Key Signs Your House May Have Toxic Mold

Key Signs Your House May Have Toxic Mold

Mold isn’t always visually seen or easy to find. Here are some of the most common warning signs that may indicate there’s toxic mold growing inside your home.

  • Some of the more commons signs of mold growth are:
  • Dormant allergies or allergic reactions
  • Aggravated asthma or other lung problems
  • Discolored walls
  • Stains
  • Black spots
  • An increase in negative health symptoms such as a fever or feeling itchy usually these problems are associated with an increased consumption of medications such antihistamines

We’ll dive into some of these mold symptoms more to help teach you whether or not you need professional mold testing and mold removal or if you just need to take some precautionary steps to prevent mold spores from settling in your home.

Musty, Moldy Odor

Quite often, constantly smelling a musty odor could be the one of the only mold signs that your home has. If you can smell mold there is likely mold under something or mold in something. Just because you can’t always see mold doesn’t mean mold problems aren’t there. A nasal assault of musty odor is almost always the first sign of mold growing somewhere in the house. Thoroughly inspect your entire home if you suspect you may have mold before it turns into a huge problem that could potentially cost you a great deal of money—and your good health.

Allergy Symptoms

Do you feel better when you’re away from home, but notice your allergies tend to flare up whenever you’re at home? Mold is a very common allergen that can exacerbate chronic problems in those affected by mold. It does not usually take much mold to trigger these allergies. If you are suffering from allergies while you’re at home, there’s a strong probability that there’s hidden mold somewhere inside your home. It can be behind walls, in the basement, under the carpet, in damp areas of the house, surrounding roof leaks or in an area that experiences high humidity. It can even grow in your home’s mattresses.Typical allergic reactions to harmful mold include a runny nose, inflamed eyes, nasal congestion and sneezing.

Visual Indicators of Mold Growth

Seeing mold is obviously a sign that you indeed have mold. Greenish black areas, slimy textures residue left by stachybotrys chartarum and even simple mildew are all signs that a mold inspection needs to be scheduled. However, what most people don’t realize is that smaller mold spores may look like ordinary dirt or soot, but it could actually be mold in disguise. And so, people ignore it.

If you visibly see mold growing, no matter how small, immediately take action. If common molds can grow somewhere so can black mold and toxic molds like that are slowly poisoning many across the country who don’t realize how important it is to remove mold. Whenever you find mold make sure either you, the homeowner, or your landlord, if you rent, remove it immediately because all mold species can present a major problem if there’s no remediation. Even seemingly insignificant mold patches can quickly spread.

The fact that you have mold means you have the right conditions for it to grow and proliferate to several other areas of your home.

Sometimes mold is unusual looking and doesn’t look like classic mold. In fact, some mold can appear whitish and thread-like, while other kinds of mold look like tiny clusters of black spots. Mold can appear in various colors including black, white, gray-green, or grayish-brown. Sometimes the mold that grows behind vinyl wallpaper can look pinkish-purple or even orange.

Indications of Water Issues

If your home has ever had any issues with moisture, condensation or some other water problems, you can almost be certain that somewhere, mold has started to grow. Therefore, if you know you presently have water issues, or had them in the past, you probably have mold and should probably hire professional mold inspectors to make sure your home is safe.. 

Strong indications that you have mold due to water issues include discolored walls, ceilings, or floors along with any water stains. Visually seeing any of these signs means there are colonies of mold growing either behind or within these materials.

Other indicators of moisture issues are bubbling, cracking, or peeling wallpaper or paint. If you notice that your walls are warped, bulging, or bowed, it likely means that moisture has penetrated the surface. When hiring professional mold inspectors look for those who will give you realistic advice on how to prevent mold in trouble areas. Sometimes it’s as easy as buying a dehumidifier to get rid of extra moisture. A good inspector can give further advice.

Past Floods

If you’ve ever had flooding in your home, the chances that mold took root and started to grow are virtually 100%. Most likely whichever area the water stayed the longest, such as the basement, is where it probably exists. Floods frequently cause mold to grow in unforeseen or unexpected places where it’s visually undetected such as underneath flooring or behind walls. Anyone with past flooding should check their home warranty for damage coverage information.

