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How Experts Remove Mold to Your Home


It is crucial for all home and property owners to work with experienced mold removal experts. Only select a firm that can remove mold damage to your home successfully. They should also speed up the drying process for the best results. Your ideal company should understand all the approaches for eliminating polluted components in an efficient and controlled way. Unlike what many people believe, the process of mold removal is quite sophisticated.

You Should Deal with Mold Damage Immediately

Molds can build an intense hold of houses. They mainly prey on non-living things such as wood and paper. Molds thrive well on any surface that is subjected to an abundant amount of moisture. They cause severe damage to the affected surfaces. Molds are primarily caused by the existence of moisture within indoor surroundings.

The Main Dangers Posed by Molds

Severe Risks- In extreme cases, mold growth can lead to serious health issues such as pneumonia and other lung diseases.Infections-Molds are associated with various topical infections including athletes foot.Irritation-A majority of patients have reported irritations in the throat regions, nose, and eyes that are closely linked to mold.Common Allergic Reactions-Inadequate clean-up can lead to the spread of mold across the house. As a consequence, allergic reactions such as red eyes, sneezing, rashes and runny nose may result.Asthma Attacks- Mold growth can worsen the existing cases of asthma in some patients. It can also trigger bad asthma attacks in individuals who are extremely allergic to mold.

Professional firms treat mold growth like other hazardous materials and eliminate it securely and safely. Reputed contractors follow standard procedures when controlling mold damage to your home.

Ascertaining the Primary Source of Moisture

The experts should commence the mold removal process by identifying the primary source of moisture. It is crucial that mold removal process is started with this procedure. The success of the entire mold clean-up process greatly depends on eliminating the source of moisture. Skipping this step will make the mold growth to resurface again.

Evaluating the Nature of the Mold Growth

The worst type of mold that can affect your house is the black mold. The ideal kind of treatment is primarily determined by the kind of mold growth. The experts should employ specific chemicals that are EPA-approved for controlling molds. Unless under special considerations, the mold removal process should not destroy any of your property. However, in some cases the professionals may be forced to damage a section of the floors and walls. The decision to destroy some of the areas is made when the mold growth has already spread to a massive extent.

Ensuring All the Areas Have Been Considered

An experienced contractor will be able to assess the actual mold damage to your property. Mold growth is sometimes frequent in the spaces between the walls. Molds sometimes grow in some regions that are difficult to identify. It is paramount to hire a team that can deal with mold issues altogether.

Proper Disposal

Molds are poisonous materials that should be properly disposed. They can attack your property again if they are not adequately disposed. Always dispose of the mold several meters from your house. Never dispose of the damaged construction materials in the garbage bin.

In summary, only work with a reputed company when controlling mold damage to your home. You should refer to other clients reviews prior to making your choice. Eliminating the source of moisture is the most critical step in a mold growth removal process.


Dangers Of Mold And How To Fix It


Mold can be found anywhere, be it indoors and outdoors. It only needs cellulose and moisture to thrive, and when it is not handled in time, it can lead to a number of dangers, especially with regards to human health and safety. Mold generally grows spores which are then released and contain a number of toxins that are harmful to human health.

To better understand the dangers of mold, you need to be aware of where to look for it. Mold can grow under furniture, in bathrooms, in mattresses, on clothing, in humidifiers, on the walls inside and outside the home and anywhere that is conducive for the growth of mold. You can find it on mattresses that have been passed down, places where there has been spillage of juices, milk, urine and other liquids. In fact, everyday items such as soaps, detergents and washing liquids contain chemicals that attract mold growth when exposed to air. Food that is not properly stored or is exposed to the elements also risks getting mold and this is also harmful to your health.

The dangers of mold are mostly health related. Toxins such as aflatoxin, satratoxins, Aspergillus, mycotoxins and many others come about as a result of growing mold. These are known to affect the brain, central nervous system, abdomen, pulmonary system, soft tissue and bone damage as well as general organ damage. It can lead to more fatal conditions such as heart failure. These can be worse in children and pets whose immune system is not as strong as that of an adult. What makes mold even more frightening is that it does not always have a smell and neither is it always visible.

