Dry Basement Means Healthier Living

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Pollen, dust, grasses, and in some instances mold are some of the ever present allergens in our homes.  Healthier living in these cases is very difficult.  Children with allergies have a very difficult time living in these conditions, and can develop respiratory illnesses due to these air pollutants.   The United States Environmental Protection Agency – epa.gov — has many resources for businesses and individuals concerning clean air in businesses and homes. And you can follow the links below if you need more information about clean air in your home.

Dry out the foundation for a cleaner and healthier basement

Even if you only visit your basement infrequently, you can easily tell when you have issues with moisture. Damp spots might be spreading along the floor, or beads of water will be sweating out of the walls.

This moisture can be particularly concerning if the basement is closely connected to the rest of the home through ductwork or if you plan to finish the space. John Carmody and Brent Anderson, writing for the University of Minnesota Extension, says the water can lead to the formation of mold or mildew, which can be harmful to your health.

If you finish your basement without first taking steps to dry it out, the floor and wall coverings will eventually start to molder and rot. To avoid this problem and keep your basement from getting too damp, you’ll need to find out how moisture is getting into your home and work to keep it at bay.


Moisture in the basement might be the result of condensation or water leaking into your home. The water could be coming from rainfall, snowmelt, a rising water table, or an interior water leak. During the summer, moisture might stem from the condensation of humid air on cool surfaces in the basement.

Are Growing Molds in Your Flooded Basement Something You Need to Be Worried About?

All households with flooded basements share the same concern and that is on how to pump the water out. However, there are other problems that they need to be more anxious about and these are the growing molds that seem to inhabit on their basement’s walls. This is a common problem if basement waterproofing was not done. If the problem lingers, it will cause so much hassle and this does not only limit on the wall’s aesthetics. Molds will cause problems to your family’s health as well.

“The presence of humidity, regardless of the amount causes mold spores to attach to the wall’s surface and grow”, Philadephia’s Director of Environmental Protection Agency Christina Schulingkamo said. They are the ones dealing with Sandy’s aftereffects this October, totaling to billions of dollars damages on the East Coast.

Anyone who is allergic to molds will manifest symptoms when exposed to mold spores. The person may experience irritation of the nose, eyes, airways and skin. It will start with a mold growth on a damp corner which will ultimately release tiny spores that float on the air. Once this will be inhaled by someone who is allergic to it, the person will start rubbing one’s eyes and sneeze. It can even trigger asthma attack.

Ten Things You Should Know about Mold

  1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints.
  2. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
  3. If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
  4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.


Controlling The Allergens in Your Home

pioneer (13)According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology  – Acaai.orgasthma affects more than 17 million adults and more than 7 million children in the United States.  Allergies are the 6th. Leading cause of chronic illness in the United States with a cost that exceeds $18 billion every year, and there are more than 50 million Americans that suffer from allergies every year.

Spring is a nice season for most of us, but for allergy sufferers, it is a season of tremendous discomfort and pain. The sneezing, wheezing, itchy eyes, runny nose that pollen brings to allergy sufferers is tremendous.  Preparing your family for this allergy season begins with you.  Keeping a home free of mold and allergens, can provide the clean air that your family needs this allergy season.

For more about this topic, follow the links below.

10 Steps to Control Allergens in Your Home

Allergens such as mold, dust and pollen will always be present in your home but there are steps that you can take to get them under control. These 10 easy tips will help reduce allergens in your home as well as your exposure to them. Try three or four or implement all ten.  You’ll see a difference in the health, and happiness, in your home.

  1. Use the bathroom fan                                                                                                                        Mold and mildew, shown here growing on the underside of a roof, can be a major source of household allergies.The bathroom can be the most humid place in the home because showers and baths produce steam. Excess moisture plus heat causes mold. If you don’t have a fan make sure that your bathroom is well ventilated by leaving the door open or cracking a window.
  2. Stay organized
    Keep your home and closets organized. Clutter collects dust and dust contains allergens. Stacks of magazines and knick-knacks are some of the worst offenders for trapping hidden and unwanted dust.


How to Allergy-Proof Your Home

Use the right products in the right way to prevent sneezing and wheezing during pollen season and beyond.

The simplest way to keep allergy symptoms at bay? Avoid exposure to the substances that provoke your sneezing, wheezing, and itchiness. But how? We looked at the research, spoke to leading experts, and reviewed our own product tests to determine what can help and what to skip when you’re trying to allergy-proof your home. Read on to find out which of the five following strategies really work.

