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When Mold Attacks Your Rice Cooker

It’d been one of those busy weeks in the Wold family. Between work and school, Joslyn and I hadn’t had much time to clean up our kitchen. The small gang of fruit flies looking a little too much at home in our kitchen was a sure sign that it was time to clean.

We went through a bunch of dishes and made excellent progress. Down near the end of the line, I reached for another dish and stopped immediately as my nose caught a strong wift of unpleasantness. I looked through the dishes, trying to figure out what it was. Then I saw it.

The Rice Cooker.

Some good friends of ours had given us a beautiful rice cooker as a wedding gift and it had served us well. 15-20 minutes and fresh, perfectly cooked rice is served.

The past weekend, Joslyn had cooked rice to take on a Church outing and we’d forgotten to empty the leftovers when we returned home.

Our beautiful rice cooker was in trouble. As I opened the container my gag reflex kicked in and I braced myself to help dinner stay down.

It stank bad.

Here are some photos of the mold for your viewing pleasure. To ensure safety (and because of technical limitations), the smell has not been added.

Naturally, we weren’t about to lose such a nice rice cooker. We took the following action:

  1. Initial Cleaning – After washing the rice down the drain (thank you, insink disposal), soap and water took up a thorough attack, cleaning the rice cooker well, inside and out.
  2. Secondary Cleaning – For good measure, I went at it with soap and water again, noticing that the smell was still lingering around.
  3. Smell Elimination – I took a bottle of “Veggie Wash” (an organic mix, made up of citrus and coconut extracts) and sprayed the container generously. The citrus kicks in almost immediately and, in addition to helping with the smell, sends the citrusy goodness to fight any last lingering bacteria.Tip: You can pick up a fruit & veggie wash at your local grocery store in the produce section. A fresh lemon, cut, squeezed, and rubbed over the affected areas would do the job as well.

And voila! Our rice cooker is back.

Another fight against mold (albeit a small one) successfully won.

Jonathan Wold
MoldBlogger.com

concrobium mold control cleaner bottle sink

Product Review: Concrobium Mold Control

This review was a long time coming. Rather than a full review as we were planning, this is going to be more of a “product awareness post”.

Concrobium sent us two bottle sample kit a few months back, but with the wedding in May and the move, we haven’t had time to do a test like we’d been planning.

Last week, though, I made the exciting discovery that there was mold in the office sink. I brought the “MoldControl” to work and was prepared to give it a test only to discover that it’s not intended for sinks but rather more of a preventive solution for walls and surfaces not intended for dampness.

So, a huge thanks to Concrobium for sending the sample our way. I’ll keep my eyes open for an opportunity to give it a test.

Until then, dear readers, learn more on the Concrobium Mold Control website.

Jonathan Wold
MoldBlogger.com

Self Introduction: Newest MoldBlogger Writer

Dear Readers,

I’m proud to join my beautiful wife Joslyn today as the newest writer on MoldBlogger.com. With our wedding in May, things have been very busy these past few months and it’s been hard to find time to keep up with MoldBlogger.

Now that we’re settled in, though, things are looking brighter and you can expect more excellent content to be heading your way in the near future.

Look forward to our first product review in the very near future.

Jonathan
MoldBlogger.com Team

Mold and How it Grows

What is Mold?

Mold is a term used generally to describe a group of organisms that appear as fussy or powdery growth. Molds the same with rusts, yeasts, and mushrooms are different members of the fungus family.

They were once considered as a part of the plant kingdom, fungi are now regarded as their own kingdom of organisms. Molds live off by absorbing nutrients from dead or living organic matter.

As of date, Mycologists have identified at least 100,000 living species of fungus have been identified, some of which are beneficial to mankind. An estimated 200,000 types of fungi are in possible existence which has not yet been identified.

What Does Mold Do?

Molds serve an important role in nature. They help break down organic matter that other animal or plants cannot. Aside from nature, humans also have found uses for mold.

We eat molds in our cheese, soy sauce, yogurt, wine and beer, mushrooms, dried fruits such as prunes and raisins, vinegar, foods containing yeast, soy sauce, mayonnaise, other salad dressings, catsup, chili sauce, canned tomatoes, canned juices and so much more.

Humans also found out that the best use for molds, as antibiotics to cure disease. The best example of this is Penicillin, which is derived from the mold Penicillium.

