Mold spores are everywhere, These microscopic particles are a beneficial part of our daily life.  Mold, mildew, and other fungal growths help mother nature dispose of organic materials.  Unfortunately, sometimes they dispose of our organic materials.  Mold and Mildew along with other fungal growths can attack our clothing, drywall, and framing materials.

We are all aware of the “black mold” that is supposed to be so deadly.  The truth is there are thousands of species of mold and mildew that are not harmful.  The color is not an indication of toxicity.  Only a qualified laboratory can identify the species of microbial growth and these are normally identified by the group they belong in.  Our mold inspectors are IAC2 certified and trained in proper collection procedures.

We use two methods to collect samples to send to our laboratory.  When there is obvious mold, mildew, or other fungal growth we can take a sample and send it to the laboratory.  The second collection method involves taking samples of the air in the home and comparing them to the outside air.  Because It is possible to have microbes growing in secluded areas such as attics, crawlspace, and in the walls themselves we often recommend air samples.

The air sample will indicate what microbial growths are active at the time of the test.  It is possible to have visible growth that may have been inactive for years because the moisture source has been removed.  It is also possible to have growth that is not visible.  The laboratory report will indicate which microbes are currently active by class and give an indication of their importance.

People who are allergic to mold or mildew can experience a stuffy nose, shortness of breath, skin rash, headache, wheezing, sneezing, coughing, eye irritation, and other respiratory problems. If you already have medical conditions like allergies, COPD, asthma, cystic fibrosis, or a compromised immune system consult your medical professional for advice.

Following precautions should be taken:

 

Removal of most mold and mildew can be accomplished by cleaning with soap and water.  Harsher chemicals such as bleach and hydrogen peroxide are often used but are not more effective than soap and water.  Microbial growth needs warmth, moisture and a food source.  Simply killing or removing visible growths will not keep it from returning.  The easiest element to control is the moisture level.  

Moisture control may involve repairing roof leaks, and ensuring the attic has proper ventilation.  Cracks in the basement and crawlspace foundation walls should be repaired and waterproofed when possible. Crawl space floors should have a vapor barrier installed.  The use of dehumidifiers may be used to reduce the relative humidity in basements were indicated.

 

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