When choosing Peace of Mind Inspection Services, our clients benefit from the following:
- We are a Multi Certified Professional Inspector Company
- Certified ASHI Inspector
- Certified Professional Inspector CPI InterNachi Inspector
- We are a Home Energy Auditor; Certified RESNET HERS Rater (provisional)
- We are Building Professional Institute (BPI) Certified Building Analyst and Building Envelope Professional
- We have Passed the National Home Inspector Exam (NHIE) required by 32 States for Certifying Home Inspectors.
- President of the InterNachi Michigan Chapter Organization.
- We are FEMA Natural Disaster Certified Inspector
- We are fully insured, E&O and liability Insurance
- We provide digital inspection reports in 24 hours or less.
- We provide online booking/scheduling & credit card payment processing.
- We have over +500 credit hours of industry related training
- We go on Roofs/climb into Attics/and enter Crawlspaces all included with full inspections when conditions are safe
- We have combined +15 years’ experience.
- We are training now for obtaining our Michigan Builders License; Mar 2018
We distinguish ourselves by providing the following:
(Included for Free with a Full Inspection)
- We provide a 96 Page Home Maintenance Booklet
- 200% Satisfaction Guarantee
- 90-Day Home Warranty
- ReCallCheck for major appliances.
- SEWERGARD 90-Day protection for water/sewer lines.
- Platinum Roof Protection Plan 5 Year roof leak protection
- MoldSafe Protection Plan 90 Day protection against New Mold
- Termite Protection Plan 90 Day Protection against New Termites or Carpenter Ants; must include Termite Inspection
- Radon Protection Plan 120 Day Protection against +4.0PCi/L levels; must include Radon inspection
- $10,000 Honor Guarantee.
- We’ll Buy Your Home Guarantee – by InterNachi.
- Lifetime access to Homeowners Resource Ask the Expert!.
High Tech Advantage
Anyone else is just looking around.®
There are many components to a typical home inspection, each involving a different examination style. Some components can just be looked at with a well trained eye, while others require some special tools.
Here at Peace of Mind Inspection Services we have multiple instruments and tools to better serve you, the customer and provide you with Peace of Mind.
Below is a summary of all the tools that can assist in detecting problems in a building inspection that could otherwise not be visible to the naked eye.
- – Aerial Imagery & Enhanced Roof Inspections
– Aerial views of house/property and neighborhood for client information
– For unsafe roof inspections, the drone can provide the required view of critical aspects of the roof materials, flashing, chimney tops.
– Drone safety guidelines per FAA Part 107 are complied with; and proper weather conditions required.
- – Infrared Thermography
– Can be used to identify moisture/air leaks and electrical hot spots during an inspection.
– Needed for Home Energy Audits
– Requires sufficient temperature differential to provide accurate results.
- – Small hidden problem areas and Water & Sewer lines in-house Inspections
- – EPA Certified results in 48 hrs
- – WiFi control of Inspection Vehicle for all hard to get to locations.
– Used for Crawlspace, Attic, Roof, small inaccessible locations.
– Full Video and Photo capable camera with night vision up to 15′.
- – Test for 17 different types of gas leaks
- – Moisture contact & no-contact measurement with IR imaging
What We Do
SERVICES WE PROVIDE
- Phase 1 – Foundation Inspection
- Phase 2 – Framing Inspection
- Phase 3- Final Walk Through Inspection
- Phase 4- One Year Warranty Inspection
Home Energy Audits
Drone Aerial Services
PEACE OF MIND INSPECTION SERVICE mission is to provide professional whole building inspection service to the highest-quality industry standards. We succeed at this because we utilize cutting edge technologies that assist in providing non-invasive and non-destructive means of monitoring and diagnosing conditions that go far beyond the naked eye that conventional or digital photography cannot provide. We do this to provide the client with an unbiased, informed and an in-depth report that provides the knowledge needed to make an educated decision. To best serve our community and industry we maintain the highest integrity of our inspectors and support staff, and our commitment to being respectful. We are considerate of our community, clients and each other needs, and finally our passion for Continuing Education for learning the newest innovations of our industry.
Most Common Home Ancillary Inspections
What is Radon?
Radon is a class A Carcinogen that causes lung cancer. Radon is a chemical element with symbol Rn and atomic number 86. Radon is a radioactive element that is part of the radioactive decay chain of naturally-occurring uranium in the soil. Radon is colorless, odorless, naturally occurring, invisible, tasteless, inert radioactive gas. Its most stable isotope, 222Rn, has a half-life of 3.8 days. Radon is one of the densest substances that remains a gas under normal conditions.
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Can Radon affect my health?
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked.
Long term exposure is known to cause lung cancer in humans. Ten percent of all lung cancer deaths annually are attributed to Radon exposure. Radon gas decays into particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breath. As they break down further, these particles release small bursts of energy. These can damage lung tissue and lead to lung cancer over the course of your lifetime. There are no immediate symptoms associated with Radon exposure, and not everyone exposed to elevated levels of Radon will develop lung cancer. Unlike carbon monoxide and many other home pollutants, Radon adverse health effect, lung cancer, is usually not produced immediately. Thus you may be exposed to Radon for many years without ever suspecting its’ presence in your home. The amount of time between exposure and the onset of the disease may be many years.
Is there Radon in my home?
Yes. All homes have some Radon. Regardless whether the home is older, new, large, small, with a basement, or built over a crawlspace or slab foundation – all homes have Radon. In some homes Radon levels can be elevated to levels that significantly increase the incidence of lung cancer. According to EPA and the Surgeon General the only way to know if your home has elevated levels is to test.
How can I prevent or eliminate Radon in my home?
Note: EPA/Surgeon General recommendeds that you hire a Radon Mitigation company to reduce Radon in your home when test results are at or above 4.0 pCi/L.
You will not be able to eliminate Radon because it is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Air pressure inside your home is usually lower than pressure in the soil around your home’s foundation. Because of this difference in pressure, your home acts like a vacuum, drawing radon in through foundation cracks and other openings. Radon also may be present in well water and can be released into the air in your home when water is used for showering and other household uses. In most cases, radon entering the home through water is a small risk compared with radon entering your home from the soil. In a small number of homes, the building materials — such as granite and certain concrete products — can give off radon, although building materials rarely cause radon problems by themselves. In the United States, radon gas in soils is the principal source of elevated radon levels in homes.
RADON REDUCTION TECHNIQUES There are several methods a contractor can use to lower radon levels in your home. Some techniques prevent radon from entering your home while others reduce radon levels after it has entered. EPA generally recommends methods that prevent the entry of radon. Soil suction, for example, prevents radon from entering your home by drawing the radon from below the home and venting it through a pipe, or pipes, to the air above the home where it is quickly diluted. Depending on type of foundation a contractor will utilize various methods to soil suction.
As a Homeowner the other types of Radon Reduction Methods that can be used in any type of home include: sealing, house or room pressurization, heat recovery ventilation and natural ventilation.
Sealing cracks and other openings in the foundation is a basic part of most approaches to radon reduction. Sealing the cracks limits the flow of radon into your home, thereby making other radon reduction techniques more effective and cost-efficient. It also reduces the loss of conditioned air. EPA does not recommend the use of sealing alone to reduce radon because, by itself, sealing has not been shown to lower radon levels significantly or consistently. It is difficult to identify and permanently seal the places where radon is entering. Normal settling of your home opens new entry routes and reopens old ones.
House or room pressurization uses a fan to blow air into the basement, or living area from either upstairs or outdoors. It attempts to create enough pressure at the lowest level indoors — in a basement, for example — to prevent radon from entering into the home. The effectiveness of this technique is limited by home construction, climate, other appliances in the home and occupant lifestyle. In order to maintain enough pressure to keep radon out, the doors and windows at the lowest level must not be left opened, except for normal entry and exit. This approach generally results in more outdoor air being introduced into the home, which can cause moisture intrusion and energy penalties. Consequently, this technique should only be considered after the other, more-common techniques have not sufficiently reduced radon.
A heat recovery ventilator, or HRV, also called an air-to-air heat exchanger, can be installed to increase ventilation, which will help reduce the radon levels in your home. An HRV will increase ventilation by introducing outdoor air while using the heated or cooled air being exhausted to warm or cool the incoming air. HRVs can be designed to ventilate all or part of your home, although they are more effective in reducing radon levels when used to ventilate only the basement. If properly balanced and maintained, they ensure a constant degree of ventilation throughout the year. HRVs also can improve air quality in homes that have other indoor pollutants. There could be significant increase in the heating and cooling costs with an HRV, but not as great as ventilation without heat recovery
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Is there Radon specific info for Michigan?
Below is a map from DEQ of Michigan showing the typical Radon level found in homes in Michigan. Please be aware the levels on your specific property and home can be higher and EPA recommends ALL homes get tested regardless of where you live.
