Tag Archives: mold

Disaster Aftermath: It’s not over when it’s over

As we all watch footage of the terrible killer floods in Texas and Oklahoma this week (wishing we could have some of that rain ourselves), we remember that there is danger from natural disasters wherever you live. But the danger isn’t over when the flood waters recede. The disaster aftermath can be every bit as dangerous as the actual event.

After a Flood

Water damage can wreak havoc to our homes and personal possessions, destroying precious and irreplaceable objects like books and photographs, important documents, and building materials. Some things can be cleaned and dried, and others must be discarded.

Water damage to porous materials means they need to be replaced, otherwise they will be subject to almost instantaneous mold growth. Let the drywall go and think of what color you’d like to paint those new walls.

After a Tornado

Tornados bring some of the same water damage dangers, but also can tear apart buildings, if not rip them from their foundations. Older buildings may contain asbestos which may never have been disturbed if not for the tornado, but becomes a danger during cleanup and restoration. Do not touch any suspected asbestos materials. Have a professional assess and remove it safely. There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos.

After an Earthquake

You probably have relatives who ask you, “How can you live with the danger of earthquakes?” Well, we don’t have hurricanes or tornadoes, so we take what we get, just like those in other parts of the country. But we do have to be careful and remember that earthquakes can do similar damage to tornadoes and other storms. Dangerous building materials like asbestos can be disturbed and expose us to carcinogens.

The safest way to clean up after a natural disaster is to call in a professional cleanup team. At Seacliff, we have trained and experienced cleanup technicians who can deal with any hazardous materials quickly and safely, without exposing you, your family or your community to any dangerous substances exposed by a disaster.

Be prepared for the disaster aftermath and be careful during the events in your region!

5 Types of Common Household Mold

We are all used to household mold. When you leave the leftovers in the fridge just a little too long. When you’re just too busy to wipe down the shower curtain. Maybe that leaky pipe in the kitchen didn’t get fixed right away and you lost track.

Mold spores are everywhere and they only take three things to grow: food, air, and water. Here are the 5 most common types of household mold you might encounter if you provide the right conditions:

Penicillium

A green fungus often found on bread, penicillium is used in making antibiotics. It is also used to make cheese, and leads to bread ending up in landfills everywhere.

Aspergillus

This household mold is usually blue and grows on wet textiles and wallpaper, materials which often get damaged in a flood. Mycotoxins from Aspergillus are the culprits most often when people are allergic to mold and have respiratory symptoms like asthma or congestion.

Trichoderma

Trichoderma is another green mold that is present in all soil. It’s what’s growing on that plastic container of spaghetti in the back of the refrigerator.

Chaetomium

This brown mold can cause infection in humans. If you always shower with soap after working out in a public place like a gym and you will prevent any infections from this fungus.

Alternaria

Another type of household mold which can cause asthma or allergy symptoms, Alternaria is especially dangerous to those with compromised immune systems.

You can’t completely avoid contact with mold of all sorts, but there are things you can do to keep it in check. Fix leaks promptly and replace any porous materials damaged by water. Always run the fan in the bathroom during AND after a shower. Throw those leftovers away before they become a home for a colony. If you see mold, remove it, but remember there may be more that you can’t see. If household mold gets out of hand, call a professional!

High Humidity in Home Encourages Dust Mites and Mold

You know how it feels outdoors–high humidity can make hot days unbearable, sticky, and drive you into air conditioned places. In Southern California, we are more likely to brag about our “dry heat,” but up north cool, foggy weather is very common. Both hot and cold damp days make it easier for mold and dust mites to thrive indoors, leading to allergy symptoms and even asthma for those with sensitivities.

How does high humidity encourage dust mites and mold?

This video from the IAQ Video Network lays it out very well:

Mold spores are everywhere, just waiting for the right conditions to grow and thrive.

What does mold need to grow?

Mold only needs three elements to take hold:

  • Moisture
  • Food
  • Air

That’s it! No wonder a leak or some unfortunate condensation can cause a mold problem indoors.

