Mold, mildew and fungus in homes and buildings are the result of excessive moisture for prolonged periods. Mold especially grows quickly when moisture and heat are combined. Moisture problems can result from a water leak, broken pipe or a water emergency like a flood. Following excessive moisture being introduced, you can expect mold growth within 24 to 48 hours if not dried properly and quickly.
Building materials have normal moisture content levels of 12% to 17%.
Mold comes in many different forms, there are in fact over 60,000 different species in our environment. Some common indoor molds include Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus.
Black mold and toxic mold are often referred to when speaking of indoor mold problems. Though mold comes in all types and colors, the black mold referred to when these terms are used is usually Stachybotrys. Stachybotrys is black in color, and like many other molds is extremely harmful to humans and can cause many health problems. Mold inspections are used to determine the types and quantities of indoor mold.
Mold versus mildew is basically an argument of words. Mildew is an Old English term, while Mold is a more modern term, both referring to fungal growth that occurs on organic material. The end result: Mildew is Mold, Mold is Mildew.
To prevent mold and protect your home be aware of moisture issues and address them immediately when they occur. We recommend you do regular inspections of target areas, specifically under sinks, near hot water heaters, showers and bathtubs. Also, keep indoor humidity level below 50% to avoid mold growth.
Mold can cause wheezing, nasal congestion, cancer and more. It depends on the time of exposure, the amount of mold and a person’s current health and age. Young children, seniors and immune suppressed individuals are more likely to have adverse affects. According to the Institute of Medicine, evidence has linked indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness to otherwise healthy people.
A professional mold inspection involving lab results and a report will vary depending on the location and the size of the home. You can expect to spend between $300 to $600, or $600 to $900 for larger homes (5,000 – 10,000 sq ft.)
Be careful for hidden costs: Many professionals use a low fee to get in the door and then charge additional fees. Example: An inspector may quote $145 for a mold inspection, but when he gets to your home you find out that only included him showing up visually assessing the problem. He then charges you $150 per sample, three of which are usually required in any basic mold inspection. By the time you get the full mold inspection you spend $695. Find out the facts up front from whomever you use.
It is true that you can kill mold, but killing it will not make your property safe. Mold spores, dead or alive, are dangerous. The only true way to make an indoor environment safe is proper removal as seen below.
Mold remediation can be tricky and increase building contamination if not performed properly. The most important thing is to use the correct methods and equipment.
The following is a brief summation of how to remediate mold according to American Indoor Air Quality professional standards of remediation.
Personal Safety Equipment:
When choosing a mold remediation professional, be sure the firm is certified to remove mold and follows industry guidelines.
Center for Disease Control & Prevention
National Association of Realtors
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency