MOLD TESTING NECESSARY

  • By John Adam
  • 26 Apr, 2016

If you think you may have mold issue in your home or commercial property the first step should be to inspect for any visual evidence of water damage or mold growth. In most cases, if visible mold growth is present sampling in unnecessary. Often times you will not need to test the air for mold as part of a routine assessment because decision about appropriate remediation strategies can be made on visual assessment of mold growth.

If you cannot visually see any mold but still suspect a mold issue you will want to perform a mold test to make sure there are no airborne spores in the building. There is no standards for “acceptable” levels of mold in a building, if mold is present it will be important to take necessary steps to remediate the issue. Sampling and testing for mold should be conducted by the professionals with specific experience in microbial investigations and proper equipment. Microscopic identification of spores and colonies requires considerable expertise.

There are many occasions when mold testing is necessary.

Buying or Selling a home: When entering into a real estate transaction mold is often a big concern that can impact the entirety of the sale. If there is a suspected mold issue in a property that is in the process of being purchased or sold mold testing will be a necessary step before closing the sale. Mold testing will confirm the presence of airborne mold spores and surface mold. If mold is suspected in a property it is important to conduct a mold test because mold can not only affect the sale of a home it can also impact the health of the inhabitants.

Landlords & Property Managers: If you are a landlord or property owner who manages buildings with tenants it is important to stay on top of potential mold issues. If a tenant complains about mold it is important to test for the issue right away. Often times it is less costly to resolve a mold issue that is detected early on than potential health hazards. Mold testing will yield accurate counts and the exact mold species present and data to determine if there is fact an issue that needs to be resolved. Mold testing will also tell us how to solve the mold problem if in fact problematic mold is present

If you or your buildings inhabitants suspect there is a mold issue it is always better to be safe than sorry. PowerBees will conduct a full mold testing on your property. Indoor air samples and outdoor air samples are taken. PowerBees will then compare the indoor air to the outdoor air to determine if spores commonly associated with interior water damage and moisture are present while examining the relationship between the indoor spores and the outdoor spores. If the air quality is problematic, PowerBees will recommend a mold remediation protocol to resolve the mold issue.

Contact PowerBees today to find out more about mold testing and when it is necessary or to schedule our Mold Remediation services.

WHAT ARE SPORES?

By John Adam 17 Sep, 2016

1. Washing Machines

Due to the constant presence of water in a washing machine, your washing machine may be at risk of mold growth if it contains a drip pan, or if it is a front-loaded washing machine with an inner gasket. Drip pans need to be regularly maintained and cleaned with detergent to prevent any buildup of dirt, lint or other organic materials that could cause mold growth. Although the interior of washing machines are typically designed with metal surfaces that are difficult for mold to grow on, the glass and gasket can be susceptible and may need to be wiped down on a regular basis to prevent lint buildup that could serve as a food source for mold spores.

2. Dishes

If your dishes are stacked in your cabinets before being completely dry, the dark and enclosed spaces in your cabinets unfortunately provide a potential hotspot for mold to grow. Despite the best efforts of your dishwasher, organic material unfortunately sometimes makes it through the cycle and can provide a food source for mold spores, especially if your cabinets are made of wood or another organic material that could potentially have dormant mold spores. Take care to thoroughly dry all dishes before placing them in your cabinet, and control humidity levels and air flow in your kitchen to minimize the chance that you will have to deal with any unwanted mold growth on your dishes.

3. Air Conditioners

Air conditioning units are natural targets for mold due to the constant presence of moisture in the cooling unit and their tendency to suck in dust and pollen as nutrients for mold with their air intake functionality. If you turn off your air conditioner or it breaks down during a period of high humidity, mold can grow in the ducts, drain pans, and on coils. For window units, you should removing the front plate and vacuuming the blower with a HEPA filter vacuum. Afterward, rinse the coils and clean the rain pan with a solution of diluted bleach.

4. Closets

When the dark, confined spaces and uncirculated air in your closets are combined with the presence of water from damp clothing or periods of high humidity, your closets can become a hotspot for mold growth in your home. Make sure all clothing is completely dry and free from dirt particulates that could serve as nutrients for mold growth before storing them in your closets. Try to clean and air out your closets on a regular basis, especially during periods of high humidity in the summertime.

