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A Brief Guide to Mold and Your Home

MoldA mold home guide is essential to understand the basics of the substance, how it forms in the home, and the best ways to get rid of it. Besides being ugly and dangerous to the home's structure, it can also cause negative effects on a person's health. Here are some key things to comprehend about mold.

Why Mold Grows in the Home

Mold, a fungus, is part of nature. Out in the elements, it serves as a way to break down dead items like old leaves and trees. However, a home becomes affected as spores enter, float through the air, and land on a wet surface. There are numerous types of mold, but none can grow without moisture. The most common places where mold forms include basements, attics, or where leaks occur. Mold may grow on:
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Rugs
  • Wood
  • Duct work
  • Drywall
Homes with central heating systems are most likely to suffer with mold issues because spores are constantly circulated through the air.

Health Problems from Mold

There has been an increase with concerns that indoor mold exposure leads to a variety of health problems, especially allergic reactions. When mold is present in a home, residents may suffer from itchy eyes, nasal congestion, and sneezing. In severe cases, it may lead to asthma or permanent lung damage.

Signs of a Mold Problem

  • Water stains on walls, floors, or ceilings
  • Cracked, peeling, bubbled paint or wallpaper
  • Bowed or Warped walls

Mold Prevention and Removal

There are many steps a person can take to prevent mold from forming:
  • Dry wet areas quickly. If there is a leaky pipe or a spill on the floor, it is essential to dry the site immediately.
  • Install Proper Ventilation. Anywhere that moisture develops should have a place to ventilate out of the home. For example, showers, stoves, and clothes dryers should properly vent outside of the house.
  • Direct Water Away from the House. Outside, the ground should slope away from a home's foundation. This keeps water from collecting and seeping into the basement.
  • Use mold resistant products. When building a new house or repairing an older home, things like mold resistant drywall and paint should be used. These products contain ingredients like fiberglass that prevent moisture absorption.
  • Monitor Roof Gutters. Cleaning gutters and repairing problems may prevent leaks from occurring on the roof.
When mold is not severe, it is possible to clean the problem without external help. However, it is essential to wear a mask, gloves, and goggles to keep spores from entering the eyes or lungs. A person should use soap and water to scrub mold off hard surfaces. All areas should be dried completely as well. Porous materials that are filled with mold may not be salvageable, so they should be eliminated and replaced. When mold has become out of control, it may be necessary to call in professional assistance. These experts know where to look for mold and how to safely remove it. The air of the space will be filtered to remove spores, and all nooks and crannies will be thoroughly cleaned as well. Many times, these companies will be able to help prevent new mold problems by waterproofing basements, fixing foundation cracks, and performing other procedures.  

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What to Do When the Basement Floods

Woodbridge basement flood
Your basement has flooded. Even after planning for every eventuality. Even after having contractors out to take a look at the foundation of your basement for cracks. If you find yourself in this situation, here are a few tips that may help. Electric Wiring First off, if you aren?t sure of what you are doing, stay out of the basement. Have professionals come in and check everything. If you are comfortable with the situation, you will want to check for any electric wires that are submerged. Be mindful of using any electric devices in a flooded basement as well. If your basement has flooded, turn off the main electrical switch or call the fire department to do it for you. Make sure to buy double insulated and grounded electrical equipment. Gas leaks If you smell gas, immediately leave the house and call your local gas company to let them know and to switch off the gas. Flooding can cause damage to the pipes and a leak could happen due to that. Pollutants and chemicals Flooding can cause sewage to leak into your basement. This is full of bacteria and can transmit diseases. If sewage has been brought into your basement, make sure you wear gloves, a mask and safety glasses when working in the basement. Also, chemicals from household cleaners can cause a health hazard. When you get to the cleaning stage, make sure that the basement is well ventilated and you are wear protective gear. Structural damage While not common, flooding in the basement can cause structural damage. Walls and the ceiling could be weakened from all the moisture. You will want to check the integrity of the basement before doing any heavy work down there.

The Next Stage in Basement Flooding

Once you are prepared for any hazards, it will be time to clean up your basement. Removing the water Once the danger of electrocution is out of the way, you will want to get your basement dry as soon as possible. You can remove any standing water with a Wet-Dry vacuum and you may want to get some extra de-humidifiers running. You may need some heavy duty de-humidifiers, which you can rent from a restoration company for a weekly fee. Running your air conditioner will also help de-humidify the air as well. Keep all the windows closed to prevent any humid outside air from getting in. Set up some fans to keep the air circulating. You want to get the air as dry as possible, as quickly as possible. The dry air will evaporate the standing water in the basement and draw out the moisture in the walls, carpet and furniture. If the basement is dried quickly, the risk of mold forming is lower. It could take up to 2 weeks for the basement to dry completely. Drill holes in the walls Moisture will affect the drywall and the paneling in the walls. You will want to consider drilling 1 inch holes between the wall studs behind the wall baseboards. The holes will allow the walls to get dry thanks to the dehumidifiers. The holes will be covered when you reinstall the baseboards. Mold growth Depending on how long it takes you to dry out the basement, mold may form. However, mold will stop growing once the basement is dry. You won?t need to take out the drywall if there is a small amount of mold. If mold causes an allergic reaction in you or any family member, you may want to destroy the mold as soon as possible When you kill the mold, avoid using bleach. Not only will bleach put out harmful fumes, but it isn?t an effective fungicide for mold growth. You can buy safer and more effective alternatives and most local stores. Once the fungicide dries, cover the area with a mold encapsulating paint to keep the mold from growing further. If you have a major mold problem after the basement has flooded, call in the professionals to clear it up. It may be more expensive than going out and doing it yourself. But an extensive mold infestation will cost you a lot of money in the long run and if you miss an area, the mold will come back with a vengeance. Home inspection Once everything is dry and all the work is done, call in a home inspector to check your basement. A home inspector will be able to make sure your basement is dry and that there is no mold present in the basement. Once everything checks out, your basement will be good to go!

