Mold Information

Mold fungi are everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. Mold plays an important role in our ecosystem as it breaks down and feeds on decaying leaves, trees, and other organic material.

Mold can present problems in homes when wet and/or damp areas allow it to settle on surfaces, and grow. Organic based materials with greater than 16% moisture content will allow for the formation of mold. This mold will then begin to feed on the organic material, breaking it down, causing decay.

The first step in controlling/eliminating mold is by correcting the source of the moisture that allowed it to form. Sometimes this is as simple as correcting a plumbing leak. Once the leak is stopped the mold will no longer have its moisture source and eventually the mold will become dormant. The mold spores however, will still be present.

Frequently Mold is found on floor framing members in crawl spaces and basements due to the available moisture in these areas. Often grading deficiencies allow the soil surrounding the foundation to become saturated. This wet soil allows moisture to permeate through porous foundation walls increasing humidity levels and creating an environment conducive to the formation of mold growth.

Health Effects of Mold

The presence of mold spores in the home can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. It can trigger asthma attacks and can be particularly harmful for persons whose immune systems have been compromised.

Indoor mold types that can damage your home and health include:

Aspergillus/Penicillium/Trichoderma

Stachybotrys/Chaetomium/Ulocladium

Cladosporium/Alternaria/Curvularia

The effects of a particular mold species on the occupants of a home should be evaluated and advised by a medical professional.

Testing Information

Any detected mold like substance will be referenced as “fungal growth”, until analyzed by an accredited laboratory. Only a laboratory using a microscope and specialized testing equipment can determine if “fungal growth” is indeed mold, and of what strain.

Two Procedures for Collecting Samples

Surface sampling: A laboratory grade tape is applied to the area of fungal growth and peeled off, and sealed. This procedure is used when fungal growth is visible. The Lab will determine if the growth is mold and of what strain. However, this test does not provide information on the level of Mold Spores in the air present in the home.

• $99.00 for the first sample – $50.00 for each additional sample taken.

Indoor air quality testing: This procedure is highly recommended, especially if a musty smell is present in the home and when the foundation is not visible as is the case with finished basements. The results from this procedure will determine what mold spores are present in the air and at what concentration.

• $299.00 for homes up to 2000 sq ft. – $50.00 for each 1000 sq ft.

Links for More Information

http://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm   (Great source of info from the Centers for Disease Control)

http://www.epa.gov/mold/  (Information on mold from the EPA)