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The Truth About Mold

by Robin Tregenza (an excerpt from our newsletter 'The Current')

It is Wednesday, which means if you are an Island Realty agent, you are beginning your day with a Wednesday  morning sales meeting. Every so often we incorporate a speaker.  The topics vary but of course, all are relevant to our business…real estate. This morning we welcomed Eric S. Anderson, CEO of Enviro-Clean Inc., to learn the ins and outs of mold. You may think this topic would be boring. Frankly, I didn’t find the idea of an early morning discussion about mold all that thrilling either, but I was soon pleasantly surprised and much more informed.

Eric began the discussion with a brief sermon from Leviticus 14:33-5

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "When you enter the land of Canaan, which I am giving you as your possession, and I put a spreading mildew in a house in that land, the owner of the house must go and tell the priest, 'I have seen something that looks like mildew in my house.' The priest is to order the house to be emptied before he goes in to examine the mildew, so that nothing in the house will be pronounced unclean. After this the priest is to go in and inspect the house. He is to examine the mildew on the walls, and if it has greenish or reddish depressions that appear to be deeper than the surface of the wall, the priest shall go out the doorway of the house and close it up for seven days. On the seventh day the priest shall return to inspect the house. If the mildew has spread on the walls, he is to order that the contaminated stones be torn out and thrown into an unclean place outside the town.”

The Book of Leviticus was written between 1440-1400 B.C. which  tells us that mildew has been around for over 3500 years and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. This is actually a good thing as mold plays a vital role in our ecosystem and without it we would fail to exist. What we need to know is how to co-exist.


Mold is present everywhere and can virtually grow on any organic substance as long as moisture and oxygen are present. Excessive moisture in buildings or on building materials will inevitably cause mold growth. Mold spores can grow within 48 hours of water penetration. This information is vital as it not only proves the importance of proper and speedy clean up after penetration but managing the water source to begin with.  It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the environment but it is possible to manage by controlling the moisture level indoors.

•YOU SAY TOMATO, I SAY TOMOTTO. Mold and mildew are one in the same.

•FIFTY SHADES OF MOLD. Mold comes in many different shades but the color of mold does not determine its toxicity. The color is determined by many factors including age and food source.

•MANAGE THE MOLD SOURCE. Divert water away from the house by keeping gutters clean, having ground slope away from the house to prevent water from collecting around foundation or entering home and keep drain lines flowing properly.

•KEEP HOUSE WELL VENTILATED & HUMIDITY LEVELS LOW. Use de-humidifiers and air conditioners as needed.

•WHO SHOULD CLEAN UP? This depends on many factors but a good rule of thumb is the size of the mold area. If the area is less than 10 sq. ft. (3’ x 3’ patch) you can take care of the job on your own. Otherwise, contact a licensed professional for recommendations.

•CONTRARY TO WHAT OUR MOTHERS AND GRANDMOTHERS TAUGHT US, DO NOT CLEAN WITH BLEACH. Use soap/detergent and water to wash affected area. Let area dry completely.

What I took away from our Wednesday morning meeting is this, mold is manageable. Your best defense is a good offense. Take action quickly to address any water infiltration, clean properly and call a licensed professional for assistance when needed.

Choosing Colors for Your Home - How Do You Want to Feel?

Choosing paint colors for your home may seem overwhelming. When we Googled  “colors for your home”,  we found a wide variety of information on the topic, so check it out. We found an interesting take regarding paint and it's effects on mood, so here is some information we gathered from the pros.

Color affects people in different ways. It can affect one’s energy level, temperament and even appetite. Before you paint a room, think about what mood you would like the room to evoke and go with colors that tend to create that mood.

Warm Colors (Red, Orange, Yellow)

Warm colors invoke images of heat. Red is often associated with energy. It has been shown to speed respiration and heart rate.  Red is a good choice for a dining room, where it can stimulate conversation. In an entryway, it can make a strong first impression. Orange is a color of excitement. This is a great color for an exercise room. Yellow indicates happiness and cheer.  This is a welcoming color and is good for kitchens, halls or small spaces where it can make the room feel larger. But be careful as you can have too much of it and actually create negative feelings. It is the most fatiguing color on the eyes. Pair yellow walls with a white ceiling and moldings.

