning after cleaning, it’s time to contact an expert in mold inspection, assessment and remediation. These experts are trained to look for areas that are susceptible to mold and moisture, abate the problem and get you back to living life without mold. If you have found yourself in this situation in the New York/New Jersey area, call HNST Mold Inspections today, we’re waiting for your call.

homeowners insurance

Home Owners Insurance & Mold   

Home Owners throughout the years have found out the hard way that problems they thought would be covered under insurance may not actually be covered. There are many rules and steps that need to be followed from the beginning in order to be able to use your homeowner’s insurance for coverage. We advise all customers to review their individual home owner’s policy or call their insurance company to understand exactly what is covered when it comes to mold.

Some insurance companies allow claims for water damage, as you know from reading our blogs, moisture from water damage in the home is a prime accelerant for mold growth. Once water damage is found in the home immediate steps should be taken to find out the source. New water damage should be taken care of immediately, and drying the are out within 24 hours is important in preventing mold growth.

If an area of water damage is found that seems to have been a recurring or long-term issue, this is when a mold assessment should be performed. Although you may not see mold, the extent of long-lived water damage may reach further into walls, floors, etc. where you may not be able to see yourself.

Always do research on the mold assessment company that you choose and make sure that you ask to see their mold assessor license number so that you can confirm they are in fact licensed. If you do have an insurance claim involved, using a licensed professional for assessment is generally required.

That being said, HNST Mold Inspections is a licensed NYSDOL Mold Assessor as well as Inspector. We perform our services in New York and New Jersey. Contact us today for your mold assessment or inspection.

aquarium mold

Pets and Mold

Generally speaking, mold is found in certain locations that provide an adequate supply of organic material or moisture. These areas are rooms like your kitchen, bathroom, and basements. Dust, food particles, hair, body oils, etc. build up in these areas and just by adding moisture can become a breeding ground for mold. If you are a pet owner, there are just a few more places for you to beware of when thinking about mold.

Here are our tips on keeping your pets healthy and preventing mold around the areas your pets live!

  1. Aquariums- If you have an aquarium, you know the green or brown algae that can build up on the sides or top of the tank. These organic substances plus the water in the tank, make a wonderful spot for mold to grow. Keep your aquarium clean by doing preventative maintenance and possibly adding a cleaner fish to the aquarium to aid in the job.
  2. Dry Tank- Reptiles and amphibians are usually kept in a dry tank. While this is an easier place to prevent mold due to the lack of water, keep in mind the organic substances. Any shed skin, uneaten food or dying plant life should be removed immediately. If water is provided to the tanked animal, change the water every day to keep it fresh.
  3. Cages- Rabbits, dogs, birds or other animals kept in cages all have one thing in common, feces. Feces are especially high in plant content from animals such as these and can be a great place for mold to grow.

It’s important to remember that the multitude of mold spores moving throughout the air both indoors and out are almost impossible to avoid. The key to preventing mold is to keep your home clean and dry, especially in places that are prone to mold. We hope that you are better able to identify ancillary places that mold can grow.

pre-purchase mold inspection

Pre-Purchase Mold Inspection

Homes are selling left and right this time of year, from Newberg, NY to Montclair, NJ, there is no doubt the housing market is hard at work.  Are you one of the people purchasing or selling a home? Then it’s time to schedule your pre-purchase mold inspection. Mold in the home is a common concern for both sides during a home purchase. Just the sight of mold, no matter what kind can make potential buyers change their mind on a home, and possibly affect the resale value.

Choosing to get a mold inspection pre-purchase, will help the seller and the buyer. If mold is found, the seller can take immediate action to get remediation and then provide the buyer with a signed report from an expert showing that the house was found to have no mold or that it has been abated. This is like showing the buyer that your home is “healthy”, and it will go a long way in proving to the buyers that you are diligent and serious about this sale.

For buyers, this pre-purchase mold inspection will help to ensure there are no costly surprises once the purchase is complete and closed. Running into a costly abatement can put extra stress on a home purchase as the buyer is already shelling out a lot of cash for the deal. Having to schedule an abatement could slow down the move-in process if it presents a health hazard as well. Knowing ahead of time that there will not need to be an extra cost or more time involved in this process can be a breath of fresh air for the buyer.

We at HNST Mold Inspections always recommend that any home that is for sale has a pre-purchase mold inspection. Whether you are the buyer or the seller, a mold inspection can help to save you stress, money and disappointment down the road. If you are purchasing or selling a home in Rockland, Bergen or Westchester counties call HNST today for your mold inspection.