Finding a mold free house (????)

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
A friend of mine needs to find a mold free house. Anybody have any ideas how to identify one?
 

rebar

Active Member
You need someone to go through the house and look at all the potential trouble spots. There are kits that allow spore to grow and be sent off for analysis. I really don't know how accurate they are. Then there are "specialist", if they are involved in remediation then there's a chance of a less than honest assessment. You might try and locate someone who is extremely sensitive and have them go through the entire house, including the basement and attic. Mold free is a relative condition, there will always be some.
 
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Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
You need someone to go through the house and look at all the potential trouble stops. There are kits that allow spore to grow and be sent off for analysis. I really don't know how accurate they are. Then there are "specialist", if they are involved in remediation then there's a chance of a less than honest assessment. You might try and locate someone who is extremely sensitive and have them go through the entire house, including the basement and attic. Mold free is a relative condition, there will always be some.
It would be good to find someone with sensitivities.....I wonder if there's a way to do that.

thanks!
 

Forebearance

Well-Known Member
The people with ME/CFS who are sensitized to mold toxins (who I know) start by doing the usual things like looking under the sink for water damage, smelling the house for mustiness, etc. that anyone would do when house hunting.

But then because of our extra sensitivities, we tend to do things like sit in the house for an hour to see if we are getting symptoms. Common symptoms of exposure to toxic mold are pounding heart, burning skin, internal organ pain, which feels like back pain or heart pain, pink and white blotches on hands, and a bunch of more individual symptoms like headaches, sore throats, etc.

Sometimes we try to get permission to stay in the house overnight and see how we feel. It takes a good landlord to allow that!

If a patient is not sensitized yet, then you just do the best you can, or hire a mold dog to sniff it out for you, or do an ERMI test if you can afford it.

Those are good suggestions to avoid a basement, look for newer construction, and I would add look at the roof for signs of mildew or leaks, look at the walls and celings and shower tiles for signs of water damage. I may be forgetting some things to look for, but I hope you get the idea.

It's also good to live on top of a hill and not in a valley, where water damage from floods is more likely to have happened. And it's good to live in a newer part of town, and to be near some kind of green space or forest.

I hope that helped.
Forebearance
 

Gamboa

Member
I possibly need to find a mold free house. The problem is that I am not totally sure that mold is the problem so would hate to go through the extreme measures of moving and then find that I feel the same.

I have thought about getting myself tested for toxins to mold but not sure how accurate that is.

As for getting the house itself tested that is I have heard that there are companies that are not very reliable and the results don't necessarily indicate a true or false presence of mold.

Mold spores are always in the air and could be flying in from outside.

I live in Canada and almost all our houses have basements, many of them damp and moldy. New builds seem to better since they now have much better ways to water proof and insulate basements than ten or more years ago. The problem with new builds is that you then have to deal with toxins etc from the new materials, unless you build yourself and chose toxin-free building products.

Cort, this is why I am still living here and not in Death Valley as you suggested. I get stuck analyzing the problem and not doing anything about it. After waking up with a migraine the last few days and feeling like a truck ran over me in the night I am seriously thinking of doing something now. Stay tuned.

Claire
 

Lissa

Well-Known Member
I get stuck analyzing the problem and not doing anything about it.

Claire
Yes! I totally relate. My mind goes round and round about how to determine if there is a real mold problem in our house, and then I never get anywhere. It seems so expensive to get a test done, and then to question the reliability of it too.

The alternative is to poke behind some suspect walls and see what is there. But even if my husband did that, it may expose stuff even more and we'd immediately be in over our heads. Needless to say -- he's not eager to open that can of worms any time soon.

On the bright side, we don't have a basement. But - the original builders made some gaffs when it came to construction. Over time we've found some suspect stuff and done what we could to remedy it. The question is what lurks where we can't see it?!

In a perfect world someone would just come fix it (and wouldn't free be nice?!) -- if there is a real issue. Alas, it's not a perfect world and it only presents issues greater than we can bear at the time.

So I continue to analyze the problem, hope it isn't major, and then continue to not do anything about it!
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
The people with ME/CFS who are sensitized to mold toxins (who I know) start by doing the usual things like looking under the sink for water damage, smelling the house for mustiness, etc. that anyone would do when house hunting.

But then because of our extra sensitivities, we tend to do things like sit in the house for an hour to see if we are getting symptoms. Common symptoms of exposure to toxic mold are pounding heart, burning skin, internal organ pain, which feels like back pain or heart pain, pink and white blotches on hands, and a bunch of more individual symptoms like headaches, sore throats, etc.

Sometimes we try to get permission to stay in the house overnight and see how we feel. It takes a good landlord to allow that!

If a patient is not sensitized yet, then you just do the best you can, or hire a mold dog to sniff it out for you, or do an ERMI test if you can afford it.

Those are good suggestions to avoid a basement, look for newer construction, and I would add look at the roof for signs of mildew or leaks, look at the walls and celings and shower tiles for signs of water damage. I may be forgetting some things to look for, but I hope you get the idea.

It's also good to live on top of a hill and not in a valley, where water damage from floods is more likely to have happened. And it's good to live in a newer part of town, and to be near some kind of green space or forest.

I hope that helped.
Forebearance
Thanks Forebearance - I had forgotten about living on top of a hill not in a valley = that's true for people with MCS as well. Good point!

