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10 Things Smart Homeowners Should Know About Mold Dangers

moldJust the thought of living in a home with mold is enough to strike fear in the minds of most homeowners. Given the health risks and property damage that mold can cause, the experts at ServiceMaster Restore say it is important for homeowners to know how to identify mold on their property, learn where it thrives and understand the best ways to eliminate it from their homes.

Recently, the company is unveiled the results of its 2016 ServiceMaster Restore Franchisee Mold Remediation Survey, in which more than 250 trained and experienced franchise owners shared their expertise about this dangerous and costly issue that affects homes and businesses across the country.

“Mold isn’t something most people think about until they experience it in their own home,” says Peter Duncanson, director of system development at ServiceMaster Restore and chairman of the board of directors for The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). “It’s important to beat mold at its own game — this means taking steps to prevent mold from growing or calling in an expert right away to stop mold in its tracks once it begins to grow in your home.”

According to the survey, many people believe they can kill mold on their own using powerful over-the-counter cleaners such as bleach; however, Duncanson says this is not true.

“Many retail products will change how mold looks, and you might think it’s gone because you don’t see it,” Duncanson says. “But, the only way to get rid of mold completely and safely — and to be sure you’re protecting your property and health from additional risk — is to have trained professionals physically remove it from the affected area.”

According to the EPA, potential health effects associated with mold include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints, as well as irritation to the eyes, skin, nose, throat and lungs. By living with mold, homeowners are exposed to these potential health risks.

Looking for Mold in All the Right Places
  • More than half of ServiceMaster Restore survey respondents said that basements (64 percent) and bathrooms (58 percent) are the rooms where mold is most likely to be present.
  • Common locations vary by region, say respondents, who also noted that in the Midwest and Northeast, mold is found most often in basements, whereas in the South and West, it is found most commonly in bathrooms.
  • Nearly two-fifths (39 percent) say running the exhaust fan during showers is the most effective way to prevent mold in the bathroom.
  • Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) say properly maintaining ventilation throughout the home is paramount in preventing mold growth.
Top 10 Must-Know Mold Tips

To help homeowners who are facing mold damage or are eager to avoid it, Duncanson and the team of experts at ServiceMaster Restore have shared the top 10 things homeowners should do (or not do) in the fight against mold:

  1. The best defenses against mold are to take away its food source, ensure adequate airflow and reduce moisture in the air.
  2. Don’t rely on retail products, such as bleaches that promise to kill mold, especially on porous surfaces.
  3. Vacuum vents every month to remove dust, a primary food source for mold. If you have central heating and air, remember to clean the baseboards, floorboards and bathroom vents, as well.
  4. If mold is visible, don’t use a consumer vacuum to remove it. This includes wet/dry vacuums, which can actually make a mold issue even worse.
  5. If you see mold in an area, do not use a fan to dry things out. Call a professional, as you will likely spread mold spores and create the potential for even more damage.
  6. To reduce moisture and control ventilation in the bathroom, run an exhaust fan during a shower or open the door and windows in the bathroom after using it.
  7. Consider investing in small household de-humidifiers to reduce moisture. If you have a large home or business, you may need more than one.
  8. If you have terrariums and plants, be aware that these can be food sources for mold.
  9. Don’t ignore the problem. Signs of mold could indicate the presence of larger issues that may cause health risks.
  10. If you suspect mold, call a trained professional, like those from ServiceMaster Restore, with the expertise and resources to restore your home to normal and prevent costlier damage.

For more information, visit ServiceMasterRestore.com.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

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National Rose Month: 5 Tips for Your Rose Garden

June is National Rose Month—the ideal time to plant a rose bush in your garden at home. Rose bushes are not as challenging to cultivate as some have been led to believe. In fact, according to the “Rosarian” Chris VanCleave, caring for roses is very much like caring for any other plant. “All plants need the right growing conditions to thrive, and roses are no different,” VanCleave says. “If you provide the right conditions and the right care, rose bushes will thrive in virtually any garden.”VanCleave and the experts at Weeks Roses recommend:

Choosing a variety ideal for your garden

Avoid purchasing a rose bush based solely on its flowers. Consider other factors, like bloom time and disease resistance, before committing to a species.

