Dangers of DIY Mold Removal Projects

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Dangers of DIY Mold Removal Projects

There are many at home DIY projects, that homeowners can tackle themselves. Today, there are many sources throughout the Internet such as handyman websites & blogs, as well as DIY Television shows that misinform people that they can take on a mold remediation project on their own. This is a project that should be handled by a mold professional.
Here are several reasons why do-it-yourself mold remediation projects can be dangerous:
1.       Insufficient Equipment/Personal Protective Wear
There are special supplies and equipment needed in order to properly perform a mold remediation job. This includes air filtration devices that get strategically placed inside the work area and are vented out through a window to create negative air pressure. This insures that no outside contaminants are entering the structure during remediation.
Protect yourself and others from getting sick or causing cross contamination. Numerous homeowners will not take the necessary precautions to protect themselves. Mold removal professionals are trained to handle contaminants, and know that there are certain ways to get in and out of your protective wear to prevent the spread or inhalation of the contaminant. 
Detailed training is imperative to remove the mold properly. Professionals have their crew members wear protective coverall suits and are fit for a high grade respirator. Purchasing a paint suit and dust mask from the hardware store is not enough nor is it the proper protection.
2.       Unknown Obstacles
As a trained professional mold remediation contractor, many times we find ourselves in complicated situations. We have to use our many hours of training to troubleshoot the scenario. Each job is unique and almost every job needs some type of specialized attention.
3.       Allergic reaction
Some people have severe allergies to certain types of mold while others have none at all. Most of us are unaware of these allergies until they start to see symptoms. There are also toxic mold spores that can be extremely dangerous, even in small amounts.

These are just some of the most obvious reasons to have a mold professional come out and evaluate your home. Every home and situation is unique and any qualified contractor should gladly come out to your property to discuss your options and provide a visual inspection. Make sure to use your judgment, ask questions, get references and ask for certificate of insurance. 


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

Mold in Rentals: What You Should Know As a Tenant

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Mold in Rentals: What You Should Know As a Tenant


Where Can Mold Be Found?
Mold comes in various colors and shapes. Some of the most common types of mold are stachybotrys, penicillium, aspergilus, paecilomyces, and fusarium are black, white, green, or gray. Some are powdery, others shiny. Some molds look and smell horrible; others are barely seen -- hidden between walls, under floors and ceilings, or in less accessible spots, such as basements and attics.

Mold needs a food source, such as water-soaked materials, i.e. wall paneling, paint, fabric, ceiling tiles, newspapers, or cardboard boxes. Humidity sets up prime growing conditions for mold. Buildings in naturally humid climates of Texas, California, and areas with high water tables such as Western and Central New York have experienced more mold problems than residences in drier climates. Regardless of the climate, mold can grow as long as moisture is present and they have a food source.

Reduce Humidity
Important areas to look for mold are underneath sinks, near bathtubs or on windowsills. One of the easiest ways to prevent mold from growing in apartments is making sure that repairs are made quickly when a tenant makes a request. If a tenant reports that a water heater is leaking in their home, then an apartment manager should have the item fixed quickly to prevent moisture on surfaces. Plumbing equipment is not the only thing that can cause mold to grow in apartments. Faulty air-conditioning and heating systems can increase humidity levels in a rental unit, making a perfect environment for mold spores.

Apartment Inspections
When renting apartments to tenants, apartment managers should have a lease that states building maintenance routinely inspects each unit. By inspecting apartments every few months, it is easy to find small leaks in water pipes or around windows that feed mold spores. A regular apartment inspection by management also encourages tenants to keep their apartments free of clutter that collects mold spores. When tenants leave items such as damp towels and clothing lying in piles on the floors and against walls, mold begins to grow in hidden areas. Signs of mold in apartments might include a musty odor caused by mildew in unventilated areas.

Mold and Your Health
Mold spores can spread to every corner of your house because of cross-contamination. Healthy people can experience many annoying or even dangerous symptoms due to the presence of mold. People with allergy/breathing issues, compromised immune systems, children and the elderly are especially impacted. Some of the more common health conditions mold causes are:

  • skin rashes
  • fatigue
  • depression
  • unexplained irritability
  • flu-like symptoms
  • trouble breathing
  • coughing
  • sinus congestion
  • nausea
  • sneezing
  • runny nose
  • loss of memory
  • loss of hearing
  • loss of eyesight
  • bloody noses
  • arthritic-like aches
  • chronic headaches
  • "crawly" feeling skin
  • epileptic-like seizures
  • upper respiratory distress
  • irritation of the eyes, nose or throat
  • restlessness
  • equilibrium or balance loss
  • dizziness or stuffiness


Mold and the Landlord’s Responsibility

Mold Caused by a Landlord's Failure to Fix Leaks

Landlords in all states but Arkansas are responsible for maintaining fit and habitable housing and
repairing rental property. This extends to fixing leaking pipes, windows, and roofs - the causes of most molds. If the landlord doesn't take care of leaks and mold grows as a result, you may be able to hold the landlord responsible if you can convince a judge or jury that the mold has caused a health problem.

