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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

mold test

Are Do-it-yourself Mold Tests Better than Professionals?

Development of Mold Symptoms

Holly Kestinis was worried about her 8 yr old son because of his recently developed head aches. After a series of consecutive complaints about his head hurting, Holly found that she too was beginning to have severe pain head aches which she had never had before.

Ask a Mold Specialist

Realizing she had to do something about the newly devoloped , Holly called the local mold inspector to have her house examined.

Within the next couple of days Tim Glisson arrived to do a routine check. After a couple of red flags were sent up, he decided to run a few tests to see if the mold found was extremely harmful.

Testing for Mold

Tim collected a few samples and then was asked to compare the Do-it-yourself tests to a professional mold inspection. Tim agreed and followed the directions. Setting out the plate in the mold affected area to wait, Tim finished his tests within a few hours and took them back to the lab. Meanwhile, the do-it-yourself test would take a full 48 hours to finish.

Compare Test Results

Two weeks later Tim was back with his results and the do-it-yourself results to compare. The do-it-yourself detected two mold breeds while the professional lab detected three.

Do-It-Yourself Mold Tests or Professional Tests?

So while the kit detected only two breeds of mold and Tim’s tests found three, both agreed that Holly’s mold was not toxic… yet. To deal with the issue at hand, Tim gave Holly the instructions to have her ducts cleaned, and replace the drywall ceiling in the bathroom. He also advised her to add a ventilation vent in the bathroom.

In this case, Professionally done mold inspections work the best by being faster, and more efficient, detecting all breeds of mold, not just two, though they both agreed none of the mold was toxic.

Further Recommended Reading

Source : Tampa Bay’s 10 News

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]

6 Easy Mold Prevention Tips

Mold Prevention

Preventing mold is the key way to avoid having to deal with mold at all.

Here are six important tips to help you prevent mold :

    • Dehumidification System

Consider air conditioning possible augmented with a dehumidification system.

These systems pull the moisture from the building thus minimizing growth by depriving mold of one of its nutrients.

    • Use Caution

Use caution when you turning your air conditioning off. In humid climates, extended periods of non-operation of HVAC equipment may allow humidity levels to become quite high in buildings.

These periods can permit mold to gain a foothold in the building and thrive.

    • Installation

Install insulation and vapor barriers to prevent condensation on cold objects such as water pipes,beams,and plumbing fixtures.

    • Avoid Standing Water

Keep sinks, showers, tubs and other wet areas free of standing water.

    • Review Applications

Demand architectural,design,and construction applications that prevent water from entering the interior.

Areas of concern include improperly pitched roofs,poorly designed balconies,win- dows,doors,improperly installed flashing, vapor barriers,and thin stucco.

    • Maintain Structure Regularly

Maintain the integrity of building envelope through regular inspections, caulking,roof flashing,and sealing of the buildings exterior.

Further Recommended Reading:

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

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How To Know if Mold is “Good” or “Bad”

What Is Mold?

  • Mold is a fungus and it grows on plants and fibers.
  • Mold reproduces once it finds a specific area and then creates allergens that irritate many functions of the human body.
  • Mold digests organic matter by releasing spores.

Have you ever noticed the green or black fuzzy stuff that grows on bread or walls? That’s mold!

How do you know if its good mold or bad mold? Is there a difference? Definitely.

What Is the Difference Between Good and Bad Mold?

Not all mold is toxic or “bad,” but indoor mold growth is never good.

All mold can cause health effects to sensitive individuals if left as it naturally grows in your home.

Then, is there such a thing as “good mold?”

There are positive ways mold has been used is a likelier statement.

How has Mold Been Used Positively?

  • The antibiotic, Pennicillin, was derived from mold and has saved many lives from deadly diseases!
  • Mold has been used to age cheeses to the perfection of taste!
  • Mold has even been used to improve the texture of wine!

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

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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