Molds are simple, microscopic organisms, present virtually everywhere, indoors and outdoors. Everyone is exposed to some mold spores or mycotoxins on a daily basis without evident harm. It is common to find mold in the air inside homes, and most of the airborne spores found indoors come from outdoor sources. Mold spores primarily cause health problems when they are present in large numbers and people inhale to many of them.
Molds will grow and multiply whenever there is sufficient moisture and organic material present within as little as 48 hours. Mold growth is likely to reoccur unless the source of moisture is removed. Be on the lookout in your home for common sources of indoor moisture that may lead to mold problems:
♦ Leaky roofs
♦ Plumbing leaks
♦ Overflow from sinks or sewers
♦ Damp basement or crawl space
♦ Steam from shower or cooking
♦ Wet clothes drying indoors or clothes dryers exhausting indoors
♦ Warping floors and discoloration of walls and ceilings can be indications of moisture problems
♦ Heating combustion from inappropriate venting of heaters
♦ Sprinkler spray hitting the house
You may suspect that you have mold if you see discolored patches or cottony or speckled growth on walls or furniture or if you smell an earthy or musty odor or if mold hypersensitive individuals experience symptoms when in the house. Moisture management is the key to mold prevention and reduction.
Mold sampling is not generally recommended as a first step to determine the existence of a mold problem. There are few available standards for judging what is an acceptable quantity of mold and the health effects of mold species on individuals. The primary reason to collect a sample of mold is to assist in the medical diagnosis for an individual. Therefore, if the area is moldy clean-up and removal of the moisture source are the best course of action and use of resources.
Depending upon the size of the mold problem, clean-up should be handled differently, here is one guideline to follow. For a small mold problem (total area affected is less than 10 sf) the clean-up can be handled by the homeowner or maintenance staff, using personal protective equipment, or for a large contamination problem (more than 100 sf) it is advisable that an experienced, professional contractor manage cleanup.
For an inspector who has the experience to notice a mold issue in your new home, call Inspections Unlimited today!!!
For more information on mold and indoor air quality, check out these resources:
EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)
CDC (Centers for Disease Control)
California Dept of Health Services
New York Dept of Health
American Lung Association