There are some symptoms to be on the lookout for including: asthma, change in the skin (dryness or itchiness), diarrhea, constipation, nausea & vomiting, hair loss, sudden changes in weight, tooth conditions, abdominal pain and many others. While these may be an indicator of many other conditions, it is important to have it checked out to eliminate any possibilities.

So how can you take care of the dangers of mold in the home? You can call in a mold remediation expert who can survey your home or environment for potential mold hot spots. This allows the homeowner to make changes which include repairs to any parts of the home affected by mold, fumigating to get rid of the mold as well as regular cleaning and inspection of the home to avoid creating growing spots for it. The benefits of keeping the mold pandemic to a minimum includes reduced medical and home repair costs. Some of the above symptoms can actually be done away with if the family lives in a mold-free zone. In addition, tackling mold in its early stages ensures that you do not have to keep making repairs to the home. Further, you will save on getting the mold under control when it becomes too extreme because it means calling in experts who have to be paid for their services.

In conclusion, the dangers of mold are mostly health related and this means that getting rid of mold early enough keeps you and your family healthy and strong. In addition, it is clearly important to keep your home or environment clean and dry to avoid creating breeding grounds for mold.


What Happens During Mold Remediation


The best way to get rid of mold is to never have it in the first place. However, even the best preventative measures will sometimes fail and you will find yourself facing a mold problem. All mold can cause health problems, including: Throat and eye irritation, nasal congestion, coughs and sneezing. At its worst, mold can cause deep respiratory problems. Most forms of mold can be eradicated with standard cleaning methods, but there is one type that requires stronger measures: The dreaded black mold.

In small amounts it is possible to attack even black mold on your own, but there are many local laws regarding large scale mold accumulation and its disposal. Because of the dangers of handling material embedded with black mold, even small areas are best handled by a professional to ensure it is completely gone. Whether you are tackling a small, common mold issue or you have a professional working on a more serious growth of black mold, there are five steps you need to be prepared for.

Step One:

You or the professional cleaner will need to find the source of the mold. That means water contact with a dry material such as wood or fiber. It is useless to clean the mold until the water is dried up and cant return. If you are aware of the source of the water, and know it wont come back, such as in an area that was flooded from a storm, or a spill that didnt get cleaned up quickly, then you can proceed to step two. Otherwise, you must seek out the place where water entered, seal it up and make sure the area remains dry.

Step Two:

Create a plan to isolate the trouble spot and gather protective clothing. If a professional mold removal company is used they will surround the area or cordon off rooms with polyethylene sheets, and wear ventilation masks and protective clothing when working around existing mold.

Step Three:

Get rid of the mold covered materials by double bagging it in 6 mil plastic bags. Wipe down outside of bags to make sure no dust leaves the contamination zone.

Step Four:

Clean remaining surfaces that were unaffected by might have come in contact with mold dust from the discarded surfaces. If the mold was not significant enough to warrant forced remediation, simply wiping remaining surfaces with detergent and water will likely suffice. Level 2, or higher, mold issues demand the use of a HEPA vacuum as well as a wipe-down with detergent and water. Throw out all cloths used to clean in the same manner as moldy materials, in a double 6 mil plastic bag.

Step Five:

Wait for all surfaces to dry before reintroducing new building materials, or room furnishings and decorations. Once the area is dry you must check to be sure the cleanup was successful. Visually look for signs of new moisture or mold spots. If you have had symptoms of mold exposure, your mold remediation professional will call you back into the area and there should not be any recurrence of the health issues.


The Causes Of Mold In Homes Or Business

mold damage baltimore

Mold is a type of fungus that thrives in the form of multi-cellular filaments that are called hyphae. Common examples of molds include: Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus.

They are responsible for a number of health problems such as: nasal and sinus congestions, runny noses, eye irritations, watery eyes, respiratory problems, coughs, throat irritations, skin irritations, headaches, sneezing and sneezing fits.

For the molds to thrive, they require: mold spores; food sources such as wood, cotton or drywall; darkness; warmth; oxygen; moisture such as water leaks, or humidity; and enough time (a minimum of 24-48 hours if the environment is conducive).

A confluence of factors is responsible for the growth and proliferation of mold damage in the homes and businesses. These are:

High Humidity Levels

Humidity is the measure of the amount of water vapor that is contained in the atmosphere. Excessive humidity does enhance the growth and proliferation of molds because they provide the favorable conditions required. This problem is more profound in areas that are adjacent to water bodies such as beaches.

