Coastal Inspections is certified to test for indoor mold. Mold is in every home and for the most part does not represent an issue unless there is a moisture problem. You need moisture in order for the the mold spores to multiply and spread throughout the home. Direct swab and air samples are taken in accordance with the EPA protocol. Samples are taken after a visual inspection of the house is performed, and moisture meter readings are taken if needed. If there is a musty or damp smell in the home, there usually is mold present.
What are molds and fungi?
Molds are fungi that can be found both in indoors and outdoors environments. The exact amount of species of fungi and mold are unknown but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Molds can multiple quickly in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making additional spores. When mold spores are present they can survive in very harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, but typically will not reproduce unless a form of moisture is present.
Some of the more common indoor molds include:
Can molds affect people?
Some people are sensitive to molds than others. For people with some sensitivity, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation typical of mild allergies. Other people, with more serious allergic reactions to molds, may exhibit severe reactions.. Severe reactions may also occur among employees who are exposed to large amounts of molds, such as farmers working around damp hay where mold had thrived. Severe reactions can include fever and shortness of breath. The most sensitive people are those with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, and they may develop mold infections in their lungs.
Where do you find mold and fungi?
Molds are found everywhere and can be detected, both indoors and outdoors, year round. It is the excessive growth of mold encouraged by warm and humid conditions which can cause problems. Outdoors many types of mold and fungi can be found in shady, damp areas or places where leaves or other vegetation is decomposing. Indoors mold and fungi can be found where humidity levels are high, such as basements or poorly ventilated bathrooms with showers..
Can people decrease their mold exposure?
People sensitive to mold should avoid areas that are likely to have excessive moisture and mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas. Inside homes, mold growth can be slowed by monitoring humidity levels and keeping the humidity levels between 25% and 35%. Proper ventilation in showers and cooking areas can help keep the moisture levels down. If excessive mold growth in your home, you should clean up or remove the mold and more importantly, fix the water problem. Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces withmany commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water.
When you choose to use bleach to clean up mold:
• Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products can and will produce dangerous, toxic fumes.
• Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
• Wear non-porous gloves and protective eye wear.
• If the area to be cleaned is more than 10 square feet, consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guide titled Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. Although focused on schools and commercial buildings, this document also applies to other building types and can provide useful information. You can get it free by calling the EPA Indoor Air Quality Information Clearinghouse at 949-625-4915, or by going to the EPA web site at http://www.epa.gov/mold/mold_remediation.html External Web Site Icon.
• Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using bleach or any other cleaning product.
• Keep the humidity level in the house between 40% and 60%.
• Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.
• Be sure the home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans.
• Add mold inhibitors to paints before application.
• Clean bathrooms with mold killing products.
• Do not carpet bathrooms and basements.
• Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery.