February 22, 2017

Soda Blasting Services

New England Remediation Services added soda blasting to its arsenal of media blasting services. With new state-of-the-art equipment, the crews can now utilize soda, walnuts, dry ice and water (which is dustless). This means that NERS can safely remove surfaces of even the most delicate items such as fiberglass without pitting the surface.

Dry Ice Blasting-Common Uses

Dry ice crystals used in blastingWhat are some common uses for dry ice blasting? In addition to removing mold and damage caused by fire, dry ice blasting has the following uses:

– Cleans grease from food preparation area
– Removes ink from printing presses
– Smoke odor removal
– Erases graffiti
– Cleans patinas from historical pieces
– Gently removes rust from antique auto body parts
– Removes the undercoating from automobiles undergoing restoration

Dry ice blasting offers a safe solution – without pitting or damage! We’re available to answer any questions you might have, so call us today!

Home Buying Tip – Mold Inspection is Vital

Inspecting your new houseBuying or Building a New Home? 

As anyone who has recently bought a home knows quite well, it involves numerous appointments, multiple inspections and mountains of paperwork. But while a general inspection of the home is usually required as part of the process, not all homes are specifically checked for mold. This is because home inspectors do not tend to be mold specialists and they do not typically have the training necessary to spot potentially serious issues.

Whether you are in the process of buying or building your dream home, you should definitely schedule a thorough mold inspection in addition to your regular home inspection.

If you are thinking to yourself “I can’t see any mold, so why should I pay for an additional mold inspection?” you have actually identified why it’s so important to have one. Mold doesn’t always readily show itself in a home. It can live in vents and pipes and there can be plumbing leaks in the walls that provide a lovely home for toxic mold to grow. Even new home construction may have potential mold issues; for example, if the ground slopes towards the home on one side, or if some of the plumbing was not installed correctly and it has developed a slow leak.

While a regular home inspector will probably point out some probable signs of water leak—for example, holes in the roof, a musty smell in the basement or attic, and/or water stains on the ceiling, he or she will typically not go one step further and determine if mold is present. Since the presence of mold will make the home virtually impossible to live in for awhile, it’s vital that you determine that the residence is mold-free before signing the closing papers.

Unfortunately, the news is filled with sad stories of people who spent their life savings on new homes, only to discover after the fact that they are breeding grounds for toxic black mold. Typically, insurance will not cover the problem and backing out of a mortgage is very difficult.

Before you become official homeowners, give New England Remediation Services a call and schedule a certified mold inspection service. At NERS we are Certified Mold Inspectors (CMI) and Certified Residential Mold Inspectors (CRMI) who are licensed for the identification and removal of mold for New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont. If we discover visible mold in the home, we will provide a free estimate to have it removed. If we suspect that there is mold hidden somewhere in the home, we will find and test for the problem for a reasonable fee. Once the source of the mold has been found, we will propose the appropriate remediation service, which “homeowners to be” may choose to do, or they may decide to walk away from the property.

Spring Showers Bring….Wet Basements?

DryersThere is nothing like walking into your basement to look for some needed item, only to find puddles of water. During the spring, when Mother Nature is busy unleashing buckets of water over New England, we get lots of calls about wet basements — not to mention other leaky locations in the home. Whether your basement is flooded or you have a bedroom with water damage due to a leaky roof, it’s imperative that the cause of the incoming water is discovered and stopped, and that it is cleaned up as quickly as possible.

Why and how basements flood

There are a variety of reasons that basements end up flooded; in some cases, it’s due to surface water coming down the walls of the home’s foundation. In others, water that’s in the soil is essentially pushed into the home. The septic system can also be to blame; sewer water can back up into the home’s drain, which causes it to leak out into the house. In the case of water entering the basement through the foundation, there are several factors that can lead to this problem. For example, gutters can easily become blocked with leaves or there might not be enough of them for the size of the home. In some cases, the gutters are fine but they don’t extend far enough from the house and the water ends up running back down the foundation. A hill that slopes towards the house might also encourage water to run into the basement, as well as faulty irrigation systems.