Leakages in Plumbing

Plumbing refers to the mechanism by which water is circulated within a building structure. It includes such things as water pipes, drainage pipes, and toilets. Any leakages in these structures do provide the required amount of water for the growth and the subsequent proliferation of molds.

Damp Surfaces

Surfaces of homes and businesses that are prone to dampening such as kitchen floors and walls; basement areas; bathroom walls and floors; and toilets are also responsible for the proliferation of mold damage because of the ready availability of the much needed moisture.


It is the conversation of water vapor into liquid form. It is enhanced and facilitated by extremely cold surfaces such as those in kitchen areas, bathrooms, and toilets. When the water vapor condenses on surfaces, they create an enabling environment for the subsequent growth of molds.

Poor Ventilation

Ventilation refers to the mechanism by which air is kept into circulation within the building structures. This is usually carried out by a number of building parts such as ventilation holes, windows, chimneys, and so on. When buildings are poorly ventilated, a number of things that can enhance the growth of molds do happen. These include: the fact that wet surfaces dry out more slowly and hence provide the required conducive environment; and the fact that pockets of stagnant moist air are created which further enhance the growth of molds.


During moments of floods, a lot of moisture is absorbed by buildings which may eventually take too long to dry out. This creates a very conducive environment for the molds to grow and thrive. Also, some strains of molds such as: Stachybotrys chartarum require extremely wet surfaces for longer durations of time to grow conditions that can only be made possible during moments of flood.


There are various causes of mold damages as can be seen from the above discussions and explanations. Their diversity notwithstanding, they are chiefly caused by water or water-related sources. For that reason, proper drainage is vital for the eventual elimination of molds.


Getting rid of mold damage to your home


Mold is a fungi that would normally grow in a surrounding where it is damp and also humid. If you do not keep your house dry and very well ventilated you will be certain to start seeing mold growing especially in carpets, the showers and mostly the basement of your house. Water seepage in your home will also encourage mold to grow. Some types of mold can be a health risk to you and your family, therefore it is prudent to keep your home free of any kind of mold.

Once mold starts to grow in your home, it can quickly spread to the entire house from its source causing a lot of damage which will be costly to get rid of and have a permanent solution. It is therefore cost effective to prevent any mold growth in your home by having a dry and properly aired house. However, should your home be affected by the mold, have a professional company remove and prevent the comeback of the mold using the guiding procedures below:


1. It is important to know which kind of mold has grown in your home so that you may be able to know the correct guidelines of handling it during the elimination.

2. Wearing preventive clothing is highly recommended so as not to spread mold and also to protect skin from coming into contact with the mold.

3. Remove anything that is wet like the rugs or even furniture.

4. If the ceilings and walls are moistened they should also be removed.

5. Check if any pipes are leaking water in any area of the house and have them repaired.

6. Any upholstery that has mold on it should be disposed completely.

7. Scrub surfaces with a detergent in water that is hot. You will also need to disinfect the surfaces once cleaned using bleach.

8. Rinse the surfaces using water and allow them to dry quickly so as to discourage mold from growing again.

9. Paint the surfaces that had mold after it is dry completely.

10. Any clothes with mold can easily be washed and dried.

11. Use a vacuum to dust off all other surfaces that had no contamination.

12. All other preventive clothing that was used during the cleaning should be thrown away in sealed bags.

HOW TO PREVENT MOLD IN HOMES- Repair all leakages around the home like the roofs and even the gutters.- Watch out for any dampness.- Ensure your home is not humid because this will encourage the mold to grow.- Dry any wetness on surfaces all the time.- Close all windows when your air conditioner is switched on.- Open the windows in bathrooms if the mold keeps appearing.- Reduce moisture in the basement.- Soak your childrens toys using bleach in order to kill any mold on them and sanitize them in a dishwasher.- Clean your toilet using bleach and flush it to clean all bleach.- Keep the rugs in the bathroom dry always.- Remove shampoo bottles from the shower when you are done using them.

It is easier to prevent mold damage to your home rather than eliminating it after growth. Ensure your home is mold free by keeping it dry at all times.

Baltimore Mold Damage


Flood clean-up continues in Festus

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FESTUS, MO(KPLR) - A tough and nasty job is underway in Jefferson County, as flood victims try to move forward after their lives were turned upside down Wednesday night.

