Penny Tralau: Tackling Mould In Your Home & What You Can Do About It | 180 Nutrition

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Penny Tralau: Tackling Mould In Your Home & What You Can Do About It

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Guy:  This week welcome to the show Penny Tralau. She’s got a company called Mould Rescue wherein she assesses your home and checks the mould condition and how to get rid of it. She shares some practical tips on how we can take care of our home and adjust our lifestyle moving forward to prevent moulds from growing.

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Questions we ask in this episode:

  • Why should we worry about mould? What are the potential health effects
  • If the mould is not visible, how can we tell if we’ve got it? Are there any tell-tale signs?
  • Are there any myths or misconceptions around mould?
  • Can we fix mould issues ourselves or do we need proper assessment and remediation?
  • What are the best mould prevention tips you can give us?

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Full Transcript

Guy

Hey everybody this is Guy Lawrence, of course, of 180 nutrition, and welcome to another awesome episode of health sessions. Where we’re constantly connected with leading global health and wellness experts to share best and the latest science and thinking. Empowering us all to turn our health and lives around. And this week we’re doing it on the topic of mold, and our awesome guest is Penny Tralau. Now, Penny has got a company called Mould Rescue, and she basically goes into your home and assesses the mold situation, and what you can do about it. [00:01:00] This episode isn’t so much about the harmful effects that mold can cause on you, symptoms that can be related to around cold and flu symptoms, asthma, skin conditions and so forth. But this more of how we can start looking at our home. How we can adjust things moving forward. And how we can create prevention. And of course if you need to assess it even deeper, then somebody like Penny is perfect for that job. [00:01:30] So it was great to get stuck in and quiz Penny on all things mold today. I certainly learned a lot myself, and it’s a topic we’ve not covered on the podcast before, especially coming from this angle as well. So it was fantastic to hear what Penny has to say. And I have no doubt after listening to this episode of the podcast; you’re going to be looking around your home in a very different way, which is very cool. So it’s bringing awareness to this topic in general, which is what we wanted to do. So we’re very grateful for Penny coming on the show. [00:02:00] And I just wanted to mention as well, guys you might have noticed that we have currently got a promotion running, where we are giving free samples of our 180 super food protein blend away. All you need to do is go back to 180Nutrition.com.au and there’s a banner on the homepage. You just click that, and all we ask is that you cover a small fee of shipping and handling. I’m sure if you’ve been listening to our podcast for a while, you know exactly what our super food blend is all about, and how to use it. And if not, the best place to start is with breakfast to help you cut out those processed meals and start with the smoothie using the 180. Anyway, learn a bit more because I promise you we’ve had thousands of people that are walking your path and we’ve had some fantastic results by helping people eliminate processed foods and eating something much more nourishing that’s got healthy fats, carbs, and good fiber of course, and a good source of protein. [00:02:30] Anyway guys, let’s go over to Penny. Enjoy everything mold and don’t forget, if you want a free sample, go back to 180Nutrition. com.au on the homepage, click the banner. Enjoy guys. Hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m with Stuart Cook, as always. Good morning Stu.

Stu

Good morning, Guy. Guy: And our lovely guest today is Penny Tralau. Penny, welcome to the show.

Penny

Good morning. How are you guys?

Guy

We’re fabulous. Thank you.

Stu

Good. Thanks Penny.

Guy

Looking forward to this topic. We’ve not covered it on the show before. So I have no doubt it’s going to be very interesting. [00:03:00] So Penny, everyone I ask on the show at the beginning, is if a complete stranger stopped you on the street and asked you what you did for a living, what would you say?

Penny

I said, I would be a certified mold remediator.

Guy

And what sort of reaction would you get from that answer.

Penny

Most people look at me, blank me, and go, “What?” [00:03:30] They don’t know, so I have to explain to them that I assess buildings for mold. I look for causation, then I present my findings. We put a plan together to remediate and get rid of the mold. And then we put a plan in action to prevent it from coming back.