Signs of Condensation

If you notice any condensation within your home, it means you have a great deal of moisture and therefore a strong sign you could certainly have mold growing somewhere. Condensation typically occurs on metal pipes or glass window surfaces.

Water Leakage

Water issues in a home are most often produced by a water leak. If you are presently aware that you have, or had, a water leak issue (think ceiling or pipe leaks) then you should realize that even if you can’t detect any visible signs of water damage, there’s still a very strong indication that your home has mold growing – most likely where the leak originated.

How Toxic Mold Symptoms Affect Your Health

Mold could cause serious problems and should be taken equally seriously. If you suffer from any neurological symptoms like a short attention span, dizziness, headaches, memory loss, or have trouble concentrating, it could be a huge red flag that harmful, toxic mold is growing and continuing to spread throughout your home – and it’s literally poisoning you.

 It doesn’t matter if it’s visible mold or not. Enough mold to cause health problems is a problem no matter what. Just like allergies, if you or your family’s toxic symptoms increase when you’re at home, you can almost be sure your home is carrying mold. Don’t wait; take action immediately before risking both the health of your home and family gets too far out of control, especially if you have children.

Mold vs Mildew: Tips and Tricks on How to Prevent These Unwanted Fungi

Mold vs Mildew: Tips and Tricks on How to Prevent These Unwanted Fungi

When it comes to home repairs, few things are worse than mold. Mold and mildew, a specific type of mold, are similar in many ways. They smell bad, look ugly and can create long-term damage to a home. If a homeowner comes across mold or mildew, they should take immediate action to clean it and prevent it from spreading.

In this article, we hope to explain the differences between the two fungi, how to prevent them and how to remove them when they’re found.

What Is The Difference Between Mildew And Mold?

There are several differences between mildew and mold. These differences can help a homeowner better identify and treat whichever fungus is causing problems in their home. Here are some of the differences between mildew and mold.

Looks

Mildew comes in two forms. Powdery mildew and downy mildew. Powdery mildew looks exactly as the name suggests. It’s a powdery substance that rests on top of a given object. Downy mildew will look like a stain that’s usually yellow in color. Unlike mold, mildew grows in a flat pattern making it easier to predict which direction it will grow.

Mold comes in one of two forms. Mold looks either fuzzy or slimy. It comes in a variety of colors including blue, green, yellow, brown, gray, black and white. Mold will attach to anything that it touches and spreads from place to place making it difficult to remove.

Problems Caused

Mildew usually damages plants and crops but it can still cause damage to wood, fabric and other materials. Mildew causes breathing complications and headaches like mold but it’s usually the smell that bothers people the most.

Mold can cause a variety of problems depending on the strain of mold. Health problems like respiratory diseases, allergies, headaches, joint pain, and fatigue, are common when mold is present in a house. Mold can also compromise the integrity of a structure because of how it spreads. Since mold does not grow in a flat pattern like mildew, it will grow in all directions in, around and through most objects at the same time. Mold’s fast growing nature makes it more damaging than mildew.

What Causes Mildew And Mold?

Both mildew and mold require the right conditions to grow. So what are those conditions? Mildew and mold thrive in moist, humid areas that receive little sunlight. It also helps if there is little air circulation as moving air keeps mold spores from settling on anything. So any place that is not properly ventilated, dark or prone to links is highly susceptible to mildew and mold.

How To Prevent Mildew And Mold?

Knowing what causes mildew and mold to grow can help a homeowner prevent it from growingin the first place. Look for any and all places in the house where mold or mildew are likely to grow. Bathrooms, basements, attics, and crawlspaces are all common areas where mildew and mold appear because these areas are usually warm, see a lot of moisture, get a little sunlight and little circulation.

