Mold Remediation Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What makes molds grow in my home?
A: Molds are tiny microscopic organisms that digest organic matter and reproduce by releasing spores. Molds are a type of fungi and there are over 100,000 species. In nature, mold helps decompose or break-down leaves, wood and other plant debris. Molds become a problem when they go where they are not wanted and digest materials such as our homes. Mold growth occurs in our homes when the conditions wet, damp and organic food source are available. Mold will grow on most surfaces as long is there is a food source to enable growth. Natural fibers such as leather, wood, paper and wicker show the heaviest growth and usually the first place to look for new mold. Mold can be controlled by keeping humidity levels in home below 45% and preventing moisture intrusions.
Q: Can I Be Exposed To Mold ?
A: When molds are disturbed, they release spores into the air. You can be exposed by breathing air containing these mold spores. You can also be exposed through touching moldy items, eating moldy food or accidental hand to mouth contact. Usually mold causes symptoms much like having a cold or flue. Once you leave the contaminated area symptoms will subside and within 24 hours should be completely gone. Some of us have severe reactions which can lead to skin rashes,coughing, vomiting and headaches lasting longer than 24 hours. Remember mold spores are around us all the time in the out door environment and are a natural part of natures decomposing machine, it's only when we are in unusually high levels of mold that most people will react to it. If you find yourself living in or working in a space which has high levels of mold you should have a professional indoor air service test the mold levels. There are alot of unknowns with mold and long term exposure effects on people who live or work in moldy enviroments. Short term eposure rarely causes more than discomfort. Over reacting to mold is very common, our industry is alot to blame for the over hype, hire contractors who don't try to scare you with mold. There estimates may scare you regardless.
Q: When is mold a problem?
A: You know you have mold when you smell the "musty" odor or see small black or white specks along your damp bathroom or basement walls. Some mold is hidden growing behind wall coverings or ceiling tiles. Even dry, dead mold can cause health problems, so always take precautions when you suspect mold. Mold is often found in areas where water has damaged building materials and furniture from flooding or plumbing leaks. Mold can also be found growing along walls where warm moist air condenses on cooler wall surfaces, such as inside cold exterior walls, behind dressers, headboards, and in closets where articles are stored against walls. Mold often grows in rooms with both high water usage and humidity, such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements. If you notice mold or know of water damaged areas in your home, it is time to take action to control its growth.
Q: Do molds affect my health?
A: Most molds do not harm healthy people. But people who have allergies or asthma may be more sensitive to molds. Sensitive people may experience skin rash, running nose, eye irritation, cough, nasal congestion, aggravation of asthma or difficulty breathing. People with an immune suppression or underlying lung disease, may be at increased risk for infections from molds. A small number of molds produce toxins called mycotoxins. When people are exposed to high levels of mold mycotoxins they may suffer toxic effects, including fatigue, nausea, headaches, and irritation to the lungs and eyes. If you or your family members have health problems that you suspect are caused by exposure to mold, you should consult with your physician.
Q: What are molds?
A: Molds are tiny microscopic organisms that digest organic matter and reproduce by releasing spores. Molds are a type of fungi and there are over 100,000 species. In nature, mold helps decompose or break-down leaves, wood and other plant debris. Molds become a problem when they go where they are not wanted and digest materials such as our homes.
Q: Why do I have mold ?
A: Well the first thing mold will need is moisture in order to grow mold, also a food source and some time. If you live in a humid climate such as Atlanta mold is already one step ahead of us as the humidity acts as the water source in certain locations of your home. If you have a home with a crawl space or basement which is ventilated using the outside air not the air conditioner then mold may begin to flourish. Crawl spaces and attics alike have allot of wood framing which acts as the food source , adding the 100% humidity we enjoy in Atlanta , mold has a great place to be. If you have mold in your bathroom it may be from poor ventilation. When taking a shower make sure the vent fan is in operation or leave door open to allow moisture (steam) to escape. After a water damage mold can take hold if the structure is not dried completely or i the structure is getting wet on a regular basis. Don't let flooded basements air dry or try drying out a wet carpet it will usually smell bad or grow mold if not done right. Preventing mold growth in attics and crawl spaces can be accomplished with mold inhibitor sprays and or using dehumidifiers to maintain moisture levels. These methods are best applied by a trained professional but you can take steps to improve your home by making sure there are no leaks in the foundation walls, roof leaks, vapor barrier in crawl space and dripping pipes in either area. Its a good idea to check these areas during a heavy rain to see where water may be entering into your home, after a rain it's not so easy unless there is staining or very evident intrusions. A professional water damage service can track the moisture using infra red cameras and moisture meters if you can not locate the source. Mold damage can be costly if not repaired quickly. Many home owners wait too long to repair leaks and flooding causing allot more repairs and costs. Flood-X 678.300.6090