Category Archives: Indoor Air Quality

Expert Interview Series: Brian Reeves of MoldBlogger.com on Fighting Mold in Your Home

Mold in your home

Brian Reeves is the owner and manager of MoldBlogger.com, a blog that provides invaluable tools for almost 100,000 visitors each month to fight mold and win.

Here, Brian talks about the dangers mold poses to homeowners and how they can reduce the risk of it showing up in their house. Read on:

Tell us about MoldBlogger.com. When and why was the site started?

MoldBlogger.com began in 2005 as a niche site that would provide genuine value and help to those in search of mold information. It was designed to assist online readers to find the resources they need to “fight mold and win!”

How did you become so interested in the dangers/risks of mold?

I became interested in the dangers of mold through my wife, who is very sensitive to mold. Looking for real estate in the very wet Pacific coast became quite the adventure and a learning process. It later garnered more of my attention as I dealt with some mold issues in my own home. Then, when the opportunity came to acquire MoldBlogger.com, I felt motivated to continue learning more while growing this online community.

How common is mold in homes today?

Mold is incredibly common. It can be found in wet climates where it thrives, or pretty much anywhere with a leak or humidity/water issue. Mold is an opportunistic organism. I have personally dealt with mold in several of the places I’ve lived. We know many friends and family members who have had both minor and major mold issues, some life-altering.

What are the risks of having mold in a building?

There are many financial and health risks associated with toxic mold in a building. Toxic mold is not good for people or buildings, and should be taken seriously.

Where is mold most likely to be found in a home? Where are some unexpected places it likes to hide?

Mold often occurs from leaks, whether leaky pipes or a leaking roof. Bathrooms and kitchens are notorious for harboring mold due to the plumbing or moisture issues. It also likes to hid on the back of furniture pushed close to a wall.

Are all molds dangerous? What types pose the most danger to homeowners?

The two that homeowners need to especially watch out for are Stachybotrys Chartarum (black mold) which can have many symptoms (see next item) and Aspergillus which leads to respiratory issues and infections.

What are the long-term affects of mold exposure to homeowners?

Anyone exposed to mold for an extended period of time may suffer from constant headaches, nose bleeds, coughing blood or black colored fragments, fatigue, shortness of breath, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rashes and neurological disorders, among other things. You should consult a doctor who is aware of mold’s impact on health if you think you are experiencing symptoms of mold exposure.

What might surprise homeowners the most about mold in their homes?

One common mistake is using bleach for mold on porous surfaces, such as drywall. The bleach will temporarily kill the mold on the surface, while the water will soak in, feeding the roots of the mold and potentially causing it to come back stronger the next time.

How can homeowners prevent mold in their homes?

Checking for leaks and maintaining a healthy humidity level is essential for preventing mold in homes. It is very basic, but so important.

What are your favorite tools for fighting mold?

Knowledge is the best tool in fighting mold. Knowledge tells you when you need a professional to safely deal with a mold problem, or if/when you could do it yourself and how. That is why MoldBlogger.com exists.

When should homeowners call in a professional to help battle dangerous mold?

If you have a dangerous mold situation you should consult a professional. It is not worth risking your health to try and deal with a big issue yourself. The EPA recommends that any mold problem larger than 10 square feet be examined by a expert.

Find a leak in your house? Call Rodenhiser to solve your plumbing problems.

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Helpful Air Conditioning Tips for Spring in Massachusetts

Warmer weather has arrived here in Massachusetts. Summer weather is just around the corner. You need to take advantage of the mild spring weather to get your air conditioning ready for the hot weather ahead. Use these air conditioning tips for spring in Massachusetts.

Tips for Getting Your A/C Ready

air conditioning unit
Source: iStock.com/Maudib

Here are five tips for getting your A/C ready for summer:

  1. Clear trash, debris, and weeds from around your outside condensing unit. It needs clear airflow to work efficiently. Over the autumn and winter, leaf debris can accumulate around its base. As spring starts to blossom, weeds have a tendency to sprout up everywhere. Remove it all.
  2. Wash the exterior condensing unit off with a hose. If there is caked grime, a mild solution of water and dish detergent should remove it. Do not use a pressure washer on the outside unit as the pressurized water can damage the fins and other components.
  3. Change your air filters. This is actually something you should do every month. To cool your house efficiently, the A/C blower needs a steady supply of air. A clogged filter restricts air flow. Plus, it allows dust and debris to get into the A/C equipment and blow throughout your house, lowering your indoor air quality significantly.
  4. Clean your vents and registers. Even with regular air filter changes, some dust is going to make its way into the air ducts. It will often settle on the fins of vents and registers. Spring is the perfect time to clean those fins.
  5. Schedule an annual maintenance visit. Before you turn the A/C on for the season, make sure it is in good shape. An annual service call from a trained A/C technician will do the trick. This will keep the A/C running efficiently, minimize repair needs, and extend the life of the equipment.

These air conditioning tips for spring will keep you comfortable in the coming months of summer. If you need to schedule an annual maintenance visit for your A/C, contact us here at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. We serve the Route 495/128 are of Massachusetts.

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Don’t Forget to Spring Clean Your HVAC System

Winter is gone. The warmer winds of spring have arrived. It is the perfect time to get some spring cleaning done. If you are getting your spring to-do list together, don’t forget to spring clean your HVAC system.

