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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.


Flooding & Water Damage Mold

Fall Foliage is Beautiful – But Leaves in Your Gutters Can Lead to Health Problems

Every fall in the northeast, a breathtaking landscape is heightened by fiery red, yellow, and orange leaves, accented with deep purples and rich greens. But, as the leaves fall and wind up in a downspout or gutter, the chances of mold growth on damp and rotting leaves, and future ice dams that could cause flooding become great.

Here are some tips from RTK Environmental about what you can do to prevent both:

1. Dispose of leaves in an area away from the house if you prefer not to gather them in refuse bags. As organic debris rots, mold growth can follow.

2. Keep gutters free of leaves. If you don’t, they may become heavy and pull away from your house causing leaks. Leaks often lead to mold growth.

3. To keep water from pooling at the house’s foundation, keep downspouts clear and positioned away from the house. Pools of water can seep into the foundation, causing an environment in which mold thrives.

4. If you see evidence of mold or mildew:

a) power wash the gutters;

b) scrub the area with a mixture of 4 parts water, 1 part bleach, making sure the mixture is sufficiently diluted so as not to harm children, pets, or nearby vegetation;

c) use a long brush to get inside downspouts.

d) rinse gutters thoroughly with a hose.

5. If you think your gutters may have caused a leak or mold issue, have your home tested by a professional to avoid future problems and potential health risks.

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.














Mold in foreclosed homes: Great deal or deal-breaker?

As the number of foreclosed homes rises, the deals are plenty – but so are the potential problems. One of the fastest growing issues with foreclosed and bank-owned homes is mold.

When homes are occupied, a cycle of ventilation occurs and moisture gets sucked out, often times driven by heating and air conditioning. When homes are abandoned, however, the electricity is shut off so there is no circulation of air and no sump pump to push standing water out of the basement, which can cause major mold problems. The infestation of mold in bank-owned, vacant houses is growing throughout the country. Water leaks and flood problems go untreated, and can lead to mold issues within days.

If you can see mold or smell a musty odor in a home, you can be sure that there is a lot more mold that you cannot see hiding – especially behind the walls and under the floor boards and carpets. Because of this, any mold damage might require expensive remediation efforts to once again make the home habitable.

Since buyers purchase these homes in an as-is condition, they need to be aware of the potential problems and added-costs a mold infestation brings with it. Many bank-owned properties will not have documented histories about past conditions or treatments. Even if you make an offer on a house right away, banks often take months to process the paperwork and by then it’s too late and a small mold problem is now a full-house infestation that can cost thousands of dollars to fix. Once a residence is severely infested with mold, often times the floors and walls must be completely torn out to correct the problems.

Exposure to mold, especially toxic mold, can cause a variety of health problems. People suffering from asthma or allergies, including small children, infants, the elderly, and people with acute health problems are more susceptible to health problems related to mold infestation.

The safest way to proceed with a foreclosed home is to have a mold inspection done by a certified professional. They can tell you exactly what it will cost you to fix the problem, and then you can weigh your options and figure out if the house is still a good deal.



Don’t Be Duped – All Black Mold is Not Toxic Mold!

The black mold in your basement or attic may look frightening, but it may just be unsightly, and not necessarily toxic mold. All black mold is not toxic mold.

black moldThat’s why it is so important to have mold testing done. It will determine what type you actually have so that you can take the proper course of action to remove it through mold remediation.

There are over 100,000 different types of mold.  Most cause upper respiratory tract symptoms, coughing, and wheezing in otherwise healthy people. Those with immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections caused by mold. However, if you have been exposed to toxic mold, however, such as Stachybotrys, Acremonium, Memnoniella or Chaetomium, you could suffer from a myriad of serious symptoms and illnesses such as:

  • chronic bronchitis
  • learning disabilities
  • mental deficiencies
  • heart problems
  • cancer
  • multiple sclerosis
  • chronic fatigue
  • lupus
  • fibromyalgia
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • multiple chemical sensitivity
  • bleeding lungs

how does mold growIn order to grow, toxic mold, like other molds, starts out when water soaks wood, paper, and cotton products or other products, usually as a result of water damage, excessive humidity, water leaks, condensation, water infiltration, or flooding. Constant moisture is required for its growth. When wet, toxic mold may appear slimy with white edges.

While toxic mold can bring on the most serious health problems, all mold can cause health issues in healthy people – especially those who suffer allergies. So the best course of action is to have it checked out by a professional to determine the severity of your problem through mold testing, then devise a mold remediation plan that suits your needs.