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Mold frequently asked questions

What is mold?
  • Mold is considered a sub-group of the Fungi kingdom.
  • Mold are asexual fungi.
  • Present on clothing, carpet, air we breathe, It is everywhere.
  • Types Include: Aspergillus, Penicillium, Botrytis, Stachybotrys, Fusarium, etc.
  • Produce spores that are extremely small and can be airborne.
What does mold do?
  • Decay dead plant material.
  • Produce mycotoxins.
  • Some are pathogenic, toxigenic, allergenic.
  • Many commercial uses, e.g, medicine, food, commercial products.
What does mold need to grow?
  • Can grow at temperatures as-70° C and over 50° C.
  • Most thrive at between 18 -32° C.
  • Need Moisture, food source, and amiable temperature.
  • It is important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold growth.

The key to mold control is moisture control.

Why is mold growing in my home?

Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter, such as fallen leaves and dead trees. But indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.

Can mold cause health problems?

Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants and, in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.

Suspicion of Hidden Mold

You may suspect hidden mold if a building smells moldy but you cannot see the source, or if you know there has been water damage and residents are reporting health problems. Mold may be hidden in places such as the backside of dry wall, wallpaper or paneling, the top-side of ceiling tiles, or the underside of carpets and pads, etc. Other possible locations of hidden mold include areas inside walls around pipes (with leaking or condensing pipes), the surface of walls behind furniture (where condensation forms), inside ductwork, and in roof materials above ceiling tiles (due to roof leaks or insufficient insulation).

Investigating Hidden Mold Problems

Investigating hidden mold problems may be difficult and will require caution when the investigation involves disturbing potential sites of mold growth. For example, removal of wallpaper can lead to a massive release of spores if there is mold growing on the underside of the paper.

10 things you should know about mold
  • 1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposure include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.
  • 2. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
  • 3. If mold is a problem in your home, you must get air quality tested, and eliminate sources of moisture.
  • 4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
  • 5. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30% to 60%) to decrease mold growth by:
  •    a) venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside;
  •    b) using air conditioners and de-humidifiers;
  •    c) increasing ventilation; and
  •    d) using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.
  • 6. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold growth.
  • 7. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials that are moldy (such as carpeting and ceiling tiles) may need to be replaced.
  • 8. Prevent condensation. Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof and floors) by adding insulation.
  • 9. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting.
  • 10. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, provided moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.