Residents on Dual Drive near Festus spent Friday afternoon cleaning up.

You just want to cry thats about it, its aggravating, said resident Tom Edelman.

Edelman spent more than $60,000 remodeling his basement last winter. Flood waters rushed in through the basement windows and a door Wednesday night destroying everything including a $5,000 pool table.

Theres nothing down there but a big mess. Everythings destroyed; furniture, leather chairs, couches, pictures, antiques, family stuff, Edelman said.

Bob Stinson lives next door.

Pretty brutal, pretty brutal, he said.

Brutal is a good word to describe Stinsons life in the past two years. In 2014, a fire burned half his home. Now flood waters have turned his rebuilt dream home into a living nightmare. The backyard pool is full of mud.

Stinson and his wife took refuge on their bed when flood water began to rise in their house.

Water was just swirling and rising and the wife was pretty broken up about it crying, he said.

The Stinsons watched fish swim around the room, a dead one was found in their closet.

Nearby, the Wesley United Methodist Church is collecting items for flood victims, like clothing, water and hygiene products.

Its obvious that people care for each other in this community and its just amazing they have come so quickly and we get phone calls from all over, said Pastor Karen Tutak.

The donations will help flood victims immediately but both Tom and Bob think the government needs to step in and give folks a big hand so people can get back on their feet.

Were praying we get some help, this is life altering, Stinson said.


The Best Crawl Space Repair Techniques

Crawl spaces aren't typically the most polished section of a home. In fact, these humid, musty, cold spaces are often the most neglected and in drastic need of repair. If your unhealthy crawl space is currently "out of sight, out of mind" -- think again. An unhealthy and neglected crawl space can cause a number of serious issues for your entire home, including drywall cracks, uneven floors, unpleasant smells, rodents, and mold/mildew growth.

Fortunately, there are many ways to approach crawl space repair in Tacoma. The first step is to hire a reputable crawl space repair contractor. Continue reading to learn what to expect from professional crawl space repair in Tacoma. All of the repairs mentioned below will result in a healthier, drier, and safer crawl space. And who knows? They could save you potentially thousands of dollars in water damage or flood repairs!

Popular Crawl Space Repair Techniques in Tacoma

There are numerous crawl space repairs available for Tacoma residents, some of which may be more urgent than others. It's important to receive an informed opinion and free crawl space repair estimate from a reputable contractor before signing off to complete one or all of these common crawl space repairs.

Crawl Space Repair #1: Crawl Space Vapor Barrier System

One of the most important crawl space repairs that Tacoma homeowners can make is to install a crawl space vapor barrier system. This includes sealing all crawl space vents and doors to eliminate the continuous flow of cold air, moisture, and humidity into your home. Doing so will not only reduce moisture buildup and protect from flooding, it may also reduce winter heating bills. A crawl space that remains unsealed and unprotected from the outdoor elements will continue to create problems for both the lower and even upper levels of a home.

Crawl Space Repair #2: Crawl Space Encapsulation

Encapsu--what?! Crawl space encapsulation simply means that a Tahoma crawl space repair contractor has installed a plastic vapor barrier or liner along the walls and floors of the area. This liner helps to protect against mildew and mold growth, rot, and even termites.

Crawl Space Repair #3: Structural Repairs

Have you noticed that your Tahoma crawl space shows signs of rotting or sagging? If so, contact a Tahoma crawl space repair contractor immediately! Ignoring these important issues could result in serious (and costly) structural damages. In no time, a contractor can repair a sagging crawl space by installing support jacks. These crawl space supports will stabilize the structure and even raise falling floor joints or beams back to their correct position.

Crawl Space Repair #4: Sump Pump Installation

To protect your home and possessions from water and/or flood damage, a Tahoma crawl space repair contractor can install a crawl space drain and sump pump system. Together, these crawl space repair systems collect standing or excess water in the lower level of your home, and pump that unwanted water outdoors where it belongs. A drainage and sump pump system is a great way to protect your crawl space from mold growth, water damage, flooding, and structural damage!

The sooner you address your Tahoma home's crawl space issues, the better. Whether you'd like a crawl space repair contractor to install a vapor barrier system, sump pump, thermal insulation, or support jacks, doing so can transform an unsafe and unhealthy crawl space into a dry, clean, and safe area!

