FACTS ABOUT MOLD & DAMPNESS
There is always some mold presence indoors – in the air and on many surfaces. Molds have been on the earth for millions of years. The key distinction is how great that presence is.
MOLD & YOUR HEALTH
Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. It depends on a variety of factors, including genetics, species of mold, presence of mycotoxins, presence of bacteria, and immune system status.
Some people are particularly sensitive to mold exposure or have specific mold allergies. For these individuals, mold can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation. On the other hand, immune-compromised individuals and those with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may get serious infections in their lungs when they are exposed to mold. These people should stay away from areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas.
In 2004, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children.
In addition, the IOM found sufficient evidence to link exposure to damp indoor environments in general to upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people and with asthma symptoms in people with asthma. The IOM also found suggestive evidence linking exposure to damp indoor environments in general to shortness of breath, to respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children, and to the potential development of asthma in susceptible individuals. In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould [PDF – 2.52 MB]. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link between early mold exposure and the development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies, but more research is needed in this regard.
Other negative health effects, such as acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage in infants, memory loss, or lethargy from mold exposure, have been reported but not proven. Further studies are needed to find out what causes acute idiopathic hemorrhage and other adverse health effects.
MOLD & YOUR HOME
Mold is found both indoors and outdoors. It can easily enter a home organically through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. The particles related to mold are also small enough that they can attach themselves to clothing, shoes, bags, or pets and can then be carried indoors.
Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as leaky roofs, improperly installed windows, burst pipes, or flooded basements. As for preferred surfaces, this fungus grows well on paper, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paint, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.
YOU CAN CONTROL MOLD
Inside your home you can control mold growth by:
- Reducing moisture-rich opportunities
- Deep cleaning to remove edible options and spores
- Investing in air purification to remove particulate matter
- Ensuring proper home construction
- Scheduling HVAC service appointments on time
- Completing a home wellness inspection
How to Spot a Mold Problem
Mold growth can come in a variety of colors, shapes, and textures. Some of the most common colors include green, white, grey, blue, red, black, brown, or a combination of them. As for textures, they could be fuzzy, powdery, velvety, or slimy. It can also create an earthy, musty, damp smell due to the release of gases called microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC).
If you can see or smell mold, a health risk may be present. You do not need to know the type of mold growing in your home, and the CDC does not recommend or perform routine sampling for mold.
No matter what type of mold is present, you should remove it.
Since the effect of mold on people can vary greatly, you cannot rely on sampling and culturing to know your health risk. Also, good sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable quantity of mold have not been set.
The best practice is to properly remove the mold and contamination created, and then work to prevent future growth.
Want to know how HomeCleanse helps you deal with mold? See our products and services below:
We perform a thorough 7-step process to remediate each source of mold found inside of a home or building. It guarantees to eliminate that source of mold that was once growing inside the structure of your home or building. If we test again after treatment and we don’t hit that mark, we’ll do the process again at no additional charge! Again, your health is what’s important to us. (Average time of completion is 3-5 days depending on the size of the home).
Having a good inspection is the first step in ensuring success with any remediation project. MyMoldReport has you covered by analyzing your mold report and lab results to ensure you 1) Have enough data to create a successful workplace 2) There are no obvious areas missed in an inspection that could limit your goals of success 3) Provide clear next steps on what to do next to ensure your remediation has better success
The Dust Test was created to help revolutionize the way we check our living environments for indoor air pollutants. For far too long air sampling has been the “gold standard” to identify pollutants in homes, even with its known limitations. The Dust Test will help you identify contaminants (bold) before (/bold) you hire an inspector to ensure the inspection captures the sources of contamination. Putting the power of the process back into the hands of the people affected.
Whether it’s air purification or cleaning products you are in need of, HomeCleanse has you covered. Each product we recommend has been carefully vetted and tested by us in the field for efficacy. Browse different products to cleanse your home and keep it that way.
We recommend navigating our website to find an insurance adjuster and a mold inspector closest to you. A public insurance adjuster will help identify if this is considered a covered loss where you would receive financial help through your home insurance company. A mold inspector will provide you with a thorough evaluation of the mold condition and provide us with the appropriate scope of work to eliminating the mold sources, bringing your home back to a normal ecology while reducing the byproducts of mold back to equivocal levels. With this we can begin to provide you with a proposal to include costs on completing that scope of work.
We first want to point out that we do not come up with the scope of work. We estimate the costs of the scope of work provided by your mold inspection company. We highly recommend speaking to them first to discuss why it is they are recommending the scope of work and the implications of not following their recommendations. From our experience it is rare that we find a recommendation that didn’t provide value in executing. Mold is a very personal problem that affects individuals differently. Some individuals may need to go more extreme than others. We always recommend going over the cost value versus the results achieved with your mold inspection company before making final decisions.