How flooded basements lead to health issues

A flooded basement will do more than ruin your stacked up boxes of belongings; left untreated, the wet environment can lead to the growth of mold and mildew, which can cause health problems for the people and even pets in the home. Symptoms include headache, breathing issues and coughing, and people with pre-existing conditions like asthma tend to be even more negatively impacted by mold.

The importance of remediation

Once the source of the leak has been identified, it is vital that homeowners take steps to have it repaired. Water that continues to come in over time can cause extensive damage to the walls and floors and ceilings of the home. At New England Remediation Services LLC, we have the skills to help pinpoint the source of the water damage, and restoring the affected area back to its original condition. Even homes that have suffered extensive structural damage due to ongoing water issues can be helped by our experienced and knowledgeable team.

What Realtors Need to Know About Home Hazards

When a Realtor lists a home on the market, he or she needs to know a lot more than how many bedrooms and bathrooms it has, and if it’s close to a really great elementary school. Realtors should also be aware of environmental hazards that may be present in the home. While the seller has a legal obligation to let buyers know that there may be hazardous substances or other potentially harmful issues with the property, savvy Realtors should also know what to look for. For example, the following three hazards are just a few of the many problems Realtors should be aware of:

Asbestos

For years, asbestos was used in a variety of construction materials.  A naturally-great insulator, asbestos is also fireproof. Because of its amazing insulating abilities, asbestos was added to the insulation that covers water pipes, heaters, and furnaces. It also was part of many linoleum floors, floor tiles and exterior siding. Unfortunately, there is a dark side to asbestos—it can cause a form of lung cancer called mesothelioma. As products that contain asbestos get older, it can splinter into small filaments that residents of the home will then breathe in. In general, homes that were built prior to 1978 should be checked for the presence of asbestos. If found, steps to eliminate asbestos should be taken.

Lead-based Paint

Several decades ago, lead was a common ingredient in both interior and exterior house paint, as well as water pipes and soldering. Once again, 1978 is the magic year for this toxic metal; many homes that were built before the late 1970s contain at least some lead, somewhere. Adults who are exposed to lead can develop serious symptoms like anemia and weakness, and kids who accidentally eat flakes of lead-based paint—like a toddler who is teething on the edge of a windowsill—can suffer from memory problems and delayed motor development. Buyers, sellers and Realtors should all be aware of the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, which requires landlords and sellers to disclose any known risks to lead exposure, and allow the buyers to inspect for lead-based paint.

Old electrical systems

About one-third of the homes in the U.S. are at least 50 years old. Unfortunately, this means that around 30-plus million homes may potentially contain at least one type of problem. For example, older homes are notorious for having old electrical systems that are at least 40 years old. Over time, the wires can start to corrode, and the rubber that was used to cover them will get brittle and lead to problems. If the circuit breaker trips on a regular basis, if the electrical system smells or sounds really odd, or if the lights flicker, chances are good the home should be inspected by a reputable electrician.

Mildew Odor in the Home

Mildew Smell: Where it Comes From, and How You Can Get Rid of It

There’s nothing quite as noticeable or concerning as the smell of mildew in the home. The bad smell is typically caused by excessive  moisture coming into the home, hot spots or warm damp places where mildew can thrive, and/or less-than-ideal ventilation. If you are smelling that classic “old” musty smell of mildew, the first thing you should do is to try to figure out where it is coming from, and then take the necessary steps to fix them. In the case of a home that is poorly ventilated, it’s important to install correct ventilation in the form of a window or fan in the places where the moisture is getting in and becoming trapped.

People who are dealing with a musty smell in their homes can take steps to get rid of it. Although mildew can be a stubborn odor to eliminate, with some diligence and a combination of some commonly found ingredients, homeowners should be able to win the battle of the mildew smell. For example, start by cleaning all affected areas with a mixture made up of one part boric acid, two parts white vinegar, two parts hydrogen peroxide, and four parts water.  After scrubbing down the walls, floors and even furniture with the boric acid solution, be sure to open up the windows and bring in some fans to help thoroughly dry out and ventilate the space.

To help keep the rooms smelling nice and fresh and mildew-free, keep the windows open as often as you can and let the sunshine get into the room. Bringing in fresh air will help to make the room smell better and allow the mildew smell to dissipate. In addition, consider using a natural product like activated charcoal, which will help to eliminate musty “mildewy” odors.