Guy

Yeah, beautiful. That’s much clearer. So can you take us a back a bit, Penny? I like to always ask the guests as well, when they come on the show about a little bit of your backstory. It’s not every day you meet somebody that does what you do. So how did it all start for you? [00:04:00]

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Penny

My history is, I was in a corporate background. So I was always a project manager. And also saw, in large companies, doing large projects. And then when it was time for a change; I went out and did something else called water damage. So, flood restoration, so whenever houses have floods, overflowing baths, or leaky taps, or burst pipes, and all that sort of stuff. [00:04:30] But very, very quickly in that process, I was getting asked about mold all the time, and I knew people had no idea. So I then went across and did some study in the microbiology of remediation. Did some building science courses, understand … We have an industry called restoration. And the restoration industry covers things like flood, fire, mold, clean-up, meth lab cleanup, trauma cleanup. But I wanted to specialize in mold, because I knew that it was a difficult subject that people didn’t know how to handle. [00:05:00] So I went off and got certified, and now I’m one of four of the most qualified people in remediation in Australia.

Guy

Okay fantastic. I was just going to say, it seems to appear that the mold seems to be coming back to the surface more. It’s getting more media. It feels like it’s getting talked about a lot more.

Penny:

[00:05:30] I think it’s because there’s a lot of, people aren’t aware how to live in their own environment. So they’re doing things in their own environment without understanding where this mold is coming from, why it’s happening. And sometimes it’s their own behavior, and they don’t understand that. So it’s not because they’re ignorant; it’s just because there’s levels of moisture in homes and building sites. Buildings are complicated, and we don’t always know how to live in them the right way.

Stu

Why should we worry about mold Penny? We’ve all been in buildings, and yeah there’s a little mold in the bathroom. What’s the big deal? What potential side effects? [00:06:00]

Penny

Absolutely, for some people yes. For some people no. Mold is a very closed system. It’s part of our wold, part of our history, part of our environment. We need mold to break things down. Not everybody is effected by mold. We have mold in the garden. You step in from the outside to the inside, mold lands on your clothing, it’s normal. But what you don’t want is high levels of mold in an environment that you live in and spend a lot of time in. So whether that’s your office, or your gym, or your home. [00:06:30] Some people are more susceptible to mold than others. Other people I can walk into a house and there’s block mold everywhere. And they go, “Well it doesn’t affect me.” And there’s one person in the house that’s just dying. Everyone’s immune system is different, and everybody reacts differently. So what’s really bad for you, might not be really bad for the next person. [00:07:00] G

Guy

Interesting, and do you find that people are even aware that mold could be an issue in the first place? Because if …

Penny

[00:07:30] Sometimes yeah, sometimes no. Sometimes people think, “You know what? I’ve been sick for ages. I get this cough that won’t go away.” Or, “My child is always sick.” And they go through many bouts to the doctor and nothings working. Then all of the sudden someone says to them, “Well what’s happening in your home?” And they go, “Oh I don’t know.” Then they see something on TV about mold, or they see something on the internet about mold, and they go, “Oh, I think that’s the issue in my house.” So then they call in people like me in to do an investigation and I do a full assessment of the house.

Guy

And if mold is not visible, can it still be problem? Because I’d be at my home now and I’d go, “Oh I’ve got no mold. I’m just looking and I can’t see anything. I’m sure I’m fine.”

Penny

[00:08:00] I have a little bit of mold in my home. I found some the other day, but I’m not freaking out about it, because I know my house is pretty good. But look, mold is microscopic. It’s between 2 and 20 microns in size. The spore sizes are tiny. They’re microscopic; you can see them under a microscope. So, just because you can’t see it; doesn’t mean you don’t have it. It also doesn’t mean that it’s bad for you. Again, we can do a lot of testing. So I can test the air quality of your home, or the environment that you spend a lot of time in, and we can check that way. [00:08:30] I often, one of the things that I do, is I look behind furniture, under beds, on top of kitchen cabinets, places that you don’t normally get to in your weekly cleaning. So just because it’s not visible, doesn’t mean it’s not there, but it also doesn’t mean it’s not bad for you, or it is bad for you, either way.

