Water Damage Mold

Water damage is already enough of a problem itself without worrying about mold too.  But water damage mold occurs regularly along with the irritation of the water damage itself.

The first thing to do is inspect and treat your home for even subtle signs of water damage. Whereas dramatic water damage (such as you might get from a tub, toilet, or other plumbing problem) is quite noticeable, other water damage is subtle. Look for peeling wallpaper or faint brown spots (especially on your ceiling or the highest part of a wall).  A slight bubbling in latex paint, or a shiny appearance may also be a clue.  If the problem appears to be spreading, you may want to hire a contractor to examine it further (or do it yourself if you know your way around home repairs.) You’ll need to fix the troubled patch of drywall, and removing a small section may also give you insight into the root cause behind the damage. Also, check your house’s siding where the damage appears (and above, since water can flow down before it appears as visible damage).

Once you’ve identified the root cause of the water damage mold can be prevented.  Wherever the water damage occurred, use a mold-killing primer on the surface before you paint.  Wear a mask and latex gloves when you apply primer, as the fumes can be quite strong and the primer difficult to remove from skin.

If water damage mold has already appeared, it’s not too late. You can swab the moldy area with a diluted bleach solution (again, use gloves and a mask).  You can also remove the drywall (which you may need to do anyway, depending on the degree of water damage.

Be sure to dehumidify your house to prevent future mold growth.  Mold adores humidity, so don’t let conditions in your house be a mold haven.

If the mold reappears or seems particularly aggressive, get a mold testing kit to determine the type and potential toxicity of the mold. Be sure to keep an eye out for less evident types of mold (pale or pinkish molds).

Mold Prevention

Several varieties of mold can be quite aggravating those with allergies or labored breathing, but any issues can be avoided by following a few mold prevention techniques. The key ingredient in the growth life of mold is moisture, and there are several steps that can be taken to reduce the amount of moisture in a home.

During months in which the indoor air becomes humid, removing moisture from the air is a very helpful step in mold prevention. Both dehumidifiers and air conditioners are cable of extracting water vapor from the air, which will prevent mold from growing on interior walls. In the bathroom, a circulation fan with a system of ducts, venting to the outside of the living area, will remove the very humid air that is produced when the shower is used. In addition, a properly ventilated stove hood in the kitchen will take care of the vapors created while preparing meals.

Proper maintenance of the home itself is also a necessary step in mold prevention. Any time a large amount of water penetrates the structure of the house, a serious mold problem can occur. Water intrusion can happen when the roof leaks, when water supply and drain lines start to age, or when windows or siding are improperly installed or need replacement. Even if a minor problem is detected, it should be fixed as soon as possible.

When water does enter the home, more immediate mold prevention techniques will be needed. The source of the leak must be immediately fixed, and then any wet areas must be dried as quickly as possible. Wood, drywall, insulation, and other porous materials that have become soaked with water should be replaced. Any other materials should be dried with fans or other equipment. If the area is extremely large, it may be best to call in a professional service help with mold prevention, especially if one suspects there may be hidden damage.

Mold Insurance

In the year 2001, insurance companies spent over 1.2 billion dollars in black mold cases. The cost included the inspection and testing, remediation, attorney fees and punitive damages. Since this time the number of cases against black mold has continued to rise. Billions of dollars is paid out every year in lawsuits. Therefore, as a landlord, builder or property owner it is best to looking into the mold insurance option and know specifically what you are covered against.

As a result of the increase in cases many insurance policies now have a mold exclusion clause. If you find that your insurance does not have this policy then it would be a good idea to hold onto it. Because of these newer clauses it is becoming increasingly difficult to get mold coverage. Often mold insurance is a stand-alone policy or one that has higher premiums. You can even choose to have mold insurance added on to your existing policy, but the cost is often high.

It is a good idea to invest in mold insurance if you live in a humid area such as the Pacific Northwest. If is even more important to get mold insurance if you have an old property since older buildings have a strict guideline to follow when it comes to toxic black mold removal. Often you can reduce the cost of mold coverage by developing your own Operation and Maintenance plan. These plans often include a schedule for inspection and training for employees to deal with mold remediation.

The best then that any building owner can do is to take care of all mold problems when they occur either inside or outside your building. You need to keep an eye on any properties that have a history of mold. Communicate with any tenants and employees. Make sure everyone in the building knows how to check for mold and that they will notify you when they do find mold.

Mold Preventing

Mold preventing strategies should be on the top of the list for home owners, but often times mold isn’t recognized as a major health threat. Fortunately there are several ways to prevent mold so that you don’t have to worry about it becoming a problem. If you use a couple simple mold preventing ideas you can minimize the threat. Some of these strategies include things like monitoring your home humidity and heat levels, or using an air filtration system or dehumidifier. It’s best to get on top of a possible mold problem before it happens to avoid the hassle later.

