Category: Mold

Ice Under the Rooftop Can Be the Start of Mold

The Bitter Cold Winter Is Creating Mold Problems from Rooftops to Basements

Bitter Cold Creates Mold from Ice Under roof

Bitter Cold Weather Ice on Roof is the Start of Mold

The crazy cold weather sweeping the nation is making mold a problem from top to bottom in many homes that have never had a mold problem before. Your home may be one of those homes, and you may not know it…..yet. This is especially true in homes with high efficiency construction and improvements.

The mold in attics and crawlspaces is the sneaky mold that comes from cold weather. Warm air in the living areas of the home holds a lot of moisture. When that warm, moist air hits the attic or crawlspace, it condenses on the surfaces. That moisture freezes into layers of ice. The colder the weather and the longer the time of cold weather, the more ice builds up.

You would be amazed to look in a cold attic or crawlspace and see layers of ice on the nails and wood surfaces. When that ice melts, it can soak the wood creating the ideal conditions for the growth of mold that could go unnoticed for months. Black fuzzy mold could meet you when you finally poke you head into those areas. You could save heartache and expense by taking the time to check on those areas sooner than later.

What You Need to Know if You Have A Winter Ice Buildup in Your Attic or Crawlspace

                The rapid thawing of the built-up ice can result is severe damage to a home. Use of evaporation techniques and equipment by a professional is the best way to minimize damage to a property from ice buildup. In cold temperature areas, commercial dehumidification equipment will not be effective.  Adding heat too quickly can result in materials getting damaged from the ice becoming water. The secret trick of the professionals is that air movement causing evaporation from the iced area to the exterior is the best solution to minimize damage to the home.

                      To find an inspector who can identify mold conducive conditions and suggest the best ways to change the conditions to avoid serious mold problems go to http://www.inspectorlab.com

 

 

 

The Story on Petri DIsh Mold Testing Kits

We often get asked about the petri dish mold test kits you find in hardware stores, grocery stores and the like. You’ve seen these hanging on racks at the end of aisles. They are the colorful packages showing gross mold pictures calling your name to come purchase. Just to add insult to injury, the plastic packs they come in will require a machete and crowbar to open.

Moldy Petri Dish Tells us Very Little About Mold Conditions in an Building

Petri Dish Testing Tells us Very Little About Mold Conditions in an Building

They are inexpensive. Actually, let’s call it as it is, as compared to a professional mold assessment they are downright cheap.

The problem is that they provide as little useful information as they cost.

There are a bunch of reasons why they are useless (except to the people selling them as this is a multimillion dollar business).

Only about 10% of all molds will grow on any single culture medium in a petri dish. Many molds will only grow on specific cultures. There are literally hundreds of culture media mycologists have developed to try to coax mold to grow in the laboratory. When we order cultures, we are offered have pages of choices for use in hundreds of situations. What this means is that you are potentially missing 90% of the molds that could be growing in the area being tested. You’ve heard the old saying, “you don’t know what you don’t know” and that may be essential information to correct the mold issue in your property.

The rate and area that mold spores fall is irregular and not representative of the area being tested. When a Petri dish culture is set out, the character of the air currents and ability of different size and shape spores to travel is not predicable or certain. Think of it like the spore population gets on an airplane, but you do not know where they are going to land and can’t predict what gate in which city they are going to land. In that case, you can’t place the Petri dish where it needs to be to meet the spore traps “at the gate”

The Petri Dish sample does not tell you how much of a mold is in the area. Last year I sowed zinnias in 3 separate pots, side by side. They were sitting on the patio with the same amount of light, water and temperature. The Zinnias grew at different rates in each pot. The variable was the soil in each. One had fresh soil and the others I had not changed the soil in the pots from the previous year. The amount of time that the Petri dish spends in the store and your home before use, and the temperature can affect the growth rate. The suitability of the agar for each mold growing in the Petri dish will also affect growth rate.

Zinnias growing at very different rates

Three pots of zinnias grow at the same time, in the same area, with the same water. The difference was the soil that was used. This is the problem with selecting a type of petri dish for the type of mold

Simply put: How much and what type of mold is present is critical to understanding if there is a problem in a building that requires remediation and to determine the type of appropriate remediation scope and products. The mold professional also needs to understand the materials and methods of construction and location of the underlying causes of the mold contamination to make sure that the mold does not come back.

