Water Damage Assessment

Water Damage Assessments for Rainwater Damage

With the multitude of tropical storms and natural weather events of record proportion, many are dealing with excess rainwater. Areas around some of the hardest hit places are not suffering from flooding, but from the rain that the storms bring with them. Rainwater can be damaging, just think of all of the water that falls at once. The quicker it falls, the more rain that accumulates and the more rainwater damage you can see as a result. That’s why it’s important to secure your home by checking the roof for leaks, doors, and windows for proper installation and sealing and the perimeter of your home for problem areas.

If your home has been lucky enough to avoid rainwater damage or moisture issues, you may think you’re safe. However, with the increase in unprecedented natural weather events across the country, it’s important to double check your property and make sure you are protected as best as you can be now. The system that you already have in place around your home, draining away from the house can become overwhelmed if more than usual amounts of rain come your way.

 

Moisture in your home from rainwater can, of course, cause mold to grow. This is why we urge homeowners to see the importance in updating and repairing drainage systems around the home. Focusing any drains at aiming rainwater away from the foundation of the home, fixing leaks in the roof and replacing leaking or moisture prone windows.

To protect your home from rainwater:

  1. Check to see if the ground slopes away from the foundation of your home. If you already know the ground is sloping towards your home, consider installing a trench to drain it
  2. Add extensions to the gutter downspouts, this helps to direct the water away from the foundation of the home
  3. Create openings on the border of flowerbeds to help the soil drain away from the house
  4. Keep roofs and gutters clear of debris
  5. Dig a Trench that extends to the lowest point of your property. Line the high end of this trench with some filter fabric and then fill with gravel or rock. This way the water will get filtered before clogging the drain.
  6. Hire a professional or if you’re handy build a Dry Well in the ground to fill with gravel or crushed stone. If you have a home that puddles or has a big pool of water after rainfall, this is a great idea to act as a makeshift drain to return the water to the ground
  7. After a thorough check, if you see an area of concern, hire a professional for a water damage assessment

These are some beginner tips to prevent moisture from getting into the home. If you already have a small leak or a problem that has been on your list to fix, make it your priority. Dealing with mold due to moisture in your home is a much larger and more hazardous problem in the long run. We’ve gotten very lucky in New York and New Jersey to have only been affected by rain as a result of these terrible stormes plaguing so many countries, and have only received a moderate amount of rain. Call us today for a water damage assessment to check protect your home now from moisture problems such as mold in the future.

Moisture, mold

Whats the deal with mold anyway?

This time of year, you may be hearing a lot about mold. It’s mentioned on the DIY channels, in home improvement magazines and you may have even noticed some in your home.  Anyone who’s experienced a mold issue knows that this is the time of year where you should check your home for issues. Moisture issues, water leaks or wet basements should all be inspected for and attended to before winter comes to prevent mold growth.  In the age of information at our fingertips, many find it hard to find the fast facts on mold and that leaves people wondering: Read more

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend Preparation

Households in NY/NJ are preparing for Memorial Day Weekend by getting out the patio furniture, life jackets, vests and bathing suits. This time of year, we haul the patio furniture out which includes cushions, pillows and umbrellas. Hm..whats that there? Do you see small black freckle spots on these items? What is that? Read more

Healthy Environment

Providing a Healthy Environment for our Children

A new report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) recently found that unhealthy environments greatly impact the health of young children under the age of 5. This report is the second edition of Inheriting a Sustainable World? Atlas on Children’s Health and the Environment. What the main message that is emerging basically states, is that we can prevent these deaths through providing a healthier environment for our children! Read more

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.

Types of mold: Aspergillus

There are many different strains of fungus and mold, not all types behave in the same manor, and some are more common than others. Today we are highlighting Aspergillus one of the most common types of mold which can lead to a fungal infection called Aspergillosis.

Aspergillus holds no bias for indoors or outdoors, it literally grows anywhere! Although people with healthy immune systems breathe it in almost every day without showing signs, symptoms or being “sick”, there are a certain group of the population that have a higher risk of allergic reactions, lung infections and infection spread due to the exposure to these specific spores.

Anyone with a weakened immune system or with existing lung disease are at a higher risk when exposed to Aspergillus. People with asthma, cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis or sarcoidosis are particularly susceptible to contracting Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA). The good news is that allergic forms of aspergillosis are generally not life threatening and are treatable.

For more information on Aspergillosis or other fungal disease, please visit CDC.GOV. In the meantime, do your best to reduce your exposure to all types of mold and prevent yourself from the health risks that it can create. If someone you know or love is dealing with a disease that may compromise their immune system such as the diseases described above, share our blog with them so that they can be more informed!

As always, we are here to help you with your mold related problems from remediation to water damage and restoration. With our experience and knowledge, we can assist you in making informed decisions based on your specific situation.

Mold In the News

In the News! Mold photos go viral

If you are an avid social media user, there is no doubt you saw the alleged pictures of mold spreading throughout a barracks at Fort Gordon, GA. While we cannot confirm that these pictures are in fact true of the claims, we love when mold hits the headlines so that we can further educate the public on what a true health concern it is. Click here for the story.

