Hidden Places Mold Can Be Found.

Information about how hidden mold in our homes can make us sick has been well documented by the media and contractors who make a living removing mold from buildings. We all expect that mold might be lurking in the moist and dark places in our homes, such as in basements or crawl spaces. But there are many other places mold could be growing in your house that you might never find out about unless you do a little exploration. Let’s take a look at some of the places mold spores can thrive so you know what to look for.

1. Window Sills

We don’t often spend a lot of time examining our window sills, but they are a prime place for mold to start and spread. Window sills are frequently exposed to moisture from condensation, and they only get decent air flow during the summer months if the windows are open. The dirt that accumulates in the grooves of the sills supply valuable food to spores and they can grow quickly.

To prevent mold in your window sills, be sure to wipe down windows when you see a lot of condensation and clean out the window tracks periodically to remove the mold’s food source.

2. Refrigerator Drip Pans

The pans used to collect condensation for our refrigerators are rarely seen, so they are easy to forget about. There is not a lot of air circulation under the fridge in most homes, and what is out of sight usually is out of mind. Sometimes, food from spills collects in there as well. This creates a perfect breeding ground for mold spores.

Make a yearly appointment to clean out the drip pan using water and white vinegar. If you notice a lot of mold growth, increase the cleanings to twice per year. Also, use this vinegar and water solution on the flooring below the pan, just in case the mold wants to grow here as well.

3. Wallpaper

Unless you are removing paper from your walls, you are unlikely to know if mold spores are growing behind it. If the paper is older or has peeling edges, it’s possible mold has begun spreading where you can’t see. If you suspect you might have a mold problem, it’s best to just get the paper removed and replaced. If you know for a fact that there is a great deal of mold behind the paper, don’t remove it yourself. Instead, hire a trained professional to get rid of it and sterilize the area. Only a pro will know how to prevent huge amounts of spores from launching into the air when the paper is removed.

If you want to have decorative paper on your walls, treat the surface first with a mold-resistant primer. Use a high-quality paste to adhere the wallpaper, and be sure to remove all the air bubbles from behind it. Do not use wallpaper in moist areas such as bathrooms or basements.

4. Attic

If you have any sort of water leak in your room, chances are good that mold could be growing in your attic. The dust that accumulates in attics paired with little air flow makes a perfect environment for spores to thrive.

Check your attic periodically for mold, and make sure there are air vents to aid circulation to the area. If you have any roof leaks, get them repaired immediately. It is best to regularly have your roof inspected to catch any leaks before they cause a serious problem, and especially after a heavy rainstorm or other harsh weather.

5. Air Conditioners

Again, condensation is the culprit here. In addition, the air that AC units suck in from the outside contains dirt and pollen–attractive materials for mold. Machines that sit without use for long periods are likely to contain mold spores.

Prevent mold by running your air conditioner every day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. When the unit is not in use, remove it and store it in a dry place, if possible. If you know your AC has mold, either remove it from the window or hire a professional to do so and have the interior carefully cleaned with a water-and-bleach solution. If your whole-house air conditioner has mold, it’s best to call in a professional to clean it.

6. Washing Machines

The popular new front-load washing machines may be great for high efficiency, but they are notorious for off odors as a result of mold growth. The gasket around the door is wet all the time when the washer is running and doesn’t get to dry out because the door is usually closed when the machine is not in use. This creates a perfect atmosphere for mold to grow.

You can either leave the door open after running a load to let the gasket dry, or you can wipe the gasket with a cloth when you are done washing. If mold already exists in the gasket, kill it with a bleach solution and monitor the area to make sure the mold does not return.

7. Chimneys

Depending how well a chimney is capped off, it might take in a good amount of water from rain and snow. Plus, it’s likely leaves and other organic materials are entering the space, and this all combines to create perfect conditions for mold to grow. The porous surfaces of bricks and mortar only add to the problem.

To prevent mold growth in your chimney, first make sure the top is covered appropriately. Then it’s best to call in a professional chimney cleaner to remove mold and keep your chimney puffing along at its best.

