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A blog about Mold, Water Damage, Disaster Preparedness and Awareness!  The professional source for cleaning experts with a commitment to environmental responsibility. 



Indoor Air Purification: HEPA Filter and MERV Rating
Written by Susan Lillard   
Thursday, 17 May 2012 18:06

HEPA Filter, Indoor Air PurificationMany people ask me about the difference between a MERV filter and a HEPA filter.

MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) is the industry-standard ratings system used to measure the effectiveness of air filters. Ratings for residential and commercial AC filters typically fall between MERV 5 and MERV 12. Filters with higher MERV ratings remove more small particles from your air than lower-rated filters.

The MERV system was developed in 1987 by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the international trade group that represents HVAC professionals.

From what I've been told, it's the MERV rating that is more important than the size.   The MERV rating is what determines the size of the particles that can pass through. HEPA is the best, which I believe is a MERV 17. From what I've been told by HVAC professionals, a MERV 11 is ideal because it gives good protection, but also allows air to pass through efficiently to avoid undue costs for running the fan.

High-Efficiency Particulate Arresting or HEPA is a type of air filter. Filters meeting the HEPA standard have many applications, including use in medical facilities, automobiles, aircraft, and homes.

The filter must satisfy certain standards of efficiency such as those set by the United States Department of Energy (DOE). To qualify as HEPA by government standards, an air filter must remove 99.97% of all particles greater than 0.3 micrometer from the air that passes through. A filter that is qualified as HEPA is also subject to interior classifications.

I hope this information helps in making your decision!

Note: This site is not intended to give medical, legal, or professional advice. The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect my peers or professional affiliates. The information here does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supersede the professional advice of others.

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Mold Exposure and Allergies
Written by Susan Lillard   
Thursday, 29 March 2012 19:59
Many people are confused by the difference betwen mold toxicity and mold allergies, and many allergists are ignorant to mold toxicity.  Generally when these doctors check for mold allergies they inject substances (including mold) into the skin.  In my opinion this is a big mistake because it’s like shooting poison into the body.  Reactions can be severely detrimental.

There is a blood test to determine allergies and mold toxicity.  The standard allergy panel can determine allergies while the IGG panel can determine toxicity or infection.  These tests are available through many labs such as Labcorp and Realtime Labs.

Determining your medical needs is crucial to healing.

This site is not intended to give professional, legal or medical advice.  Seek the advice of a professional for diagnosis, medication, treatment options, and complete knowledge of any illness.  The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect my peers or professional affiliates. The information here does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supersede the professional advice of others.

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Questions From our Readers
Written by Susan Lillard   
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 19:49

Q. I have noticed little red dots that appear to resemble mold on my bathroom floor.  Could this be dangerous?

A. All mold can be unhealthy.  Since it is in your bathroom I suspect it is due to lack of ventilation.  You might want to keep a window open or turn on your fan after you bathe.

Q. We have a double wide that we live in that I suspect has a mold problem.  I have asthma and rashes and my wife is very sick.  We live in Orlando, Florida.  Do you know of a reputable inspector here?

A. Try A.P. Buck, Inc. His phone number is 407-851-8602.

Q. I rent an apartment where there are two sewage pipes in basement are completely covered with brown & black gook having bumpy growths. How dangerous is this? One is in the laundry room and there's a strange odor in there.

Q. This is what they call a “toxic cocktail” and it can be very dangerous.  If you can’t move I suggest you get a petition for remediation from all the other tenants.

This site is not intended to give professional, legal or medical advice.  Seek the advice of a professional for diagnosis, medication, treatment options, and complete knowledge of any illness.  The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect my peers or professional affiliates. The information here does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supersede the professional advice of others.

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Questions From our Readers
Written by Susan Lillard   
Friday, 09 March 2012 17:47

Q. Would point me to a good remediation company in Michigan? My Stachybotrys needs to be taken care of.

A. You can clean the mold yourself using a HEPA mask and UrthPro™ but if the mold is on a grander scale you may want to contact one of the following:

Jarvis Construction

41800 Executive Drive
Harrison Township, MI 48045
(586) 954-4700

The Flood Doctor

16017 Leone Dr.
Macomb, MI 48042
586.232.4361

Aaron’s Restoration, Inc.