Where Can Mold Grow?

Mold can almost grow anywhere, be it indoors or outdoors, as long as there is enough surface moisture to sustain their growth keep them alive.

They can be found in all sorts of climate and in every social and economic condition. They thrive where moisture, oxygen, and the chemicals they need are present.

They can be found on the surfaces of objects, within pores, and inside deteriorated materials.

Indoor Molds

Indoors, molds can be found in damp basements, in poorly ventilated closets, and behind baseboards and walls. They thrive in bathrooms, hot tubs and Jacuzzis, the laundry room especially dirty clothes.

They can be found in kitchens and food storage areas, even in the refrigerator and its drain pan. Dirty dishes are a common place for molds, soiled trash cans and compactors.

Mold can also be found in mattresses, any moist carpets or rugs, and in heavily draped or double-paned windows. Worn clothing and leather products also have a high possibility of contamination of molds.

Roof or plumbing leaks and unsealed concrete slabs is a good bet for having mold.

Additionally, the stalks and leaves of indoor house plants, along with the dirt they grow in, can support mold growth.

Outdoor Molds

While outdoors, molds are easily found on dead and dying vegetation such as leaves, straw, grain or other crops, and wood. They are also common in moist, shady areas, and in certain grasses and weeds.

They sometimes grow in soil or on debris and other surfaces as long as there is continuous exposure moisture. They can be found on the leaves of shrubs and other plants that grow against a house or in standing water.

In gardens, molds thrive in compost piles since they have both moisture and humidity. Some molds attach themselves to grains such as wheat, oaks, and corn, making farms, and silos probable places to find them.

Neglected gutters around the house and poor drainage of foundation water are a very good breeding ground for mold growth.

How Does Mold Survive?

Molds are very fit for survival. Though, in order to thrive, molds need four things.

4 Things Mold Needs to Thrive

  • food
  • a fungal spore
  • moisture
  • warmer temperatures [40-100 degrees fahrenheit]

Molds have no problem when it comes to food since they can eat any organic material present.

When the temperature and moisture in the environment are suitable for germination, the fungus spore bursts and grows into a thread-like filament which contains the fungal spores.

Liquid water comes into the house through leaky foundation or from leaks or breaks in plumbing. These conditions are the main cause in the formation of indoor organic materials.

If left for more than one to two days, these conditions allow mold growth to commence.

Mold Thrives in Humidity

Molds can thrive on places were the average humidity is between 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity indoors is a direct result when hot air comes in contact with a cool surface and water condenses to form dew.

This is a typical setting in buildings that have poorly insulated exterior walls and windows during winter. Exposed cold pipes in the summer can also produce this same effect.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

flooding and mold

Dealing With the Threat of Mold After Flooding

When Can I Safely Re-Occupy My Home?

This is the most common question often asked after a major calamity. Homes that have sustained any flood damage should expect to have a mold contamination with visible growth, and should not be re-occupied until the necessary mold remediation is performed.

Mold is a now considered as a national health crisis of epidemic proportions due to the health effects from exposure that most commonly occur by inhalation, skin contact, and sometimes, ingestion can be extremely dangerous to anyone, depending on indoor air counts and length of exposure.

It is strongly advised that mold remediation work involving large areas (100 sq ft or 10 ft x 10 ft) should be performed by trained mold remediation experts.

In normal circumstances, areas exceeding 25 to 30 sq ft should also be remediated by trained personnel who can contain the area and remove the mold effectively and safely. By following this suggestion, you don’t risk being exposed to harmful molds and their effects.

Do-It-Yourself Mold Remediation

If you decide to do mold clean up by yourselves, it is strongly advised to use protective equipment and dutifully follow these tips. Use dust masks and gloves, when inspecting areas small that have severe presence of molds.

Always remember to stay for a maximum of 15 minutes only on places were there is severe mold contamination. As much as possible minimize dust release as it also includes mold spores.

If you are trying to clean up an area of at least 100 square feet or a total area of 10 feet by 10 feet, use half-face air purifying respirators with goggles and gloves for safety purposes.

In the event that you are covering an area of 100 square feet it is highly advised to use a full-face air purifying respirator, gloves and disposable cover all. Doing so lowers your chance to exposure to mold spore to zero. But it is still highly suggested that a professional do this.