Anti-Allergy Bedding

Swathing mattresses, box springs, and pillows in allergen-impermeable covers can entrap dust mites and animal dander as long as you use covers that are made from woven fabrics, according to research studies. Non-woven covers are less durable and won’t protect you from dust mites long-term. Plus, their dimpled surface can allow a variety of allergens to collect there. So before you buy, check product labels for a fabric pore size (the size of openings in the weave) no greater than 6 micrometers or microns, and for words such as “woven fabric.”


Are you allergic to your home?

Homes are places of comfort, security and rejuvenation. But what happens when your home makes you sick (literally!)? When not cared for correctly, homes can become the very reason you fall ill and stress levels will skyrocket. One obvious reason for this is the hidden allergens in your home. Common symptoms of allergies include wheezing, rash, watery eyes, swollen eyelids, itchy throat, runny nose, coughing, redness of the eye and itchy eyes.

Does your home have these allergens?


Dust is the most common culprit behind most allergies. If not cleaned regularly, dust mites and cobwebs can trigger respiratory problems. The best way to tackle dust is to set up a daily cleaning routine. Perhaps, investing in a good vacuum cleaner can help. Using microfiber clothes, brooms and mops for cleaning can also help.

Stop Mold Growth Before it Starts

pioneer (3)Mold occurs naturally in our environment, both indoors and outdoors.  Outdoors it plays a key role in vegetation decomposition, it’s beneficial.  But, indoors it’s undesirable and should be avoided.

Mold reproduces through spores that float through the air.  They’re invisible to our eyes and are always present.  Mold starts to grow when the spores land on a wet or damp surface — no water, no growth.  Therefore, it can only become an indoor problem, and a health hazard, when the situation is right for it to grow.

It’s impossible to get rid of all indoor mold spores, remember they’ll always be in the air.  However, a little bit of knowledge and work goes a long way toward limiting or stopping them from growing into an active mold culture.   

There are places in our homes more prone to humidity than others (basement, bathroom and the kitchen depending how often it’s used).  Humidity is water and it takes water for the spores to take hold.  Limiting or eliminating humidity is key to curtailing or getting rid of mold.

The ideal indoor humidity, for personal comfort and mold control, is between 30% to 50%.  It’s best to not let it go above 60%.  A basic, inexpensive humidity meter can tell you what the levels are in your home.  It’s important to move the meter from room to room as levels can change drastically from one to the other.

Of course, you may not need a meter.  If you can see the mold on the ceiling of your shower or the walls of your basement you know you have a problem.  But, a meter provides a helpful guideline, especially when you’re interested in maximizing personal comfort, as well as mold control. 

There are many common sense ways to reduce humidity: increase ventilation (open doors and windows, run exhaust fans), decrease condensation and it’s “hidden” sources (empty air conditioning and dehumidifier drip pans, insulate cold water pipes, cover sump pumps), wipe moisture from surfaces (windows and sills, walls, pipes), air conditioners and dehumidifiers.

Most people don’t know that many appliances produce moisture, especially in Northeast Ohio where we live in closed up houses for so much of the year.  Whenever possible, vent clothes dryers, stoves and kerosene heaters outside.   

It’s hard to have a completely mold free home.  There are just too many places in the average home for moisture and spores to join.  But, with some diligence you can go a long way toward limiting its impact on you and your family. 

Nicole Abbott is a professional writer who’s had over 150 articles published.  She’s a business consultant and former psycho-therapist with over 20 years of experience in mental health, business and addiction.  She’s a coach, lecturer, trainer and facilitator.  She has conducted over 200 workshops, trainings, presentations, seminars and college classes. 

Basement Waterproofing: Finding The Right Company

pioneer (14)We all have heard about the terrible job some waterproofing companies do when you hire them to waterproof your basement.  From the outrageous prices they quote, to the poor job they do and the mess they leave behind when finishing the job, some companies are not equipped to do a good job in your home.  There are many questions that as a homeowner you are entitled to ask before signing any papers with these so called contractors.

  • Are you insured, bonded, and have a license to do the job required?                           

Making sure that the company you hire has insurance that protect you from a lawsuit if anything should go wrong with the job, is a prerequisite you should not take lightly.  If any permits are required, you need to know they can take care of it without hesitation.

  • How long have you been in business?