Preventing mold in these areas is a matter of finding the sources for these conditions and combating them as much as possible. Adding fans or ventilation to an airtight area will help prevent spores from landing there. Making sure there are no leaks creating a moist, humid environment will prevent a space from becoming an ideal growing environment.

A homeowner should look at spaces that are ideal for mildew and mold and ask themselves, “How can I make this place worse for fungus?”

How To Remove Mildew And Mold?

Mold removal and mildew removal take similar steps.

First, turn off the air conditioning or heater and seal off the vents in the area with mold. Second, put on a respirator and turn on a small fan to create circulation. Third, use either bleach water solution or another cleaner meant for fungus and scrub the affected area.

Make sure to scrub beyond the affected area to get any spores that have spread but haven’t grown to the point of visibility. It’s important to wear gloves and clothes that you can throw away. Spores are likely to have landed on your clothes and keeping them will just spread the spores farther.

Conclusion

Mildew and mold can create a variety of problems from health issues to structural damage to unpleasant smells. In order to avoid these problems, one must know how to recognize what causes mildew and mold, what they can do to prevent fungi from setting in and what to do if prevention methods fail. Mildew and mold are preventable but if they appear in spite of your best efforts, they can still be removed before excessive damage happens.

The Kitchen Unclogging Guide: How to Unclog A Sink and Dishwasher

The Kitchen Unclogging Guide: How to Unclog A Sink and Dishwasher

Everyone knows how to unclog a toilet but how many people know how to unclog a sink or how to unclog a dishwasher? Both the kitchen sink and the dishwasher get clogged from time to time. Whether it’s food waste, hair or something else, pipes eventually get clogged, resulting in a clogged sink or dishwasher.

These clogs lead to dirt collecting in the kitchen sink, dirty dishes staying dirty and nasty smells in the kitchen and bathroom that won’t go away until the clog is fixed. In this article, we’ll explain how to unclog a kitchen sink as well as how to unclog a dishwasher so you won’t have to deal with clogs anymore.

How to Unclog A Sink

For those who want to know how to unclog a sink, know that there are many ways to unclog a sink. We’ll explain three methods to unclog your sink, but know there are other methods as well. Also, keep in mind that the process for how to unclog a kitchen sink and how to unclog a bathroom sink are similar, but slightly different. While there are many ways to unclog a sink, the end goal in both cases is to help the kitchen drain to let water through freely by clearing out the clogged water and fixing the clog.

The Plunger Method

This method is pretty straightforward and it’s one of the tried and true ways to unclog a sink. Sometimes a simple plunger can unclog your sink. The pressure created by the airtight plunger seal makes the clog in the pipe move back and forth until it’s been shredded enough to go through the pipes eliminating the blockage.

You could use the regular toilet plunger on your sink but that’d require a sink scrubbing with bleach (particularly if it’s your kitchen sink). The second option is to purchase a small, inexpensive sink plunger used exclusively for clogged sinks.

Vinegar and Baking Soda Method

This method is a bit more complicated. First, you have to remove the liquid gathering at the bottom of the sink. You can put the dirty water in a bucket or some other container. Continue removing the dirty standing water until you’re able you access the drain.

Once you can access the drain opening, pour one cup of baking soda into the drain. You may need to grab a spoon or something to push it down into the sink. After you pour the baking soda, pour a cup of vinegar into the sink and then cover the drain opening with a sink stopper so the baking soda and vinegar cannot come back out. The vinegar and baking soda create a chemical reaction which is strong enough to break most clogs without damaging your pipes like many industrial cleaners.

The Snake Method

This method will take some work depending on where the clog is located. For this method, you’ll need a cable auger, also known as a snake. A drain snake is a metal cable with a hook-like device at the end that you can feed into a pipe. You may also need some basic plumbing tools.

The idea behind this method is to feed the snake into the pipe so the hooked end of the snake can attach to whatever is clogging the pipe and either tear it apart or remove it upon retrieval. Since clogs can happen anywhere, you may need to remove certain pipes under the sink in order to reach the clog. Use the bucket to collect leaking water and a wrench to remove pipes as you go.

