MOLD has been around since the beginning of time and is a natural component of life on earth... so why has it become such a big issue recently? As the trend to build houses that are more "energy-efficient" has increased, we have created homes with sealed openings to keep conditioned air inside and outside air out. The problem is that any moisture generated or leaking inside is trapped there, providing ideal conditions for mold. Modern construction methods and materials like drywall and particleboard are perfect breeding grounds for mold, whereas older building materials such as concrete and plaster, have a greater resistance to mold growth. Lastly, increased weather disasters such as hurricanes have led to millions of dollars in damage from mold growing in flooded homes, when the proper procedures are not taken to really remove the damaged materials and dry out any wet construction materials and standing water.
Imagine... every time you enter your home, you detect a strange or musty odor. You begin to have constant headaches or a lingering cough or cold symptoms. The doctor has no specific diagnosis and tells you it may be allergies or just "a common cold". These are some of the typical symptoms of a mold-contaminated house. MOLD is, in fact, classified by FEMA as a major hazard - along with natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and fires. Mold has been linked to a range of illnesses, most often in children, the elderly, and people with allergies or compromised immune systems.
The most publicized mold is Stachybotrys or "Black Mold", which has been linked to cancer and other adverse health effects. More common types, such as Aspergillus and Penicillium, can also be hazardous. These common molds typically grow outdoors, where they can't cause problems, but inside your house - in high concentrations - it can be very harmful!
If a residence is severely mold-contaminated, it cannot be lived in or sold until the mold is remediated. As a Certified Mold Remediation Company - our team at BioSweep Southeast has spent thousands of hours in various mold contaminated environments, performing successful mold remediations. Our mold inspectors are trained to find the source of the problem, eliminate it and provide cost-effective mold remediation and abatement treatments. In many cases, costly mold remediation expenses could have been avoided, or at least reduced, by prompt identification and treatment of a mold problem by a BioSweep mold specialist - so don't wait to call!
So what are some reasons why mold might be present inside a home? Favorable conditions for mold growth are as follows:
- Moisture: Relative humidity of roughly 50% or higher in the home can cause favorable conditions for mold growth. Moisture can be caused by humid air coming from the HVAC system, a dripping pipe or major flooding.
- Food: mold needs the proper material to grow on, such as wood, paper, cotton, etc. Mold will grow on anything where there is moisture and food, such as dirt or dust.
- The right temperature - Summer-like temperatures, between 70-90 degrees are especially conductive to mold growth. Freezing does not kill mold spores; it just makes them go dormant until the right temperature is present.
Often, when performing a mold inspection, I always get asked this question: "do I have black mold in my house?" While Stachybotrys, or "black mold", has gotten a lot of publicity, as a deadly substance, the fact is that many other mold are also toxigenic. Aspergillus, Penicillium, Ascospore, Basidiospore, Cladosporium, and Curvularia are all capable of producing mycotoxins. Some do turn black, but the color alone is not an indication of toxicity.
The bottom line is that no mold growing in a home is good mold- period. If you have visible mold growth in your home, you need to have it removed by a professional. Whether the mold is white, black, green or brown, it is still mold, and at some point it may produce spores or gases known to crate adverse health conditions in humans and pets.
Mold can release millions of mold spores into the air when disturbed that can travel farther into your house, through your HVAC system. Mold can sit there dormant of months or even years. Then one day, the right combination of temperature and humidity will activate it, allowing it to germinate and start growing. That's why, during the remediation process by a professional company like BioSweep Southeast, proper containment is a must to prevent cross-contamination. Our team of professionals are trained to contain the area and remove the source of the problem. Not only do they have the know-how but they also poses the right kind of equipment.
If you are considering buying a home or live in a home where there are large areas with visible mold, caused by previous water damage or HVAC issues causing high humidity inside the home- don't paint over the problem or spray a common household cleaner. More than likely, the mold will grow back through the pain on one to six months. The best remedy to properly correct this problem is to remove the moisture source, tear out all contaminated drywall, remediate the areas and replace the old drywall or other mold-contaminated construction materials with new ones.