Conclusion: Contact InspectorLab to find a mold professional to properly test your home, school  or business http://www.InspectorLab.com

Don’t waste the $10.00 for the test kit and $30.00 and up lab fee.

A site assessment and air testing are critical to resolving mold issues so that they do not return. The “Do-It-Yourself” kit does not reliably offer you any of that information. We want your home to be healthy and stay that way.  

Organ Transplant Patient Has Life and Death Mold Exposure

This story starts with a second story window, split open window sill and spaces between the brick openings. These had gone unnoticed before we arrived. That oversight put an Organ Transplant patient at risk from mold/

It appeared that the dining room window was the source of a leak. The actual leak was in a second story window above the dining room. The people who first looked at the dining room mold problem had wrongly assumed that the leak was caused by the dining room window. It is experience and proper training that teaches us to look at all of the possible sources of leakage above a leak.

 

Defective window sill creates mold in room below

Opening in WIndow Sill is the Source of Mold Causing Water

(Mold Inspector Rule #27: Water goes down-hill and always consider additional possible water sources/causes above a leak).

The homeowner said that water poured through the dining room wall in driving rains. He had he water stains, wet drywall and mold to prove the point. The paper face that is part of the drywall in the room was great food for mold, as was the wood framing inside of the wall

By the way, there was visible mold. It was that fuzzy green mold that is typical of bread that has spent about a week too long in the bread drawer. The call was about the mold and remediation.

There is a very important part of this story that I have not told you yet. One of the homeowners is an organ transplant recipient. What most people don’t know is that patients on immunosuppression therapy (anti organ rejection drugs) are very susceptible to potentially fatal mold health complications.

Organ Transplant patient needs to beware of mold exposure

Organ Transplant Patients are Subject to Serious Health Risks From Mold

Mold exposure is a big deal in hospitals, but many people are just not aware of the issue. If you think back, you probably remember that mold deaths from hospital mold exposure in organ transplant patients has made the national news. In fact, some of those deaths have recently resulted in multi-million dollar settlements from hospitals to families of patients who have died from hospital acquired mold exposures.

Here is What We Know So Far:

  • Mold is very bad for organ transplant patients
  • Water leaks cause mold
  • Even if you clean the mold, it can (will) return if the leak is not resolved
  • It would have been the typical procedure of some remediators to clean the mold. Then they would get to another job down the road to come clean the mold again. 

This is What Needs Done:

  • Test for the amount and type of mold (it is critical to know the risk to transplant patient and others in the home)
  • Locate the cause of the water intrusion
  • Clean the mold
  • Test to make sure the mold is clean. (Mold can be in hidden areas

When it is important……Especially, when it is “life or death” important… (but from our perspective the health of all of our clients is important) …………..you need to call experts trained in the science of environmental exposures who know the right path forward. You need and deserve and to have professionals that understand the issues and can get you to a healthy environment.

Call the Professionals at www.InspectorLab.com for the name of a professional inspector to test your home to avoid the health risks of mold exposure,

Today’s Mold Lesson Started with the Yummy, Greasy Cheese Dip Stain on My Shirt

There is great irony in this tearful saga. Mold is needed to make the cheese that made the dip that stained the shirt, that needs anti-stain treatment………in the flooded house that Dan did not build. (unlike the story about The house that Jack built)

Mold can be Good in Cheese but Bad in Your Home

Mold can be Good

It started with a wonderful Sunday dinner out with the kids and grandson. It was a good meal, pleasant restaurant, great time. The appetizer was a very tasty, yet gooey cheese and spinach sauce with chunks of bread for dipping into that delightful cheese mixture. One of my “dips” turned into a “drop” between the plate and my                                               mouth. Oops!

On the way home from dinner, my wife and I discuss what she thought I should write about tonight. She usually has the inside story on what readers would be thinking about. I am thinking about today’s blog post. She has a couple of greatly appreciated suggestions.