The Disposal Suction Method

If you are trying to figure out how to unclog a kitchen sink drain that has a disposal, there is a quick and slick method you’ll want to try in order to eliminate the clog. If you notice that both sides of your sink are filling up with water, simply clog up the sink drain on the side without the disposal (pushing down the plug firmly to ensure a tight seal), and turn on the disposal while running boiling water down the disposal sink drain. The disposal will act as a vacuum, cleaning out the clog in the pipes on its own. This method of fixing a clogged kitchen sink is one of the most simple, yet often overlooked ways to clear out your pipes. Try it and see if it fixes your clog.

How to Unclog A Dishwasher

Dishwashers drain their hot water at the end of the wash cycle. Although it’s common to see trace amounts of hot water at the bottom of the dishwasher when a cycle has finished, seeing a layer of hot water or cold water covering the drain is not normal. Here are some tips to help unclog a dishwasher.

Check The Sink

Dishwashers usually run through your sink’s disposal. If your disposal or sink are clogged then your dishwasher will not drain properly. Make sure to check to see if the sink is clogged before doing anything too complicated with the dishwasher.

Check The Drain

If you remove the lower rack you can then access the dishwasher drain. Look to see if there are any clogs in that drain. If you see anything, remove it and see if that fixes the problem. If it looks clean, check the drain hose attached to the drain to see if there’s anything clogging the hose. Check the hose by sending high-pressure water through the hose to see if it backs up or not.

Conclusion

Clogged sinks and toilets are common household problems. The best way to avoid them in the first place is to avoid putting anything aside from water down your pipes. Whether it’s hair or large chunks of food waste, put your garbage in the trash and not in the garbage disposal. Make sure to scrape off your plates before putting them in the dishwasher too. If necessary, you can purchase drain grates which will prevent this stuff from falling into your sink as well.

But no matter how careful you are, clogs are bound to happen. Thankfully, there are multiple ways to fix these clogs. Hopefully, now you feel you know how to unclog a sink or how to unclog a dishwasher and you feel more prepared to fix any clogs as they that should appear.

How and When to Skim Coat Your Walls

How and When to Skim Coat Your Walls

Over time, the walls in a house see some major wear and tear. They get re-painted, wallpapered, stripped, hammered, and scraped. No matter what happened to your walls, every once in awhile, it’s a good idea to skim coat your walls. Skim coating a wall is a process in which one smooths out damaged drywall making the overall wall better. Skim coating a wall yourself is relatively easy to do and significantly cheaper than paying someone else to do it. Below are some tips on how to skim coat a wall quickly and efficiently.

Preparation

Depending on the amount of space you wish to have skim coated, paying a professional can cost up to several thousand dollars but if you do it yourself you can reduce the cost to a couple hundred dollars. Here’s a list of materials you’ll need as well as price estimates:

  • Plastic Drop Cloth – $8.00
  • Painters tape – $7.00
  • Disposable Respirator – $12.00
  • Gloves – $5.00
  • Shoe Covers – $5.00
  • Joint Compound – $15.00
  • Paint Tray – $3.00
  • Roller Cover – $10.00
  • Roller Handle – $10.00
  • Putty Knife – $10.00
  • Trowel – $5.00
  • Spray Bottle – $3.00
  • Fine Sanding Pad – $6.00
  • Microfiber Cloth – $10.00
  • Drill – $100.00
  • Drill Mixing Attachment – $12.00

Before you learn how to skim coat your walls, you need to first prepare the wall. The best way to do this is to use a primer to quickly seal the wall from further damage. It’s important not to merely spot prime but do the whole wall. Part of the reason you skim coat is to give the whole wall a nice, even finish. In order to do that, the whole wall should be properly primed. Also, don’t forget to lay down a plastic floor cover to protect your floors from the primer as well as the skim coat materials.

In addition to preparing the wall, you’re going to have to prepare the joint compound material that you’ll be using to skim coat with. Usually, when you buy a bucket of joint compound, it’s too thick to use for skim coating. Mixing in some water into the compound using a drill and a mixing attachment should do just the trick. Many recommend that you divide the joint compound into two separate buckets to make the job of mixing easier on your drill.

