All Posts in Category: Home

Bathroom Mold: How Do You Remove It?

Is bathroom mold becoming a nuisance in your home? You are not alone. Mold thrives in moist places, so it is no wonder that places in the home with increased usage of water, such as the bathroom, often become hosts to this unwanted guest. Areas with increased usage, such as the sink, shower and bathtub, are common areas where mold grows since these areas tend to be moist. Apart from being unsightly and giving off an unpleasant odor, prolonged contact with mold may also pose risks to one’s health. Here are some ways you can remove these pesky visitors from your bathroom and keep them at bay.

Clean Your Bathroom Regularly

Keeping your bathroom clean is a must for keeping mold at bay. Try to clean your bathroom at least once a week to discourage the growth of mold. This includes the bathroom floor, as well as surfaces that commonly tend to be wet such as the shower, sink, toilet and bathtub. Wiping away excess water from surfaces after usage will also go a long way in helping to reduce the moisture levels in the bathroom and prevent mold from growing.

Check Your Drain

The bathroom drain is a favorite breeding ground for mold. Mold growing in bathroom drains is usually easily detectable from its distinctive odor. One way of getting rid of this mold involves a household item you probably already have in your pantry: vinegar. Simply pour vinegar into the bathroom drains and leave it for 20 minutes, flushing the drain with water thereafter. Bleach is also an effective cleaning agent against mold.

Sometimes, the problem of mold growth can be compounded if your bathroom drain is blocked. This is because a blocked drain means that water is not being drained properly, causing more moisture buildup and thus making it an ideal breeding ground for mold. You can solve this problem by finding products specifically formulated to dissolve substances clogging the drain. Cleaning mold from the drain may be more difficult than cleaning it from surfaces, since the drain can be hard to reach. If you are finding it difficult to clean mold from your drain, you can consider calling for professional help to do so.

Clean Bathroom Items

Most people tend to keep a lot of things in their bathroom, but these items can become potential breeding grounds for mold if not cleaned regularly. Shampoo bottles, towels, soap cases and other items can have moisture on their surfaces, which can encourage the growth of mold on them. Hence, it is important to ensure that these items are cleaned regularly and kept as free of moisture as possible.

Proper Ventilation

Bathrooms tend to be more humid compared to other areas in the house. This is because water evaporates to become moisture in the air, and since bathrooms tend to have higher water usage than the rest of the house, they tend to also have more moisture in the air. This increased humidity level in the bathroom makes it a conducive area for mold to grow. If the bathroom is not ventilated properly, then the excess moisture gets trapped on surrounding surfaces such as the walls, encouraging mold to grow. Installing a good ventilation system in the bathroom can reduce the level of moisture buildup in the air, slowing down mold growth.

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How To Tackle VOCs In your Living Space

If you are reading this article, chances are you know that VOCs can be extremely harmful to our health. They can cause health problems such as eye irritation and respiratory issues. In some people, they might experience headaches, short term memory loss and even visual disorders immediately after they have been exposed to VOCs. However, VOCs might be even more harmful to people with pre-existing conditions such as asthma and sensitivity to certain chemical. In fact, studies have shown that VOCs are linked to an increased risk of developing cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma.

What Exactly are VOCs?

VOCs, or Volatile Organic Compounds, refer to the chemicals that are emitted as gases from some solid materials and liquids. Some of these VOCs might be naturally occurring but many of them exist because of human activity instead. VOCs can be very dangerous because it is very often that people get these compounds confused for safe ones. Take benzene for example. Although it is known that this chemical is extremely harmful to our bodies, it emits a sweet smell. Furthermore, this sweet smell can only be detectable when VOCs are found in certain amounts. Some examples of VOCs that might be common in our everyday lives include compounds such as ethylene glycol, formaldehyde, tetrachloroethylene and xylene. These might be found in our everyday products that are present in our home.

How Can You Avoid Exposure to VOCs?

For the case of VOCs, prevention is truly better than cure. It is widely known that it is better to remove the sources of the compounds rather than to deal with the effects of it after exposure. For example, it is much more effective to throw out a carpet that emits formaldehyde rather than to use an air filter to filter out these dangerous chemicals.