888-362-7944

Please email me if these providers are not in your area.

Q. I need to know what blood tests that can be conducted to detect mold.

A. Mold doesn’t live in the blood.  It generally colonizes in the gut, the lungs, and the brain.  You can, however, determine antibodies that can somewhat prove exposure.  The test is conducted by Realtime Labs and Labcorp.  It is rather expensive.  This is why most people test the dwelling if they are experiencing symptoms.

Note: This site is not intended to give medical or professional advice. The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect my peers or professional affiliates. The information here does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supersede the professional advice of others.

 

 

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Questions From our Readers
Written by Susan Lillard   
Tuesday, 06 March 2012 18:21

Q. Our apartment manager is willing to release me and my special needs daughter from the lease because they are finally listening to me about the mold/roaches, HVAC-dust situation adding to my daughter's respiratory issues, and my bronchitis disorder.

There are brown water spots in the ceiling. Can that be mold? There are small bugs that grasp the walls in various corners and just seem to be hibernating or sucking the walls.

Do you have any idea what kind of furry and small black bugs these are attaching to my walls? The apartment smells old and musty especially when we run the heat/ac.  Please advise us.   My daughter must take all sorts of breathing treatments, meds, and we are coughing daily!

A. It sounds as though your only recourse would be to move.  I realize this is easier said than done but it sounds as though you are living in a very sick building.  I don’t know what kind of bugs are in your home but the brown spots on the ceiling sound dubious.

Some people self test the mold through Mould-Works Lab (231-735-2937). With this test you can get a full report that not only specifies the mold you are being exposed to but also the health effects.  Armed with this you could possibly take this and any receipts or photos of porous items in your house, and the medical records to small claims court to possibly get reimbursed for moving costs and replacing your porous items.

Q. Ever since my mold exposure I have had really thin nails.  Is there anything I can do about this?  I have followed the Mold Help Diet and all of the rest of my symptoms are gone.  Thank you.

A. Yes.  You could take high doses of Biotin (vitamin H).  It’s not toxic in high doses but I recommend 5,000 to 10,000 mcgs. per day.

Note: This site is not intended to give medical, legal or professional advice. The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect my peers or professional affiliates. The information here does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supersede the professional advice of others.

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Questions From our Readers
Written by Susan Lillard   
Thursday, 01 March 2012 20:20

Q. Hi Susan,

Our home in Florida was damaged by a hurricane a few years back. The home had a lot of water damage. We removed much of it ourselves. I did most of it without a mask. I never thought twice about it.

Now, I have had a wheeze when I laugh hard for a few years, but didn't think anything. Now I feel like I am short of breath so easily. My memory is also been bad, but I figured it was menopause. Can mold stay in the body for a few years? We do not live in that home anymore. My husband just got a new job so I will have medical insurance soon, and will get checked out.

I was just wondering if mold poisoning is a possibility under these circumstances. If it is, how do you get rid of it? Thanks for your opinion.

Stacy

A. Hi Stacy,

You are asking a good question.  Mold can live in the body for many years. Exposure to many molds can cause colonization within the body.  It prefers to proliferate in the lower gut, the brain, and the lungs.  Until you obtain medical insurance I suggest you follow the Mold Help Diet.  It stems from the late Dr. Vincent Marinkovich’s regime.  We offer a book on our website that can be mailed to you for every donation of $20 or more.  The book also has a list of suggested supplements and anti-fungals that you can obtain at your local health food store.  The link is http://www.mold-help.org/content/view/736/.

You should also be aware of the Herxheimer effect.  This is when the dead toxins are being carried away in the bloodstream.  You don’t want to detox too fast to avoid this from happening.  The diet is recommended for at least three months.

I also recommend you use UrthPro to fully disinfect the area you remediated.  You can purchase it inexpensively direct from the company at http://www.urthpro.com/shop.  I wish you luck with your health and home.

Susan

Note: This site is not intended to give medical or professional advice. The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect my peers or professional affiliates. The information here does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supersede the professional advice of others.

