Removing odors from Toronto basementWho wants to buy a home that’s has chronic mould problems?  That’s right, not you.

For some homeowners, mould is an irritation they put up with in small doses, as long as it does not get out of hand. Others have upper respiratory problems like chronic asthma and bronchitis that mould aggravates.  They know that mould is a sign of underlying damp (and possibly water leaks) that can cause the value of their investment to deteriorate.  Nobody wants to buy a home with mould, for the mould problem itself, as well as the problems that are causing it’s growth.

We were recently called out to an aging home in the Etobicoke section of Toronto for a mould assessment.  It was for sale and the prospective buyer noticed signs of mould and wanted to get a professional assessment done before making an offer on the home.  What we found were large pockets of water pooling around the basement foundation, and leaking through the concrete foundation. It was caused by excessive water runoff, lack of proper drainage, and an absent of an exterior waterproofing barrier on the outside of the foundation.  All told, it was going to cost thousands to repair.  The prospective buyer was know able to make an informed decision, walk away or make an offer reflecting the needed repairs.


When you’re looking at a possible home to buy, keep the following in mind when it comes to mould:

What to Look For – Mould comes in different colours including black, green, grey and white which means it can be invisible depending on the background. Fortunately it has a characteristic musty smell that can be a giveaway. Although found in houses in the driest dusty deserts, it prefers damp materials such as ceilings, wallboards, carpets and emulsion-painted surfaces.

Where to Look – Mould and damp go together so keep a look-out for excessive moisture. This can include:

  • Spaces closed up tightly. This is typical of new buildings.


  • Persistent storm-water leaks in roofs, water pipes, and windows for example


  • High humidity levels characteristic of poorly ventilated homes


  • Bad housekeeping. Damp towels and flooded pot plants are good examples


  • Signs of regular flooding. Learn to spot tidemarks close to floors.

Be especially thorough when inspecting bathrooms including showers and under-basin cabinets, because moisture and mould go together.


Ask Questions

Sellers and their agents are supposed to declare defects. Ask them direct questions when inspecting the house a second time. They are more likely to be open and provide direct answers. However bear in mind that they only have a duty to disclose what they already know.

Try an oblique angle. Enquire whether there are any leaks in heavy rain, or whether there have been plumbing problems recently. Often what they don’t say is more important than what they reveal. Body language is another important indicator.

Ask Your Home Inspector

If anything particularly worries you ask your home inspector to comment. Have them pay particular attention to any signs of water or damp problems, especially in the basement. Suggest that they include their comments in their inspection report. Allow them to include a disclaimer that they may have missed some infestations.

Include a Mould Clause in Your Offer

You can include anything you like in your purchase offer (although a seller is not bound to agree to anything). This can include responsibility for removal of undeclared mould and repair of its consequences. This is often the clincher that provokes the honest and open declaration you were hoping for in the first place.

Once you know the extent of mould (and any other defects) you face the decision of whether to go ahead or not. No homes are perfect and every buyer immediately improves a few things. Now is the time for a little negotiation. The seller may well concede something off the price. This could provide the funds you need for a professional waterproofing and mould remediation solution.


Mold in basement cold storage room in Toronto homeDoes your home have a cold room?  If you’re like most homeowners in Toronto, you’re not using as cold storage, but rather to grow and collect mold.  A cold room may sound like a good idea in theory, but they can easily become a breeding ground for mold, which can extent to other areas of your basement and home if left untreated.

So what do you do?

This is not a simple one to crack because there’s no cheap and easy solution. Mold’s needs are simple: these are ambient moisture and an organic, cellulose-based host. Cold rooms are by nature moist. Cellulose is a structural component of all green plants and is most commonly present in wood pulp and cotton fibers. Count yourself fortunate if your cold room is mold free.

