How to Identify Mold Damage

Mold can be a major problem for many residential and commercial building owners. In fact, some people live in buildings that are infested in mold without them even knowing! Aside from it damaging the walls and the ceiling, mold can cause serious illness to you and other occupants. It’s important to be able to identify mold in the dwelling and to act immediately upon it before it worsens.

Smelling a Musty Odor

If you smell an odor of stale, old moth balls or mildew, chances are that you have mold living somewhere in your building. Mold produces gasses that are odorless, but some types of mold have a distinct smell. If you aren’t able to see the bacteria, you shouldn’t ignore the scent. Mold grows in hidden places, like inside the walls, ventilation ducts and under carpets. Chances are if you smell that distinct mildew smell, then you have mold present.

Smelling it means that you are inhaling it into your lungs, which increases your risk of respiratory infections. You may think you are experiencing signs of allergies, when in reality it is your body reacting to the mold. Difficulty breathing, digestive problems, exhaustion, migraines, sore throats, sinus infections and inflammation are all signs that toxic mold has entered your body. Action should be taken before the problem worsens.

Seeing Mold Growth

It may sound obvious, but visible mold growth is a pretty good indicator of the problem at hand. You may have to look closely and in between crevices to see it. The tricky part for some is confidently spotting mold versus dirt and soot.

There are many different types of mold to look for. The most common types in a home, according to HGTV, are black mold, cladosporium and aspergillus. Aspergillus is described as an allergenic mold found in food or AC units and is the most common isolated species found in homes and offices. On the back of toilets and painted surfaces you may find a black and green speckled mold known as cladosporium. Black mold, or stachybotrys, is often found in wicker, hay paper or cardboard under very wet or high humid conditions.

Even if the mold is small, it should not be ignored. Mold can take days or weeks to grow and can spread quickly, so it is best to act as soon as you identify it.

Signs of Water Leaks

Water leaks in a commercial or residential building can lead to mold growth. Leaks in pipes and roofs are probably the most common and can create moisture problems. Luckily, these kinds of leaks may be easy to find as they can cause visible water damage or cracks in the walls. Stains on the ceilings or around other parts of the building that are yellowish are good indicators of water intrusion as well. If you notice paint coming off  the wall in a specific area or any bulging, there is most likely moisture building up between the wall. Any type of rust, deterioration or warping can also point to moisture or water problems.

Some water leaks are completely unidentifiable. Hidden leak inside wall cavities or in the attic may not be as easy to spot out. If an unknown leak occurs, it could be standing for a long time which will definitely foster mold growth. Not only is this damaging to your structure, but it increases the likelihood of your exposure to mold.

Test for Mold

If you are experiencing anything listed above, then you need to call a restoration company as soon as possible. A company like East Coast Environmental Restoration can help identify which type of mold, if any, is living in your home or commercial building. Precautions and preventions will be taken for any water leaks or flooding, and proper cleaning will be performed on any visible mold. This will alleviate any musty odors and ensure that your home and your lungs remain healthy.

3 Steps to Create A Fire Escape Plan

It’s hard to imagine what might happen if a wildfire suddenly broke out in your home. In fact, you may not want to think about such a tragedy at all. But, what happens when you hear your fire alarm go off and see your kitchen ablaze while you and your family are watching TV in the next room? You may have minutes to escape safe and sound, but your ability to run free depends on how well in advance you’ve prepared for it.

Preparing and practicing a fire escape route can save your life. This is a great way to get started on it, so that you and your loved ones can be ready for an emergency.

Mapping Out Your Home

The first step you should take in creating your sample escape plan is mapping out all the exits in your home. You’ll want to draw a grid that lays out all the windows and door exits in each room of the house. Drawing each possible exit route from room to room may be a helpful visual for children. Make sure that there are at least two ways out of each room just incase one of them are blocked off!

A window or door exit from a room is worthless if they are locked during a fire.  You’ll want to note any deadbolts, locks and security grilles for windows and doors. You can prevent these from being locked during emergency if you keep the keys directly near the locks and alert everyone in the home of their location. Another option is to keep everything unlocked when you are occupying the home, that way you will be able to easily exit.

As you are going through your home, test all the fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure they are in working condition with fresh batteries. If you have a fire extinguisher (which you should), check the date on it and replenish it if needed.

Create a Safe Meeting Spot

After you’ve drawn up all possible exits from the home, you’ll want to designate a specific safe zone to meet at. Make sure that the spot is far enough away from the home should the fire explode, but not too far that any children won’t be able to get to. Keep in mind that you may be in separate rooms at the time of the outbreak, therefore each person may have to find their own way to the safe spot. If you pick a specific landmark to meet up at, such as a tree or neighbor’s statue, it will be easier for your children and the rest of the family to remember.

Practice Your Escape Plan

After you’ve mapped out all the different routes and exits, it’s time to share the plan. Gather everyone in your household and call for their complete attention. Hand each member a copy of the fire escape plan so that they can visually check it as you go over each part. It may be ideal to walk them through the home simultaneously to give a better example of how the exits will work.