It’s only natural to obtain other quotes. We do the same thing when pricing out our products and equipment. It is important however to understand what you are estimating. The best advice we can give is to ask the right questions. Ask our competitor what they plan to do about the mycotoxins or the high ERMI score. A lot of companies will not even know what this means let alone have the knowledge to handle it. Unfortunately, many of our competitors are more water damage professionals than they are mold experts. If you need a mold expert for health reasons, you should find someone that specializes in mold. You’ll be pleased to know we specialize in mold remediation to include reducing ERMI scores and mycotoxin levels.
It’s a great question! HomeCleanse Corp follows a modest business model of cost plus 10% for profit and 10% for overhead. When we estimate costs for your project, we are estimating the costs of the scope of work provided by your mold inspection report as well as the logistics of how to do the best possible job with the health of your family in mind. If another company is coming in cheaper, it is often because they are not bidding on the same scope of work. If we are figuring 100 man hours to do the job where another company is claiming they can do it in 50, there is a big difference. It is important to understand how they plan to cut the labor in half while still achieving the same result.
For example: both companies are bidding on the removal of the mold problem in your basement. Our scope of work includes reducing the elevated ERMI score found throughout the rest of the home. Our competitor’s scope of work only includes the removal of the mold problem in your basement. It is important to ensure that you’re comparing apples to apples and not just looking at the bottom line number.
Sure! It’s unfortunate but sometimes your insurance company will not cover some or all of the costs for remediation. While we are not financial professionals qualified to give financial advice, we can offer suggestions on obtaining financing for your project. Another option is to discuss breaking up the project in a way that makes sense logistically and financially. At All American, we really value our clients and their situations. We are in business to help you in any way that we can.
Your doctor will know what will work best for you. Some of our clients have chemical sensitivities which is why we use botanical and Zero VOC products. We always invite you to share our proposal with your doctor to obtain recommendations on products and procedures. If your doctor would like us to use particular products that will get the job done, we absolutely will. We are constantly consulting with medical professionals that are knowledgeable in this field so that we can evolve our practices to benefit our clients as technology becomes available.
We take great pride in what we do. Even if you hired another company we would be happy to consult on the project. While we may not have control of the operations of that company, we can advise on the steps that need to be taken throughout the course of the project to achieve the results you are looking for. We never want you to feel like we do not care about your situation, even if you do not employ our labor.
There are many schools of thought on mold and conflicting information found on the subject. Our approach is simple. If you have mold, there is an underlining cause. Our objective is to eliminate the mold source that is causing you and your family grief and consult on the repairs necessary to ensure that the mold will not grow back.
For example, if you have mold in your basement due to water seepage we will come up with a strategy to eliminate the water and moisture conditions that caused the mold to grow in the first place. Without that important step, the mold can certainly grow back. That is why we not only eliminate the mold sources but we consult on the repairs necessary to ensure optimal conditions to prevent mold from re-occurring.
We strictly handle the environmental work in your home. We do not do any reconstruction services. Once we get started we may encounter building, waterproofing, HVAC, and/or structural issues that caused the mold growth in the first place. We will be able to help consult on how to correct these issues but often they will result in working with other qualified companies such as a General Contractor to get the place restored to a state where mold will not grow back. We would work with you on finding a professional in your area that is qualified to work on this project. We leave your home clean, stable, and ready for the next trade professional to complete the project.
If you decide to employ our services fully based upon your recommendations we guarantee bringing your space back to a normal ecology in the areas that were found to be elevated. In the event a post test indicates there are still elevated levels in that area, we will come back to address it at no extra cost to you. The only time this would not be covered, is if an additional area was found that wasn’t in the original mold investigation.
For example, if mold is found in your attic and we remediated the attic yet there is still an elevation found due to a spot that we had missed; We would come back to resolve it at no additional cost. However, if the elevation exists because there is additional mold found in the bedroom below causing an elevation in the attic (and it was not originally called for to do any remediation in that bedroom) we would only charge for our costs to come back to resolve the condition found in the bedroom. This case and point is why we always recommend a thorough investigation be completed prior to starting a mold remediation plan.
There are a lot of good products out there. Some brands have ozone capabilities that your doctor may recommend against. We advise asking your mold inspector and your doctor for a brand and model that works best for you. We also want to point out that air purification will certainly reduce the levels in the air. It will not however remove the sources of mold that are aerosolizing mold spores to begin with. Air purification works best after remediation when there are no longer mold sources present. If you’re using air purification in the meantime, we would turn them off during remediation to prevent cross contamination. We also would advise changing the filters upon completion of remediation; prior to turning the air purifiers back on.
While we try to do a good job answering common questions, each project has its own complexities. Give our office a call today and we setup a free phone or in-person consultation to help answer any questions you may have.
Mold Prevention Tips
Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50% all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the amount of moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing immediately so mold does not have the moisture required to grow.
Add mold inhibitors to paint before painting.
Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans that vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents out of your home as well.
Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly (within 24–48 hours) after flooding.
Remove or replace soaked carpets and upholstery that cannot be dried quickly. Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.