Author's Bio:

Aqueous Basement Systems provides crawl space repair in Tacoma and other surroudning areas. Visit them online for a free crawl space repair estimate.


Tornadoes and flooding force helicopter rescues in Texas, South Dakota, Oklahoma and Iowa

Last Updated May 11, 2015 8:26 AM EDT

South Dakota was the center of weather extremes Sunday, with a tornado damaging a small town and injuring at least nine people on the eastern side of the state and more than a foot of snow blanketing the Black Hills to the west.

The storms continued tearing up the country's heartland overnight, reportedly killing two people and injuring dozens in northeast Texas and southwest Arkansas.

CBS affiliate KSLA-TV reported that two victims were found dead in Nashville, Arkansas, about 50 miles north of Texarkana, according to the local sheriff's office. KSLA said many homes in the area were severely damaged as reported tornadoes touched down.

Several Great Plains and Midwest states found themselves in the path of severe weather during the weekend, including Texas, which saw at least two likely tornadoes.

In South Dakota, Gov. Dennis Daugaard said nine people were injured Sunday morning when a tornado tore through the tiny town of Delmont -- about 90 miles from Sioux Falls. None of the injuries was life threatening and seven of the nine had been treated and released from the hospital, Daugaard said. There were no fatalities.

South Dakota Red Cross representative Brian Shawn told CBS affiliate KELO on Sunday night that the organization was "trying to help at least get people a place where they can spend some time and relax and eat some food and have a roof over their head ."

South Dakota Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Kristi Turman said about 20 buildings were damaged and the town has no water, power or phones.

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard (L) surveys damage from a tornado that touched down in Delmont, South Dakota in this handout photo

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard (L) surveys damage from a tornado that touched down in Delmont, South Dakota in this handout photo provided by Tony Venhuizen, May 10, 2015.


KELO said Delmont, a town of about 200 people, had been evacuated and non-residents were not being allowed in while emergency crews continued their work.

"Our house is flat. There is nothing left," said Stephanie Lunder, 34, of Delmont. She was with her husband and four children in the basement when the storm hit. The tornado heavily damaged a church where children attending Sunday school were forced to retreat to the basement, residents said.

In Texas, a likely tornado late Sunday night hit the small city of Van, about 70 miles southeast of Dallas, according to National Weather Service senior meteorologist Eric Martello.

Fire Chief Jeff Hudgens said Van sustained "some significant damage" to "multiple homes" and said agencies were responding to confirmed injuries.

Van Zandt County Fire Marshal Chuck Allen said in a written statement that the damage ranged from homes completely destroyed to trees and power lines torn down.

"Approximately 26 patients have been identified and transported to areas hospitals," said Allen.

Earlier in the day, another likely tornado ripped roofs off buildings and damaged trees near Denton, about 40 miles northwest of Dallas, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Tom Bradshaw. There were no immediate reports of injuries or fatalities.

Forecasters had issued tornado watches through Sunday evening for parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Missouri.

The threat became a reality Sunday evening in the Iowa town of Lake City, as spotters said a quarter-mile-wide twister touched down repeatedly, tearing the roof clean off the local high school.

CBS affiliate KCCI in Des Moines reported that about 100 people were in the Lake City High School auditorium when the roof was pried off by the high winds.

Part of a building sits across Main Street in Lake City

Part of a building sits across Main Street in Lake City, Iowa, May 10, 2015, after severe storms and a reported tornado hit the town.

KCCI News 8

Ashlee Taylor was among those inside. She told KCCI it was dark in the auditorium as the power had already gone out when the apparent tornado hit.

"We did hear the roof come off, and there was a change of pressure. I thought my ears were gonna pop, that's what it felt like to me," she told KCCI.

The station said there was extensive property damage and downed power lines, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.

The area also experienced torrential rains that led to widespread flash flooding. Authorities in Denton County said Sunday that two groups of people had to be airlifted by helicopters to safety.

CBS station DFW in Dallas reported that authorities couldn't reach those trapped by the flood waters with fire trucks because the water overflowing from a nearby creek was too high, so they called in the copters.

About 100 miles west of Fort Worth, people in the sparsely populated ranching and farming community of Cisco were left to clean up from Saturday's tornado that left one person dead and another in critical condition. Cisco Fire Department spokesman Phillip Truitt said the two people were near each other.

