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Practical Steps to Choosing the Right Air Filter

Where Does Mold Grow Best?

Molds are known to grow best in places where there is an adequate supply of moisture.

Despite the fact that it is identified as a harmful form of microbe, molds also contribute a considerable benefit in the world. Even so their subsistence has caused a lot of risks to human health.

That’s why it has been so crucial to get the most out of some instruments to help prevent the penetration of this harmful substance to human’s health condition.

Molds Can Be Life Threatening

Molds are considered as life-threatening because they can lead to the worsening of the physical condition of any individual.

One of the most common instruments used to keep your homes free from any sign of mold contamination is the air filter. There are a lot of air filters that are available in the marketplace.

However, the problem only surface when you don’t know exactly what type of air filter to buy and which one will aid you on your campaign against molds.


How to Decide What Air Filter Suits You Best

The following steps are designed to help you decide on what air filter suits you best:

    • Determine the root of the problem

Find out how grave the air quality snags you are trying to nip in the bud.

If you are coping with allergic reactions, it is of the essence that the air around is maintained fresh and pure as much as possible.

It should be noted that the specific kind of allergies or sensitivities is an integral aspect that needs to be weighed up.

    • Visualize the size of the room

To end up with the right kind of air filter, it also helps if you try to determine first the size of the room where the air filter will be placed.

This is a vital factor to take into consideration because it contributes much on properly cleaning the air in a certain room.

    • Decide where to put your air filters

The question of where to put the air filter is also a considerable thing to take into account.

The location of the air purifying device has a great effect on its effectiveness. It is very optimal to set the device not far off the source of molds.

    • Give consideration to the noise level

Some people treat noise level as part of the pointers that anyone should examine when buying a certain air filter. It helps to procure the best air filter that is not exclusively founded on the dimension of the air filter itself.

    • Be a smart buyer

Most of the time this factor is undetected by usual air filters buyers.

It is of great magnitude to pay attention to how frequently the air filters need to be modified and how much their asking price was

It also helps to asses the cost involved when you use a certain air filter for about one to two year duration. In actual fact, some air filters may be able to go a longer duration of time before they are finally changing.

Pick the best style of air filter. The looks of air filter does matter. Color is also an integral element to think about.

Others might say that style is only secondary to the air filter’s level of efficacy.

Remember that the design of the inner recesses of the air filter also add to its overall lure and functionality.

    • Check out the warranty of air filters

Warranty is regarded as the most vital feature that most buyers look into when they want to purchase a well-suited type of air filter that will impede the indoor contagion of molds.

An air filter is considered to be hard-wearing if it is free from such quandaries like glitch on the motor, fan, and electrical workings and controls.

More often than not quality upkeep is of great magnitude to the complete deterrence of dangerous molds inside your homes.

    • Bank on a reliable source

The eminence of the manufacturer where you will purchase the air filter is crucial to any mold prevention campaign.

Most good quality types of air filters are those that are widely held by the majority of consumers.

Air Filters Eliminate Further Damage By Mold

To sum it up, molds really pose a great danger to humans. By using air filters, you can eliminate the further damage that molds can cause to your wellbeing.

However, the best remedy to the growing mold problem is still to keep good indoor air quality in your place of abode. Filtration by using air cleansing devices is only a minor option to win the war against molds.

What matters most is that you are always on guard for any threat of mold exposure. Nothing is more powerful than to be conscious in your surroundings.


Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

ginger lemon

Mold Allergies: At-Home Remedies

How Can I Combat Allergy Symptoms?

Those who spend far too much money and time on doctor bills and prescription medicines for their mold allergies may want to consider other options.

There are several, less expensive ways to combat allergy symptoms in the home. Herbs, foods, and other methods may be more convenient and even more effective than making an appointment with your doctor.

Herbs

Certain herbs, both fresh from the garden and in the form of a supplemental pill, can help with allergies. Ginger, for instance, is an anti-inflammatory that causes glands and passages to reduce swelling.

This helps both with breathing, achy bodies, and swollen sinuses. Wild oregano, olive leaf extract, and garlic are all anti-fungal, killing off mold in the body, thereby cutting straight to the source, rather than dealing solely with symptoms.

Echinacea boosts the immune system, aiding the body’s ability to fight off mold.

Foods

Yogurt containing live cultures fights off yeast in the body, which the mold feeds on. Oranges and tomatoes, as well as other foods containing large quantities of vitamin C, also help the body to fight off mold, as well as limit the symptoms.

Eating less sugar and wheat, which mold interacts with, creates a less appealing environment for mold, therefore stopping mold from completely overtaking the body.