Stu

So tell tale signs then that you might be exposed to a moldy environment? What is it, coughing, wheezing, cold? What are we thinking? [00:09:00]

Penny:

We’ve got brain fog, coughing, wheezing, skin irritation, if you can smell it home … If you smell it, you’ve got it. Then it’s a complicated issue, and we need to check, how bad it is, and how bad it is for you.

Stu

Got it.

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Penny

Definitely, you can get contaminated by mold by, contact to the skin, ingestion, and inhalation. But don’t forget we breathe mold every single day in our environment.

Stu

Yes, absolutely right. [00:09:30]

Penny

The last thing I want people to do, is go, “Oh my god. I’ve got three spots of mold on my blinds. I’m going to die.” Because that’s not necessarily the case, and we’ve never liked to freak people out that way. Because that’s just an alarmist approach, and that’s not necessary, and that’s not the right thing to do.

Stu

If you do get a little bit of mold, I’ve seen in the supermarkets, you can buy these little hippo things, suck up the moisture. Tell us about that, are they handy? [00:10:00]

Penny

[00:10:30] They can be handy in a small cupboard, but what they are trying to do is absorb moisture. A better way of doing that would be a dehumidifier. So a dehumidifier you actually plug in. It can sense, you set it at say 50% relative humidity, which is your ambient moisture. And then what they do is it cuts in and out, and it pulls out the moisture as it needs to, and it keeps the moisture levels in the air low. So when think about mold you’ve got to think about moisture, but it’s not just physical moisture, it can be ambient moisture, so relative humidity. So one of the things it will do, is if you’ve got poor airflow in your home. It’s going to look for the pockets in your home, like inside wardrobes, and underneath beds, where it just is stagnant and stale. [00:11:00] So airflow, and keeping air moving, is important. And being cognisant of things like condensation on your window. It’s a huge amount of moisture. People go to me, “Oh my curtains or my blinds are really damp and moldy.” And that’s because they have condensation, but they don’t look at it, or don’t see it, or don’t manage it.

Stu

[00:11:30] Yes, exactly right. And we get that here, just in our bedroom. Like if we keep the windows closed, there’s lots of condensation in the morning, so we open the windows a little bit, and we don’t get it. Penny: Exactly right. And sometimes, as I say, it’s as simple as that. Other times it’s a little more complicated, because every house is different.

Guy

Is every case different, in generally where mold grows? I never even thought of being under the bed.

Penny

[00:12:00] When you think about it wardrobes are a dark environment, with no air, and they’re usually packed. They’re usually full of stuff. So even if you’ve got wardrobe doors open during the day, and they’re getting some air. Sometimes they’re so packed that air doesn’t get to the back of things. So think about, everyone wants to make their bed, or shut doors, and keep children out of rooms, and wardrobes. I understand all that, but it prevents airflow. [00:12:30] So cross ventilation is where you’ve got say a bedroom door open, or a bedroom window open, and the bedroom door, and the blinds. Because people will shut their blinds, and window, so there’s no light, no air and it creates-

Stu

The perfect environment for mold. Penny: The perfect environment for growing mold. [00:13:00] And you know what? If you’ve got a little tiny bit of mold in your window track, and generally you won’t see it anywhere else. Sure, get some detergent, vacuum it up, give it a bit of wipe down. But if you think that you’ve got a systemic issue in your home, get a professional in. Whether it’s me or someone else, get a professional in to come and do a proper assessment of your home, because I often find that there might be something else going on. It could be a water damaged building. [00:13:30] By water damaged building we mean, there could be a slow leak from the dishwasher, or there could be leaky windows, or there could be water ingressed into the house from somewhere. And people are trained to go looking for that, we hunt for that. So have a range of moisture meters that are very expensive. We have thermal imaging cameras, and we go looking for moisture in buildings.

Guy

You sound like a ghost buster Penny. Is that …

Penny

That’s it. I track that stuff down.

