Tag Archives: mold inspection

The Four Letter Word that Frightens Realtors!

As a realtor you know how challenging it is to list a house and then try to find the right buyer for the client. So many things can show up during a home inspection that your client may become discouraged due to past flooding, ice dams, roof leaks, or a pipe that froze. Water intruded throughout some of these areas that now may have suspect mold growth.  Yes ‘mold’ that dirty four letter word that can frighten a buyer away!

 

Mold growth and contamination can cause damage to a house or building if not dealt with properly. There are people who are very sensitive to mold fungi and have allergic reactions, sinus infections, even respiratory problems. People with asthma in general struggle with air quality issues. Did you know that the EPA says, “We spend approximately 90 percent of our time indoors”!

 

Before listing a house it is important to ask questions about past flooding, roof leaks, ice dams, pipes from bathrooms or kitchens bursting etc.  How long did the water leak occur? Was water standing for more than 48hours or less? The best time to dry out excess water problems is within the 48  hour period. After a few days this is usually when mold growth tends to occur.  Do you see dried water stains or stains that are suspect for mold such as in the basement, attic, ceilings, walls, etc. Repairing the source of the problem of moisture and dampness is important to control mold growth from occurring.

 

What about those musty odors? Does the crawlspace or basement have a dirt floor? Has the source of the leak been repaired properly? Is the insulation drooping to the floor of the crawlspace because of excess moisture? Are dehumidifier(s) properly operating when needed? Controlling excess relative humidity is important to help mold growth from spreading. Excess Relative Humidity over 60% R.H. can fuel moisture for mold growth. It is important to install the right size dehumidifiers for the basement or crawlspace. Add quality grade vapor barrier sheeting to the entire dirt floor areas. Replace any drooping or excess moist fiberglass insulation; and of course clean and treat the mold where and if necessary.

 

The good news is that there are solutions to mold growth and contamination. Removal of mold physically  such as wallboard, contents, carpets, furniture, wet or damp insulation, etc. Clean and treat affected areas professionally from a trained and certified (current certifications) company to remediate the mold. You may want to have the person selling their house to consider a mold inspection and moisture assessment before they list the house. Home inspectors usually do the structural aspect of the house. (Beware of labs pushing untrained home inspectors to conduct mold inspections and testing!) Hire an independent professional who is trained, certified and experienced company who does not remediate mold to offer an objective viewpoint for your project.  I emphasize trained and certified because there is no federal state regulations in Massachusetts and other the New England states. Very few states require licensing for mold assessments and removal.

 

Andy Provitola -CMC

Environmental Resources LLC

www.airenvironments.com

781-248-9975

 

Excess Moisture Relative Humidity in Basements-Crawlspaces

This time of year in the summer months causes concerns for musty odors, excess moisture and mold growth on the surfaces.  What’s that smell? These complaints are often called into my office and I ask a few questions such as: Have you been flooded due to the recent heavy rains last spring or prior years. How about roof leaks, pipe leaks, or ice dams? If water intruded into the building or house and flooding occurred, how effective was the cleaning, drying out process ? Did you get to the water early such as within 24 to 48 hours to help avoid potential mold growth problems?

If existing surfaces are spotted with mold spores because the areas were not cleaned out properly then the mold will not disappear! Mold spores can and will exacerbate with any excess moisture and excess relative humidity that will cause existing mold spores to travel and move around where new growth can occur. Excess relative humidity in a basement or crawlspace is like adding ‘gas onto the fire’ where spores will grow.

Conducting a thorough visual investigation of the musty odor or any source of water leak, excess moisture is very important.  Relative humidity (RH) should be less than 60% or lower to help to control moisture (30% to 50% (RH) is the best range). When (RH) is above 60% or more this is not good for your basement, crawlspace, or living/working space where mold and other contaminants can grow; even causing wood rot and decay to the structural support of the wood beams and joists. To control excess moisture and humidity it is important to install the proper dehumidification system. Too often homeowners and business owners do not have the proper size dehumidifier(s) installed because the square footage or cubic area is too large and the unit does not cover this amount of ambient space.

Crawlspaces and basements should have quality grade vapor barriers with minimal 6 Mil thickness or higher covering the entire dirt floor including part of the lower side walls or to the top. Quality grade dehumidification is recommended to help control moisture.  During the hot and humid months less moisture is probable when the outside vents of crawlspace are closed up. Climates are different throughout the country, the Northeast region is different from the Southeast and Southwest regions.

Insulate using foam pipe sleeves any copper pipes underneath the crawlspace or in the basement area. The cold water pipes usually condensate when excess humidity comes in contact with them. Insulate Well Tanks and Water Filter Tanks as well.

If chronic water leaks or water floods into the basement or crawlspace areas then quality grade sump pump(s) are recommended with vinyl covers over the top of recessed bucket. It is best in the ground and the bucket is deep enough to effectively pump and drain water. Add drainage around perimeter if necessary.  A professional can provide the proper assessment with the proper tools to help to determine such factors as relative humidity, temperature, air flows, moisture meters, Thermal Infrared Camera, etc.

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Environmental Resources is here to help identify problem areas. Also we provide solutions with products and quality air purification with several pounds of carbon to fight odors.  We offer sampling if it is called upon. Call for a professional consultation of your home or business’ indoor air quality today.
Andy Provitola  CMC-Certified Microbial Consultant
Environmental Resources LLC
316 Washington Street
Norwell, MA 02061
781-248-9975

www.airenvironments.como my office

Ice Dams-Roof Leaks and Mold



Did you know that ice dams can cause mold problems?