The National Weather Service said that tornado was rated an EF-3, with winds ranging from 136 to 165 mph. At least six buildings were damaged south of Cisco, as well as six others near Lake Leon, Truitt said.

A strong line of storms moved through the Dallas-Fort Worth area Sunday morning, forcing significant delays and a total of 100 flight cancellations at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field Airport.

Farther north, a late-season snow fell in parts of the Rockies, western Nebraska and western South Dakota.

National Weather Service meteorologist Kyle Carstens said between 10 to 18 inches of snow was on the ground Sunday morning in the Black Hills of South Dakota and totals could reach 20-24 inches by the time the system moves out. Rapid City, South Dakota, had 8-11 inches, accompanied by 20-30 mph winds.

2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


House of Horrors: 6 Things a Home Inspector Might Not Catch

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Before buying into a monthly mortgage payment, 77% of home buyers hire an inspector to go through their new digs with a fine-toothed comb. This is a very good idea.

That extra set of eyes gives buyers peace of mind that a new house won't have a leaky roof or cracked foundation. Or something even worse. But what you might not realize is that countless conundrums go unnoticed during a home inspection simply because the inspector doesn't look for them.

And those undetected flaws could add up to expensive repairs.

Here's the deal: Home inspectors aren't regulated by federal guidelines. Each state has its own licensing and/or certification requirements. They vary from Texas, which requires 130 classroom hours of real estate inspection training, to Georgia, which requires an inspector have a business license and a letter of recommendation -- and little else.

That means home buyers have to do their own homework to make sure they're working with a reputable and thorough inspector. Make sure to verify an inspector's references and ask to review the checklist of items covered during an inspection.

And, once you've done that, ask your inspector to check for these budget busters.

Runny appliances

If you're buying a home for the first time, you're probably swooning over the idea of having your own washer/dryer or dishwasher. And to make sure your new BFF won't break -- and break your heart -- an inspector should run these kind of appliances to check for functionality and leaks.

But inspectors don't always go over all the bells and whistles on appliances.

"Checking the water dispenser for issues on a fridge isn't standard," says Tom Kraeutler, a former home inspector, author of "My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure," and a syndicated radio host.

That oversight could mean you walk into a flooded kitchen if the seal on the water dispenser is faulty or the ice machine springs a leak.

Leaky faucets

To put a home's plumbing through its paces, all faucets should be turned on; toilets should be flushed multiple times; and drain pipes -- even if they're under the house -- checked for leaks while the water is running.

When it comes to sinks, the faucets need to be run long enough to fill them before draining in order to spot a leaky pipe or drain. In the shower, an inspector will need to block the drain pan with a washcloth or rubber jar opener and fill the shower to the top of the "pan" or floor, The water should sit for 15 to 20 minutes to test for leaks in the drain, Kraeutler says.

"That also helps spot if the shower pan is faulty, which is a super-expensive fix," he says.

Another thing: Leaky shower tiles happen when gaps form in the tile grout or caulk. And they show up only when wet. To simulate showering, the inspector needs to splash his hands under the water and check the integrity of grout and caulk.

Cracked sewage and drainage pipes

Home inspections are always limited to what is visible and accessible, Kraeutler says. So cracks in underground or buried pipes and drain lines will be checked only if your inspector conducts a camera inspection.

That in-depth look into your drain will cost you extra. But the additional few hundred dollars are a drop in the bucket compared to the thousands you'll shell out repairing or replacing faulty sewage and drainage pipes.

Corroded central air conditioning

Did you know that air-conditioning units can't be tested in certain temperatures?

It has to be at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit outside in order to run a unit -- temperatures lower than that can cause damage to the air conditioner, Kraeutler says. That means inspections done in cool temperatures could have an inspector ignoring the AC altogether.

So if it's too cold to run the unit, ask your inspector how he looks for potential problems. You'll want to make sure the inspector examines all connections and looks for signs of damage, says Will Hawkins, owner of All Pro Drain in Austin, TX.

And, if the temperature is 55 or higher, make sure the AC is run for several hours to test the functioning of the unit's condenser coil.

