Let’s say you just went up to your attic for the first time in years this week to retrieve a special keepsake for your child’s graduation. As you open the door, you hear a fluttering sound, only to discover a colony of bats has made your attic their new home. You close the door and think to yourself – I can probably get rid of these bats on my own, right? Leaving out a few traps and some poisonous bat products will get the job done?

Considering bats carry lethal viruses, like rabies, there is never a circumstance in which you should try and remediate the situation on your own. If not for your health and safety, do it for your family’s safety. Here are 5 reasons why you need professional bat infestation help immediately:

1 – Bats Carry Rabies:

Need we say anymore? Bats are many times the number one carriers of rabies in nations, which is a lethal virus that can kill any person with a compromised immune system. Many times, bats can carry the virus for months and show zero classic signs of the infection (foaming mouth), etc. Professionals with proper extermination outfits and materials can trap the bats without exposing themselves directly to the rabies virus.

2 – Bat Droppings Can Breed Lethal Fungal Infections:

If not rabies, bat guano can become a hotbed of fungal activity. Respiratory and central nervous system infections can run rampant in these bat droppings, making the air itself dangerous – and potentially lethal – to anyone who breathes it. Professional bat exterminators have the proper aeration systems to ensure these airborne threats do not affect them.

3 – Bat Infestations Can Make Rooms Unstable:

After months of urinating and excreting on your insulation, home structure, and other building materials, this waste can start to actually burn through the integrity of your home. Especially attics, which tend to be less structured than your basement, can pose a threat to anyone standing on the floor. You can essentially fall right through, seriously injuring yourself without even realizing it.

4 – Bats Are Difficult to Catch:

Have you ever tried to catch a bird? It’s downright impossible. Well, bats are just as difficult, except they use echolocation to get around any space or interior. With this ability, they will be able to detect the placement of your body, making it very, very hard for you to trap the bats on your own.

5 – Bats Can Make a Serious Mess:

You have a family, a job, and a life you have to manage every single day. You don’t have time to not only patch up the openings the bats have been using, but also clean the bat guano, and make sure you stay a safe distance away from all of it to ensure you don’t contract anything. Hiring a professional just makes sense.

You don’t want to tamper with you and your family’s health. Unfortunately, bats can be a serious threat to your health and safety, which is why professional bat infestation health is paramount in any instance.

If you or someone you love in your home is suffering from chronic allergies or cold-like symptoms that don’t seem to go away, the answer might reside in the actual integrity of the home structure. None of us like to see our spouses or our children deal with coughing, wheezing, sinus infectors, poor sleep, or runny noses months and months over again.

We want to do something about it.

You probably, at this point, have taken them to see a doctor or a specialist. The doctor might have prescribed an antibiotic or a course of treatment based on the allergic response. However, after a few months, you notice that the cold-like symptoms are still there; in many cases, they are getting worse.

What if these allergies have nothing to do with the person, and everything to do with the environment around you? And no, we’re not talking about the trees and the weeds out back; we’re talking about the unseen structure of your home, where mold can hide right under your nose.

Mold Remediation Services

Nothing is more important than your health, which is why we often receive mold removal or remediation calls from families looking for some relief – finally. We completely understand that you are doing everything you can to protect your family, which is why we take our professionalism extremely seriously.

When we receive these calls, we come into the home and typically discover the following:

  • Mold – Studies have found that more than 50% of U.S. homes have some kind of mold within their structure. Additionally, about 28% of the population possesses genes that make them susceptible to mold-related health issues, which are nothing to mess around with.
  • Old Home Decay – This is just another way to describe old homes that might not necessarily have mold or dangerous materials; they just have dust and other debris that can upset respiratory systems.
  • VOCs – This is an acronym that describes the chemical off-gassing from flooring, paint, and other materials in the home. Many people have a sensitivity to these kinds of toxins, which can be linked to a slew of health problems.

We’re Here to Help You

You’ve done your research, you’ve been to the doctor’s office, and you’ve spent days pondering health problems. You know what you need to do, and we’re ready to help. Research has shown that indoor air is more contaminated than the air outside your home, which means you need to do everything you can to keep your loved ones vigilant and protected.

