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  1. The Winter Procrastinator: Getting Your Home Ready Last Minute Before the Cold

    Winter Procrastinator

    /win-ter pro-cras-tin-a-tor/
    noun

    last minute Christmas shopper; recovers only half of the decorations they’ve had stored in boxes for years, and puts them up days before Christmas; buys grocery store desserts on the way to a family gathering.


    If any of the above describes you, then maybe the holidays are not your favorite time of the year. That’s okay. The first step to recovery is awareness and acknowledgement. We’re here to help you through this trying time. If the shopping, decorating, and cooking is not your strong suit, that’s perfect, that’s only half of the winter prep.

    Behind the scenes of Christmas lights and jingle bells, there is some serious home preparation needed to head into the cold months. Most important is making sure your home is sealed tight preventing any moisture from entering. Water and moisture buildup almost always lead to mold, especially if ignored until the cold season passes.

    Steps for Sealing Your Home & Preparing for the Cold

    1. Prep Outdoor Plumbing

    Outdoor plumbing might be one of the most crucial elements of winterizing a home. If excess water exists in outdoor faucets or hoses they can freeze in their pipes, and potentially burst. Make sure to drain and turn off all faucets, including any sprinkler systems. Being extra careful never hurts – use heat tape on any questionable pipes inside the house. Performing all of these quick checks will (unfortunately) prevent you from having to call any (really cool) mold removal companies, like us, during or following the holidays.

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    2. Divert water away from house

    With heavy rains or snow storms, a lot of strain is put on your gutters. You want to make sure that the water and debris your gutters are collecting, are being pushed down and away from your house. Add extensions to downspouts to divert water several feet away from the base of your home.

    3. Clean Gutters

    Checking to make sure your gutters are free of debris before the rain and snow come can prevent water buildup as well as ice from forming along your gutters and roof. If the gutters collect too much weight they can potentially collapse, cause leaks, or other roof damage.

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    4. Check Roof

    While you’ve still got the ladder out from checking the gutters, check your roof as well. Look for any missing or damaged shingles that could be the source for unwanted leaks indoors.

    5. Caulk Windows & Doors

    Those tiny cracks between your siding and windows or doors may seem like nothing when the weather is mild. However, when temperatures drop to freezing or below, the cold air coming in through these cracks will make the difference between a warm and cool room. Use silicone caulk (about $6 at Home Depot) to fill in those cracks. Be thorough and check all window and door frames and joints.

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    6. Seal Leaks

    Wherever you feel a draft or see water dripping, just seal it all up. Do a quick scan of your home, and don’t forget your attic and basement. Check all storm windows and doors. Replace any weather stripping, and caulk the entry points of ducts and pipes that lead outdoors. You can’t be too careful when preparing for the cold. Not only are you ensuring you and your family’s comfort, but that of your home so that is may remain durable throughout the entirety of the winter months.


    If these winter prep steps didn’t do it for you, we are very sorry to hear that. Maybe you can give shopping and decorating another try… Just think of it this way,  Aunt Karen may have found that perfect gift for little Johnny, but you’re the one who kept him warm and dry all winter and that’s what really counts. He’ll appreciate it one day.

  2. Mold Mania! 10 Crazy Facts You Never Knew About Mold

    mold facts, black mold, what to know about mold, dangerous mold, mold spores, toxic mold, mold cleanup, mold removal, mold removal raleigh, width=

    1. Black mold, (scientific name stachybotrys), is only one species of over 10,000 different species of mold

    2. Bleach does not work on mold. It may kill mold growth, but not airborne mold spores.

    If you use bleach, do not assume the mold has been entirely removed from your home.

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    3. Dead mold spores are just as harmful to humans (manifesting in the lungs) as live mold spores

    4. The archaeologists that discovered King Tut’s tomb in Egypt likely died from dead aspergillus mold spores that sat dormant for centuries. One death was believed to be part of the tomb’s “curse” because it occurred within months of exposure to the tomb.

    5. Mold will not decompose a happy meal.

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    6. The T-2 mycotoxin is composed of three different species of mold, (including black mold), which combined are so toxic it has been used as a biological war agent. In its aerosol form it is known as “yellow rain,” which was used heavily during the Vietnam war.

    7. The largest settlement to any individual claiming property or health damage involving mold was awarded to actor and Johnny Carson sidekick on the Tonight Show, Ed McMahon for $7.2 million.

    8. Everything is bigger in Texas. Turns out the number one city in the U.S. for mold allergies is Dallas, Texas.

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    9. Texas is also the home to the most publicized mold case on record. Melinda Ballard sued her home insurance company over mold damages and was initially awarded $32 million! (Later this amount was reduced to $4 million).

    10. The states you are least likely to find mold are Wisconsin, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Alabama. It is not that these states are less humid or experience less rain, but rather their home construction is built tight, improving energy efficiency which protects against mold growth.

    Climate actually has little to do with indoor mold growth; it usually comes down to building practices and construction

    If you want to know more about mold and the removal process, check out  http://remtechenvironmental.com/raleigh-nc-mold-removal/.