Since people with mold may have MCS they might also want to consider which way the wind typically blows. I lived outside near a golf course - I was completely fine until either the wind shifted or it got foggy.
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
I possibly need to find a mold free house. The problem is that I am not totally sure that mold is the problem so would hate to go through the extreme measures of moving and then find that I feel the same.

I have thought about getting myself tested for toxins to mold but not sure how accurate that is.

As for getting the house itself tested that is I have heard that there are companies that are not very reliable and the results don't necessarily indicate a true or false presence of mold.

Mold spores are always in the air and could be flying in from outside.

I live in Canada and almost all our houses have basements, many of them damp and moldy. New builds seem to better since they now have much better ways to water proof and insulate basements than ten or more years ago. The problem with new builds is that you then have to deal with toxins etc from the new materials, unless you build yourself and chose toxin-free building products.

Cort, this is why I am still living here and not in Death Valley as you suggested. I get stuck analyzing the problem and not doing anything about it. After waking up with a migraine the last few days and feeling like a truck ran over me in the night I am seriously thinking of doing something now. Stay tuned.

Claire
This is one of the hardest aspects of ME/CFS/FM - I think - the uncertainty of possibly doing things that are quite expensive. It's really hard to tell...I have heard of people who moved and got better and who moved and did not.

How did you feel at the conference vs now? If you got worse when you got home mold or something in the house may be an issue. Do you have room to be able to sleep outside? That could tell you something.

I believe there is a kind of window with housing. I have yet to find a really old house that I don't have trouble with but I can't remember what it is but after 5 or 10 years or something like most houses I have been told have been outgassed and are likely not to have mold.

I was privileged (ha!) to be living outside my sisters house as it went through a pretty extensive renovation to part of it that took over a year. Every time they changed something my chemical sensitivities erupted. The worst, oddly enough, was the new patio they laid - it felt like a force field - I couldn't believe it. The paint outgassed very quickly and the rest of it did pretty quickly as well; within a month or two if I remember correctly most of it had passed.

Then I lived in a house one or two houses down and across the way from a new house being built. That house kicked my butt! I couldn't believe I was picking up something that was probably 50 yards or more away but I could not stay in my house for more than a couple of hours. After they finished with that house - within a couple of weeks it was OK for me to stay in my house.

Surely someone must know about outgassing times.
 

Martha Lauren

New Member
I was just talking to my partner, who is an architect, about this. Because I agree, the issue of housing is such a dilemma for people in this community, for so many reasons, and by far one of the most expensive experiments to undertake. So I asked him for his take on the subject....

On the mold issue:
As aleady noted, the biggest sources of mold are basements and improperly vented crawl spaces. Installing a dehumidifier in a basement can certainly help, but slab on grade construction is probably best as far as foundations go, if you have a choice.

If roofing, siding, window caulking and exterior paint have all been kept in good condition, that is really all you can tell from the outside.

And, then of course all the other places most associated with water (leaking pipes). Those, at least, are usually obvious by the presence of water stains.

But as for what might have happened in a house over its lifetime....?

As for the off-gassing issue of new construction materials, in Oregon (it may be different in different states) the green building codes are not really concerned with off-gassing, not nearly as much as they are with the house's energy footprint. So while there are many green (and low VOC) materials available, the information about their off-gassing rate/amount must be researched for each individual product. The certification committees for green buildings aren't keeping track of the total off-gassing, so manufacturers don't nessecarily have to list that information on their products. But they should have the information in their spec sheets if you inquire directly. You do get points towards certification if the building sits uninhabited for a spell (1 month) after construction is complete, with the systems all running, to allow for general off-gassing.

If you don't have the specific product information (if you are moving into a new-ish home), then the off-gassing time is anyone's guess.

Wall to wall carpeting is known to be the very worst, period.

I was training as an architect before I got sick. I haven't been able to work in the traditional sense since, but still do some residential design to keep myself sane and entertained. I have a fantasy of one day being able to specialize in designing perfect, beautiful, tiny (or small), easy to maintain homes, specifically for people with illnesses and disabilities.

When I was at my very sickest I used to wish that I could live in such a home, in a community of similarly affected individuals. I figured that way we could share an outdoor space, a dog, a chef, even a nurse, and have only the fraction of the cost/responsibility of maintaining those things. And our loved ones wouldn't feel nearly so bad, having to leave us for work all day. And those of us who don't already have loved ones...would.

And I figure the better a home is designed, the smaller it can be, and the more a person could use as many "green" products as they could afford.

Anyway...that is my fantasy. So if anyone ever has the land and money for permits and construction for a home for themselves, or a community of homes...count my design services in for free. I'm serious!

Good luck to all!
 

Forebearance

Well-Known Member
I have a similar dream, Martha!

Cort, I find that houses (and hotels) that are 3 years old have off-gassed enough to be good for me. That is my sweet spot, between a place being too new and smelly and a place starting to develop plumbing issues and roof leaks.

As I've been living a mold avoidance lifestyle for a few years now, I am finding that my chemical sensitivities are going down. Also doing Dr. Brewer's protocol has helped a lot with that.
 

Susan Morgan

New Member
Hi there! Before buying or renting a new house you may look into the house properly if there are mold damage or not. Or otherwise you may also consult any local nearby experts for the house inspection. Molds are big spots which occur in your house which are very dangerous to the house as well as to the person's health also. Also, you can have mold damage insurance for your home and also may take the help from public adjusters Boca Raton to claim for mold damage insurance.
 

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