Mold Caused by Tenant Behavior

The liability picture changes when mold grows as the result of the tenant’s behavior, such as keeping the apartment tightly shut, creating high humidity, or failing to maintain necessary cleanliness. When a tenant's own negligence is the sole cause of injury, the landlord is not liable.

Mold Clauses in Leases

Some landlords include clauses in the lease that purport to relieve them from any liability resulting from mold growth. At least one court (in Tennessee) has refused to enforce such a clause, ruling that to do so would be against public policy. More cases from other parts of the country are sure to arise as mold litigation makes its way through the courts.

Mold Analysis
The prevention of mold is definitely the responsibility of the building owner, and in turn that of the people doing maintenance. There are species of mold that are extremely dangerous, leading to needing a professional analysis before performing a cleanup in an apartment. If mold growth is severe, tenants may need to leave the unit until it is returned to a livable condition.

If you think that you may have a mold problem in your rental unit, contact your local Public Health Department. Another option if you are willing to pay, is to hire an independent party to test for mold if you are unable to get your landlord to do their due diligence. 

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

Mold Glossary of Terms

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Mold Glossary of Terms




AIR HANDLING UNIT (AHU)
Equipment that includes a blower or fan, heating and/or cooling coils, and related equipment such as controls, condensate drain pans, and air filters. Does not include ductwork, registers or grilles, or boilers and chillers.
ALLERGEN
A substance, such as mold, that can cause an allergic reaction.
ANTIMICROBIAL
Agent that kills microbial growth (i.e., chemical or substance that kills mold or other organisms). See "Biocide" and "Fungicide."
BIOLOGICAL CONTAMINANTS
1) Living organisms, such as viruses, bacteria, or mold (fungi), 2) the remains of living organisms, or 3) debris from or pieces of dead organisms. Biological contaminants can be small enough to be inhaled, and may cause many types of health effects including allergic reactions and respiratory disorders.
BIOCIDE
A substance or chemical that kills organisms such as mold.
BUILDING ENVELOPE
Elements of the building, including all external building materials, windows, and walls, that enclose the internal space.
CEILING PLENUM
Space between a suspended ceiling and the floor above that may have mechanical and electrical equipment in it and that is used as part of the air distribution system. The space is usually designed to be under negative pressure.
FUNGI
A separate kingdom comprising living things that are neither animals nor plants. The kingdom Fungi includes molds, yeasts, mushrooms, and puffballs. In the mold course, the terms fungi and mold are used interchangeably.
FUNGICIDE
A substance or chemical that kills fungi.
HEPA
High efficiency particulate air (filter).
HVAC
Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system.
HYPERSENSITIVITY
Great or excessive sensitivity.
HYPERSENSITIVITY PNEUMONITIS
A group of respiratory diseases that cause inflammation of the lung (specifically granulomatous cells). Most forms of hypersensitivity pneumonitis are caused by the inhalation of organic dusts, including molds.
MOLD
A group of organisms that belong to the kingdom Fungi. In this course, the terms fungi and mold are used interchangeably.
mVOC (microbial volatile organic compound)
A chemical made by mold that is a gas at room temperature and may have a moldy or musty odor.
MYCOTOXIN
A toxin produced by a mold.
NEGATIVE PRESSURE
A condition that exists when less air is supplied to a space than is exhausted from the space, so the air pressure within that space is less than that in surrounding areas. Under this condition, if an opening exists, air will flow from surrounding areas into the negatively pressurized space.
PLENUM
Air compartment connected to a duct or ducts.
PRESSED WOOD PRODUCTS
A group of materials used in building and furniture construction that are made from wood veneers, particles, or fibers bonded together with an adhesive under heat and pressure.
REMEDIATE
Fix.
SPORE
The means by which molds reproduce. Spores are microscopic. They vary in shape and range from 2 to 100 microns in size. Spores travel in several ways: passively moved by a breeze or water drop, mechanically disturbed (by a person or animal passing by), or actively discharged by the mold (usually under moist conditions or high humidity).
TOXIGENIC
Producing toxic substances.

Reference:http://www.epa.gov/mold/glossary.html

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