What about dust mites?

Dust mites are also ubiquitous and live on dead skin cells and pet dander–unavoidable in an inhabited residence. Dust mites don’t drink, but they do need water and do well in a humid environment.

What can you do to discourage dust mites and mold?

  • Fix leaks promptly
  • Replace any porous materials damaged by water
  • Run bathroom fans during and after showers until steam and humidity has been vented outdoors
  • Use a dehumidifier to keep indoor humidity low
  • Wash bedding in hot water and dry in a hot dryer weekly

We can’t do much about the outside humidity–it depends on the climate where we live. But high humidity indoors is more controllable and worth the effort, especially if you or someone in your family is affected by allergies or asthma. If you develop a mold problem or want to tackle dust mites, Seacliff can help. Call us for a consultation!

Mold and Pets: Health Issues for our Furry Friends

What about mold and pets? We know that mold carries health risks for humans. Ordinary mold in ordinary amounts can cause problems like:

  • Lung infections that can lead to pneumonia
  • Allergic reactions
  • Irritated eyes, ears, nose or throat
  • Chronic cough
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rashes
  • Tiredness

But you are probably not the only living creatures in your home. No, not bed bugs or dust mites today–we are talking about pets.

Here is a list of symptoms–anything sound familiar?

    • Lots of scratching, but no fleas
    • Sores and/or bleeding from scratching
    • Excessive licking
    • Hair loss from licking and/or scratching
    • Coughing and sneezing
    • Runny nose and eyes
    • Difficulty breathing or wheezing
    • Loss of appetite
    • Lethargy

Our pets are members of our family and their health is a high priority. Just like our human family, pets can get sick from mold–and not just black or “toxic” mold, but the typical mold found in any home. Mold spores are everywhere and are just looking for the right conditions to grow: moisture, food and warmth. Especially during damp and rainy weather like that in the winter here in Southern California and spring elsewhere, keeping mold in check has to be a conscious activity.

How can you prevent mold from harming your pet? Prevent mold growth:

  • Run the fan in the bathroom during and after showering
  • Use a dehumidifier to keep humidity in your home at levels which do not promote mold growth
  • Inspect your home for leaks often
  • Repair leaks promptly
  • Replace water damaged materials like drywall and flooring
  • Remember if you see mold, there is more you can’t see–take it seriously!

If you are aware of a mold problem in your home and have pets, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet. And if they are exhibiting the symptoms listed above, have them checked out even if you don’t know about a mold issue. Maybe you will find out you have a problem you didn’t know you had!

crawlspace encapsulation

The Advantages of Encapsulating Your Crawl Space

The crawl space is an area in a home that is sometimes forgotten and if not maintained can cause many issues like development of moisture, mold growth and become very dirty. It can then become a very difficult task to control the moisture and monitor the humidity and temperature. A solution that many homeowners do is encapsulate their crawl space.

Crawl space encapsulation works as an envelope of protection between the crawl space and the outdoors. It is an extra barrier that can help you save on your heating bills and ensure your home is energy efficient.

The purpose of the encapsulated crawl space is to create an environment that can be controlled  by using a vapor barrier on the floor and walls.

Benefits Of Encapsulating Your Crawl Space

  • Crawl space Encapsulation prolongs the life your crawlspace
  • Reduces Temperatures to limit humidity levels
  • Reduce costly floor repairs in your home (moisture rots wood)
  • Increase the lifespan of your HVAC equipments and ducts (air handler and air ducts may be in crawlspace)
  • Lower energy bills
  • If planning on selling your home, encapsulated crawl space may be an attractive selling feature for buyers.

You may rarely visit your crawl space but it is important to maintain your crawl space clean to avoid problems that can be costly in the future. Encapsulating your crawl space can greatly improve the overall air quality in the crawlspace and inside the home. We see it as a one time fix for a long term solution.

If you have a crawl space you should think about having it cleaned, treated and encapsulated. If you have any more questions regarding the process of encapsulating your crawl space contact us and we can be of assistance.