Bear in mind that you should also refrain from purchasing products that might contain VOCs. It is much better to buy furniture and home products that are made from organic wood or metals instead of boards that are pressed. Additionally, you can remove the current products in your home that might emit VOCs. This includes open cans of paint, sealants and varnish. Ensure that you never leave them open to protect your loved ones and yourself. If you are unsure what kind of products or materials might contain VOCs, you should hire a professional to help you do an inspection.

Buying Green Plants for Your Home

Utilizing plants to combat the ill-effects of VOCs is also incredibly useful. They can help to filter out dangerous chemicals and also facilitate the production of oxygen in your home, which is helpful to our health. It has been studied that plants such as the spider plant and the philodendron are extremely helpful in filtering out the dangerous formaldehyde molecules in the air. Needless to say, buying a couple of plants might not completely eradicate your problem. If you want to remove the sources of VOS, you will always benefit from professional remediation.

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Useful Methods To Eliminate Sick Building Syndrome Within Your Home

Have you heard of sick building syndrome (SBS)? SBS is a term that is used to describe situations whereby the building occupants experienced acute health and comfort effects that may be linked to the amount of time spent in a building. The precise cause of this condition is unknown, however many believed that it is attributed to the poor air quality indoors. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 30 percent of new and remodeled buildings’ indoor air quality is found to be poor.

Diagnosing SBS can be hard due to the wide range of symptoms. The usual symptoms of SBS include unexplained headaches, dizziness, nausea, skin irritation, fatigue and irritations of the eyes, nose and throat. If you noticed that these symptoms only appear whenever you are at home, you may consider investigating SBS as the cause.

Good news is that it is not hard to eliminate SBS within your home. We have compiled a list of useful methods you can adopt to eliminate SBS within your home.

Make Sure there is Natural Light Seeping Into the House

Natural lighting can reduce the production of harmful bacteria and organisms that grows a home. Moreover, research have shown that natural sun provides multiple health benefits. Among the many health benefits are an improvement in blood circulation, increase in your red blood cells and also boost your immune system.

If your home has very little windows, the windows are small and sealed up, or even covered up with thick curtains, there is a higher chance that you will suffer from SBS. The lack of sunlight has been proven to link to negative feelings in residents. So, make sure to keep your windows large and opened, and your curtains light in colour.

Ensure Proper ventilation

Having proper interior ventilation can help your home rid itself of moisture, smoke, cooking odors, and indoor pollutants. Proper ventilation is a key component to maintain proper indoor air quality. If you use the air-conditioners at home, make sure that you service them and replace their filters regularly. All ventilation or exhaust fan should be equipped with a HEPA filter to keep out external pollutants. Do not smoke indoors as this can lead to serious indoor pollution.

Clean out damp areas

Dampness and wetness can expedit the growth of mold, mildew and other germs that can cause irritations to the lungs and skin. To prevent such problems, make sure that there is no area within your home that is constantly damp. Dust and vacuum your home regularly, which can minimize the chances of biological contaminants in the building, such as dust mites. If you have a water feature in your home, always make sure to keep it clean and change the water regularly.

If you are unsure on how you can start, Iris Environmental Laboratories is here to help! At IRIS Environmental Laboratories, we are committed to deliver quality environmental laboratory testing and consulting services. Our team of highly experienced field experts are certified, and our laboratory is nationally accredited by NVLAP, and NY-ELAP/NJ-DEP. Our numerous customers testimonials are proof why we are the best in the industry. Call now at 1800-908-6679 to find out more on our mold inspection services or fill up our online form to be contacted by our consultants.

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Consequences of Violating Clean Air Act

Man Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Violating Clean Air Act

When it comes to keeping people safe from environmental hazards as outlined in the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency does not take policy violations lightly. Recently, a man was charged with three counts of violating the Clean Air Act for his unlawful involvement in an asbestos inspection and removal scheme within the Pillsbury Mills plant in Springfield, Illinois.

Why It Doesn’t Pay to Be Caught up in an Asbestos Scheme

Joseph J. Chernis IV was ordered to spend a total of 37 months in federal prison because he knowingly hired an untrained person to illegally inspect and remove asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) from the Pillsbury Mills factory. As a direct result of his actions, asbestos-containing dry insulation was improperly and unsafely removed from four buildings within the Springfield facility, putting countless people at risk of asbestos exposure. Clean-up efforts that are estimated to cost the U.S. EPA millions of dollars will now need to be carried out to ensure the safety of factory workers.

