Mold

What is it?
Mold is a fungus that consumes organic material and thrives in damp, dark, and humid places. Dead leaves or the expired cheese in the refrigerator are perfect food for mold to break down...but so are materials found in our homes like wood, drywall, and carpet. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 1.5 million different species of fungi on earth - these include mold, mildew, mushrooms, and yeast. While most of these are not harmful, many can have a serious impact on indoor air quality, respiratory health, and even building components.   

Is mold dangerous?
Some mold can present serious health concerns. Mold secretes enzymes to break down the organic material it consumes and grows upon. Some of these enzymes contain mycotoxins that are known to be dangerous for both humans and animals. As mold reproduces, it releases microscopic spores into the air that can also be harmful if inhaled.

How can mold affect me or my family?
This depends on a number of factors to include the type and concentration of mold present, environmental factors, or a person's existing autoimmune issues. Some molds can be allergenic, meaning they cause reactions such as a runny nose or itchy skin. Other molds are pathogenic, meaning they can cause much more serious respiratory problems or fungal infections. Lastly, some molds are toxigenic - the most dangerous. These can be ingested, inhaled, or absorbed from skin contact. 

What causes mold in a house?

Mold needs moisture, humidity, and organic material to thrive. Water intrusion from a leaking roof, a defective water pipe, or an improperly vented bathroom are just a few examples of possible mold-creating scenarios. Mold can begin to grow in as little as 24 hours after the right moisture conditions are met, and mold typically begins to reproduce and spread in 5-7 days. 

Is mold always visible?
Until mold growth spreads to a colony size, it may not be visible. Since it thrives in damp, dark places, mold can remain hidden as it grows - even behind walls or under carpet. If conditions are right, mold can even grown on other biological sources in the air that are not visible to the human eye. These include epithelial cells like pet dander or even dust mites. 

How is mold identified and analyzed?
Sometimes the presence of mold is obvious as the colony has grown to a visible size, but this does not tell us all we need to know about the mold. Without professional analysis at an accredited laboratory, we cannot be positive about the type of mold present or develop a plan to remediate it. Other times, mold will not be visible at all but we can still capture its microscopic spores in an air sample and have them properly analyzed. 

How do I get rid of mold in my house?
Mold remediation begins with first identifying the moisture event causing it to grow as well as determining what kind of mold has been found. Only then can a plan can be developed to clean it up and more importantly...keep it away! If remediation is recommended based on laboratory results, a qualified mold remediation specialist should be consulted. Since mold requires moisture and humidity to thrive, dehumidifiers combined with proper ventilation and airflow may play a large role in keeping mold away after the affected areas are remediated. Depending on the quantity and type of mold found, remediation may be a simple clean up with antimicrobials, or it could require costly demolition and removal of the affected areas. 

How much do you charge for a mold inspection and what report will I receive?
If combined with your home inspection, you will receive a $50 discount on the mold inspection for only $199. In addition to your home inspection report, you will receive a detailed analysis of the mold inspection from an independent, licensed, and accredited laboratory. Please allow 72 hours for the report to arrive by email. 

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