We simply work to get these harmful substances and molds out of the home, so you can go back to living your life in a healthy environment.

Here at Branch Environmental, we’re the emergency remediation and mold removal specialists in your community. Don’t wait; give us a call and act now.

Your health depends on it.

Crawlspace Mold

I owe you an apology. We are not going to clean your crawlspace for $75.

But now that you are here… there is something important we need to talk about.

I saw this very ad as I was scrolling Facebook the other day. “$75 Crawlspace Cleaning Special! Kill Mold & Remove Odor!”.

It sounds too good to be true because it is too good to be true. These companies will most likely send out a low paid worker to spray your crawlspace down with a mold killer & odor neutralizer. You’ll feel great about the deal you got, and you’ll be no closer to solving your problem.

If you are concerned about the condition of your crawlspace, you need to make sure your investment in fixing it will be money well spent.

Here are the steps that should be part of any comprehensive crawlspace mold cleaning.

1: Identify the problem

Why are you concerned about your crawlspace? It’s an easy place to forget about. Why bother?

Something has you thinking there is an issue. Is your family suffering from sinus related symptoms? Do you see visible mold growth? Do you have drainage issues? Can you smell the crawlspace inside your home?

These are all important questions to answer. You need to know what you are trying to accomplish before you start laying down cash.

This is where we start every crawlspace mold inspection. We figure out how it is impacting the quality of your life and why you want to solve the problem.

2: Assess the physical space

If you have a mold problem in your crawlspace, there is a reason. There is no sense in cleaning the mold without understanding why it is there in the first place.

Mold is a fairly predictable animal.

Microscopic spores are present in the natural environment. Those spores settle on the surfaces of your home, including the crawlspace.

All mold species feed on organic matter such as wood framing. When that food source is combined with a high enough moisture level… those spores reproduce and turn into what you recognize as mold.

We know that we can not remove mold spores from the environment, and we know we can not remove wood from your crawlspace. That leaves moisture.

Anyone claiming to be addressing your mold problem should be identifying the source of excessive moisture and offering solutions for correcting it. This takes a comprehensive understanding of buildings, mechanical systems, and drainage.

3: Clear the path for mold removal

If mold is growing in your crawlspace, cleaning what you can see is not good enough. Most every crawlspace mold remediation will require removal of insulation and any other materials that are unsalvageable or blocking access to the mold.

4: Don’t kill it. Remove it.

Believe it or not, killing mold is not good enough. Dead mold and accumulated spores are still capable of causing allergic reactions and other adverse health effects.

This is the real downside of the $75 special.

They may come in and kill the mold, but your crawlspace will still be full of dead fungi and leftover spores. Those will continue to create the problems you had prior to the cleaning.

Proper mold remediation protocols specify complete removal of mold and their spores. Processes such as sanding, abrasive brushing, wet wiping, blasting, chemical lifting, and HEPA vacuuming are all methods utilized by professional mold remediators to get the mold gone.

5: Seal the gaps

Studies have shown that a significant amount of crawlspace air can enter the living areas of a home.

For every cubic foot of air that leaves your home, another cubic foot must enter to replace it.

That means that when you open a door or window or turn on a bathroom fan, the air that escapes must be replaced from somewhere.

More often than not, your crawlspace provides the easiest path for this makeup air to enter, bringing with it all the crawlspace nasty.

Leaky HVAC ducts, flooring systems, plumbing and electrical penetrations, and gaps in framing are all places that air can flow freely from the crawlspace into the living room.

After investing in cleaning the crawlspace, steps should be taken to close up as many of these air gaps as possible.

6: Fix the moisture

The last step to fixing your crawlspace issue is to fix the moisture issue. It may be groundwater, condensation, poor drainage, or leaking pipes.

Whatever the cause, if you don’t fix it the mold will simply repeat the cycle of growth.

Wrapping it All Up

A mold problem in your crawlspace is not the end of the world. It’s an entirely solvable problem. I just don’t want to see you put your good money after bad.