Guy

Brilliant. Get it. [00:14:00] So if we are concerned, let’s say about, “Oh my word. I’m going to call these guys. They’re going to rip my walls off.” What can we do ourselves? Can we fix it ourselves, or not really? Penny: [00:14:30] Again, it depends on the situation. It depends on the complexity. It depends on the level of contamination. If it’s a really, really small issue, I will say to you, “Look, go and do this.” Or if I’ve found some sort of building issue. I will say to you, “Look, you need to fix this window.” Or, “You need to get a roofing guy out, and have a look.” If I can find moisture at the very, very top of your wall, all the way along one side of the building, and I go outside and your gutters are full. I’m going to say to you, “Fix your gutters.”

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Stu

A lot of common sense stuff in a way. Penny: A lot of common sense stuff, yeah. [00:15:00] Or if you’re using an unflued gas heater, gas heaters that are unflued put a lot of moisture into the air. Or if you’re using your dryer to dry clothes in winter, and you’re not keeping doors and things open, and of course your laundry is all wet. Things like that. Or a lot of people at this team of the year. They dry their washing inside, and I understand why they do it, but what that does, all that moisture evaporates into the air, and creates moisture content in your air, relative humidity.

Stu

[00:15:30] Got it. It’s interesting, because when I lived in, this is years ago, 10 years ago I lived in a rented apartment in Auckland, and boy that place was moldy. It didn’t get any light. It didn’t really get any air, and we did put in a dehumidifier. We bought it from a friend, and we were pouring liters of water down the sink every night. It was sucking out so much moisture, it was insane.

Penny

And it depends on which way it was facing, and whether the structure of the home already had some sort of issue … You don’t know. [00:16:00] But what I say to people is, “Clean, dry, light, and air.” Keep your home clean. Keep light coming in where you can. Let clean, dry, light, and air. So think about where you introduce moisture into your home. Whether it be drying, washing inside. Whether it be, you come in with canvas shoes and they’re a little bit wet, you take them throw them in the cupboard, or throw them under your bed. [00:16:30] Think about, you take off your jackets and your clothes. Are they completely dry before you put them back in your wardrobe?

Stu

Yeah it’s common sense things that you don’t really give a second thought to.

Penny

A lot of what I’m talking to people about these days, is things like how to manage your home and prevent it, rather than having to deal with it. Because if you’re cleaning your home in such a way that you find an issue when it’s small, easy to fix. As opposed to, you know the longer, [inaudible 00:16:55] the worse it gets, the more it costs. [00:17:00] So I tell people, apart from what you clean on weekly basis, which is what you can see, what you can reach, and what you’ve got time for, think about adding a little cycle. So once a month, pick something like, do the scooting boards. Do the, what are those things up on the ceilings? Do the fans. The month after that, do all your window frames. [00:17:30] You might find that adds one extra hour or two a months, but you’re cycling around the home and making sure that you get to things that you almost never see. So I say to people, “You never pull bookshelves out.” because it’s a huge bookshelf and it’s got all sorts of books, but once every so often, you need to. The big sized stuff, don’t do it every week, put it on a rotation. [00:18:00] Some customers I have, have decided on my suggestion, is that they pick a room every second month, and they do a bit of a forensic clean in that room. So one room every second month, the next room, and they pull everything out of the shelves, and the pull everything out of the cupboards, spend an extra couple of hours that month on that room.

Stu

Absolutely, it makes sense. Pull a bed away from the wall, and all these little tight spaces. [00:18:30] Penny: So whatever works for you in your family, in your home, or with your kids, or sport, or job, two jobs. Whatever works for you. But what I say to people, “Get to know your home, intimately, more intimately than you do now.” But things like, do you come home from work in the afternoon, 5:00, 6:00, whatever time it is, and your towels in the bathroom are still wet from your morning shower? That a lot of time.

Guy

(silence)

Stu

[00:19:00] Right, so think about. Don’t leave the towels in there. Put them outside if you can, or maybe get a heated towel rail. Again, sometimes some of these little strategies are going to work for some, not work for others. But then we look for options, like talk to customers in their home and look for options that’s going to for them.