Michigan Reference Information for your convenience:
Michigan Guide to Radon in Real Estate Transactions
Michigan Indoor Radon Program Overview
Radon Potential in Michigan
Radon in Michigan Schools and Work
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Is there Radon info Nationally?
Is Peace of Mind Inspection Services certified to test for Radon?
Yes we are IAC2 (International Association of Certified Indoor Air Consultant) Radon Certified.
IAC2 International Association of Certified Indoor Air Consultants
We are an InterNACHI (National Association of Certified Home Inspectors) Radon Tester Certified. This certification is approved by NRPP & AARST. The National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) serves as the credentialing and certification division of AARST (American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists) and is recognized as the nation’s leading certification program for radon professionals.
How does Peace of Mind Inspection Services test for Radon?
Use of a Radon 1028 Continuous Radon Monitor (CRM) – EPA Certified results in 48 hrs. This test is the only method recommended by EPA and WHO (World Health Organization). It tracks measurements hourly and provides average over a specific time period. Typical minimum time period is 48 hours, results are immediate and do not require anything to a lab for further analysis and delays.
The model 1028 continuous radon monitor is intelligently designed to be fully programmable by the user. Its patented electronic detection device for measuring radon gas has been used commercially since 1986. The Sun Nuclear Corporation, Model 1028 is US EPA verified, NEHA-NRPP listed and evaluated and approved by the NRSB for use in real estate transaction testing.
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What is the cost to test for Radon?
Please refer to our Pricing page for details.
What is Mold?
Molds are simple, microscopic organisms whose purpose in the ecosystem is to break down dead materials. Mold can be found on plants, dry leaves, and on just about every other organic material. Some molds are useful, such as those used to make antibiotics and cheese. Some molds are known to be highly toxic when ingested, such as the types that invade grains and peanuts. Most of the mold found indoors comes from outdoors. Molds reproduce by very tiny particles called spores. The spores float in on the air currents and find a suitable spot to grow. Spores are very lightweight and can travel on air currents. If mold spores land on a suitable surface, they will begin to grow. It is usually these mold spores that cause allergic reactions. Molds need three things to thrive – moisture, food and a surface to grow on. Molds can be seen throughout the house, and can be found in most bathrooms. Mold growth can often be seen in the form of discoloration, and can be many colors – white, orange, pink, blue, green, black or brown. When molds are present in large quantities (called colonies) they can cause health problems in some people.
Synonyms: Mildew, fungus, dry rot, must, moldiness, mustiness.
Molds are neither plants nor animals. They are part of the kingdom Fungi.
The diagram above demonstrates the role of fungi in relation to other living organisms. Fungi are not plants. Fungi are not animals. Fungi belong to a taxonomic classification, or kingdom, of their own. Plants convert carbon dioxide directly into carbohydrates for food. Animals and fungi must find complex carbon in the environment for food. While animals ingest the food and degrade it internally, fungi excrete chemicals (enzymes) into the environment that degrade the complex carbon into a soluble form. Fungi do not make their own food the way that green plants do. Fungi get nourishment from other living organisms. The main role of fungi in the ecosystem is to break down dead materials, such as fallen leaves, trees, insects and animal carcasses. The same enzymes that assist fungi in breaking down dead materials are what help fungi to damage wooden components in a building. Molds can damage food, stored goods, and building materials of houses. Yeast, mold, mildew and mushrooms are common forms of fungi. Mold is essentially a description of fungi that grows on surfaces, such as the black substance on a moldy shower wall. Mold and mildew often refer to the same type of fungi. All mold is fungi, but not all fungi is mold.
Molds grow in many colors, including white. “Black mold” is not a species or specific kind of mold, and neither is “toxic mold.” Sometimes the news media use the terms “toxic mold” and “black mold” to refer to molds that may produce mycotoxins, or for a specific mold known as Stachybotrys chartarum. Molds that produce mycotoxins are often referred to as toxigenic fungi. Molds can multiply by producing microscopic spores (2 to 100 microns [μm] in diameter), similar to the seeds produced by plants. Many spores are so small, they easily float through the air and can be carried for great distances by even the gentlest breeze. The number of mold spores suspended in indoor and outdoor air fluctuates from season to season, day to day, and even hour to hour. No one knows how many species of fungi exist, but estimates range from the tens of thousands to perhaps 300,000 or more. Some of the more common indoor molds are Penicillium, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Alternaria, Stachybotrys, Memnoniella and Bipolaris Spicifera.
Can Mold affect my health?
It is estimated that about 50 to 100 common indoor mold types have the potential for creating health problems. Exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, or wheezing. Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds, may have more severe reactions.
Molds spores can cause adverse reactions, much like pollen from plants. Mold spores cause health problems when they become airborne and are inhaled in large quantities. Everyone is exposed to mold in some concentration in the outdoor air. Indoor exposure to mold is not healthy for anyone. In particular, people with allergies, existing respiratory conditions or suppressed immune systems are especially susceptible to health problems from mold exposure. Additionally, infants, children, elderly people, individuals with respiratory conditions (such as allergies and asthma), and people with weakened immune systems (people with HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy patients, and organ transplant recipients) can be sensitive to the effects of mold exposure. Some molds are more hazardous than others. For some people, a small number of mold spores can cause health problems. For others, it may take many more. Mold exposure as it relates to effects on human health is a complex and emerging science.
• Cladosporium (Hormodendrum)
The above types of mold contain substances called allergens. Certain individuals with asthma and those with immune system deficiency can be susceptible to allergies due to these types of mold that can grow in your home or business.
• Bipolaris spicifera
• Bipolaris australiensis
• Bipolaris hawaiiensis
Pathogenic mold can cause severe health complications in people who are have certain types of cancer, people diagnosed HIV+, and others who have compromised immune systems. Pathogenic molds should always be re-mediated by a professional to ensure health risks are eliminated.
Mycotoxins As molds grow under some conditions, some (but not all) of them may produce potentially toxic byproducts called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are fungal metabolites that have been identified as toxic agents.
• Stachybotrys (Black Mold)
Toxic Mold and Black Mold are molds which produce harmful by-products. Toxic mold growth is usually extremely rare but can cause serious health problems, including death. If toxic mold is ever discovered in your home or business, it must be removed and properly re-mediated as quickly as possible.
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Is there Mold in my home?
Mold is Everywhere Mold spores are ubiquitous; Mold spores occur in the indoor and outdoor environments. Mold spores may enter your house from the outside through open doorways, windows, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems with outdoor air intakes. Spores in the air outside also attach themselves to people and animals, making clothing, shoes, bags, and pets convenient vehicles for carrying mold indoors.
When mold spores drop on places where there is excessive moisture, such as where leakage may have occurred in roofs, pipes, walls, plant pots, or where there has been flooding, they will grow. Many building materials provide suitable nutrients that encourage mold to grow. Wet cellulose materials, including paper and paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood, and wood products, are particularly conducive for the growth of some molds. Other materials such as dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation materials, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery, commonly support mold growth.
Moisture, Temperature, Food and Mold Spores are four factors involved in mold growth. The following conditions are necessary for mold growth to thrive on surfaces: • a temperature range between 40° and 100° F; • the presence of mold spores; • a nutrient base (most surfaces contain nutrients); and • moisture.
Mold Spores We covered this above, we will have mold spores in the house.
Moisture Mold does not need a lot of moisture to grow. A little condensation in a bathroom or around a window sill, for example, can be enough. Common sites for indoor mold growth include bathroom tile and grout, basement walls, and areas around windows and sinks. Common sources of water or moisture include roof leaks, condensation due to high humidity or cold spots in a building, slow leaks at plumbing fixtures, humidification systems, sprinkler systems, and floods. Mold has been found to germinate, grow and produce spores in as little as 24 hours after water damage occurs. Indoor relative humidity (RH) should be between 20% and 40% in the winter, and less than 60% the rest of the year. Some experts recommended that indoor humidity levels in general should be between 40% and 60%. Moisture is the most important factor influencing mold growth indoors. Controlling indoor moisture helps limit mold growth. Moisture control is the key to mold control.
Food Besides moisture, mold needs nutrients, or food, to grow. Mold can grow on virtually any organic substance. Buildings are full of organic materials that mold can use as food, including paper, cloth, wood, plant material, and even soil. Molds secrete digestive enzymes that decompose the substrate, making nutrients available. Some molds can even digest synthetic materials, such as adhesives, pastes and paints. Molds can also grow on inorganic material, such as concrete, glass and metal, because it can grow on the dirt or dust that is present on the surfaces of those materials.
Temperature In most cases, temperature is not an issue; some molds grow in warm areas, while others prefer cool locations, such as bread stored in a refrigerator. Mold grows well in environments between 40º to 100º F. (And the pH is usually between 3 and 8.) But some mold species have been found in hot springs with water temperatures above 120º F. Often, more than one type of mold can be found growing in the same area, although conditions such as moisture, substrate and temperature may favor one species of mold over another.
