Basement Mold-What’s Lurking Down There?

Posted on

Basement Mold-What’s Lurking Down There?

One of the most asked question I get is, “Why do I get mold in my basement?”

There are usually two main reasons homeowners get mold in their basement:  One is a basement that has an overall relative humidity above 45%. The other is ground water intrusion/drainage issues.

Let’s start with the relative humidity: We advise our customers to keep the levels below 45% through the use of a good dehumidifier. Frequently, this is followed up with a great question:  “Do I need to run my basement dehumidifier all the time?” The answer is, “Yes.”  A good quality dehumidifier, like the Santé Fe Classic, (see our blog on dehumidifiers: http://compmold.blogspot.com/2013/09/dehumidifiers-considerations-when.html) can be set to a 45% relative humidity level on the unit. Once the humidity level is set, the unit will shut off when it doesn't need to run. When you don’t run a dehumidifier in your basement on a regular basis, it allows all of your belongings in the basement to take on that moisture. With the lack of air flow and the high moisture content in them, you will start to get a musty smell and mold growth on these items.  It’s also important to have a large enough dehumidifier in the basement to accommodate the space and the amount of belongings you have.  At Comprehensive Mold Management, we can determine the correct size dehumidifier for your basement to help keep it dry and at the perfect levels.

The second leading problem is the lack of good drainage around the foundation of the house. Ineffective drain tile, the lack of a sump pump and/or drain tile, clogged gutters, or the negative pitch of the soil to the foundation are just a few issues. Using the proper coatings on the block walls is just as important. They should be guaranteed mold-proof. Mold needs two things to grow: a food source and moisture. If the wrong type of coating is on the block walls and there is poor drainage, mold will grow on the block walls. This is due to the fact that the improper paint becomes a food source for the mold, which is brought on by the excessive moisture behind it in your walls or floor. You may also incur peeling paint due to the product being applied onto the wet walls. The drainage issues should always be addressed before mold-proof coatings are applied.

We, at Comprehensive Mold Management, also advise limiting the amount of belongings being stored in your basement. Limited airflow may occur, making it much more difficult to remove moisture. In addition, if they already have mold on them, it can raise mold levels to a much higher rate.

You should also be advised that, if those existing mold spores in your basement are disturbed (ie: moving boxes, attempting to clean the mold yourself) without proper containment & negative air being run, you risk cross-contaminating your entire home, via your furnace, air conditioning unit or just by walking those items or moldy boxes up your stairs for disposal. It is always better to ere on the side of caution and call a mold expert to evaluate your basement before moving or cleaning anything.


Having proper dehumidification, water drainage & limiting stored belongings in your home is the key to keeping mold out of your basement area and off your valuables. Preventative measures go a long way in keeping your home’s environment safe and healthy.


Basement mold-Before
Basement Mold-After
Visit Comprehensive Mold Management's website for more information at www.compmold.com

Mold Removal-Containment & Negative Air

Posted on

Mold Removal-Containment & Negative Air

When mold is being removed from your home or business by Comprehensive Mold Management, LLC, our protocol is based on industry standards and should be followed by any reputable mold remediation company. Part of this protocol includes containment and negative air.What does that mean? 
  • Containment-Any indoor area that we work in, we will seal off from the other areas that we are not working in. We do so with 6 ml plastic. We then create an entrance with double-flapped plastic door, so that we have a negative pressure seal as we enter and exit the containment area. 

  • Negative Air-Negative air is calculated by the industry standard of four air changes/hour within the containment area. This is calculated by cubic feet, which is determined by the amount of air your negative air machine will move and how big the space is. It is imperative that you have enough return air coming into the containment area to maintain oxygen levels for the workers. 

Visit Comprehensive Mold Management's website for more information at www.compmold.com



How Does Comprehensive Mold Management Dispose of Moldy Materials?

Posted on

How Does Comprehensive Mold Management Dispose of Moldy Materials?

