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Mold Remediation in Newtown, Pa. is different than in other areas of the United States. The unique diversity of climatic temperatures, the Gulf Stream flow of moisture and the heating and air conditioning cycles are unique to the area. Many homes in Newtown are built upon areas where a high watertable was an issue. We have documented once such case where, in the area where mold inside the walls of a home became evident while replacing Siding (in Newtown, Pa.).
Mold growth inside of the residential domain requires certain elements to succeed. The type of mold that is most troubling is Black Mold, which represents several types often found growing on construction materials. Testing for mold is expensive and it usually only verifies what is already very apparent to the witness.
Mold can only grow if it has enough moisture to sustain the organism. Many site an indoor relative humidity of 55% as being the danger zone for mold potential indoors. In the Newtown area, it is more realistic to try to maintain 45% or lower indoor relative humidity to stay out of the danger zone. Basements and crawlspaces need to be dry. Liquid moisture in basements and crawlspaces is easily seen, but moisture vapor traveling through concrete floors and walls is not. Basements need to be measured for relative humidity and should not exceed 30% in the winter months (for cold basements) to prevent mold. This measure seems low to some, but better safe than sorry. A test on the floors for the presence of a basement sub-slab vapor barrier is mandatory. Standard basement waterproofing is not enough to stop many moisture problems in many basements and crawlspaces. We can provide all of the above listed services, including testing and removal of moisture and mold and guaranteeing the results. ->Read on -or- Continue Basement Mold Remediation Below>
Attics need to be cold in the winter months, with a close-to-outside temperature reading throughout the winter. This also goes for the relative humidity of the attic as it should also mimic the out-of-doors conditions to prevent mold growth.
Moisture vapor, which is what is measured within the indoor environment is not able to be used by the mold organism. Residential attics are great places that exemplify this fact, especially in the Philadelphia area. In the attic, moisture will show up as frost on roof nails and roof plywood or decking. Moisture vapor, or relative humidity readings, even when high will not be conducive to mold growth unless there is a point of temperature difference, or dew point where vapor will condense into liquid moisture. Your breath on the inside of a cold car windshield, or the dew that forms on a glass holding a cold drink on a hot humid day both demonstrate the vapor-condensing reality that is necessary for mold to grow from a high humidity environment. This conversion must be avoided at all costs. ->Read on -or- Continue Basement Mold Below>
Much discussion and debate is ongoing regarding the installation of vapor barriers in residential construction in the Philadelphia area. The Air-Sealing industry in Philadelphia is also a variant of the insulation industry. Both areas of expertise are mandatory for a quality approach to mold prohibitive action in residences in the Newtown area. Air sealing is very important, especially on the lower rim joists and entry points of cold air into the building envelope as heated walls will facilitate a chimney-effect pushing air and interior moisture upward and into the attic where it can condense with the temperature differences within the attic areas. The secondary concern for Air-Sealing is for the attic bypasses, which are the gaps and holes that allow interior conditioned air into the attic spaces.
Interior, heated air being pushed into the attic is a condition that occurs in more than just through bypasses. Warm, moisture laden air will travel right through ceilings and walls and the ceiling is most vulnerable in the winter months and contribute to mold growth in the Newtown area. The ongoing argument for an interior vapor barrier is most voiced over the perceived disabling affect that a vapor barrier represents to the natural drying of the construction of the walls and ceilings. In the Philadelphia region, the pressures from interior moisture in the winter are never rivaled by summer conditions. With proper ventilation, external conditions are relative to interior attic conditions. Granted, an interior vapor barrier on a ceiling would represent a potential dew point in some areas of the country, however the heat from the roof causes thermal buoyancy to which natural convection becomes the answer in a properly ventilated attic in the Newtown area. The point of moisture condensation where moisture laden air would theoretically sink onto the insulation and then to the ceiling level where the cooled ceiling resides, is a very rare occurrence in the Philadelphia area. ->Read on -or- Continue Attic Mold Below->
A full-service contractor that is versed in all of the above, along with all construction elements of the residential arena should be sought out to provide lasting and guaranteed results for mold remediation in the Newtown area.
