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Health Indoor Air Quality & Radon Mold

Ah-choo! Is It the Cherry Blossoms or Hidden Mold?

mold testing washingtonAh-choo! Is It the Cherry Blossoms or Hidden Mold?

The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC has ended, but our allergies are just beginning. What’s making you sneeze and your eyes water, nose run, throat tickle? Pollen is the usual culprit, and gets much of the blame. But mold, seen and unseen, may be playing a bigger role in your springtime suffering than you realize.

Most people assume that their symptoms are caused by pollen and ragweed, so they diligently close windows and turn up the air conditioning. You may be so focused on the allergens outdoors, however, that you could be missing equally troublesome irritants, like mold and mildew, inside.

mold testing marylandStudies by the Environmental Protection Agency, among others, indicate that indoor air pollution is at least twice as high as outdoor air pollution. As indoor ventilation tends to be limited, allergens like mold can wreak havoc. If you are taking allergy medication and keeping your windows closed, yet are still suffering from symptoms generally caused by allergens, you should consider having your home tested for mold and indoor air quality. You also should take the following steps to reduce household mold:

  • Remove organic debris from your gutters and yard – especially if it is spring clean allergydecomposing. Dead branches and leaves are prime growth spots for mold.
  • Clean bathrooms, and especially bathtub and shower areas, windowsills and shower curtains with a bleach or disinfectant mixture at least once a month to prevent mold growth.
  • Use an exhaust fan in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms to vent excess moisture. Also, make sure the exhaust fan is cleaned every 3 months.
  • Use a dehumidifier – especially in damp areas of your home. Keep the mold testing virginiadehumidifier set at 50% humidity. Any more than that will encourage mold growth.
  • Try to keep your home dry and ventilated.
  • Keep your basement carpet-free to avoid moisture build up and mold growth.
  • Regularly check under sinks for leaks. Mold can grow quickly where there’s moisture.
  • Don’t put wet shoes or damp clothing in your closets. Let them dry fully first to avoid mold growth.

mold or pollenIf you are having problems with allergies and medication doesn’t seem to be clearing it up, have your home tested by an independent professional, like RTK, to see if mold may be the culprit. Once the source of mold is pinpointed, the professional can help you devise a remediation plan. It is important that the testing company does not also do remediation because of the inherent conflict of interest. In such a case, you may be setting yourself up for inflated bills and unnecessary repairs. For more about hidden allergy triggers, read this article from WebMD.

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Flooding & Water Damage Health Healthy Home Mold

Why I Should Have Had A Mold Inspection

By Joan S.

For years, we battled a leaky roof. We patched it, but it still leaked. Water would soak the ice-roof-leakceilings and pour into the house during a big storm.  Buckets and towels became our best friend.

During the winter, ice dams were another problem; we could not seem to prevent leaks. Eventually, mold set in. Everyone in the family has allergies, and we could tell that mold was causing a problem as our asthma and conditions got worse.

cimney leak moldTo add to our headaches, we had a leak somewhere in the chimney that plagued us for years. Nobody could seem to solve this problem, so water would come in through the chimney flashing and soak the living room wall as well.

We finally wound up replacing the roof, had the chimney redone, and hired a contractor to fix the visibly damaged walls and ceilings. This is where we made our big mistake. We did not have a mold inspection or mold removal or remediation plan.

mold testing new yorkThe contractors fixed the ugly parts, not realizing that there was mold in places they could not see. Thousand and thousands of dollars later, mold suddenly started reappearing on our new walls and ceilings.  Our breathing and allergy problems continued. We decided to get a mold inspection this time, and were able to pinpoint where the problems were. We had to shell out a ton of money yet again for a contractor to come back and do the work properly.

If we had just invested in a mold inspection the first time, we would have saved about $15,000 and a ton of aggravation. Lesson learned!

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Flooding & Water Damage Health Mold

Experts Warn of Bad Allergy Season Ahead Due to Superstorm Sandy

allergies moldIt’s been nearly six months, and Superstorm Sandy still won’t give us a break. Even as spring arrives, allergies from mold created when homes and were flooded last year are turning into a big problem all across the tri-state area.

Dr. Philip Perlman of St. Francis Hospital on Long Island explained to WCBS 880 how the extra allergen could affect people. “Now that houses are dried out, [people are not free from the effects of mold as] allergy season northeastthe mold is growing behind the walls and they’re not realizing it’s there… Now they’re realizing something else is going on – sneezy, stuffy feeling and watery eyes,” Perlman told WCBS-AM.