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Mold Problems for Renters
Written by Susan Lillard   
Tuesday, 28 February 2012 01:28
mold in home is dangerousIn the past few weeks we have been receiving a large number of questions from renters because of unresolved mold problems with their landlord.  Many of these people are sick and have no funds to move or are locked into a lease.  In 10 years I have yet to see a landlord who remediates a mold problem properly due to the expense and trouble.

Although I cannot dispense legal advice I can tell you what others have done in this situation.

  • They self-test the mold to determine if it is poisonous and what the health effects are.  A good test kit is available through Mould-Works Lab (216-735-2937).  This report is a good method to scientifically determine the genre and species.
  • They photograph the mold problem and water damage.
  • They gather any medical reports that are affiliated with the mold problem which can be corroborated by the mold report.
  • After gathering the above mentioned materials, they file suit in small claims court.

This is not a perfect plan but it in a perfect world this wouldn’t happen.  It is also important that you and your family are not experiencing a mold problem in school or place of work.

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Questions From our Readers
Written by Susan Lillard   
Thursday, 23 February 2012 19:41

Q. What are signs if you have mold infection in your body?

A. The symptoms are all listed on the Mold Help website at http://www.mold-survivor.com/symptoms.html.  You could have an IGG blood panel which will determine antibodies.  Realtime Labs and Labcorp both conduct these tests.

Q. Hi Susan,

I was exposed to mold for the past year and finally just moved out about 4 months ago from my house that was having major leaks, etc. I feel like I've tried everything to get better with no success and am starting to get so discouraged. Can you please advise what was helpful in your recovery? I need any answers I can get. I appreciate your help so much!

A. First and foremost you will have to avoid mold and moldy buildings due to hypersensitivity.  Then you will need to follow a special diet.  For every tax deductable donation of $20 or more we automatically send out a book that describes the diet in great detail.  The book is available on our website at www.mold-help.org.

Q. I am sure I have severe health issues due to mold. Since moving into my home,  I have developed Rheumatoid Arthritis, severe allergies, asthma, my children have had  walking Pneumonia, asthma symptoms, allergies, etc.. and I am to the point where it takes all my strength just to drag myself out of bed. I have severe muscle pains as well. I am 47 years old, 108lbs and was healthy before living here. Now, 15 years later, I am convinced we have mold. It appears on my windows in the winter, on the bathroom walls, it seems to be everywhere. I do not have health insurance and I'm not sure if my homeowner’s policy even covers mold. Can you give me any advice on where to go for treatment? I feel I can't get it out of my home until I make myself well.

Thanks, Diane

A. Avoidance is extremely important so you must be in a clean environment to recover.  Additionally, you must follow the Mold Help Diet in a clean surrounding.  If necessary you should go to a naturopath for further assistance.

Q. Due to mold issues from extensive water damage in my 7 year old office building--which has undergone "cosmetic' remediation, I have tested positive to mycotoxins.  Currently I am undergoing a treatment but wonder if I will ever recover.  How were you able to do so?  I have been out of the office on FML --short term disability would not pay.  Some days are a hard go!

A. As long as you are being exposed you will never recover.  You may need to tell your boss or change jobs.  I know this sounds extreme but it is the only way I know of to recover.

 

Q. I would really like to talk to you I am renting for two years and I fully am now coming to conclusion that there is MOLD causing my ill health,  I should be organized and studying yet my body is just so depleted and I have HUD section 8 too.  I would prefer a phone call.

A. Since you did not leave your phone number I would appreciate a call from you so we can discuss this in detail.  My number is 503-763-0808.  You can call me between 10:00 and 4:00 Pacific Standard Time.

Note: This site is not intended to give medical or professional advice. The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect my peers or professional affiliates. The information here does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supersede the professional advice of others.

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Questions From our Readers
Written by Susan Lillard   
Thursday, 16 February 2012 22:28


Q. Hi,

I am in England (Europe), so cannot phone you. I hope you are able to reply. I'm at a loss as to what to do. I am pregnant and am worried this problem will cause harm to my baby either before or after birth. The problem is described below.
I react extremely badly to mould. It is because of a huge reaction to mould years ago that I have M.E.. I can walk into a room with a slight touch of mould / mildew, and it will start me coughing almost uncontrollably. For example, Chris (my other half) arrived at Bev's (I was staying with my friend Bev) last week with traces of it on his sweater and  I started coughing.