Cool Colors (Blue, Green, Purple)

Cool colors tend to create a tranquil, serene mood. Blue has been found to slow respiration and bring down heart rate. It is a calming color, good for bathrooms and bedrooms, or large rooms where people gather. Be careful as blue can come across as too chilly (some pastels) or depressing (some dark shades). Green is the most restful color on the eye. It is a good choice for just about any room. Purple indicates creativity or luxury. It's a great accent color.

Neutrals (White, Brown, Gray)

Neutrals have great flexibility. They are good foundations for any room, especially for rooms that showcase detailing in accessories and furniture. Neutrals are also a useful complement to some bolder wall colors so they don’t seem too extreme or overpowering.

Good Luck! 

Information gathered from


How I Got Smart About Energy

If you’re like me and want to save both money and energy, you might contact Rise Engineering.  They came out to my home this week and did a free energy assessment.  I live in an older home, but they are full of information for all homeowners.  They work with National Grid and provided me with many tips on how to keep my costs affordable and my home comfortable.  

We walked around the entire house, inside and outside, and the energy specialist they sent over even went into my eaves, attic and crawlspace! He discussed insulation and air sealing to reduce drafts, cleaning my radiators, window replacements, water heaters that can be upgraded to solar, appliances (mine already have Energy Star ratings!), programmable thermostats and gave me some new Energy Star compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) which use 75% less electricity and last 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs.  There are many programs and rebates available to homeowners to help you in your energy conservation endeavors.

In Rhode Island, call 1-888-633-7947 to schedule an appointment.  It took about two weeks for me from the time I contacted them, and was well worth it.  I should be getting a full written report from them soon, and will be able to plan exactly where I want to begin with their advice.  To learn more about reducing energy usage in your home, check out  Protect your investment! Get smart about energy! I did!

-Dianne Grippi 


10 Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill This Summer


With the increase in temperatures outside, it is likely that you will experience an increase in your electric bill. Take these simple steps to help decrease your energy consumption.


1.     Keep It Clean.  Air filters need to be cleaned out regularly. At a minimum, change them every 3 months. Dirt and dust that collect can obstruct air flow, thus reducing efficiency.


2.     Seal It Up.  Ducts that move air to and from a central air conditioner are big energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve efficiency by as much as 20 percent. Also check windows and doors for air leaks. To test if you have airflow, be sure the window or door is closed tightly and hold a lit candle near the seams. If the flame bends, there’s a good chance you have a draft. Use caulk and weather stripping to plug up drafts.


3.     Close The Blinds.  Rooms get hotter, especially south and west facing, when there are no blinds to block sunlight.


4.     Program The Thermostat.  When you’re not home, there is no need to blast the A/C. By installing a programmable thermostat, you can set temperatures higher during the day. Through proper use, you can save about $180 a year on energy costs.


5.     Use Fans Or Set Fan To Auto.  Simply a nice breeze can make the room feel cooler. If you have central air, running the fan continuously on the system uses a lot of energy and actually reduces the effectiveness.


6.     Change Light Bulbs.  Replace incandescent bulbs for compact fluourescents (CFLs) as they use less energy and generate less heat.


7.     Grill More!  Hotter space = More work for your cooling system. Limit the use of heat generating appliances (oven, dryer, dishwasher) in home during the day, when temperatures are highest. 


8.     Unplug.  Gadgets suck energy when plugged into a power source. Plug devices into a power strip that can be turned off when not in use.  Set your computer to ‘hibernate’ or ‘sleep’ when not in use. 


9.     Shop For Efficiency.  Use Energy Star guidelines to determine the best choice when making a purchase on an appliance.  Also, you may benefit from incentives offered for purchasing an energy efficient unit. Check government and utility deals at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.


10. Get A Tune Up.  A yearly tune up of your cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort. 



National Grid has lots more information on this topic, including their 3% Less Initiative, which encourages customers to reduce energy consumption 3% every year for the next 10 years.


It's Tax Time! Homeowners - Don't Make These Mistakes

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Reprinted from with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®