Solution 1 – Shut the Cold Room Down

Cold rooms made a lot of sense in Toronto and other cold weather regions before the arrival of modern refrigeration. Folks kept their meat fresh and their greens crisp for longer that way. In that sense keeping mold at bay was worth the trouble. Given the inconvenience of the alternatives outlined below and compared to the solution of another kitchen fridge, this may well be the sensible thing to do.

There could also be better things to do with basement space than wasting it on a cold room which is probably underutilized anyway.  You could turn it into a den or an extra bedroom and add real value to your property. If it’s a small cold room, you can create additional storage space, allowing you to do something great with the rest of your basement. A younger generation buyer could even be put off by something they only half-understand the purpose of. Perhaps it’s time to move with the times.

Solution 2 – Try to Win the Battle with Mold

Mold reproduces at an alarming rate because its seeds called spores are light enough to travel through the air. If you take a cavalier attitude by wiping it away, all you’re doing is spreading it around. Mold also likes to lurk in tight corners where the moisture’s always guaranteed. Breathing in spores can exacerbate bronchial conditions. In other words mold is a potential hazard you should try and get rid of.

Should you decide to go this route but have mild to heavy infestation you are well advised to call in mold professionals. Make sure they barricade the cold room away from the house with polyethylene sheeting and work from outside. Failure to do so can create a real risk of mold migrating to the rest of your home.

Following that remove all mold hosts. Take everything out of the room that’s cellulose-based like wooden shelves and cardboard storage boxes. Paint all surfaces – especially wooden doors, window frames and paneling – with mold resistant paint to stop mold coming back.

Finally, cover the walls and ceiling with moisture-resistant extruded foam insulation to reduce the ambient moisture level as far as possible. This is the expensive part. If you don’t but the panels tightly and caulk the tiniest gap you may as well not attempt the job at all.

Specialist Advice

Given the scope of work involved and the need to get it right first time in view of cost, you may want to consider contracting a mold removal specialist. If you have any questions about your cold room, basement mold, or renovation ideas for that new room in your basement, you can contact us here.




Mold growing inside Toronto homeMold exposure has many health side effects, including psychological, and the causes are often unknown for a long period of time or misdiagnosed. People exposed to mold may not understand the changes occurring to their bodies, which leads to psychological side effects in addition to the physical.


These psychological side effects can alter people’s moods, change the way they act in social situations, impact decision-making skills, cause doubt and decrease overall happiness levels. Understanding physical and psychological side effects help people identify mold exposure before it might be too late. If ever in doubt, perform a mold removal inspection and avoid the side effects altogether.


Social Psychology

Mold is an environmental health hazard, meaning it only affects people when they are in a particular environment where the mold is infested. When they are outside that environment, they won’t feel the side effects of mold. However, with prolonged exposure, certain side effects can become permanent, depending on the type of mold.


Cognitive Dissonance:  Cognitive dissonance is when someone’s behavior doesn’t match up with an action associated with a belief. When this occurs, the person feels uncomfortable and dishonest with themselves. This feeling is resolved in one of two ways; the person changes their belief to match the action or change the action to match the belief.


When exposed to mold, people’s moods and attitudes change. During this change, they may start to doubt some of their actions or become despondent to a routine. Once this occurs, they may alter a belief that correlates to that particular action to minimize or eliminate cognitive dissonance.


Attitude-Behavior Consistency:  Whereas cognitive dissonance focuses on beliefs and actions, attitude-behavior consistency reflects the correlation between a person’s attitude and actions. For example, if their attitude toward an activity they perform is negative, the chances of them continuing that action are reduced.


When people’s moods and attitudes change, they might feel the need to stop performing an action due to feeling negatively or lackadaisical toward it. With prolonged mold exposure, these consistencies can eventually impact their attitudes and behaviors outside the mold infested environment.



A personality goes a long way, but when unknown health issues arise from mold exposure, someone’s personality can change drastically. They become confused, distracted and can start questioning their true personality.

Suppressed Emotions:  The persona is what people present to the outside world. It is part of our conscious and how we want people to see us. Under that are our egos, which is how we personally identify ourselves. Below that is the unconscious, such as “The Shadow” and the true self.