We pull into our driveway and realize that we had missed a heavy rain storm. The newly planted flowers were laying on their sides in exhaustion from the drenching. Great! They will stand up again and I get out of watering them today.

Please let me explain in my own defense. This is a new “home to us” and I have not yet learned everything about the place. On this glorious evening, I learn that when there is a very hard storm, water comes under the basement door and spreads across the basement.

Flooded Basement and Mold Source

Flooded Basement and Mold Source

What Does a Mold Expert Do When It is His House That Floods?

Back to the stain on my shirt. I walk downstairs into the basement while taking my shirt off. (Multi-tasking). I realize that as I step onto the concrete floor, there was a “slosh” noise, not the leather shoe on concrete shuffle appropriate for a multitasking senior with his shirt halfway over his head.

Recognizing that multi-tasking was not getting me where I want to go, I complete the easiest task at hand and finish taking the shirt off and the spot stain treated. Check

I start a new “to do” list based upon my discovery of why the shoes made a slosh instead of a shuffle. The next step is to consult a mold or disaster recovery professional

Oh, that’s me. Check

I look around to see why there is water on the floor and if whatever that cause is, whether it has stopped. I know that if the source of water has not ended, stopping the water leak is the next step.

The water leaked under the basement door. The rain has stopped and therefore the cause of the water event is ended. That is good news. Check

Triple check that there is not an electrical potential hazard relating to the abundant pool of water in the area affected by water. Triple Check, Check Check

If there is a potential electrical hazard such as wet walls with outlets or an extension cord lying in the water I must exercise great caution. The choice is to safely turn off the electricity or think of the Jaws movie and stay out of the water.

I remove anything that is still absorbing water and is being damaged because of standing water. That would include the cardboard box of decorations that was moved downstairs two days ago because the kitchen cabinets are being delivered tomorrow. Check

Next step is to get out the “wet and dry shop vac” and begin to sucking up the standing water. Check

I sadly observe that the shop vac first had water moving toward the wand, and then running back onto the floor from the end of the wand. Note that water went up the hose at first and then……when about a cup of water was drawn up, that water was running back out of the wand. It was like watching someone going up the first section of a two-level escalator and then turning around and going back down the escalator rather than to the top section of the upper floor.

I remind myself, to not panic when realizing that the nice easy to carry shop vac that was purchased because it was small and light is not strong enough to suck a pool of water in a basement. Check

Go to “Plan B” and take the top off of the floor drain. Grab a broom and sweep water into the floor drain. Check

It is time to take photos of the current condition and be grateful that your wife does not upload a YouTube viral video of your panic and frantic efforts to this point. Check

Next step? Throw out the very few wet cardboard boxes. Be grateful that you are a mold aware person who knows that basement storage should be plastic bins and not cardboard. Cardboard is the “Breakfast of Champions” for mold. odor and wood destroying insects. Check

Without standing in any water, set up the dehumidifier placing the water drain hose into the floor drain. Check

Find a shirt that does not have an appetizer stain front and center. Put on the clean shirt realizing that you sadly are not a good sight to see when bare chested. Check

Be grateful that you have caught the water problem before it did any damage. Consult with your environmental person. In this particular case, this is accomplished by inward reflection: “self…..have you followed the proper procedures?” if not, go do what you should have done.

After the panic and work, go write this post that is due in the morning.

In summary, when faced with and unexpected and unwanted water event:

  • Identify the source of the leak
  • Stop the source of the leak
  • If beyond what you can handle, call a professional
  • Document conditions for insurance
  • Verify that electricity isn’t a hazard
  • Remove anything that can be damaged by the water contact and dry it
  • Remove, sweep or suction standing water
  • Dehumidify
  • If you can’t dehumidify, open windows
  • Realize that you have 24 to 48 to dry out before mold is a problem
  • When appropriate, seek professional drying services
  • Focus on the fact that mold and odors can damage health and the value of a home

Use the checklist above to make sure everything is done as it should be.  Check

Oh, one last thing on my list …..Install an exterior drain or concrete curb so that this doesn’t ever happen again!

One thing for your list…………. Contact InspectorLab  to locate a mold professional in your area to test your home and provide the solutions to keep your home mold free. Visit www.InspectorLab.com for contact information

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