This is a Victorian timber framed house, placed on joists, which are placed on the bare earth.

I was reacting to the bedroom. We found that the curtains were covered in mould, so washed them. I still cannot go in there without reacting ... we believe it is in the Latham behind the wallpaper in that room at least (it wasn't in the living room Latham when we stripped that though). The answer in the bedroom is probably to replace the Latham with plasterboard which means I need to be out of the house for a while obviously.

So he lifted them all out, chucked them out of the window, and insulated the floor. The problem is that in lifting them out, the mould spores have gone EVERYWHERE downstairs. Yesterday I could taste it just going down the stairs (we've now moved the mattress to an unfinished room upstairs) this morning I can taste it on the upstairs landing.

Killing the mould, whilst stopping it reproducing (or whatever mould does) does not stop me reacting to it. We need to get rid of all the spores. How do we do that?

A.  It sounds as though you are in a very tough situation.  You didn’t mention if you own the home or are renting.  You basically have two choices.  The first choice is to evacuate the home.  The only belongings you should bring are the hard case items such as wood and plastic.  I know it sounds radical but I have been in such houses in England and many are severe mold traps.

The second choice would be to have the house remediated.  Specialists come to the house and remove the source of the water intrusion and the mold using proper containment.  It is very expensive but what price would you put on your health and that of your unborn child?

I know both sound severe but if you are getting sick from the mold you will need an action plan.  I certainly hope you can come up with an effective plan to improve your health.

Q. I was alarmed to find out that my daughter's 2nd grade classroom has a composting bin. I am worried about the potential problems caused by mold/fungal spores and/or airborne bacteria. I have read about many respiratory problems due to outdoor composting. I would think indoor composting could be extremely dangerous and spores could enter the HVAC system. School officials are so concerned with classroom allergies to wheat and peanuts....what about MOLD??? Can you arm me with some information about indoor composting that I can take to the principal and/or school board to show them that indoor composting could be dangerous to our children? Thank you.

A. Composting can grow a mold covered bacteria called thermophillic Actinomycetes (therm-a-filik act-in-my-sees).  It can be very dangerous and these creatures can imbed in the lungs, causing damage.

For more assistance you might want to check with the Center for Mold School Help, available on the internet. Mold problems are so common in schools yet so expensive to clean that the schools just ignore the mold issue.  Please study the website at www.mold-help.org under scientific literature for more information.

 

Q. I was wondering how you cleanse the body of the mold toxins. Thank you very much!!

A. There is a special diet that must be followed in order to detox.  The book is available at our website at www.mold-help.org.  For every donation of $20 or more we automatically send it out.  Make sure you send us your mailing address, too.

 

Note: This site is not intended to give medical or professional advice. The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect my peers or professional affiliates. The information here does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supersede the professional advice of others.

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Toxic Fungus Hurting Frog Population
Written by Susan Lillard   
Tuesday, 07 February 2012 19:42

new zealand frogA toxic fungus blamed for decimating amphibian populations around the world has been found in New Zealand, prompting fears that the country's four unique frog species could be wiped out.

Six months ago the native Archey's frog population was found infected with the chytrid fungus, believed to be responsible for a rapid decline in a number of species, Canterbury University ecologist Bruce Waldman said yesterday.

New Zealand's four matchbox-sized native frog species all lack ears, don't croak and hatch directly into froglets without going through a tadpole stage.

"These are living fossil frogs...They were alive before there were dinosaurs roaming. These frogs - not necessarily the same species but frogs that morphologically are very, very similar - lived 200 million years ago."

Three of the species live entirely on land and all have little or no webbing between their toes.

New Zealand's rarest species, the Hamilton's frog, numbers less than 300 and is found only on a few hundred square meters (yards) of rocky ground on the summit of a single islet between the South Pacific country's main North and South Islands.

Populations of the most widely found native frog, the Hochstetter's frog, were also in decline and research was under way to discover if the fungus was responsible, Waldman said. The chytrid fungus, identified in Australia and Central America in 1998, was discovered in New Zealand in 1999. The fungus kills most of the frogs it infects. Frog populations around the world have been in decline in recent years, with researchers variously blaming the chytrid fungus, habitat loss, viruses and pollution for the reduced numbers.