At Branch Environmental, we believe that the health of your family is the highest priority and you deserve to breathe easy in your home. We offer comprehensive assessments and remediations that follow the best protocols available.

Save your $75 for a nice dinner on the town, and give us a call to help fix your problem for good!

Mold Removal Athens GA

Home Mold Remediation

You suspected mold all along. Perhaps it was the musty smell. Maybe you or a member of the family was suffering from chronic, allergy-like symptoms. Maybe the mold was already visible.

You’ve had a thorough Indoor Air Quality Assessment and the best recommendation for you is a professional Home Mold Remediation.

We’ll Guide You Through Every Step

We know a mold remediation can be overwhelming, we are here to walk you through it.

Though every home and circumstance is unique, we follow a proven process to not only remove mold contaminants but keep them from returning.

  1. Define The Scope. This begins with an Indoor Air Quality Assessment. We will define the extent of the necessary work and what may or may not need to be done. We’ll talk through all your options and tailor a plan that fits your needs and your budget.
  2. Protect The People. Keeping your family and our crews safe is the first priority. This means preparing your home for the work that needs to be done. We will use methods such as containment walls and negative air to keep your home safe, and we’ll let you know if you can or cannot be in the home during the work.
  3. Remove The Mold. We will start by removing and discarding non-salvageable material. Next, we will clean what can be saved. We always use safe and environmentally friendly products. There is no reason to replace one environmental toxin with a harsh chemical such as bleach.
  4. Correct Moisture. Removing or correcting the source of moisture is a vital part of the remediation process to ensure mold does not return. This may be handled by a contractor outside the scope of the mold remediation. If walls or floors are opened up, now is the time to address plumbing issues and other leaks.
  5. Restoration. If walls or floors were removed during the remediation, the final step will be reinstalling what was taken out.

Will You Have To Gut My Home?

Every effort will be made to remove only the material necessary.

If you only have surface mold, we might be able to clean it without removing anything. However, if mold is inside walls or under floors, we may have to remove the material to clean it properly.

If mold is in your crawlspace it may be necessary to remove insulation in order to clean floor joists and apply an antimicrobial agent.

We’ll contain the work area and pump the air outside, keeping you and your family safe.

This Sounds Expensive!

We understand most people rarely plan for the expense of Home Mold Remediation so we are careful about controlling costs and managing your expectations from the beginning.

With a clear understanding of the problem, we can work with you to create a remediation protocol that fits your needs.

The best place to start is with an Indoor Air Quality Assessment. This step will give you all the information you need to move forward. You will discover exactly how extensive your problem is and what is necessary to solve it.

We’re Here When You Need Us.

Call Branch Environmental. We’re experts not only at mold removal but at determining and remediating the underlying causes. From hidden mold sources to major contaminants, we can identify exactly what is going on in your home and rid it of environmental toxins, often for good.

Is Mold Dangerous?

The short answer is, yes it can be.

While there is much mis-information around the subject, and the term Toxic Black Mold is exaggerated in many cases… mold is still something to take seriously.

Mold growing in your house can cause adverse health effects and lead to chronic illnesses including intense cold and allergy symptoms, headache, serious pulmonary issues and worse.

Some people are more sensitive to the effects of mold than others, but everyone should avoid breathing or touching mold. People who are not necessarily sensitive to mold can become sensitive as a result of prolonged exposure. You don’t have to be allergic to mold to suffer from irritation to the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs.

In some cases, mold exposure symptoms go away as soon as mold is removed from the environment. In other cases, mold continues to effect the body long after the source is removed.

The bottom line is that there are hundreds of different varieties of mold and each variety effects each person a little differently. Some effects are minor annoyances, some have serious long-term ramifications.

Where mold crosses the line from annoying to dangerous is going to be a matter of perspective for each person, but it’s safe to say that mold in your home is never a good thing.

Why Is Mold Dangerous?

Molds are dangerous because, depending upon variety, they produce allergens, irritants and potentially toxic substances known as mycotoxins, some of the most dangerous toxic substances in existence.  Exposure to mycotoxins can occur from inhalation, ingestion and skin contact.

