What to Do If Your House Has Mold (Or You Think It Does)?
Where Should I Look For Mold?
Healthy Air USA are Indoor Air Quality Specialists. Our staff are highly educated and trained on all aspects of indoor air quality. Our President, Alex Hallford, is a Professional Engineer, specializing in Biomedical engineering. Simply put, Healthy Air USA are experts at indoor air quality because your health and well being is our biggest concern.
One of the biggest concerns expressed by residents in the Atlanta, Georgia area when they contact us relates to mold.
Mold needs three key ingredients to grow:
- A food source which includes high cellulose content materials such as paper and wood. Other sources of food include drywall, wallpaper, carpet, ceiling tiles, dust, and dirt.
- The ideal temperature of 41 degrees to 100 degrees fahrenheit which provides ideal growing conditions for mold.
- Most importantly, water and moisture is the essential ingredient required by mold to grow which can be provided by leaking pipes, roofs and ceiling, sewer backups, floods, and condensation
The core problem with mold is that it will keep growing until it is removed. This is a concern for two reasons.
First, on average, we spend 90% of our time indoors which can cause health issues.
Second, as mold grows it can impact the structural integrity of the property.
The purpose of this article is to provide you with information to help you determine if you have a mold problem and explain what you should and should not do if you do find mold.
Healthy Air USA are experts at mold removal and understand what is required to restore the fungal ecology of your home or business. If you think you may have mold, please give us a call, 770-205-1710 or contact us via e-mail.
Top 7 Places To Look For Mold!
One of the first signs that you have a mold problem will be a “musty” or “mildewy” odor. The next step is to determine where the smell is coming from.
The seven areas listed below are some of the most common areas in a home where you will find mold. Other visual clues to look for during your investigation of these areas include: buckled floorboards, discolored carpet, new water stains on the ceiling or wall, and/or actual visual growth such as black specs.
Bathrooms and Kitchens
The most common area where you will find mold is under the sinks because of leaks.
Another potential source of leaks are your refrigerator, dishwasher, and washing machines. Check behind and under the appliances for mold.
If you notice water stains on the ceilings, then your roof could be leaking which will cause mold if the leak is not repaired.
If you have condensation in the home, you will likely find mold on the window sills and around the windows.
If there is high humidity in your home, then check your basement and other areas of the home for mold.
Leaky pipes, high humidity, and other sources of moisture can result in hidden mold in your closets. If there are boxes in the closet, move them and check the walls and floor for mold.
Moisture in your crawlspace will cause mold to grow and may require crawlspace encapsulation.
Two Key Facts About Mold You Should Understand!
Two key facts to take into consideration if you find mold.
Fact 1: Mold Spreads By Releasing Spores!
If you find mold, DO NOT disturb the material. Even if you have an isolated area of mold growth, disturbing the area could potentially worsen the mold problem because the spores will become airborne and seek out other areas in the home to grow. In short, your primary objective is to contain the area where mold is growing and prevent it from spreading.
Fact 2: Some Molds Are Toxic!
Another key concern is determining what type of mold is growing. Some molds, like Aspergillus and Stachybotrys, are toxic and can cause many health issues. Molds also produce myctoxins which studies have shown can depress the immune system, leading to many illnesses.
What You Should Not Do If You Find Mold!
We do not recommend removing mold without first consulting with Healthy Air USA. If you think you have mold, here are 5 things you SHOULD NOT DO if you have a mold problem:
1. DO NOT Clean Mold With a Normal Vacuum!
Mold spores are extremely small and pass through a normal vacuum filter. Vacuuming, will simply spread the spores! Mold remediation professionals use HEPA vacuums because the filters trap the mold spores preventing cross contamination.
2. DO NOT Remove Mold Contaminated Materials Without Proper Containment!
Mold remediation professionals set up containment barriers to prevent mold from spreading.
3. DO NOT Clean Mold With Bleach!
Bleach is great for cleaning bacteria and viruses, but does not work on mold and may in fact make the situation worse because the simple act of applying bleach creates moisture which mold needs to thrive and grow.
4. DO NOT Remove Mold Contaminated Materials Without Wearing Personal Protective Equipment!
Some molds can be toxic. This is the reason that mold remediation professionals wear safety equipment to prevent mold spores from entering the lungs and touching the skin.
5. DO NOT Ignore or Neglect Your Mold Issue!
In addition to the health issues that mold growth may cause, keep in mind that mold is like a parasite that will keep feeding. The key to stopping mold growth is to address and fix the causes of moisture and then remove the mold so that it will not continue to spread and feed on the home, thereby impacting the structural integrity and long term value of the property.
What You Should Do If You Find Mold!
If you discover mold in your home or business, just remember that some molds can be toxic and that it is best not to disturb the mold which could inadvertently release spores in the air and create even more problems.