Decongestants

Vaporizers, vapor-rubs, saline solution, and other decongestants clear out sinuses, lungs, throat, and breathing passages. Boiling water and allowing the steam to envelop the face has much the same effect, especially if eucalyptus is added to the water.

Ice packs can be held to inflamed areas. This is even more effective when alternated with heat and steam against the same area. A de-humidifier is also useful, cleaning and stabilizing the air.

Painkillers

Pau d’arco, a tropical tree from South America, can be all encompassing. It is generally taken as a concentration or an infusion, rather than a supplemental capsule.

Not only is it an anti-inflammatory, it is also a natural painkiller that kills fungi and increases the power of the immune system.

Of course, there are always the average painkillers and allergy medications that can be bought over the counter. It may be more appealing to swallow a pill, but natural remedies can be better for the body.

Medications can harm and hinder the body more than help, in the long run. If allergies cannot be made tolerable with either of these directions, however, it may be time to see a doctor or specialist.

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Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

mold allergy

Where To Live With A Mold Allergy

Where IS the Perfect Place to Live with Mold Allergies?

Mold allergy sufferers may spend their lives in search of the perfect climate. There are criteria when selecting a home based on environmental conditions, but unfortunately there is no true, universal answer.

Since there are so many types of people and so many varieties of mold, not to mention the fluctuating climate of any area throughout the seasons, it is virtually impossible to name one spot as the Utopia of all allergy victims.

That said, there is still some amount of hope. Allergy sufferers should always check the mold and pollen count of each season in any area before moving. They may be moving into a war zone.

It is good to be prepared for what lies ahead, especially if this enables them to choose a different new home.

Large Cities

Large cities, such as Charleston, SC, and Houston, TX seem to be worse for those fleeing allergies. Charleston and Houston were number one and two of the top twenty-five cities in the US in 2001, according to a study released by Flonase.

It may be the pollution or the population, but no matter the reason, those who are subjected to allergies have found living in large cities to be miserable.

Conditions

Warm, windy conditions are also distressing. Mold thrives on warmth, and travels by way of the breeze.

Those violently allergic to mold should stay away from this type of climate at all cost. Even those who are less allergic than others should avoid this.

Humidity

Humidity, too, can be a mold’s friend and allergy victim’s enemy. Areas that are often moist promote mold growth, creating an environment unfriendly to most.

Those that live near water, such as the coast, and suffer from mold allergies, ought to consider moving inland. Those that are thinking about moving to the coast: don’t.

Coupled with heat and wind, this is a nightmare.

Seasons

Many molds are dormant in the winter, but not all. A region that freezes more frequently or for longer periods of time than most would be ideal for allergies.

However, the Northwest United States is still uncomfortable for anyone bothered by mold. The fact remains that not many people long to spend their lives in a cold, arid location.

Some people do eventually find their own version of Utopia, and still more don’t. There is no right answer.

All anyone can do is keep a clean, dry home, and do their best to avoid situations that may cause an allergic attack.

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Mold Colony

10 Health Risks of Toxic Mold

Are you Living in an Area with Risks of Toxic Mold?

If you are living in an area where the relative humidity is above 55%, you are very much liable to health risks caused by toxic molds. Black Mold, also known as Stachybotrys Chartarum. Stachybotrys Chartarum is a greenish-black fungi found worldwide that colonizes particularly well in high-cellulose material such as straw, hay, wet leaves, dry wall, carpet, wall paper, fiber-board, ceiling tiles, thermal insulation, etc. The fungus, before drying, is wet and slightly slimy to touch. Stachybotrys is considered a toxic mold and is one of the major health risk providers.

Species of Black Mold

There are about fifteen species of Stachybotrys worldwide. Contrary to popular belief, this type of fungus does not grow on plastic, vinyl, concrete products, or ceramic tiles. Neither is it found in the green mold on bread or in the black mold on shower tiles. The toxic mold environmental risk may be one of the next major real estate due diligence concerns, especially in property development areas where major flooding has occurred. The problem is that the existence of toxic molds not only includes residential and commercial area flood incidents, but also numerous minor water releases due to plumbing failures, conductive condensation, house water leaks and accidents. The toxic mold concern could also be a problem where fires have occurred on residential properties. For some people, exposure to the toxic mold spores may stay just a “risk”. To others, it may be a real health hazard, with life-threatening results.

Health Risk or Health Hazard?

Whether a potential liability concern is just health risk or a major hazard, there will be paramount in defining the critical level of due diligence and disclosure response by responsible parties. There are already several major lawsuits concerning toxic mold exposure in residential and commercial buildings throughout the United States.

