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Today  (12/17/2017)
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Blog & Reviews

Date: 11/29/2017 10:50 AM EST

Is this a Mold Problem?





Not an easy question but this picture actually tells us a lot about the conditions present in this attic cavity. 

- The newer piece of roof sheathing was installed 10 years ago during a roof repair. The other sheathing in the area is 20+ years old. 
- This attic had a previous venting problem that resulted in substantial moisture staining and mold growth on the roof sheathing.
- The attic ventilation has been corrected/repaired when the roof was repaired 10 years ago.
- The current attic ventilation is functioning properly.
- There is no evidence of ongoing or viable mold growth.
- There is no evidence of excessive moisture or condensation present in the attic.
- There is evidence of previous mold growth on the old sheathing. Note - mold can go dormant for many years awaiting conditions to be right to continue growing.

So what needs to be done? Again, not an easy question, there is evidence of previous mold growth and if the right conditions become available it can continue to grow but as of the time of inspection this is more of a cosmetic condition (and has been for almost 10 years). 

Generally with this much moisture staining and previous mold growth on the older surfaces it is much safer to have it removed and reduce the potential for future mold growth. It really comes down to a personal and emotional decision.


Posted by Jon Mitton | Post a Comment

Date: 11/26/2017 9:33 AM EST

Frost on the Roof

Well, the cold weather is here whether we like it or not. Now is the time were we can really see the amount of moisture entering our attics with condensation being very visible. Many attics with moisture issues will begin should signs of frost on the roof or ice on the nails. This is a "Red Flag" that the ventilation is either not functioning or there is moisture entering the attic somewhere. This does not mean you have a mold problem but if left unchecked can lead to mold or other damage in the attic. 


Posted by Jon Mitton | Post a Comment

Date: 10/16/2017 8:03 PM EDT

Proper Remediation vs Improper Remediation
 
This attic was supposedly treated or remediated by another contractor for mold with no cleaning performed and no testing to confirm the area was successfully cleaned. 
 

 


The area was never cleaned and lab testing during the post test came back with very high levels of actionable mold remaining in the area.
 
 It is very important that when performing a mold remediation that the work is performed properly. This includes containment, cleaning of surfaces and treatment of the area. The client for this home asked us to come and correctly remediate the area. 
 
 
Laboratory testing came back very clean with no measurable or actionable mold spores remaining in the area. Additionally the wood surface has been cleaned properly. 
 
There are many various techniques involved in mold remediation. There is not necessarily one right way to remediate an area but there are many wrong ways to do it. Laboratory testing and visual inspection can help provide definitive proof that the area was remediated properly. 
 


Posted by Jon Mitton | Post a Comment

Date: 9/26/2017 10:16 PM EDT

Importance of Post Testing
 
Below are "Post Test" photos from an inspection we performed yesterday. The seller hired a "Mold Remediator" to clean the mold in the attic at a very discounted rate and said everything was fine. The buyer contacted us to come and test the area to be sure the work was done right. 

Upon inspection, there was no evidence of any work even being performed and lab testing confirmed significant actionable mold remaining.

If you are using mold remediation services, it is extremely important that the work is not only performed (not the case here) but done properly. There are many professional companies providing remediation services but there are far more companies that have no idea what they are doing. As a consumer it is very important to make sure the work is done right. Lab testing is a great way to make sure you got the services you paid for.

Remember, if the price looks to good to be true then it probably is. Mold remediation does not have to be a huge expense but it does have costs to perform the work properly.

Indoor Environmental is happy to provide Post Testing Services for remediation performed by other contractors to help confirm the work was done properly.



Posted by Jon Mitton | Post a Comment

Date: 9/14/2017 10:49 AM EDT

Vermiculite Insulation
 
Occasionally we run across vermiculite insulation in the attics of homes. This insulation type, is not used anymore but is still found in attics. It is estimated that 70% of all vermiculite insulation contains asbestos. The vast majority of this insulation came from a mine in Libby Montana that was the leading source of asbestos in the country. 
 
The question we most commonly get asked is "Can you test to determine if it is asbestos or not". Unfortunately the answer is No because vermiculite was distributed in bags and it is not possible to determine were all of the insulation used came from. You essentially would have to test every piece and that is not cost effective or even remotely realistic. So, you must consider all vermiculite insulation as asbestos and handle that accordingly. 
 
The good news is that you do not need to remove the insulation unless it is going to be disturbed, then it would require professional asbestos remediation.
 
 

Posted by Jon Mitton | Post a Comment

Date: 8/9/2017 11:09 AM EDT

Paneling

If you have paneling in a basement area then controlling the humidity is paramount. Paneling is very telling with moisture or water damage but it is also a very good source for mold growth.

