For one beleaguered home owner, every time she entered her kitchen the result was the same: runny eyes, headaches and asthma symptoms. No one else in her family had the same reaction, and the cause remained a mystery.
She called in Green Home Solutions, and Green Service Expert Eddie Odoms quickly discovered the culprit. Black mold was growing underneath her sink and kitchen counters.
“She was on the extreme side,” says Odoms. “Not everyone is going to have the same reaction.” Ultimately she had to completely remodel her kitchen, but it was worth it. Green Home Solutions returned after the remodel and treated the home again. “This had been going on for years. The end result was that she got to the root cause and the problem was taken care of.”
Although black mold is never a welcome discovery, it isn’t always such a bad sign, says Odoms. “A lot of people think that all mold is deadly and everyone reacts to it the same way. They see black mold and they think it’s the worst. But mold comes in all kinds of colors and classifications.”
Such misconceptions are common, he explains. Odoms, along with Olympia Green Home Solutions owner Ana Ramirez, find that educating customers is all part of their job. Mold is a misunderstood subject and some even believe that any mold is going to cause an allergic reaction. But, everybody’s immune system is different, so one person might have a reaction to a specific mold but another might not, says Odoms.
Another common belief they encounter is that bleach kills mold, but in fact bleach is 95 percent water, which mold needs in order to grow. It actually feeds the mold,” says Ramirez. “It will look like it’s gone because the chlorine whitens the first layer, but it’s still there, especially if you’re applying it to a porous surface.”
The bleach actually sits on top of the mold and only the water penetrates, explains Odoms. “That first layer is killed but the roots of the mold spore remains and are fed by the water. It always comes back and sometimes even darker.”
There’s also confusion around the difference between mildew and mold. “People think that mildew grows in their bathrooms,” says Ramirez, “but mildew doesn’t grow in homes. It’s organic and it only grows outside on things like plants. If you find something in your bathroom, usually it’s mold. Products that say ‘kills mildew’ are a misconception. ”
If mold is living in a confined space like inside a closet or under a sink with the doors shut, residents may mistakenly believe that it’s not in the air. “Just because it’s under a cabinet doesn’t mean it’s not airborne,” says Odoms. “The spores get into the air in the same way as when you blow on a dandelion. Once they have a heavy colony, you can walk by and the spores will spread throughout the living area.”
However, Green Home Solutions’ preferred method of prevention and treatment is through their products of choice. The company uses Oceanic, an Environmental Protection Agency-registered disinfectant/fungicide that is safe for people, pets and plants and is approved for use in hospitals and medical facilities. “It’s safe for pets and for people with fish tanks,” says Ramirez. “It’s specific to mold. It attaches to and breaks down mold spores only, not humans, animals or plants. What’s left once the peptide bonds are broken are only harmless amino acids.”
Clients are grateful to have a non-toxic option that is effective. “I hear from people that they’re overjoyed that there is a product out there that’s both environmentally friendly and kills mold,” says Ramirez. “They say things like, ‘We’ve been needing this for a long time.’ We’ve heard horror stories about chemicals that kill everything, not just mold. We offer a better choice and a better product.”
The ideal solution is to prevent problems before they happen. While Green Home Solutions often gets called in after a problem has already developed, they also educate real estate agents and home owners on what causes mold to develop and how they can prevent it from happening. “The majority of the time it starts in the attic space due to a lack of ventilation,” says Odoms. “Maybe a bathroom fan becomes detached and all of that warm, moist air goes directly into the attic but doesn’t go out through the roof.”
When that happens, calling a certified roofing contractor to reattach the fan and make sure there are no leaks can take care of the issue. “If there’s not enough venting, have a contractor come out and vent more of the attic so you can get air moving into that space,” says Odoms.
Visit Green Home Solutions online to learn more about their services and products or give them a call at 360-334-9333.