5. Windows

Window sashes and your window sills can be susceptible to mold growth due to their exposure to rain, condensation from the temperature difference on the inside and outside of your home, and their tendency to attract dirt, insects and organic material due to their proximity to the outdoors. Make sure the seals between the panes of your windows are holding and make sure any windows that were open during a storm are wiped down as soon as possible. Clean and dust windowsills and sashes on regular basis to make sure mold has no opportunity to feast on the organic material there.

 

Contact PowerBees, a Massachusetts mold removal and mold testing company so we can perform mold inspection services and a free estimate if any mold remediation is required.

 

By John Adam 17 Sep, 2016

One of the most common variations of mold revealed by PowerBees through mold testing services in the Boston area is mold from the Aspergillus genus. Of these molds, aspergillus fumigatus is the species that causes the highest number of infections in humans. Humans who are regularly exposed to aspergillus fumigatus develop a hypersensitivity to it, so that even small degrees of contact can result in significant and uncomfortable allergic reactions.

What is Aspergillus Fumigatus?

Aspergillus fumigatus is most easily identified by the green or blue-green color of its surface, with a white or tan color for the fungus underneath. It grows on decomposing organic material and has a one of the widest range of temperature resilience, growing anywhere in the range of 68 degrees to 131 degrees Fahrenheit.

The most dangerous consequences of aspergillus fumigatus include the potential to develop asthma in both children and adults with high exposure risks, as unexpected asthma attacks without access to a prophylactic medication like albuterol can cause airways to close up which can lead to brain damage due to oxygen deprivation or even death. Aspergillus fumigatus can also cause significant toxic symptoms like aflatoxins, which have been linked to cancer and higher levels of blood HIV concentration in HIV positive individuals. Aspergillus can also cause infections called Aspergillosis in individuals with compromised immune systems, and these infections can cause dangerous consequences like lung damage and advanced sinusitis.

Preventing This Toxic Mold

Beware of potential mold on peanuts and quickly dispose of any organic material in your home before it has a chance to decay. The longer it remains in your home, the more chances the mold has to spread spores that can create a dangerous living environment for yourself and your family. If you are concerned about mold growth in your home, contact our professional mold removal and mold testing company to have a licensed and certified inspector perform mold inspection services to give you the peace of mind you are searching for.

By John Adam 17 Sep, 2016

Remember that mold requires warm, dark, humid conditions with access to organic materials in order to proliferate in your home. Unfortunately, there are many locations within the typical home that may meet these requirements. Our Boston-based mold removal company would like to talk about some of the common hotspots for mold growth that homeowners need to be aware of:

 

1. Carpet. Carpeted areas capture and hold dirt which can potentially serve as nutrients for the growth of mold. Combine that dirt with humid conditions during the summer or potential spills, leaks, or flooding, and you have a recipe for potential mold growth in your home. Major risk factors include a lack of air flow from your HVAC system and areas frequently traversed by shoes, which can increase the amount of dirt particulates carried in from the outdoors. To avoid mold growth, try to ensure that all carpeted areas are free from excess moisture, have access to sufficient air flow, and that any water from spills, leaks or floods are extracted and dried with fans or dehumidifiers as quickly as possible.

2. Wall Interiors. One of the most difficult locations to treat potential mold growth where we commonly see at PowerBees is the interior space between cavity walls. Mold can sometimes gain access to these locations through leaks from the roof or duct system in homes. Moisture in the air flowing through the home can also condense on wall surfaces, allowing mold the opportunity to thrive. Make sure that vapor barriers were properly installed during the construction of your home and that any leaks in your roof or duct system are quickly detected through regular maintenance.

              3. Ductwork. Air supplied to your home contains some level of moisture, and this moisture has the potential to accumulate in your duct system. Any damage to your insulation or to the ductwork in your home can cause issues with moisture condensation on duct exteriors and potential issues with air-flow rates that could cause a chain reaction of mold growth in your home. Perform regular duct maintenance yourself or consider hiring a company like PowerBees, a Boston mold removal company, that performs professional ductwork cleaning and maintenance services.