If someone’s attitudes, beliefs and actions alter, but he or she can’t identify why exactly these changes occur, that person might suppress certain feelings to still fit in with others or maintain a certain persona around them. These suppressed emotions are caused by the person not wanting to admit something is wrong, since they don’t want to be seen as different.  

Esteem/Self-Actualization Diminishes:  Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs displays the levels of needs that people experience; physiological, safety, love, esteem and at the top lays self-actualization.

As previously mentioned, after prolonged mold exposure, people will experience various physical side effects, along with Psychological issues, including changes in mood and behavior. Once someone becomes despondent to a particular desire or passion, their esteem and self-actualization diminishes, meaning they don’t look for the need of appreciation, fulfillment and achievement or to truly do what they are meant to do.

Emotional Distress

The mood swings, fluctuating health conditions and loss of passion presents many questions for the person exposed to mold. Often times, these questions relate to doubt. Is there something wrong with me? Why am I acting different? Is this just a phase of life? Will I be the same again? This doubt and confusion damages someone’s confidence if these questions aren’t answered.


Anxiety:  The changes in health conditions give people anxiety. They begin to worry about their physical health, behavior and social acceptance, which results in a large amount of emotional distress. After a while this anxiety may reside or decrease due to acceptance of the changes of certain behaviors.


Depression:  Along with the anxiety, depression will prominently impact someone’s life. The doubt and confusion leads to unhappiness, which is why people may change their behaviors or beliefs to match their change in attitudes or actions to feel better-off.


The effects of mold exposure present several questions about the well-being of someone. Oftentimes these questions go unanswered because the causes are difficult to identify. Since mold is well hidden, people can go a long time before realizing what is wrong with them. These causes can sometimes even be misdiagnosed, which is why a proper mold inspection may be beneficial. If the inspection pays off and mold is found, then a professional mold removal service will take care of the rest. Be sure about the changes in your life. Cut out the doubt and don’t let mold exposure impact your life.


About the author

Sam Ott writes for Paul Davis Restoration of Kansas City, a 24/7 mold removal service. Find out why they’re the mold experts by visiting their website.

Removing odors from Toronto basementBasement odors are common, especially for older homes, but no matter how
old or new your home is, there are many reasons odours can pop up in a
basement. With the changing seasons and sometimes drastic weather here in Toronto, it’s easy to start getting some funky odours down there if there is dampness and poor air circulation.

If your basement has a slight odour, here are six things that
could be causing it:

1. Cracks

Having cracks on basement walls is something that is very common. Those
who are living in newer homes may also find some cracks on their cinder or
concrete basement walls. These cracks will then start to leak thereby
creating dampness which will eventually result to a musty odor. So, once
you notice some cracks in your basement walls, be quick enough to patch
them very well. But, if you think that the cracks are active and could
develop into long cracks be prepared to call on the help of an expert.

2. Condensation

Annoying basement odors brought about by condensation usually occurs
during summer when pipes have been covered with condensation. Cold water
pipes will have condensation build-up resulting to drips into the basement
floor. Once you find some condensation developing cover the pipes
immediately with insulated wraps to avoid dampness and musty odor in your

3. Leaking Pipes

There are also times when people mistake condensation for leaky pipes.
When a pipe leaks, annoying odor in the basement will likely to occur.
Cover the leaking part of the pipe with epoxy compound. But, the pipe may
require a different repair method if it has tiny holes in it. If these
pipes will continue to leak after doing some quick-fix then you should
start thinking about calling a licensed plumber

4. Humidity

Humidity is another cause of having annoying odors in the basement. This
is true even when the basement is not damp. If you notice your basement
having musty odor and you cannot find any damp area, you should try using
a dehumidifier. Attach a hose into the dehumidifier to allow the extra
moisture to pass through the basement drain. Putting a dehumidifier in the
basement is one effective way to eradicate the bad odor in the basement
caused by trapped humidity.