When we at Comprehensive Mold Management, LLC come to your home or business to remove the mold, we want to ensure that we dispose of the moldy materials in the proper manner. When these materials are not removed properly, it can cause cross-contamination anywhere throughout the building we are working in. Mold spores can spread to areas that have the correct conditions for mold growth, such as those that are dark or moist, including furniture, duct work, air conditioning units and furnace filters. Thus, our following industry protocol, is extremely important to you & your family's health.

Our crew removes the mold in a contained area while negative air is running. Once the materials, such as drywall and plywood are taken down, they place them in a tightly sealed, thick contractors' 6 ml garbage bag. They then wipe it down with an antimicrobial wash and then dispose of the bag once it is thoroughly
cleaned. 
  
Our crews also HEPA vac and remove their Tyvek suits, gloves, respirators and booties before leaving the contained area, again, as not to cross-contaminate the non-affected areas. The goal when doing mold removal work is to make the health of the inhabitants affected by mold and the building itself as ideal as is possible. You should feel confident the work is done properly and that the mold issue is resolved.


Visit Comprehensive Mold Management's website for more information at www.compmold.com

Mold Certifications and Proper Insurance Coverage

Posted on

Mold Certifications and Proper Insurance Coverage

When looking for a mold contractor, there are a few vital things you should look for;  are they certified mold experts and do they have adequate insurance coverage?

  • Mold Expert Certification:  Check to make sure they have a certification from a reputable source, such as NAMP (www.moldpro.org) with the certificate number
  • An Environmental Education Certification
  • A Accredited Lab Certification for training on proper mold sampling, molds’ health effects & data interpretation
  • Insurance Coverage-Contractors working in your home should always carry Workers’ Compensation and Liability (ask for their certificate, sent by their carrier). Mold removal contractors should also carry additional mold insurance coverage.
If you do not receive insurance certificates from a contractor working in your home, you may be liable for any injuries incurred on your property. Be sure to protect yourself and your assets.

Visit Comprehensive Mold Management's website for more information at www.compmold.com

Reviews & Testimonials-How To Tell If They Are Real

Posted on

Reviews & Testimonials-How To Tell If They Are Real

When asking your mold contractor or anyone proposing work on your home, you should ask for references from previous customers. But how do you know they are reliable & honest? There are several ways you can ensure they are real. The following indicators should make you question their truthfulness:

  • There are no specifics about the job and how it was execute
  • Overly enthusiastic reviews on a constant basis
  • When contacting the references, they should be willing to share photos of the completed work
  • Perfect wording
  • Mass testimonials in a short span of time, sometimes all on the same day or week
  • Contractor that is unwilling to share his customers’ contact information
  • Check their BBB or Angie’s List rating. Does it match their presented reviews & testimonials?
You may also want to contact your state’s Attorney General’s office to check on any outstanding legal issues or complaints about the contractor/business.

Visit Comprehensive Mold Management's website for more information at www.compmold.com

Weep Holes For Cinder Block Walls

Posted on

Weep Holes For Cinder Block Walls

  Why do we suggest and drill weep holes in your basement cinder block walls? Ground water from outside sources penetrates the block. Sometimes this fills up the cavities of the blocks. Weep holes on the inside of the basement at the floor line allow the drainage of the blocks below the floating slab down to the drain tile. This keeps the walls dry when there is a ground water or a high water table.


Visit Comprehensive Mold Management's website for more information at www.compmold.com


Power Ventilation in Your Attic-Why It’s Needed

Posted on

Power Ventilation in Your Attic-Why It’s Needed

  Sometimes in attics, regardless of the amount of ventilation and insulation, roof power venting is required. This forces the airflow from the soffits, out through the power vent. It is important to install a power vent with both a humistat (regulates the moisture levels) and a thermostat, which is set at 110˚F). Mold growth occurs in attics, in most cases, during the winter months. Warm air migrates from the house to the attic where it mixes with the cold air. This forms condensation on a variety of materials, including the plywood and supports. A humistatically controlled power vent will turn on automatically when moisture levels exceed 45% to remove the excess moisture. This is why we recommend a power vent in certain circumstances, such as multiple roof angles that can reduce natural airflow.


