Nick Gromicko explains various defects endemic to older homes here.
Here’s a little post we did about basement bedrooms:
Controlling moisture is the only way to control indoor mold growth, and controlling it also helps with pests and other issues.
You may not know that the following activities and appliances add moisture to indoor air:
- Running dishwasher
- Drying firewood indoors
- Standing water in the foundation/crawlspace area
- Showering and running the tub
- Humidifier use
- Venting clothes dryer indoors
By watching your in-home use of these items, you can better monitor your indoor moisture.
Often clients are bewildered by the presence of mold. “How could this happen?!?” But truly, when we understand how mold grows, it actually happens very easily.
Our partner organization, InterNACHI, has a helpful paper on indoor mold. They explain:
It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors. Some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. Mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present.
with at least one peculiarity:
You’ve heard the horror stories: “Radon causes lung cancer.” Or, to be more precise, “Radon is linked with lung cancer.” It’s scary; so what can you do?
One easy step is to understand how radon enters homes. There are four ways:
- Designed openings in floors and walls: Windows and doors allow air into living spaces by design.
- Permeable flooring and wall materials: Materials such as concrete, brick, wood, vinyl, and tile are not airtight.
- Structural cracks: Defects in home appear over time, and settling cracks are common.
- Gaps in designed penetrations: Improperly sealed pipes, pits, and drains allow air into the living space.
You can deal with #3-4 with repairs, but #1-2 require a radon mitigation system in place.
Soils and underground rocks release a radioactive gas called radon, and this radon gas accumulates in indoor structures at various levels. Various studies have linked radon gas exposure with lung cancer and various lung diseases.
Recently we’ve received a few questions regarding our radon testing standards. Referencing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States and the World Health Organization (WHO) in Switzerland and across the globe, one key difference emerges: recommended levels for remediation.
- EPA = 4.0 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L)
- WHO = 2.7 pCi/L (also noted as 100 becquerels per cubic meter)
When a testing organization like ours chooses to use the lower WHO standard, this can cause disagreement in local markets where the EPA standard is considered the norm.
Our reasoning for following WHO is threefold:
- The WHO is a more broadly researched and well-studied organization, drawing from over 7000 people working in 150 country offices.
- The stricter standard level (2.7 pCi/L) for remediation protects clients more than a more permissible standard level (4.0 pCi/L).
- The marginal benefit of relying on a the tighter standard is higher for the client. In essence, if we say a testing level of 2.9 pCi/L requires remediation, but another party disagrees, nothing is lost to our client.
For further research, consult the links above.