MOLD IN HEATING & AIR CONDITIONER SYSTEMS
Did you know that mold growth in any part of your home can foster or spread a Mold infestation to your HVAC or Air Handler of your heating system? Most of the time, and we do mean about 95% of the cases in which mold has taken hold within the envelope of a residential dwelling, mold spores are present in the HVAC system (if one is present). This does not pertain to homes with hot water baseboard heating systems.
|The images above are pictures of Petri Dish Mold Cultures of register samples of the ducting of two different homes that had been infested in other areas of the home. If you have mold in one area of the home, chances are you have it in the heating and air conditioning systems. Dust mites thrive in moist environments (on actual moisture vapor) and the tiny fecal matter of the mites, along with animal dander, dust and debris trapped in the ducts, actually can feed mold. The Evaporator Coils and Condensation Pans of air conditioners can become intense breeding grounds for mold. We test HVAC systems. We also treat HVAC systems in homes and mold in Automobiles. Cars? Yes, if you have mold in your home, it is more than likely, in your car or truck.
When mold is present, it's spores spread when as little as a small disturbance in the air. This can be the case where a person or a pet passes by, or in the normal ventilation air movement of the HVAC system moves the air over the dry spores. The spores then become taken in by the HVAC system. Once in the dusty environment of the duct-work, all that is needed is a little moisture to make the mold take up residence within the Air Conditioner coils of the system. The Air Conditioner, is present within the HVAC system, can foster mold growth as the condensation on the coils of the system and the condensation pan provide real moisture for the mold to thrive.
Even a home with high interior moisture content can actually cause moisture condensation on the cooler areas of the ducting and other elements of the HVAC system. High interior moisture (vapor) can be caused by a high water table, too high of a setting on the heater humidifier, roof and plumbing leaks, poor ventilation when cooking or showering, or a wet basement. Have us check your indoor humidity levels.
There are now claims being made regarding mold not requiring liquid moisture in order to thrive. The claims are announcing that a relative indoor humidity of 65% or more can foster mold growth. The claims also state that liquid moisture is not necessary for mold growth. The claims speak to condensation resulting from these obscene indoor relative humidity readings of 65% or more.
Condensation equals liquid moisture! It does not take 65% humidity to produce condensation! Condensation can occur at lower levels of relative humidity given temperature changes within a building envelope, dew points, etc. It takes liquid moisture to feed mold but it does not have to enter your home or building as liquid moisture.
Once the cause of the mold infestation is diagnosed and cured, follow up is necessary to eradicate the mold that has spread to the Heating and Air Conditioner systems. Often the cause of a mold problem is misdiagnosed and treated but the mold returns. This is often the case with Basement Waterproofing companies. A wet basement is treated as a cause of mold, when it is in reality a symptom. Several problems can cause a wet basement and usually this problem is a symptom of another cause. Ground moisture vapor 'wicking' upward can be tested with the "doormat test"(described on this page).
If at all feasible, ground water should be addressed from the outside of the building. Many times, Basement Waterproofing Systems are sold in err, as they are not the best systems for every basement water problem. Also - Beware of the use of Basement Wall Vapor Barriers used as water diversion systems because they can cause major mold problems.
Another common problem is mold in the attic. Mold in the attic is usually a symptom of a larger problem. According to whom you may call for an answer, you may get varying opinions. A common solution offered by General Contractors & Roofing & Siding Contractors is that an improved ventilation system can solve the problem. Often, proper ventilation can help the situation, but while it often helps, it does not address the source of moisture vapor, which can be illusive to those that are not experienced in these matters. You may have frost on the nails in your attic in the winter, which is an indicator of high moisture vapor and the "warm attic syndrome." Air Sealing of by-passes is one of the most overlooked items that causes increased attic moisture. Insulation companies often add insulation without regard for existing by-passes, only to realize they have caused a new mold problem. This is because a greater pressure imbalance is created by the increased insulation and existing by-passes become literal geyser-like, moisture vapor "gushers" inside the attic. Read about this problem here: "Mold in Attic after Insulation added"
Often entire roof systems are removed, including the decking, in an effort to remove mold from an attic. Often and in short order after such an effort is undertaken, mold will return with a vengeance. This is often very troubling to the homeowner not only because the mold came back, but because they wasted their money! As described above, a simple minor event of air movement will cause the spread of mold. Just think about mold on the backside of the roof decking, especially when it is in a dry state, like that of the summer months. Now think about all the trauma added to the situation with all the ripping and removing of the roof deck. Mold spores explode and spread everywhere! The scenario above is often carried out to remove the mold but in actuality, it multiplies it! These efforts done without regard for first killing the existing mold and the spores, will only cause to spread and multiply the mold! As stated on this website, major insurance companies often recommend, in err, the removal of the roof deck to eliminate mold problems.
We are experts in the following:
Duct Cleaning and HVAC System Mold Treatments
Air Sealing of Bypasses in Attics
Gutter System Repair