U.S. researchers reported they had found that very low levels of a popular weed killer can cause male frogs to grow female sex organs and curtail their croaks.

Some scientists view frogs as an ecological barometer, but Waldman disputes that claim.

 

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Questions From our Readers
Written by Susan Lillard   
Monday, 06 February 2012 19:38

Q. We live in the San Francisco bay area.  We are looking for a physician who uses Dr Marinkovich’s protocol to eliminate mold toxicity.  We are all in very poor health and need help right away.  My 13 year daughter has already overcome a kidney cancer linked to the mold.
Please help us.

Jackie

A. Dear Jackie,

The only physician in your area whom I would recommend would be Dr. Peter Madill.

Name: Dr Peter V. Madill

Address: 7005 Hazel Cotter Court 
Suite 200

Sebastopol, CA 95472

Phone: 707-823-3312

Dr. Madill used to confer with Dr. Marinkovich before he passed away.

Best of Luck!

Q. Hello Susan,
I recently had a Christmas tree with mold. How long does it take to get the spores out of my home? I am really suffering. Thank you in advance. Richard

A. Hello Richard,

You could hasten the process of removing the airborne spores from your home by renting an air scrubber.  If you cannot find one you might also try a HEPA vacuum.  I wish you luck.

Q. My basement floods and there is a moldy smell that is always in my home.  I can't afford to hire a professional or to fix the cracks in my basement.  I have a cement basement and the heating system is located downstairs. I have terrible respiratory problems that I am sure is because of mold.  The smell comes up through the vents. It is killing me.  What can I do to repair this problem myself since I can't afford a professional.

A. You could fill the cracks yourself and then clean the basement with UrthPRO.  I don’t know how severe the problem is but you could attempt it yourself if the problem is not too large.

Q. I think we have a mold problem in our bathroom.  It smells like mold and we get black mold spots up by the top of the wall. I don't know if this is poor ventilation or a water leak.   How should I start to investigate this, I don't know who to trust with accurate information. Thank you!!

A. I would start by hiring a good mold inspector.  You might be able to find a good one at www.mold-help.com or www.iaqu.org.  Both are reputable sources of good inspectors.

Note: This site is not intended to give medical or professional advice. The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect my peers or professional affiliates. The information here does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supersede the professional advice of others.

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Mold Testing Explained: What to look for in a good mold inspector.
Written by Susan Lillard   
Thursday, 02 February 2012 19:43

Man Testing MoldHaving your mold tested and remediated can be a daunting task if you don’t know what you are doing.  Knowledge is power and after doing a little research and knowing your resources you will be less susceptible to being taken advantage of financially or otherwise.    When shopping for a mold professional I suggest you do the following:

•        Look for affiliations such as the IAQA (Indoor Air Quality Association), ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America), or IESO (Indoor Environmental Standards Organization).  Anyone can call themselves a “mold professional” since there is no governmental standard.

•        Ask many questions.  For a mold inspector you should know what types of tools that they use, special training they have had, testing protocols, what lab they use, etc.

•        Time the inspection.  A thorough inspection should take at least 30 minutes.  The inspector should take a quantitative analysis sample from the outside air to the inside.  This is the only way you will know how severe the possible mold problem is.

•        When shopping for a good remediation expert ensure you do not hire the same company that did the testing.  This is considered a conflict of interest.

•        Assess the problem.  For small to medium mold growth you could save money and use UrthPRO to clean and disinfect the area. 

By doing a little research regarding mold testing and remediation you will save money and fully comprehend the process of mold inspection and remediation..

Note: This site is not intended to give medical or professional advice. The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect my peers or professional affiliates. The information here does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supersede the professional advice of others.

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Questions From our Readers
Written by Susan Lillard   
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 22:09

Q. I am so afraid my house has a lot of mold from the smell and my sickness.  I have COPD and have no funds to repair my roof that is leaking all over as well as in the walls. Is there any organization that can help me? There is a strange smell that smells moldy.
Thank you for your consideration in this problem. Gloria

A. Dear Gloria,

Unfortunately I know of no organization that helps mold victims financially.  You may want to consider refinancing.