In looking at the four factors required for Mold growth, three of the factors we have no to little control over. Temperature range is within the comfort levels established in a home; Mold spores will be present as we cannot block outdoor air from coming indoor; a nutrient base or food source is all over the house and common in building materials used in the house; moisture is the one thing we must control if we maintain our house properly and eliminate any sources of moisture intrusion into a house.
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How can I prevent or eliminate Mold in my home?
Mold remediation is the clean up and removal of mold, particularly toxic mold, from an indoor environment, such as a home, office, school, etc. If there is only a small amount of mold present, the homeowner or building owner may be able to clean away the mold themselves. If the mold is widespread +10sqft, EPA recommends that professionals may need to be hired, as specialized equipment and methods may be required to remove the mold completely.
Mold remediation is not easy work. Once a toxic mold problem has been determined, there are a number of steps that need to be taken to not only remove the mold, but prevent its recurrence. You, or the mold remediation expert, will need to change the conditions causing the mold growth and then tackle the mold clean-up. It is important that you are suitably prepared and protected before starting to remove the mold.
Mold is caused by a moisture issue within the area where the mold is growing. The first step in mold remediation is resolving what is causing the moisture and allowing the mold to thrive. Mold can begin to grow within 24 – 48 hours of moisture building up in an area. It is important to remove whatever is causing the moisture, or to decrease the humidity with the use of dehumidifiers or increased ventilation. Mold remediation is a pointless task if the initial causes are not also dealt with.
Let’s talk about how to prevent mold for a moment. You’ve probably heard a lot about the risks of toxic household mold and about the costs of mold removal, but mold prevention is a topic discussed less frequently. If you know how to prevent the growth of mold, however, and take some relatively simple steps to prevent future problems, you can save yourself a lot of money and aggravation. After all, mold removal is costly, time consuming, and difficult!
The Importance of Mold Prevention
Household mold can contribute to numerous health problems, including respiratory difficulties such as asthma and pneumonia, rashes, depression, fatigue, digestive problems, and inflammation and pain in the joints. Mold can also literally eat away at the structures of the home, causing extensive damage. It’s extremely important to prevent the growth of mold in the home because most removal is a difficult and costly procedure. It’s easier to prevent mold in the first place than to remove it later.
How to Prevent Mold
The key to preventing mold is moisture control. Without excessive moisture in your home, mold cannot grow. Experts generally advise keeping the humidity levels in your home below 55%. You can use a hygrometer to monitor your humidity levels.
Give your home a thorough checkup to identify any issues that might contribute to future mold growth. Correct any problems as soon as possible. If you’re not sure how to make the necessary repairs, hire a professional to assist you. It will be well worth the cost because you’ll save so much money in health care, home repair, and mold removal expenses down the road.
Window frames – check around all window frames to make sure they seal tightly and no water seeps in.
Sinks, toilets, and tubs – check under and around all sinks, toilets, and tubs for any leaking water. Install water leak sensors in these areas to alert you early to any leaks.
Hot water heaters – check around your hot water heater for any leaking water. This is another good place to install a water leak sensor.
Roofs – examine your ceilings for signs of a leaky roof. Sometimes you can’t see signs of leakage from inside the house, though, until the problem has gotten pretty bad. If you’re not sure how to inspect your roof, hire a professional to get up on the roof and inspect it for you. Here is more information on how to deal with a ceiling water leak.
Bathrooms – check for adequate ventilation, especially when showering. If the room gets really steamy when you shower, turn on an exhaust fan or open a window a little. If you don’t have an exhaust fan in the bathroom, you may need to install one. Here is more information on preventing bathroom mold.
Basement – try the sniff test. Is there a musty odor in the basement? If so, there may be mold present. If the basement feels or smells damp or musty, purchase a dehumidifier.
Attic – try the sniff test in the attic, too. If there have been any leaks in your roof, there may be mold in the attic. If not, keep a hygrometer in your attic to measure humidity levels. One hygrometer that is made by Ambient Weather comes with a portable sensor that you can keep in your attic. It transmits the humidity level to the main unit so you can monitor your attic humidity levels very easily.
In addition, you can prevent mold by:
Wiping up any water spills as soon as possible
Using a fan to help dry any damp carpet as soon as possible
Keeping windows tightly closed when it’s raining outside
Using exhaust fans in the bathroom when showering and in the kitchen when cooking
Wiping showers, shower curtains, tubs, etc. dry with a towel after use
Keeping an eye out for signs of mold and addressing any problems promptly
Installing a solar fan in your attic so that you have good air circulation there all year round.
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Is there Mold specific information for Michigan?
Michigan Department of Health & Human Services – All About Mold
All About Mold
Mold and Your Health
Steps for Cleaning Mold
Mold & Home Owners
Mold & Renter Dispute
Mold for Health Care Providers
MSU Mold – an Indoor Air Quality Concern: Part 1
MSU Mold- An Indoor Air Quality Concern: Part 2
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Is there Mold specific information Nationally?
Is Peace of Mind Inspection Services certified to inspect and test for Mold?
Yes we are IAC2 (International Association of Certified Indoor Air Consultant) Mold Certified.
IAC2 International Association of Certified Indoor Air Consultants
We are an InterNACHI (National Association of Certified Home Inspectors) Mold Inspector Certified. Additionally, one of the most critical issues with Mold is Moisture, we are also a Certified Moisture Intrusion Inspector.
We also provide
How does Peace of Mind Inspection Services test for Mold?
Peace of Mind Inspection Services utilize the IAC2 Standards of Practice (SOP) as a guide to test for mold.
The SOP can be found here:IAC2 SOP
Mold Inspection generally will include the following questions of the home owner:
1. Are you aware of any active water penetration/intrusion at the building?
2. Have there ever been any prior incidences of moisture or water problems in the building?
3. Are you aware of any possible mold or mold growth in the building?
4. Has the property ever been inspected or tested for mold or mold growth?
5. Are any of the building’s occupants presently experiencing or ever experienced their health affected by asthma, allergies or breathing problems?
6. Are any of the building’s occupants under a physician’s care for significant health effects attributed to mold exposure?
7. Is there any litigation being considered or in progress in relation to mold in the building?
There are generally eight questions that can be answered by a visual examination and mold sampling of a building:
1. Is there water intrusion in the building?
2. Are there any components in the building that are water-damaged?
3. Are there musty, moldy odors in the building?
4. Is there any visible, apparent mold?
5. Is that which is visible actually mold?
6. Are there indications of hidden mold growth?
7. Are there conditions conducive to mold growth?
8. What should be done if mold growth is discovered?
Once we have gone through the above analysis and we determine that further evaluation is needed in order to find the source of moisture in the building that is supporting the apparent mold growth. The use of a moisture meter or other device can provide an objective indication of the amount of moisture in a building’s material.
Surface Sampling Method Once we find what appears to look like mold growth we will conduct a surface sampling method to confirm the existence of actual mold growth. This could be either a swab or tape surface method and that determination will be done at time of inspection.
Air Sampling Method In addition to the surface sampling we will conduct air sampling to address the concern that mold spores may affect the health of those exposed. We need to take a minimum of three air samples, two outdoor controlled samples and one indoor air sample. Additional indoor air samples will be determined at time of inspection.
Chain of Custody Once mold sampling has occurred, the samples are coded and a chain of custody is established with each sample.
Certified Labs We use a certified lab for mold testing. Samples are analyzed to the analytical methods recommended by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and that of the American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH).
Test Results Test results are typically provided in 1-3 days.
Mold Agreement When a Mold Inspection is being conductive we will require that our MoldAgreement document be signed prior to the Mold Inspection. This document will be sent to you prior to the Inspection for your review and signature.
You can view a sample of this form here: Peace of Mind Inspection Services LLC Mold Agreement
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What is the cost to inspect/test for Mold?
What is Wood Destroying Insects/Organism (WDI/WDO)?
Wood Destroying Insects/Organism
Although commonly referred to as a “Termite Inspection” or “WDO Inspection” or even “WDI Inspection” or Wood Destroying Insect Inspection. No matter what you call it, the key characteristic is that they all can cause extensive damage to homes, buildings and building materials. Officially it is referred to as “organism” as opposed to “Insect” as not all of the reasons of wood destroying organism are insects. Wood rot or decay is a caused by wood-decay fungi which occurs only in wood with moisture content greater than 20%. Most decay or rot fungi grow only on wood that is subject to wetting by contact with moist soil, rain, plumbing leaks, or condensation. Decay fungi take their food from the wood as they grow and reduce the strength of wood, often making it brown and crumbly or white and stringy. Often the structural damage attributed to subterranean termites may actually be the result of wood decay fungi. They both readily attack damp wood. Majority of the below information will focus on the wood destroying insects WDI.
