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Mold-Causing Problems In Your House and What to Do About Them

Posted by MikaB on July 12, 2017

mold growth in home

Mold can have deleterious effects to the structure of your home and your health. Preventing mold growth is the best way to prevent any ill-effects from occurring. Once mold sets in, its spores will quickly spread and elimination can be difficult and expensive.

We want to help homeowners prevent this situation from happening by showing you how and where mold grows, and what homeowners can do to stop it.

How Mold Grows

Mold needs one thing to grow: moisture. There are many types of mold which can grow in both warm or cold temperatures. However, it all needs water or moisture to grow. So if there is a mold problem in the home, you must take steps towards mold cleanup and fixing the source of moisture.

Moisture Culprits in Your Home

One of the most common places for mold to grow is in the bathroom. The surfaces of the bathroom, like the tub and walls, are usually damp. Make sure you are checking your bathroom’s surfaces every few weeks, particularly if you notice any odd smells. Areas like behind toilets, underneath sinks, and around any tile near the shower are usual culprits.

However, there are also other moist places in your home, many of which are hidden. These places include the HVAC system, unit ventilator, and the roof, wall, and water pipes where water leaks can happen. Many of these areas can be hard to reach and require a professional inspection.

Control the Moisture

Controlling moisture requires preventing water leaks, controlling humidity, and preventing condensation.

Preventing Water Leaks In the case of water leaks, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) homeowner’s guidelines recommend cleaning up the leak as soon as possible, ideally within 24-to-48 hours. Typically, mold will not grow if the moisture dries out within this time. You must also fix the source of the leaks.

Being proactive is the best way to ward off any mold growth from water leaks! Do the following EPA-sanctioned steps to make sure your home is always protected from an emergency:

  • Repair roofs and clean gutters
  • Make sure water does not pool around your property’s foundation; make sure the ground slopes away from the building
  • Clean and repair air conditioning drip pans and drain lines

Controlling Humidity

In controlling indoor humidity, ventilation is key. Opening windows, running bathroom exhaust fans, and using de-humidifiers will help protect your home. Remember that the ideal indoor humidity environment is between 30% to 50% humidity. Pro tip: you can measure this using an inexpensive humidity monitor!

Preventing Condensation

Condensation can accumulate on windows, walls, or pipes. It usually occurs when the indoor environment is very humid, or when there is a difference between surface and air temperature. For example, a hot steamy shower will cause condensation on (colder) mirrors. Cold water pipes may also accumulate condensation if the air around it is warmer. Once condensation accumulates, wipe and dry surfaces as soon as possible. Afterwards, prevent condensation by increasing ventilation, increasing air temperature, and covering cold surfaces with insulation.

Now that you know where moisture hides in your home, and what you can do to prevent it, your home will be significantly more mold-free!

Need assistance preventing mold in your home? Titan Environmental Services stands ready to assist you with sound, results-oriented solutions. We serve customers throughout the Midwest region and beyond. Contact us today at (913)-325-4328.

Is Mold Making You Sick? The Top 3 Mold Symptoms to Look For

Posted by MikaB on June 6, 2017

woman with sickness caused by mold

While mold looks unpleasant and you probably don’t want it in your house, is it actually hurting anyone? At Titan Environmental Services, this is one of the most common questions we get asked. The answer is that as some, not all, molds grow, they can create toxic byproducts. These are called mycotoxins, and so far scientists have identified 200 mycotoxins in common molds.

Common Mold Symptoms

Research is ongoing as to the health implications. Meanwhile we do know of three common symptoms associated with mold. If you notice anyone in your home suffering from these symptoms, it’s worth it to have your home checked for mold.

1. Allergic reactions

Some people are allergic to mold. If they are, exposure to it often exacerbates the allergic reaction. If they aren’t allergic to begin with, repeated exposure can sometimes create a sensitivity. If you are allergic to mold, you may experience hay fever like symptoms such as headache, sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, or a skin rash.

2. Asthma Attacks

If you have asthma, and you are allergic to mold, it can bring on an asthma attack, from mild to severe. If you notice anyone in your home having worse asthma attacks or experiencing them more often than normal, mold could be the culprit.

3. Irritation of Eyes, Nose & Throat

Mold can irritate the membranes in the eyes, nose, throat or lungs.as well as skin,  or lungs. Anyone can experience this irritation, even those who aren’t allergic to it.