8. Carpets and Pads

Moisture from concrete floors or wet crawl spaces can easily make its way into your carpet pad and, eventually, the carpet. If you have pets who occasionally have accidents on the carpet, this can increase the potential for mold spores to grow there. If your carpet starts to smell odd or seems damp, unfortunately it might be too late–mold is probably already growing.

It seems the simplest way to prevent mold growth on carpet or padding–regardless of moisture level–is to keep the carpet clean. Dirt, as we’ve discovered, encourages mold growth. By vacuuming at least once per week and having your carpets cleaned periodically, you can easily prevent spores from blooming in your carpet.

Mold is present in most places, and sometimes it can make people sick. If you would like to keep your home a healthy space to inhabit, these places should be monitored for potential problems. Fortunately, solutions are simple to achieve with a little diligence and education on what to look for and how to respond.

 

 

 

Allergy & Air. Top 8 Hidden Places You Might Find Mold. Web blog post. Indoor Air quality, Allergy and Air. 27 July 2015.

Humidity Inside Your Home.

High home humidity can be uncomfortable. Worse yet, it can pose a threat to your home’s structure and surfaces.

According to ENERGY STAR®, the U.S. EPA’s voluntary program for energy efficiency, the ideal indoor humidity level is between 30 – 50%. Proper management of indoor humidity levels has several positive effects. If you implement solutions to keep you home in the right range, you’ll have these benefits:

  • Improve personal comfort.
  • Control moisture that can damage your home’s wood, paint, and siding.
  • Prevent mildew growth and odors in clothing and belongings.
  • Improve indoor air quality by reducing dust mites, mold, and other allergens.
  • Reduce pest infestations.
  • Improve the energy efficiency of your air conditioner.

Here are some ways to maintain that healthy range and clear the air by reducing and controlling humidity at home:

How to reduce and control humidity.

Some Southern homeowners use their air conditioners year-round to combat humidity. Theo Etzel, CEO of Conditioned Air Corporation of Naples, Inc. in Naples, Florida, has these recommendations for more effective continuous use of your cooling system:

  • Set the fan to automatic. (Keeping it in the “on” position actually re-humidifies the space by blowing air over a wet coil when the condenser cycles off.)
  • Invest in a unit with a variable-speed air handler.
  • Consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier.
  • Don’t automatically lower the thermostat. Etzel says turning down the thermostat to reduce humidity can be a sign of an oversized air conditioning system. If you are using the thermostat, though, smart thermostats can be part of a humidity strategy.

 

Ways to cut excess humidity

Etzel notes that air-conditioning systems can only keep up with the moisture they’re designed to remove, whether the systems condition fresh incoming air, recirculating interior air, or both.

Here are ways to help keep additional moisture and humidity from infiltrating the home:

  • Vent clothes dryers to the outdoors.
  • Install vent fans in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Run a dehumidifier.
  • Cover dirt floors in crawl spaces with a plastic vapor barrier.
  • Seal air and duct leaks.
  • Select houseplants that absorb moisture from the air, such as Boston ferns.
  • Keep air-conditioning drip pans and drain lines clean and unobstructed.
  • Avoid activities that add moisture to the air on humid days, such as taking hot showers and boiling water on the stove.
  • Take measures outside. ENERGY STAR suggests keeping gutters and downspouts clean, extending downspouts further from the house, watering plants only when needed and sloping soil away from foundations to keep water from pooling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conquer Home Humidity Problems with These Tips. Web blog post. Home maintenance. State Farm 10 April 2017.

 

Keeping Your HVAC Unit Clean.

A central air conditioning and heating system must be properly maintained in order for it to operate at peak efficiency. This is particularly true in the Las Vegas area where extreme heat can cause an overworked, under-maintained system to break down. When the HVAC unit system fails completely, repair or replacement costs are far higher than what is charged for periodic maintenance.