Visit Comprehensive Mold Management's website for more information at www.compmold.com


Dehumidifiers-Considerations When Purchasing

Posted on

Dehumidifiers-Considerations When Purchasing

When purchasing a dehumidifier, there are a few things to consider:

Energy Efficiency & Strength: 

The more efficient the unit, the more moisture it will remove from your air with less of a draw on your electricity. If your dehumidifier is running all day/night & is never able to achieve a 45% or less humidity level, you have an energy hog. Think of it this way: If you have a home that you would like to have air conditioning in, you would never expect one window unit to cool your entire home at a reasonable energy consumption rate, let alone cool it comfortably. Most units you can purchase at your local hardware store are not capable of controlling an entire home’s humidity level. Look for an Energy Star Logo & rating on the unit you purchase. Click on this Energy Star link for specs they must meet to receive this rating:http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product.showProductGroup&pgw_code=DE

Features:

Auto Restart: This allows the unit to restart at the original settings after a power outage.

Low Temperature Operation: – The unit should be engineered for basements
& the temperature and airflow issues that they present. Many conventional dehumidifiers stop removing water from the air in these conditions.

Air Filtration: Any dehumidifier you choose should have a HEPA filter. It captures particles (including mold spores). Ideally, they should be 1 micron in size, post filtration. This level of air filtration will allow the dehumidifier to work at peak efficiency for longer than your usual dehumidifiers.

Warranties: You should minimally look for a manufacturer’s 1 year, all parts and labor, 5 years on the sealed refrigeration system when at all possible.


We here at CMM recommend the SantaFe Classic Dehumidifier to our customers with homes that are 2500 square feet or less. It is the one product we have found is consistently a great performer & has meets all our criteria of what our customers or the average consumer is searching for. Here is their link: http://www.santa-fe-products.com/products/classic.html


Visit Comprehensive Mold Management's website for more information at www.compmold.com

Mold Remediators: The Best Fit For You

Posted on

Mold Remediators: The Best Fit For You

  When choosing a mold remediating contractor to rectify your mold and moisture issue, there a few things you should look for. You must also feel a level of comfort and confidence. These are recommendations that may help you make your decision on whom to hire:
·         Look for companies that are licensed to do mold assessments and mold remediation work.
·         Ask for references from previous customers who have had similar work done on their homes
·         Check reviews from places such as the Better Business Bureau (http://www.bbb.org/) or Angie’s List (www.angieslist.com). They should have “A+” or “A” ratings. If not, inquire as to why.
·         Check the company’s website. Is it thorough? Does it have good resources, testimonials or can they provide you with their mold licenses?
·         Will the company work with you to rectify the moisture intrusion & mold issues? Do they do all the work?
·         Does the business have any outstanding lawsuits or liens that have been filed against them? You can check with your state’s Attorney General’s Office(http://www.justice.gov/ag/)
·         Are there constant complaints that are consistent in nature?
·         Is the contractor available for any concerns or questions you may have? Do they return your phone calls in a reasonable amount of time?
·         Do they seem knowledgeable and honest?
·         Is it low pressure-no time constraints on the pricing or “special deals” if you sign the contract in a said amount of time?
·         What are their warranties on their work and are there caveats that make it unenforceable?

·         Go with your gut. Does the contractor make you feel comfortable with the work he/she is proposing?

Visit Comprehensive Mold Management's website for more information at www.compmold.com

How Does A Mold Estimate Work?

Posted on

How Does A Mold Estimate Work?

When Comprehensive Mold Management, LLC comes to your home for a mold analysis, we have several tools and a protocol we use and follow. Depending on what areas we are inspecting will determine what tools we will use.

