Ah, the 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.
Spring rains are a welcome refresher for our parched plants and lawns, but they also bring heat and humidity, the perfect environment for mold. If you had a leak or flood and your remediation company did not fully remove the mold, chances are the mold is still present and probably growing with a vengeance.
It is estimated that 70% of homes in the U.S. have mold behind the walls. This expert advice can help you find out if you have mold, teach you how to prevent it from invading your home, and guide you through the cleanup and removal process.
Many people rebuilt too quickly after Hurricane Sandy – before their homes were completely dried out. Now, mold is trapped inside and behind their walls – and they may not even know it.
Robert Weitz, a Certified Microbial Investigator and founder of RTK Environmental Group shares important information on how to rebuild after a flood or hurricane, and explains the risks if you did not rebuild properly.
You’ve registered for the best stroller, crib, and car seat available because nothing is too good for keeping your baby safe. While many families are creating their little one’s gift registry by adding clothes, diapers, and essentials for the nursery, there is an even more important way to prepare for your baby’s arrival – a Healthy Baby, Healthy Home Environmental Inspection.
This unique gift option from RTK provides tests for environmental hazards in your home, like toxic mold and poisonous lead dust. Because 80% of homes contain at least one environmental hazard, it is important for pregnant moms and new parents to make sure their home is safe to bring their new baby into.
As parents, we often become fixated on safety – from installing the car seat to measuring the rails on the crib. But we often overlook our home’s indoor environment. Mold, lead, radon, asbestos, and contaminated water or soil affect your vulnerable newborn and can cause a lifetime of health issues – from autism-like symptoms and ADHD to asthma and cancer.
Whether you are looking for a special baby shower gift or adding to your own baby registry, RTK offers an array of packages to suit your family’s individual needs. You can add a Healthy Baby, Healthy Home Inspection to your baby shower registry through MyRegistry.com, or visit us directly at Healthy Baby Healthy Home .
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?
Mold 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.
Hurricane Irene is a distant memory, but her wrath still haunts many homeowners. Nine months since the storm raged (at a cost of $15.6 billion in damages), long-term effects are rearing their ugly heads. Concerns about toxic mold and contaminated water are creating a busy season for environmental inspectors.
“We are being called into homes this spring that look perfectly clean, yet when we test for mold we are getting mold spore counts that are off the charts,” says Robert Weitz, Certified Microbial Investigator. “When the flooding initially occurred, victims were quick to clean up the water, dry out their basements, and power wash and bleach the walls. But they didn’t realize that their walls were soaked through, and now mold is growing behind their wallboards, ceilings, and other hidden places.”
Irene also creates outside problems. Water contamination is a major environmental issue in the aftermath of any hurricane. The high water from flooded rivers, ocean swells and broken water mains creates a runoff that can pick up contaminants from buildings and homes. Water mixes with pollutants from dry cleaners, gas stations, dumps, factories, flooded basements, and cars creating a toxic mess that can then make its way into homes, playgrounds, and drinking wells—places that put people at a risk of serious health problems.
“Homeowners often think that since they acted fast and clean everything up, they are safe,” explains Weitz. But don’t worry — it’s not too late to act. If you suspect Hurricane Irene may have caused residual damage, notify your insurance company and have a professional inspector come in to test your home or business. It’s the only way you’ll know if you have a serious mold or water contamination problem. Put Irene in her place once and for all – the past!
Even before Hurricane Irene hit, the Northeast experienced a record rainfall this August. Irene just added more problems to our already damp or flooded basements and high water tables. Now what? First off, let’s not forget about mold, which can get a jumpstart anywhere water has seeped into your home. Within 24 hours, toxic mold can become a problem. You might not see it immediately, but within a few weeks, mold’s smell will tell you it has taken hold. And that’s when the real problems begin, since mold can 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.
There are immediate steps homeowners should take as soon as water enters their houses:
Take pictures of the damage, and remove the water immediately. Don’t wait for your insurance company to call you back. Waiting — even for a few hours — could accentuate the problem.
Mop, vacuum, or pump water out of the affected area as soon as possible. Remove wet items and materials.
Dry out residual moisture that is left in concrete, wood, and other materials. You can use a dehumidifier or ventilation. If basement or attic windows open, mount fans in the openings. Unplug electrical devices and turn off the circuit breakers in the wet area, if possible.
Anything that is not wet, bring to higher ground.
Some items, once wet, should be thrown away immediately, including cosmetics, medical supplies, stuffed animals, and baby toys.
Toss out materials that can’t be dried within 24 hours, such as mattresses, pillows, carpets, upholstered furniture, and items containing paper, including wallboard.
Put aluminum foil under the legs of furniture to avoid staining damp floors. Wooden clothespins can keep upholstered furniture skirting off damp floors.
Once the area is dry, bring in dehumidifiers and large fans to remove any excess moisture.
Have your home tested for mold by an accredited inspection company.