Basement Mold

The above average amount of rain we’ve had this summer has caused basement mold to grow in quite a lot of homes. Homeowners are finding mold growing where they have never seen it.

In a typical basement, the air conditioning unit does not run very often, and when it does, it’s usually for very short cycles. Because the majority of the walls are below grade and the top portions are covered by the body of the house, temperature changes are minimal. The soil and the main body of the home serve as insulators to the basement, allowing the temperature to stay somewhat constant.

During the cooling cycle of an air conditioning unit, the air is drawn into the unit and is filtered and dried, thus “conditioning” or “drying” it. When the air conditioning unit is not needed to cool the basement, the air is not “conditioned,” and the full-humidity air stagnates.

As the unconditioned air accumulates, so does the moisture. Mold grows when moisture comes into contact with an organic surface, and once the moisture reaches 60% relative humidity, mold growth can begin. The longer the humidity levels are elevated, the more extensive the mold growth becomes.

Now you know. So what do you do?

If your basement is beginning to have that moldy or musty smell, you may want to take action to prevent basement mold. Consider installing a dehumidifier. I recommend having a dehumidifier attached to your air conditioning unit so that you not only reduce the humidity in the air, but also filter and condition the air in the process, creating a healthier environment. This system is more costly, but the benefit of better air quality is a value well worth the investment.

Do you have musty or moldy odors in your basement? If so, call Branch Environmental, Inc. and we can help you remove basement mold and decide the best solution to your basement moisture issue.

When you hear the term “sewage backup,” nothing pleasant comes to mind. What if instead of hearing it, you saw it, and what if the sewage backup were in your home? How miserable would that be?

Unfortunately, this is the reality for many. Fortunately, we clean sewage backups. For two weekends in a row we have responded to sewage backups caused by simple blockages in the septic drain lines.

It’s a nasty job, but we are here 24 hours a day to help you through this inconvenience. We are equipped with the right equipment accompanied by the right attitude. We know that you simply want this mess to go away, and so that is exactly how we approach it.

Our team will tear out contaminated or otherwise damaged components such as drywall, flooring, or trim. Then we thoroughly—extremely thoroughly—clean the affected areas with a biocide to kill any bacteria. When we leave your home it will be clean, safe, and pleasant-smelling once again. While we are there we will also diagnose and repair the plumbing problem so you can get back to your routine and relax again, quickly.

Remember, if this ever happens to you, we are prepared and willing to clean sewage backups in your house or business. One quick phone call relieves you of a very dirty job.

 

When you have kids, it’s critical to know when to test for lead paint in your home. If you have children under 6 years old and live in a home built prior to 1978, or if your kids attend a daycare in a building built prior to 1978, you should perform a test to determine whether any of the interiors have been coated with lead-based paint.

Children can get lead poisoning by ingesting even a tiny amount of lead paint chips or dust, and the effects of lead poisoning can be severe. Although adults are less susceptible to lead poisoning, they are not immune to its effects. Unlike mold where you can simply clean up the mess and the symptoms will go away, lead poisoning can cause serious life-changing damage. Children who suffer from lead poisoning can suffer developmental problems, and often do not demonstrate identifiable symptoms. That’s why it’s important to know when to test for lead paint. The good news?

Lead Testing is Simple

Luckily, it’s very easy to test for lead paint. The EPA has approved lead check test swabs to identify lead-based paint, and they are inexpensive and come with instructions. Some of the best places to check are windowsills, baseboards, and wall trim. If young children are in your care, make sure they are safe. If you think it’s possible that you have lead-based paint in your home, have it tested today.

Lead test kits can be purchased online and at many large hardware or paint stores. If you are concerned about lead poisoning and would prefer not to do the lead test yourself, call us and we’ll assist you in making sure your house is safe. Learn more about our lead testing services.

At least once a week someone asks me if the mold in their home or business will make them sick. The answer is simply: yes, no, and maybe.

As silly as that sounds, it’s true. Molds are everywhere. They are part of nature, and without molds, things would be very slow to decompose and people would be overtaken by fallen trees and piles of leaves. So, mold is necessary, but as with everything, it has its place. Although mold is part of the environment, you really shouldn’t see it growing anywhere inside. Mold growing inside of a building is a result of a defect in the building or in its HVAC unit.

So, does mold make you sick? When assessing mold, I use an educated, common sense approach. Here it is:

  • When you smell moldy or musty odors upon walking into the building, it is likely that, yes, this mold could make you sick.
  • If you cannot smell musty odors but you seem to have cold-like symptoms each time you are in the building, mold could already be making you sick. Make arrangements to stay away from that environment until the problem is assessed and solved.
  • If you see mold growing but cannot smell it and you do not have cold-like symptoms, then you should clean it up before you do.
  • There are also people that have had mold in their homes for many years and never feel any symptoms. This is not uncommon, but I often wonder if the mold could be compromising their immune systems and making them more susceptible to other issues later in life.

If you are concerned with mold in your home or business and simply want to know how to “grade it,” just give us a call. We will use our common sense approach to assess your situation and eradicate the mold for your health and peace of mind. Learn more about our mold inspection and remediation services.

We just completed another reconstruction project that began as a mold problem (See our last tag-team mold/reconstruction project). The main cause of THIS mold problem was the whole “wallpaper on the exterior wall” thing again. Believe me: this is a very common issue. This one was so severe that we had to demolish nearly one entire end of the home. Part of it was originally a carport converted to a large den, but the rest was an addition to the rear of it. Unfortunately, the walls were not well insulated and there was no exterior vapor barrier present. The mold found a great home and took up residency. This one did not need an official mold inspection; it was so bad that there was no question as to why or where the mold was.