The alleged photos show mold on a chair, on the sink, on a pool table, pillow case and the ceiling! Mold can grow ANYWHERE is the important lesson here. The soldier who claims the room is covered in mold stated that the room was bleached, but that the mold came back after a few days. This is a huge point we like to address; bleach does not always kill mold! Once the mold has become visible and spread to multiple places, especially in this case, bleach and at home treatments won’t do the job.

This story stands out to the public as we always worry about the health effects of anyone exposed to mold. When exposure is directly related to chronic health problems that can be prevented, it makes everyone take a second look.

The facts are this; a mold problem needs to be dealt with immediately at the first sign. At home mold treatments, DIY treatments, and bleach are not necessarily going to completely get rid of your problem. There are a lot of other things at play when talking about the growth of mold including humidity, temperature and type. It is important to realize that there are times where an expert is needed and to get the help you need with serious problems fast.

We at HNST Mold Inspections pride ourselves on the principles of honesty and integrity. This means we always provide independent, non-biased opinions and solutions to our clients. If you have a mold problem, contact the experts at HNST Mold Inspection today.

Do you have a mold allergy?

Mold Allergies are hard to diagnose, particularly since the signs and symptoms that are experienced also occur with other respiratory allergies. Allergic reactions to mold work in the same manner as any other allergens invading your system, it sets off an immune response in your body, causing coughing, itching, sneezing and other common allergic reaction symptoms. So, how do you find out if its mold that is causing the symptoms?

It’s important to find out if you have a mold allergy, because with mold, it can go from allergy to illness, or skip allergy and go straight to illness/infection. If you think you may have a mold allergy, or are being exposed to mold, it’s important for you to visit your doctor right away.

Some factors can make you more likely to have a mold allergy such as:

  • Family history of asthma or allergies
  • Being exposed to mold in the workplace
  • Areas in the home of high humidity
  • Poor ventilation in bathrooms

Once you see a doctor, you will have a better idea of what you’re dealing with. Write down a list of symptoms, where and when you experience them as well as any questions you may have before your appointment. Doctors can order a blood test to better determine what is causing your allergic reaction and recommend treatment as well as preventative measures that you can use to avoid mold.

If you have mold in your home, visible or not, it could be triggering your symptoms. If you see visible mold, call in an expert to investigate the issue and make sure it isn’t larger than it seems. A mold inspection is critical to discovering areas of mold you may not be able to attend, and abatement can remove the problem completely, leaving you allergy free! For more information on mold allergies, visit the Mayo Clinic’s website here.

 

Decrease your exposure to mold

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), mold is found in virtually every environment, both indoors and outdoors. Knowing that mold exposure can increase the development of diseases such as asthma and allergies, people are left wondering how they can decrease their exposure.

To begin, people who are sensitive to allergens or mold should try to avoid or limit their time in areas that are more likely to have mold. These areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Shady damp areas outside
  • Basements
  • Antique shops
  • Greenhouses
  • Saunas
  • Farms
  • Mills
  • Construction areas
  • Flower shops
  • Cottages

These areas have something in common, humidity. Any place that humidity is high (over 50%) throughout the day, can be a breeding ground for mold. For more information on the health concerns of mold, click here.  If there is visible mold growth in your home or in a place that you frequent, don’t let it continue! Contact HNST Mold Inspections today and schedule your mold inspection.

village in lowland

Mold Research Study: HEAL

Currently, a research study is underway in regards to the health related effects of mold and other indoor allergens as they relate to children in post-Katrina New Orleans. The project is called Head-off Environmental Asthma in Louisiana (HEAL). HEAL is also using this project to look at different responses in children to mold and other indoor allergens.

As the prevalence of childhood asthma keeps rising in the United states it has become a growing concern, especially when some of the highest numbers are related to areas that have flooded such as New Orleans. The study suggests that the increasing rates of asthma are related to increases in allergens, mold and moisture in the air following the water events. The goal of this study is to figure out a better way to manage these children medically and to provide a safe environment that will improve the health of the children affected. HEAL is currently in its second phase of research.

Why is this study so important? This study is a macro way to show the direct correlation between moisture, in this case flooding, as it relates to increased mold growth, allergens and moisture in the air. As the climate changes and these catastrophic events continue to happen, year after year, more spotlight is being shown on this topic. We hope that this research helps us to determine how we can reduce exposure to these elements and protect our children from its harmful effects.

Although this study is being done on the post-Katrina area of New Orleans, it pertains to everyone. Hoboken, NJ was ravaged by hurricane sandy just a few years ago. Just recently hurricane Joaquin led to historic rainfall and flooding in the Carolinas. It is important for the future that we keep doing studies like this HEAL study so that we are better prepared when disasters like this strike, and that we are better equipped after the event to deal with the increased health effects that it causes as well as provide safe and healthy spaces for our children to grow up in.

For more information on the HEAL study, visit http://heal.niehs.nih.gov/.