Q. We are in a court battle with State Farm not paying a mold claim. We live in Michigan. We need to find another home owners policy. Do you know of any insurance companies that cover mold? This has been a night mare and it was their fault we got sick from the mold.

A. I am sorry I do not know of any insurance companies that cover mold.  You might want to try www.PolicyHoldersofAmerica.org

 

Note: This site is not intended to give medical or professional advice. The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect my peers or professional affiliates. The information here does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supersede the professional advice of others.

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9 things you need to know when buying a home
Written by Susan Lillard   
Monday, 23 January 2012 21:13

1. Don't buy if you can't stay put.

If you can't commit to remaining in one place for at least a few years, then owning is probably not for you, at least not yet. With the transaction costs of buying and selling a home, you may end up losing money if you sell any sooner - even in a rising market. When prices are falling, it's an even worse proposition.

2. Start by shoring up your credit.

Since you most likely will need to get a mortgage to buy a house, you must make sure your credit history is as clean as possible. A few months before you start house hunting, get copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you discover.

3. Aim for a home you can really afford.

The rule of thumb is that you can buy housing that runs about two-and-one-half times your annual salary. But you'll do better to use one of many calculators available online to get a better handle on how your income, debts, and expenses affect what you can afford.

4. If you can't put down the traditional 20 percent, you may still qualify for a loan.

There are a variety of public and private lenders who, if you qualify, offer low-interest mortgages that require a down payment as small as 3 percent of the purchase price.

5.  Do your homework before bidding.

Your opening bid should be based on the sales trend of similar homes in the neighborhood. So before making it, consider sales of similar homes in the last three months. If homes have recently sold at 5 percent less than the asking price, you should make a bid that's about eight to 10 percent lower than what the seller is asking.

6. Hire a home inspector and a mold inspector.

Sure, your lender will require a home appraisal anyway. But that's just the bank's way of determining whether the house is worth the price you've agreed to pay. Separately, you should hire your own home inspector, preferably an engineer with experience in doing home surveys in the area where you are buying. His or her job will be to point out potential problems that could require 5. Buy in a district with good schools.

In most areas, this advice applies even if you don't have school-age children. Reason: When it comes time to sell, you'll learn that strong school districts are a top priority for many home buyers, thus helping to boost property values.

7. Get professional help from a realtor.

Even though the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings, most new buyers (and many more experienced ones) are better off using a professional agent. Look for an exclusive buyer agent, if possible, who will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process.  You will also need to hire a home inspector and a mold inspector.

8. Choose carefully between points and rate.

When picking a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying additional points -- a portion of the interest that you pay at closing -- in exchange for a lower interest rate. If you stay in the house for a long time -- say three to five years or more -- it's usually a better deal to take the points. The lower interest rate will save you more in the long run.

9. Before house hunting, get pre-approved.

Getting pre-approved will you save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can't afford and put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Not to be confused with pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history.

 

 

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King Tut's Tomb
Written by Susan Lillard   
Thursday, 19 January 2012 21:11
Strange things happened to the many of the scientists who entered King Tuts tomb in the 1920s- 24 of them even died mysteriously. Finally the mystery of the curse is unraveled.
It is the year 1922 and a wealthy Englishman stands at the entrance to an ancient tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings. He calls to the man inside, "Can you see anything?"
"Yes," comes the excited reply, "Wonderful things."
That man, Howard Carter, had just found the burial site of King Tutankhamen. Here is how he described what he saw.
"As my eyes became accustomed to the light, details of the room emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues and gold - everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment - an eternity it must have seemed for the others standing by - I was struck dumb with amazement. We had never dreamed of anything like this, a roomful - a whole museum it seemed - of objects."
The treasures brought to light by Carter and his party had been hidden for more than 3000 years. Because of the Egyptian belief in the after-life, the boy-king was entombed with a massive assortment of treasures - statues, furniture, weapons, gold and more.
The news of this tremendous archaeological discovery spread quickly and soon archaeologists from all over the world were making their way to the Valley of the Kings to inspect it for themselves. Before long, though, strange things began to happen. The archaeologists who entered King Tut's tomb began to mysteriously get ill - and die. In fact, in the 1920's more than 2 dozen such men mysteriously died shortly after entering the tomb. What was going on? Was it a curse?
For many years people believed that yes - a curse was in action. However, in 1986 French medical doctor Caroline Stenger-Phillip found a possible explanation for the mysterious casualties. A study of the case revealed to Dr. Stenger-Phillips that organic substances, such as fruits and vegetables, had been left in the tomb. During the centuries these items - originally intended to feed King Tutankhamen on his trip to eternity - decayed, formed mold and organic dust particles with high allergenic potency. Dr Stenger-Phillip claimed that the archaeologists fell victim to an allergic shock reaction after breathing these particles and it was this - not an ancient curse - which led to their demise.