Related Read: Top 3 Kinds of Mold and Where to Find Them in Your Home

Other Irritants That Cause Similar Symptoms

Although these are all associated with mold, other irritants in the home can cause the same symptoms.

  • Dust mites, cockroaches, or other household pests.
  • Bacteria is another possible culprit.  Another source of potential contaminants are Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs.
  • VOCs are gases emitted from 1000s of household products such as paints, varnishes, cleaners, solvents, fuels, pesticides, craft products, building supplies and office machines.  Concentrations can be up to ten times higher inside a building, and some of these gasses can have short and long-term health effects.

So is mold making you sick? It might be. If you are experiencing the allergy symptoms listed above, your doctor can conduct tests to see exactly what you are allergic to, mold or something else.mold-101-homeowners-guide-titan-environmental

The Top 3 Types of Mold & Where to Find Them in Your Home or Business

Posted by MikaB on May 30, 2017

3 kinds of mold in your home

We build our homes and businesses according to functionality and safety. Unfortunately, one of the elements that affects safety is something small and often hidden…mold. Mold comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Could you identify the most common types of mold and where they are found within your home or business? Most people cannot. Let’s discuss the top three kinds of mold and where to find them in your residential or commercial property.

Aspergillus

Aspergillus is an allergenic mold. It is most associated with homes in warm and humid climates, where constant dampness is hard to avoid. Here’s an interesting fact about aspergillus: it was first discovered and cataloged by Italian priest and biologist, Pier Antonio Micheli, in 1729.

This type of mold is seen all over the world, from the tropics to the Arctic. Although this type of mold is fairly common, it does not normally cause illness, except to those with weak immune systems. Aspergillus mold looks just as you would think, the greenish, grayish, slightly fuzzy growth that was on the strawberry you threw out last week!

Given the fact that this mold is most common in areas that have experienced flooding, calling professionals to assist in addressing all issues is a wise idea.

Cladosporium

Cladosporium is a black or green “pepper-like” substance that is usually found growing on the back of toilet tanks, painted surfaces and fiberglass air ducts. Ranging in color from dark green, brown, or black, this mold is well known to aggravate those with allergies. It has even been reported to cause infections.

It  is commonly found in fans and ventilation systems, a serious issue for people with asthma and other breathing conditions. It can be present in carpet, wallpaper, and mattresses, making it hard to avoid. Again, maintaining humidity is necessary to restrict the growth of this mold. Wiping off visible mold and cleaning with the right solution will help, too.

Stachybotrys Atra (also known as “black mold”)

This kind of mold is most likely to appear in areas of your home or commercial property that are warm, humid, and damp. Basements are particularly susceptible to the growth of black mold. Leaky pipes or a leak in the roof can also lead to excess moisture buildup that may go unseen, leading to mold growth.

Prevention is key, such as proper ventilation in bathrooms and using a dehumidifier in the basement. Mold resistant paint is also an option. The first step is to repair leaks and thoroughly dry areas that have been exposed to moisture. Hard surfaces can be cleaned but care should be taken to follow directions of the product you use.

For those with allergies or compromised immune systems, care has to be taken to avoid exposure as it can cause illness. Black mold can cause a variety of health problems in people who reside in buildings that contain it. Symptoms of mold exposure include: chronic fatigue or headaches, fever, eye irritation, sneezing, rashes, and chronic coughing.

Four Steps for Mold Prevention

Now that we know the three most common types of mold and how to identify them, let’s talk about how to prevent mold growth. First of all, you want to identify mold problems areas in your home:no mold sign

  1. Dry areas that have become wet immediately.
  2. Prevent extra moisture in the air by making sure that your home has proper ventilation. An example of this would be cleaning your vents frequently and running an exhaust fan while showering.
  3. Monitor the humidity in your home or commercial property. The EPA recommends that indoor humidity should be between 30 and 60 percent.
  4. Try to keep mold off of your indoor plants. A good idea for this is to add a little Taheebo tea to the water that you give your indoor plants. The oil in the tea helps to decrease mold growth in the soil.

If you suspect or know that your home or business has a mold problem, Titan Environmental Services provides professional and affordable solutions. For more information about how we can help, please contact us.

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Living in a Meth Lab – Meth in Your Own Home, Business, or Car

Posted by MikaB on April 28, 2015

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The methamphetamine (meth)  lab problem is growing. Meth labs, used to make the illegal drug methamphetamine, are discovered in houses, apartments, motel rooms, sheds, or even motor vehicles. Just as of 2014, federal, state and local authorities were involved in the seizure of more than 1,045 labs in Missouri alone, and the number of meth labs seized by law enforcement agencies increases each year.