Mold Remediation in a Two Story Home

If you are doing clean up on a two story house, thoroughly seal-off the second floor by using poly sheeting. Remember to always run a high power exhaust fan in the area where you are working to provide ventilation and prevent possible infiltration of any airborne mold or bacteria into adjoining spaces.

To clean up small debris and dust, use vacuum cleaners with filters. After all these, clean off and disinfect the area with a detergent and bleach solution.

Health and safety advisories to remember when cleaning up after flooding:

  • Be aware of black mold that are growing on sheetrock. There is a possibility that it may be Stachybotrys chartarum. This kind of mold produces a toxin which has been associated with severe health problems in humans.
  • Be vigilant in looking for a whitish or yellowish cotton candy-like mold growth that is observed in many homes.This mold growth has been identified in some testing as Fusarium, which like the black mold or Stachybotrys chartarum, also produces a toxin that is associated with adverse health problems in humans.
  • If you smell a gas leak, it is highly advised to call your utility company. Doing so prevents the possibility of fire or explosion that may lead to more damaged property or loss of life.
  • Be aware to stay away from downed power lines and damaged electrical wires. A sudden electrical surge may prove fatal.
  • Usually, mold clean-up activities may result in the release of lead paint dust. It is recommended for households that have children under the age of 7 to have a lead dust wipe post clearance testing.Doing this ensures the safety of everyone in your household from possible lead poisoning.
  • There is a probability that the plaster that you may be working on may contain asbestos. More extensive testing is required to really understand and know the scope of this potential problem.It is good to know that plaster can be inexpensively tested for asbestos content. Cleaning-up of asbestos-containing plaster surfaces poses a very severe health risk to workers and occupants.
  • In the event that you are using a gas powered generator, place them outside the house. Long term exposure to carbon monoxide will kill anyone.

Further Recommended Reading

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.

Further Recommended Reading

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.

Further Recommended Reading

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.

Further Recommended Reading

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.

Further Recommended Reading

mold remediation services

How to Choose A Mold Inspector

When Do You Need a Mold Inspector?

If you are concerned about your health and suspect that you may have molds in your home, then it may be time to choose and pick the right mold inspector.

Three Goals When Choosing a Mold Inspector:

When choosing a professional mold inspector, look for one that has these three goals in mind:


Goal # 1

To find readily accessible and major defects in the house.


Goal # 2

To provide you, the client, with the cause and effects of such defects that will help the homeowner develop a clear understanding of what repairs are needed. These defects may be causing the growth of mold and often go unknown to the owner.

Goal # 3

The inspector should point out where the main water, electrical disconnect switch and heating system shut offs are in case of an emergency.

Qualifications Needed from a Mold Inspector:

Do not choose a mold inspector based on price alone. There are many services where you can price shop, but mold investigation and sampling should not be one of them. Expertise should be top priority. Look for the following training, experience, and qualifications when choosing a mold inspector:

Home inspections, building construction, or building forensics

Your mold problem is not in a dish or cage. It is in a building and is the result of building failure. So, mold testing should be done by someone who has knowledge of buildings, vapor barriers, roofing, HVAC systems and other related things.

Psychometrics

Psychometrics is all about humidity, temperature, dew point and air. A profound understanding of the interrelations of such factors is very important.

Biology knowledge

Because mold is a living organism and subject to the principles of biology, it is very beneficial if the mold inspector understands at least some basic biological and ecological science principles about microbiology or mycology, the study of mold.

It is best if the mold inspector you have chosen has a background in biological sciences and also in building sciences.

HVAC Knowledge

Your chosen mold inspector should be familiar with HVAC systems. It is known that 50% of mold problems are related to HVAC system malfunctions, leaks, or contamination.

Lab results interpretation and mold training

Your mold inspector should be properly trained and experienced in investigating and sampling mold, and they should know how to interpret the lab results.

Knowledge about indoor air quality issues

The mold inspector should have training and experience in general indoor air quality issues because what is sometimes perceived initially as a mold problem may not be mold at all.

Odors or illness may be the result of hydrogen sulfide gas, poor ventilation, dust mite allergens, deadly legionella bacteria or any number of other indoor air quality related issues. If such issues are the real problem, you will need someone who has some knowledge of such issues.