Of course, with any project that includes disturbing drywall, we had to perform an asbestos inspection. Once we were clear, we set up a full containment system so that spores would not be spread to any other portions of the home.

We moved all contents and furniture, and the interior demolition began. With the extent of this mold contamination, we kept an air scrubber under negative pressure running in this home for several days to filter spores out of the air. We continued to use the air scrubber, but under neutral pressure for the remainder of the project. We do this with many projects to reduce standard construction dust during the repair process.

The combination of the Branch teams kept this customer neat and the air clean while restoring the property.

During the mold remediation process, our customer mentioned that for years she and others had felt uncomfortable, with cold-like symptoms, when they were in that area of the home. Now, it is understood why.

Is there a room or area of your home that is uncomfortable to be in, but you just can’t quite figure out why? If so, give us a call, and we will help identify the problem and repair it as well so you can enjoy your entire home again. In the meantime, please feel free to learn more about our Athens mold remediation services.

mold removal

We just completed a large mold remediation and restoration project for a federal facility. We were initially called in to do a visual mold assessment to determine the extent of the mold along with the cause. This one actually had multiple sources, including toilet leaks, water line leaks, ice maker leaks, and an HVAC unit issue as well. The mold remediation scope that we presented required extensive interior demolition to interior drywall walls, cabinets, and trim. Once all of the molded materials were removed, we were to thoroughly clean and remove any residual mold, then purify all the interior air with air scrubbers and ozone generators. Once all of the mold remediation was complete, our next task was reconstruction.

Typically, a mold remediation company would pack up their bags and leave once the mold remediation was complete and pass the reconstruction on to a repair contractor. This is where the customer receives a huge benefit. By using the Branch companies, there is absolutely no gap between the remediation and reconstruction. We mobilized eleven men to this project, including: mold remediators, electricians, plumbers, drywall installers, trim carpenters, and painters. We performed a pre-construction walk-thru so that everyone completely understood the scope of work and the exact details of what was to take place. Our project included roughly 5000 square feet of building area. Did I mention this was a dental and medical facility under full operation? This means that not only did we have a huge project, but we also had to pull it off with staff and patients all around. We were also responsible for moving and resetting all of the furniture and equipment. Every move had to be carefully planned and strategic so that disturbance to the operations in the facility was kept to a minimum. We kept the entire work area clean and neat. Our crew worked extremely fast but in absolute unison and harmony. To top it all off; we completed this entire project in four days. Wow!

I am overly thankful to have such a wonderful crew that is able to pull off major projects with absolute excellence.

How would using Branch to perform your project with such smooth speed and excellence benefit you and your company or family? And please, if you ever see something like the below, call us!

 

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Branch working

Branch Environmental, Inc. is not in the reconstruction or put-back business. So our task duties and scope of work always includes demolition of some sort and to some degree. It is usually asbestos, lead, or mold, but we also perform specialized demolition that is necessary for renovation. We recently performed an interior demolition project for the Mall of Georgia. Our scope was to remove all the wall tile, drywall, and floor tile. All work had to be performed between 10:00 pm. and 6:00 am. Our goal was to perform all demolition and make it look like we had never been there. It had to be spotless.

We mobilized 32 men, set up our containment system, and went to work. That size work force can be empowering, accomplishing a tremendous amount. However, if you let it, it can absolutely break you and turn into a chaotic mess! For us, with the amount and degree of detail put into the mission by our extremely competent leaders, the project netted a superb execution: nearly flawless!

At the end of the project, the company which we had worked under gave us an awesome compliment: “You had the dirtiest job, but the cleanest jobsite.” How wonderful and exciting is that? That is what we are about; we leave every jobsite cleaner that we found it.

Always. Every time.

We invite you to see below some pictures from this project. Included are images showcasing our robust environmental containment efforts as well as our asbestos demolition during this job.

 

Interested in learning more about our services, including Asbestos demolition? Please check out our Asbestos Inspection and Abatement page.

We have a statement that is part of each project’s mission objective: “Leave each customer and project better than we found them.”

A little while back in our morning meeting, our group discussed one way that we can leave our customers better than we found them. It was to give each customer peace of mind concerning their security. For years, we have simply gotten a key from the owner and put it into a lockbox, similar to the ones used by Realtors, so that all workers could have access as necessary. As we discussed this, we determined that, yes, we do need full access in order to complete projects efficiently, but once the job is over, the owner should have the secure feeling that no one would still have a key to their home. Now we do extensive background checks and never consider sending anyone to work in a house if we do not trust them. However, our character judgments and background checks are not foolproof.

Now, when we begin a project, we change the door lock for the duration of the project. We then reset the original lock once the work is complete. No one associated with us will ever have a key to your home. If, by some chance, we do obtain your original key, we will replace or re-key your home, free of charge.

Would this precaution ease your mind a bit?

lead test athens ga

As with asbestos, there are also laws concerning the safe handling of lead. In fact, for pregnant women and children 6 years and younger, this may be more of an immediate concern than asbestos. Lead gets into your blood stream by ingestion or inhalation, and can cause severe damage to the nervous system and have many other damaging effects. This is why we highly recommend a quick lead test. Fortunately, detecting lead is easily done with testing swabs that are commercially available.  If you live in a home, or if your child spends a lot of time in a building constructed before 1978, we advise that you perform a quick lead test or call us, and let us help you.

When was your home built, and what about those in which your child frequently visits? If only for the peace of mind, it’s likely high time for a lead test. Learn more about our lead testing services.