Mold is found in almost all homes at one or other stage and is usually associated with water or dampness. Mold only needs organic material, oxygen, and moisture to grow and are found in many color hues like green, brown and black. Mold is also linked to a variety of health effects like eye infections, respiratory issues, and allergic reactions.
Essentially mold is a type of fungus and it can spread within 2-3 days through your home. The spores found in mold travels through the air and herein lay the health risks associated with mold. Some mold like black mold is toxic and can cause serious health issues.
Types of mold
· Aspergillus is the most common forms of mold and is allergenic. This is the type of mold you will usually find growing on stale bread and other food items and in your air conditioner.
· Cladosporium is usually found behind toilets and painted surfaces. It is typically green or black and although non-toxic to humans, it is associated with allergy reactions like red eyes and rashes.
· The red or orange mold you find outside growing on plants and trees are harmless and keep the processes of nature intact.
· Toxic black mold appears very similar in nature to Cladosporium, except that it is usually slimy due to the wet layer on top. It can appear dry and powdery as with Cladosporium if their water source has dried up. This mold is extremely hazardous to humans and the mycotoxins found in black mold causes a variety of serious health issues like mental impairment, nausea, irritation of the mucous membranes and many other forms of serious health issues. Never attempt to identify them on your own.
Now that we have identified the types of mold that can occur inside your house, it is imperative to know what mold requires growing inside your house.
Requirements for mold growth
· Mold grows in dark areas of your home. Typical areas will include attics, basements, cupboards where plumbing is.
· Mold’s main partner in growth is moisture. Areas that are showing water leaks like plumbing, toilets, ceilings and behind painted surfaces are ideal for moisture to seep through.
· Humidity is also associated with mold growth. That familiar stuffy atmosphere when you walk into a dark room with a high humid content is ideal for mold growth.
· Oxygen is not only our privilege. Mold needs oxygen to grow as with all living things.
· Mold needs heat to grow and cannot survive in extremely cold temperatures.
· Mold needs a food source. They attach to wood, cotton, drywall, starch, cloth, dust, etc.
· The last thing that will cause mold to grow is if it is given sufficient time to grow.
A combination of the above will cause mold to grow. The next phase is to identify the areas where mold growth usually occurs.
Where to find mold
· Ceilings are a common area for mold to grow. If the area is painted, you can usually just wipe it away, but if it is unpainted, you will most probably have to cut that area out as mold grows in its food source like hardboard. If you see water damage on the ceiling, chances are you will also see signs of mold. If you can see it from the bottom, then imagine the colony of mold inside your ceiling.
· Windows and window frames are also common areas for mold growth due to condensation or dirt accumulating against the glass and then rolling down onto the frame.
· Drywalls are another common area of mold growth due to its high cellulose content. Should you find mold growth on a drywall you will more than likely have to cut out the area where the infection is.
· Walls are perfect growth areas for mold due to condensation. On a non-porous wall, you can only wipe it away, but on an unpainted porous wall, you will have to cut out the infected area. Mold also grows inside walls where cavities are created containing humid and moist air. Check for peeling paint or water damage against the wall. Allergic reactions when entering a specific room is usually a good indication of growth.
· Basements and attics are ideal areas for mold growth because they are usually dark, stuffy, warm, contain oxygen and high in humidity. If there was a massive rainstorm and your basement was flooded, what more can a mold ask for in these conditions but to say thank you.
· Mold can grow under your floor as it grows above your ceiling. The conditions are perfect.
· Clothes can get mold growth if it was left wet over a long period.
· Kitchens are prime targets for mold to grow. Leaving dishes unwashed, allowing food like bread to go stale, leaving food items at the bottom of the fridge, the cupboard under the sink where the plumbing runs through and other areas are ideal for mold growth. Ensure hygiene is prime.
· Bathrooms are another prime target because there is always water to be found. Leaking pipes, behind the toilet, the vanity cupboard and the shower are prime places within your bathroom for mold.
If you have a moldy smell in a specific area, there is an increase in allergies or you have a water problem like leaking pipes or the roof, the possibility of mold exists.
The Mold Inspection
If you suspect you have mold in your home, it is best to perform a thorough inspection. Such an inspection aims to confirm your fears of mold growth and to find the cause, usually the water source, of such mold growth. Even if you know you have mold, you should still get a professional to perform a thorough inspection of your home. When you can see the mold there is a great chance that somewhere more mold is growing out of sight. These specialists have the right equipment to inspect for the existence of mold. An inspection follows the following route:
· Inform the mold specialist of any past or recent water problems you might have had. Think of all areas there might have been a water problem like leaking pipes or walls that are starting to bulge and peel. This way he can get start at the areas, you mentioned should mold exist. The specialist will ask you the pertinent questions to gather the required information in any case.