Mycotoxins are often associated with Black Mold, a variety that tends to grow on surfaces in homes and buildings that have suffered water damage or elevated humidity and moisture.

However, there are more than 200 mycotoxins from common molds that have been identified, with perhaps hundreds more in existence. The mycotoxins produced by a particular mold depends on a number of environmental factors. In severe cases, exposure to toxic molds can lead to suppression of the immune system, permanent lung damage, memory loss, and more.

How Do I Know If I Have Mold?

Mold is naturally occurring in the air and is virtually everywhere. It cannot survive without moisture, so mold becomes an issue when it is able to attach to moist surfaces, reproduce and thrive.

Areas inside your home that can serve as a hospitable environment include: basements, crawlspaces and cellars; underneath kitchen and bathroom sinks; underneath or behind refrigerators; behind walls (particularly where there is plumbing); around air conditioning units; wallboard or around windows that leak; under carpeting that may have become wet.

Signs of mold range from a musty smell to discoloration of surfaces to impacts upon your health and quality of life. Hidden mold may be harder to identify. Aside from visible clues, you may suspect you have a mold problem because of unexplained health symptoms.

You should be concerned about mold in your home and act to remediate it whether or not the mold is toxic.

We get a lot of calls asking for air sampling. Typically, this request comes because someone suspects they have a mold problem.

We are happy to oblige if air sampling is really what you need. Often it is not.

Humor Me With an Analogy

Imagine that you have a headache. This headache has been going on for a while and you are at your wit’s end, you are ready to try, and spend, anything to get it figured out.

One evening you are browsing Facebook when an ad catches your eye. You discover that a local doctor has created a revolutionary new procedure, a cutting-edge Headache Test.

This is not your family physician treatment here… we are talking state-of-the-art stuff. The appointment takes about an hour and you are hooked up to a fancy machine. It spins and whirrs and measures all your vital information.

In two day’s time, you get a detailed report showing you:

  • That you do, in fact, have a headache
  • Exactly how bad the headache hurts
  • Precisely where the headache is located
  • The specific variety of headache you have

That’s some valuable information, right?! Well… not so much. In some specific circumstances this may be helpful, but generally speaking, you have just received useless information.

You don’t care about details of the headache. You are well aware that you have it.

What you really want to know is WHY you have a headache and WHAT you can do about it.

How Does That Relate To Mold

Much like a headache, mold is just a symptom of the problem.

Sure, mold is bad news and it needs to be taken care of. That said, your real concern is the water that is causing the mold to grow and how that underlying issue can be corrected.

Air sampling does a great job of telling us that:

  • You do, in fact, have mold
  • Exactly how much mold is in your air
  • Where mold spores are concentrated
  • What varieties of mold you have

At first glance, this all sounds great. Let’s unpack each point a little more though.

So You’ve Got Mold

The first thing you will discover from an air sample is that you do, in fact, have mold.

Great.

Since you called us in the first place, I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet you already knew that.

Even if you are not certain you do have mold, a professional mold inspector can learn a lot with much less expensive methods. A thorough inspection of your home and mechanical systems will often reveal any problems that exist and a keen eye can discover any visible signs of mold growth.

I Have How Much Mold???

The next thing your air sample report will show you is how many mold spores are in your home.

This can be a misleading number. Mold is a part of our natural environment. You do have mold in your home, and your air samples will show that. Further, there have been no scientific studies or published papers that tell us what an acceptable number of mold spores is.

So this spore count you just received is highly subjective. We can do a few things to help it make sense, such as compare it to samples outside your home and samples in other areas of your home. As you may guess, each of those samples just drives the cost up.

The bottom line is that the number that is unacceptable to you is the number that makes you feel bad. If you have mold-related symptoms, or if there is visible mold growth on the surfaces of your home, we really don’t need to know the spore count in the air.

We just need to get to work discovering and correcting the source of water leading to the mold.

But The Sample Will Show Us Where The Mold Is…

Maybe… and this is one point that could, in fact, be valuable in specific situations.