For homeowners who are unsure where their mildew odor is coming from, the friendly and experienced team from New England Remediation Services (NERS) would be happy to come out and help to find the source of the problem. Then, once they find the water leak or other issue, NERS will help to restore the home to its original condition.

Because the team from NERS is so knowledgeable and familiar with home construction, they know where and how water will get into a home. By removing drywall that is infused with mildew or damp and musty carpet and more, NERS will also make sure that more water does not continue to leak into the home. Once the water problem has been effectively found and fixed, they will repair and replace any carpet, wood and drywall to make the home look as good as new.

How Outdoor Air Quality is Measured

Learn About The AQI

If you notice pollution or smog on the horizon, you might think that your town is having a bad air quality day. In order to accurately measure just how clean or dirty our air is requires more than just a visual assessment. Instead, something called the Air Quality Index or AQI is used to measure and report the daily air quality. In addition to letting people know how healthy or hazardous the outside air is, the AQI also informs citizens what types of health issues they may experience after being exposed to unhealthy air.

In general, the Environmental Protection Agency calculates the AQI for five major sources of air pollution—all of which are regulated by the Clean Air Act. These are: ground-level ozone, particulate pollution, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. Of these five, ground-level ozone and airborne particles are the biggest problem in terms of their impact on our health. To understand how the AQI works, envision a really long number line that goes from zero to 500. The higher an AQI value is, the more pollution the air contains and the more hazardous it is to our health.

To help make the AQI as visual and easy to understand as possible, the different ranges of numbers have also been given their own colors; for example when the AQI is in the zero to 50 range, it means that air quality  is good, which is symbolized by the color green. An AQI that is in the 51 to 100 range indicates a “moderate” level of health concern, and it’s represented by the color yellow. On days when the air is a lot dirtier and filled with some or all of the five contaminants, the AQI would be in the “red” range of 151 to 200.

The absolute highest it can go is 301 to 500; on these days the air would be truly hazardous to health and it would be represented by the color maroon. Each category also corresponds to a different amount of concern for people who are breathing in the outside air. For example, a “moderate” AQI of 51 to 100 means that while the air quality is acceptable for most people, people who are especially sensitive to ozone might experience some breathing issues. By the time the AQI hits 151 and above, nearly everyone who breathes the air can expect to experience health issues, especially those with respiratory issues.

Asbestos Certification

Asbestos AbatementRon Pinciaro, along with employee Chandara Khim, took the course at the Institute for Environmental Education in Wilmington, Mass. Ron is now certified as a NH Asbestos Contractor and Supervisor, pursuant to the Title II of the Toxic Substance Control Act, 15 U.S.C. 2646.

As an article on the Asbestos Abatement website notes, in order for companies to safely perform an asbestos-related activity in the state of New Hampshire, its workers must be licensed in that particular area. To earn the needed certification, employees must attend courses from an approved training provider like the one that Ron and Chandara just completed.

Ron and Chandara’s asbestos accreditation course included a combination of lectures, hands-on practice and demonstrations. At the end of the class, both of them had to prove their understanding and mastery of the important subject by scoring at least 70 percent on a written exam. Even though they recently earned their asbestos accreditation, both Ron and Chandara will be required to take annual refresher courses.

As Ron noted, he fully understands and supports the need for thorough training and certification, especially when dealing with potentially lethal substances like asbestos. In addition to offering asbestos removal services, New England Remediation Services also features mold removal, inspection and testing, as well as fire and water damage restoration.

“Your health is our number one concern,” Ron said, adding that this is why New England Remediation Services has invested in the best, state-of-the-art testing and remediation equipment to accurately identify and efficiently remove toxic mold and asbestos from residential homes and commercial businesses.

“Our method of removing mold is the most effective and non-toxic approach available today. As opposed to simply spraying a biocide, dry ice blasting removes 99.9 percent of the mold spores from the infected area on contact.”

Poria Mold

Wood Eating MoldPoria Incrassata: A Powerful and Nasty Wood-Eating Fungus

A fungus with a fancy name is inviting itself into homes and wreaking all kinds of havoc. Called “poria incrassata”, or just poria for short, it has earned itself the sinister nickname of “house-eating fungus” for its quick and rather impressive ability to cause wood to rot.