The simplest way to work on preventing mold is to keep an eye on your living space. If you monitor certain aspects of your home’s climate control you can eradicate a mold problem before it ever becomes an issue. For example, take a tour of your home and try to note the difference in humidity levels between rooms. Sometimes a certain bedroom or family room is more humid than the other areas of the house. Be sure to note the difference in heat between the rooms, especially during the summer months. If you use these two pieces of information you can pick out the most humid and hot rooms as those to target with mold preventing devices.

What devices work best to prevent mold? Using a dehumidifier is always a safe bet. Although dehumidifiers can be loud they remove water from the air to dramatically reduce humidity in a room. There are various kinds of dehumidifiers and each kind is made for a different sized room. Some humidifiers are great for small rooms while others are especially powerful and can handle a whole entire basement. Make sure you use a humidifier that is powerful enough for the room you are targeting. Another strategy for mold preventing is the use of an air purifier. Air purifiers reduce pollutants and dust in the air so that you can be sure your home’s breathing space is safe. All of these techniques can beat mold before it starts.

Mold Assessment

You or a professional inspector have gone though your entire home and have found that your home may have a significant mold problem.  What could this possibly mean for you as a homeowner and your home’s profitability if you decided to sell?  How will this affect the health and wellness of your family?  Before you start to panic, you should first consider your options and your need for a professional mold assessment. 

A mold assessment is a service in which certified mold inspectors are specially trained in identification and removal of mold and mold friendly conditions.  These inspectors will investigate the whereabouts and causes of the mold in your home for a fee.  When considering a mold assessment for your home, it is always a good idea to check the credentials of the individual and company the inspector works for as fraud has been a problem in recent years and thousands of dollars were lost with no resolution to any mold issues in the homes.  A mold assessment should only be performed by a specially trained and certified inspector whose main focus is molds and not as a side project or odd job.  Remember, this is your family’s health and your home’s structural well being, don’t just trust it to anyone.

During a mold assessment, the inspector will first make a visual inspection to identify a possible contamination problem.  When a potential problem has been found, the inspector will perform bulk or surface sampling of the contaminated area.  The inspector will then monitor the air through a complex collection process in order to determine the types of fungi in the air.  Air monitoring is also useful in determining the concentration of the fungal spores in the air relative to health problems the occupants may be experiencing at the time of the inspection.

Types of Mold

Mold is a fungus that can cause serious health consequences in many people.  However, not all molds are harmful, and some are more harmful than others.  What makes mold even more of a threat, is the fact that some people may respond negatively to one type of mold, while that same mold may not affect another person.  Therefore, it is important to identify the different types of mold and know which ones are more serious or harmful.

Just as not all molds are toxic, not all molds are allergic either.  Again, it is a good idea to know the different types of mold to determine if there are any present in your home that may cause allergies for you and your family.  The most common types of mold present in homes that cause allergies are, Aspergilus, Penicillium, Mucor, Fusarium, Chaetomium, Stachybotrys, Cladosporium, and Alternaria.

When it comes to determining toxic types of mold, one stands apart from the rest that is Stachybotrys.  Stachybotrys is also referred to as black mold.  This mold is extremely dangerous and has caused fatal lung bleeding in many infants.  Where as some of the other types of mold may attribute to allergies, Stachybotrys is more serious and can be fatal.  It is very important that if you detect mold in your home or business, that you have the mold tested to determine what type it is.

Since mold requires the presence of moisture to thrive, toxic or black mold is often found in the same locations as other types of mold.  Therefore, any place in your home or business that is conductive for mold growth is a place where toxic mold may grow.  It is important that if you have any mold growing in your home or business that you have it tested, cleaned, and removed immediately.  After the mold has been cleaned, you will then need to take steps to ensure that the mold does not return.

Symtpoms of Mold

Mold is a type of microscopic organisms living on plant and animal matter and break down dead and decaying matter recycling environmental nutrients.  Molds are prevalent just about everywhere and reproduce by releasing spores to the air, water, and with animals and insects.  Favorable mold conditions are high humidity, condensation, and organic materials such as paper, fibers, wood, etc.  Molds are certainly a concern for homeowners because the spores are carried so easily by air and in water.  Homeowners should inspect their homes for symptoms of mold growth due to flooding, leaky piping or roofing, damp basements, and steam in bathrooms and kitchens.  Symptoms of mold growth are also prevalent in places with poor ventilation ad insulation around clothes dryers and combustion appliances.

