Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Healthy House Planner- Part 2

A Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home.

Why does mold grow?

Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.

Should I be concerned about mold in my home?

Mold should not be permitted to grow and multiply indoors. When this happens, health problems can occur and building materials, goods and furnishings may be damaged.

Some types of mold can produce chemical compounds (called mycotoxins) although they do not always do so. Molds that are able to produce toxins are common. In some circumstances, the toxins produced by indoor mold may cause health problems. However, all indoor mold growth is potentially harmful and should be removed promptly, no matter what types of mold is present.

Certain people should be particularly careful of mold. People such as:

  • Individuals with respiratory conditions or sensitivities such as allergies and asthma
  • Persons having weakened immune systems (for example, people with HIV infection, chemotherapy patients, organ transplant recipients)
  • Those with special health concerns. In this case you should consult a medical professional if you feel your health is affected by indoor mold.

Can mold make me and my family sick?

Mold can affect the health of people who are exposed to it. People are mainly exposed to mold by breathing spores or other tiny fragments. People can also be exposed through skin contact with mold contaminants (for example, by touching moldy surfaces) and by swallowing it. The type and severity of health effects that mold may produce are usually difficult to predict. The risks can vary greatly from one location to another, over time, and from person to person.

What symptoms might I see?

The most common health problems caused by indoor mold are allergy symptoms. Although other and more serious problems can occur, people exposed to mold commonly report problems such as:

  • nasal and sinus congestion
  • cough
  • wheeze/breathing difficulties
  • sore throat
  • skin and eye irritation
  • upper respiratory infections (including sinus)

Research on mold and health effects is ongoing. For more detailed information consult a health professional. You may also wish to consult your state or local health department.

How do I tell if I have a mold problem?

The most practical way to find a mold problem is by using your eyes to look for mold growth and by using your nose to locate the source of a suspicious odor. If you see mold or if there is an earthy or musty smell, you should assume a mold problem exists. Other clues are signs of excess moisture or the worsening of allergy-like symptoms.

  • Look for visible mold growth (may appear cottony, velvety, granular, or leathery and have varied colors of white, gray, brown, black, yellow, green). Mold often appears as discoloration, staining, or fuzzy growth on the surface of building materials or furnishings. When mold is visible, testing is not recommended.
  • Search areas with noticeable mold odors.
  • Look for signs of excess moisture or water damage. Look for water leaks, standing water, water stains, and condensation problems. For example, do you see any watermarks or discoloration on walls, ceilings, carpet, woodwork or other building materials?
  • Search behind and underneath materials (carpet and pad, wallpaper, vinyl flooring, sink cabinets), furniture, or stored items (especially things placed near outside walls or on cold floors). Sometimes destructive techniques may be needed to inspect and clean enclosed spaces where mold and moisture are hidden; for example, opening up a wall cavity.

How do I get rid of mold?

It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean up the mold, but don't fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back.

Three things to remember are:

  • The key to controlling mold is to control the moisture in your home.
  • You should clean up mold promptly and fix the water problem.
  • If you have water damage it is important to clean this up within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

In the next issue we discuss the importance of your air ducts and whether you should have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned?"

If you would like more articles on this topic please let your Worldreferrals representative know. Or contact us at 1800-867-3225

Some of our material came from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Minnesota Department of Health
Here is a link for more information:

www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/moldguide.html


If you would like more articles like this let your Worldreferrals.com Residential Specialist know.

Joseph Talbot, ASA
Sales Representative
Remax Clearview Inc. brokerage
705-733-5821

Check out more at
josephtalbot.ca

This article was provided by www.worldreferrals.com

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Healthy House Planner- Part 1


Is your home a healthy home?
Whether you have a castle or a cottage your home is your sanctuary. It's a place for your family. It's where you live and more often these days where you work. Americans spend an average of 65 percent of their time at home, at what is usually viewed as a safe haven.
The bad news about indoor air quality is that it often contains higher concentrations of hazardous pollutants than outdoor air. The good news is there are a few things you can do to reduce indoor air pollution.
Home pollutants such as dust mites, animal related allergens and mold are known asthma triggers, while high accumulations of carbon monoxide and radon in inadequately ventilated homes are serious health hazards.
Preventing home environment problems can be as easy as changing furnace filters more often and as complex as changing the flooring to wood or tile in main areas of the home.
Here are some essentials to healthy housing:
  • Occupant health: which includes high efficiency ventilation systems, hardwood and tile floors, and storage rooms ventilated to exterior.
  • Energy efficiency: Increased insulation levels in walls/attic, high efficiency windows and doors, energy efficient appliances and lighting, generous windows to reduce lighting costs.
  • Resource efficiency: Low flow toilets and plumbing, use of rapid growing woods like spruce and maple, use of recycled building materials.
Also one of the other potential problems you may hear more about is Radon.
**The Surgeon General has warned that Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
Radon is a radioactive gas. It is formed by the natural energy of uranium in rock, soil and water. Radon is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Once produced, radon moves through the ground to the air above. It can be found in all 50 states. Unless you test for it, there is no way of telling how much is present. Contact your local state Radon contact or try www.radongas.org
Here are a few great links for more information on healthy housing and our source for some of the content used for this article.
If you would like more articles like this let your Worldreferrals.com Residential Specialist know.
Joseph Talbot, ABR®, ASA, SRES®, AGA, SRS®
Broker
Peak Lifestyle Realty Ltd., Brokerage
705-733-5821

Check out more at josephtalbot.ca
This article was provided by www.worldreferrals.com