     

  3. How To Make A Successful Real Estate Transaction Out Of A Moldy Situation

    Home is where families spend most of their time together. When searching for the right house, home buyers are looking at aesthetics, yard size, kitchen appliances, and bedroom arrangements. Buyers find the right house, fall in love, hire the inspector, and are devastated when inspection reveals the presence of mold.

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  4. Hurricane Matthew: What You Need To Know To Prepare

    Hurricane Matthew pummeled Haiti with sustained winds of 140 MPH (gusts up to 157 MPH), up to 40 inches of rain, landslides, and storm surge matthew-haitias high as 20 feet. Weakening slightly, Matthew will strike eastern Cuba as a category 3 storm before marching across the Bahamas.

    Matthew’s Impact On North Carolina

    Confidence is increasing that Matthew will then set its sights on the Carolina coast, potentially making landfall somewhere between Charleston, SC and the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

    Though multiple landfalls in the Caribbean will weaken the storm, Matthew may strike the Carolina’s as a strong category 2 or 3 hurricane. If it does make landfall in the Carolina’s as a category 3 storm, it will be the first major hurricane to hit the East Coast since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. It would also be the first major hurricane to make landfall in the Carolina’s since Hurricane Fran in 1996.

    Hurricane Matthew’s Current Forecast Track

    Once predicted to steer harmlessly out to sea, Matthew’s official forecast track has shifted steadily westward. The forecast cone pictured below is an amalgamation of several different computer models.

    matthew-three-day-path matthew-computer-models

    Similar to last year’s Hurricane Joaquin, computer models are literally all over the map. The range of possibilities is not as dramatic as it was with Joaquin; nevertheless, this is not a time for East Coast residents to let down their guards.

    Similarities to Hurricanes Fran, Floyd, Irene and Hazelhurricane-paths

    Matthew’s forecast track has been compared to past North Carolina storms: Fran, Floyd, Irene, and Hazel.

    Mentions of storms like Fran and Floyd conjure memories of epic flooding, fallen trees, and lengthy power outages.

    Recent heavy rainfall will complicate the potential damage Matthew could cause well inland. A slight shift westward could mean a major impact for Greenville, Rocky Mount, Raleigh, and Durham.

    Proper Preparation Is The Key To Recovery

    Residents all along the coastal regions of North and South Carolina should prepare for strong winds, heavy rain, flooding rainfall, and high storm surges.

    Preparation is the key to storm recovery. Coastal North Carolinian’s should heed warnings to evacuate. Inland residents should make sure they are very familiar with their insurance plans and be prepared to document any damage.

    North Carolinian’s are not strangers to major hurricanes. Make sure your family is ready for the storm, but be prepared to help your neighbor. If you have any questions about what you can do to make sure you, your family, and your community is ready for the storm, check out or storm preparedness checklist or give us a call.

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  5. How to Keep Mold From Killing the Sale of Your Home

    So you’ve decided to put your house on the market. You spruced up the paint, had the carpets cleaned and maybe even installed a few upgrades throughout your home. You list your home with a great realtor and your house is under contract in a matter of days. The day of the inspection rolls around and you get a not so great call from your realtor: the inspector found mold.

    The Inspector Found Mold: Now What?

    Take a deep breath, mold, while a nuisance, can be remediated. You cannot control the buyer’s reaction. They may hear the word mold and run or they may stand by your house and weather the storm. Either way, you have a mold problem that must be rectified.

    What Does Remediation Look Like?

    mold

     

    Honesty is the Best Policy

    It is important to address your mold issues head on. Like it or not most buyers will likely expect professional mold remediation with lots of documentation paid for in large part by you, the seller. Be sure to not only take the proper routes to correct mold growth in your home, but also find and fix the source of the problem.

    *Please note that every state has different requirements when it comes to the seller’s responsibility to disclose mold issues. Please contact a licensed realtor or real estate attorney in your state for more information.

  6. Is Mold a Home Buying Deal Breaker? Not Necessarily

    The housing market is hot here in the Raleigh area. Homes are selling in a matter of days. So what happens when the house you’re in the process of purchasing has mold?

    You found your dream house, your bid was accepted, it’s time to get the ball rolling towards closing. The day of the inspection comes and you’re told the house you are buying has a moldy secret. Is mold a deal breaker? Should you kiss your earnest money goodbye? Not necessarily.

    Should You Stay or Should You Go?

    • The Home Inspector Finds Mold: If the home inspector finds mold your next step should be to contact a mold company to assess the issue and determine if a third party testing firm needs to be brought in.
    • Price and Timeline of Remediation: Consider the time and money it will take to properly remediate your mold problem and decide if it is worth the price.
    • Determine Seller’s Willingness to Negotiate: Is the seller willing to cover or at least share the cost of remediation?

    There is no formula to determine if the presence of mold should warrant walking away from the house you are trying to purchase. Every situation is different. The amount and type of mold and the underlying reason for the mold are all important factors to consider. Seek advice from your buyer’s agent and a mold specialist to help you make your decision.

