Identification and Health Risks of Indoor Mold Growth

The presence of indoor mold growth may be more common than you think as there are several varieties of mold that can be found indoors.  Excessive mold growth in a home is usually caused by exposure to moisture and can lead to permanent property damage as well as a range of health problems for those living in the home.  It is important to be able to identify the most common types of indoor mold so that you can act quickly to have them removed before they can contribute to permanent damage or adverse health effects. It is especially important to quickly deal with mold remediation in Eustis Florida because of the high humidity allowing mold to spread more rapidly.

Health Problems Caused by Mold

Mold releases tiny spores that travel through the air and spread mold growth by attaching themselves to a clean surface.  When these spores are inhaled, the immune system reacts and tries to destroy the mold which could result in headaches, runny noses, sneezing, scratchy throats, or allergic rhinitis.  Inhaling mold spores can also trigger asthma attacks in those that suffer from asthma.

Another health problem that can arise from mold exposure is respiratory infection.  Respiratory infections occur when live mold forms in the tissues of the respiratory track and lungs which can become dangerous without treatment.  Identifying mold as soon as it begins to grow is the best way to prevent these potential health problems.

Common Indoor Molds

Indoor molds can generally be put into three main categories; allergenic which trigger allergic reactions, pathogenic, and toxigenic which poses health threats to everyone.  Mold is often categorized by color but it is important to remember that each color group contains harmful and harmless mold types.  The following are the two most common mold types that pose health risks:

  • Green Molds (Aspergillus/ Penicillium): There are over 185 types of green mold and they are often associated with allergies and Aspergillosis which is a serious infection caused by inhaling mold spores.  Aspergillosis may affect the lungs, ears, nose, sinuses, and the brain.
  • Black Molds (Stachybotrys): These molds are the most feared of the mold types; they are slimy to the touch and they grow quickly in moist areas.  Only certain types of black molds are toxic but it takes professional testing to determine if the mold is toxic.  The presence of black mold may require professional mold remediation services.

Mold Remediation

If dangerous mold is growing throughout your home, it is best to have it removed by a professional mold remediation service provider.  Companies that provide professional mold remediation generally start by inspecting the mold growth and the extent of moisture exposure in the property.  They will then remove the mold growth using the proper equipment and products and either repair or replace the surfaces that were contaminated by mold.  Professional mold remediation technicians also make sure to prevent the mold from spreading as they work.

Homeowners should be able to identify the most common types of indoor molds so that they can have them removed before they cause health problems or property damage.  It is also important for homeowners to make sure their homes are not exposed to excessive water or moisture which is the main cause of mold growth.  However, if you do discover mold growth in your home, call for professional mold remediation services to have it removed by ServiceMaster in Eustis Florida.

 

Safeguard your family’s health with professional air duct cleaning

Most of us spend somewhere around 90% of our lifetime indoors. However, many of us may not be aware that our indoor air can be up to 10 times more polluted than outdoor air (according to the US EPA).

Indoor air quality is one concern that homeowners have when they decide to look into air duct cleaning. Up to 40 pounds of dust is created annually through everyday living in a typical 6-room house. Your heating and cooling system acts like the lungs of your home, taking air in and breathing air out. Dust, dander and chemicals are pulled into your HVAC systems and re-circulated an average of 5 to 7 times per day. As time goes on, this re-circulation of air creates a build-up of these materials in the duct work.

Having build-up in your ducts doesn’t necessarily mean that you have unhealthy air in your home. On the other hand, your air ducts may be harboring contaminants that could cause serious problems for people with respiratory health conditions, autoimmune disorders or some environmental allergies. Professional air duct cleaning companies such as ServiceMaster Fire, Water and Mold Restoration in Eustis, FL remove bacteria, fungus, mold spores, pet dander & pollen, which may help to alleviate allergy & asthma symptoms. Many homeowners report the following benefits after having their air ducts cleaned by a professional company:

  • Improved breathing and general well-being for those with respiratory issues
  • Fewer allergy symptoms
  • Less dust in the air and on upholstery and carpeting

What you can expect from a visit by a professional air duct cleaning company:

  • The HVAC system will be treated for proper operation.
  • The air handler unit will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.
  • All the vent registers will be detached and thoroughly cleaned.
  • The entire air duct system will be cleaned and deodorized.
  • The vent registers are re-attached and the system is tested for proper operation

If you need a professional company to remove contaminants from your home’s air ducts and are in the Eustis, Florida, area, contact ServiceMaster Fire, Water and Mold Restoration at 352-308-3131.

 

Did you Know what one of the leading causes of houes fires was?

