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This season, more homes and businesses may be susceptible to mold

  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • Published Tuesday, Sep. 24, 2013, at 12 a.m.

Tips for preventing mold in your home

• Run a dehumidifier in your basement

• Run your air conditioner, even in your basement, and use a programmable thermostat to keep air moving

• Gutters and downspouts should be entirely cleaned of all debris

• Grading: The ground around the perimeter of the home should slope away from the foundation

• A plastic vapor barrier or a polyethylene plastic should be installed inside every crawl space to cover the dirt floor

• Inspect your home on a regular basis for mold and don’t ignore a potential problem area

Checklist to follow if mold is found

• Determine whether the affected area is “climate-controlled”

• Locate the source of the moisture problem

• Ensure the water or moisture problem is identified and solved

• Contact a mold removal service and check its credentials

• Check your insurance policies to see whether mold remediation is covered

— First-time home buyer Kelly Sullivan knew to expect the unexpected when she and her husband, Sean, started looking for an east Cobb, Ga., home last year. With Sean just having left the Army for a civilian job and a toddler in tow, the couple had one surprise remaining after their offer was accepted on their dream home.

Mold.

Sullivan was led to believe a previous mold problem had been fixed, but she decided to call in a mold inspector before closing to give her peace of mind.

The mold was still there.

“Thankfully, we did our due diligence,” she said, “and we received a mold allowance from the seller to take care of the issue.”

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures have been lower than average with more rainfall than average this summer.

That means homes, schools and businesses such as restaurants are susceptible to mold outbreaks, and precautions should be taken, such as running a dehumidifier in your basement and making sure gutters and downspouts have been cleaned. If you think you have mold spores, a thorough visual assessment is a starting point.

A more accurate measure in mold testing would be the use of an infrared thermal imaging camera. These cameras are now being used by professional inspectors.

That’s important, as mold in a living space can lead to an assortment of health problems, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Ginger Chew.

“Exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing or skin irritation,” said Chew, an epidemiologist with the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health, Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch. “Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath, and some people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs.”

Once a mold problem is diagnosed and the initial testing is complete, a remediation company is called in to bring things back to normal.

Should your home need remediation, it can be expensive. Many times it can run more than $10,000, and rarely will insurance cover the cost.

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