InterNACHI "The Inspectors Journal®"

New article on green lumber

September 15th, 2009

Most homes are built using green lumber, which is just another term for wood that is still wet. The problem is that when wet wood dries it’s going to shrink, and when parts of your house shrink it can mean trouble. Nail pops are sometimes caused by wood shrinkage, although this isn’t a serious problem. Mold, however, can easily grow on green lumber and infest the wood before it’s even used in construction. For more information, take a look at our new article on green lumber.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

World Health Organization’s mold guidelines.

July 27th, 2009
The following are some quotes from the recent (July, 2009) World Health Organization’s Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality, Dampness and Mold which confirms that mold is a health hazard and that inspection and measurements can be used to confirm indoor  microbial growth (note, we bolded the bold parts):
“The conditions that contribute to the health risk were summarized as follows.
  • Microorganisms are ubiquitous. Microbes propagate rapidly wherever water is available. The dust and dirt normally present in most indoor spaces provide sufficient nutrients to support extensive microbial growth. While mould can grow on all materials, selection of appropriate materials can prevent dirt accumulation, moisture penetration and mould growth.
  • Microbial growth may result in greater numbers of spores, cell fragments, alergens, mycotoxins, endotoxins, β-glucans and volatile organic compounds in indoor air. The causative agents of adverse health effects have not been identified conclusively, but an excess level of any of these agents in the indoor environment is a potential health hazard.
  • Microbial interactions and moisture-related physical and chemical emissions from building materials may also play a role in dampness-related health effects.

On the basis of this review, the following guidelines were formulated.

  • Persistent dampness and microbial growth on interior surfaces and in building structures should be avoided or minimized, as they may lead to adverse health effects.
  • Indicators of dampness and microbial growth include the presence of condenation on surfaces or in structures, visible mould, perceived mouldy odour and a history of water damage, leakage or penetration. Thorough inspection and, if necessary, appropriate measurements can be used to confirm indoor moisture and microbial growth.
  • As the relations between dampness, microbial exposure and health effects cannot be quantified precisely, no quantitative health-based guideline values or thresholds can be recommended for acceptable levels of contamination with microorganisms. Instead, it is recommended that dampness and mould-related problems be prevented. When they occur, they should be remediated because they increase the risk of hazardous exposure to microbes and chemicals.
  • Management of moisture requires proper control of temperatures and ventilation to avoid excess humidity, condensation on surfaces and excess moisture in materials. Ventilation should be distributed effectively throughout spaces, and stagnant air zones should be avoided.
  • Building owners are responsible for providing a healthy workplace or living environment free of excess moisture and mould, by ensuring proper building construction and maintenance. The occupants are responsible for managing the use of water, heating, ventilation and appliances in a manner that does not lead to dampness and mould growth. Local recommendations for different climatic regions should be updated to control dampness-mediated microbial growth in buildings and to ensure desirable indoor air quality.
  • Dampness and mould may be particularly prevalent in poorly maintained housing for low-income people. Remediation of the conditions that lead to adverse exposure should be given priority to prevent an additional contribution to poor health in populations who are already living with an increased burden of disease.
  • The guidelines are intended for worldwide use, to protect public health under various environmental, social and economic conditions, and to support the achievement of optimal indoor air quality. They focus on building characteristics that prevent the occurrence of adverse health effects associated with dampness or mould. The guidelines pertain to various levels of economic development and different climates, cover all relevant population groups and propose feasible approaches for reducing health risks due to dampness and microbibial contamination. Both private and public buildings (e.g. offices and nursing homes) are covered, as dampness and mould are risks everywhere. Settings in which there are particular production processes and hospitals with high-risk patients or sources of exposure to pathogens are not, however, considered.
  • While the guidelines provide objectives for indoor air quality management, they do not give instructions for achieving those objectives. The necessary action and indicators depend on local technical conditions, the level of development, human capacities and resources. The guidelines recommended by WHO acknowledge this heterogeneity. In formulating policy targets, governments should consider their local circumstances and select actions that will ensure achievement of their health objectives most effectively.”

Read more about the mold report from the World Health Organization, find a certified mold inspector, become mold certified, or buy the book “How to Perform a Proper Mold Inspection.

This blog entry was posted by Nick Gromicko.

New article on Carpeted Bathrooms

July 7th, 2009

Few bathrooms are installed with carpet, and for good reason – bathroom floors are exposed to urine and large amounts of moisture. Moisture can lead to the growth of mold, which can cause structural damage as well as health problems. Urine, well, we don’t need to go into that, but you know you don’t want to touch it. Carpet traps these things and makes them less obvious, so they don’t get cleaned as often. To find out more about the dangers associated with carpet installed in bathrooms, check out our new article on carpeted bathrooms for inspectors.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

Bathroom fans and vents

April 6th, 2009

Hi everyone,

If you want to know more about bathroom fans and how their ducts should be properly installed, please visit our new article on bathroom ventilation systems. There, you will find information on ways to avoid mold growth, duct materials, and more.

I hope you find this information useful

Rob

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.