Guy

(silence)

Stu

[00:19:30] Many times, all the time. I’ve got customers like that almost every week, where I go in and we put a strategy together. I fix the existing issue, and then I guide them in terms of how they can best manage their home, and it makes a huge difference to their environment.

Guy

(silence)

Stu

[00:20:00] [00:20:30] Well there’s people that have got bad asthma, and they’re finding that their asthma is not so bad, or they’re not having to go to the doctor and refill their medication quite so often. Sometimes that’s adults. Sometimes that’s children. So, even children would always be sick in an environment and not be able to participate in sports and go out with their friends, are actually starting to do that more often. The parents, or the home is getting cleaned more often. And people say to me, “That’s a lot of money to spend.” And it’s like, “Okay, but how much money are you spending on your child’s health, or your health right now?”

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Stu

Absolutely, yeah.

Guy

(silence)

Stu

[00:21:00] [00:21:30] It is worth looking at. There’s many things in your home. As I’ve said before, homes are complicated things. Mold is one issue, but when we look at indoor air quality as a whole, there could be many things that are effecting the child. It could be carbon dioxides, carbon monoxides. It could be other volatile organic compounds. A lot of furniture we buy from China and from Ikea, have bonding agents that have got formaldehyde in them, and sometimes those things off gas and can affect people, and they don’t realize. [00:22:00] So a lot of furniture we’re buying these days. I mean have you ever bought anything from … I bought a little box from Ikea a while back, and it stank, and it was the formaldehyde. It was to put some trinkets in next to my bed, and I couldn’t have it. I had to throw it away. It was only a $10 box, but it was full of formaldehyde.

Stu

Yeah, right. Any of these items on your red alert list of things that we really need to be wary about bringing into our homes?

Penny

[00:22:30] Look, it is. Think about what you’re bringing into the home. Thinking about, what it’s made of, what it’s used for, how much time you’re spending with it. Whether it’s a piece of furniture, whether it’s food, I try and make people more aware. Because we get into a routine, we’re busy. We get up in the morning and we’re like, “Get the breakfast, get the kids out the door.” Sometimes we just need to pull back, stop, think about, “Well, what’s in our home?” Sometimes you’ll find that people store, the husband has not even thought about it, but he stored old paint, or methylated spirits in the laundry, on a cupboard shelf. And sometimes that’s just stinky stuff. [00:23:00] And so there’s other things in the home, it would be-

Stu

I’m laughing when you say that, because I’ve done that. I’ve done that, and I’m just picturing the little pot of white spirit with my paintbrushes in, in the laundry on the shelf. It was smelly in there when I went into the room as well. Shut the door.

Penny

[00:23:30] Exactly. You shut the door, but if there’s a small child that’s already been compromised in some way, or an elderly cancer patient, that’s going to effect them more than it affects someone with a strong constitution.

Stu

No, I get it. Just take me back to those four things again. Was it, light, air?

Penny

So, clean, dry, light, and air.

Stu

Clean, dry, light, and air.

Penny

So clean time, right- [00:24:00]

Guy

( silence) Penny: Sometimes, because and part of my industry, I’m qualified, certified to, structurally dry homes. So if there has been a systemic issue in a home where there’s been damage, and part of a wall, or floors are wet. Then we have to talk to customers about the importance of drying them out. Because you can’t have structure or substrate holding water, because anywhere there’s moisture, it’s a source of mold. [00:24:30] [00:25:00] So if there has been a system issue, or some sort of water ingress, behind the kitchen, behind the laundry, or whatever it is, or the roof been leaking, or the gutters have been leaking, we have to dry that structure out. So I talk to people about a plan. And you can’t do anything, obviously you have to see, you have to be very, very gentile with people sometimes, because you see that in their home. They invited you into their home, so you have to be very respectful of their home. Say to them, “These are things we need to do.” And sometimes people just go, “That’s just too much.” So we have to sort of break it down into manageable chunks, and do what we can, the best we can.