The history of the company matters.  There are some companies that open for business, make some money doing bad jobs, close their doors and begin someplace else.  A company that has been in business for a long time and can provide you with a clean record, plus great references, is a company that you can trust and you can do business with, without too much concern.

  • Is this the best method and price for my particular problem?

IF the job they explain they are going to do seems “shady,” maybe you need to look someplace else.  The job they are proposing to do, materials needed and time frame should be explain to you easily. Any questions you have should be addressed and answered promptly.  If you do not understand the process and the materials they are using, you should look into a second opinion to make sure you understand what they are doing.

Having a good grasp on the information the contractors are telling you, requires that you do your homework too.  Knowing the problem your basement has, researching the methods, materials and companies doing these kind of jobs can mean saving money while having a job well done. 

If you have questions or need more information about basement waterproofing and foundation repair contact us.  We will be happy to offer a solution that makes sense to you and is kind to your wallet.

How To Spot Foundation Problems


Spotting problems with the foundation of your home shouldn’t be difficult.  The degree of damage the foundation has could be way out of your league, but some problems you should be able to spot without any difficulty.  Hiring a waterproofing and foundation repair specialist can be the best solution if you have a foundation problem, and they can find the problem and give you an estimate for you so you can shop around and find the best possible deal.  Check their credentials before admitting anyone into your home, and make sure their standing with the BBB is good before signing and writing checks.

For more about foundation repairs, follow the links below.

The Easy Way to Waterproof Masonry Surfaces

For brick, stone, and concrete surfaces, exposure to moisture can be damaging, if not immediately then gradually and inevitably. Fortunately, it’s easy to protect masonry surfaces—and the interior of your home—with a waterproofing treatment from DRYLOK. Here’s how.

For the last 50 years or so, new home foundations have almost always been made of concrete. Ranking among the toughest materials on the planet, concrete boasts surpassing strength and durability. It’s also cost-effective and, for the average contracting crew, relatively easy to work with. Considering its many virtues, there’s little wonder that in the construction of my own home four years ago, the builders saw fit to erect the wood frame over a foundation of poured concrete.

Though it’s long-lasting and hard-wearing, concrete is far from invincible. It’s naturally porous, and that means it’s susceptible to moisture. If exposed to enough moisture for a long enough period of time, a concrete foundation can leave a home vulnerable not only to damaging leaks, but also to unhealthy mold and mildew. In severe cases, compromised concrete at the foundation level can even upset the overall structural integrity of the home, necessitating extensive, expensive repairs.

The 4 Basic Indoor Warning Signs

Houses settle over time, and a little unevenness isn’t cause for panic. At the same time, you’ll want to be alert to these warning signs that more dramatic changes are taking place:

1.  A door begins to jam or fails to latch.

2.  Cracks appear in walls, especially over doorways, windows, or where walls meet ceilings.

3.  Cracks open in vinyl or ceramic tile over a concrete floor.

4.  Windows that used to open and close easily suddenly begin to stick or won’t close completely.

How-To Guide: Foundation Repairs and Sealing Foundation Cracks

Foundation repairs run the gamut from simple DIY fixes to major reconstruction. Learn more about foundation repair costs and when it’s best to call a pro.

If your foundation has cracks wider than 1/4-inch wide, or if you have stairstep cracks in blocks or bricks, you can hire a contractor to plug them by injecting epoxy ($1,500-$3,000) or do it yourself with epoxy putty, but either way, you’ll only be stopping water from coming in.

You need to fix the underlying problem.

The most common culprit is water. It can accumulate in the soil around the foundation, which expands the soil and puts pressure on walls and foundation footings, causing cracks to appear.

Check to make sure all gutters and downspout drains are in good working order, and that the soil around your foundation is properly graded — it should slope at least 6 inches for every 10 horizontal feet.

Most foundations are required to have a perimeter drain system, such as a French drain, that channels sub-surface water away from the foundation.

It’s possible for this drain to become blocked, causing water to accumulate in the soil and putting pressure on your foundation walls. If you suspect a blocked drain, you will need to hire a professional to unclog it.

Do You Know If You Have a Foundation Problem?

Water in the basement, damp walls, leaky water lines, and humidity are easy for any homeowner to spot.  But, as homeowners the more difficult task we encounter is knowing whether the foundation of our homes are faulty or not.  I f you own a brand new home, it should be obvious that it has a foundation with no problems.  But, if you own an older home and are unsure as to whether you have a damaged foundation or not, hiring a home inspector to come see your home could be a good idea.  Early signs of a damaged foundation tend to be subtle, and as homeowners we may not see that there is something wrong.