Basements:
  • We use our Hydrometer to determine the moisture content in the air. We want to make sure that proper dehumidification is in place to maintain the moisture levels below 45%. Anything above 45% will allow mold to grow on food sources. These can include; boxes, paper items, drywall, furnishings, wood, carpeting, etc. 
  • We will check the foundation block walls for water intrusion. When water gets into the cinder blocks, it will fill up the cavity of the block, allowing water to penetrate into the basement. 
  • If you have a floating slab with a sump pump and drain tile, we will inspect them to ensure it's functioning correctly.
  • If you have a finished basement, we will check the moisture content of the materials. They should be between 10-12% moisture content, depending upon the materials.
Attics:
  • We first check for proper ventilation on the outside, such as soffit & ridge venting. We will calculate the square footage of the heated ceiling area to determine if you have the correct amount of ventilation. You should have one square foot of ventilation shared between the intake soffit venting and the outtake ridge vent or box vents for every 150 square feet of heated ceiling space. We also check to make sure there are no air leaks between the heated space and the attic space. Bathroom exhaust venting is checked to ensure that it is vented out through the roof.
  • We then check for mold growth on the plywood and supports. If mold growth is present, we will determine the process of removal.
Miscellaneous:
  • Bathrooms and bedrooms are other areas of concern, but on a lower scale compared to attics and basements. We determine those on a case by case basis.

Quoting the work:
  • All of our pricing is done ala carte. We break everything down line item by line item so you can compare pricing apples to apples with other contractors. We can handle all aspects of the work. That's why customers like to come to us. We are your one stop shop. If you elect to have other contractors do portions of the work, we can simply remove that from the quote.
Visit Comprehensive Mold Management's website for more information at www.compmold.com

Why Bleach Doesn't Kill Mold

Posted on

The Truth About Using Bleach To Kill Mold


There is a widely believed myth that bleach kills mold. We get so many customers inquiring about why this treatment didn't work and their mold came back hardier than it was before. Bleach will change the color of your mold to a clear and/or white color, as it would your clothing. Unfortunately, all you have done is to create a biosphere for the mold to grow in and you may have possibly ingested the bleach fumes & airborne mold spores (never healthy). Usually, within three to four months, the mold will return and do so with a vengeance.

Other Reasons You Should Never Use Bleach:


  • It Does Not Kill All Molds
  • "Mold Cleaners" Available In Stores-They Only Disinfect The Area
  • They Don't Take Care Of The Moisture Issue, Which Is The Food Source Of All Molds
  • The Shelf Life Of Bleach Is About One Year, Dependent Upon Storage Conditions
  • Bleach Company, Clorox, Has Caveat That Bleach Only Kills Mold On "Hard, Non-Porous Surfaces
  • It Is A Caustic Substance. We Do Not Recommend Its Use In Any Circumstance
Visit Comprehensive Mold Management's website for more information at www.compmold.com

Top Five Types of Mold

Posted on

Top Five Types of Mold


There are many types of mold. Some are not toxic but many are. Although each of us is exposed to them daily, some have a higher sensitivity to them, such as immune-comprised people, small children and the elderly. The molds that are the most toxic are what are typically classified as “black mold” or “toxic black mold”. The four most common toxic molds are: Penicillium, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Stachybotrys & Chaetomium.  We tend to see these frequently in homes with severe moisture and mold issues.  Neither mold nor mold spores actually are the cause of illness/allergies. Rather, it is the mycotoxins that are released into the air.