Download a free copy of our Asbestos, Lead Paint & Mold eBook to learn how to mitigate the liability risks associated with common environmental threats found in residential properties.

 

 

Mold and Health Problems

We are familiar with stories about mold and health issues like respiratory symptoms and headaches, but did you know that mold can also cause more serious health problems?

Allergy and Asthma Attacks

Meningitis

Sick Building Syndrome

And evidence has been found that mold can even cause cancer.

A theory propounded by Italian oncologist Dr. T Simoncini in his book “Cancer is a Fungus,” claims that it may indeed.

Dr. Simoncini’s hypothesis:

“A fungus infection always forms the basis of every abnormal growth of tissue, i.e. tumor, and this formation tries to spread within the whole organism, unimpeded. The growth of fungus colonies, together with the reaction of the tissue that tries to defend itself against the invasion, causes the tumor…Therefore, there must be only one cause of cancer: fungal infection…”

There is an established connection between the mycotoxins produced by aspergillus mold and the development of liver cancer. Aspergillus is found mostly on crops like grains, corn and peanuts but if we eat enough of it, it can contribute to not only cancer of the liver, but breast, testicular and lung cancers as well. A study in Sweden found that “toxic” or “black” mold, also known as stachybotrys, contributed to a 40% cancer incidence in the employees who had worked in a school there for 5 years or more. That is a high degree of correlation, if not definite causality.

We cannot get away from mold entirely–it is everywhere–but we can take mold and health more seriously when we encounter more than a little mildew in the shower. Be sure to:

  • Fix leaks promptly
  • Dry or replace any wet or damaged material as quickly as possible
  • Inspect your home twice yearly for mold outside and in
  • Have mold problems dealt with by professionals before you get sick

Everyone gets a little mold in the bathroom every once in a while, but any mold you see is accompanied by a lot more you can’t, under flooring, inside drywall, in eaves or gutters. After a leak or a flood, be sure to be vigilant about drying and replacing porous materials that got wet. All takes for mold to grow is a little damp. Don’t let that little damp cause big problems! Contact Seacliff Environmental for mold removal services before it can make you sick!

mold

Mold Concerns in Colleges

Mold can be a common problem in buildings but should viewed as an important concern especially when it is found in public places like in schools.

Mold infestations in colleges is a serious problem because hundreds of students can be sensitive and can pose a health risk to students who have asthma or respiratory conditions. Universities or colleges should have their areas where mold can be found inspected regularly.

Consequences of Not Handling Mold Correctly

Current news from a college in the east coast had a very serious mold problem. Work that was being done during an HVAC replacement caused a floor pipe to burst, causing tons of water to flow into the basement of a school’s dental clinic.

The problem was, a main contractor did not wait for the area to completely dry and ripped out material from the building that had already contained existing black mold. The main contractor did not warn the subcontractor to shut off their fans or their desiccant.

The result, mold being blown all around the building.

Handling mold correctly and using proper protocol is crucial to avoid exposure to toxic mold. Hire a professional company that will develop a remediation plan to avoid mold exposure.

Seacliff Environmental is a licensed mold removal and remediation contractor. In the case of an emergency, Seacliff Environmental will remove all wet materials from the site and provide the necessary air circulation to deter dampness before bacteria can multiply.

Download a free copy of our Asbestos, Lead Paint & Mold eBook to learn how to mitigate the liability risks associated with common environmental threats found in residential properties.

 

You’re Welcome! Crawlspace Mold Project

After a recent crawlspace mold removal job, Mike Fort received this lovely thank you letter from customers Marv and Connie Tuttle:

“Connie and I just wanted to thank you and your team for making our lives better. The work that you performed on the crawl space of our home has really paid off. When it used to rain, we would experience the worst musty order in the house. After your team installed the sump pump and encapsulated the whole area, the nasty smell went away. When we hear the soft, short sound of the sump pump coming on we are reassured that everything is working.

Thanks for a job well done and now we feel that we are in a healthier space.