Technically, poria is a fungus that causes wood to decay. Its unusual look—many have compared it to orange cake batter—definitely causes homeowners to take notice. The problem is that poria will typically do the majority of its damage before its presence is noticed. Poria works by getting into the interior of a home’s walls through openings that may be hard to see with the naked eye.

In nature, poria hangs out in the soil, and helps to turn wood into dust, which in turn provides needed nutrients for the soil. In forests, this is a great skill for a fungus to have, and poria helps to keep old wood from just piling up. The problem is that many homes are constructed with “dead” wood that has been cut down, and if there is poria in the nearby soil, it may end up in the construction of the home, where it will get to work destroying the wood.

Unfortunately, poria seems perfectly willing to travel in the soil, so it tends to spread fairly easily. Although most news accounts of poria infestations center on Southern California, poria has been found in other parts of the country, including in one home in New Hampshire. Some experts believe that the dirt used by landscapers comes from forests that may be infested with poria, which helps the wood-eating fungus to spread to urban neighborhoods.

While other members of the “brown rot family” are capable of causing extensive damage to wood, this is different in that it can actually provide its own source of moisture. So instead of having to rely on rainwater or a homeowner inadvertently spraying a hose on it to do its dirty work, this mold is self-contained wood eating powerhouse. In fact, when this type of mold is present in a home, it’s not unheard of for an entire deck or balcony to give way.

Needless to say, people whose homes have been invaded by this pesky and destructive fungus need to take action right away. A proactive approach is also warranted; for example, making sure that a home is as poria-un-friendly as possible is a great idea, and will help prevent this mold from taking hold in the first place. In the case of an infestation, it’s vital to determine where the fungus is getting into the wood from the soil. At New England Remediation Services, we can help to locate and completely renovate and repair any areas of the home that are allowing poria to get in.

To help prevent this from becoming a problem, we can check porches, decks and other parts of the home that may have begun to form cracks over time. Once it’s been determined that poria rhizomorphs are getting into a structure, we can help to remove them, get rid of soil to wood contacts, and complete any needed renovations.

Clogged Dryer Vents

Clogged Dryer Vents And Mold Growth

Do your clothes and towels take forever to dry? Do they come out of the dryer smelling musty and moldy instead of clean and fresh?

If so, you should definitely consider getting your dryer vents cleaned. In fact, here at New England Remediation Services, we strongly suggest that homeowners make cleaning the dryer vents part of their spring cleaning schedule.

Wet laundry contains more water than most people realize; for example, that full load you are pulling out of your washing machine might have as much as a gallon and a half of water in it. As the dryer heats up and pulls the moisture from the clothing, towels, sheets and whatever else you are drying, the water and lint will head out into the dryer vents and ductwork, where it can accumulate. The dark and moist vents are a prime breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can lead to health issues as well as stinky-smelling clothing.

Also, if the dryer is not working properly, the amount of humidity around the unit will also increase. Laundry rooms or closets can also start to grow mold and mildew. While this can be an unhealthy environment for anyone to live in, those with allergies and asthma are especially harmed by exposure to mold.

In addition to mold issues, clogged dryer vents are a common cause of house fires. A study that was conducted by FEMA found that 28% of dryer fires were caused by dust, lint and fiber. Annually, around 15,600 structure fires caused by clothes dryers occur around the country, which sadly leads to as many as 15 fatalities, 400 injuries and a staggering amount of property loss. It’s fairly easy to understand why this might happen—a clogged dryer vent has less air flowing through it, which means the dryer has to heat up even more in order to get the clothing dried.

As a general rule of thumb, if your dryer is too hot to touch while it’s working, it’s probably overheating. Also, if you routinely need more than one drying cycle to get everything dry, it’s time to get those vents cleaned out.

One of the greatest things about having the vents thoroughly cleaned is that over time, it will pay for itself. A dryer that has good air flow and clean vents may save a homeowner around $20 on their monthly energy bills—this amount will add up quickly over time. If it’s been some time since the vents have been cleaned, it’s definitely time to take care of that project! Removing excess lint will help improve not only the air quality of the home, but the ability of the dryer to do its job.