Stu

You mean that you don’t go in and say, “You dirty buggers. Look what this has got to. You should clean your home.”

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Penny

[00:25:30] Well, look, there’s times where you might think about it, but you can’t. When we had that huge amount of rain and humidity at the beginning of the year. Even though I’d keep my fans on, I’d keep windows open, I’d clean my home. I’d do all the things I tell my costumers to do. I was playing on the floor in my lounge room with my dog, and I looked up at the bottom half of my lounge, and there was a little line of mold all the way along, on my little lounge. And I was thinking, “Oh bugger.” So, it happens to people. Even though I do every thing I can, there was a little bit of mold on my little lounge. I was thinking, “Dang you.”

Stu

It’s that dog. That’s the problem. You’re going to have to get rid of that dog. [00:26:00]

Penny

I blame it on the dog, along with all the dog hair that is around my house. [00:26:30] One of the things that I say to people, in terms of their general cleaning routine, is, “Vacuum twice as much as you do anything else.” Vacuuming is like source removal. You’re pulling spores into a vacuum with a Hepa filter. If you’ve got a good vacuum, and you vacuum windows, doors, walls, skirting, door frames, your fans, vacuum twice as much you do anything else.

Stu

Good tip, yeah. That’s right, yeah. “Use those attachments.” That’s what I say to people with these vacuums.

Penny

Exactly, yes. Get on that.

Stu

They’re there for a reason. Not just the big long stick.

Penny

That’s right. That’s right. Guy: (silence) [00:27:00] Penny: No, and they don’t. And I feel for the land lords, because sometimes issues happen and they just don’t have the money to fix them. There’s times where they do, and they won’t, but you know. Then they want to come and do their own investigations and they send their own people in, and it all becomes an elongated process. Meanwhile, the tenent is just sitting there going, “Well what about me.”

Stu

[00:27:30] I know, and you’ve got different types of tenent as well. You get the great tenants that really look after the place, and then you get the buggers that just don’t care. Exactly right.

Penny

[00:28:00] I’ve seen tenants that have got six or seven people living in an environment that really is meant for two, because you’ve got to remember we all sluff off, and we all breathe out carbon dioxide, and we have showers. So if you’ve got too many people in an over occupied environment, where you’re cooking for that many people [inaudible 00:27:56] for that amount of people. It all sort of acerbates.

Stu

I remember about 20 years ago, Penny, I was backpacking in Bondi, and I was one of 18 people living in a 2 bedroom apartment. I felt for the land lord.

Penny

So it’s you.

Stu

It was me, but I’ve learnt my lesson now. Toxic mold exposure from 20 years ago. I’m still shaking. [00:28:30]

Penny

The other little myth I want to bust, is just because the mold is black in color, doesn’t mean it’s black, toxic mold. We have to do a lot of testing, and we can do the testing. It’s testing that obviously costs money, because we take samples using consumables. We send them to a lab for analysis. They get analyzed under a microscope by a micrologist in lab environment. That sort of testing would tell us what genes or family of mold, and how bad it is, right? [00:29:00] So there’s ways we can test your environment, but obviously there’s some cost involved in that, because it’s a lab and they don’t do things for free. But there is a way of understanding and testing.

Stu

Brilliant. Is-

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Guy

(silence) [00:29:30] Penny: [00:30:00] The top five myths are. Your home can be 100% mold free. You’re never going to be 100% mold free because we walk in and out, and the air exchanges inside and out every day. You open a window, air is coming in, and that air has got mold in it. If you can see mold, or smell mold, there is no mold. Or if you can’t smell it or see it, doesn’t mean you don’t have it. You’ve got it. It’s just the level that’s going to vary. Doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s bad. The other myth was that black mold is the only toxic mold that can cause illness. There’s many other types of mold. There’s hundreds of thousands of species. There’s quite a number of genes or family of mold that can affect people in different ways.