Health Risks of Asbestos Exposure

What is particularly troubling about Mr. Chernis’ actions is the fact that they did not just put him at risk. Asbestos removal workers, factory workers, and anyone else in the vicinity could have been exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers, which can cause a deadly form of lung cancer called mesothelioma. For this reason, asbestos testing and removal need to be performed by a trained and certified professional who will abide by all EPA standards and policies to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

EPA Regulations for Asbestos Removal

Asbestos is included as a type of hazardous pollutant outlined in the Clean Air Act. As such, business owners, contractors, or anyone else overseeing a demolition or renovation project needs to be aware of the EPA’s rules and regulations for identifying and properly removing and disposing of asbestos-containing materials.

In the long run, it simply doesn’t pay to try to save a few bucks by illegally hiring an unqualified individual to remove ACMs. Before beginning a demo or renovation project, make sure you’re compliant with EPA regulations.

How to Know If You’re Hiring a Legal Asbestos Testing Company

The first step in getting rid of ACMs safely is to call in a professional to inspect the property for asbestos and have samples tested. To make sure you’re working with a reputable company, don’t be shy about asking for things like certifications, accreditations, and whether or not they are compliant with all federal rules and regulations regarding the removal and disposal of asbestos-containing materials.

At IRIS Environmental Laboratories, a trained professional will always conduct a thorough asbestos inspection and have any possible ACMs tested for the presence of potentially deadly asbestos fibers. Once any detected asbestos is properly removed by a professional asbestos remediation company, IRIS Environmental Laboratories will then conduct an air quality test to ensure that there are no longer dangerous asbestos particles in the air.

If you still have questions about how to properly test for and remove asbestos before starting a demolition or renovation project, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-908-6679 or contact us online.

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Protecting You and Your Loved Ones From Radon Gas

Protecting You and Your Loved Ones From Radon Gas

When you buy or sell a home these days, you will more than likely run into questions regarding
radon gas and radon testing. That’s because it is now becoming more widely known and
understood that when high levels of this gas are present in your home, you and your family
could be at risk for developing serious health risks, including lung cancer. Here is everything you
need to know about the dangers of radon and how to make sure your home is safe.

The Dangers of Radon Gas
Since you can’t see, smell, or taste radon, it is impossible to detect without special testing. For
this reason, homes are now being tested for radon gas during the buying and selling process.
Even if you’re not buying or selling your home, however, you may still want to have the indoor
air tested for radon.

When too much radon is able to seep through cracks in the foundation or walls of your home, it
can become trapped inside and could increase your risk of developing lung cancer. In fact, radon
exposure is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, second only to
cigarette smoke.

How Do I Know If There Is Radon in My Home?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, counties in many regions in the United
States are likely to have radon levels above the safe limit of 4 pCi/L. Some of the most at-risk
areas include New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, Ohio, Illinois, and many parts of the
mid-west and northwest.

However, the only way to know for sure whether or not the radon levels in your home are safe
for you and your family is to have the air tested for radon. If your radon test comes back with readings of 4 or greater, it is highly recommended that you have a radon remediation system
installed to pull radon from beneath your home and vent it outside where it can then disperse.

Professional Radon Testing vs. DIY Test Kits
At this point, you might be asking, “How do I get my home tested for radon?” You have two
options. The first is to get a DIY radon testing kit from your local hardware store and follow the
instructions to set up the test yourself. You’ll then need to send it off to an environmental
testing lab to get the results.

Your second option is to have a professional radon remediation company to come in and
perform the test for you. The advantage to this option is that if your test does come back with
unsafe levels, the company can then begin the process of installing your radon remediation
system as soon as possible. The costs of your testing might also be lower when performed by
the same company that installs your system if needed.

Still Have Questions?
If you still have questions about what radon is or how to get your home tested for radon, feel
free to contact IRIS Environmental Laboratories at (908)206-0073 or using our online form. We
would be happy to answer your questions or recommend a professional radon testing and
remediation company in your area.

