"A Little Guidance Goes A Long Way"
Carpenter ant workers and swarmers (winged ants) are the most likely sign homeowners observe. The workers may be observed foraging for food. Swarmers usually are produced when a colony matures and is ready to form new colonies. These winged individuals often indicate a well-established colony. An additional sign of carpenter ant activity is the debris they produce from tunneling in the wood. Rough wood shavings mixed with parts of dead ants from the colony indicate carpenter ant nesting activity. A final sign may be the “rustling” sound sometimes heard as the ants go about their activity in the home’s wood.
Do you think mold might be growing somewhere in your home or a home your considering purchasing? If there is any question that mold might be present, you should have a mold inspection performed. This will determine:
1. Where latent mold is growing and the reason for the mold growth.
2. If the source is known, a test can provide details as to exactly what kind of mold and how harmful it is to your health.
Molds are part of the natural environment, and can be found everywhere, indoors and outdoors. Mold is not usually a problem, unless it begins growing indoors. The best way to control mold growth is to control moisture.
Goals of a Mold Inspection- There are two goals of a mold inspection. The first is to find if and where mold is growing in your home. The second is to find the water problem which caused the mold to grow in the first place.
WDI inspections or wood destroying inspects inspections. There is a moderate amount of subterranean termites, carpenter ants and carpenter bees in North East Ohio. Not spotting these insects in time can cost thousands in damage and ultimately potential structural damage.
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.
5. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by:
- Venting bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside
- Using air conditioners and de-humidifiers
- Increasing ventilation
- Using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing and cleaning
6. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
7. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, should be replaced.
8. Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
9. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floor with leaks or frequent condensation).
10. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on
wood, paper, carpet, and foods.
Wood Destroying Insects
Radon in homes
For most people, the greatest exposure to radon occurs in the home. The concentration of radon in a home depends on:
-the amount of uranium in the underlying rocks and soils;
-the routes available for the passage of radon from the soil
into the home; and
-the rate of exchange between indoor and outdoor air, which
depends on the construction of the house, the ventilation
habits of the inhabitants
Radon enters homes through cracks in the floors or at floor-wall junctions, gaps around pipes or cables, small pores in hollow-block walls, or sumps or drains. Radon levels are usually higher in basements, cellars or living spaces in contact with soil.
Radon concentrations vary between adjacent homes, and can vary within a home from day today and from hour to hour. Residential radon levels can be measured in an inexpensive and simple manner. Because of these fluctuations, it is preferable to estimate the annual mean concentration of radon in indoor air by measurements for at least 3 months. However, measurements need to be based on national protocols to ensure consistency as well as reliability for decision-making.
Radon, the second leading cause of lung cancer, is a radioactive gas emitted from the ground that may seep into the home.
If you are buying a home or selling your home, have it tested for radon.For a new home, ask if radon-resistant construction features were used and if the home has been tested.
You cannot see, smell, or taste radon but it may still be a serious problem in a home. Breathing air containing radon increases the risk of getting lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General of the United States has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. EPA estimates that radon causes approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. each year. Testing is the only way to find out your home's radon levels. EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon. I am trained and licensed in testing for radon. It is essential for both buyers and sellers to test for radon before making a transaction.
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Reducing radon in homes
Well-tested, durable and cost-efficient methods exist for preventing radon in new houses and reducing radon in existing dwellings. Radon prevention should be considered when new houses are built, particularly in radon prone areas. In many countries of Europe and in the United States of America, the inclusion of protective measures in new buildings has become a routine measure. In some countries it has become a mandatory procedure.
Radon levels in existing homes can be reduced by:
increasing under-floor ventilation;
installing a radon sump system in the basement or under a solid floor;
avoiding the passage of radon from the basement into living rooms;
sealing floors and walls; and
improving the ventilation of the house.
Passive systems of mitigation have been shown to be capable of reducing indoor radon levels by more than 50%. When radon ventilation fans are added radon levels can even be reduced further.
What is radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. It has no smell, colour or taste. Radon is produced from the natural radioactive decay of uranium, which is found in all rocks and soil. Radon can also be found in water.
Radon escapes easily from the ground into the air, where it decays and produces further radioactive particles. As we breathe, the particles are deposited on the cells lining the airways, where they can damage DNA and potentially cause lung cancer.
Health effects of radon
Radon is the most important cause of lung cancer after smoking. It is estimated that radon causes between 3–14% of all lung cancers in a country, depending on the average radon level and the smoking prevalence in a country.
An increased rate of lung cancer was first seen in uranium miners exposed to high concentrations of radon. In addition, studies in Europe, North America and China have confirmed that even low concentrations of radon – such as those found in homes – also confer health risks and contribute significantly to the occurrence of lung cancers worldwide.
How is the inspection performed and what is inspected?
By law, an inspection for wood-destroying insects and their evidence is the careful visual examination of all accessible areas of a building and the sounding of accessible structural members adjacent to slab areas in contact with masonry walls and other areas particularly susceptible to attack by wood-destroying insects. Evidence includes both present and past activity of wood-destroying insects visible in, on or under a structure, or in or on debris under the structure. Permanently attached decks, porches, storage sheds, etc. are included in these inspections. Outbuildings or other detached structures are not routinely inspected unless specifically requested by the client. In order for the inspection to be completed correctly, I must have access to all interior and exterior areas of the structure to be inspected. I will indicate areas of the structure that were inaccessible at the time of his inspection. Obviously inaccessible areas, such as inside walls, beneath carpet or other floor coverings, etc., will not be listed separately.