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Environment Flooding & Water Damage Healthy Home Indoor Air Quality & Radon Mold Mold Testing

Summer Mold Hotspots: What to Look For

Summer Mold Hotspots: What to Look For

As summer rolls in, so does the potential for mold growth in our homes and workplaces. Mold thrives in warm, humid conditions, making the hot, sticky months of summer a prime time for it to flourish. Whether you’re heading to your summer home or just trying to keep your primary residence mold-free, it’s essential to know the common hotspots for mold and the signs to watch out for.

Top Summer Mold Hotspots

Kitchens and Bathrooms

These areas are constantly exposed to moisture from cooking, washing dishes, and taking showers. Common mold-prone spots include behind sinks, under dishwashers, around toilets, and in shower stalls. Don’t forget to check less obvious places like behind the refrigerator and under the microwave where condensation can build up.

Basements and Crawl Spaces

Basements and crawl spaces are notorious for dampness. Moisture seepage, flooding, or poor ventilation can create ideal conditions for mold growth. Look for signs of mold on walls, floors, and insulation materials.

Attics and Roofs

Poor ventilation and roof leaks can lead to mold growth in attics. Inspect the insulation and wood beams for any signs of mold, especially if there have been roof leaks or ventilation issues.

Air Conditioners

While air conditioners help keep your home cool, they can also harbor mold if not properly maintained. Check the condensate drain and evaporator coils regularly to ensure they are clean and free of mold.

Laundry Rooms

Laundry rooms often have high humidity levels due to washing machines and dryers. Mold can grow inside washing machines, particularly front loaders, if they are not regularly cleaned and dried. Also, inspect the area around the machines and under any laundry sinks.

Flooring and Carpeting

Moisture can get trapped under carpeting and wood floors, especially in basements. Check for any musty odors or discoloration in these areas, as they can indicate hidden mold.

Signs of Mold

  • Visible Mold

The most obvious sign is seeing mold itself. Mold can appear in various colors, including black, green, white, yellow – even pink. It often grows in clusters and can have a fuzzy texture.

  • Musty Odors

A persistent musty smell is a strong indicator of mold, even if you can’t see it. This smell is caused by microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) released by mold.

  • Health Symptoms

Unexplained health issues like itchy eyes, coughing, sneezing, or respiratory problems that improve when you leave the house can indicate mold. Mold exposure can exacerbate allergies and asthma.

Keeping an eye on these hot spots and recognizing the signs of mold early can help you maintain a healthy, mold-free home this summer. If you suspect a mold problem, it’s best to have a professional inspection to identify and address the issue promptly.

For more information on mold testing and remediation, visit RTK Environmental Group.


Healthy Home Mold

Tips to Fight Household Mold this Summer

Tips to Fight Household Mold this Summer

It’s mold weather. Hmm? Yes, mold weather. The combination of heat, high humidity, and storms will invite mold to rear its ugly head. It may seem innocent, but it can cause major damage to your health and home. Here’s why you need to pay attention to mold:

Mold causes health problems.

All mold—whether it is toxic or not — causes health issues, including allergic reactions, sneezing, runny, itchy eyes, red nose, and skin rashes. Mold can also cause asthma attacks and can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs.

mold coughMold damages homes.

Mold can destroy the things it grows on – including your home’s walls, floors, carpeting, and furnishings. Often times, mold grows behind drywall, under carpets, and under floorboards. This is dangerous because by the time you find out it’s there; you usually have a major problem. In extreme cases, mold can grow to the extent that the home cannot be remediated, and needs to be knocked down. The key is to control moisture in your home and eliminate mold growth before it takes over.

TIP: Keep your humidifier set at 50% or below during humid summer months.

Don’t wait – take immediate steps to prevent mold, especially after heavy rain.

The most important thing you can do is to control moisture levels in your home. If water enters your home, take immediate steps to get rid of it. Remove anything that gets wet. Use vacuums and fans to rid surfaces of any residual moisture.

TIP: Take action within 24 hours, as mold can invade your home in less than a day.

Another preventative measure is managing the water runoff from your house. If the water pouring off your roof has nowhere to drain, it can and will find its way into your home. Keep your gutters and downspouts debris-free. Also, make sure that your downspouts are adequately angled away from the house. Otherwise, water will collect at the edge of the house and leak into the foundation and basement.

Test for mold if water enters your house.

indoor moldOnce an area is dry, test for mold, especially if you smell a musty odor. Since do-it-yourself mold tests are often inaccurate, your best bet is to call in an independent, certified microbial mold inspector.

Don’t get scammed!

Make sure the company you hire to test does not also do remediation. An independent, certified testing-only service has no incentive to magnify the problem and increase profits through remediation services. They won’t bait you with “free testing”, and have nothing to gain financially by inventing problems in your home or business, therefore can potentially save you thousands on unnecessary repairs. Click here for more information.