The 10 most common health risks associated with toxic mold are:

1. pulmonary hemorrhage or pulmonary hemosiderosis (primarily in infants)

2. nose bleeds

3. immune system suppression (resulting in increasing numbers of infections)

4. hair loss

5. dermatitis

6. chronic fatigue

7. psychological depression

8. diarrhea

9. sore throats

10. headaches and other flu-like symptoms

Can All Toxic Mold Be Eliminated?

One of the major concerns that many experts have is that one might not be able to permanently eliminate ALL of the toxic mold from a structure. There also remains a great propensity for future reoccurrence. It is therefore recommended that great care be exercised to remove and dispose of all products that have been contaminated by the toxic mold. Another concern is that state’s Health Departments will consider ambiguous and genetic disposition as a response to the inquiries about toxic mold that is made by the public. There will be some people, especially children, which will exhibit more adverse reactions than other persons exposed to the toxic mold. Some of these reactions will include death, lung tissue damage and memory loss. This may also depend on the chemical sensitivity, genetic disposition, and predisposing health history. Currently, most health organizations consider exposure to toxic mold a health risk and hazard. Keep in mind that most responses leading to testing, investigations, and abatement of the toxic mold are due directly to occupant complaints or documented detrimental health effects.

Liability Concerns

Toxic molds may even evolve to a point where it is regarded with the same cautions, response and liability concerns as those attributed to lead-base paint and asbestos. Health hazards and risks associated with concern to exposure to these types of mold are currently considered as short-term effects as opposed to exposure to radon gas in houses, which is considered a long-term health risk. The Stachybotrys fungi cannot be identified by a routine visual inspection. All black molds are not necessarily Stachybotrys. It could be non-toxic black mold. The only method to determine the type of mold present is by sample analysis by an accredited laboratory. Also, it is important to keep in mind that the mold is only a toxic risk or hazard if a person breathes or comes into contact with the spores. Wet mold is not an indoor air quality health risk, but there is a significant potential for the mold to dry and released into the air. Be wary of continuous health problems you might be having. If you cannot find the cause of these problems, chances are they are not really that visible to the eyes. Toxic molds can be as risky to your health as any other environmental factors.

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Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

mold on the roof

10 Tips for Removing Mold from Your Home

Remove Mold From Your Home

The removal of mold will prevent many diseases from attacking you and your family. The absense of mold will also give your home a fresh, clean scent.

Here are some steps on how best to remove mold from your home

  • Clean Roofs and Gutters

    One of the hiding places of mold is in blocked gutters or on top of roofs. Leaves and other wet debris can become trapped and stagnant, providing a great place for mold to fester and grow.

  • Watch out for compost piles

    If you have a compost pile, keep it far from the house to prevent mold spores from entering the house via the basement or walls. If you are moving your compost pile, make sure a protective mask is worn to prevent the inhilation of toxic mold released in the air.

  • Sunshine is important to reduce external moisture

    Homes that are heavily shaded by large trees or overhangs are more likely to have damp, moldy areas. Direct sunlight on the area can reduce the probability of mold. If you have mold allergies, this step is especially important.

  • Disposal of Damaged Materials

    Building materials and furnishings contaminated with mold growth should be placed in sealed water-resistant bags or closed containers while in the remediation area. These materials can usually be discarded as ordinary construction waste. Large items with heavy mold growth should be covered with polyethylene sheeting and sealed with duct tape before being removed from the remediation area.

  • Control moisture levels

    Keeping moisture levels in check is a great way to prevent mold from growing at all. Air conditioning or dehumidifiers can work as an effective check to mold growth. These appliances must be kept clean to avoid contaminating them with mold that can add to the problems for sensitive individuals. They can be cleaned through scrubbing or by spraying them with an aerosol mold remover. The ideal level of humidity inside a home should be between 35 and 40 percent. Levels above 50% allow molds to grow.

  • Remove mold with bleach*

    One of the best ways to get rid of mold is to simply treat it like your toughest laundry stains. In these cases, try bleaching them out.

    The ideal solution is one cup of bleach to 10 cups of water, or a cup of bleach in a gallon of water. Scrub those places inside your home where mold exists. Places best for mold growth are basements, shower curtains, bathrooms, fixtures, floors and walls, shower curtains, tile and behind the toilet, window panes, basement walls, floors and ceilings; and areas around the laundry room.

    *Note: We no longer recommend bleach for dealing with most mold issues. See this article on the 3 reasons why you should not use bleach on mold.