Image result for hvac unit

 

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Keeping Your Car Mold Free.

When people think of mold, most of the time their thoughts turn to homes or other buildings. Older homes that are not well-maintained, basements that have flooded as well as buildings that have been through natural disasters all are at risk of having mold. Unfortunately, mold can also be found in many automobiles that are not properly sealed or have had water in them from flooding. Yet, armed with just a few basic items, it’s quite possible to make sure your car does not become one of the many moldy machines on the road.

All mold starts as a stain on fabric or other surfaces, so always be on the lookout. Mold tends to form most often on fabric areas such as seats and door panels, so be especially careful of these areas. One of the best ways to prevent mold is to make sure the weather stripping is properly maintained. A good rule of thumb is to conduct an inspection each time you wash your vehicle. If there are any areas where water is leaking into the interior, the windows will begin to fog up and condensation will form on the glass, letting you know you’ve got a problem. Visiting an auto detailing shop can get this problem fixed quickly, often at a reasonable price.

Use Very Little Water

When cleaning the inside of your vehicle, use as little water as possible. Mix a small bowl of water and dish detergent together until it forms a large amount of suds on top, then scoop off the suds and place them in another bowl. By taking a cleaning cloth and gently rubbing the suds on fabric areas, you’ve cleaned while using practically no water, keeping the area very dry and at little risk of having mold.

It’s All About the Rice

A small bag of rice can work wonders to prevent mold. By placing an open sandwich bag that’s full of rice inside a door panel or other spot where it won’t spill, you can prevent mold from forming inside your motor vehicle. Since rice absorbs moisture, it will help prevent mold. Once or twice a year, discard the old rice and replace it with a fresh bag to stay on top of the situation.

Vacuum with Baking Soda

Baking soda is a great item to help prevent moisture, so sprinkling some on the seats and carpet inside your car will help keep mold at bay. After sprinkling the baking soda, let it work its magic for two hours and then vacuum it up. If you live in an area that’s humid, this is a great trick to use throughout the year.

By spending two or three dollars on some supplies, you can make sure your motor vehicle will pass the mold inspection year-round. A few minutes of preventive measures now and then will allow you to have a vehicle that not only looks good inside and out, but is also free of mold and mildew.

To learn more about taking care of your car, inside and out, go to the Pro View Vehicle Inspections website. They can help you take care of your car, as well as make sure it passes inspections.

 

 

 

BrianReeves. “Mold, Mildew and More: Keeping Your Car Mold-Free.” Web blog post. Mold & Mildew. Mold blogger. 7 July, 2014.

 

10 Ways to Reduce Mold Allergies

Around the house:

  • Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners, especially in hot, humid climates, to reduce moisture in the air.
  • Keep indoor humidity below 60% if possible. You can measure relative humidity with a hygrometer, an inexpensive instrument available at many hardware stores.
  • Keep air conditioning drip pans clean. Make sure drain lines are free of obstructions and flow properly.
  • Keep the house warm in cool weather. As the temperature goes down, the air is less able to hold moisture and it condenses on cold surfaces, which can encourage mold growth.
  • Add insulation to cold surfaces, such as exterior walls, floors, and windows to reduce condensation.
  • Dry wet areas within 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold growth.
  • Fix leaks and seepage. The ground should slope away from your house. If water is entering the house from the outside, your options range from simple landscaping to extensive excavation and waterproofing.
  • Have a heating and cooling contractor check your heating and cooling system to make sure it’s sized and operating properly to remove humidity. If your system is too big or the airflow is incorrect, your air conditioner will not remove humidity like it should. Also, ask the contractor to check your duct system for air leaks, and proper size and air flow to each room.
  • Open doors between rooms to increase circulation, which carries heat to cold surfaces. Increase air circulation by using fans and by moving furniture from wall corners.

