Residential Mold Remediation
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Learn About Mold
What are the best temperatures for mold?
There are three critical temperatures for mold: the temperature below which no mold growth occurs, the temperature above which no mold growth occurs, and the temperature at which most rapid mold growth takes place. Most mold species grow in temperatures ranging from 59º to 95º F (15º to 35° C), although there are molds which will grow at almost freezing and others which thrive at over 150º F. The average optimum for mold growth is usually stated to be in the vicinity of 86° F. Freezing mold does not kill mold spores or mold colonies---they become dormant waiting for warm temperatures and access to moisture to grow again.
Can I get remove all the mold in my property?
"Molds are microscopic fungi that comprise 25% of the earth's biomass. They can be found almost anywhere and can grow on virtually any organic substance as long as moisture and oxygen are present. Molds can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. Moisture encourages mold growth. People who are allergic to mold or whose asthma is triggered by mold usually react to the spores, the reproductive bodies for molds. The process by which these spores are released into the air becomes intensified when moldy material is damaged or disturbed. Sometimes mold can produce a toxic substance called mycotoxins, which also can cause illness in sensitive populations, especially those with substantial exposures, such as agricultural workers. It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture. Many types of molds exist and they all have the potential to cause health effects. Molds produce allergens that can trigger allergic reactions or asthma attacks. Health concerns are an important reason to prevent mold growth and to remedy/clean up any existing indoor mold growth. The range of symptoms of overexposure to mold include cough, congestion, runny nose, eye irritation, and asthma symptoms. As is true of all environmentally-related illnesses, the sensitivity and vulnerability of the person will dictate the level of response to any given exposure."
---American Nursing Association
From the EPA...
Why is mold growing in my home?
Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.
Can mold cause health problems?
Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.
How do I get rid of mold?
It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean up the mold, but don't fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back. From Wikipedia...
Both our indoor and outdoor environment have mold spores present. There is no such thing as a mold free environment in the Earth's biosphere.
Spores need three things to grow into mold:
- Nutrients: Food for spores in an indoor environment is organic matter, often cellulose.
- Moisture: Moisture is required to begin the decaying process caused by the mold.
- Time: Mold growth begins between 24 hours and 10 days from the provision of the growing conditions. There is no way to date mold.
Mold colonies can grow inside building structures. The main problem with the presence of mold in buildings is the inhalation of mycotoxins. Molds may produce an identifiable smell. Growth is fostered by moisture. After a flood or major leak, mycotoxin levels are higher in the building even after it has dried out (source: CMHC).
Food sources for molds in buildings include cellulose-based materials, such as wood, cardboard, and the paper facing on both sides of drywall, and all other kinds of organic matter, such as soap, dust and fabrics. Carpet contains dust made of organic matter such as skin cells. If a house has mold, the moisture may be from the basement or crawl space, a leaking roof, or a leak in plumbing pipes behind the walls. Insufficient ventilation can further enable moisture build-up. The more people in a space, the more humidity builds up. This is from normal breathing and perspiring. Visible mold colonies may form where ventilation is poorest, and on perimeter walls, because they are coolest, thus closest to the dew point.
If there are mold problems in a house only during certain times of the year, then it is probably either too air-tight, or too drafty. Mold problems occur in airtight homes more frequently in the warmer months (when humidity reaches high levels inside the house, and moisture is trapped), and occur in drafty homes more frequently in the colder months (when warm air escapes from the living area into unconditioned space, and condenses). If a house is humidified artificially during the winter, this can create conditions favorable to mold. Moving air may prevent mold from growing since it has the same desiccating effect as lowering humidity.