  • Clean your closets

    Mold is often found in shoes or even on clothing. Closets can be a festering ground for mold growth. If asthmatic or allergic reactions do not seem to be getting better, this may be a necessary step. If your closets are carpeted, it may be time to replace them. If mold exposure is unavoidable while cleaning, sensitive people should wear a tight-fitting facemask.

  • Inspect appliances

    Appliances that have mold inside them can increase a sensitized individual’s mold allergies. Proper outdoor ventilation of indoor appliances is especially important for clothes dryers and stoves. Another potential mold spawning ground is the refrigerator drip pan, which can collect great amounts of moisture.

  • Be careful on vacations

    Vacations can be times when mold allergies or reactions worsen. This is especially true for vacations at the beach, woods, or any place where the accommodations are damp or moist. If you have a cabin that you only visit a few times a year, you should properly clean it before each use.

  • Water leakage inside your home

    Replace or remove porous materials such as ceiling tiles, sheet rock, carpeting, and wood products if they have become water logged.

    Drying does not remove all of the dead spores on heavily-molded carpet. Remove all sheet rock to at least 12 inches above the high-water mark. Visually inspect the wall interior and remove any other intrusive molds. This may need to be carried out by a licensed contractor. Any insulation that is damp or wet should be replaced with dry insulation.

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mold test kit

How To Test for Mold in Your Home

When Should You Test For Mold?

It is time to test for mold if you are having persistant health problems without a known cause or smelling unknown things. Chances are, molds are already dominating your living space.

How do you test for mold in your home?

  • Visual Inspection

Because mold cannot live without moisture, sources of moisture should be one of the focal points of your investigation. Have a thorough visual inspection of your structure. This includes the attic, crawl spaces and basement.

  • Examine the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems

    Check out the moisture content of floors, walls and ceilings. Look beneath surfaces and all water-damaged areas. This can be made easier by using a non-invasive moisture meter.
    Test the humidity in the indoor air, using a calibrated meter.

  • Specimen Collection

    A mold inspector does this kind of mold testing. The training they have will ensure that, throughout this portion of the inspection, there is consistency in collection protocols. In the process, minimizing the possibility of sample contamination.

The specialized equipment used for mold testing allows them to collect specimens from:

  • Indoor air

    Primarily, these samples test and determine airborne mold spore counts. Proximate outdoor air is also tested. In special cases where the species of mold needs to be identified, a collection plate with a growth medium is placed in a viable impactor, or microbial particle sampler, in which one hour of spore settling time is replicated in five minutes.

  • Wall interior air

    Moisture meter readings of an elevated moisture content of the wall material make it a candidate for this type of testing. The paper covering, drywall, is vulnerable to consumption from mold growth. Air sampling pumps set at 15 liters per minute, draw air from the wall cavity for two minutes and for a total of 30 liters.

  • Carpeting

    Carpet samples are collected with a system developed as a sampling and analysis technology for the enumeration and identification of both total and viable fungal spores in dust. The system involves sweeping carpeting with a vacuum. The collected dust can be analyzed for total and viable fungal spores, as well as allergens.

  • Small pieces of contaminated material

    Sometimes it is necessary to remove and test a small portion of the material affected. These are collected without marring appearances, whenever possible.

  • Water from drain pans or cooling towers

    This will be an indicator if there is mold contamination in the immediate water source or if it is from the main source.

What Do I Do with My Collected Mold Samples?

After the collection procedure is accomplished, the right samples should be microscopically examined by a certified laboratory, allowing testing of the kind of mold sampled.

This is necessary because unmagnified appearances may not be reliable indicators. Certain colors may suggest the presence of a toxic mold. For example, the purple and green sheen sometimes associated with Stachybotrys. Note that many varieties may not always exhibit the same colors.

Black mold, white mold, green mold and any other kinds all require scrutiny along with scientific methodology to ascertain if the sampled mold is a genus known to produce mycotoxins.

If you are budget wise and conscious of the money spent on mold testing, don’t be alarmed. You only pay an analysis fee for the samples sent to the laboratory. There is no charge for those not sent.

Those that are not sent would be placed in a special culturing area. Their mold growth progress will be noted visually and documented to serve as reference for any future mold problems.

For the mold samples to be tested in the laboratory, a “chain of custody” form should be completed by the mold inspector. The specimen media will then be carefully be packaged and sent.

Three days after the laboratory receives the samples, the microscopy technician will send a written report about the findings and results of the testing done. This report will be immediately forwarded to you.

Having finished the testing, you will then know for sure if you have mold growing in your home. You can then take the necessary steps needed in removing them.

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