As the problem grows, and companies work to restrict the products needed to make methamphetamine, the methods and the locations of its production are changing. This adds to the trouble that health and environmental agencies face in monitoring meth related health risks.

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Everyone knows that meth is bad for your health. When people make or smoke meth everything around them is coated with a film that contains methamphetamine. When people or pets rub against these contaminated surfaces the meth enters their bodies through their skin and contact from hands to mouth and nose. Babies who crawl on contaminated carpets and furniture are most vulnerable. They naturally get the highest doses. How much third hand meth exposure is too much?

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The effects of meth residue transfer on to people through surface contact has been compared to studies that include: ingestion of pesticides that are sprayed on surfaces and absorbed through skin and mouth; level of adverse reactions from methamphetamine for children when used for behavioral issues; pregnant women using methamphetamine for weight control.

Some expert researchers, however, linked meth houses to respiratory, even neurological problems, in children. Research conducted by Mike Van Dyke at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado, reveals very high levels of toxic chemicals are produced during meth cooking and hazardous chemical exposures can continue in rooms and buildings for an extended period of time, even if there is no methamphetamine left present in the home.

methlab

Using these studies, proposed residue limits of .05, .1, .5 and 1 micro gram per hundred square centimeters, or the amount of meth residue that on a  surface a little larger than a square yard, were studied to decide if they offered protection for occupants. These also happen to be the lowest levels detected by test kits available to professionals.

Currently, there is no one method for tracking or listing homes that were used as meth labs. MDOH is creating a list of reported addresses. Your local health department can verify if the property in on that list. You should call your local law enforcement agency to confirm that a seizure of chemicals took place on the property, and to get the name of any hazardous materials contractor who may have removed materials. The contractor should have information on what chemicals were present on the property. Additional information may be obtained from your county health department, fire department, or the owner of the property. To find contact info or specific statistics on the states we work with select a state link:

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Exposure to any toxic material isn’t healthy, but in our modern world we are constantly faced with pollution from sources we may not even be aware of. We have come a long way in protecting people from dangerous materials such as lead and asbestos, and mold. Unfortunately, the odds of meth manufacturers and users becoming environmentally responsible and protecting the rest of us from their pollution, are very low.  It’s up to you to decide if the protection offered by laws and regulations is enough to protect you and your family from this danger.

We here at Titan dedicate all of our to time protecting the environment around you and your family. Whether it be the hazardous chemicals from a previous meth lab , lead paint in your home, mold growing silently behind your walls , or asbestos lingering in your home; our goal is to make sure everyone is safe from these silent dangers. Now is the time to take the steps to having a clean worry free home by getting an inspection. From there, if the test result come back positive, schedule an appointment with us and rest easy knowing that Titan Environmental Services will take thorough action to protect your family from anymore potential risk.

What You Should Know About Mold

Posted by titanadmin on October 23, 2013

Hairy, black mold isn’t just unattractive–it’s unsafe. Whether in your home or place of business, mold could be an issue and your health at stake.

Sure, the idea of throwing a dinner party at your moldy home isn’t an option–who wants to show off their hairy, black regions? But, the risk of grossing out your friends is just superficial. The real concern is the underlying risks you’re taking by living in moldy conditions.

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ARE YOU MOLDY?

A mold problem can usually be seen or smelled–but not always. Mold growth may often appear as slightly furry, discolored, or slimy patches that increase in size as they grow–or it could be dangerously hidden out of site. Often times they produce a musty odor, which may be the first indication of a problem–or when hidden, the first sign is your failing health.

The best way to find mold is to examine areas for visible signs of mold growth, water staining, or follow your nose to the source of the odor. If you can see or smell mold, you can assume you have a mold problem. Other clues include excess moisture and water damage. It may be necessary to look behind and underneath surfaces, such as carpets, wallpaper, cabinets, and walls. There are some areas of the home that are always susceptible to mold growth and should be part of routine cleaning to keep them under control.

The EPA’s: Ten Things You Should Know About Mold

  1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.
  2. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
  3. If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
  4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
  5. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dish washing, and cleaning.
  6. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
  7. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
  8. Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
  9. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
  10. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.

(Sourced from epa.gov)

GOT MOLD? Call Titan Environmental at 816-561-0959 today for a free consultation.