There are many other methods an experienced inspector can use to find trouble spots, but if they all come up inconclusive air samples can help narrow down the source of a problem.

Air sampling does have the ability to show specific locations in the home where spore counts are higher. This can be helpful in identifying trouble areas when other methods have not worked. It can also be useful in clearing a certain area after renovation or repairs.

Again, for this to be useful, it will have to be used with benchmark samples throughout the home.

Don’t I Need to Know What Type of Mold I Have?

That is really a personal decision. There are many mold varieties and they all impact the body differently. You may be working with a medical professional that would like to use this specific information in your treatment. In that case, air sampling is a great way to get more data.

In most cases, however, all you need to know is that you have the mold variety that is making you sick.

Knowing the specific species or strain will not change our remediation protocol.

Then What Do I Need?

If you see mold in your home, or if you are experiencing symptoms that may be caused by mold, you need a professional mold inspection and air quality assessment.

At Branch Environmental, we start each inspection by gathering your personal history. We sit down and listen to how you and your family have been impacted.

From there, we ask questions about your home. We dig into the renovation and repair history. We try to uncover anything in the past that may be a source of mold.

Next, we head to the structure itself. From the crawlspace to the attic, we explore every nook, cranny, and mechanical system. We’ll start with minimally invasive methods and simple tools such as moisture meters. As we hone in on a problem, we may remove small sections of baseboard or cut exploratory holes in drywall.

These methods will generally tell us all we need to know without the cost burden of air sampling.

Of course, if we feel that air sampling is appropriate in your specific situation, we will discuss that option with you.

If you suspect a mold or air quality issue, don’t wait any longer. You deserve to breath easy in your own home! Give us a call today and we’ll help answer your questions and guide you to the next step to better air.

Summertime is here. School is out, the kids are free… and it’s time to dust off the lawnmower and get to work.

If you are anything like me, the thought of cutting grass sends you into an allergic coma. Fresh cut grass, pollen, and dust give me fits. About half-way through cutting the front yard, uncontrollable sneezing kicks in. By the time I make it to the backyard, my eyes are swollen and itchy. It’s all I can do to finish the job and run to the shower for a little relief.

If you are a seasonal allergy sufferer, there is a good chance grass pollen causes you significant irritation and makes the all-American chore almost unbearable. The good news is that there are several products out there that can make your life a little easier.

As environmental contractors, respiratory protection is a big deal to us. We spend a lot of time is masks and suits. Here are 4 of the best masks you can use this season to eliminate allergy irritation while you are cutting the grass.

Level 1 Protection: Particulate Respirator

The good ol’ fashioned dust mask. These masks are designed to protect you from non-harmful particles such as dust and insulation. They are cheap, comfortable, and disposable. They won’t protect you from toxic vapors or harmful chemicals, but they can go a long way to providing some relief while you are cutting the grass.

 

Level 2 Protection: Half-Face Respirator

Stepping it up a little takes us to the half-face mask. This one forms an air-tight seal around your nose and mouth and forces all the air through a set of filters. While the first mask helps to reduce the irritants you breathe, this one will eliminate them all the way. The mask is around $25 and a set of replaceable filters is less than $10. It’s a really great investment into your health and comfort.

It’s important to note that filters will typically need to be purchased separately from the mask.

Level 3 Protection: Full-Face Respirator

While the masks we have looked at so far will help out tremendously with the air you breathe, they won’t do anything for your eyes. A full-face respirator will provide the same respiratory protection as the half-face mask, but extend the seal around your eyes as well. It’s the best of both worlds and really does an excellent job of providing comfort.

This one is my personal choice for grass cutting. It costs a little more than the half-face mask, but completely protects my eyes. Sure, it may look a little goofy… but that’s a small price to pay.

Level 4 Protection: Air-Powered Respirator

If you want to pull out all the stops and get the most comfortable fit available, the air-powered respirator is for you. As far as grass cutting goes, you will get the same level of protection as the full-face mask, but this one will give you an increased level of comfort.

The mask works by pumping air through a filter then into your mask. The result is a nice breeze of fresh air to help keep your face cool. In addition, the forced air will keep irritants out of the mask even if it is not able to fully seal around glasses or beards.

