Four Common Mistakes Committed When Investigating and Rectifying Indoor Air Issues
Indoor air quality is a serious concern. When we hire professionals to help figure out what went wrong with our indoor environment we want it done right. When we have questions about what is in the air we breathe we want accurate answers. However it is fat to common for home owners and even investigators to neglect so important considerations when looking into the quality of our air.
Forgetting the Attic and Crawlspace.
During the process of improving indoor air quality and investigating mold concerns people solely concentrate on the habitable living spaces such as bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms. These areas are investigated and addressed by home owners, mold inspectors, and air quality consultants because they are obvious and easy to see and hard to forget. But most people forget to include the filthiest areas of any home, (the attic and crawl space!) It is true that some homes have no crawl space or attic. Most single family homes have a large, hot, dusty, attic about 3 foot above nose level when we stand up. Some homes have a filthy smelly crawl space just 5 foot below nose levels when we stand up. Air in such non-habitable spaces is often of very poor quality. Before I continue let me warn you that in most cases homeowners should not enter a crawl space or attic. Crawl spaces and attics are not safe. It is best to leave inspecting attics and crawl space air quality to the professionals. It is a great mistake to not have such areas investigated as they are sometimes major source of contamination. Mold growing on and underneath wet attic AC ducts, rodent droppings left behind by past or even active roof rat infestation, and roach droppings are all common sources of attic air contamination. If you have recessed ceiling lights this contamination can easily enter your home and cause allergy or dusty odors or rodent odors. In crawl spaces water supply leaks, and more commonly sewage leaks results in foul wet areas where mold and even bacteria can proliferate. In the crawl space when it is hot outside hot crawl space air will rise up through the floors.
Forgetting the Roof and Windows
Some unfortunate individuals find that there is a return of mold growth right after mold remediation! Quite often such situations occur within a few months of remediation. If examined carefully it may be found that people have not taken care of water leaks. A roof that leaks in one small area at the center of the ceiling leaves a noticeable stain that is quickly addressed, thus these leaks seldom cause a major mold problem. Roofs that leak above walls are more of a concern. Roof leaks that flow hidden in walls is often never noticed by home owners, and more of a concern. Now this dampness is the ideal catalyst for mold in your walls. Eventually, they will affect your interiors after some time! Therefore, always remember to check your roof and other out of site areas that are often forgotten about. Window caulking is another concern. Leaks around caulking defects is an extremely common source of moisture penetration, yet for some reason these conditions often go unnoticed for many years!
Killing and Encapsulating Molds is a Last Resort Effort
Most mold remediators and indoor air treating and abatement firms know they should never simply spray disinfectant on molds, kill them, and leave them behind. Some builders, general contractors, painters, and landlords, prefer the above referenced cheap and easy methods of spraying chemicals and bleach and painting over real problems! Covering mold is also known as encapsulating. But none
of these is a proper technique! The allergens spread by molds remain active even when they are killed by bleach and fungicides. Water penetration problem remains trapped and can rear its ugly head months days, weeks, or even years later if ignored and encapsulated. So for purifying indoor air your best bet is to remove the molds completely. The only widely accepted and recognized solution for mold remediation is mold removal and leak repair.
Masking Odors with Additional Chemicals
Finally do not mask odors with air fresheners, bleach, cleaning products, and disinfectants.
Masking odors will not help you to address the cause or correct the real issue. Instead bleach and air fresheners will give you a false sense of security while the real problem gets worse. In addition using chemicals only acts to add additional ingredients to an already existing indoor air quality problem.