Clothes Dryers and Washing Machines Fact Sheet

In 2006, an estimated 17,700 reported U.S. non-confined or confined home*

structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines (including

combination washer/dryers) resulted in an estimated:

• 15 civilian deaths

• 360 civilian injuries

• $194 million in direct property damage

• Most (81%) non-confined home structure fires involving washers or

dryers began in a laundry room or area.

• Most of these home fires involve clothes dryers (92% in 2003-2006).

• The risk of fire is slightly higher for gas-fueled clothes dryers than for

electric-powered clothes dryers.

• The leading cause (29% of fires) of home clothes dryer and washer fires was

failure to clean.

.

Estimates are derived from the U.S. Fire Administration National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS)

Version 5.0 and NFPA’s annual fire department experience survey.

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Benefits of Water Damage Restoration to Your Home

After a fire or flood damages your home, it is necessary to implement water damage restoration. This is a multi-faceted task, as it not only involves cleaning the excess water in your home, but also repairing any parts of your home that have sustained water damage and restoring it to its former state. In addition, it is necessary to begin the cleanup, repair, and restoration process as soon as possible after a fire or flood to prevent mold and mildew growth, which can begin within 24 hours of such an event. Water damage restoration companies are an excellent resource for homeowners who want to restore their homes as safely and effectively as possible without further damaging their homes in the profess. Water damage restoration companies offer many benefits to homeowners, and it can be helpful to know about these when making your decision to hire one.

Water Damage Restoration Companies Restore Your Home Quickly

One of the benefits of hiring water damage restoration companies is that they can perform the cleanup, repair, and restoration process very quickly compared to the time it would take you to get it done yourself. In addition, hiring water damage restoration companies means they employ several contractors at once to work quickly and efficiently in your home. This enables them to handle several aspects of water damage cleanup simultaneously to prevent secondary water damage to your home and restore it to its former state as quickly as possible.

Water Damage Restoration Companies Prevent Mold and Mildew Growth

In addition to restoring your home quickly after a fire or flood, water damage restoration companies also help prevent mold and mildew growth in your home by cleaning up excess water before mold and mildew have a chance to form. If there is existing mold in your home, water damage restoration companies can also get rid of it with industrial-grade disinfectants and cleaners to ensure it poses no danger to you or your family. Mold and mildew can present many health risks, so it is best to let an experienced group of professionals take care of the water damage before it progresses into more severe secondary water damage in the form of mold, mildew, and other potentially harmful fungi.

Water damage restoration companies are an excellent resource for homeowners who want to restore their homes after a fire or flood without endangering themselves or their family members. If we can serve you in anyway please do not hesitate to call us. We are available 24/7 365 days a year.

Hurricane Preparedness

“Before a hurricane strikes, it’s important to carefully map out a response,” says Pete Duncanson, director of training and technical support for ServiceMaster Clean. “Because the amount of planning you do upfront is going to play a significant role in the post-storm clean-up.”

As the experts in disaster restoration, the professionals from ServiceMaster Clean make the following recommendations in anticipation of a hurricane or tropical storm:

MAP OUT AN EVACUATION ROUTE
Secure a community hurricane preparedness plan through your local emergency management office or Red Cross chapter and make sure to fill your gas tanks, as you may have to travel long distances inland to find a hotel or shelter.

HAVE AN OUT-OF-STATE CONTACT
Identify an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the official family contact, and be sure all family members have this person’s contact information.

IDENTIFY MEETING PLACES
In case family members are separated from one another during a disaster (for example, when adults are at work and children are at school), identify two places to meet: one right outside your home and another outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home. Make sure everyone knows the address and phone number of your second meeting place.

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HAVE A PLAN IN PLACE FOR YOUR PETS
Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate. Understand that most shelters and hotels will not allow them on the property, so it is critical to determine early on where to house them during a pending storm. Photograph them and make sure they are wearing identification collars in case you lose them during the storm.

PROTECT VALUABLES FROM WATER DAMAGE
Photograph and/or video both the interior and exterior of your home for a record of all valuables. Make sure to store originals of important documents, including birth certificates, banking and credit card information and medical records in a waterproof container as well.

UTILIZE DIFFERENT FORMS OF COMMUNICATION
Purchase a battery-operated AM/FM radio and/or battery-operated television to keep updated on events. Since most telephones will be out of order when the storm hits, weather radio will be your best source of information. However, make sure your cell phone is fully charged and have a phone charger in the car in case land lines are out for an extended period.

