September 2016

Got Mold? Follow Your Nose!

Indoor mold growth, whether visible or hidden, is not only unpleasant to look at, but left untreated, it can cause property damage and  has been linked to a plethora of health issues in humans.


The IAQ Team at ARA  fields daily calls from homeowners, property managers, general contractors and engineers all needing advice on how to deal with mold. Here are some tips to help folks understand why mold grows indoors, what they can do about it, and when to call for help.

Where to Begin

If you have visible mold growth indoors, and/or can smell a musty odor, that’s the most obvious place to start.  A small area of mold can usually be cleaned with a standard household cleaning product, but if mold continues to grow back after a thorough cleaning, then you need to address the underlying moisture/humidity issue that is causing the problem.  


If you can smell the mold but cannot see it, it is ok to carefully peek behind nearby appliances, wall cavities, etc, to look for moisture issues and mold growth, but be advised that disturbing or removing mold in a dwelling with individual having respiratory complications would not be a wise choice. For anything other than a small contained patch of mold, you should always call a Board Certified Indoor Air Quality professional.


Where Mold Grows & Why

Barring an obvious “water event,” most mold problems can be traced to the attic, the basement, the kitchen and/or the bathroom. Here are some general rules of thumb to help you with your investigation:

-Attics contaminated with mold can usually be blamed on ventilation issues. When vents are blocked, covered, or eliminated, this causes the proper air flow to be disrupted, and moist, hot air becomes trapped. Fix the vent issue and you may just fix the problem.

-Basements are built below ground level, and the moisture in the surrounding soil will often permeate through the foundation, especially if there are cracks. After you fix all visible cracks, waterproofing and dehumidifiers are keys to controlling basement mold.

-Bathroom & Kitchen mold can be blamed on a combination of things, such as steam (from showers, baths, cooking, washing dishes, running hot water at the sink), overflowing (sinks, tubs, toilets) and condensation on walls, mirrors and windows. To control mold growth, make sure to run exhaust fans (vented outdoors, not into your attic!), open windows, and wipe up any condensation & spills.


  • For more information on this topic, visit:

        Signs of Mold in Your Home

  • Find a Board Certified Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) near you:

 YouTube Video Shows How to Test Well Water

Despite drinking water safety concerns being all over the news lately it is still proving to be a significant challenge to get private well owners to understand the importance of testing their water and treating their well if contaminants are found.          


NHDES recommends that well owners test annually for contaminants like bacteria &   nitrates, and every 3 years for lead and arsenic (which is currently found in one in five private wells in New Hampshire).


If you or any well users you know are overwhelmed about what to test for and how to go about it, check out this short video, like it, share it, and then get to testing!


Tips for Smooth Sampling & Submittal

Our clients invest a lot of time, consideration, research and energy into determining appropriate sampling and analysis plans in the field. And our clients know that Absolute Resource Associates is dedicated to providing the same commitment to quality in the sample analysis phase of the work. We all know how important proper sample handling and preservation is- for example, to spend days in the field collecting samples just to get them to the lab at an undesirable temperature can be devastating. Here are a few sampling tips to ensure you avoid any headaches on your next project:


1. Whenever possible, share your sampling plan with the laboratory. ARA can help to prepare customized bottle orders that will be most convenient for you in the field:

  • We offer pre-printed COCs to include your pertinent site information and sample IDs
  • We offer pre-printed bottle labeling, to save time and limit errors in the field
  • If pre-printed documents aren’t up your alley, we can also prepare bottle sets by location or analysis group for easy handling in the field. Its all about making your life easier!

2. Arrange for a courier pick up in advance of your sampling date to help alleviate any short holding time concerns, and get the samples to the laboratory as soon as possible. ARA offers free courier service to your site or office! (within 100 miles)

3. Ice, ice, baby! Always remember to start the cooling process immediately. If you have arranged for an ARA courier pick up from your site or office, we will have ice with us, however when the samples are still in the custody of the sampler they should be kept cool.

4. Give us notes! Always feel free to utilize the “special instructions” area of the COC or send along a note to relay pertinent site or sample information to the laboratory. This could be anything from an odor detected at the sampling source, to specific turnaround time requirements.  


Absolute Resource Associates is here to make your field efforts easier, so that when it comes time to submit the samples for analysis, the transition is seamless. You and your staff are out in heat, rain, sleet and snow as you work to meet your clients’ expectations. Remember, Absolute Resource Associates wants to help eliminate any difficulties for your team as it pertains to sample collection, transfer, submittal and final reporting of laboratory data. What else can we do to help make your job easier? Let us know!

10th Annual Summer Outing

This July marked the 10th year in a row that ARA owners Sue  and Guy Sylvester treated their employees and their families to a fun weekend in the White Mountains for  lots of hiking, swimming, grilling, playing, laughing and making fun memories! What an amazing way to show your staff how much they’re appreciated. Here’s to 10 more! Thanks Sue & Guy!


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The Resource Rambler Newsletter is brought to by Absolute Resource Associates
124 Heritage Ave. Unit #16 Portsmouth, NH 03801  ©2016

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