Mold can make people sick, especially children, the elderly, and those with respiratory and continual and preexisting health problems.  Mold most commonly affects the body by triggering responses to allergens due to inhaling mold spores.  These triggers are most commonly felt in the manner of hay fever, asthma, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and lungs.  Even less commonly, mold can very seriously detriment a person’s health with exposure leading to infections and toxicity, especially in those with weak immune systems or autoimmune diseases such as HIV/AIDS. 

The symptoms of mold exposure are nasal and sinus congestion, eye irritation and respiratory problems, cough, throat and skin irritation, and headache.  Anyone experiencing symptoms of mold exposure should see a doctor if irritation and symptoms persist and find the source of the mold and clean it thoroughly and immediately.  Cleaning the mold can be tricky so the first step in removal is to control the moisture problem that is allowing the mold to thrive in the area.  Porous or materials that cannot be dried should be thrown away and the area cleaned with a 10% bleach solution to kill the mold.

Mold Detection

Mold is a type of fungus which lives by breaking down dead material and returning nutrients to  its environment. Mold digests plant and animal material to grow, feeding off of dirt, bark, wood, paper,  or leaves. It spreads itself by releasing floating spores that drift through the air. Mold favors damp, dark locales and is fond of garbage, piles of rotting leaves or other yard waste, and humid basements.

 On food, mold often is visible on the food’s surface, such as the fuzzy green spots that appear on bread. However, mold has tiny roots and “fingers” that allow it to spread. As it grows, the mold’s roots can penetrate deep inside the food, where it cannot be seen.  For these reasons, mold detection can sometimes be difficult.  Usually, mold detection is signaled by the smell of it.  It carries in the air a pungent smell that most people associate with older homes, or wet basements. Because it prefers dark cramped quarters, mold detection is something that might have to be actively approached in order to find the source.

These days, as with anything else, mold detection has evolved.   Where as before mold detection was simply walking around with a flashlight searching, it is now part of a high tech science and business, in order to assure and guarantee that all mold has been detected, and appropriately handled.  The new breakthrough in mold detection is actually canine power.  Dogs, with a better sense of smell than humans, are naturally equipped to assist in mold detection.  Now, businesses specialize in training dogs for the purpose of mold detection, allowing the home owner to hire the business to find his or her mold problem, and eliminate it.  With these naturally advancements the operation of mold detection is now a much easier one, with better results, making the clean up effort easier as well.

Mold Test

Most people do not think about mold when it comes to their home’s overall health.  The unfortunate fact is that mold can affect people of all ages, and often comes on unannounced.  Some people simply experience an allergic reaction, while others may have much more severe symptoms.  Regardless of the type of symptoms a person feels, it’s important to remove mold from your home if you find it.  With a mold test, you can find out what strains of mold may be living in your home, and if you have a serious problem or just a mild one.  You can buy your own mold test at many home improvement stores, online, or via other mail order methods.  The basic method for an in home mold test is to get a sample of either the air where mold may be present, or a sample of the material that may have mold on it.  Most test kits ask that you keep the sample for a 48 hour incubation period before sending it off to be tested.

When you send your mold test kit off, it will arrive at a laboratory where it can be further examined.  Usually in a matter of days you will receive a report listing the types of mold found, and their impact on your health.  At this point once the mold test is completed it is time to take proactive steps to removing it from your home.  It is important to know what strain of mold you have so you can take the proper steps towards eliminating it.  Mold has been known to cause all kinds of respiratory problems as well as mood swings, headaches, dizziness, and nose and throat irritation, to name a few.  With a mold test kit, you can discover what types of mold exist in your home so you can get rid of them and keep your family safe.

Mold Testing

Mold can be spread very rapidly through the air, since it is originally in the form of tiny spores that are almost invisible to the naked eye.   Once the spores get into a moist area, they begin to grow and spread, and this usually occurs at a rapid rate.  If you think you might have mold in your home, mold testing is definitely necessary to be sure of not only the presence of mold, but also what kind of mold is there.  In most cases mold is visible once it has established a growing area.  Most of the time it has a greenish color but it can also be black which usually indicates that it is dangerous or possibly toxic.  A smell or musty scent can also indicate the presence of mold, and combined with an ideal environment can almost guarantee the presence of mold.  Of course, not all mold testing can be done simply by smelling or seeing it; sometimes situations call for more sophisticated methods.

You can buy a simple mold testing kit at most home improvement stores.  This kit will allow you to test the type of mold and how severe it is.  These kits are fairly inexpensive and should only cost around $10 to $25 or so.  Of course, if the mold situation in your home is serious, then the mold testing should definitely be done by trained professionals.  These professionals can take samples of the mold to a lab for testing to better determine what kind it is, and also come up with the best way to kill and remove it.  They may test the air, the surface on which the mold has been found, or in severe cases, they may remove actual sections of a home (such as flooring or drywall) to perform mold testing in bulk.