For more about this topic, follow the links below.

Basement floods prompt homeowners to sue contractor and concrete company

A Skokie husband and wife are suing a Cook County contractor for breach of contract in a dispute over the construction of a new home’s foundation and other issues with the residence.

Barry and Lisa Sorkin filed a claim Sept. 21 in Cook County Circuit Court, Law Division against Viorel Cordos and Duran Concrete Inc. alleging breach of contract, negligence and fraud.

According to the claim, the Sorkins hired Cordos to build a house on property they owned in Skokie. As general contractor, Cordos hired Duran Concrete to build the home’s foundation and install basement waterproofing. After moving into the house, the plaintiffs have allegedly experienced significant water seepage and flooding three times in 2014 and 2015. Subsequent investigations have allegedly shown no waterproof membrane was used on the foundation and that proper drains were not installed on the property. These defects have forced the plaintiffs to make significant repairs.

What Type of Repair and Restoration Service to Engage for Foundation Repairs

Taking any chances with the foundation repair service means risking the entire property itself.

Cracks and leaning walls could be a lot of trouble and call for urgent foundation repair and maintenance before they lead to even bigger problems.

These structural issues are a great cause for concern, because they can easily compromise the integrity of the entire structure of the building.

Before residential and commercial property owners make the next move, it is important to weigh certain factors that could impact their decision to hire the right service.

Factors to choose a foundation specialist

There is no doubt that property owners should ensure that only a foundation specialist is engaged for the necessary residential or commercial foundation repair. Avoid calling any other renovation service that is not equipped to handle the complexity of the task.

State Warns Insurance Companies Not to Cancel Policies Over Foundation Problems

The state insurance department sent a letter to insurance companies notifying them they are not to cancel or non-renew any policies for homeowners who file claims for coverage because they have a crumbling foundation.

The move is in response to concerns voiced by many homeowners and their attorneys.

One homeowner complained to the Department of Consumer Protection that their insurance company was dropping them at renewal because they had an issue with their home’s foundation.

In the course of an NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters investigation starting in July, homeowners have said they are scared to file a claim because of the risk of losing insurance.

Homeowners and attorneys tell NBC Connecticut their claims get denied, at times without the insurance company seeing the failing concrete basement walls.

The Department of Consumer Protection released a brochure to help homeowners with the issue.

Getting Your Home Ready For The Winter

Getting your home ready for fall and winter is a very small amount of time you need to invest to have things working properly next year.  From cleaning the gutters in your home to putting away the water hoses and machinery in the shed, the amount of work you need to do is minimal if you consider these small chores will ensure a long life to your home.  For more tips about how to get your home ready for fall and winter follow the links below.

Is Your Home Ready For Fall And Winter?

Summer’s over, the kids are back in school, football games have started and the days and nights are starting to get cooler. There are quite a few things you can do to be sure your home is ready for the coming seasons. And none of them include raking leaves, although that’s a good idea too! Here are some ideas to get you started:

Outside Your House

  • Once you’ve washed your car and watered your garden for the last time this year, drain your hose lines and turn off the water to outside valves. Remove the hose from the water valve and store it in a garage or shed. All of these actions will help prevent burst pipes over the winter.
    • Winterize your garden. Be sure all of your plants are trimmed back, and bring in or cover any furniture in your yard. Also cover your air-conditioning condenser unit and grill.

Autumn Checklist

The days are getting shorter, the nights are closing in and the temperature is slowly dropping.  Autumn is the ideal time to address all those little jobs that can make a big difference for you and your family this Winter.  Stop problems now before the Winter winds turn them from minor annoyances into disasters!  Most of the suggestions listed below are well within the average person’s ability but if you don’t feel you’re up to the task, why not contact CPM Exeter to find out more about our Property Maintenance services.

Drainage & Gutters

During the year your drainage system diverts thousands of gallons of water away from your home’s exterior and foundation walls and therefore it’s essential to keep the system flowing freely.  The majority of plants and trees drop their leaves in Autumn so it’s important to clear the drains & gutters regularly to prevent any blockages building up.  You may even wish to fit mesh guards around the edge of the roof or gutters to prevent the debris from returning.

Preparing Your Home for Fall

As much fun as summer can be, it has to end at some point. As the trees begin to change and the weather shifts from hot and humid to cool and crisp, it’s time to accept that fall has arrived once again. Whether you’re sad to see the sweltering weather end or are looking forward to unpacking your favorite cold weather clothes, there’s a lot to do to get ready for the changing seasons.

