Molds are fungi naturally occuring in the environment. In the natural environment mold can be found growing on a variety of sources such as soil, plant matter, wood and foods. Molds produce microscopic seeds called "spores" which spread throughout the air. When they land on a suitable food source and conditions are right they grow producing new colonies.
What does mold need to grow?
Mold needs a suitable environment in which to grow. Moisture, a food source and suitable temperatures. The key to controlling mold growth is to control moisture.
Should I be concerned about mold in my home?
Mold should not be allowed to grow in your home. Mold can cause health problems as well as damage to building materials, furnishings and personal belongings
Can mold cause health problems?
Mold has the potential to cause health problems and even make a home uninhabitable. However, everyone is affected differently when in contact with mold. Some mold can produce allergens, irritants and, insome cases, potentially toxic chemical substances known as mycotoxins. People who are sensitive and exposed to mycotoxins can become ill. Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. People diagnosed with allergies and asthma may be very sensitive to mold. Mold can cause asthma attacks. Others at risk may include: infants, children, the elderly, immune compromised patients, pregnant women and individuals with existing respiratory conditions.
Are some molds more hazardous than others?
Some types of mold can produce chemical compounds (called mycotoxins) although they do not always do so. Molds that are able to produce toxins are common. In some circumstances, the toxins produced by indoor mold may cause health problems. However, all indoor mold growth is potentially harmful and should be removed promptly, no matter what types of mold is present or whether it can produce toxins.
How do I tell if I have a mold problem?
Investigate don't test. The most practical way to find a mold problem is by using your eyes to look for mold growth and by using your nose to locate the source of a suspicious odor. If you see mold or if there is an earthy or musty smell, you should assume a mold problem exists. Other clues are signs of excess moisture or the worsening of allergy-like symptoms. Mold testing is generally not required if visible mold is observed. I hidden mold growth is suspected of contamination of the HVAC system has occured it may be necessary to do specific testing. It is best to hire a qualified professional to do this in conjunction with a remediation plan.
How do I get rid of mold?
Who should clean up the mold depends on a number of factors. Generally if the area of contamination is less than 10 s.f. or roughly a 3 ft.X 3ft. area the clean up can be handled yourself. If the area is greater than this amount or extensive water damage is present a professional should be hired to do the clean up. Make sure that the contractor has specific experience in mold remediation and follows accepted guidelines such as the EPA's Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings or IICRC S520.
What can Professional Property Inspection do for me?
The root of all mold problems is moisture. Without an analysis of the total building envelope and the source of the moisture problems mold mitigation will not be effective. Professional Property Inspection will evaluate the root cause of the moisture and provide recommendations on how to solve the problem. Then a qualified mitigation contractor can be consulted.