GOOD NEWS! There ARE things you can do to prevent mold and air quality issues in your home! Follow these 6 Genius Steps to prevent issues before they arise. And if you suspect you already have mold issues, we offer some reputable sources here for seeking answers and remediation.
“Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.”
Genius Step 1. Hire a Health-Conscious Residential Design Specialist
A Residential Design Specialist will be your number one advocate, able to guide you and educate you about possible options for a healthy home. Choose someone who is knowledgeable about designing for superior indoor air quality.
Simple design techniques for clean air in your home include:
A health-conscious residential design specialist will be able to connect you with the BEST HVAC designer for your project.
Genius Step 2. Vet Your HVAC Contractors Thoroughly!
Mold issues are often caused or exacerbated by an improperly designed and sized HVAC system. Click HERE to learn why.
You would be shocked to learn how few HVAC contractors are able to properly design and install a system to YOUR specific home’s needs, while also following the mechanical and energy code requirements!
Note: EVERY house has different HVAC requirements!
The lack of education and understanding within the HVAC industry has resulted in many HVAC contractors who don’t know what they’re doing wrong. This leads to a lot of misguidance when it comes time for shopping for the right HVAC contractor.
Most of the advice you’ll find on the internet are suggestions to help you from getting scammed by HVAC companies, because unfortunately, scams are still a BIG problem within the industry.
Click here to read our last blog that details the 10 Questions to Ask when Hiring an HVAC Contractor for a Healthy Home.
Building new is the best opportunity to start off on the right footing. With the proper HVAC system built right into your new home, chances are high you will NEVER have indoor air issues. Save yourself a TON of money in the long run by hiring the right HVAC contractor from the start.
Genius Step 3. Adjust Where You Spend Your Money to be Able to Afford the Best HVAC System
It's FAR more difficult and expensive to upgrade things behind your walls and between floors after the home has been built. Ripping out inefficient ductwork and replacing HVAC units is very expensive and time consuming, requiring major renovations.
If your budget does not allow for all your preferred upgrades at the beginning, follow these tips to make sure the most important components are installed first:
Genius Step 4. Don’t skip the ERV!
Once upon a time (up until the 70’s) homes were built like a sieve. Air flowed freely in and out of the home via inefficient insulation, leaky windows, poor roofing, etc. Homes had far fewer indoor air related health problems, however maintaining a comfortable temperature was challenging and utility bills were through the roof (literally).
This brought us the age of high efficiency and with homes becoming more airtight, mechanical whole house ventilation became absolutely necessary. However, the HVAC industry is struggling to keep up with modern energy efficient building practices. A LOT of confusion and misguidance still exists within the industry when it comes to appropriately designing mechanical ventilation into a high efficiency home.
An Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) system is one option for whole house ventilation. An ERV draws clean, fresh air into the home and pushes stale air out. It uses the energy contained in the exhaust air that leaves the home to precondition the incoming fresh air as the air passes through a filter. Up to 85% of the heat energy from the exhaust air is transferred to the incoming air flow, cooling the incoming air in the summer, and warming the air in the winter. An ERV reduces the energy required to warm or cool your home, while also bringing fresh air into the house.
Benefits of an ERV include:
Genius Step 5. If You Already Have Mold (or Think You Might) Order an ERMI Test NOW!
Many people mistakenly still use an air sample test as their only means of testing for mold. The air sample method, aka “spore trap analysis,” uses an air pump that pulls spores from the air and “traps” them onto a slide that is later analyzed under a microscope by a technician.
This works as a primary form of testing though it’s only able to trap airborne mold spores. It fails to collect any of the heavier molds such as Stachybotrys or Chaetomium globosom which are the molds known to be toxic and make people very sick.
The heavier molds DO show up on surface testing. ERMI and HERTSMI-2 tests are surface tests offered by Envirobiomics that will detect the heavier, more dangerous molds. You can do these tests on your own without needing to hire a professional.
An ERMI test obtains a surface dust sampling with a special nozzle fitted to a vacuum cleaner, or with a “Swiffer cloth.” Dust in sufficient amounts is collected and sent off for lab analysis. The lab analyzes 36 different species of mold with an ERMI test.
The HERTSMI-2 test collects dust samples in the same ways as the ERMI test, however it only tests for the “Big 5” most dangerous species of molds. This test is cheaper than the more comprehensive ERMI test.
Genius Step 6: Schedule a Forensic Analysis of Your Home
If your ERMI, HERTSMI-2, or air sample test results show a mold problem then it’s time to dig further into the root of the cause. Mold does not go away on its own and dead mold spores can be just as toxic as live mold spores.
Remediation is going to be necessary, but first you have to find out exactly what needs to be remediated.
A forensic analysis performed by Energy Innovations by Harry Boody, Inc. is the first place you’ll want to start. This analysis is a very detailed and thorough investigation into your homes HVAC system and mechanical construction. What you will learn at the end of your forensic analysis is exactly what code violations your home might have, how your HVAC system is contributing to the mold issue, and what renovations need to be done to make your home healthy again.
Be a Genius!
A poorly designed HVAC system is all it takes to turn your homelife into a potential health crisis.
Sacrificing your health is not worth saving
money on a poorly designed HVAC system!
Health issues caused by poor indoor air quality are still widely misunderstood by the health care industry. Expensive doctor’s bills can add up quickly when trying to determine what’s wrong with you or your family’s health.
If you’ve been experiencing weird unexplained illnesses and think mold might be the cause, check out the Surviving Mold website for a list of doctors in your area knowledgeable and trained to care for patients with mold toxicity.
Be a genius! Prevent mold issues from ever happening!
Then join us next time for a discussion about radiant energy aka EMFs in the home, what they really are, where they really come from, and why they’re such a hot topic in the current media.
I intend you NEVER have to deal with the nightmare of mold in your home, though if you do I intend you are FULLY supported the entire way through.
Inspired by you,
Jenny Pippin, CPBD, FAIBD, CGP
Pippin Home Designs
I am Jenny Pippin, founder of Pippin Home Designs and creator of my own inspired living. I grew up as an ordinary southern girl, working in the fields of my family’s tobacco farm. It didn’t take me long to realize I had greater gifts and so I chose to step into my power and create my own path in life, inspired by my heart’s true passion. (More on my personal story HERE!)