In addition, your inspector should have specialized training in mold inspections as well as training in other related, indoor air quality issues other than mold.

Comprehensive inspection report

Your chosen mold inspector should give you a comprehensive inspection report documenting visual findings, environmental monitoring results, interpretation of lab results, inspector’s conclusions and recommendations on how to control the mold problem.

A report from the lab alone will only result in you asking some other mold inspector for interpretation of the results the discount inspector did not understand. Some mold inspectors do not feel they need to provide those when they have charged you such a low price per sample.

Note that some states initially allowed persons to obtain a license as a mold inspector, without requiring that the inspector pass any written exams or prove in other ways that he or she has the knowledge and competence of a professional inspector. Before choosing one, make sure that they have the proper credentials needed.

How Many Inspectors Should You Contact?

Try to contact at least three inspection firms. Speak with the mold inspector. Find out what type of training and experience each inspector has. Inspectors should be willing to provide you with a sample report and prior client references.

Pay close attention to how much time the inspector spends with you over the phone. A willingness to answer your questions on the phone may indicate his or her attitude during the inspection.

All these things are necessary when choosing an inspector to check out the appearance of molds in your home.

Further Recommended Reading

Parents Not A Fan Of Mold Cleanup

Following up with yesterday’s story, I was doing some research this evening and found out that the parents of the high school in Kenton County, Kentucky, aren’t happy with the cleanup! They protest that their children are still suffering from the mold problem even with the supposed ‘clean up’. According to one mother:

“I won’t be satisfied that they’ve done the job they should do to get (the mold) out, because I think they’ve been hiding this for a long, long time.”

It was some pretty serious stuff.. They found over 15 square feet of active toxic mold growing within the school.

Pick up the rest of the story here.

College Dorms Mold Nightmares

Picked up this story from the ‘Equinox’ of Keen State University this morning. Apparently they’re having some real trouble with mold in the college dorms! Check out the excerpt:

The nightmare continued for students in the Owl’s Nest 3 apartment as physical plant staff tried to find out what was happening.

Handling a Health Issue

The process for filing a health complaint about a residence, according to Jim Carley, associate director of Residential Life, is the same as filing a maintenance request where the Residential Life staff would be notified and they would notify the physical plant staff.

Frank Mazzola, director of the physical plant, said, “The first group to investigate it would be the housekeeping department. They would have the resources to neutralize a minor problem.”

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Tips to Avoid “Sick-House” Syndrome

What is Sick-House Syndrome?

Although we all know that fresh air is good for us, we tend to associate it with spending time outdoors. Since many of us spend most of our lives indoors, we should educate ourselves on the danger of what is called “sick-house” syndrome.

This occurs when our homes, offices, etc. are sealed tightly to prevent noise, pollution, or cold air from entering. Unfortunately, this also prevents harmful fumes caused by paints, cleaning products, deodorizers and wood smoke from getting out.

Even our furnishings, carpeting, and clothing can emit dangerous pollutants.

How Can We Prevent the Build up of Dangerous Pollutants?

Studies show that the air in our homes should be changed ten times per day – anything less causes build up of dangerous pollutants.

Below are some tips to help avoid “sick-house” syndrome.

    • Ventilation

First, open the windows (just a crack is sufficient) when possible, and check to make sure that all vents are unblocked.

Another problem that lack of ventilation can cause is mold and mildew. This is found to be a danger not only to your health, but it can also damage the structure of your house.

Especially in rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms, where humidity is likely to be high, proper ventilation is essential. The use of fans in these areas are helpful.

Also, check areas such as the attic, and underneath floors for proper air circulation. If you have a humidity problem upstairs, it probably means that the attic or roof space needs more ventilation. Be aware that some types of flooring can cause structural damage if there is not adequate ventilation beneath it.

    • Pleasant Odors

We all want our homes to smell nice, and a clean, well-ventilated house will. But unpleasant odors happen, and we must not become overzealous in using artificial scents that add more pollutants to the air.

Aerosols, in particular, are not eco-friendly and often contain nasty additives. Do not fall into the trap of trying to create a “fresh smelling” home by adding more chemicals to our already polluted air.

You can easily make your own room deodorizer by sprinkling a few drops of vanilla or essential oil on a cotton ball. Place this in a small open container to prevent the oil or alcohol from damaging your furniture.