              4. Electrical Equipment. Electrical fixtures, cables, and equipment boxes can be a hotspot for mold growth in your home. Examine the surrounding areas of electrical switches, ceiling or wall-mounted lighting fixtures, and outlets that are in unheated locations in your home. Any humid air that flows into these areas carries water which can then condense and cause the growth of mold. Flooded electrical conduits are also at risk of mold growth. By performing regular maintenance and observation of the fixtures and electrical systems in your home, you can win an important battle against mold growth in one of the most common hotspots in your home.

 

Most mold growth can be prevented by controlling moisture and by performing regular maintenance on the various systems in your home. If you are concerned about any potential mold growth, contact PowerBees for mold testing services by a licensed and certified PowerBees inspector.

By John Adam 16 Sep, 2016

PowerBees, a Boston mold testing and mold removal company, strives to educate homeowners and business owners about the potential for mold growth on any organic material exposed to sufficient conditions of warmth and humidity. A recent Boston Globe article discussed an outbreak of mold that occurred at the Main Branch of the Public Library in Copley Square.

The rare books department located at Copley Square unfortunately does not have sealed vaults where the temperature and humidity are controlled separately from the rest of the building. However, the Boston Globe reports that due to the age of the Copley Square Library, no such vault has been created for the rare books department, even though the collection of rare books at the Boston Public Library is regarded as one of the world’s best. The works include those of John Hancock, Samuel Adams, George Washington, Shakespeare, and many other historically significant items.

Mold Problems Spotted

The mold was discovered by a staff member when he went to retrieve the “British Museum Catalogue of Printed Books.” The mold was discovered to have reached a widespread area. The mold was treated initially by the deployment of 10 high-grade dehumidifiers and HEPA vacuums specially designed to capture mold spores. The Boston Public Library was then able to successfully treat the mold outbreak within a few months and re-open the Rare Books department, allowing residents of Boston to continue to view the historic collection located there.

If you are worried about potential mold growth on books or other organic materials in your home, contact our Boston mold removal company for mold testing services so that we can provide you a free estimate for mold remediation services that can keep you and your family safe.

By John Adam 16 Sep, 2016

Awareness about the dangers of mold has increased in the past few decades. Mold toxicity, once unrecognized even by qualified doctors with advanced medical degrees, is a threat that many laypeople recognize as a potential cause of respiratory issues and a danger to those with weakened immune systems. 22News in Springfield Massachusetts recently did a piece on the two keys to controlling mold in your home : moisture control, and acting quickly.

22News brought in a mold remediation specialist with a thermal imaging camera to detect all the areas with moisture and potential mold growth. They found mold in areas that the homeowner did not expect to look: pans in the refrigerator, in the woodwork in the basement, in the drip pan of the washing machine, underneath shampoo bottles in the bathroom, and even in the humidifier in the baby’s room.

 22News Recommendations for Preventing Mold:

n  fixing plumbing and water leaks as soon as possible;

n  scrubbing mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and drying completely;

n  disposing of porous materials like ceilings or carpet because the mold may be difficult or impossible to fully remove;

n  and by increasing ventilation and cleaning frequency if you have any area of your house that is particularly susceptible to mold growth.

PowerBees, a mold removal company in the Northeast, can help you locate and destroy mold in your home. If you contact PowerBees, we will send a licensed and certified inspector to determine the locations that you may have mold. Our top-notch testing services will be able to determine whether you need additional remediation services or if you just need to implement some minor cleanup and additional preventative measures for your home.

By John Adam 16 Sep, 2016

Our mold testing and mold removal company recommends that every homeowner and business owner be aware that mold can and will proliferate in environments of high humidity and warmth. One potential consequence is that when given the right opportunity, mold can grow on the organic fibers in your clothes. If you have ever accidentally left your clothes in the washing machine, you are familiar with the musty smell that can accompany wet clothes. Fortunately, if you treat the growth of mold quickly, you can avoid any potential health concerns connected with the growth of mold.

The Clothes Washing Process is Key

The simplest way to destroy mold in clothing is to launder the affected items by presoaking with cold water and washing with diluted chlorine bleach. Clothes should then be dried completely in the sun or on high heat with care to make sure the dryer is not overfilled and the clothes are not still wet before the cycle terminates. However, this may not be an option for all clothing as it puts a lot of stress on the internal fibers in your clothing.