While the weather during the fall in much of the country remains tolerable for outdoor activities, winter temperatures will be here before you know it. With these helpful tips, you can easily ready your home for fall, and the colder temperatures to come.

  1. Pack up your summer clothes

Some of your summer clothes may be appropriate for light layering in the fall, but most of your shorts and tank tops are ready to be retired for the season. Packing up your summer clothes can make more room in your closet for sweaters, long pants, boots, and coats, making sure you’re prepared for the brisk chill of fall and the colder weather around the corner. Make sure your store your clothing properly to ensure your favorite summer duds are ready for next year.

Waterproofing Your Basement

stock-photo-22083798-water-damaged-basementPretty frequently you can watch the news or read the newspaper to find warnings about a basement waterproofing company that was not delivering what they promised.  Shoddy work and exorbitant prices were commonly associated with these companies, and the consumer is the one loosing.  If you need a waterproofing company, a contractor, or anyone working in your home, you need to be diligent. Doing a basic research on the company, the cost associated with fixing your problem, and basic common questions that you should ask whomever you are hiring should be done before any papers are signed or money exchanged.  Do you need a basement waterproofing company with a long history in the area and great customer satisfaction? Contact us or check the BBB to see our rating.

Get rid of water in your basement

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) Water problems in your home can lead to dangerous structural issues and even health problems. A family-owned company that addresses water and the issues that come along with it is Everdry.

Everdry Waterproofing and Foundation Repair has been in business nationally since 1978. The Grand Rapids office is celebrating 25 years in business, family owned and operated. Everdry does full-service waterproofing on the interior and exterior of homes. All work comes with a lifetime transferrable warranty.

Signs of Basement Moisture Problems

  • Musty odor
  • Dry rot
  • Visible mold
  • Cracks in wall and floor
  • Rust on appliances

On the Level: Dealing with a mold problem

We have a mold problem in our basement. Our house sits at the bottom of a hill so when there is a lot or rain or a big snowstorm that melts we get water continuously flowing into the sump pit. There have been a few instances where water in the basement coupled with inadequate ventilation caused some mold to form on some ceiling tiles and on a few parts of the walls. I called a basement waterproofing company and their sales rep came by and indicated it would cost approximately twenty-two thousand dollars for all mold to be removed and a proper drainage system installed. He said that everything had to be taken out of the basement, the walls torn down etc.

I want to take care of this problem but need some expert advice on what to do. I realize this sales rep wants to make money for his company but I’m not convinced that the mold problem is that serious.

Twenty-two thousand dollars is indeed a large sum. Quite frankly, the basement waterproofing industry is peppered with not-so-ethical practitioners who come on like gangbusters, scare the pants off you with a huge number only to back off of the big number somewhat with certain sales techniques only to have you grasp at a smaller price they’ll offer if you sign right away.

The Importance Of Cleaning The Gutters Of Your Home


The end of summer is at an end and the chores associated with the end of the growing season are here.  Storing your gardening tools, lawn mower, tractor, etc., for next year are important chores during this time of year. Cleaning the gutters of your home though is a very important chore you cannot neglect. Making sure the gutters are clean of debris and the water flow is not blocked can save you lots of headaches and money in the long run.  To read more about this follow the links below.

How to Store Your Lawn Mower for the Cold Season


Gas-powered lawn mowers and trimmers take their share of abuse during the warm months, so some care at the end of the season—or at the start of spring—is vital to keeping their parts in good working condition. Replacing the oil, spark plugs, and air filters on mowers and applying a bit of elbow grease to grimy recesses, preferably before storing them for the winter, will ensure that they rev up with a pull of the cord next year.

Here, Audrey Meinking, owner of Mineola Bicycle, Fitness, and Mower in Mineola, New York, demonstrates the proper servicing on a push mower; the same process also works for other small gas-powered machines such as trimmers and snowblowers. “If you don’t take an hour or two for maintenance or bring your machines to a pro for servicing,” she says, “there’s a big chance you’ll be stuck watching the grass grow come spring.”

The importance of clean gutters

Keeping eavestroughs clean and clear can prevent a host of messy, and expensive, problems from cropping up.