Other natural room fresheners to use include baking soda, white vinegar, fresh or dried herbs, or even a bowl of fresh apples.

And, if you like the scent of fresh flowers, treat yourself to the real thing instead of using an artificial spray. Try to keep chemical-laced cleaners, and perfumed products to a minimum, and use natural products as much as possible.


Do You Suffer from Sick-House Syndrome?

If you or your loved ones suffer from unexplained drowsiness, headaches or a general malaise, try getting fresher air through the house. Your family and your home with breath easier and avoid the “sick-house” syndrome.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Breathe Easier — Air Purification Solutions to Air Pollution

How Can Air Pollution be Minimized?

In today’s complicated world, we face an almost constant onslaught of pollution – from the air we breathe, the water we drink, the homes we live in, and the vehicles we drive.

There are almost as many types of air pollution as there are potential solutions. No matter what type of air purification system you’re looking for, you should know that there is not one product on the market today that can solve every problem.

The best approach to figuring out what type of air purification solution is going to be best for you, is to first understand the different types of pollution.

5 Types of Air Pollution

For example, these are the five major types of air pollution:

    • Odor Causing Pollution

Odor comes from many different places – food, animals, human bodies, cigarettes, cigars and pipe smoke, sports shoes, clothing and equipment, etc.

Although not necessarily dangerous, if you’ve ever walked into your teenage son’s room after he’s come back from a football game and taken a deep breath – you know it can be very unpleasant!

Recommended Solution: Currently, the best solutions on the market for this type of pollution are odor sponges, ozone and oxidation.

    • Particulate Causing Pollution

Particulates are those little floating things you see when the sun comes shining in through your windows, and include dust, dust mites, dust mite feces, pet dander, skin flakes (what dust mites eat), pollen, smoke particles and allergens.

Recommended Solution: Currently the best solutions on the market for this type of pollution are infiltration and negative ions.

    • Microbial Causing Pollution

Microbials are microscopic bacteria, fungi, mycotoxins created by a fungus, mildew, mold spores and viruses.

They can be as small as .001 microns. Microbials love to live in warm, damp places, or under your carpet, in your walls and in heating and air conditioning ducts.

Recommended Solution: Currently the best solutions on the market for this type of pollution are those that produce oxidation, which kills microbials.

    • Chemical Fumes and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)

This type of pollution comes from chemicals like benzene and formaldehyde, the chemical fumes that are constantly seeping from carpets, upholstery, furniture, draperies, household cleaning products, beauty products such as nail polish, removers, etc.

They also come from cigarette, cigar and pipe smoke, building construction, etc. Many of these chemicals have been identified as carcinogens.

Recommended Solution: Currently the best solution on the market for this type of pollution are products that produce catalytic oxidation.

    • Radon Gas Pollution

Radon is a completely odorless, tasteless and colorless gas, and is the heaviest of all known gasses. It is caused by the radioactive breakdown of uranium inside the earth.

When radon is cooled below freezing, it turns a brilliant phosphorescent shade of yellow, which turns orange-red as it gets colder. Radon is also the second leading cause of lung cancer.

Smoking exacerbates the affects of radon. Radon is found all around us, in our homes, our yards and the world around us.

Recommended Solution: The best solution to this form of pollution is to first of all test your home (a simple test is available at most hardware stores) and then to seal all cracks and openings in your home’s foundation.

If the problem merits it, you may need to have a certified contractor install a ventilation system inside your home.

With this basic understanding about pollution you are now ready to make that all important decision about which system is going to be best for you. The choice is yours!

Further Recommended Reading:

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

[Article shared Exclusively with MoldBlogger.com]
hidden mold in a home

10 Things You Should Know About Mold

10 Important Things Everyone Should Know About Mold

Don’t go into mold prevention and mold removal unarmed! Here are some tips that will help you fight your battle with mold:

Health Effects

Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.

Control Mold Growth

There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.

Eliminate Moisture

If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.

Repair Water Problems

Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.

Reduce Indoor Humidity

Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60% ) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and dehumidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.

Clean and Dry

Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

Use Detergents

Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.

Prevent Condensation

Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.

Rules for Carpeting

In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).

Mold is Everywhere

Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.

Further Recommended Reading:

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) at epa.gov

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