Facts and Tips on Mold, Pest, Carbon Monoxide and Radon
Preventing Mold Growth
The key to preventing mold growth is to identify moisture and water problems and once a problem has been identified you have to resolve those problems in a timely manner.
Mold needs a substrate and proper conditions to grow. The ideal environment consist of the right temperatures and moisture levels that encourage mold growth. There a 100 known mold species that are harmful to humans. Although hiring an inspector is not necessary, it can prove useful to have an expert help you identify areas that are conducive, debris that are conducive, look in areas that are known mold environments and the severity of the mold infestation. Additionally, an inspector can take mold samples to help you identify mold species and consult with you to see if a professional mitigation is even necessary.
Fact: Mitigation of mold is fairly inexpensive and ranges anywhere from $800.00-$2,200.00 depending on the severity. Additionally, a home owner can mitigate mold without a professional mitigation.
Here are the most commons sources of moisture and water penetration into the interior envelope of a home that can create the right conditions for mold growth.
indoor plumbing leaks
damp basements and crawlspaces
dryer vents venting indoors
poor or improper ventilation
Facts and Myths on Radon
Hiring a professional Radon inspector is not necessary with DIY kits that are readily available at your local hardware store. However, the benefits of hiring a professional Radon measurement is to ensure that the measurement is done correctly, which can directly help you understand if mitigation is necessary and provide help in setting up a proper mitigation system. Additionally, a professional will ensure that the proper placement and conditions are met during the test to obtain accurate results.
Here are a few facts and myths about Radon.
Radon is colorless, odorless and flavorless.
Radon is radioactive
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and the first leading cause for non-smokers
1 in 15 homes in the United States is estimated to have actionable levels of Radon.
Radon is present everywhere in the United States
All homes can have their Radon action level reduced to an inaction with mitigation
Radon test are expensive.
You need to hire an inspector to measure Radon
Only homes in certain regions need to worry about Radon
Radon test for neighboring houses are sufficient
Short duration test aren't enough to make an informed decision
Wood destroying organisms
Wood destroying organisms include fungi and pest (insects). The three most common pests that are WDO include termites, carpenter ants and beetles. These insects cause an estimated $5 billion in property damage each year. It is recommended that a home has a WDO inspection every one to three years.
Termites are considered to be the biggest enemy to your home. There are three types of termites: subterranean, drywood and dampwood with subterranean termites being the most destructive of them all, chewing on wood 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Identifying a termite infestation early is crucial to the health of your home.
Wood destroying beetles are second to termites when it comes to destroying wood. They are also more difficult to spot to the untrained eye. The first step is to identify the group of beetle you are dealing with, whether they are powderpost, lyctinae, longhorn, anobiidae, old house borer, anoplophora or dwarf borer. With a focus on the powderpost, the three most destructive powderpost are lyctids, anobiids and bostrichids. You should look for small holes or tunnels with frass (excrement) a powdery substance at the entrance of the hole.
Tips to protect your home. The trick is to remove conducive debris and conditions that enable a connection from outside the home to exterior envelope of your home.
Crawlspaces, attics and basements should be well ventilated and kept dry
Remove rotting stumps, lumber or debris from around the home
Keep firewood, lumber and building materials at least 20 feet away from the home and at least 18" of the ground
Ensure the water from the roof is directed away from the foundation with proper gutters and downspout system
Eliminate all wood in contact with the ground
Use mulch sparingly and at least 15" from house
Spray wood with Borate before priming and painting. Borate can last for decades
Fix any leaking plumbing
Ensure no lose wood is in contact with the exterior of your home
Carbon Monoxide Testing
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, toxic gas which interferes with the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood. CO is non-irritating and can overcome persons without warning. Many people die from CO poisoning, usually while using gasoline powered tools and generators in buildings or semi-enclosed spaces without adequate ventilation.
Effects of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
• Severe carbon monoxide poisoning causes neurological damage, illness, coma and death.
Symptoms of CO exposure
• Headaches, dizziness and drowsiness. • Nausea, vomiting, tightness across the chest.