A variety of insects can damage wood. Some of them actually eat the wood, while others destroy it when they burrow into the wood to create nests. Small holes or sawdust on the surface of the wood can indicate damage by insects, but in some cases, damage isn’t visible to the naked eye. One of the biggest threats to your house comes in the form of tiny pests that silently and invisibly consume or live in wood — from the sills of your foundation to the rafters of your roof. Known by exterminators as WDIs, wood-destroying insects cause more than $5 billion a year in property damage in the United States, according to a nationwide pest-control company. What you cannot see can hurt you, as WDIs can be hard to detect with the naked eye unless you know what to look for. If you don’t catch them early, you’re setting up to spend a lot more on treatment and repairs after the fact. This is because once they have infiltrated your home they often live within it.
How susceptible is Michigan to WDIs Depending on moisture levels, climate, and location of a colony (they’re more active in warm, moist conditions), it could take three to eight years before the signs of an infestation — serious damage to your house — are apparent. Structures in warm climates are far more likely to develop structural pest problems than those in cooler climates. The below map of USA shows the potential WDIs. Michigan is fortunate to have exposure from Moderate to none depending on location within Michigan. Don’t let that fool you, we can still have issues if unchecked and conditions are right.
Wood-destroying pests can be divided into four categories:
2. Carpenter Ants
3. Powderpost Beetles
4. Bark Beetles and Woodborers
5. Carpenter Bees
There are about 50 species of termites in NA. Michigan’s termite problem is basically caused by subterranean termites. Subterranean termites nest in the soil, from which they obtain most of their moisture, and feed on any wood in contact with the soil. To reach wood that is separated from the soil, these termites must build a connection mud tube or tunnel. Four castes can develop from the nymphs of subterranean termites: workers, soldiers, winged (primary) reproductives, and supplementary reproductives. The other groups of termites drywood and dampwood are found in western USA and/or along the southern coastal areas from California to the Atlantic. Unlike subterranean termites, these other termites groups do not require contact with the soil for moisture. They are occasionally introduced into Michigan through furniture or other seasoned wood. Can be extremely damaging, especially in warm or tropical climates.
Ants often nest in wood. There are probably many carpenter ant species in Michigan, but only one poses a major pest problem – the black carpenter ant. The black carpenter ant varies from 1/8 to 1/2 inch in length because of the presence in most colonies of both “major” and “minor” workers. Carpenter ants may construct their nest in hollow trees, logs, posts, porch pillars, hollow doors, and other woods used in homes. They are usually attracted to damp, decaying wood. but once the nest is started, they will also excavate sound wood as they enlarge the nest. It is often quite common to find them nesting in existing voids that require no excavation; occasionally they start in an existing void and enlarge it as their need dictates. The presence of carpenter ants suggests the potential for wood damage. Can be extremely damaging if left untreated for years.
Powderpost beetles are small brown beetles with elongated bodies and small heads. They range in size from 1/8 to 3/4 inches in length, depending on the species. Powderpost beetles lay their eggs on top of wood or just below the surface of the wood. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feeds on the wood, chewing a tunnel to the surface over the course of one to five years. The beetles eat both hard and softwoods. The type of wood eaten depends on the species, and damage is often found in floors, planks, paneling, door frames, furniture and molding.
Powder Post Beetles There are three common groups of powder post beetles; Lyctids, Anobiids, and Bostrichids. Since you rarely see the adult beetles or its larvae, identification depends on the type of wood that has been damaged and moisture content of the wood. Wood damaged by these beetles will have many tiny holes 1/16″ the size of pinheads in it. The resulting sawdust or frass will be a very fine powder. The peak time for beetles to emerge is May through August. Can cause extensive cosmetic damage and cause extensive structural damage if not treated.
Adults are often large colorful beetles but it is the larvae that will bore in living or dead trees and wood less than 10 years old. Common types of wood boring insects include metallic wood borers, wood wasps, bark beetles and long-horned beetles. Wood borers are often found in firewood, log homes or structural wood. They will leave large 1/4″-1/2″ holes in hardwoods and softwoods. Damage is typically limited as they normally do not re infest wood after the first generation.
The carpenter bee resembles a bumblebee in that it is robust and black with some markings of yellow hair. The dorsal surface of the abdomen lacks the yellow hair markings of bumblebees and is mostly devoid of any hair. These bees are considered pests of wood because they excavate tunnels in softwood as sites for producing their brood. Common nesting sites are posts, fence railings, porch support posts, wall siding, eaves, wooden shingles, windowsills, doors, wooden porch furniture. Carpenter bees are less likely to cause serious structural damage than termites or carpenter ants. However, their entry holes can allow moisture to enter the wood.
Please see the Wood-Damaging Insects chart below from Living With Bugs They do an excellent job in providing information on all types of bugs. Please visit them.
Can WDI/WDO affect my home value or my personal health?
In USA experts say that the inspection, treatment and the repair cost is a $5 billion industry, inspection being the least cost and in the long run early detection for WDI/WDO issues is critical to minimizing cost. If left unchecked, WDI/WDO will cause extensive damage and as previously indicated the Termite, Carpenter Ant and Powerderpost Beetle are the biggest culprits for WDI that will cause wood damage. All of these are common to Michigan. Ninety-five percent of the time your mortgage lender will require that a wood destroying insect infestation inspection are completed on the property you wish to purchase prior to settlement. This will insure that it does not have an active infestation or major structural damage from wood destroying insects. Experts say that a colony of termites can eat a foot out of a two-by-four a year. And that depends on how many colonies are working on your house. Any wood damage can lead to thousands of dollars especially if the wood is a structure member. It goes without saying that during the selling process of your house an active WDI/WDO will lead to cost to repair and hopefully not cause you to loose a potential interested buyer.
In general WDI do not cause health issues directly as their purpose is to the colony and destroying wood. But the side effects of WDI in the home can cause health issues. Moisture intrusion is likely attracting WDI/WDO to your wood, the source of this is critical to find in order to prevent long term issues. The moisture in itself can cause health issues by allowing mold spores to grow onto a wood surface or in the case of of wood decay fungi a WDO which needs moisture levels of +20% can also release spores into the air that can cause allergens that we breath in. Additionally, Termites frass (pellets). These pellets also called frass or poop, are wooden colored. Termite pellets are harmful to humans. The frass is just like a saw dust and when contacts the skin it might cause contact dermatitis and allergic reactions.
In summary Termite can be harmful to your health;
What Diseases Termites Can Cause?
Asthma is a common long term inflammatory disease of the airways of the lungs. It is characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Symptoms include episodes of wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Mostly, asthma is caused by mold spores inside a house.
Contact dermatitis – a skin reaction resulting from exposure to allergens or irritants. Rash is limited to certain areas of the skin and often has clearly defined borders. In case of allergic reaction, the first exposure to the allergen (or in some cases the first few impacts) may not cause inflammation, but subsequent exposure causes itching and dermatitis develops in the period of 4 to 24 hours.
Allergies – increased sensitivity to certain substances (allergens) that cause a painful condition (tearing, red spots, coughing, sneezing and so on.) The existence of termite droppings indicates that there is a sound termite activity in the surrounding area. Such droppings can be found on a bed (the sign of “roof” activity), on window sills, carpet, floor. Termites dust can cause rather serious health problems.
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Is there WDI/WDO in my home?
All homes have bugs!
The question is the types of bugs ie WDI Wood Destroying Insects, and are they active in the home? The Buyer in a real estate transaction should hire a qualified WDI/WDO inspector that was not involved in previous inspections at this property and not from a company that also performs insect treatment to eliminate any conflict of interest that may arise.
Typical signs that you may have WDI/WDO in your home?
In general any live WDI found in the home or infestation near the perimeter of a home is a good sign that there are more and probably in your home. You can also find evidence of dead WDI or cast wings, again clear signs of either a past infestation or current active. Any of the above should be cause to further investigate by a authorized WDI/WDO Inspection company.
If you see active termites, there’s at least one colony underground nearby that experts estimate contains from about 50,000 to about 2 million insects each.
Telltale Termite Signs:
Mud tubes. About the size of a pencil, these tubes connect to infested wood. They may be visible on concrete foundations or hidden under floor boards or behind siding.
Swarms. Winged termites are attracted to lights and may be found around windows or exterior light fixtures.
Wood damage. Tap wood every few inches and listen for a telltale hollow sound or see if a tool easily penetrates the wood you’re tapping. Dark areas or blisters in wood flooring may also be a sign of infestation.
They leave small round holes ~1/16″ in dia; very fine, dusty and gritty powder.
They will leave 1/4″ to 1/2″ dia holes round to oval in the wood.
Large 1/2″ round holes that appear in interior wall/floor surfaces, Exterior trim wood, doors and siding.
