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.

dehumidifier

Humidity is rising

From Monticello to Poughkeepsie the humidity is rising, hot humid days are here and not going anywhere soon. Many are booting up their dehumidifiers for some relief in the home from excessive humidity. Increased humidity can lead to an optimal mold growth environment in your home. Use of a dehumidifier can help to reduce moisture and prevent mold growth. Dehumidifiers while extremely helpful, can pose a mold risk themselves when not cared for properly which many people do not realize. See below for our tips on reducing moisture and using a dehumidifier properly in order to reduce the risk of mold growth in the home.

  • Neglected dehumidifiers can be a source of mold and spread mold spores, keep them clean and keep up with regular maintenance suggested by the manufacturer of your dehumidifier in the instruction manual
  • Use a dehumidifier in any area of the home that is prone to moisture (i.e. Basement, crawlspace)
  • Empty and clean the reservoir regularly with hot soapy water – a dirty reservoir can be a breeding grounds for mold.
  • Purchase a hygrometer to measure the level of relative humidity in your home, strive to keep it between 50-55%, check relative humidity in all rooms and levels of the home or building
  • If you notice an area is particularly moist or wet, use the dehumidifier in that area within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth and keep an eye on that area

We hope that these tips help you to properly use your dehumidifier this summer and protect you against mold growth and exposure. No matter how hard we try sometimes mold happens! That is why we are here for you if you have discovered mold in your home or suspect it may be a culprit of your allergies, call us today for your mold inspection.

Spring is almost here!

Spring is almost here! The temperature is starting to even out and we know that soon, April showers will be upon us helping new buds to spring up on trees and setting us up for the summer. Of course, this time of year can bring increasing humidity as the rain falls more than usual. We at HNST Mold Inspections know that mold loves moisture and it thrives during this time of year. That’s why this time of year is a great time to get your home inspected for mold and to get the mold removed before the moisture arrives.

Since there is usually a checklist for a homeowner for spring cleaning, spring lawn cleanup and other things to do around the home, adding mold inspection to the list fits in perfectly. As you work to remove dust, clean debris and go through the basement you may run into signs of moisture problems, or even visible mold. This is particularly true for unpacking stored air conditioners, give these portable or window units a good cleaning and inspect them for mold. You want to make sure that they are completely clean before use.

In the case of central air, this is not so easy and it is best for you to call in a certified inspector who can ensure that your air ducts are free and clear of mold. Experts can also offer you tips to keep your home free of mold such as reducing moisture. Call us for your spring mold inspection and get ahead of the game!

Types of Mold: Alternaria

The third common indoor mold that we are highlighting in our series is Alternaria. If you haven’t read our previous two blogs in the series highlighting Cladosporium and Aspergillus you can check them out too. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Immunology in 2006 highlighted Alternaria and its association with asthma in US homes. You can read more about this study from the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Alternaria is commonly found in soil, plants or other vegetation and generally it is dubbed an outdoor allergen. However, the exposure to these fungi in the home is still possible due to spores coming into the home from an outdoor source. Think: plants, flowers, dirt from shoes, etc. Spring is the beginning of the rise in Alternaria spores in the environment and they thrive throughout the fall.

In contrast to some of the other common indoor molds that we’ve been highlighting, Alternaria is one of the ones that actually thrives in dry, windy conditions as well as moist conditions. The spores are easily transported this way with the wind and this helps them to enter the home as well through open windows and doors.

This allergen can cause allergy symptoms such as allergic rhinitis and can cause issues with patients who have allergies to mold. Alternaria is a known risk factor for asthma as well (see study above).

Since it is impossible to completely avoid contact with these common indoor molds, the most important thing that we can do is to minimize exposure! This means, if you see mold in the home or think your symptoms are not just common allergies, you should have your home tested for mold.

Types of Mold: Cladosporium

Last month we highlighted one of the four common molds called Aspergillus, see our blog here. This month, we are turning the spotlight onto another of the CDC’s top 4 common indoor molds, Cladosporium. Just like Aspergillius, Cladosporium can be found indoors and outdoors and also can cause infection, allergies and lead to asthma.

Here are the facts you need to know regarding Cladosporium:

  • Found indoors on surfaces such as carpet or wallpaper when moisture is present (think carpeted basements)
  • Found outdoors on plants and organic matter such as leaves
  • Very rarely causes illness, but can cause skin, eye, sinus and brain infections as well as allergies and asthma
  • Linked to 2015 outbreak of fungal meningitis, according to the CDC

Since Cladosporium is common, there is no way to completely avoid the mold, however you can take steps to prevent and reduce exposure. This is important for those with mold allergies or undiagnosed allergy symptoms.

Tips to reduce exposure:

  • Remove wallpaper and carpeting from areas prone to moisture, such as bathrooms and basements
  • Avoid raking or disrupting earth, any movement of this debris can release dormant spores into the air
  • Call a doctor if you are experiencing symptoms such as itchy eyes, skin, allergy symptoms or increased asthma symptoms
  • Have your home inspected for mold

If you notice your allergy symptoms are particularly bad in your home or workplace, call HNST Mold Inspections to schedule your indoor inspection. As a company founded on honesty and integrity, you can count on us to give you an un-biased opinion as well as all possible solutions to combat your mold problem. Use our quick contact form to get in touch with us today!

Allergies?

Dealing with Mold Allergies?

Well, Punxsutawney Phil told us this week that we should be expecting an early spring! That’s great news for most of us who are looking forward to spring, but for people with seasonal allergies this could be a scary thought.

Seasonal allergies come in all different types, pollen, animal dander, and of course mold. If you’re a reader of our blog, you know mold can grow anywhere indoors or out which means double trouble for anyone with a mold allergy. If you’ve been diagnosed with a mold allergy here are some of our tips to help from The American Academy of Allergy & Immunology to prepare you for allergy season indoors and out.

  • Check the National Allergy Bureau (NAB) before you venture outside. This website updates pollen and mold counts for each state. If you notice the levels are particularly high, stay indoors
  • Don’t rake leaves or stir up the earth. This can release spores lying dormant into the air and expose yourself to allergens
  • Stay away from fields of uncut grass
  • Shower when coming in from outdoors to remove any mold spores that may be on your body or clothing
  • Fix water leaks in your home immediately to prevent mold growth. If you find mold in your home or notice your allergy symptoms are increasing indoors, call in a mold expert to inspect and remove any dangerous mold
  • Keep the humidity in your home below 60% in order to reduce the chances of mold growth
  • Remove carpeting in areas that are prone to dampness such as bathrooms and basements

If you are allergic to mold and are experiencing symptoms now, you may be exposed to mold indoors and it is a good time to get your home inspected for mold. Many do not realize that mold can be hidden out of sight and be causing you to exhibit allergy symptoms year round. HNST Mold Inspections is here to help, use our quick contact form to obtain a quote today.