Frozen ice and snow on top of roofs and gutters are creating havoc for homes in New England and the greater Boston area. With cold temperatures in freezing climates then an unexpected 40 to 60 degree day causes a lot of melting of the ice and snow which enables mold growth, roof deterioration of the plywood, wood rot in the fascais boards behind the gutters. The water and moisture can travel through the attic area, dormers, wall cavities and down into lower levels even down into the basement and first floor.

Some ways to detect mold: 

1. See if water spots and dark stains are noticed and perhaps wet.

2. Look for visible stains such as mold on the surfaces of the ceiling, walls of the living areas, floors, carpets, attic plywood sheathing, attic sidewalls,  floor joist, wet insulation, and excess moisture or humidity

3. Check for moisture or high relative humidity over 65% and higher.

4. Smelling unusual irritable odors such as musty or moldy where wall cavities or insulation can be wet inside the walls, but dry on the outside wall. High relative humidity or moisture may be the culprit.

5. Other ways to detect mold is to hire a competent professional with the right tools such as conducting mold sampling the air or visible mold with tapes, swabs, or bulk.

6. Utilizing moisture meters, Thermal Infrared Imaging camera, boroscopes, etc.


For a professional mold inspection and mold assessment call:

Andy Provitola CMC-Certified Microbial Consultant
Environmental Resources LLC
Headquarters
316 Washington Street
Norwell, MA 02061
781-248-9975

www.airenvironments.com

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Heavy Floods-Water Intrusion in Basements

What happens when water stands in a basement for a prolonged period of time? Recently Massachusetts experienced some of the largest rainfall in  a short period of time including 6 to 13 inches of water in a 3 to 4 day span a few years ago. Towns such as Andover, Billerica, Hingham, Topsfield, Peabody, Waltham, Sudbury, Canton, and many others experienced unusual flooding in the homes and businesses.

The longer the water stands in the basement or building they are prone for active mold growth throughout the affected substrate areas. Water, floods, dampness, moisture are all key ingredients when it comes to mold fungi to grow on substrate sources such as drywall, carpet, furniture, boxes, etc. Toxic mold and black mold can grow even after the drying out process if the area is not dried out properly. The visible mold is the easier areas to handle such as wallboard or ceiling tiles, however, mold spores are not always visibly seen or noticed until after the fact. Such as several weeks or months later when odors begin to arise or a family member may be experiencing some breathing discomfort.

The to prevent any mold growth is to keep the area clean and dry, preventing moisture from accumulating. A proper mold and moisture professional assessment is a wise choice to prevent this from happening. Environmental Resources uses the latest state of the art technology when it comes to detecting mold and water leaks. A Flir Thermal Infrared Imaging Camera well help detect water and moisture problems. Certified  mold testing and mold inspections utilizing accredited microbiology accredited labs will determine the type of mold species growing and the describe the extent of the growth whether is active or not.
Serving Greater Boston-Cape Cod

Andy Provitola CMC-Certified Microbial Consultant
Environmental Resources LLC
Headquarters
316 Washington Street
Norwell, MA 02061
781-248-9975

www.airenvironments.com

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Independent Mold Assessments

Mold inspections and mold testing are an important part of the process to determine the extent of a mold contamination problem, especially when it may involve professional mold removal. Too often a mold remediation contractor will try to conduct their own testing or exaggerate an inspection claiming the mold is very extensive when in reality it may not be extensive in the nature and scope of the problem at all. For example, Environmental Resources does not remediate mold or remove toxic mold in homes or businesses. We are an independent consulting firm providing professional environmental inspection services for mold and (IAQ) indoor air quality issues. A real estate company or the potential buyer will call us stating, “There was a home inspection and dark or black stains or what looked like mold fungi species was indicated”. (A mold company was in prior to us coming for inspection proposing a very high cost estimate for mold removal after the buyer called a mold remediation company in Boston MA area).

An independent visual inspection utilizing the latest instruments and tools to determine water leaks and moisture issues for the source of the problem. Mold sampling was conducted with the inspection and it was determined that the extent of the mold problem or mold damage was not as severe or extensive as was told to the homeowner by the remediation company. The mold assessment was conducted by an independent party and does not remediate (clean) mold which brought assurance and peace of mind to the homebuyer and seller because there was no conflict of interest. The suspect area for mold did need some mold remediation but was not as extensive as first claimed. It is always beneficial to have at least two or three estimates from companies who a qualified, trained, and certified from an independent body. Ask how long they have been remediating mold which may be less than how long they have been in business. Several contractors have jumped on the “Mold Rush” bandwagon so do your homework!

Independent mold assessments also help insurance claims and insurance adjusters to provide non bias independent professional opinions of indoor mold growth. Many homeowners deal with floods and water leaks in disasters such as hurricanes, flooding, heavy rainfall and high relative humidity which happens often in the Boston, Massachusetts and Cape Cod areas along the entire coast from Maine to Cape Cod. High relative humidity and moisture to mold spores is like putting gasoline on a fire which flares up and spreads the problem even more. Water problems need to be addressed within 24 to 48 hours for the best results for mold prevention and its microbial growth indoors. Our philosophy is that, “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure” or “Do it the right way when it comes to a standard of care or don’t do it at all”! A certified trained professional mold inspector providing mold inspections and mold testing may end up saving $1000’s thousands of dollars in the long run along with peace of mind and assurance. If you think you have a mold problem or are not sure because the mold may be hidden behind a wall or underneath a floor then call a professional. Serving Massachusetts, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket Islands.

Andy Provitola CMC-Certified Microbial Consultant
Environmental Resources LLC
Headquarters
316 Washington Street
Norwell, MA 02061
781-248-9975

www.airenvironments.com

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