Another option is to sponge clothing carefully with a solution of about five percent diluted bleach. This works well for white fabrics that are resilient to the effects of bleach on color, but for colored clothing you may want to use a solution of lemon juice and salt.

A final potential option would be the use of fungicide sprays or mildicide to directly destroy any lingering trace of mold or mildew on your clothing. However, you must be very careful and follow all directions in applying fungicide or mildicide because these chemicals can be very dangerous to your health in the case of prolonged exposure.

If you are concerned that mold in your clothing is part of a larger trend of mold in your home, contact PowerBees for our mold testing services as soon as possible.

By John Adam 16 Sep, 2016

PowerBees understands that mold growth and the subsequent remediation processes is important for businesses and homeowners. Knowledge of these steps will help teams of professional mold remediation specialists like those at PowerBees to eliminate all mold growth in your home in the fastest and most efficient way possible.

 

1. Be aware of sources of moisture in your home

Mold growth is highly dependent upon humidity, leaks, floods, or any other major method access to water in your home. Thus, it is important to be able to identify any possible sources of moisture into your home, like cracks or leaks in your roof, ceiling, walls, or foundation. Even before you can detect it, mold can be present in your home in places where you cannot see or smell. But if you are aware of all the sources of moisture in your home, mold removal specialists will be able to track the moisture source and locate the entirety of mold growth, not just the parts that are immediately visible.

2. Take pictures and video of any discernable mold

Prior to mold removal services, make sure you take pictures and/or video of any detectable mold within your home that you want to remediation team to eliminate. For your safety, make sure you wear protective equipment while you are in areas exposed to mold, like respirators, eye goggles without vents, and rubber gloves that extend at least to mid-forearm. This will help the remediation team have concrete targets for remediation and begin to predict the entirety of the presence of mold in your home. This documentation helps point to larger trends of mold growth and is important for your own records as a homeowner when dealing with insurance adjusters later on.

3. Create a plan for potential relocation

Mold can be a major inconvenience not only because of the potential for illness but also because more significant outbreaks may require you to spend some time in a location outside of your home while the remediation and cleanup takes place. Work together with your remediation team to determine the length and schedule of the work to be completed, the scope of the work, the duration of testing services if that testing is performed by a third party company, and plan accordingly to stay in an alternate location while the mold remediation services are being performed.

4. Receive an estimate for the scope of the work to be performed

Once you have sufficiently documented the mold and have prepared an alternate location to stay in case the mold is widespread enough that mold remediation specialists are not able to sufficiently contain the mold within the area, call a professional mold testing service like PowerBees that can help you confirm the presence and species of mold present within your home to determine the level of danger and whether full mold remediation services need to be performed immediately.

A company like PowerBees that specializes in mold removal services will help you repair the water problem to prevent new mold spores from growing, isolate the contaminated area, remove and dispose of all mold-affected materials, clean the affected area with specialized equipment for removing surface mold and any airborne spores, dry the area with industrial equipment, and replace the materials that were damaged beyond repair. Consult the remediation plan for the scope of work to be performed to confirm that the mold remediation team completes all of these steps.

5. Verify successful cleanup

When you have returned to your home, confirm that the moisture problem has been fixed by checking the areas that were affected by water damage prior to remediation. Make sure the documented areas are all now clean to the point where no more visible mold is present. Ensure that you and your family are not suffering from any aggravated health complaints, and that any lingering symptoms are examined by a physician.

 

If you would like assistance in implementing a fast action plan to remove mold in your home, contact PowerBees to speak with a qualified mold professional today.

By John Adam 16 Sep, 2016

Mold is the original recycler. The main job of mold in nature is to assist in the break down decaying organic materials to return nutrients to the soil. The cellular structure of large, connected colonies of mold, called hyphae or hyphal networks, allow the sharing and transfer of water across the entire network. Thus, another evolutionary job that evolved for mold is the existence of mycorrhizal networks, which are symbiotic relationships that exist between mold colonies and the roots of certain types of trees.