Your spring cleaning HVAC list

replacing air filter
Source: iStock.com/simazoran

Use this simple checklist to get your HVAC systems ready:

  • Have a professional do routine maintenance. Your HVAC equipment needs annual maintenance to keep it running efficiently. This helps reduce repair costs and prolongs the life of the system.
  • Check and replace your air filters. This is something you should do every month. However, if your A/C is separate from your heating, you may not have checked the A/C filter since last fall. Now is the time to do it.
  • Make sure the drain hole is not plugged. Under your inside A/C unit, you will find a drain hole where moisture escapes. If that hole gets plugged, it could overflow causing damage to your home.
  • Clear any debris or dirt from around outside units. Dirt, fallen leaves, weeds and trash can clog the airflow going into and out of the unit. It is also important to make sure no plants are growing too close. Airflow is critical for it to run efficiently.
  • Clean vents and registers. It is very easy for dust and other particulates to cling to the fins on vents and registers. You can use a soft cloth or brush to remove any built-up dust. This helps keep air flowing.
  • Have your ductwork cleaned. If you see a shower of dust coming out of your vents when your heating or cooling turns on, you need to have your duct work cleaned. This will help improve indoor air quality year round.

Spring cleaning your HVAC system will only take a short amount of time. However, it is time well spent in making sure it will work as the warmth of summer arrives.

If you need an HVAC professional to check your HVAC system, contact us here at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. We proudly serve our neighbors in the Route 495/128 area of Massachusetts.

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Why Is Condensation Forming on the Windows of Your Massachusetts Home?

You’ve seen it often, but do you know what causes condensation on home windows and sliding glass doors? Even energy-efficient windows form condensation, but they’re not to blame. When high indoor humidity comes into contact with a cooler surface, such as cool glass, water vapor in the air condenses on the cooler surface. If you want to rid your home of condensation and mold risks, alleviate high indoor humidity by modifying activities and using practical indoor air quality (IAQ) upgrades.
Read More Why Is Condensation Forming on the Windows of Your Massachusetts Home? >>

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Allergy-Proof Your Home With These Tips

Do you suffer from a stuffy nose or itchy, watery eyes even when spending time indoors? If you have indoor allergies, take a few steps to allergy-proof your home and help you breathe easier year round.

Read More Allergy-Proof Your Home With These Tips >>

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What’s the Best Way to Heat and Cool Your Home Efficiently?

The heating and cooling systems in the average home typically use about half of the energy consumed each month. To heat and cool your home efficiently and reduce unnecessary spending, it’s important to keep the HVAC system in good working condition with regular maintenance. What specifically should you focus on?

Read More What’s the Best Way to Heat and Cool Your Home Efficiently? >>

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Do You Know How to Change Your Home Air Filter?

Replacing your home air filter regularly improves HVAC system performance and efficiency, as well as safeguarding indoor air quality. Monthly home air filter changes are well within the skill set of any homeowner and pay you back with lower operating costs and enhanced indoor comfort.

Read More Do You Know How to Change Your Home Air Filter? >>

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Minimize Indoor Air Pollution So You Can Continue to Breathe Easy

Indoor air pollution is a concern in many Massachusetts homes, especially in the middle of winter, when ventilation is minimal and families spend more time indoors. Though the presence of pollutants may seem unavoidable, there are a number of simple ways to minimize indoor air pollution.

Read More Minimize Indoor Air Pollution So You Can Continue to Breathe Easy >>

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Avoid Attic Problems by Keeping Up With Insulation, Ventilation and Sealing

Although the attic is an easy space to overlook when it comes to the structural components of your home, energy bills and indoor comfort, attic problems can undermine each. It’s worth spending a little time exploring ceilings and the attic to learn the integrity of this space and remedy any issues that exist.

Read More Avoid Attic Problems by Keeping Up With Insulation, Ventilation and Sealing >>

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Winter Allergies That Can Affect Massachusetts Homeowners

Although the spring season gets a lot of attention for the proliferation of allergies, the truth is that winter allergies are nothing to — pardon the pun — sneeze at. There are a number of elements that can irritate the respiratory system of someone suffering from allergies, and your best defense is learning some of these and how to control them.

Mold

mold2Mold is caused by an accumulation of moisture that can irritate the respiratory system of anyone, but especially those who already suffer from respiratory issues. The winter season increases the likelihood of moisture due to snow, rain, and morning dew. To keep the growth of mold under control, you must be resilient in drying susceptible areas like the bathroom, kitchen and basement. Also remove any standing water from outside your home.

Carpets

Carpet is notorious for holding in a variety of pollutants, such as dust, dust mites, pet dander and other allergens. These are spread around whenever someone walks across the carpet, and because of the increased foot traffic that your home may be subject to during the colder winter weather, the situation could be worse than normal.

There are two solutions here as well. If possible, replace the carpets with laminate, wood or tile flooring. These options don’t hold pollutants in place and are easier to clean. Or, if you don’t wish to part with carpet, purchase a vacuum cleaner equipped with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter for the best results.

For more expert advice on dealing with winter allergies, or if you have any other concerns related to home comfort, please contact the friendly professionals at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ve been serving the Route 495/128 area of Massachusetts since 1928.

Image via Shutterstock.com

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