The Environmental Protection Agency offers a free download, Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home. Check it out HERE.

Health Mold

The truth about allergies – it may not be pollen, but mold!

You are sneezing, your eyes are watering, your nose is running, and your throat tickles. It must be pollen, right? Not necessarily. It does get a lot of the blame, but mold may be your problem. Seen and unseen, mold may be playing a bigger role in your allergy suffering than you realize. Here’s some expert “Weitz Advice” on mold allergies.

Robert Weitz, CMI and founder of RTK Environmental Group, offered these tips to Expert Beacon on reducing and treating mold allergies.

seasonal allergiesDO:

  • know the different between mold allergies and season allergies
  • know that there is a direct connection between mold and asthma
  • take the following steps to reduce household mold
  • realize that mold in schools and work environments could also be affecting your allergies
  • learn how to manage mold allergy symptoms


  • allergy sufferingassume your allergies are from pollen
  • forget that outdoor allergies shouldn’t bother you indoors
  • rule out black mold or toxic mold exposure
  • forget to check your air conditioning units and HVAC systems for mold
  • expect that medication alone will help your allergies


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.

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!

Health Mold

Sneezing? It Could Be Your Christmas Tree!

new york mold testingAh, the delightful scent of a piney Christmas tree, filling your home with love, light, good cheer – and mold spores! Yes, trees decay and release mold spores into the air. And right about now, when the tree has been in your home at least a week, is when the sneezing and wheezing begins.

Connecticut researchers have discovered that the mold count mold allergy new jerseyfrom a live Christmas tree rose to five times the normal level two weeks after the tree was brought indoors. According to Philip Hemmers, MD, an allergist and immunologist with St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, Conn., the high levels of the mold correlate with allergic rhinitis and an increased rate of asthma symptoms and asthma-related hospitalizations in other studies. Dr. Hemmers’ advice: If you don’t feel well during the holidays, your evergreen Christmas tree could be the culprit.

He recommends people with mold sensitivity keep a live Christmas tree in their home for only four to seven days. Signs of mold sensitivity can include chronic allergies, headaches, mold allergy treatmentfatigue, skin rashes, throat and eye irritations, wheezing, and many respiratory problems including asthma.

If tossing the tree so quickly isn’t for you, another option is over the counter allergy medicine. It works wonders for many people, letting you enjoy your fresh tree until after the New Year.

Once the tree is discarded, vacuum and dust well. To be sure you’ve removed any mold spores, and to see if mold is growing even in places you can’t see, call an environmental testing company. “Getting your home tested for mold now can save you big headaches allergy connecticutlater,” says Robert Weitz, a certified microbial investigator. “Most people wait months, long after a mold infestation has taken root, before they deal with the problem. Once this happens, repairs are often extensive and very expensive. I’ve seen people who had to leave their homes for extended periods while these problems were being remedied.”

Weitz is a principal at RTK Environmental Group, the Northeast’s leading environmental testing company. For more information or to schedule an appointment to have your home tested for mold, click here.

Indoor Air Quality & Radon Mold

News 12 CT: Doctors Advise Homeowners on Removing Mold to Prevent Respiratory Problems

Some people don’t think the mold in their basement or bathroom is more than unsightly. But doctors have a different view. Watch this segment from New 12 CT to find out why it’s important to remove mold.

Call us at (800) 392-6468 if you think you may have a mold problem.

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.


Health Mold

Summer Cold or Mold Allergy?

Summer cold or mold allergy?  While you may think you or your child just has a relentless cold, it may be something entirely different – an allergy to mold.  Mold allergies produce the same symptoms as the common cold; however, they won’t go away with homemade chicken noodle soup.

A mold allergy does not mean that you are allergic to mold, rather to the spores or seeds.  Often the symptoms for mold allergies reach their height in the summer, and then just never seem to go away – leading many to believe that they have a cold they can’t kick.

mold allergy symptomsMold thrives during the hot, damp summer months which is why we see more mold allergies during that time than any other.  A nasal reaction is usually one of the first signs of an allergy to mold.  The reaction could take the form of a runny nose, congestion, sneezing, or a postnasal drip.

If you feel as though a summer cold is hanging around a bit too long, make an appointment with an allergist to get tested for a mold allergy.  There are two types of tests that can be done: a skin prick test, or a blood test.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for a mold allergy, but there are ways to reduce the symptoms.  While simple over the counter drugs can relieve your pain, it is important to try and avoid mold whenever possible.  Have a certified microbial investigator come check for mold in your home, and if necessary, have it removed as quickly as possible.  Obviously you cannot avoid mold altogether, but removing it from your home is a huge leap in the right direction.