Thursday, November 19, 2009

How to Make Black Mold Vanish

Many houses across the country including Toronto are finding that with the onset on Autumn and more moisture in the air, those horrible mold stains are returning. Mold and spotless houses are normal, don't think that mold says you have a grimy home. Items break or crack in a home and they are not always noticed immediately. That’s usually when mildew crawls into your beautiful home, unseen, until you either discover the well-known displeasing smell or you spot the atrocious growing stains. For some homes, mold is an ongoing problem in rooms like kitchens or bathrooms due to the increased moisture and humidity in these areas. Whether the mold is seasonal or year round the answer to the problem is totally the same.

Do you employ experts or undertake the DIY method?

Of course there are masses of companies out there that would gladly solve this problem for you, but since many people think twice before paying out money on work they can do themselves, here’s some DIY, eco-friendly solutions. Having said that, should you discover that the area affected by mold is rather big (ie over 10 sq ft or so), calling a professional would be a good idea.

Be aware of safety before you try to solve the problem

Even though most species of mold are harmless to humans, there are certain types (like black mold) that are rather toxic. So before you embark on any sanitation, arm yourself with a pair of hefty rubber gloves and an N95 respirator. If you want to be extra careful, you could acquire a test kit from a hardware shop and send a sample of the mold to a lab. If a member of your household has an allergy or respiratory problems then this kit would help you decide which option you pick.

Eco-Friendly Detergents

For cost effectiveness, environmentally friendly and availability, white vinegar comes the best for dealing with mold. Just like it will drive away ants (as we recently reported in the first issue of Toronto homeowner’s guide), it will not only obliterate the fungi, but also bacteria; it will even dissolve lime scale. While there is always expensive anti-fungal solutions on your supermarket shelf, distilled white vinegar is totally bio-degradable.

Extermination and Prevention

Mold and its removal requires more than a single treatment. The space the mold has developed must be carefully cleaned. Then it is imperative to make the rooms in your home less mold-friendly. When cleaning hard surfaces such as tile or ceramic, linoleum, tile grout, or plastic such as shower curtains, wet the effected area so that the spores don’t become airborne, then simply give it a good scour with a cleaner of your choice. Once you have finished cleaning, totally dry the space.

It is nearly impossible and at best extremely difficult to erase surfaces that are porous of mold. We would advise you throw away these items and purchase new ones. To stop mold returning is a fairly simple thing to do. Try to rid your home of the situations where mold breeds, such as leaky water pipes; also keep a watch on the humidity in your home with a hygrometer so you can take preventative action if it gets too high. Airing rooms often is a very simple step and one that doesn't cost you any effort. Keeping the humidity to less than 60% helps obstruct mold returning. In hot weather humidity increases, so invest in a good air conditioner, if it has filters, as these are a breeding ground for mold, make sure they are regularly cleaned. For colder months, you might need to invest in a dehumidifier. Best of luck, and here's to a mold free house.

Picture by checoo.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 in Denmark

Today I decided to put pen to paper about a climate change meeting coming up in just a couple weeks in Europe. I make my living as a realtor from Toronto, but that doesn't mean that worldwide problems do not concern me. A topic that holds my curiosity is the climate and its change.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference will take place in the Denmark capital during the first half of December. People attending the conference are trying to reach a decision on lessening the intensity of climate change from 2012. Whilst this discussion is on the table, it certainly isn't the only item up for analysis. With many different opinions it will definitely be a lively debate.

When Barack Obama was appointed president, many activists hoped for a new age in climate change mitigation. The question is what this age should look like. The Kyoto protocol, understood to be a springboard for meetings of this kind, is less and less admired, even by environmentalists themselves.

The minimizing of emission rates accepted back in 1997 (and never accomplished) are about to be reevaluated. By the year 2020 its is desired that GHG emissions will be reduced by 20% based on the 2005 figures. While people call for this reduction they fail to remember that Kyoto didn't work and that called for a 5% reduction on the 1990 figures. The protocols of Kyoto are being relaxed further even though there is a very lax approach to keeping the the schedule in the first place.

There is another area of conflict that this problem is connected to. The North thinks Kyoto and subsequent environmental actions will have the biggest impact on its economy, while the huge polluters of the South (like China, India, Brazil and South Africa) will remain untouched. The South as a whole believes it’s in the right, because the North owes them a lot – southern countries are much more affected by climate change than those in the North. With China emerging as a world power and the economic problems around the world, developing countries such as India and Brazil are not happy about making sacrifices; though the North understand the need for higher fuel emissions in developing countries.

The emissions trade is another issue that worries the anti-climate change movement. Imposing market rules that offset any negative economic repercussions of restrictions is also debatable according to opponents, who see this as an outlet for the black market trade. To stop this type of trade and the risk of climatic disaster, the opponents want to see larger control given to local communities.

Crucial decisions may be achieved at Copenhagen, but it’s almost sure they won’t be radical. Having said all that, probably, the most important thing to come out of it all is the lobbyists are now getting together to try and make some advances. This can only be fantastic news as more voices shout maybe those at the conference in Copenhagen will pay attention.

Image by Amyvdh.