How To Skim Coat Your Walls

Now that your wall, room and joint compound are prepped and ready to go it’s time to skim coat.

First, use the roller and roller cover to apply a good layer of joint compound to the wall. You’ll want no more than ⅛ inch of compound on the wall. Make sure to only work with smaller segments of the wall. Don’t work on a section of wall any larger than 4 feet by 4 feet or you’ll run the risk of the the joint compound drying up before you finish. Try to coat the wall evenly but don’t worry too much whether or not you get it perfect the first time.

Second, use the trowel to wipe the area smooth. This might require a few passes to get a uniform coating on the wall segment.

Third, repeat steps one and two once or twice until perfect uniformity has been achieved. Use water and the spray bottle if a section is starting to dry and you need to moisten it up some. The sanding pad can be used to smooth out the final areas that you just can’t get perfect using the trowel. After everything is done, go over the wall with a microfiber towel to assure that you have removed every last piece of dust.

Conclusion

Although it may take a while to get used to, skim coating isn’t that difficult. With proper preparation you can avoid damaging the room with all the mess and save a lot of money by doing it yourself. Try it out and enjoy the improvements you’ve made to your own walls.

Getting Ready for Spring: How to Dewinterize Your Home

Getting Ready for Spring: How to Dewinterize Your Home

Winterizing a home is a process where one basically prepares a house to lay dormant for the cold season. Many cottages, cabins and summer homes get winterized every year.

Spring is upon us and now it’s time to dewinterize the house to prepare it for the warmer weather. Here are a couple tips to help dewinterize the house.

Pipes

The main way in which houses get winterized is by preparing water pipes. Owners turn off the water in the house, empty the pipes and add traps to their sinks, faucets and drains.

There are some basics to dewinterizing water pipes. Here are some tips for homeowners to help best prepare winterized pipes for warm weather.

  • Remove Aerators from Drains and Faucets
  • Make Sure All Sinks, Tubs and Toilets Are Off
  • Turn the Power Off if Not Already
  • Slowly Turn On Main Water Supply
  • Let Water Tank Fill Before Restoring Power
  • Slowly Turn On Sinks, Tubs and Toilets
  • Check House For Leaks

It’s suggested that owners turn their water back on slowly. The process should take a minute to do. Most suggest a quarter turn every 5-10 seconds until the water is flowing at full capacity. Any faster than this will shock the pipes and likely damage the seals.

This creates leaks and that’s the last thing a house needs.

Even if proper methods are used to dewinterize pipes, leaks can still occur. That’s why it’s important to inspect the pipes or have someone else inspect them instead.

Inspections

Leaks lead to rot. Rot leads to house damage. House damage leads to extra expenses.

To stop this, it’s important to inspect the home after dewinterizing it. Seals dry out when not constantly wet, causing them to shrivel and shrink. Pipes that haven’t been used are more likely to burst than regularly used ones. Turning the water on slowly will help combat these problems but leaks can still occur.

Homeowners should either make sure to check these leaks themselves or hire an inspector to look for them. Having someone who knows what they’re doing will help avoid future damage to the property.

While checking for leaks, they should also look for foundation cracks and other damage.

Cleaning

Although cleaning the home should be a constant activity, doing so while dewinterizing is extra important. Winterized homes gather dust, bugs and other undesirables, It’s important to get rid of these to make the home feel nice and livable again.

There are great spring cleaning checklists out there to walk homeowners through cleaning and maintenance steps for homecare. Here’s a list of some of the things worth doing.

  • Change the Air Filter
  • Test Carbon Dioxide and Smoke Detectors
  • Check Outside Drainage
  • Clean Gutters

Conclusion

Dewinterizing your home shouldn’t be a difficult process but it needs to get done. It’s important for the long-term life of the home and improperly dewinterizing a home will lead to financial headaches down the road. Do what you can do yourself and trust the experts where your abilities fall short.