What’s with our recent weather? Earthquake. Two tropical storms. Snow in October. Week-long power outages. They may seem different, but they have something in common: damage to homes and businesses, not to mention the lingering after-effect: mold!

Here we are in autumn when sneezing, coughing, itchy watery eyes, even wheezing, are all expected during the season. But this year’s allergy symptoms might be caused by mold in your home rather than the ragweed in your yard.

A physician can pinpoint the reason why you’re suffering, but only a professional mold inspection service can discover if mold has invaded your home.

The latest technology should be used to locate hidden mold so that your walls, ceilings, and floors are not destroyed during the testing process. Once the culprit is found, you should hire a separate remediation company to do the repairs. You want to be careful not to have the testing and remediation done by the same company as that’s a conflict of interest. Full disclosure: this blog post is sponsored by RTK Environmental Group, which is one of the most trusted environmental service firms in the northeast. After RTK gives you the report, they provide remediation plans so contractors know exactly what to remove and where to find it, and your mold problem will be gone in the most cost-effective way possible.  (RTK does not do remediation work.)

Here are some do-it-yourself tasks to help prevent mold before winter sets in.

Indoors:
* Check all washing machine hoses and fittings for leaks and kinks.
* Insulate basement and bathroom pipes that often “sweat.”
* Keep basement drains clean and unclogged.
* Remove window air conditioners or cover them well.
* Use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms.
* Install vents near floors and ceilings to allow air flow if your basement walls are finished with sheetrock.them out. In the future, never lay carpet near a moist source.
* Use easily washable area rugs rather than wall-to-wall carpeting, which is often a breeding ground for mold.
* Fix any leaks in your home.

Outdoors:
* To direct water away from your home, be sure soil is graded away from the foundation.
* Clear leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Be sure to continue this through the winter, removing ice.
* Trim all bushes and shrubs so they are at least 12 inches from your home’s siding.
* Check siding, roof shingles, vents and flashing for proper seal.

As water systems age, 63% of Americans are now concerned a “great deal” about drinking water pollution, according to a Gallup poll.

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