 Simple "waffling" of the paneling (above) can lead to...

Very heavy mold growth.

Posted by Jon Mitton | Post a Comment

Date: 8/2/2017 11:08 PM EDT

Recent Angie's List Review

– Marjorie Kearney
We called for an evaluation of an air conditioner mold problem and received an appointment for the next day. John was excellent in explaining the whole situation and very reassuring. He also responded to two follow-up phone questions. He did not recommend any needed professional services and just instructed us on steps we could take ourselves to clean up any mold contamination. He was very helpful, friendly and professional. We felt we could trust him and would not hesitate to contact him again.
Marjorie Kearney
17 Griffin Terrace
S Weymouth, MA 02190

Posted by Jon Mitton | Post a Comment

Date: 7/10/2017 11:45 PM EDT

Vapor Barrier Beneath Carpet?
 
Let's just get right to the point, this is a VERY BAD idea. Though there are some very unique situations or circumstances that this type of material can be useful, the vast majority of the time it is going to cause major issues. 
 
So what is the big deal? Most of the time these materials are used over concrete floors to try and "control" moisture. The problem is that concrete is porous and moisture will still come in beneath these vapor barrier. Now you have trapped this moisture with no way to dissipate and dry out. Over time this will lead to mold growth. Usually the mold that grows is highly toxic and can create serious potential health concerns for anyone exposed. 
 
When used over wood flooring the problem can be even worse. As concrete is not the ideal food source for mold growth wood is an awesome food source. The same issues can occur as ambient moisture get trapped beneath the vapor barrier, condenses and has no where to go. 
 
Lastly, most of these vapor barriers are part of the carpet padding. The carpet pad is primarily glued together fibers and these materials are an even better mold food source than the wood sub-floor. In general, glue is like a mold super food. So with a vapor barrier on top of a glued together fibrous mat there is a very high potential for mold growth. 
 
So to keep this short, DO NOT use vapor barrier carpet pads on any surface.
 
  

Posted by Jon Mitton | Post a Comment

Date: 6/23/2017 12:20 AM EDT

Improper Remediation

There are many different mold remediation techniques being used today in the market place. Just because there are different approaches does not mean that they will not be successful but each process must be performed properly. 

A big concern today as a mold remediator is that clients are not receiving proper services from the contractors they hire. Mold remediation is an art, there is a correct way to do things and a wrong way to do things. Competition in this industry is not bad and there are many companies we view as colleagues even though we compete in the market place. 

With that said, there is no place for the "Splash & Dash" or fly by the seat of your pants remediators. Recently (today), we performed a post test on an attic that was "Remediated" 6 months ago. The company hired did not do any of the necessary work to correct the issue or even clean the attic they were hired to take care of. The client spent almost $2000 CASH and nothing was done right. They went in a sprayed their "Magic Elixir" and said things were fine. Fast forward 6 months and the clients go to sell the home and there is still major mold present in the attic. The home inspector (thankfully a calm and intelligent person) pointed out this issue without making it a deal breaker but what heart break for the client (seller). 

The previous mold remediator left the attic looking like this - 


If this area had been treated properly the client would have received the services they paid for and the area should have look something like this - 


Make sure you are working with a true professional when dealing with mold. Cutting corners or cost can end up costing a lot more down the road.
 

Posted by Jon Mitton | Post a Comment

Date: 6/6/2017 12:18 AM EDT

Rubber Floor Tiles
 
Rubber floor tiles can be a great tool when used properly but.... you must be careful where you use them in your home. 
 
The primary concern is that these tiles when used in a large pattern or throughout an entire room is that they can trap moisture beneath them. Overall they act not only as a cushion but can also be a vapor barrier trapping condensation beneath the tiles resulting in water condensation and potential mold growth. This condition is especially a concern when used in basements directly over a concrete floor.
 
Concrete, by nature, is porous and water travels through it via capillary action. In basements, there is always some moisture or condensation in the area, most of which comes through the concrete. If this moisture is trapped then mold growth can occur. 
 
You can absolutely use these tiles but they have to be done in small areas where airflow can still pass beneath them. Most of these tiles are raised up slightly and as long as they do not go up against the walls all the way around then air will flow beneath them. If in doubt, don't do it. 
 
  

Posted by Jon Mitton | Post a Comment

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Eliot: We had mold that had been caused by a bathroom fan being vented in the attic. We needed to treat the attic mold ASAP due to a pending real-estate transaction. Indoor Environmental quickly came and assessed the situation, treated the mold, and confirmed the mold was treated (air test) with very fast turn-around.

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