Every autumn, trees and shrubs take on their brilliant display of reds, oranges, purples and yellows that mark the end of the growing season. Fall foliage may make for ideal photo backdrops and scenic days in the countryside, but closer to home leaves may be more of a hindrance than an aesthetic pleasure.

The hundreds of leaves that adorn the maples, oaks and other trees near homes will eventually fall as autumn turns into winter. Some will float down to lawns, while others will get lodged in gutters and downspouts, posing problems that can cause substantial and potentially costly problems for homeowners.

Homeowners know that gutter cleaning is an important part of fall home maintenance, but they may not completely understand why. Gutter cleaning can be a messy and time-consuming project, making it a project many homeowners are apt to put off.

Gross gutters mean hidden costs for homeowners

The problem with clogged gutters is more than just those annoying waterfalls that pour off the roof on rainy days, or the pretty icicles that hang around in the winter.

This excess water wreaks havoc on the integrity of your home’s structure. Thus, having your gutter cleaned of leaves and other debris will protect your home from water damage.

When neglected, experts say that gutters can turn from a necessity to a nightmare.

A gutter clogged with leaves, sticks and other debris can cause a leaky roof or water damage to the interior or exterior of your home. Contractors say that gunked-up gutters also make nice homes for pests, rodents and bugs.

How To Protect Your Home From Mold and Mildew

stock-photo-3164773-executive-home-bar-and-entertainment-roomIf you have a wet basement, the possibility of mold and mildew is pretty high.   Mold can damage your carpets, walls, and ceiling tiles. The repercussions of mold can be financially hard, and can be very damaging to your health.  Keeping a dry basement is not only smart for your wallet but to ensure a healthy living. Respiratory problems, skin irritation, sore throat and cough are some of the most common health problems associated with mold. Taking the problem seriously can ensure the health of you and your family. Follow the links below for more information about this topic. 

Be proactive when dealing with mold and mildew

Mold – it’s not a fun subject, but it’s a serious one – even in the summertime. Flash flooding from summer storms can cause standing water around buildings. Flooding and leaks are the leading causes of mold in homes, and recent studies show that approximately 50 percent of all homes have been affected with moisture problems leading to mold issues.

Without a doubt, the best strategy is prevention. Left untreated, mold infestation remediation can be as cumbersome and costly as a complete home renovation.

Mold can irritate the eyes, the skin, the throat, nose and lungs. Immune-compromised people and people with chronic lung conditions may get serious infections in their lungs when they are exposed to mold. It can also damage and stain walls, roofs, carpets and flooring, costing homeowners both time and money.

How to Stop Mold or Mildew

Regardless of how experienced you are at gardening, if you’ve grown plants, you’ve seen that feared appearance of white, fuzzy splotches on your beautiful plants; the zombie horde of death-devouring mold and mildew that slips onto your garden like a tangible fog.  You close the door and turn out the light, only to find one or more plants have gained a fur-coat of mold overnight.  But just what is it, and how can you fight back?  First, find out what’s growing on your plants.  Is it mold, mildew, or some other type of fungus?  The most typical type of fungus you’ll find is a white, powder-like substance colloquially known aspowdery mildew.  We’ll address how to treat this specific case, but many of these techniques will work so long as you’re facing a similar type of mold or mildew.

A word of Caution regarding fungus and mold:

You should always wear gloves and a mask while dealing with mold, mildew and fungus.  Most of the time they aren’t harmful, but several strains can be dangerous and harmful if inhaled.  Mold spores can also adhere to skin and clothing; wearing a mask and disposable gloves mitigates the spread and inhalation of harmful spores.

Mildew and Mold

The high humidity of an East Coast summer, combined with winter weather conditions, can make homeowners fall victim to household mildew.

“A large snowfall prevents the ground from freezing deeply, or a mild winter can fail to freeze the ground, allowing for easy water penetration,” says Phyllis Adams, associate professor of agricultural and extension education at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. “Any rain or melting snow, followed by a humid summer gives you perfect conditions for mold and mildew growth.”

Adams says the causes of most mildew problems are not difficult to understand or to solve. “Air can absorb moisture. It’s like a sponge,” she says. “Warm air can hold more water vapor than cold air. When the temperature of the air drops, its ability to hold moisture is lessened until the air reaches the dew point. Droplets of water will form on any surface that is at or colder than the dew point of the surrounding air.”

Warm, moist air within a house is attracted to all cold surfaces, including windows, mirrors, the corners of basements, exterior corners of a room and inside closets. The buildup of condensation creates the perfect environment for mold spores to thrive.