Guy

(silence)

Penny

[00:30:30] Yes, but we need to test to understand what’s in your environment. To understand what’s effecting you, and I wouldn’t make that determination. I would take the samples, get the testing, give you the results. You would need to see your doctor, because I’m not your physician, and I’m not going to talk to you about your immune system. So in terms I can talk to you about, yes mold is known for causing coughs and colds and all those things, but in terms of a specific case. [00:31:00] So things like bleach and vinegar is the answer. Bleach and vinegar are not the answer. Vinegar really doesn’t do anything. Bleach will only take the color out. So you might think you’ve got rid of mold, and it looks like you have, but you haven’t.

Stu

What about Mr. Muscle Mold Off, Penny? I’ve seen that, and It’s claiming great things.

Penny

So, and It’s claiming great things, but basically it’s a bleach. It’s a sodium hydrochloride, so it’s a bleach.

Stu

Buggers.

Penny

[00:31:30] And what you’re not doing, is your not addressing the cause of the mold. The most important thing to understand in your home, is the causation. If you don’t fix the causation of the mold, or what’s causing the issue. Whatever you do, even if you’ve got me in to do it. It’s going to come back. Because it exists so.

Stu

Yeah that’s a good point.

Penny

So you’ve got things like [inaudible 00:31:48]- [00:32:00] Well you’ve got [inaudible 00:31:54], and it gets underneath there. I can’t clean that because it’s underneath. So you’ve got to re silicone things like that. Think about your bathrooms. Think about your environment, clean, dry, light, and air. Stu: CDLA, that’s how I’m going to remember that. Penny: And what does that mean? What does that mean for your home? And in each people’s homes, because people live in different ways. I’m a person in a three bedroom unit, but other times it’s three people in a one bedroom unit. It’s going to make things different situations. [00:32:30] So, the other thing, is that once mold is removed; the problem is solved. It’s not. You’ve got to maintain the home, which is your cleaning, drying, light, and air. I harp on that all the time. So it’s maintenance of your house. People go, “Yeah I’ve got a house.” Or a unit, or whatever. And then they go, “Far out. There’s lots to maintain. It’s never ending.” It’s never ending. Stu: [00:33:00] No, exactly right. But I do like that. That’s a really simple strategy. Just to think, “Right, it’s a nice sunny day. Let’s open some windows.”

Penny

Look, a house is like a human. It’s got to breathe all of the time.

Stu

Yep.

Penny

[00:33:30] Look, these days you would hope so, but not in all situations. No, some of the people that are building thousands of homes per year, locking them up, getting them out. In the old days, in the old homes where you had those little weep holes, which was for ventilation. They don’t have them anymore. [00:34:00] So it’s really down to you, to always open a window. That is your only option. Unless of course, if you put in some sort of ducted air conditioning system. But even air conditioning systems, they’re recycling the same air. If you close up your home and just put air conditioning the whole winter, or the whole summer, or whatever, you’re only just recycling dead air. It’s dirty dead air, around all the time. Stu: Exactly right. It’s like your aircraft, right? Somebody gets sick; everybody gets sick.

Penny

Your home needs to have a good supply of air, fresh air, supply air, return air. Like it needs to flow, it needs to come and go. You can’t have that if everything is closed up. [00:34:30]

Stu

Brilliant. CDLA. That’s my take home. Penny: Clean, dry, light, and air.

Stu

So, that was the five. So, if we wanted to get into contact with you and get a little bit of an assessment, how would that work?

Penny

[00:35:00] Well, I’ve got a fantastic website, which tells you lots of information. My phone number is on the website. I have a Facebook page. And I do two options, I provide a service where I’ll come out and do an assessment of your home. Or else, I’m happy for a much smaller fee, to do a Skype session with you, or a phone session with you. To go through your issues.

Stu

Got it, perfect. And is that not dependent on any particular location for you? You can come where ever. [00:35:30]

Penny

I cover most of Metropolitan City. Obviously, if you’re in Canberra, we might go through a phone session. I live in sort of southern part of Sydney. I spend a lot of time the [inaudible 00:35:40] suburbs these days. And I do travel. I travel to lots of different places, but it’s time dependent, so.