This mask is the most expensive on the list, but if you are serious about comfort and want to cut grass in style, it’s the way to go.

Many people are unaware of the impact their home may be having on their health. If your home has hidden water damage or any issues with humidity or moisture, there is a good chance mold is also present in your environment.

Exposure to mold is known to trigger inflammation, allergies, asthma, stress, fatigue, immune dysfunction and more. Every person reacts to mold differently, and prolonged exposure can build Mycotoxins in your body. As a matter of fact, if any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, checking your home for mold would be a great place to start:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Headache, light sensitivity
  • Poor memory, difficulty finding words
  • Difficulty concentration
  • Morning stiffness, joint pain
  • Unusual skin sensations, tingling and numbness
  • Shortness of breath, sinus congestion, or chronic cough
  • Appetite swings, body temperature dysregulation
  • Increased urinary frequency or increased thirst
  • Red eyes, blurred vision, sweats, mood swings, sharp pains
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating
  • Tearing, disorientation, metallic taste in mouth
  • Vertigo, feeling lightheaded

So what do you do if you suspect mold is impacting your health? Great question!

The first thing to do is have your home evaluated by a professional. An indoor air quality and mold inspection can reveal hidden spores and environmental toxins you would not be able to find on your own. Your inspector should take time to listen to your story, hear what specific concerns you have, then comb through your entire home including the crawlspace, basement, and attic. They will ask questions about the history of your home to discover if any repairs or remodels may be a source of hidden water damage.

If your mold inspection reveals any issues, then you will address the problem in two parts: 1) Deal with the source of mold in your home, and 2)Develope a treatment plan to eliminate mold from your body.

At Branch Environmental, we believe you should breathe easy when you are in your home. Our team will work to develop a plan that addresses the specific issues you are facing. Once we have eliminated mold from your home, you can work with your healthcare provider to cleanse your body and be back to new!

Recently, I was called to a home in Athens, GA to perform a mold inspection.  The owner had been experiencing headaches and had determined that they were associated with something inside the home. In this case, the assumed cause was mold, hence the mold inspection.  Sometimes mold is the culprit and, if so, is typically easy to find. I always begin with the area of the customer’s greatest concern. If that does not reveal the problem, I will then start looking for anything that is a known irritant and proceed from there.

In this case, I had already noted a few visual and odor-apparent sources. First, the cigarette smoke was extreme, and second, the home was incredibly dusty. With these factors in mind, I began the thorough search in the crawlspace, looking for mold, mammal urine and feces, chemicals, crawlspace odors, or any other possible issues in previous inspections. Next, I walked through every room of the home: looking, smelling and testing for other potential causes of the customer’s discomfort. Still, through the course of this mold inspection I could not detect any other probable sources. I began probing the customer, which further revealed to me that the symptoms went beyond the headaches. There were breathing issues as well.

With this, I concluded that it was time to create a plan that would eliminate the current, identified issues – the cigarette smoke and dust – so that they no longer were a contributor. Then, if still necessary, we could create a course of action that would identify the next step in solving this mystery.

The point being: it seems that most of our mold inspections are for customers that call us with symptoms and automatically assume that mold is the source when, typically, mold has nothing to do with it.

Do you have health issues that you just assume are mold-related? If so, I challenge you to think outside the box. You may be surprised what you find.

Still concerned? Learn more about our mold inspection services, and please contact us for more information.

Mold exposure and mold poisoning can cause many different health issues, and it impacts everyone differently. Some symptoms of mold exposure may be simply a nuisance, and others may be more serious. If you have black mold in the shower, mold in the crawlspace, or you suspect mold is hiding behind your walls… chances are you have an issue that needs to be addressed. Mold is very common to find in homes and it is able to grow anywhere there is moisture.

What Is Black Mold?