Surveying the location before planting

Like any other plant, roses will not thrive if the location is less than ideal. Areas in your garden that receive six to eight hours of sunlight are best.

Pruning

Depending on the variety you purchase, your rose bush may or may not be a
“repeat bloomer”—that is, a plant that flowers throughout the growing season. If the bush is a repeat bloomer, prune it each time it flowers.

Watering wisely

Roses—and other plants, as well—can die from either too much or too little water. Generally, roses need to be watered once a week (twice at most), deeply so that the water reaches the roots.

Fertilizing sparingly

Over-fertilizing can be harmful to your roses. Use a combination of fertilizer and compost to avoid damaging the plant.

Visit WeeksRoses.com or your local garden center to view the rose varieties available now.

Source: Weeks Roses

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

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New Survey Shows Retirees Want to Stay in Homes

shutterstock_147198215An overwhelming number of people nearing or in retirement want to remain in their current home as long as possible, according to the results of a new survey released by The American College of Financial Services.

The Home Equity and Retirement Income Planning Survey found that 83 percent of the respondents do not want to relocate in retirement.

“One very interesting notion was that the desire to age in place increases significantly as you get older,” says survey author Jamie Hopkins, Professor of Retirement Income Planning and Co-Director of The American College New York Life Center for Retirement Income Planning. “We saw more uncertainty between the ages of 55 and 62. But once we started getting past 62 and you start moving into retirement, we saw that these individuals really don’t expect or want to leave their homes.”

The study also saw almost no homeowners with a strong desire to rent in retirement.

The survey, created to better understand retirees’ attitudes about home equity and housing decisions, also revealed that 44 percent have considered using home equity in retirement, but that only 25 percent feel comfortable spending it as a source of income. It also found that only about 20 percent of the respondents felt that it was extremely important to leave their home as a legacy asset to their children or other heirs, while 45 percent listed it as not important.

The results were based on surveys of more than 1,000 people between the ages of 55 and 75 with at least$100,000 in investable assets and $100,000 in home equity. About 53 percent of the participants were male, 47 percent female.

7 in 10 Don’t Understand Reverse Mortgages

Another purpose of the study was to gauge retirees’ knowledge of reverse mortgages. According to the survey, just 30 percent of the participants earned a passing grade on basic knowledge about reverse mortgages. Furthermore, 10 percent of respondents answered all ten questions incorrectly.

“This is really going to open a lot of eyes about just how little people moving into retirement with some home equity know about reverse mortgages,” Hopkins says.

Other key findings include:
  • Despite a strong desire to age in place, only 14 percent of the respondents had considered a reverse mortgage, with only one respondent having entered into a reverse mortgage;
  • The number one reason (44 percent) people did not enter into a reverse mortgage was they did not need it because of sufficient income. Other reasons, in order, were “too young” (18 percent), “not ready” (10 percent) and “too risky” (9 percent);
  • The respondents were generally misinformed about reverse mortgages, while holding a slightly negative view on reverse mortgages as a retirement tool;
  • Respondents thought they were more knowledgeable on reverse mortgages than their knowledge quiz answers suggested, showing both some degree of overconfidence and misunderstanding.

So what to make of this new research? Hopkins says financial advisors need to do a better job educating and talking to their clients about home equity. Additionally, products and strategies like reverse mortgages need to be given a second look by consumers and advisors as there are a lot of misconceptions out there today as evidenced by the survey.

“Hopefully that’s the biggest takeaway from this survey,” he says. “Advisors and consumers need to start thinking about home equity, including reverse mortgages, as part of the retirement income planning process.”

For more information, visit www.TheAmericanCollege.edu.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

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