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How can I prevent or eliminate WDI/WDO in my home?
Call the Experts!
If you have evidence of WDI/WDO that you have observed or an Authorized WDI/WDO Inspection company reported in their inspection report it is best to call in a Licensed WDI Exterminator. In the state of Michigan they must hold a Business License and each Applicator Technician is required to be Certified to Category 7B which is for Wood Destroying Pest Management. Please see the Regulation 636 for Licensing requirements for Business & Applicators here: MDA Regulation 636 Applicator Licensing Requirements
Also please see the Categories required depending on the type of pest that is being exterminated here: Commercial Pesticide Application Certification Categories_471613_7
Also, the state of Michigan requires that certain information must be communicated to the customer as per Rule 12 of Regulation 637. A copy of Regulation 637 can be found here: MDA Reg 637 Pesticide Use in Michigan
A number of state and federal laws are designed to protect the public and the environment from the improper use of pesticides. It is the pest control technician’s responsibility to understand and to comply with these laws. Category 7B pest management professionals often apply pesticides in public areas. Therefore, they must be particularly sensitive about preventing contact between people and pesticides. Category 7B pest management professionals should be trained in INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT (IPM) — A planned pest control program in which various methods are integrated and used to keep pests from causing economic, health-related, or aesthetic injury. IPM includes reducing pests to a tolerable level. Pesticide application is not the primary control method but is an element of IPM—as are cultural and structural alterations. IPM programs emphasize communication, monitoring, inspection, and evaluation (keeping and using records).
How to prevent WDI/WDO in your Home
1. Annual WDI/WDO Inspections either do it yourself or hire a qualified WDI/WDO Inspector.
2. Moisture Management. Observe any water intrusion situation and remedy immediately.
3. Cracks in foundation walls, even small ones, can provide entry for insects.
4. Leaking pipes or faucets create an environment conducive to termites.
5. Wood debris or firewood touching the structure provide a breeding ground for insects.
6. Sprinkler systems that hit outside walls encourage insects and wash away treatments.
7. Planters or wood trellises attached to exterior walls provide an access point for insects.
8. Ventilation and airing. Pay a close attention to the ventilation system of your house, air wells should always be passable for air, air grids should always be clean.
9. Cleaning and mopping. During your usual cleaning activities, you should clean all house surfaces with vacuum cleaner. This should be done twice weekly. In case there is termites’ frass, you won’t touch it and get problems with your skin. Regularly replace vacuum cleaner bags.
10. Humidity Control. Many things are attracted to dampness, moisture and condensation. Experts say to control humidity between 30-50% throughout the year.
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Is there WDI/WDO specific information for Michigan?
Is there WDI/WDO specific information Nationally?
Is Peace of Mind Inspection Services certified to Inspect for WDI/WDO?
Peace of Mind Inspection Services is Certified to Inspect for WDI/WDO.
As part of your WDI/WDO inspection we provide free of charge
How does Peace of Mind Inspection Services Inspect for WDI/WDO?
Peace of Mind Inspection Services WDI/WDO inspection looks for evidence of infestation by termites, Carpenter Ants, Powderpost Beetles, Wood Borer Beetles, Carpenter Bees and wood decay, as well as evidence of past infestations, damage to wood, or conditions conducive to infestation; and evidence of past treatments.
A proper termite and WDO inspection consists of several steps, which may not necessarily occur in this order:
An inspection of the exterior of the home, looking for signs of termite activity such as termite shelter tubes, as well as conditions conducive to termite and other WDO infestation (such as wood that is too close to the ground, dead tree stumps by the house, improper grading, leaky gutters or downspouts, or tree branches overhanging or touching the home). The inspector will also look for evidence of infestation by other wood-destroying insects.
An inspection of the interior of the home, with special emphasis on the basement, garage, door and window frames, and other areas that are particularly prone to WDO infestation. This part of the inspection will be both visual and physical, and typically involves visually inspecting, tapping, probing, and sounding susceptible wood, and use of High Tech devices such as Moisture Meter and IR Camera, see tools for WDI/WDO inspections below. The inspector will also be looking for live termites or other insects, dead termite “swarmers”, other evidence of infestation (tubing, frass, signs of prior treatments, etc.), damaged wood, and conditions conducive to infestation (such as excessive moisture levels).
This is reported on a standardized inspection form developed by the NPMA and adopted by various state and federal agencies, and may sometimes include additional documents attached by the inspector to clarify the inspection findings.
Tools we use for WDI/WDO Inspections:
1. Flashlight; High 1000 lumen, Insects like to hide in dark creepy areas.
2. Hammer; Use to perform sounding onto suspected wood. We are listening for that hollow sound.
3. Screwdriver/Pick; We use this to check wood surfaces to see if we can easily penetrate or splinter.
3. Moisture Meter; If a wood has greater than 20% humidity it becomes suspect for potential WDI/WDO and Mold.
4. IR (Infra Red) Meter; This technology can identify a variety of pest issues. Here’s a list of the most useful tasks infrared pest detection can help with:
the nest goes, which is vital when treating the problem. The same goes for other wood munchers too, such as
up by the camera, making it easy to find well-hidden nests.
cameras can be used to see hidden pockets of moisture as well.
5. Stethoscope; We can sometimes hear termites making sounds under certain conditions. The stethoscope allows us to hear these faint sounds. When termites are threatened or disturbed, they communicate by banging their heads against the walls of their tunnels. This creates a dry rattling that human ears can hear with the help of a Stethoscope. Termites, however, cannot hear audible noise; they react to the vibration they feel.
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What is the cost to inspect/test for WDI/WDO?
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) FAQ
What is Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)?
Bringing Clean Air to Life®
Most of us spend much of our time indoors, in fact according to an EPA study we spend on average about 90% of our time indoors. Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns. Some pollutants can be chemicals, gases, and living organisms like mold and pests.
What Causes Indoor Air Problems?
Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of indoor air quality problems in homes. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the home. High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants.
There are many sources of indoor air pollution in any home. These include combustion sources such as oil, gas, kerosene, coal, wood, and tobacco products; building materials and furnishings as diverse as deteriorated, asbestos-containing insulation, wet or damp carpet, and cabinetry or furniture made of certain pressed wood products; products for household cleaning and maintenance, personal care, or hobbies; central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices; and outdoor sources such as radon, pesticides, and outdoor air pollution.
The relative importance of any single source depends on how much of a given pollutant it emits and how hazardous those emissions are. In some cases, factors such as how old the source is and whether it is properly maintained are significant. For example, an improperly adjusted gas stove can emit significantly more carbon monoxide than one that is properly adjusted.
Some sources, such as building materials, furnishings, and household products like air fresheners, release pollutants more or less continuously. Other sources, related to activities carried out in the home, release pollutants intermittently. These include smoking, the use of unvented or malfunction-ing stoves, furnaces, or space heaters, the use of solvents in cleaning and hobby activities, the use of paint strippers in redecorating activities, and the use of cleaning products and pesticides in housekeeping. High pollutant concentrations can remain in the air for long periods after some of these activities.
Amount of Ventilation
If too little outdoor air enters a home, pollutants can accumulate to levels that can pose health and comfort problems. Unless they are built with special mechanical means of ventilation, homes that are designed and constructed to minimize the amount of outdoor air that can “leak” into and out of the home may have higher pollutant levels than other homes. However, because some weather conditions can drastically reduce the amount of outdoor air that enters a home, pollutants can build up even in homes that are normally considered “leaky.”
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Can uncontrolled IAQ levels affect my health?
Indoor Air and Your Health
Health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later.
Immediate effects may show up after a single exposure or repeated exposures. These include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Such immediate effects are usually short-term and treatable. Sometimes the treatment is simply eliminating the person’s exposure to the source of the pollution, if it can be identified. Symptoms of some diseases, including asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and humidifier fever, may also show up soon after exposure to some indoor air pollutants.
The likelihood of immediate reactions to indoor air pollutants depends on several factors. Age and preexisting medical conditions are two important influences. In other cases, whether a person reacts to a pollutant depends on individual sensitivity, which varies tremendously from person to person. Some people can become sensitized to biological pollutants after repeated exposures, and it appears that some people can become sensitized to chemical pollutants as well.
Certain immediate effects are similar to those from colds or other viral diseases, so it is often difficult to determine if the symptoms are a result of exposure to indoor air pollution. For this reason, it is important to pay attention to the time and place the symptoms occur. If the symptoms fade or go away when a person is away from the home and return when the person returns, an effort should be made to identify indoor air sources that may be possible causes. Some effects may be made worse by an inadequate supply of outdoor air or from the heating, cooling, or humidity conditions prevalent in the home.