Strange things happened to the many scientists who entered King Tuts tomb in the 1920s- 24 of them even died mysteriously. Finally the mystery of the curse is unraveled.king tuts mask

It is the year 1922 and a wealthy Englishman stands at the entrance to an ancient tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings. He calls to the man inside, "Can you see anything?"

"Yes," comes the excited reply, "Wonderful things."
That man, Howard Carter, had just found the burial site of King Tutankhamen. Here is how he described what he saw:  "As my eyes became accustomed to the light, details of the room emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues and gold - everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment - an eternity it must have seemed for the others standing by - I was struck dumb with amazement. We had never dreamed of anything like this, a roomful - a whole museum it seemed - of objects."

The treasures brought to light by Carter and his party had been hidden for more than 3000 years. Because of the Egyptian belief in the after-life, the boy-king was entombed with a massive assortment of treasures - statues, furniture, weapons, gold and more.

The news of this tremendous archaeological discovery spread quickly and soon archaeologists from all over the world were making their way to the Valley of the Kings to inspect it for themselves. Before long, though, strange things began to happen. The archaeologists who entered King Tut's tomb began to mysteriously get ill - and die. In fact, in the 1920's more than 2 dozen such men mysteriously died shortly after entering the tomb. What was going on? Was it a curse?

For many years people believed that yes - a curse was in action. However, in 1986 French medical doctor Caroline Stenger-Phillip found a possible explanation for the mysterious casualties. A study of the case revealed to Dr. Stenger-Phillips that organic substances, such as fruits and vegetables, had been left in the tomb. During the centuries these items - originally intended to feed King Tutankhamen on his trip to eternity - decayed, formed mold and organic dust particles with high allergenic potency. Dr Stenger-Phillip claimed that the archaeologists fell victim to an allergic shock reaction after breathing these particles and it was this - not an ancient curse - which led to their demise.

 

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CNN Segment on Indoor Air Quality
Written by Susan Lillard   
Thursday, 12 January 2012 22:24

CNN will be airing a segment on indoor air quality and schools that you will be very interested in, I think, this coming weekend (Jan 14-15th). I hope you will call and write the CNN directors with your comments, supporting healthy schools for America! We have been writing Dr. Gupta for some years about this topic and I am glad there will finally be a show on it.

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Questions From our Readers
Written by Susan Lillard   
Thursday, 12 January 2012 19:27

Q. My daughter lives in an apartment where the parking is underneath and is open. The building is stucco.  Around the baseboards in the house the carpets show black looking.  She has been coughing her head off and has asthma. The landlord doesn’t think anything is wrong.  What to do?? We don’t have a lot of money.

A. It sounds as though your daughter’s situation is very serious. I suggest she move to a cleaner dwelling ASAP. 


Q
. We recently bought a house built in 1949.  During some remodeling I became very sick and for 3 months. The doctors should find nothing; all kinds of tests, etc.  During the remodel I found brown mold like stuff in the closets and in wall that face the outside of the house.  I am wondering if this might have caused my illness - am better now, but still no energy and am tired a lot.  Hope you can help me.  Thank you so much.

A. Once walls are opened mold can be more prevalent.  I would find the assistance of a qualified mold inspector to further inspect the potential problem.  Qualified mold inspectors can be found in your area at www.iaqa.org.

 

Q. I have been exposed to toxic mold and living out of our home for 10 months. State Farm will not cover mold. I am very sick and now believe we have mold in this apartment. We have aspergillis flavus, niger , penicillium, chaetomium,  and more. I cannot be around our dog anymore.