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Home Inspections: Why Quality Is Key!

home-inspections-why-quality-is-keyYou’ve just found your dream house and you’re anxious to get the ball rolling so you can move in and live happily ever after. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of buying a new home, it’s easily one of the biggest investment a person might make in their lifetime. Home inspections are an important step in the home buying process. Read this article to learn about home inspections: why quality is key. 

It’s important that you take the proper precautions to make sure the house you’re buying is a safe place to call home. From the untrained professional there are details that might go unnoticed. A thorough home inspection will help bring the true condition of the home to light and give the buyer confidence that he’s making the right decision.

Why Are Home Inspections Important?

Even though you might think you’ve found your dream home, it’s your inspector’s job to make sure that your home is in a good, safe condition and doesn’t need any major repairs. A certified home inspector will analyze the property and all its major functions such as; major mechanical systems such as furnace and air conditioning systems, plumbing and electrical components, as well as an overall analysis of the roof.

A home inspector will also determine whether the home has any potential hazardous health risks like mold, lead paint or asbestos. If your home does have one of these flaws, don’t freak out just yet. A professional and qualified home inspector should also be able to suggest other professionals who can help remove and  remedy the problem.

Once the home inspection is complete  the inspector should give you a detailed report, from there it is the buyer’s responsibility to follow up with any questions or concerns. Moving forward you can discuss the results with your realtor to decide if this purchase is right for you. You can also review the results with the sellers and ask them to repair some of the things on your priority list. Having the home inspection will help you plan what kind of costs you’re willing to put into the home after the closing.

What If My Home Inspector Finds Asbestos?

If your home inspector suspects there may be asbestos or asbestos containing materials than it’s a good idea to contact a professional who is certified to treat the material. There is a step by step process to remedy the issue.

Inspection Of The Property

You just had a home inspection, so why does the property need to be inspected again? If the home is suspected to have asbestos than one of our certified and trained professional to come out and inspect all of the problem areas and areas that are thought to have asbestos and samples of those materials will be collected.

Samples – Sent To The Lab

Samples are sent to our Certified Laboratory facility under the Environmental Standard criteria. Each piece of material will be analyzed and tested for further findings.

Lab Analysis and Solutions

Once the lab has completed the testing an easy to read report will be generated and available to go over. If the tests show (ACM Asbestos Containing Material) than it is time to start looking for a remediation service company.

Post Remediation

After the asbestos has been removed and the home is thought to be safe of any hazardous materials,  a third party company must perform what is commonly called Clearance Air Test to ensure there is no asbestos fibers present in the air.

Why Should You Choose A Professional?

The potential buyer has the choice of who does the home inspection. It’s important that you do the research a choose someone who is qualified to do a thorough inspection. This sometimes goes deeper than just a look at some of the homes major mechanical systems. There are some other tests that can be done that may be helpful to you based on the condition of your home.

Older homes may have some hidden issues that are naked to the eye. Your home inspector should be able to tell you by the age of the home and overall condition of some of those tests are necessary for further investigation.

If there is an issue of asbestos it’s best to hire someone who is certified and trained to handle the situation. Dealing with asbestos can be a potential health risk to you and your family. If it’s not dealt with properly it could lead to bigger problems.

Choosing a home inspector is really important. Choosing a certified and qualified inspector could be crucial to the outcome of your home inspection. It’s a good idea to have some questions prepared so you can see how each person differs.

Questions To Ask A Home Inspector:

  • Are you licensed?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you have a limitation of liability clause in your contract?
  • What experience do you have that is related to home inspections?
  • If you miss something in the home inspection, what happens?
  • Are your inspectors infrared (IR) certified?
  • How do you inspect tall roofs above two stories?
  • How is my report delivered to me?
  • How long does it take to get a report?

A good quality home inspector will play a big part in your home inspection. When purchasing  a home, make sure you educate about the process so you can make the best possible decisions.

What Else Do You Need To Know About Home Inspections?

If you still have questions about home inspections and why it’s important to contact a professional, take a look at our FAQ page for more information. If you still can’t find the answers you’re looking for, feel free to contact us online or give us a call at (908) 206-0073 and one of our friendly team members would be happy to help you.

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