"We've had customers notice condensation or water seeping through the walls in a few hours [of turning on the air conditioner] or overnight," Hawkins says. "And unless the AC is run for several hours, that's something a home inspector would be hard pressed to see during his run-through."

Dangerous DIY improvements

It might be tempting to spruce up your home with some DIY projects before putting it on the market. But if those home improvements are completed with low-quality materials or not installed properly, a buyer could face an exorbitant -- and unexpected -- renovation.

A DIY renovation could be dangerous, too. If a basement or attic is finished without proper permits, electrical and plumbing work might not be up to code. And that could mean potential damage -- or even danger -- to the residents.

Although many home inspectors check for construction permits with the local municipality, Kraeutler suggests verifying that step isn't overlooked.

Damp porches, decks, and balconies

You might not think of decks and balconies as sources of expensive leaks. But costs of damage can surge up to $100,000, according to Bill Leys, owner of Division 7 Waterproofing Consultants and a deck inspector in San Luis Obispo, CA.

"A deck or balcony can also have serious safety issues and be at risk of collapse," he says.

Asking your inspector about cracks, rusted flashing, and soft areas around drains can help keep water from seeping into your home.

One final tip: Most home inspections are performed at least two months before closing. A lot can change in that time -- especially if a house is vacant, Kraeutler says. Consider having a follow-up inspection the day of (or no earlier than the day before) closing to ensure you're not purchasing a money pit.


If You Think Mold and Mildew Hibernate During The Winter, Think Again!

If You Think Mold and Mildew Hibernate During The Winter, Think Again!

by: Peter Chicarielli

If you associate mold and mildew stains with the summer months, you'd be correct. The hot and humid weather provides a perfect environment for rapid mold and mildew growth. The winter however, despite cold temperatures in much of the country is not a mold and mildew-free season by any means.

In fact, the development of mold and mildew stains can actually be intensified during the winter. That's because people tend to lock-down their houses to prevent cold air from coming in and heat from escaping. The reduced circulation of fresh air results in a higher concentration of airborne spores which in turn, can increase the likelihood of mold and mildew stains on ceilings, walls or other surfaces.

In a warm house, mold and mildew will continue to grow in areas such as basements, attics and crawl spaces. Once the Christmas decorations are put away, emerging mold and mildew growth has a free, undisturbed ride until Memorial Day when the summer gear gets pulled out.

The worst-case scenario is mold that silently grows behind a wall, under flooring or above acoustical ceiling tiles. This type of mold growth is usually caused by a leak that wasn't repaired properly, or if it was repaired, the surrounding area wasn't sufficiently dried or treated before covering it with new drywall, tile, etc. If any part of your house has water damage history, it should be inspected carefully.

There have been many newspaper articles and news reports about families being forced to move from their homes and school closings due to toxic mold. But despite the media hype, most of the mold people encounter is usually the harmless, gross-looking variety.

The jury may be out on what the health effects of certain types of mold are, but the fact is that there is usually a point of origin and mold growth is a fairly slow process. For those concerned about mold and mildew stains, here's a simple, four-step plan that should be followed all year long:

1) Inspect - Look for early signs of mold and mildew in places such as basements, shower areas, walls that house water pipes, ceilings, etc.

2) Repair - Fix plumbing leaks, drain clogs, roof leaks or poor bathroom ventilation that can encourage mold growth.

3) Remove - Treat emerging mold and mildew thoroughly with a powerful cleaning product such as InstaGone Multi-Purpose Stain Remover.

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4) Restore - Once mold and mildew stains have been treated with an effective cleaning solutions such as InstaGone, let the area dry thoroughly, apply a mold resistant primer and repaint the area.

The use of long rubber gloves, non-vented goggles and a chemical respirator to limit your exposure to mold are recommended. If you have an area of mold larger than 3 feet by 3 feet, have severe allergies or have been experiencing symptoms such as headaches and difficulty breathing, it's best to avoid the health risk, and call a certified mold remediation specialist immediately.


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About The Author

Peter Chicarielli is the president of InstaGone Consumer Products, a manufacturer of professional strength cleaning solutions including InstaGone Multi-Purpose Stain Remover and Quick-10 Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner. Mr. Chicarielli is a frequent QVC guest and the author of several articles on stain removal and cleaning tips. For additional consumer tips or information on InstaGone Consumer Products, visit

This article was posted on October 24, 2004

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