The Mold Basics

Mold Basics

mold spores

Mold Spores, Magnified

The key to mold control is moisture control.

If mold is a problem in your home, you should get a professional to clean up the mold promptly and fix the water problem.

It is important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

Why is mold growing in my home?

Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.

Can mold cause health problems?

Molds are a problem indoors, when mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.

This [guidance] provides a brief overview; it does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure. For more detailed information consult a health professional. You may also wish to consult your state or local health department.

 

Moisture Control is the Key to Mold Control

Condensation on Glass

Condensation on Glass

  • When water leaks or spills occur indoors – ACT QUICKLY. If wet or damp materials or areas are dried 24-48 hours after a leak or spill happens, in most cases mold will not grow.
  • Clean and repair roof gutters regularly.
  • Make sure the ground slopes away from the building foundation, so that water does not enter or collect around the foundation.
  • Keep air conditioning drip pans clean and the drain lines unobstructed and flowing properly.
  • Keep indoor humidity low. If possible, keep indoor humidity below 60 percent (ideally between 30 and 50 percent) relative humidity. Relative humidity can be measured with a moisture or humidity meter, a small, inexpensive ($10-$50) instrument available at many hardware stores.
  • If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes ACT QUICKLY to dry the wet surface and reduce the moisture/water source. Condensation can be a sign of high humidity.

Actions that will help to reduce humidity

  • Vent appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers, stoves, and kerosene heaters to the outside where possible. (Combustion appliances such as stoves and kerosene heaters produce water vapor and will increase the humidity unless vented to the outside.)
  • Use air conditioners and/or de-humidifiers when needed.
  • Run the bathroom fan or open the window when showering. Use exhaust fans or open windows whenever cooking, running the dishwasher or dishwashing, etc.

Actions that will help prevent condensation

Mold growing on a wooden headboard in a room with high humidity. Click on the image for a larger version.

  • Reduce the humidity.
  • Increase ventilation or air movement by opening doors and/or windows, when practical. Use fans as needed.
  • Cover cold surfaces, such as cold water pipes, with insulation.
  • Increase air temperature.

Remember, Seitz Brothers offer free mold estimates, if you’re having an issue with mold in your home, set up an appointment today!  

Reference: http://www.epa.gov/mold

Bed Bugs Dos & Don’ts

Pest Control, Bed Bug

Pest Control, Bed Bug

When it comes to bed bugs, there are many myths and theories out there, but here are some helpful tips of what to do and more importantly what not to do in the case of bed bugs..

 

Do:
• Get a bed bug inspection as soon as you suspect a problem!

• Save any bugs you find. Several bugs are commonly mistaken for bed bugs including young cockroaches, ticks and carpet beetles.

• Contact your landlord or property manager if you live in an apartment building and advise them of the problem.

• Use caution when buying or acquiring used furniture, TVs, electronics, clothing, boxes, etc. These items may be infested with bed bugs. If you must take them, inspect items for signs of infestation carefully. Wash or heat treat clothing, bedding, etc. before storing them with your personal belongings.

• Eliminate clutter, especially in the bedrooms. Piles of laundry, newspapers, magazines, junk, etc. Seal discarded items in plastic bags before removing them from the infested area and dispose of them immediately in the outdoor trash.

• Tightly seal any items that you are moving out of the infested area in plastic garbage bags. Before you take anything out of the infested area (to the trash or to be laundered or otherwise treated), make sure it is tightly sealed in plastic to avoid dropping bed bugs and eggs and spreading the infestation.

• Wash, dry and store clothing, bedding, linens and other items and keep them out of the infested area until all treatments are completed.

Don’t:
• Don’t throw away your bed, furniture clothes and other personal belongings unless instructed to by your pest control professional. These items can often be treated, saving you a great deal of money.

• Don’t move because of bed bugs. If your home is infested, so are your belongings, you will just carry the problem to a new location.

• Don’t pick up beds, furniture or other items put out for trash collection. These items may have been discarded because of a bed bug infestation.

• Don’t attempt to treat bed bugs on your own. The National Pest Management Agency (NPMA) states, “This is not a pest that can be controlled with do-it-yourself measures.” The NPMA also declared the bed bug the most difficult indoor pest to control, even for professional pest managers.

• Don’t use outdoor pesticides indoors to try to treat bedbugs. These pesticides can cause serious health problems and even death when not used in accordance with their labels.

• Do not use rubbing alcohol, lawn and garden chemicals and other flammable materials to treat bed bugs. These products are being implicated in house fires around the country.

• Do not use foggers or bug bombs to treat bed bugs. They don’t work and they chase bed bugs into other areas of the structure, making treatment more difficult and expensive.

 

Most importantly, if you’re having an issue with bed bugs, call us for a free estimate today!