Molds are forms of fungi found all year round indoors and outdoors. Mold is found mainly in warm and humid conditions, but can also grow in cold weather. There are thousands of species of mold and they can be a multitude of colors. Mold can sometimes be detected by a “musty” odor. Mold spores can easily spread through the air like the seeds of plants.
Most mold found indoors normally originates from an outside source. It needs moisture to grow and is troublesome when there is the presence of water damage, high humidity, or dampness. Common causes are roof leaks, flooding, plumbing problems, and in damp areas such as basements and crawl spaces. Areas not properly ventilated such as bathrooms and attics are prone to mold growth as well.
In preventing mold moisture – control is the key. Make sure roofs and soffits are properly ventilated as well as kitchens and baths where steam and moisture are present. Laundry areas should have proper dryer ventilation. The normal incubation time once moisture is present is 48-72 hours. Basements not monitored bi-daily (especially with sump pumps) are easy prey. Proper wall insulation prevents condensation within wall cavities. Tile grout in showers should be maintained for any voids and re-sealed every five years. Heat and air ducts should be professionally cleaned and sanitized every five to seven years.
Although mold spores have been linked to serious illnesses, most people have very little reaction to mold exposure. People with common allergies are more sensitive. Some flu-like symptoms and rashes may occur along with a burning of the eyes. Infants, children, elderly, pregnant women, and people with respiratory problems are more prone to reactions. Persons with weakened immune systems are also more likely to feel the effects of mold.
If at any time these symptoms or conditions are present the first step is to call a certified mold consultant to evaluate the situation. When choosing your consultant make sure they are also able to remediate the mold as well. Some companies simply evaluate and over charge for this only to refer you to someone else after their findings. The evaluation fee is normally waived, if the company also performs the remediation work. Make sure the company can provide several references of past work similar to your project. There are even specialty companies that can repair or remodel any damage caused by the mold infestation.
In commercial situations you may want to have an air-quality test performed by another source to avoid any conflicts with your chosen remediation company. They will take before and after in-door and out-door readings to make sure you are at safe levels once the remediation is complete. If work areas are severely contaminated, the personnel should be temporarily relocated until the problem is solved.
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