STOCK EMERGENCY SUPPLIES
These items include the following:
• Three days worth of non-perishable, ready-to-eat canned food items and a manual can opener
• One gallon of water per person per day for three days
• First aid kit that includes pre-moistened antibacterial wipes and insect repellant
• List of medications and prescriptions for each member of the household
• Flashlights and plenty of fresh batteries
• Disposable flash camera to take pictures of post-storm damage to home and/or vehicles
• Pen and paper
• Extra blankets and clothing
• Alternate cooking source
• Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members, including one-week supply of medications and foods for infants or those with special diets
• Crescent or pipe wrench to turn off gas and water
• One quart of unscented bleach or iodine tablets (for disinfecting water if ordered to do so by health officials) and an eyedropper (for adding bleach to water)
• Personal hygiene items such as soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes
• Fire extinguisher

PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY
Close and board up windows with ½ inch marine plywood and make sure to remove all outside antennas. Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed of dead wood and clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts. You should keep extra plywood and plastic for repairs you may need to make after the storm. Be sure to hold onto all receipts to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.

KNOW HOW TO SHUT OFF YOUR UTILITIES
In the event that electricity is lost, be sure to turn the main switches in the circuit breaker box to the off position. Make sure all household appliances are turned off, as no one may be home when power is restored. Appliances left on could cause a fire.

REVIEW AND UNDERSTAND INSURANCE COVERAGE
It is important to understand what deductibles in your policy are in place for hurricane damage. You will need to investigate flood insurance, as homeowners policies do not cover water damage that results from a hurricane. Check out the National Flood Insurance Program, which is designed to provide a means for property owners to financially protect themselves when catastrophe strikes.

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For more information, check out the National Hurricane Center’s Web site at www.nhc.noaa.gov.

ServiceMaster Clean is not only prepared to respond to disasters when Mother Nature strikes, but it is also ready to help when there’s a fire, water leak or other mechanical malfunction in your home or business. The company’s local service operations throughout the country are trained, equipped and ready to restore your property after any disaster, from water in the basement to fire and smoke damage in the lobby. The company will dry and clean everything from documents to carpet, to help you avoid mold problems later. And ServiceMaster Clean handles jobs as large as your entire office building or as small as a single room in your home.

Mold Topic

Depending on the type of mold you are dealing with, and where it is located, mold removal can be a straightforward or tricky problem. Mold can sometimes grow in hidden areas, and before it can be removed it must be tracked down through investigation or mold testing. Often it is behind walls, under carpets or in other inaccessible areas, which makes the task of removing it that much more difficult. If it is a particularly dangerous type of mold, such as Stachybotrys, or black mold, then removing it is a job best left to professionals. Improper handling of black mold can cause the spores to become airborne, and possibly be breathed in by you or a member of your family.

Before mold can be removed, the source of moisture that the mold thrives on must be stopped. Otherwise, the mold removal process will be in vain. Roof or plumbing leaks are often the culprit, and these must be repaired. If the event was a flood, then often the process is to cut away the affected areas of wallboard, carpet, panelling, etc.

The area should be dried with a dehumidifier or heat source. The use of high powered fans is not encouraged as these can lift the spores and spread them throughout the home. If the source of moisture is condensation, the solution is more complex, as this is a recurring problem that needs to be solved before the mold can be tackled. Sometimes it can be an improperly tuned air conditioning system that needs to be adjusted.

Many surface molds that grow in showers and around bathrooms can be dealt with easily with a simple bleach solution or any number of anti-mold products on the market. If the mold growth is extensive, it is a good idea to wear a respirator, preferably with a HEPA filter, when working on the mold. Most commercial mold killer products are spray on types, and after the application the mold should be scrubbed, with care taken not to breathe in the spores.

Stachybotrys, however, is another matter. This mold is considered dangerous, as exposure to its spores has been known to cause serious respiratory problems for some, particularly those with a depressed immune system. This mold grows mostly on cellulose type material, including wood and wallboard, which is why it often thrives in a modern home. Mold removal professionals treat Stachybotrys as an environmental hazard. When doing a cleanup, they will wear masks and sometimes full bio suits, and will generally put up plastic sheeting to prevent the spores from spreading. Wallboard, carpet and panelling is usually completely removed, and the remaining wood studs are sprayed with a powerful chemical agent. The mold is scrubbed off, and special vacuums with HEPA filters are used to clean up the remaining residue. Sometimes, air purifiers are then run in the household for several days to clean up the air in the home.

Controlling the humidity level in a home is the key to preventing recurring mold problems. Leaks and floods will happen from time to time, but if the problem is caught right away then the area will dry out before the mold has a chance to grow. But persistent humidity, even from such seemingly minor things as ‘pipe sweat’ or steam condensation, can allow mold to grow. The use of dehumidifiers is recommended, and where possible, opening windows to let moisture out (if the outside air is dry).

Professional mold removal is an expensive proposition for most homeowners. However, mold growth left unchecked can lead to serious health consequences for you and your family. It is important to treat the problem of mold as a very serious one, and to take the right steps in eradicating it from your home. The implications for your health are too serious to ignore. If you suspect you may have a mold problem in your home, then get mold testing done and if needed, professional mold removal. The benefit to your health will be well worth it.