Indoor Mold

MOLD IS EVERY WHEREIt helps nature with decomposition, we use some types to create medicines but we don’t want it in our homes because it will destroy them.

According to the EPA, (Environmental Protection Agency), the key to indoor mold prevention is moisture control. All of the conditions needed for mold growth (food sources and appropriate temperatures) are present in the indoor environment except  adequate moisture. Prevention of mold growth indoors can not be achieved without proper moisture control. If moisture problems are not corrected, then any mold cleanup or removal that takes place will most likely be only a short-term solution; at some point the mold growth will recur. It is critical to control moisture at the beginning, during, and at the end of a mold-growth removal project.

The following are some of the moisture problems that cause indoor mold growth.  Rainwater can enter a building through leaks in walls, windows or the roof. Surface or groundwater may enter when there is poor foundation drainage. Flooding can, of course, cause catastrophic intrusion. In buildings that have slab construction, water can seep or wick up through the cement floor causing mold to grow on carpet pads or carpet backing. The building envelope (walls, windows, floors, roof, etc.) must be well maintained to prevent water from coming in, both to prevent mold growth and to maintain the structural integrity of the building. 2670158_orig

When relative humidity (a temperature-dependent measure of water vapor in air) becomes elevated indoors, building materials and furnishings absorb the moisture. Those damp materials can then provide a good place for mold to grow. If there are no cold-condensing surfaces and the relative humidity (RH) is maintained below 60 percent indoors, there will not be enough water in those materials for mold to grow. However, if the RH stays above 60 percent indoors for extended periods of time, mold will almost certainly grow. You should always be mindful of indoor sources of water vapor that can be problematic. Clothes dryers must be vented to the outdoors. Unvented gas or kerosene space heaters can generate enormous amounts of water vapor (as well as other air contaminants), and should be used sparingly and never as a primary heat source. Always run the bathroom exhaust fan when showering or bathing, and make sure the vent is exhausted to outdoors. A properly vented kitchen exhaust fan can remove steam created during cooking. In the summer, air conditioning can de-humidify indoor space. But if the system is too large or too small for the space it serves, the cooling system can create high humidity by cooling without removing water vapor. A properly sized and maintained system will dehumidify and cool a building. There can also be condensation on other types of cold surfaces like metal water pipes that are not insulated, causing moisture in between walls.

Unknown water leaks can lead to serious damage and mold problems.  Keep an eye on you water bill it can warn against unknown leaks. Check your kitchen, bathroom and water heater pipes, fittings and drainage areas for wear and leaks on a regular basis. Make repairs upon any signs of wear immediately to prevent costly leaks and damage from happening. Home owner insurance will try not cover damage caused by leaks if it can be shown that it is a problem caused by failure to make timely repairs.

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Mold reproduces by making spores. These spores travel through the air and that is how mold can grow in various areas. Not all mold is “toxic” or produce mycotoxins. Those molds that do produce mycotoxins do not necessarily produce them all of the time but when they do ideal growing conditions must be met. Most research done on people’s reaction to mold have been about  ingestion not inhalation of mold spores.  Not everyone is allergic to mold. If you are and you inhale mold spores they may cause you to have itchy, watery, eyes, runny nose, sneezing and/or a scratchy throat. If you have  a pre-existing respiratory illness it may be worsened by being subjected to a moldy environment. Illnesses such as an upper respiratory infection, pneumonia, asthma, emphysema, COPD, tuberculosis,  immune system deficiencies, certain types of cancers as well as infants and elderly people who we may not know to be ill may be impacted by coming in contact with mold spores.

Should I Test for Mold 

Remember mold is everywhere.  According to the CDC,  Consumer Reports and, using a home test kit for mold  is a waste of money.  Using these kits to test for mold is expensive and it is only going to let you know the type of mold you have growing.  It will not tell you the seriousness of the problem, only a trained professional who assesses you home can do this.  If there is a musty smell in your home or you can see mold there is no need to test for it, call a professional.  Effectively removing mold is the same process no matter what type of mold.

Since no EPA or other federal limits have been set for mold or mold spores, sampling cannot be used to check a building’s compliance with federal mold standards. Surface sampling may be useful to determine if an area has been adequately cleaned or remediated.

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You can clean a hard, nonporous surface according to the CDC, (Center for Disease Control), as long as the  product is a disinfectant and a fungicide and directions are followed.  But if you have mold on porous surfaces like wood, carpet or its lining, on wallpaper, walls, or other building materials no amount of cleaning will get rid of mold, you have to remove and replace these types of items. The mold must be completely removed from the affected material, or the mold-contaminated material must be completely removed from the building.

One of the most common misconceptions about mold is that it can be removed by spraying the surfaces with products such as disinfectants, biocides or cleaners. That will not take care of the problem because the allergenic and toxic properties of mold are not removed by using such products. Whether mold spores and other parts of the mold are viable (living) or nonviable (dead) when they get into the air, they still present a health risk to exposed individuals. While disinfectants and biocides may kill mold spores and take away their ability to reproduce, these products should not be used alone in addressing a mold-growth problem.

In determining which materials can be cleaned and what should be removed, the two important factors are how porous (absorbent) the material is and how extensive the mold growth is. Generally, non-porous materials (such as metals, glass and hard plastics) and semi-porous materials (wood, plaster and concrete) that are visibly moldy but structurally sound can usually be cleaned and reused. Moldy porous materials (carpeting, wallboard, ceiling tile, wallpaper, upholstered furniture, mattresses) should usually be discarded, since they absorb and hold moisture, may be internally moldy, and cannot be completely cleaned and thoroughly dried.


READ your insurance policy

Standard home owners policies do not cover water damage caused by “maintenance” problems, such as continuous or repeated water seepage or leakage, humidity or condensation problems, or landscaping or drainage problems. Home owners policies also exclude water damage caused by floods. Therefore, if one of these water or moisture problems results in mold, it would probably not be covered by your policy. Standard homeowners policies do cover some types of sudden and accidental water losses, including burst pipes, and sometimes sewer back up or sump pump failure if you have specific coverage for that situation. However, even if your policy covers these types of water damage, some companies have begun to specifically exclude or limit coverage for mold that results.





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