The Inner Workings of Mold

The trees utilize the enlarged surface area and permeability of hyphal networks, and in exchange for access to carbohydrate resources provided by the roots of trees. – if there were a leaking pipe in the structure as we often see in our mold remediation work, the mold closest to the pipe would be able to transfer water, food and other nutrients to each other through the hyphal networks created by the complex mycorrhizal fungal networks linking fungi together. This ability originates in forests as a symbiotic relationships between certain types of trees and fungi, allowing the trees to collectively share water and other nutrients with each other through fungal growths connecting trees’ root networks within a certain proximity.

Understanding the existence of mycorrhizal networks is important in case you ever find yourself in a situation where wood or carpet in your home feels damp during times of exterior rain, even without any spills or leaks. The connected network of mold colonies means that water and nutrients can be shared across the entire collection of mold colonies, thus allowing you another way to detect the presence of mold in your home.

If you are concerned about mold growth, contact our mold remediation and mold testing company, headquartered in Massachusetts, to have a licensed and certified mold inspector perform mold testing services to give you the certainty you are looking for.

 

By John Adam 16 Sep, 2016

PowerBees would like to offer a review today of the excellent book “Surviving Mold: Life in the Era of Dangerous Buildings by Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker MD.” Following the publication of Mold Warriors in 2005, Surviving Mold is one of the definitive works that cover the medical aspects of mold illness, and also its connections to politics, lawsuits and science.

What was once an ill-defined chronic illness is now a widely publicized danger that most home buyers and potential tenants are aware of. Being that Dr. Shoemaker is a practicing physician and widely recognized expert on mold illness, he provides deep discussion of physiological impacts of mold illness with many example stories, cutting edge science, and criticism of some of the mishandling of mold-related illness that can happen in medicine, courtrooms, and government-assistance agencies.

Mold Causes Chronic Illnesses

Dr. Shoemaker recommends that if you or someone you know has an ill-defined chronic illness, find out if there is exposure to musty basements, bathrooms, leaky roofs, flat-roofed schools, office buildings with re-circulated air, or buildings with construction defects. Dr. Shoemaker’s experience with 6000 patients from 50 states and 30 foreign countries helps him to offer practical steps that can guide anyone suffering from potential mold-related illness through the entire process, from diagnosis and medical treatments through mold remediation services like those offered by PowerBees.

Overall, PowerBees feels that Surviving Mold: Life in the Era of Dangerous Buildings to be a great read with a lot of valuable information. For anyone interested in the physiological effects of mold, or some of, PowerBees recommends Dr. Shoemaker’s book. If you think you may have a mold problem in your home that is making you sick, contact our professional mold removal company for mold testing services to have a licensed and certified inspector determine if your home needs mold remediation services.

By John Adam 16 Sep, 2016

PowerBees finds that owners of older homes especially may experience issues with mold growth in their closets over an extended period of time. Homes in areas that experience high humidity during the summer months are particularly vulnerable. So please consider the following seven tips for avoiding mold growth in your closets:

1.       Avoid hanging up damp clothes in closets , as moisture is the primary factor that allows mold to grow in dark, confined spaces. Make sure any linens or towels intended to be stored in the closet are sufficiently dry prior to storage.

2.       Try to maintain some degree of air circulation  in the closet space in order to limit any potential issues with mold growth. Confined spaces and dark areas, when combined with sufficient humidity and moisture content in the air, can provide ample conditions for mold growth.

3.       Eschew storing dirty clothes in dark, humid closets , as the presence of soil or other organic particles can facilitate the growth of mold.

4.       Air conditioners and dehumidifiers  may be options for higher risk closets that experience extremely high humidity, as limiting the amount of moisture in the air and encouraging the circulation of drier air will then discourage any potential mold growth.

5.       Consider using plastic-coated wire shelving  to substitute for solid untreated wood or plywood shelving, as the additional air circulation can help to deter mold growth.

6.       Avoid storage of solid items like storage tubs and shoe boxes directly on the floor , because this can have the effect of trapping moisture or small particulates of mold under these items.

7.       Finally, cleaning, drying, and airing out closets  on a regular basis is the simplest effective defense against mold growth in closets.

If you are concerned about mold growth in your closets or any other dark, confined area of your house, you can schedule mold testing services with PowerBees today by calling or filling out a contact form.

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