Other health effects may show up either years after exposure has occurred or only after long or repeated periods of exposure. These effects, which include some respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer, can be severely debilitating or fatal. It is prudent to try to improve the indoor air quality in your home even if symptoms are not noticeable. More information on potential health effects from particular indoor air pollutants is provided in the section, “A Look at Source-Specific Controls.”
While pollutants commonly found in indoor air are responsible for many harmful effects, there is considerable uncertainty about what concentrations or periods of exposure are necessary to produce specific health problems. People also react very differently to exposure to indoor air pollutants. Further research is needed to better understand which health effects occur after exposure to the average pollutant concentrations found in homes and which occur from the higher concentrations that occur for short periods of time.
The health effects associated with some indoor air pollutants are summarized in the section “Reference Guide to Major Indoor Air Pollutants in the Home.”
Identifying Air Quality Problems
Some health effects can be useful indicators of an indoor air quality problem, especially if they appear after a person moves to a new residence, remodels or refurnishes a home, or treats a home with pesticides. If you think that you have symptoms that may be related to your home environment, discuss them with your doctor or your local health department to see if they could be caused by indoor air pollution. You may also want to consult a board-certified allergist or an occupational medicine specialist for answers to your questions.
Another way to judge whether your home has or could develop indoor air problems is to identify potential sources of indoor air pollution. Although the presence of such sources does not necessarily mean that you have an indoor air quality problem, being aware of the type and number of potential sources is an important step toward assessing the air quality in your home.
A third way to decide whether your home may have poor indoor air quality is to look at your lifestyle and activities. Human activities can be significant sources of indoor air pollution. Finally, look for signs of problems with the ventilation in your home. Signs that can indicate your home may not have enough ventilation include moisture condensation on windows or walls, smelly or stuffy air, dirty central heating and air cooling equipment, and areas where books, shoes, or other items become moldy. To detect odors in your home, step outside for a few minutes, and then upon reentering your home, note whether odors are noticeable.
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What is the IAQ level in my home?
Measuring Pollutant Levels
The federal government recommends that you measure the level of radon in your home. Without measurements there is no way to tell whether radon is present because it is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. Inexpensive devices are available for measuring radon. EPA provides guidance as to risks associated with different levels of exposure and when the public should consider corrective action. There are specific mitigation techniques that have proven effective in reducing levels of radon in the home. (See “Radon” for additional information about testing and controlling radon in homes.)
For pollutants other than radon, measurements are most appropriate when there are either health symptoms or signs of poor ventilation and specific sources or pollutants have been identified as possible causes of indoor air quality problems. Testing for many pollutants can be expensive. Before monitoring your home for pollutants besides radon, consult your state or local health department or professionals who have experience in solving indoor air quality problems in nonindustrial buildings.
Volatile Organic Compounds
Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, are chemicals that are emitted as gases from solids or liquids and easily evaporated into the air at room temperature. Concentrations of these chemicals can be up to 100 times higher indoors than outdoors. Thousands of products, many that we use every day, or are exposed to everyday, emit VOCs into the air while they are being used, and, to some degree, even when they are stored. These products include:
• Paints & varnishes
• Moth balls
• Building materials
• Fuel oil
• Cooking oils, etc.
• Cleaning supplies
• Vinyl flooring
• Growing mold
• Copiers & printers
• Upholstery & fabrics
• Glues & adhesives
• Permanent markers
• Craft materials
• Hair care products
• Air fresheners
• Furniture (pressed wood)
• Vehicle exhaust
While all VOCs have the potential to be harmful, there are a few common VOCs that can be particularly dangerous, and are emitted from a number of products in our homes. These common VOCs are Formaldehyde, benzene, and phenol, and are classified as Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). For a complete list of all 188 HAPs, click here to visit the EPA website.
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How can I improve my IAQ levels in my home?
There are three basic strategies to improve Indoor Air Quality:
1. Source Control
2. Improved Ventilation
3. Air Cleaners
Usually the most effective way to improve IAQ is to eliminate individual sources of pollution or to reduce their emissions. Some sources, like those that contain asbestos, can be sealed or enclosed; others, like gas stoves, can be adjusted to decrease the amount of emissions. In many cases, source control is also a more cost-effective approach to protecting IAQ than increasing ventilation because increasing ventilation can increase energy cost.
Another approach to lowering the concentrations of indoor air pollutants in your home is to increase the amount of outdoor air coming indoors. Most home heating and cooling systems, including forced air heating systems, do not mechanically bring fresh air into the house. Opening windows and doors, operating window or attic fans, when the weather permits, or running a window air conditioner with the vent control open increases the outdoor ventilation rate. Local bathroom or kitchen fans that exhaust outdoors remove contaminants directly from the room where the fan is located and also increase the outdoor air ventilation rate. It is particularly important to take as many of these steps as possible while you are involved in short-term activities that can generate high levels of pollutants — for example, painting, paint stripping, heating with kerosene heaters, cooking, or engaging in
maintenance and hobby activities such as welding, soldering, or sanding. You might also choose to do some of these activities outdoors, if you can and if weather permits. Advanced designs of new homes are starting to feature mechanical systems that bring outdoor air into the home. Some of these designs include energy-efficient heat recovery ventilators (also known as air-to-air heat exchangers).
There are many types and sizes of air cleaners on the market, ranging from relatively inexpensive table-top models to sophisticated and expensive whole-house systems. Some air cleaners are highly effective at particle removal, while others, including most table-top models, are much less so. Air cleaners are generally not designed to remove gaseous pollutants.
The effectiveness of an air cleaner depends on how well it collects pollutants from indoor
air (expressed as a percentage efficiency rate) and how much air it draws through the cleaning or filtering element (expressed in cubic feet per minute). A very efficient collector with a low air-circulation rate will not be effective, nor will a cleaner with a high air circulation rate but a less efficient collector. The long-term performance of any air cleaner depends on maintaining it according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Another important factor in determining the effectiveness of an air cleaner is the strength of the pollutant source. Table-top air cleaners, in particular, may not remove satisfactory amounts of pollutants from strong nearby sources. People with a sensitivity to particular sources may find that air cleaners are helpful only in conjunction with concerted efforts to remove the source.
Over the past few years, there has been some publicity suggesting that houseplants have been shown to reduce levels of some chemicals in laboratory experiments. There is currently no evidence, however, that a reasonable number of houseplants remove significant quantities of pollutants in homes and offices. Indoor houseplants should not be over-watered because overly damp soil may promote the growth of microorganisms which can affect allergic individuals.
At present, EPA does not recommend using air cleaners to reduce levels of radon and its decay products. The effectiveness of these devices is uncertain because they only partially remove the radon decay products and do not diminish the amount of radon entering the home. EPA plans to do additional research on whether air cleaners are, or could become, a reliable means of reducing the health risk from radon.
WHEN BUILDING A NEW HOME
Building a new home provides the opportunity for preventing indoor air problems. However, it can result in exposure to higher levels of indoor air contaminants if careful attention is not given to potential pollution sources and the air exchange rate.
Express your concerns about indoor air quality to your architect or builder and enlist his or her cooperation in taking measures to provide good indoor air quality. Talk both about purchasing building materials and furnishings that are low-emitting and about providing an adequate amount of ventilation.
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends a ventilation rate of 0.35 ach (air changes per hour) for new homes, and some new homes are built to even tighter specifications. Particular care should be given in such homes to preventing the build-up of indoor air pollutants to high levels.
Here are a few important actions that can make a difference:
Use radon-resistant construction techniques.
Obtain a copy of the EPA booklet, Model Standards and Techniques for Control of Radon in New Residential Buildings, from your state radon office or health agency, your state homebuilders’ association, or your EPA regional office.
Choose building materials and furnishings that will keep indoor air pollution to a minimum.
There are many actions a homeowner can take to select products that will prevent indoor air problems from occurring – a couple of them are mentioned here. First, use exterior-grade pressed wood products made with phenol-formaldehyde resin in floors, cabinetry, and wall surfaces. Or, as an alternative, consider using solid wood products. Secondly, if you plan to install wall-to-wall carpet on concrete in contact with the ground, especially concrete in basements, make sure that an effective moisture barrier is installed prior to installing the carpet. Do not permanently adhere carpet to concrete with adhesives so that the carpet can be removed if it becomes wet.
Provide proper drainage and seal foundations in new construction.
Air that enters the home through the foundation can contain more moisture than is generated from all occupant activities.
Become familiar with mechanical ventilation systems and consider installing one.
Advanced designs of new homes are starting to feature mechanical systems that bring outdoor air into the home. Some of these designs include energy-efficient heat recovery ventilators (also known as air-to-air heat exchangers).
Ensure that combustion appliances, including furnaces, fireplaces, woodstoves, and heaters, are properly vented and receive enough supply air.