 

In the kitchen:

  • Use exhaust fans to move moisture outside (not into the attic) whenever you are cooking, washing dishes, or cleaning.
  • Turn off certain appliances if you notice moisture on windows and other surfaces.
  • Check for leaks around the kitchen sink, refrigerator ice makers, and other sources of water. Repair if necessary.
  • Empty and clean refrigerator drip pans if necessary.

 

In basements and crawl spaces:

  • Put a plastic cover over dirt in crawl spaces to prevent moisture from coming in from the ground. If there is standing water or the soil is wet, dry it out with fans before covering the floor.
  • Be sure crawl spaces are well ventilated by using fans and having vents installed in outside walls if necessary.
  • Consider painting concrete floors and using area rugs instead of wall-to-wall carpet in basements. If you plan to install carpet over a concrete floor, it may be necessary to use a vapor barrier (plastic sheeting) over the concrete and cover that with sub-flooring (insulation covered with plywood) to prevent a moisture problem.
  • Have your basement floor checked for leaks and have them repaired if necessary. Water can enter your home by leaking or by seeping through basement floors or walls.
  • Make sure gutters are working properly and that outdoor landscaping causes water to run away from — not toward — the house.
  • Do not finish basement walls with insulation and wall board unless your basement is very dry.

 

In the laundry room:

  • Vent your clothes dryer to the outside.
  • Make sure the vent is clear of obstructions, such as lint, and that there are no holes that leak air. If the vent duct is damaged, replace it with a metal duct. Have the duct cleaned at least once a year.
  • Avoid leaving damp clothes in the laundry basket or dryer. Wash and dry them promptly.

 

In bathrooms:

  • Use exhaust fans to remove moisture to the outside (not into the attic).
  • Use area rugs, which can be taken up and washed often instead of wall-to-wall carpeting.
  • Check for leaks around basins and tubs and have them repaired if necessary.
  • Open a window when showering.
  • Avoid leaving damp towels on the floor or in laundry hamper.

 

bombmedia. “10 Ways to Reduce Mold Allergies” web blog post. Water Damage. TSC Restoration. 2 March 2017

 

Why You Should Always Hire A Mold Removal Professional.

Mold is not something to mess around with. Lurking in dark spaces, destroying your hard-earned property—it’s a serious problem. Mold will often go undetected and unseen. This fungal destroyer can be found in bathrooms, underneath tile, in laundry rooms, and even kitchens. Whether you smell it, spot it, or just reckon it’s there, here’s why you need to hire a mold removal professional.

Mold spreads fast. Even a little bit of mold is bad news. If the area is wet and dark, the mold will flourish.  Once this happens, it’s only a matter of time before the well-being of your home deteriorates. The earlier you call, the easier the restoration is

Image result for difference between mold and mildew

 

Mold makes allergy symptoms even worse. If you have itchy eyes, a runny nose, a sore throat, and fatigue, you may think that your seasonal allergies are back. In some cases, though, it could be mold. Once mold is growing, it spreads quickly. The tiny spores can easily be blown around your home, exacerbating your allergies. Calling a mold professional is the easiest way to restore your health and get rid of the problem.

Mold is a huge health risk and can lead to many serious conditions.  When inhaled, the spores create respiratory infections and other ailments. If the mold isn’t completely eliminated, these health risks grow exponentially. Hire a professional company to secure your family’s health.

You may not have the professional equipment. Mold is difficult to kill completely. Companies have the equipment needed to eliminate mold from walls, wood, closets, clothes and any other place it may be hiding. With their professional tools, there isn’t a risk of damaging your belongings.

Professional companies know how to detect all molds. Don’t try to DIY when it comes to mold removal. Professional removal services can detect all visible, dormant, and hidden molds. Then, using proven techniques, they kill the mold, preventing regrowth.

 

 

Bombmedia. “Why You Need To Hire a Mold Removal Professional.” Web blog post. Cleaning water damage. TSC restoration. 15 Jan. 2017

How To Detect Water Damage Using Thermal Imaging.