· Every single area that is prone to water must be inspected like bathrooms, kitchens and basements. If water leaks are found, even if you conduct your own inspection, this will often lead you to where the mold is growing.
· If mold is not found in a room, this does not necessarily mean there is no mold. Mold has the knack to grow in unseen places like behind walls in cavities hidden away from sight.
· When mold is found and you can see it is indeed mold, try not to disturb it unless it is a common mold that can be easily removed and was formed during normal condensation processes. If you do disturb and try to remove it, you might be missing the larger growth. Leave it to the specialist to test in any case and to determine the true source.
· The water cause needs to be found after identification of mold. What is the point in cleaning mold if the original water problem is not fixed during this process? In cleaning the mold, you will most probably cause the spores to move through the air and cause health risks and finds another place to grow.
· Once the cause of the mold growth is found, it needs to be fixed first before you start removing the mold.
Mold tests are used in determining a variety of aspects. They are especially beneficial where a physical inspection did not show any signs of mold but you could still smell it.
· Test samples of the mold to identify the type of mold that exists;
· Assist in finding unseen mold
· It measures indoor air quality by taking a sample and analyzing it for spores.
There are various types of mold kits available on the market today where you can collect the mold samples yourself. One example of such a test is the Home Mold Laboratory Viable Mold Test. It is approved by the National Association of Mold professionals and indicates to you whether a substance is mold. If the substance is identified as mold by your kit, you send it the laboratory, which will identify the type of mold. Another is the EDLab Evalu-Aire Basic that includes two tests – one for testing a substance and another testing the air quality. This is then sent to a lab for further inspection and you receive a free mycology report.
As beneficial as these tests may be, it is always a good idea to involve a mold specialist in this process. He will collect the samples, test the air, get results, and test for moisture levels using specialized equipment and gathering tools. The reasons for testing are:
· When you have noticed signs of mold or that unfamiliar stuffy moldy smell
· Measurement of the indoor air quality is important to find how many spores are in the air. At different times, these will differ, but your mold specialist should consider this.
· Assisting the specialist in finding where the mold is growing.
· Identify the type of mold and ensuring that it is nontoxic.
· Such a test will determine whether all the mold has been removed afterwards.
After all the steps above have been taken and the cause of the problem has been fixed, it is time for mold remediation or then the removal process of mold to take place. It is always best to get a mold specialist to conduct the remediation or mole removal. Remediation follows a process and steps that need to be taken until your house is free from mold.
· Before starting to clean or remove mold, it is highly advised to wear personal protective equipment before you do anything else. Ensure you have goggles, dust mask, gloves and a body suit and get dressed. Remember earlier it was stated that spores travel through the air?
· Seal off the room if you are going to remove large quantities of mold to prevent the spores from spreading to the rest of the house. Seal every opening you can find to prevent the spores from escaping.
· Ensure that you wet dry mold because as soon as you remove them they will release spores into the air. Always ensure that heating and cooling systems are turned off before removal.
· Use a solution to remove the mold from the area. If you hired a specialist, they have the right solutions to effectively kill and remove mold. Many household cleaners will also do a similar job like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, bleach, borax, and ammonia.
· Where an area needs to be removed because the mold grew inside, ensure that when removing the affected area that it does not contaminate other areas.
· A specialist will use a mold killing solution to kill spores that are in the sealed off area to prevent them from turning into mold later.
· After the area has dried and all the spores killed, the specialist must vacuum the sealed off area with a dry vacuum cleaner. This will remove all the extra spores and mold.
· Discard the entire residue like moldy items and the vacuum bag by placing it in bags and sealing it properly before you mark the area as clean. If possible, do not work through the house with these bags but pass it through a window or nearest exit.
· Inspect the room after remediation to ensure that there is no mold present any longer.
· Only after inspection, can you unseal the room and move on to the next area that is contaminated.
Mold can cause major health issues and aesthetically it is ugly to look at in any case. Hire a NYC mold removal specialist that has necessary knowledge and experience to conduct this kind of work and who places your needs and health first.
Call Five Boro Mold Specialist Today To Schedule a Complete NYC Mold Inspection Service!