Black mold is a variety of mold known as Stachybotrys. While it is typically dark black, it can also present as green or gray. It typically has a distinctive, musty odor. This variety of mold produces a toxin called Mycotoxin, and can lead to a number of symptoms. If you are exposed to mold in your home, you may experience:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Eye Irritation
  • Sneezing
  • Rashes
  • Coughing

When It Comes To Finding Black Mold In Your Home, Here Are The Places To Look:

1) Crawlspace

Crawlspaces are one of the most common areas we find mold, especially here in Georgia. Dirt floors act as a wick and draw ground moisture into the crawlspace. Your house then draws this moist crawlspace air into your living spaces through HVAC systems and unsealed gaps. Most vapor barriers we see are torn and have large holes, rendering them ineffective in keeping out the ground moisture. You can tell if you have mold in your crawlspace by pulling back the insulation in several spots and looking at the floor joists.

While you can clean a molded crawlspace, the problem will return if the humidity level is not corrected. While expensive, the #1 solution is to fully encapsulate and condition the crawlspace. If you need a more economical solution, you can repair your vapor barrier and add a few circulation fans that operate a few hours a day on timers. Anything that will keep the stale air moving will help.

Last, check to be sure water is draining away from your house when it rains, and you do not have any plumbing leaks that are sending water to the crawlspace.

2) Bathrooms

The moisture levels in a bathroom make it an ideal place for black mold to grow. Check your shower heads and curtains. Look inside the cabinets and behind the toilet. If you see mold here, you know that the room is staying a little too moist. The good news about bathrooms is that most issues can be addressed with a good cleaning. Stay away from bleach, and use a dish detergent solution or hydrogen peroxide to clean and kill any visible mold.

Once the mold is clean, figure out how to control moisture in the room. Running the exhaust fan each time you take a show is a simple step that can make a big difference.

3) Air Conditioner

Your air conditioner has two jobs: to control the temperature, and to dry the air. We find time and time again that HVAC systems are not properly drying the air and produce moisture levels high enough to allow mold growth. Start by identifying where your air ducts are located. If they are in the floor, you have a crawlspace system and you should pay extra attention to it.

Start by removing a vent cover and looking inside with a flashlight. Do you see dust and debris? If so, there is a good chance mold is growing here as well. Inspect the vent cover closely and try to identify any mold spores growing on it.

Last, if possible, head down to your crawlspace and look for any ducts that have fallen or come loose. We often find old HVAC ducts with gaps in the crawlspace, allowing that musty air directly into the home.

If you do suspect mold is in your HVAC system, it’s a good idea to call out the pros. Our Indoor Air Quality Assessments include a thorough evaluation of HVAC systems and ductwork to determine if they are drying air properly and if the ducts are in good shape. You can vacuum out the dust and clean vent covers yourself, but a professional duct cleaning will be necessary to clean the entire system.

4) Doors & Windows

Doors and windows are prone to leaks and could be allowing water into your home. These leaks are generally small and slowly let water in over time. If mold is growing inside the wall or under the floor around a door or window, it can be hard to identify without removing material. Look for anything out of the ordinary that may indicate a water leak is going on.

5) Inside Walls & Under Floors

Slow water leaks can go undetected for long periods of time and lead to damage far from the original source. If you have ever had a roof or plumbing leak, there is a possibility mold is growing somewhere inside your home. Finding it takes a thorough investigation and comprehensive evaluation of your home. An experienced mold inspector can put together the clues and often arrive at a conclusion without tearing into the walls.

If you have ever had a water leak, or if you have any reason to suspect mold is hiding in your home, an Indoor Air Quality Inspection is the best way to find it.

Black Mold Prevention

The best way to prevent black mold is by controlling the moisture in your home. If you have a water leak or flooding, correcting the source of the water is essential prior to investing in mold remediation. If your mold issues are in bathrooms or basements, exhaust fans can be effective ways to control humidity.

Keeping the humidity level inside your home down will help you stay on top of any mold issues, especially here in the south. While they are not corrective solutions, dehumidifiers can do a great job of getting control of mold. Running your air conditioner during the warm seasons will help keep the air dry and humidity down as well.

Last, regular cleaning, especially in areas like the bathroom and basement, will help keep mold spores from ever being able to grow in your home.