Experts, including allergy specialist Dr. Clifford Bassett, clinical assistant professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine, say the problem will be compounded now that trees are bursting with pollen. “We’re expecting to see a very robust allergy season because of a lot of precipitation during late winter and the warmer temperatures we’re seeing now,” said Bassett.

So what can you do? Aside from the regular regimen of allergy medications and nasal mold allergy new jerseysprays, become informed. Knowing fact from fiction can make the difference between misery and relief for millions of spring allergy sufferers, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Most important: have your home tested for mold, especially if you indoor allergiessuffered damage from Superstorm Sandy. If you are living in an environment that contains allergens both inside and outside, you will suffer round the clock. If an independent inspector finds that you have mold, hire a reputable contractor that does only remediation work not a combination of testing and remediation, as that’s a conflict of interest.  Then you will breathe a lot easier!

Contact RTK at (800) 392-6468 to schedule an appointment or click here.

 

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Flooding & Water Damage Mold

Post Sandy: Mold

When Hurricane Sandy swept through the Northeast, it flooded tens of thousands of homes.  If you had water in your home for at least two days, chances are some mold colonies are growing, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  Here’s what you may not realize: mold may not be visible immediately, but its spores are growing.

Here’s what you need to know about mold:

What is the health impact of mold?

healthy risks of moldMold can cause a host of health issues. It has been known to trigger allergies that cause headaches and coughing, as well as irritate the nose, skin, and eyes. For people with asthma, mold can make breathing particularly difficult. The Huffington Post recently discussed in depth the health risks of mold.

Who should test for mold and when?

Consumers should have a certified professional test for mold, but he should not perform remediation services so as to avoid any conflict of interest.  The professional (a certified microbial inspector) will discover mold’s root causes and provide a detailed report with recommendations on how to remove the mold.  You should test for mold before you hire a remediation company, and again after work is complete to make sure the mold has been properly removed and will not grow back and resurface a few months later.

How much it will cost? Who is going to pay for it?

Mold testing starts at a few hundred dollars, and removal costs can run the gamut, from $200 for smaller removal jobs up to $30,000 for homes that have been flooded, said the Huffington Post. Unfortunately, mold remediation is generally not covered by most home insurance policies, according to FOX Business. While flooding caused by an unforeseen pipe burst will generally be covered under most homeowner policies, mold claims arising from storm flooding must be handled under a separate rider to your policy, according to Marshall McKnight, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance. The costs vary according to the home’s location and the individual insurer, but $50,000 in protection will probably cost you an extra $47 a year, said Bill Wilson, a spokesperson for the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America.

But whatever you do, remember to hire an independent testing company that does not also do remediation. That way, you will be assured that you are not paying for something you might not need.

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Flooding & Water Damage Mold Video

Video: WCBS-TV Talks to RTK Environmental Group about Hurricane Sandy

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Health Mold

Mold, Allergies, and Misery — Welcome to Spring

 


Experts and allergists across the country are predicting that spring of 2012 may be one of the worst allergy seasons in a decade. 
Researchers blame climate change. The mild winter and early spring has allergy sufferers running to the medicine cabinet for relief. But high pollen counts are not the only issue – mold spores are unusually abundant this time of year. Both indoor and outdoor mold can significantly affect allergy sufferers, and can even cause asthma in otherwise healthy individuals.

 What can you do to lessen the amount of mold in your home? Here are a few tips:

  • Clean out your gutters, even if you cleaned them in the fall. Leaves and debris collect all winter, then rot, creating a fertile place for mold to grow – right on the exterior of your home;
  • While you’re at it, remove organic debris from your yard – especially if it is decomposing. Dead branches and leaves are prime growth spots for mold;
  • Clean bathrooms, and especially bathtub and shower areas, window sills and shower curtains with a bleach or disinfectant mixture at least once a month to prevent mold growth;
  • Use an exhaust fan in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms to vent excess moisture;
  • Use a dehumidifier – especially in damp areas of your home. Keep the dehumidifier set at 50% humidity. Any more than that will encourage mold growth;
  • Try to keep your home dry and ventilated;
  • Keep your basement carpet-free to avoid moisture build up and mold growth;
  • Regularly check under sinks and plumbing for leaks. Mold can grow quickly in these areas;
  • Don’t put wet shoes or damp clothing in your closets.  Let them dry fully first to avoid mold growth.

If you are having problems with mold allergies, the best course of action is to have your home tested by a professional to identify the source of the mold and then devise a remediation plan. Then you can truly — breath easy.