Marv and Connie Tuttle”

Crawlspace mold is a hidden health hazard. Mold spores are everywhere and only need three things to grow: warmth, moisture and food. Your crawlspace can be the wettest area of your home and clearly Marv and Connie had a problem with moisture in their crawlspace after rainstorms.

With the rainy season approaching (we hope), moisture will get into places it hasn’t been, maybe for a long while. If you experience musty odors after rain, don’t just let it go when it goes away. It will come back next time. Call Seacliff for crawlspace mold cleanup and encapsulation and help fixing moisture issues before it gets any worse or begins to affect your health.

When was the last time you checked your crawlspace for mold?

We hope you had a wonderful holiday and wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year!

The Seacliff Environmental Blog publishes every Monday, with information about environmental issues and company events. We would love to talk to you! Comment here or visit Seacliff on Facebook, Follow @SeacliffEnviro on Twitter, or add Seacliff to your Circles on Google+!

mold

Prevent Mold Growth After Water Damage

With all the recent rain throughout the state of California, homeowners need to be aware that mold is a serious problem when the interior of the buildings are wet. When an area is left wet or damp mold can begin to grow.

Mold can cause structure damage to a home and can lead to costly repairs. Mold inside a home can also cause health problems because mold is a indoor air pollutant.

You Can Control Indoor Mold Growth After it Rains to Avoid Water Damage.

  • First, make sure that materials that get soak do not contain any hazardous material like asbestos.
  • If in doubt, contact an asbestos remediation company so that they may test the material first.
  • Heavy rain can cause the wallboard, insulation and flooring to begin to rot and cause these microorganisms to grow.
  • Removing moisture can help eliminate the process of mold growth.
  • If there is a musty smell there might be mold growing without you knowing.

Any areas that have been damaged by a heavy rain or simply by water should be dried out immediately. Contacting a professional will re-assure that the area is dry to avoid mold growth.

Seacliff Environmental will remove all wet materials from the site and provide the necessary air circulation to deter dampness before bacteria can multiply. Alliance Environmental also utilizes ThermaPureHeat® to get rid of mold, fungus, mildew, odors and viruses.

You can Request a Free Estimate, or download a free copy of ourAsbestos, Lead Paint & Mold eBook to learn how to mitigate the liability risks associated with common environmental threats found in residential properties.

 

Truck in the rain

Leaks and Mold After a Storm

We had the biggest storm in 5 years last week–and our three-year drought means it’s been a good long while since we had a lot of rain coming down.

During a drought, everything dries out: gardens and lawns get parched, the flora on the mountains gets brown and fire danger is rampant. When it rains enough, we will get our green hills back, at least until summer. But the rains also may have exposed cracks that led to water leaking in where three years ago it did not.

Did you have any unexpected leaks turn up last week?

Leaks and Mold Growth

Mold is everywhere and it only takes three things for it to grow:

  1. Food–Mold can use any organic material for food.
  2. Warmth–Mold can grow in temperatures from 32 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, but it loves temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees–just about what it is inside a home or building
  3. Moisture–This is the element we can control. Moisture can become a problem in high humidity, with poor ventilation and after natural disasters like storms and floods.

After a storm, leaks that have been hiding can be revealed.

Preventing Mold

Here are our tips for preventing mold growth in your home:

  • Fix leaks promptly–it only takes 24-48 hours for mold to grow
  • Keep your humidity level between 40% and 60%
  • Use fans in the bathroom during and after showers
  • Add mold inhibitors to paint in rooms that will become damp
  • Keep your bathroom clean, but don’t use bleach or ammonia to remove mold!  Bleach will only hide the mold and, combined with ammonia, creates a toxic gas that can kill!
  • Never carpet a bathroom
  • If you have had a flood, replace your carpets and other porous materials

If you have a problem with mold that you cannot handle yourself, please call a professional mold-removal company. Seacliff Environmental provides all the necessary services to kill and remove mold and any contaminate materials quickly and safely. A mold problem can quickly become a health problem–don’t let it! Prevent mold growth and call Seacliff.