Remember that movie “The Predator”?  The alien that used infrared vision so he could easily detect Arnold Schwarzenegger and the other elite soldiers in the jungle?  Well, if he were a little more docile and a home owner he’d definitely be using that keen thermal imaging to detect any hidden water damage in his house.Thermal Imaging for Water Detection in the Home

  It is easy to identify obvious water damage in the form of a wet carpet, or soft, discolored spots on the drywall or ceilings, but many times moisture in the walls accumulating from a slow leak cannot be seen with the naked eye. This water damage can cause structural damage or serious mold growth which can lead to life threatening health problems for you and your family. But now there is technology used by the best water restoration companies to identify any moisture in your home in a quick, highly cost effective manner that will guarantee your home is free of water related problems.

This technology creates vivid images of the infrared spectrum that give an amazing “inside” view of a structure.  Instead of focusing on the 450-750 nanometer range of a visible light camera system, the infrared camera takes pictures in wavelengths of 14,000 nanometers on the electromagnetic spectrum.  The following are only some of the amazing detailed images that thermal imaging devices provide the user.Hidden water damage in your walls

Gone are the days of bashing through drywall to determine if there is water in the walls of your home.  Thermal Imaging is the non-invasive high-end technology used by expert water restoration companies to determine if there is hidden water lurking in your home.  The thermal imaging camera provides detailed real-time information revealing any hidden water damage that can be invisible to the naked eye.  Thermal imaging cameras are an excellent tool to designed to detect water damage by assessing the moisture behind interior walls, in ceilings and under carpets.  These cameras are also utilized to discover mold damage in your home by revealing undetected sources of moisture as well as detecting water soaked insulation in the ceilings caused by leaky roofs.

 

 

 

 

Jennifer. “How to Detect Water Damage in Your Home with Thermal Imaging Technology.” Web blog post. Tips For Homeowners. Restoration & Remodeling. 17 Dec. 2013.

Preventing Condensation And Mold In Your RV.

The formation of condensation can occur when camping in cold temperatures or in areas where there is a high level of humidity in the air. These water droplets will form on a variety of surfaces inside the RV, including the windows, walls, and counter-tops. It is important to keep RV condensation under control; otherwise your RV may be at risk of developing a mold problem. In addition to mold growth and its health issues, a buildup of condensation can also cause wood rot and corrosion. All of these can affect the overall look, performance, and value of your RV.

There are many tips we have learned from seasoned RVers when it comes to the formation of condensation. Here are some of the ones we have discovered work best:

Image result for rv

Eliminate The RV Condensation Source

There are many different moisture sources inside your RV that you can control, which will help reduce the formation of RV condensation. For example, heating up food releases water vapors into the air and increases humidity levels. When cooking, make sure to cover all pots and pans to reduce water vapors escaping. Also, hang wet clothes outside to dry vs. inside. This way the water vapors from the fabric do not get caught inside your RV.

Increasing Inside Temperature

The formation of RV condensation increases at a lower temperature. If possible, run the thermostat a little warmer in your RV. This will help reduce the levels of condensation inside the unit. A programmable RV digital thermostat can assist with climate control.

Installing Window Insulation

Do-it-yourself window insulator kits are available at home improvement and RV supply stores. Once installed there will be a barrier between the window and the humid air, reducing the formation of condensation.

Using A Dehumidifier

Regularly using a dehumidifier inside your RV unit will help rapidly reduce the levels of humidity without increasing the temperature. There are small, compact dehumidifiers that are designed specifically for camping.

Ventilating The Unit

Properly ventilate your RV. This ensures water vapors in the bathroom after showering and in the kitchen when cooking get released outside. Some RV goers suggest cracking a window for a few minutes to help even out the moisture content in the air inside the unit.

Wiping Surfaces

When you see RV condensation starting to form on windows and counter-tops, take the time to wipe it away immediately.

Preventing Mold Growth

To prevent mold from growing inside your RV, it’s best to keep the humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent. Humidity meters, also known as a hygrometer, are available to purchase and install inside your RV to help keep track of moisture levels in the air. Some dehumidifiers are equipped with meters to help monitor humidity levels.