Combustion gases, including carbon monoxide, and particles can be back-drafted from the chimney or flue into the living space if the combustion appliance is not properly vented or does not receive enough supply air. Back-drafting can be a particular problem in weatherized or tightly constructed homes. Installing a dedicated outdoor air supply for the combustion appliance can help prevent backdrafting.
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Is there IAQ specific information for Michigan?
Is there IAQ specific information Nationally?
EPA Indoor AirPlus
EPA Indoor Air Quality IAQ
EPA IAQ Great Lakes Region
EPA Should You Have Air Ducts Cleaned?
EPA Report to Congress on IAQ Vol 1
EPA Report to Congress on IAQ Vol 2
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Is Peace of Mind Inspection Services certified to test for IAQ?
We are InterNachi Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Certified Inspector.
Additionally we are IAC2 (International Association of Certified Indoor Air Consultant) and Mold & Radon Certified through IAC2
IAC2 International Association of Certified Indoor Air Consultants
We are an InterNachi Mold Inspector Certified.
Additionally, one of the most critical issues with Mold is Moisture, we are also a Certified Moisture Intrusion Inspector.
We back up our Mold Inspection with
We are an InterNachi Radon Tester Certified. This certification is approved by NRPP & AARST. The National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) serves as the credentialing and certification division of AARST (American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists) and is recognized as the nation’s leading certification program for radon professionals.
Please refer to following website for more information on:
With your Radon Inspection we provide
Please click to review policy details.
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How does Peace of Mind Inspection Services Inspect/Test for IAQ levels?
At Peace of Mind Inspection Services we follow the following steps when asked to conduct a full IAQ Inspection:
1. A throughout visual inspection of the Outdoor/Indoor for potential sources of IAQ.
2. A Combustion Gas Safety Inspection
3. Radon Testing
4. VOC’s Testing
5. Ventilation Analysis/Testing
6. Whole House Air Leakage Testing with Blower Door Equipment
A report will be issued with full test results and recommendations for areas of improvement.
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What is the cost to inspect/test for IAQ levels?
Full IAQ Inspection starting at $650 when combined with Home Inspection. Note: Does not include Mold Testing.
Combustion Gas Safety Inspection Only $125
Radon Testing Only $125
VOC’s testing Only $125
Ventilation Analysis Testing Only $125
Whole House Air Leakage Testing $250
WATER QUALITY FAQ
What is Water Quality?
Water Quality is the measurement of the acceptable water we drink in our homes defined by EPA. EPA identifies contaminants to regulate in drinking water to protect public health. The Agency sets regulatory limits for the amounts of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. These contaminant standards are required by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). EPA works with states, tribes, and many other partners to implement these SDWA provisions. At Peace of Mind Inspection Services we will inspect your home to ensure it meets the SDWA requirements for Water Quality of drinking water.
You can hardly go a day in Michigan without hearing of water contamination issues. Sad to say that the reality is that because of pass practices and poor government controls we do have issues in Michigan. Of course everyone has heard of the Flint Issue, and now the water contamination news from Wolverine toxic waste dumping of the past. Flint is an example of Municipal Water Supply System failure and the ground contamination from Wolverine toxic waste dumping is mostly Private Well failures that are exposed to these types of ground contamination. In Michigan like many states use both systems to provide drinking water to homes for human consumption. These are certainly not the only issues of water contamination but both these issues can be extremely hazardous health conditions and that alone should be a reason to have your water tested. Additionally because of materials used for home construction we have introduced potential contaminants to our water. The typical sources of contaminants to our drinking water;
Municipal Water Supply
1. Many Main Water pipes from the water treatment plants are made of Iron, established Cities layed Iron pipes before 1930’s but even after knowing the corrosion issue with Iron many municipalities continued to use Iron pipes for many decades. Many of these pipes today are still in existence. Municipalities would treat the Water with an anti-corrosion solution that would be 90% effective in eliminating the corrosion levels of water in the drinking water. In Flint, to save money they bypassed the use of this anti-corrosion solution in the treatment of the water from the Flint River.
2. Many houses prior to 1986 where built with Lead pipes from the Main Municipal water supply from the street to the supply within the house. The Lead pipes when exposed to corrosiveness of Iron supplied water would begin the leaching process of lead in the Home water supply. This was the basic failure that occurred in Flint.
3. The Lead and Copper Rule known as LCR stated the following: The Act prohibits the “use of any pipe, any pipe or plumbing fitting or fixture, any solder, or any flux, after June 1986, in the installation or repair of (i) any public water system; or (ii) any plumbing in a residential or non-residential facility providing water for human consumption, that is not lead free.”
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Can Water Quality affect my health?
There is many published reports on the health effects of contaminated water.
EPA Publishes the following Reference Information. Please visit this site for the below information EPA Human Health Effects on Drinking Water Contaminants
Drinking Water Standards and Advisory Tables. Drinking Water Standards Tables
Human Health Benchmarks for Pesticides
Human Health and Drinking Water Advisory Documents for Chemical Contaminants
Regulatory Support Documents for Chemical Contaminants
Human Health Drinking Water Advisory/Effects Documents for Microbial Contaminants
A three-year investigation by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) of the country’s drinking water found that water flowing to about 85 percent of the population contains 316 contaminants – over 60 percent of these have no safety standards and are not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Top Ten Contaminants in Water according to EWG:
Lead is a toxic metal that can cause damage to health even at low doses. Corrosion of household plumbing systems and erosion of natural deposits are major sources of lead pollution in public drinking water. The amount of lead found in the water varies depending on how long the water is exposed to the pipes, the amount of corrosion on the pipes, the water’s acidity and the temperature of the water. Lead in drinking water can cause a variety of adverse health effects.
Chlorine is a powerful oxidant added to the water by several municipal water systems to control microbes. Chlorine can be absorbed through physical consumption as well as through your skin while bathing. Chlorine can severely dry skin and hair and cause irritating effects to your eyes and nose.
Chloramines are formed when ammonia is added to water that contains free chlorine. Chloramines are typically added as secondary disinfectant. Chlorine and chloramine, when combined with naturally occurring materials in water, form disinfectant byproducts (DBP’s) which have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory testing.
Mercury is a liquid metal that can be found in various natural deposits. Erosion of natural deposits, discharge from refineries & factories, landfill runoff and cropland runoff are just a few of the ways that mercury can get into public drinking water. Being exposed to high levels of mercury over time can cause kidney damage.
Volatile Organic Compounds include a variety of chemicals emitted as gases. Thousands of products contain VOC’s so it’s no surprise some of these elements end up in our drinking water. When water is heated and vaporized, your body can absorb these contaminants.
Pharmaceuticals are synthetic chemicals that are found in prescription, therapeutic and veterinary medication. They commonly make it into the water stream from poorly controlled manufacturing facilities and improper disposal.
Herbicides enter the drinking water system by accumulation in public soil and water sources. Most commonly, they enter the water system from rainfall and irrigation which wash herbicides off farmlands and into lakes and rivers. Atrazine, a herbicide commonly used on golf courses, can interfere with the bodies hormonal activity and reproductive organs.
Pesticides travel through sewers that run from drains within the home, carrying all wastewater to treatment plants where they remain untreated throughout the detoxifying process. There are hundreds of different compounds with few tests and studies on how these contaminants may impact our health.
Cysts are a microbial parasite that can be found in lakes and rivers and can enter the water through sewage, leaking septic tanks and runoff from feedlots. Many cysts are resistant to the water disinfection process making cysts a health risk in tap water.
Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether is used in gasoline throughout the country to reduce carbon monoxide and ozone levels from auto emissions. MTBE can leak into water through seepage of underground storage tanks, pipelines, spills, and discharge from water engines into lakes and rivers.
Lead is a contaminate that is very serious and in Michigan we of course had the Flint issue.
Summary of some of the health effects to Lead contamination in your drinking water:
Even low levels of lead in the blood of children can result in:
Behavior and learning problems
Lower IQ and hyperactivity
In rare cases, ingestion of lead can cause seizures, coma and even death.
Lead can accumulate in our bodies over time, where it is stored in bones along with calcium. During pregnancy, lead is released from bones as maternal calcium and is used to help form the bones of the fetus. This is particularly true if a woman does not have enough dietary calcium. Lead can also cross the placental barrier exposing the fetus to lead. This can result in serious effects to the mother and her developing fetus, including:
Reduced growth of the fetus
Find out more about lead’s effects on pregnancy:
Effects of Workplace Hazards on Female Reproductive Health (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
Lead can also be transmitted through breast milk.
Read more on lead exposure in pregnancy and lactating women. Lead Exposure in Pregnant & Lactating Women
Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults exposed to lead can suffer from:
Cardiovascular effects, increased blood pressure and incidence of hypertension
Decreased kidney function
Reproductive problems (in both men and women)
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Is there contaminated Water in my home?
Either you use Surface Water or Ground Water as your source of water and all sources have some level of contaminants in your drinking water. The only way to know for sure if the levels of contaminants meet SWDA is to Test.