    What Does Remediation Look Like?

    Some amount of common mold is present in every home. However, if you are facing a larger mold issue, here is a list of what you should expect from a reputable mold remediation specialist:

    • Assess the size of the mold problem and identify mold-damaged materials.
    • Identify the source or cause of the moisture problem.
    • Plan the mold remediation strategy and adapt guidelines to fit the unique situation.
    • Remove the mold growth and remediate the affected area.
    • Fix the water or moisture problem.
    • Clean and dry moldy materials.
    • Discard moldy items that can’t be cleaned.
    • Perform follow-up inspections to check for the return of moisture and mold.

    Let Your Budget and Health Be Your Guide

    If you have the time and money to make repairs, buying a house with mold may be a viable option for you.  If however, you have health issues or time constraints, it may be in your best interest to walk away from the deal.

  7. Do You Have A Case Of The Common Mold?

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    As this long winter concludes, are you or your family experiencing the sniffles, itchy eyes, and scratchy throat? Those may be symptoms of something more sinister than the common cold. You may have mold in your home. Mold allergy symptoms often present similarly to pollen allergies.; however, it can lead to even greater health concerns if allowed to survive and thrive.

    Below are several symptoms to help you diagnose mold in your home and take action against it:

    Common Symptoms Your Home Has Mold

    1) Allergies: Sneezing, itching, coughing, or unexplained rashes can all be symptoms of mold, though they are almost indistinguishable from pollen allergies. Here are a few questions to help you determine if your sniffles are due to mold?

    • Are my allergies worse at home? If your sniffles ramp up when you arrive home in the evening, it could indicate that your symptoms are due to home environmental factors, such as mold.
    • Are my allergies worse on rainy days? Or, in other words, do you find that you or your family gets the sniffles after being stuck indoors for several hours or days?
    • Are my allergies worse in certain parts of the house? Do you wake up with a runny nose that clears up throughout the course of the day? Are your itchy eyes exasperated by spending time in the basement? Answers to these questions may help diagnose the presence and specific location of mold.

    2) Visible Signs: Mold can be difficult to distinguish from dirt, but there are a few key differences that can help you identify molds.

    • Color: Molds are generally green, pale blue, grey, white, or black. Grey and black colored molds are the most difficult to distinguish from dirt.
    • Texture: Molds are bumpy, velvety, or slimy, and will smear if wiped. If you attempted to clean the “dirt” and found it smearing, it is likely mold. However, intentionally attempting to smear potential mold is not a safe way to test for it.
    • Colonies: Molds tend to group together in colonies. Mold colonies are similar in appearance to paintball splatters.
    • Location: Mold often develops is dark, moist, hidden places in the home.

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    Often what is visible is just the tip of the iceberg. Mold can hide behind drywall, under flooring, and in all sorts of places invisible to the naked eye.

    3) Odors: Molds usually smell musty or sour. It can be similar to the smell of old, dirty gym socks, or a wet towel left in a vehicle in the hot sun, or even like a wet, nasty dog. If you smell that odor, especially in a part of your home prone to moisture, there is a good chance you have mold.

    4) Water Damage: Mold can develop as quickly as 48 hours from the first occurrence of water damage. Even if the cause of the damage has been repaired, if the moisture is not properly and adequately dried, mold will likely form. The best practice is to address and correct water damage immediately, before mold has the opportunity to develop. If you find old damage in your home, and you’re experiencing the other symptoms of mold, contact a professional immediately.

    What To Do If You Have Mold

    If the symptoms add up and you have diagnosed your home as having mold, there are a few things you should and should not do:

    You should not:

    • Panic: Don’t feel like you need to immediately leave your home forever, board up the windows, and have it condemned. Mold can be remediated.
    • Ignore it: Don’t assume mold is not a big deal or that it will go away on its own. You do need to do something about it.
    • Clean it yourself: We have previously written about the few instances wherein mold can be cleaned by homeowners if they strictly follow the proper procedures. However, we always recommend consulting a professional before attempting to remove even a small amount of mold. What is visible often pales in comparison to what is invisible.

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    You should:

    • Avoid it: If mold is confined to one room or area of you home, consider avoiding that area until it is remediated.
    • Address it: Contact a mold remediation specialist as soon as possible. The situation will only worsen over time.
    • Correct the source: Mold thrives where there is excess moisture. If the source of the moisture is not corrected, even if the mold is professionally remediated, it is likely to redevelop. Repair the water damage, fix the leak, and dehumidify high humidity areas of your home.

    If you have symptoms of mold, our prescription is to contact a mold remediation professional immediately. The sooner you address your mold situation, the better for your health and your wallet.

  8. Are You Ready for Joaquin?

    Joaquin strengthened to a major storm (category 3 or higher) overnight Wednesday and could slam the Bahamas as a category 4 hurricane. The current official forecast track released by the National Weather Service has Joaquin passing just east of the Carolina shore; however, several computer models are trending west with the storm’s track, some bringing it  through eastern and central North Carolina. (more…)

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