By using any of the above listed tips, or all of them combined together, you will be able to keep RV condensation formation down to a minimum and reduce your chances of having mold grow and causing damage to your unit. No condensation or mold will increase the amount of fun you have on the road.

 

 

Heather Carlson. “How To Reduce RV Condensation And Prevent Mold” web blog post.  RV repair club. 7 Feb. 2017

Preventing Mildew In The Bathroom.

Mildew thrives in moist environments, so it’s of little surprise that there’s one part of your home highly susceptible to the scourge: the bathroom. In order to prevent mildew from cropping up, there are a few steps you can take to tackle the area…

Assess the Situation: Is there already a mildew problem? Grout mold can sometimes be removed with bathroom cleaner and some elbow grease, but if not, replace the grout with a latex-fortified version. Mold found on painted walls or ceilings is a bit more difficult. If you live in a rental we suggest bringing it up with your landlord, as it is possible they’ll need to remove parts of the wall to get rid of it for good (and make sure to let the area dry out for at least a day or so before patching).

Prevent Its Return: Once you’ve gotten rid of the existing mildew, work to prevent it from coming back. Two major ways to do so are with proper air circulation and light filtration. If you have a window, keep it open (or at least cracked) as often as possible. Also, keep the blinds up to let light into the room (a natural enemy of mold). If you don’t have a window, consider installing an exhaust fan to move the air around and dry things out a bit, and if you have low-energy light bulbs, try leaving them on for 10 to 15 minutes after showering. If you plan on repainting, ask for a mildewcide additive to be added to the paint before it is mixed. If you are buying paint that is made specifically for a bathroom or kitchen it might already be in there, so ask an expert to see if it’s needed.

Keep it Clean: Hang towels, spray tiles with vinegar or store-bought cleaner regularly, and mop up any standing water as quickly as possible.

 

 

 

Lily Gahagan. “How To Prevent Mildew In The Bathroom.” Web Blog Post. Organizing & Cleaning. Apartment Therapy. 4 Aug. 2008

Improving Air Quality In Your Apartment

Achieving healthy indoor air quality has become a priority for many homeowners across the country, especially those afflicted by allergies and asthma. People that reside in apartments and condos often assume they have less control over the quality of their indoor air because they share a ventilation system with other people that live in their building. While there may be some factors affecting overall air quality outside of an apartment dwellers control, there are measures that can be taken to improve home air quality.

Here are a couple quick tips for cleaner air:

Tip #1 Always turn on your hood vent when cooking and open a window if possible.

Many apartments and condos have a smaller square footage than an average home. This means that fumes from cooking can build up indoors to severe levels quite quickly. The fumes from normal cooking contain both tars and high amounts of chemical compounds called aldehydes. Both of these indoor air pollutants are known carcinogens. Turn on your exhaust hood before you start cooking and leave it on for at least fifteen minutes after you have finished. Consider replacing an older ventilation hood with a newer more efficient model.

Tip #2 Use exhaust fans in bathrooms.

When taking a bath or a shower, always turn on your bathroom vent. This will help protect your bathroom from humidity levels that encourage mold growth. Should you detect a musty odor in your apartment or condo, contact building management to alert them to this problem. Have leaky pipes, water leaks around windows and ceilings, and any other signs of condensation build-up investigated by a licensed professional. Building management should have ventilation systems cleaned and inspected regularly in an effort to prevent mold growth.

Tip #3 Limit use of household products containing chemical ingredients.

Avoid using harsh chemical cleaners and products containing fragrances. Opt for cleaning solutions composed of natural ingredients such as vinegar and baking soda. Avoid buying furniture and flooring that can emit formaldehyde fumes. In a smaller space, the chemical fumes from these products can quickly reach dangerous levels that are harmful to your health.

 

 

Home air check.  web blog post; Tips on Improving Indoor Air Quality for Apartment and Condo Residents. 31 Aug. 2016