Frequently Asked Questions
Common questions about Mold
- Has there been a flood or fire in the building?
- Is there a musty or mildew type of smell?
- Do you see water stained walls or ceilings?
- Are the walls, baseboards or floor boards swollen?
These are all signs of a potential problem. Mold spores can be present without the appearance of visible mold. Mold requires moisture to survive, so it is often found in areas with water damage, or excessive humidity. To the unaided eye, mold has a variety of appearances: fuzzy, velvety, black, wet, dry, a white powdery look, and so on. Mold can appear as black stains or patches of white, yellow, green, brown, black, grey or even pink.
Older homes are not the only ones affected by mold. New builds frequently come equipped with their own mold issues. Moldy building materials are received from the builders supplier, and these moldy materials can pass through quality control checks and be built into the structure. The inventory of materials is usually left on the outside ground, with no plastic sheeting to protect it from the elements (i.e. rain, snow, etc.). Some crews can neglect to cover the structure under construction at the end of each day, again exposing wood and materials to rain. Roof and side walls should be protected by a plastic barrier until roof, siding, windows, and doors are totally installed. Some builders may fail to inspect and test the home during and at the homes completion for the presence of mold. New builds also use modern materials such as chip wafer board, drywall and plywood, all of which are favorite “foods” for mold.
Mold can destroy whatever it grows on, and can take hold in as little as 24-48 hours when the right food source, moisture, and temperatures are present. Mold colonization depends on type, and can occur in 1-12 days. It is essential to act quickly to resolve a mold problem since spores surround us and are carried from place to place by air currents and ventilation systems.
Mold spores can essentially be found in all homes and offices, and grow rapidly from excess moisture. Molds generally grow in dark and damp places like behind walls, where pipes have leaked or in basements and attics. These are places where mold seems to be lurking:
- Inside of walls
- Under carpet and padding
- Behind ceramic tile
- Under sink bases
- On wood, insulation or drywall
- Behind wallpaper
- In air ducts
- Under imitation hardwood flooring
- ANY place where there is little or no air movement or moisture.
Mold can grow almost anywhere there is water, high humidity, or damp conditions. Mold grows faster in warm temperatures and higher humidity.
You can breathe in mold particles if mold is disturbed or damaged. You can also breathe in tiny spores that mold may release into the air. You can touch mold and get it on your skin, and you can swallow mold if you eat moldy or spoiled food.
Some people are allergic to molds. Mold exposure may cause or worsen asthma symptoms, hay fever, or other allergies. The most common symptoms of mold exposure are cough, congestion, runny nose, and trouble breathing. Symptoms usually disappear after the mold contamination is removed. More severe reactions to mold may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of mold on the job, such as farmers working with moldy hay.
If you think that you or your children have symptoms related to mold exposure, you should see a doctor. Keep in mind that many symptoms associated with mold exposure are also caused by other illnesses.
The best way is to remove water and moisture sources. Fixing leaks, drying damp areas, and removing humidity from the air (e.g. using a dehumidifier, cracking a window while taking a shower in bathrooms with no exhaust ventilation) will help stop mold growth and keep it from coming back.
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