Is My House Sick? Could It Make My Family Sick?


When I was just starting out in my own place just after college, I really didn’t think much about the environment I lived in. My apartment on Boulevard didn’t bother me at all despite fact that my uncle half-jokingly called it a tenement. My next apartment on Floyd had strange black streaks of smoke crawling up the wall. We asked our landlord about it, but we never did find out what that was all about. 

But now, I’m a mom. And even though dirt and dust don’t make me cringe, I do care that my family can rest, relax, and grow in a healthy environment that doesn’t make them ill or miserable with allergies.

I don’t want to live in a sick house. 

When we moved into our current home 4 years ago, we asked for a home inspection of our 1950s-era split-level, but it didn’t include air quality testing. That was a mistake.

The inspector showed us the evidence of mold problems in the attic.

Attic problems

Someone had mistakenly laid down insulation with the barrier guard the wrong way. The result? Trapped moisture and big mold problems. There had also been a slow leak under the bathtub that had caused mold growth. They fixed the problems, but the evidence remained. The seasoned home inspector assured us that neither issue was active or a problem anymore, but I wondered.

Do we have toxic mold? Do we have allergens? Is there anything in the air that we’re living and sleeping in that is a health hazard?

I could have known quickly for sure if had I asked Re-Freshen to come and do some tests four years ago. I should have. Instead, the concern stayed in the back of my mind and on my mental plate. So when I was asked to review their services, I jumped at the chance. 

Now, I actually know the truth about those potential health problems.

Since my house is older and far from pristine, I figured that when Chris Gilson from Re-Freshen came out, he’d uncover all sorts of alarming stuff. I braced myself for the worst. But Chris told me not to panic. No matter the results, he promised to walk me through it all and help determine any next steps that were needed.

Chris explained how he performs the tests and let me know that he’d be testing in different parts of the house as well as outside. He’d compare indoor to outdoor results to make sure there was a healthy balance. Did you know that certain levels of pollens and molds and such are okay, acceptable, and even expected in your home?

Chris was so friendly and a lot of fun to work with. He explained the whole process to me before he started and made sure that I knew that once I got the results back, he’d be available for any questions or concerns I had. I mean, it is an environmental test, so there are scientific names and analysis on the report that most homeowners may not be familiar with. Before he left, he showed me a sample of another report so that I’d be familiar with the format and know what to look for.

This isn’t the first time we’ve had home environmental testing done.

Back in 2004 when Hurricane Gaston flooded Richmond, I watched in horror as the charming stream next to my house went from trickling to raging in under 20 minutes. It raged enough to fill our newly renovated basement with an inch of water. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal until I learned about the toxins and molds that enter with flood waters. My son was a toddler, and after the water receded and we got things cleaned up, we wanted to make sure that we didn’t have a problem. We had it tested, and it gave me the peace of mind that my house wasn’t going to make my growing family sick.

Re-Freshen is also an odor removal expert. I could have used that, too.

Re-Freshen would have been amazing several years ago when we ended up with a big cat problem. I got a fluffy, orange tabby kitten with the sweetest personality. He was the perfect cat…or so I thought. But when we took him to get fixed, they told us he had a genetic abnormality. Two surgeries later, the vets still couldn’t figure out how to neuter him. 

So for many (too many) years, we lived with a great cat who would occasionally spray and stink up our house. It was awful and stressful and embarrassing. My husband and I tried everything we could think of over those years to make it work out….and to cover over that awful odor. But we really needed a professional to help get rid of those industrial-strength pet odors. Re-Freshen could have helped.

And those musty, funky smells? You really shouldn’t just let those go. One family I know had a smell in their house for years that I’d notice every time I visited. It wasn’t bad, it was just unique. Years later during a renovation, they found a slow leak under the refrigerator along with mold and rotten flooring. As soon as the problem was corrected, the smell disappeared forever.

So what were the results of the tests in my home?

Chris emailed me the report within a day, and I immediately looked for the markers and highlighted items that he had told me to look for. I was really hoping that we weren’t living in a high-risk, unhealthy environment.

To my surprise, his tests found that our home environment is actually pretty healthy! And after wondering about the attic and the old mold problems, I now have peace of mind knowing that the air quality in my home isn’t harmful.

As moms, one of the things that we take so seriously is the environment in which we raise our kids.

We want our homes to be safe and healthy. That makes Re-Freshen’s solutions even more appealing. They’re “chemical free and environmentally safe for children and other living things.” So you’re not fixing one problem and causing another.

If you have any concerns about mold or allergens or air quality, or if you’re dealing with odors from pets, smoke, or musty areas, don’t let it go. Get it off of your mental plate and make sure you’re living and raising your family in a healthy home. Give Re-Freshen a call at (804) 502-3701 or learn more at


Richmond Moms Blog is honored to partner with Re-Freshen Odor Removal, Mold Inspections, and Air Quality Testing on this sponsored post.