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How to Fix and Prevent Mold Issues: An Interview with William Powers of Powers Environmental LLC

By William Powers

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Powers Environmental LLC has been in the indoor environmental field for ten years. We have performed hundreds of indoor air quality inspections. Much of our work involves addressing residential mold concerns. Additionally, we assess other indoor air quality issues and odor identification. We act as consultants in building design to improve indoor air quality in homes and commercial/industrial buildings.

What are the most common signs that a house or apartment has mold problems?

Sometimes homeowners experience chronic health problems are concerned that these are related to some unhealthy condition in their homes, leading to an assessment. Other indicators of an issue leading to an inspection are suspicious visible staining on surfaces in the home, unexplained odors often described as "musty," and knowledge of past moisture intrusion.

Why should people get a professional test for mold in the home?

At times there is no visual indication of mold activity, but the homeowner is suspicious because of the signs described above.

Other times there is a visually obvious mold problem. A professional test is still important to determine whether contamination has spread to other areas/levels of the home. An independent assessment can also prevent a remediation project from expanding into unnecessary work and, in that way, limiting the cost of addressing the problem.

What is one of the top causes of mold that you see in the Connecticut area?

Many homes in Connecticut have basements and/or crawl spaces. These areas can experience moisture intrusion issues from flooding, ground water intrusion, plumbing leaks, etc. Elevated relative humidity is common in these spaces which can be at levels sufficient to support mold growth. Another common issue is mold activity in attics. This can result from a variety of reasons: dryer or bathroom exhausts venting into the attic, insufficient ventilation and/or insulation.

Interestingly, summer is when humidity issues occur in the lower parts of homes (basements and crawlspaces) and winter is when improper venting causes condensation to form in attics.

In general, can future mold problems be prevented and what's the best way to do that?

Any moisture issues should be addressed promptly. Correcting the moisture cause is the first step. Next is drying out the affected areas (walls, ceilings, carpeting, contents). This may require professional dry-out services. While requiring an outside service, dry-out services are less expensive than mold remediation services.

A properly-sized, self-emptying dehumidifier should be operating in musty basements and crawl spaces to keep relative humidity below 60% to remove the moisture conducive to mold activity.

How can people reach you and your company?

We can be reached by email at info@powersiaq.com or phone: 877-383-9814 or 203-775-4885.

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