Stu

Absolutely, and I love the idea of that remote … I can almost see people walking around their house with their iPhone and showing you in cupboards, and things like that. Is that how it works?

Penny

[00:36:00] Sometimes, yes. So, sometimes people are on their phone. They’re walking around going, ” Look at this.” It’s like, “Yeah, bring the camera back a bit so I can see.” Sometimes it gives me context. Sometimes I can say, you can look at people’s homes and go, “Okay, look, here’s what I think is happening. Here’s the strategies that you can start with.”

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Stu

Got it. Guy: (silence)

Penny

[00:36:30] There are those options, and they can do that themselves and send it to the lab, but they’re not going to test it in the right way. They’re not going to have the equipment that I have. I have a calibrated machine, where I’m taking in a certain amount of air, 15 liters of air per minute for five minutes on a calibrated machine, so it’s much more controlled. Yes, people can send scrapings in, and there’s other ways to do that, but having someone that understands [inaudible 00:36:52] science.

Stu:

[00:37:00] Yeah, best to leave it to the experts. It would be like you dusting for fingerprints, Guy, with your wife’s blusher brush. It probably doesn’t work that way. [inaudible 00:37:03]

Penny

Sure. [00:37:30] I don’t like … I like to be honest with customers. I like to be respectful in their home. And I don’t want to ever push a customer into doing something that they’re not comfortable in doing.

Stu

No, I’ve got it. So, sorry we’re going to have put that dog down, because he’s bringing all that dirt into your nice clean home.

Penny

So if there’s a situation, which is non negotiable in someone’s home, then we would just have to work around the best we can.

Stu

Yeah, I get it.

Penny

[00:38:00] You’ve got to remember, they’ve invited you into their home, and there’s times where you have to be a little bit stronger than others, but you have to inform people of what they need to know. And then you can’t force them into doing it. You just have to advise them of the best actions. Sometimes people just don’t have the money, or they don’t have the where with all to take on such a big project. [00:38:30] At the moment I’m doing a house where I’m literally packing out the entire house. And I’ve been through that where I’ve got … It’s like they walk out and they go somewhere else with a handbag and two changes of clothing. Everything else is gone. And they don’t see it for a month, two months. (silence) [00:39:00] The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given, is be flexible in life. Don’t ever think that you can do everything your way, because that’s never going to happen. So, flexibility in your attitude and approach to life.

Stu

That’s good advice, absolutely. (silence)

Penny

Www.MouldRescue.com.au, or else you can track me down and stock me on Facebook, and contact me that way. (silence) Yes. Fantastic. [00:39:30] So, any other questions that you have?

Stu

Absolutely, and my take home is CDLA, and I won’t forget that now. And what I am actually going to do, is go for a little wonder around the house after this interview, and just check that the windows are open, because it’s a nice sunny day. Doors are open as well, get that air flow through. I might even open a few cupboards as well. Just to- [00:40:00]

Penny

My neighbors think I’m nuts. They think, “This is a crazy lady.” Because I often leave kitchen cupboards open. It’s another one of those things where, you leave cupboards closed all the time. So once a week, or once every so often, I’ll just leave all my windows … If it’s a beautiful sunny day, or windy day, I’ll open all my laundry cupboards. Leave it all open. Give it a bit of a flush out.

Stu

Just air it out. Penny: Just air it out.

Guy

(silence) [00:40:30]

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Penny

Yes, yes.

Guy

(silence)

Penny

No

Stu

Brilliant. Well look, that was excellent. Really, really good advice there. And I think the most important thing is it just makes people think twice. Like, “Oh, well there are a few things I can do that are preventative, but then also, now they’ve got a good handle on exactly what needs to be done, if there is a fix required.”

Penny

If you manage your moisture, you manage your mold.

Stu

There’s a T-shirt right there. Brilliant, excellent. I’ve really enjoyed this, Penny. Thank you, and we will look forward to speaking to you in the future.

Penny

Great. Talk to you guys. Bye now. [00:41:30]

Stu

Brilliant. Thanks Penny. Bye Bye.

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