You can also access your water quality information online. The EWG maintains a national drinking water database EWG Database; Enter in your Zip Code and the EPA maintains a directory of water quality reports Your Local Water System Report. In addition, most local water suppliers also have this information readily available on their website. I have listed the counties that we provide service to and a reference to the System Suppliers and Phone Numbers for your reference.
Summary by County
Water Systems by County
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How can I prevent or eliminate Water contamination in my home?
What’s in My Tap Water?
Although agencies regulate levels of contaminants in water coming from municipal water supplies, it’s a good idea to know what can be found in the water that comes out of your faucets. Below we’ll look at a few things that homeowners should keep in mind.
Contamination From City Water Supplies
Most municipal water treatment plants will filter water for particulates, and then apply disinfectants and chemicals to remove harmful microbes and other contaminants from water. Barring equipment malfunction, flooding or human error, water that comes from your city water supply should be safe to drink.
However, to produce clean water, certain chemicals must be added to the water supply, and some consumers prefer to remove these chemicals before consuming the water.
The most common additives to our drinking water are chlorine, chloramines, and fluoride.
Small amounts of chlorine are routinely added to drinking water supplies to kill harmful bacteria, viruses and other microbes. While in these quantities the chlorine is safe to consume, many people dislike the taste and smell. Showering in chlorinated water may also cause dry, itchy skin. For these reasons, some people use inexpensive activated carbon filters (in water pitchers or attached to faucets) to remove the chlorine from the water.
Chloramines are another substance used to disinfect water, although they are significantly less effective than chlorine. They are formed when chlorine comes into contact with ammonia. Many municipal water systems either treat water with chloramines or first treat water with chlorine and then later add ammonia. Like chlorine, it is easy to chloramines with charcoal filtration.
Because these chemicals may harm fish, people with fish tanks or outdoor ponds should take special care to treat their water either through filtration or using special chemicals made for this purpose.
What About Fluoride?
In some forms, fluoride is toxic. However, fluoride in its mineral ionic form is found naturally in our bodies, and supplemented in very small quantities, it may be beneficial for reducing tooth decay. For this reason, many municipalities regularly add fluoride to drinking water.
Due both to naturally occurring deposits as well as malfunctioning equipment or poor monitoring, some water systems have tested for higher than recommended levels of fluoride. Furthermore, the EPA conducted research that shows that fluoride exposure among the population has increased significantly in the last 40-50 years, through a combination of fluoride found in drinking water, toothpaste, certain medications, and Teflon coating on nonstick pans.
Long-term overexposure leads to tooth enamel destruction, brittle bones, and joint pain. As a result, many people choose to reduce their exposure to fluoride, and some have campaigned to remove it from drinking water.
Removing fluoride is more difficult than removing other contaminants. Reverse osmosis is a good option, but expensive for the average homeowner. You can also filter out fluoride through deionization in some water softeners and activated alumina filtration.
Contamination From Pipes
The two most common contaminants in our drinking water are copper and lead. Rather than coming from our municipal water supplies, these minerals leach into drinking water from the plumbing used to bring the water into the building.
Lead poisoning can occur gradually and often without warning. Although lead has a bit of a metallic, sweet taste, it can be difficult to recognize in drinking water. It gets into our water through corrosion of older pipes, as well as lead solder and brass fixtures. Symptoms of lead poisoning include vomiting, constipation, stomach pain, and irritability. Over time, lead may cause brain damage, as well as impair kidney function, damage the nervous system and affect red blood cells. Children are at greatest risk as they absorb lead at significantly higher levels than adults, and for children, in addition to the other risks they can experience lowered IQs and developmental delays.
Copper is another contaminant that can enter our water supplies through corrosion. While humans need trace amounts of copper in our diets, too much can be toxic. Like with lead, copper poisoning may cause nausea and stomach pain, vomiting and other flu-like symptoms, and long-term exposure may lead to liver poisoning, kidney failure and anemia.
Well Water Contaminants
People who obtain their water from wells don’t have to necessarily deal with chemicals from other sources, but they must be just as concerned about their water quality. Well water may have high levels of dissolved minerals and chemicals leached from surrounding soils, agricultural runoff, and naturally-occurring but unsafe microbes.
Some of the biggest dangers lurking in well water include arsenic, a toxin that can leach from natural deposits or enter ground water from sources as varied as mining, oil and gas extraction, pesticide use, and treated wood. It is both tasteless and colorless, so regular chemical analysis is necessary. Fertilizers and pesticides, as well as nitrates and nitrites from fertilizers, animal waste and septic tanks, present another common hazard for well water. Finally, well water must also be disinfected to prevent consumption of a variety of microbes, including fecal coliform bacteria and E. coli, two bacteria that may enter groundwater from agricultural runoff.
How Do You Make Water Safe to Drink?
Treating water, both by municipal facilities and at home, will include one or more of the following processes:
Disinfection, which kills off harmful microbes in the water, can be achieved by adding chemicals such as chlorine or iodine; exposing water to ozone produced by high-voltage currents; exposing water to ultraviolet (UV) light; or boiling for at least three minutes. Of these processes, ozone is the most effective at removing both biological contaminants as well as mineral and chemical substances, but is only available at water treatment facilities.
Filtration can remove a wide variety of contaminants. Options include mechanical filters that remove suspended contaminants, such as sand, from the water; activated carbon filters that absorbs chlorine and organic compounds; and oxidizing filters and neutralizing filters. Most filtration can’t completely remove microorganisms or other chemical and mineral contaminants, so it typically will be used in combination with at least one other water treatment method. Filtration units are suitable for general household use, however, and can remove unpleasant tastes and odors from treated water.
In this method, water is pressurized and then forced through a very fine membrane. Up to 90% of contaminants are left behind in the reverse osmosis process. Frequently RO units are used in conjunction with mechanical filtration that removes larger particles, and some also filter water through activated carbon to remove remaining impurities. These units, while pricey, are suitable for installation in a home, often under a kitchen sink. One caution is that more than half of the water used in these systems is discarded, which can lead to high water bills and may not be suitable for regions that experience regular drought conditions.
One of the most effective means of purifying water is distillation. In this process, water is heated until it vaporizes, leaving behind nearly all contaminants. When the water recondenses as liquid water, it is free of most impurities. Some solvents and other chemicals can remain under some distillation processes, though commercial water distillation is more thorough than home distillation. Because dissolved minerals are also removed in the process, distilled water tastes flat and will not contain essential trace elements required for a healthy body. (We therefore recommend not using distilled water as a primary source of hydration.) While distillation units can be purchased for home use, they can be expensive and process water very slowly. Some states may also regulate purchases of distillation units because of the potential for some units to be used to distill alcohol.
Ion Exchange (Water Softeners)
Excess mineral content—particularly calcium and magnesium, as well as iron, manganese and other elements—can produce water that has an unpleasant taste, doesn’t work well with soaps and detergents, and leaves mineral deposits in pipes, faucets, and water heaters. Ion exchange works by replacing the minerals in the water with sodium. Water softeners are common in many households, but do require regular maintenance and recharging with sodium chloride (salt). These systems also raise the sodium content in drinking water, so it’s worth keeping this in mind for household members on low-sodium diets or who have heart disease.
What Can You Do to Ensure Your Water is Safe?
First, if your water is discolored (usually rust-colored or yellow) or has an unusual odor or taste, stop using it immediately. Particularly after heavy rains, but occasionally at other times, water treatment plants may have temporary issues with treating water. Check with a city information hotline or local media to see if a boil water or other water advisory has been issued.
Next, consider installing a water treatment system in your home, and be sure to bring water filtration and disinfection systems on camping and hiking trips.
If you want to treat your water at home, you have two options:
Point of entry systems:
These are water treatment options that are installed at the water meter or storage tank, and treat all water entering your home. They can be relatively expensive to install and maintain, but ensure that minerals and other contaminants are removed from the water used for cooking and bathing as well as in appliances such as washing machines, hot water heaters, and ice makers.
Point of use systems:
These are much less expensive than point of entry systems, and include filtration units on kitchen faucets, showerheads, or in refrigerators. You can also purchase water pitchers or countertop filtration units. Most of these incorporate activated charcoal filters that need regular replacement. You can also install a reverse-osmosis unit under the sink that will filter your water for cooking and drinking.
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Is there Water Quality specific information for Michigan?
Is there Water Quality specific information Nationally?
Is Peace of Mind Inspection Services certified to test for Water Quality?
At Peace of Mind Inspection Services we are InterNachi Certified Well Inspector
InterNachi Certified Water Quality Tester
The Water Quality Inspection process we take depending on the Water System Source
How does Peace of Mind Inspection Services test for Water Quality?
What is the cost to inspect/test for Water Quality?
See Pricing Page for details.