A. Have you contacted an attorney?  If not, I suggest you contact your local bar association and ask for a referral in your area.  I wish you luck with your situation.

 

Note: This site is not intended to give medical, legal, or professional advice. The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect my peers or professional affiliates. The information here does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supersede the professional advice of others.

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The Correlation Between Mold and Insect Infestation
Written by Susan Lillard   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 20:40

As we previously discussed, mold is synonymous with dry rot.  Dry rot is like ambrosia to insects such as termites and silverfish.  This is especially true in crawl spaces.

Homes constructed primarily of wood are not the only structures threatened by termite activity (as these insects are capable of traversing through plaster, metal siding and more). Termites then feed on cabinets, floors, ceilings and wooden furniture within these homes.

Silverfish are more difficult to spot. Silverfish commonly eat glue and wallpaper paste. Finding damage to your wallpaper is a common trait of a silverfish infestation. They are also known to digest linens and cotton, which make the closets in your home and the clothes inside them wonderful targets for a silverfish infestation.  They are nocturnal and prefer a damp environment.

For these reasons it is wise to have a mold and/or inspect inspection if you suspect you are experiencing any of these problems.

Note: This site is not intended to give medical, legal, or professional advice. The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect my peers or professional affiliates. The information here does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supersede the professional advice of others.

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Questions From our Readers
Written by Susan Lillard   
Thursday, 05 January 2012 21:17

Q. I want to purchase a lot to build my home. The previous home was torn down due to mold.  Can there be a mold problem on the lot?

Martha T.

A. Mold can exist up to 6 meters down but only if a previous dwelling had mold in that area.  Generally the dirt should be replaced up to that level to be on the safe side.

Q. Hi Susan, I have been having a problem with mold and mildew in my home. Since Katrina I’ve had a tin roof put on my trailer, The problem started in the kid’s bathroom they have a couple pieces of ceramic tile that’s loose on their floor, but the mold was growing on the ceiling.  Our house feels wet all the time, and has a dull smell to it.

Tell me what we need to do.  I have been having awful headaches.  We have a 2 year old that has been sick also.

Lataisha S.

A. Hello Lataisha,

It sounds as though you and your family have had a severe mold experience.  The only way to recover is to vacate your trailer and due to your sensitivities, you must not take anything with you.  Perhaps you have friends or family to stay with.  Trailers are known for mold problems and with the addition of the tin roof you are at odds for an extreme mold problem.

Q. I live in an apartment. There had been water leaking from tenants upstairs onto our bathroom ceiling. This month I have been to the hospital and they found my right valve and ventricles are swollen. Our wall in shower caved in and there is a very irritating smell coming from black substance on everything behind the tiles. I had low white blood cells content in hospital and no one can figure it out. My wife and kids are constantly sick with everything respiratory and wife had headaches.

A. Unfortunately as a renter you have very few rights.  What others in your situation do is photograph the mold and your belongings.  Then, you should do a self mold test through Mould-Works Lab. (231-735-2937) for about $45.  This will help you in a small claims court against your landlord should you desire to proceed in recovering moving expenses and medical expenses.

Note: This site is not intended to give medical, legal, or professional advice. The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect my peers or professional affiliates. The information here does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supersede the professional advice of others.

 

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Avoiding Moisture and Mold in Your Home for the New Year
Written by Susan Lillard   
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 20:30

It’s the new year and time to get rid of that Christmas tree.  Live Christmas trees are known for mold.  I live in Oregon and know for a fact that Christmas tree farms do not use fungicides on their trees thus they are prone to grow mold.  Other tips include:

  • After removing your Christmas tree, vacuum carpet thoroughly preferably with a HEPA vacuum.  This would help rid you of any possible residual mold.
  • During cold weather, keep your cabinets under sinks open as much as possible to avoid possible pipe bursts.
  • In humid areas, avoid having aquariums and live plants in your dwelling.
  • After cleaning carpets during the winter ensure you dry them thoroughly with fans and heat.
  • Try to purchase new furniture as opposed to antiques or used items.  Used furniture is much more prone to have mycelium (mold spores).

If you follow the above tips especially during this season you will have a healthy new year!

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