Mold in the house

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SatelliteGuys Master
Original poster
Jul 8, 2004
Virginia Beach
Since the start of fall and cooler temps all three of us have been fighting colds and flu like symptoms and sinus infections. We initially attributed it to our daughter going to school for the first time and bringing home all the new stuff she never had plus living in a military town near DC that had people coming in from all points of the world on a daily basis. At Christmas we were all sick with me having it the worst for a month so we went into a local clinic dealing with a true prick of a doctor and finally getting meds for sinus infections. A month goes by and we all get better and decide to have the duct work cleaned when we find out that there's a dark brown mold throughout the furnace and duct work and we have to reschedule to scrape the money together for the cleaning. Right after the tech opened up the furnace and found the mold some of it got stirred up and again we all get sick with respiratory problems so I start treating myself and family and we get the tech back out to clean the duct work.

So long story short, if you or your family is suffering with repeated respiratory issues and illness and other signs such as lethargy difficulty in concentrating and other issues that you can find online that are direct effects of mold exposure then have your furnace and duct work checked for mold and have the house checked for mold.
I've done a number of TV shows on this very subject. It appears that some people are more susceptible to mold than others. The real problem is that it's not if you have mold infestation but where and how severe and whether you are susceptible to the particular mold you have.

Van, I would recommend you contact someone in your area that specializes in this sort of remediation. A normal furnace cleaner is not going to cut it. Also, you should check your home owner's policy to see if you are covered. What you have experienced is not uncommon but rather mild case from some of the people I have interviewed, including one lady who's mother died from mold sensitivity. In your area, I would contact this company: 757-595-6380 I'm not sure they do this sort of remediation but they may get you a good referral. I did their TV infomercial a few years ago.
f course servepro are the big boys in the business. You should get quotes from them all.
I've done a number of TV shows on this very subject. It appears that some people are more susceptible to mold than others. The real problem is that it's not if you have mold infestation but where and how severe and whether you are susceptible to the particular mold you have.

I'm wondering how the mold got in the heating ducts to begin with ?

I can understand it when water leaks into the walls and gets all the insulation wet that you end up with mold, but how did it get in the heating ducts ?
I would expect it came from condensation as the temperature changes in the ducts vs the temperature outside the ducts.
Living near the ocean front and having a canal not 35 feet from the house in the back yard and another a block away does help lend to the potential for mold in a house. Another thing that lends to it are previous residents who did a very poor job of caring for the house and had little understanding of many types of hygiene concepts and practices.

Thanks for the information Don, I will have to look further into this than what we have already had done if I don't redo the duct work as I had been considering to improve the airflow through the house and ducts.
Generally I have a low opinion of duct cleaning. It's been pushed to our company as a high profit, scare the customer scheme. Not always a waste of money, but something to be cautious about.

HOWEVER- mold and mildew is serious. I'd certainly go with an outfit that specializes in this sort of remediation. One that's been in business at least 10 years - you don't want one of the fly by nights that materialized in New Orleans after Katrina, and moved on. I also agree that the usual duct cleaning company is not well equipped for this- and it's likely beyond the ducts, too. There is equipment for sniffing this stuff out.
I got caught up in a duct cleaning deal once myself. Here again I did a TV commercial for barter and traded the video work to have my ducts and air handler cleaned. It looked like a quality job but what I discovered later is that no matter how impressive that huge vacuum cleaner was on that truck, it just does not do a thorough job. So, what happened here is for a year after the cleaning job, we had this black stain of dust / film where each vent was that we had to keep cleaning. That was just an indicator of what was being made airborne in our house. Fortunately, we have good tolerance to the mold and dust that got stirred up.

Navychop- you are correct that the name of the game in TV ads for this stuff is scare tactic. I know as we built a whole infomercial on scare tactics. I couldn't tell you how profitable it is because I did see there is a lot of work to the remediation even though lots of it didn't appear very thorough. Bottom line is if you're getting sick it has to be corrected!
I think that it has been a combination of my daughter attending school for the first time in a heavily military / transient area and my burning the candle at both ends has had allot to do with my daughter and I being sick the most out of the four of us.

So far no vent stains though we did have that in our old place back in Georgia and I did develop a persistent need to clear my throat of phlegm for the last 2 years and it has followed me to where we are now.
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