A 1999 Mayo Clinic Study cites molds as the cause of most of the chronic sinus infections that inflict 37 million Americans each year. Recent studies also link molds to the soaring asthma rate. Molds have been an under recognized health problem, but that is changing. Health-care professionals now know that molds can cause allergies, trigger asthma attacks and increase susceptibility to colds and flu. Anyone with a genetic predisposition can become allergic if exposed repeatedly to high enough levels. Last year Dr. David Sherris at the Mayo Clinic performed a study of 210 patients with chronic sinus infections and found that most had allergic fungal sinusitis. The prevailing medical opinion has been that mold accounted for 6 to 7 percent of all chronic sinusitis. The Mayo Clinic study found that it was 93 percent - the exact reverse. Source: Newsweek, 12/4/00

The Five Most Commonly Found Molds & Their Health Effects:


Penicillium: One of the most common molds found on water-damaged building materials, such as; wallpaper, carpet, plywood, drywall & composite board. Also common in decaying food products like cereal, fruit, cheeses, meat & spices. May also be found in AC systems, water intrusion areas, and flood areas with extended elevated humidity, on shoes, clothes and furniture, cardboard boxes in a damp basement, etc.
Did you know? Penicillium mold is used to make penicillin. It was accidentally discovered that it could be used as an anti-fungal drug, although many have allergic reactions to this drug, although typically rare.
Health Effects: Hay fever, asthma, lung inflammation.


Aspergillus: This can be found anywhere. The spores are microscopically small and light weight, causing them to float effortlessly through the air. This is why Aspergillus spreads so easily. Some species carry mycotoxins & VOC gases.
Health Effects: Anyone with a weakened immune system is more prone to this mold, causing an infection known as Aspergillosis. These mold spores can grow in your lungs or an open wound, which, if not treated in those with weakened immune systems, can be fatal. Other symptoms of exposure include: headaches, trouble sleeping, itching, rashes, fatigue and other neurological complaints, and respiratory and asthmatic symptoms.  In general, most people’s bodies treat Aspergillus as a foreign object, thus destroying it. Aspergillus was recognized as one of the pathogens in the outbreak of fungal Aspergillus Meningitis and other fungal infections linked with contaminated steroid needles.
Another disease associated with Aspergillus is “Farmer’s Lung” due to working around moldy hay, straw or grain. Affects include flu-like symptoms, scarred lung tissue, coughing, wheezing, sneezing, sudden feeling of illness, cold, asthma, flu, or even pneumonia. If treated in the early stages and limited exposure is instituted, the effects can be lessened.

                                                                                                                                                     
Cladosporium:  It can be found mostly in moist areas, on organic matter (wallpaper, carpet, fans, walls with acrylic-based paint, wallpaper, mattress dust, HVAC fans & cooling units) & are common in the environment. This is not associated as a “toxic black mold”. It is also known as one of the top allergenic molds and is renowned for triggering asthma attacks.
Health Effects: Cladosporium can cause various types of infections such as: skin, eye, sinus & brain. May also be associated with chronic allergies and asthma.


Stachybotrys Chartarum (Aka: The Toxic Indoor Mold):  A genus of molds which derives from the Greek words “stachy” & “botrys”. “Stachy” (progeny/descendants), “Botrys” (cluster or bunch of grapes). Most famous species of this mold include: S. Chartarum and Chlorochalonata which are also known as “black mold” or “toxic black mold”. These are linked with poor indoor air quality that arises after fungal growth on water-damaged building materials (plywood, wallpaper, drywall & carpet). Stachybotrys has also been associated with “Sick Building Syndrome”.
Health Effects: Mild-Nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing & skin irritation. Severe-Fever, shortness of breath, fungal ling infections. Extreme-Can and do occur to those with immune-mediated conditions.

Chaetomium:  Allergenic mold found in wet or leaking areas. Chaetomium grows on wood, window frames, baseboards, wallpaper, carpets and wet drywall. Found frequently on wood beams in attics and basements. May have velvety, mounded appearance. Can emit a musty odor.  Begins as at first white, becoming gray to a grayish olive to dark olive green with olive brown to black converse color. Is typically a sign of severe water damage.
Health Effects:  Very rare for most. Tend to only occur in those with immune-compromised systems & may affect their central nervous system.

For more great, in-depth information on mold types, check out Mold & Bacterial Consulting Laboratories’ website:  http://www.moldbacteria.com/mold-types.html

Visit Comprehensive Mold Management's website for more information at www.compmold.com