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Top 5 Places Where You Should Check for Harmful Mold

mold growth

Mold can cause many health issues for you or anyone else living in your home. These health issues can range from allergic reactions, to asthma and other respiratory problems. Some people are more sensitive to molds than others. People who are sensitive can experience wheezing, skin and eye irritation. In more extreme situations, people with chronic lung illnesses may develop mold infections in their lungs.

It is important to eliminate any mold growths in your home as soon as possible. One of the easiest and least expensive ways to tell if you have any mold growths is using your nose. Mold smells and you should be able to smell it around the areas the mold is growing. The most common toxic mold is black mold, which has a slimy black appearance. In its early stages, black mold my look like dirt on the walls, so be sure to clean up any area that may be suspect. Although mold can grow anywhere where there is moisture, here are the top 5 places where you should check for mold:

1. Bathroom

The bathroom is always subject to heavy moisture that can seep into basically every surface and provide a perfect place for mold to grow. Check under your sinks, shower shower, bath fixtures, around the exhaust fans and the walls for any mold growth. To help prevent mold from growing, use the ventilation fan in the bathroom while taking a shower or bath. You can also use a mildew-resistant shower curtain, or just wash or replace the one you currently have. Regularly cleaning the bathroom (from top to bottom, not just the counters!) and washing any bathroom rugs will help as well.

2. Basement?

The basement is a great environment for mold to grow in. Many basements are dark and damp, which mold thrives in. Visually inspect your basement, especially the ceiling area beneath the kitchen and bathroom, areas around pipes and behind heaters. These are areas where moisture is most likely to occur. Any standing water or moisture on the walls are areas mold can grow in as well. You may not be able to see any mold, but you may be able to smell it, so mark any areas that the smell may be originating from.

3. Kitchen

The kitchen offers plenty of opportune areas for mold growth. Compost buckets are great areas for mold growth, so make sure you dump it regularly. The garbage disposal is also an area mold can grow in due to the dark and moist environment. Run the garbage disposal once a day and pour straight vinegar into it once a week to prevent mold growth. The refrigerator drop tray needs to be cleaned at least a couple times a year. The drip tray collects any water that condenses and overflows and is located under the front of your refrigerator.

4. Pipes

Pipes, especially leaky ones, are very good environments for mold to grow in. Check all areas where your plumbing is located for leaks and mold growth. If you find any pipes that are leaking, fix them or call in a plumber to do the job. Not only can mold grow in that area, but flooding could occur as well.

5. Carpets and Carpet Pads

Carpets are great at soaking up and retaining moisture. The easiest way to check for mold in your carpets is to smell the carpet for sour or pungent musty odors. You can also check under the carpet for any moldy areas. Stained areas that are moist are indications of mold growth.

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The various signs of mold

If you have recently started having allergy problems in your home, there are good chances that the culprit might be mold. Common allergic reactions to mold pollution include sneezing, red eyes, runny nose and severe congestion. If you happen to notice that your allergic reactions are severe at home, but tend to sooth down when you are outside you could definitely have mold. This is among the first signs of mold, along with the musty smell. If you notice a mold odor, don?t ignore it, instead pick up the phone and call your local service for mold remediation in Northern Virginia. Here are some telltale signs of mold growth that mean it is the right time to take action:

Water Problems

Water ProblemsIf you have had long term problems with excessive moisture in your home, it could be accompanied with mold growth. Mold tends to grow in humid and warm regions; therefore your home could be giving it the perfect spot to expand. Look for water stains and discoloration on walls or ceilings. These signs might help you find the origin of the problem. Another sign is surface abnormalities like bubbling and peeling of wallpaper. If you find that the walls in your home seem to be bulging in and out, it is a sign that they have absorbed a lot of moisture. In other cases, water leaks that tend to occur behind walls, under the flooring or in the underlying surface of the foundation, mold growth might not be easy to spot out. According to many experts that offer mold remediation in Northern Virginia, this type of mold growth is the most problematic as it might grow to alarming extents before it is spotted.

Condensation

CondensationCondensation is another telltale sign of mold growth in your home. It can occur on glass windows and metal pipes, promoting mold growth around it. Rusting indoor pipes are also signs that there is a lot of condensation in your home. Besides the fact that condensation builds up moisture for mold to grow on, it can also be a sign that there is a humidity problem in your home.

Allergies

AllergiesIf you constantly suffer from conditions like headaches, short term memory loss, and perpetual dizziness in your home or office, it could mean that you are inhaling excessive quantities of toxic mold. Once you start feeling these symptoms, immediately move out and notice if the condition eases out, which would further compel you to take action against mold. Experts in mold remediation in Northern VA recommend taking action as soon as signs of mold are spotted. This way, not only can you minimize the damage done to your property, but you can also cut down the chances of health risks to you and your family. Feel free to give us a call at 800-656-4604 for the best mold remediation services in Northern Virginia.

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