5. Weeping Walls

Weeping walls in the basement is one great source of musty odor.
Unfortunately, weeping walls do require complete repair or much work by
using several other methods in order to stop having musty odor problems in
the basement. A dehumidifier and other moisture control methods will
certainly not work in eliminating the musty odor in the basement if it is
caused by weeping walls.

6. Mold and Mildew

If stagnant moisture is left unchecked in the basement a musty odor will
most likely to occur. This is due to the growth of bacteria that manifests
in the form of mold and mildew which may spread rapidly or slowly depending
on the size of the leak. Mold will almost always be present in the basement
because of the moisture from the underground unless you live in a very arid climate or have awesome ventilation in your basement.

Do you have odors in your basement and can’t find the source?  Contact Nusite Group, they can answer any questions you may have.

Ashlee is from the website HowMuchIsIt? — A website that helps
consumers around the globe find out what the many things in life cost.
Follow her on Twitter @howmuchforit

Mold growing on basement joists in Toronto homeThere are a number of potential dangers lurking in a house that could cause you or your loved ones harm, some of which are more obvious than others. One specific danger that is not always easy to see or detect is the growth of mold. There are tens of thousands of different types of molds, some which are more common to indoor areas, and some which are more common in outdoor areas. When molds grow indoors, they can cause a number of problems to people, including those with mold allergies and those without. Because of the problems associated with indoor mold exposure, it is important to be able to prevent, identify, and control mold growth as much as possible.


Mold is a fungus that can survive in a number of environments, but does best in damp, humid areas. Indoors, these tend to be the following areas of the house:



In these areas of a home, there are a number of types of mold that are likely to be found, including:


  • Cladosporium
  • Aspergillus
  • Alternaria
  • Penicillium


Symptoms of Indoor Mold Exposure

Being exposed to mold in a home can have a number of different effects on an individual, and these effects can range in severity depending on how sensitive a given person is to mold exposure. In fact, research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has connected indoor mold exposure to respiratory problems in healthy individuals with no noted mold sensitivities, so individuals who do have sensitivities are likely to experience much more serious effects. Commonly, victims of indoor mold exposure complain of:


  • Itchy or Watery Eyes
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing


In the most serious instances, mold exposure has been cited as causing severe respiratory reactions, and even mold infections in the lungs.


Preventing Mold in Your Home

Because of the devastating effects that mold exposure can have for individuals, you should do everything you can to prevent yourself and your family from suffering this type of exposure. One of the best things you can do to prevent mold grown in your home is to control the humidity, especially in rooms that are prone to accumulating moisture, such as bathrooms. You can do this by properly ventilating the rooms or by using an air conditioner or humidifier to control the humidity.


Additionally, you can prevent mold from quickly expanding if you do find mold by getting rid of it as quickly as possible. To do this, you should mix one cup of bleach with one gallon of water and apply this to the affected area. Next, you should identify what allowed mold to grow in the first place, whether poor ventilation or a water leak, and fix that problem immediately.


Additionally, there are many commercial mold-killing products available that you can have stored in your home at all times in case you notice a problem, or you can apply them to high-risk areas, like showers or kitchens, on a regular basis as a preventative measure.


When You Need a Professional

Despite the dangers that mold exposure can pose, you don’t need to panic if you notice mold growing in your home or if you or someone in your home begins experiencing symptoms of mold exposure. In fact, if you notice either of these things, you should first try and take care of the problem by yourself. Using the above cleaning tips and discussing potential allergies with a general practitioner may be all that you need to do to get your mold problem under control.


However, if cleaning and preventing mold in your house is not helping, and you or someone else in your family is continuing to suffer because of mold-exposure, you might have mold in hard to reach or identify places, making it necessary to bring in professional help. In situations such as these, you will likely need to contact a mold tester to help you look for mold in hard to find places, such as inside of walls, and then you will likely need a cleaning professional, like a team of Austin cleaning experts, to help you make sure the mold is effectively and thoroughly taken care of.