Mold FAQ

What is mold? How does it get into my property?

Mold (mildew), mushrooms, and yeast are all types of fungi. Fungi are found both indoors and outdoors.

Mold requires a proper environment to grow and survive. Mold requires nutrients, water, oxygen, and proper temperatures. Mold thrives on dead organic matter such as wood, paper, fabrics, plants, and animals. Certain products considered artificial or synthetic, such as paints and adhesives, can contain trace organic nutrients that molds can thrive on. The moisture that molds thrive on can be obtained directly from water or from the air.

Mold spores can enter a building either through the air or on people, animals, or other objects. Molds are decomposers or organic matter such as wood, plants, and animals. Where there is decaying organic matter you will find greater concentrations of mold spores.

An area the size of a postage stamp can contain up to 65,000,000 (65 million) spores. This is more than enough to potentially spread to contaminate an entire home and all items or furniture inside the building.

How do I know if I have a mold problem?

You know you have mold when you smell the "musty" odor or see small black, white, green, or other colored specks on walls, below sinks, behind toilets, on carpets, on ceilings, or any other place. Some mold is hidden growing behind wall coverings or ceiling tiles. Even dry, dead mold can cause health problems, so always take precautions when you suspect mold.

Mold is often found in areas where water has damaged building materials and furniture from flooding or plumbing leaks. Mold can also be found growing along walls where warm moist air condenses on cooler wall surfaces, such as inside cold exterior walls, behind dressers, headboards, and in closets where articles are stored against walls. Mold often grows in rooms with both high water usage and humidity, such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements. If you notice mold or know of water damaged areas in your home, it is time to take action.

What are the health symptoms of exposure to harmful molds?

Symptoms vary depending on the person's age, allergies, current health conditions, and body type. The common symptoms are:

  • Nasal and sinus congestion
  • Eye irritation, such as itchy, red, watery eyes
  • Respiratory problems, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing
  • Cough
  • Throat irritation
  • Skin irritation, such as a rash
  • Headache

How do I know if I have mold or just water damage?

The only way to tell if there is a mold problem without the presence of visible mold, a musty odor or adverse health symptoms by a member of the household is to have the air and/or surfaces tested by a mold testing professional testing. Our certified inspectors can perform a visual and equipment inspection of your property and, along with testing performed, produce a complex findings report that will determine if you have a problem or not.

What factors increase the likelihood of mold growth in my property?

Location – Some regions have a greater number of mold spores found in the air. Factors that affect this are:

  • Humidity
  • Amount of precipitation
  • Temperature
  • Windiness
  • Number and type of plants and trees in the area

Time of Year – at different times of the year, there are climate and social factors that can increase the likelihood of mold growth. These factors can originate inside or outside of a property:

Inside: During fall and winter, when it is colder, people tend to seal up their house and stay indoors, which traps moisture and humidity (humidity can be caused be more persons residing indoors and not allowing a property to “air-out”). This with the warmer temperatures brought on by furnaces, creates a more ideal environment for mold growth. Leaks from roofs, windows, walls, ceilings, or plumbing can dramatically increase the likelihood of mold growth if the moisture is allowed to sit for longer periods of time.

Outside: During different time of the year there can be more or less mold in the air. In fall and winter when leaves fall to the ground, some plants die, and extra rainfall produces moisture, the decaying plant matter often releases a greater amount of mold into the air.

Household Plants – Certain plants attract the growth of mold, as the mold will feed off the plant matter or wetted soil. Dead or dying plants are more ideal for mold growth as mold plays a key role in the decomposition of organic matter. In addition, the presence of plants requiring wetted soil and water for their survival will increase the relative humidity indoors as much of this water evaporates into the air.

Plants around Property and Neighborhood – For similar reasons as stated above, a greater number of trees and plants will increase the likelihood of mold spores being present in the air. Some molds grow and feed off of living plants while many survive off of dead organic matter. These mold growths can release spores or mycotoxins into the air.

People – The more people there are living inside of a property, using the plumbing systems, sweating, breathing and coming or going increases the likelihood of mold growth and that there will be an increased number of mold spores in the air inside of a property. Use of plumbing, sweating, and breathing increases the relative humidity. Mold grows where this is moisture so this affects that likelihood. The process of coming or going from a property by its occupants increases the likelihood of additional spores being present in the air and mold growth as those occupants often bring back spores with them that become attached to their skin, hair, or clothing.

Indoor Pets – Pets, like humans, sweat and breath. These actions increase the relative humidity inside of a property, which increases the chances of mold growth. In addition, pets that are allowed outside can pickup organic matter and mold spores from the random terrains they travel through and bring them inside of a property.

What is the difference between remediation and restoration?

Remediation refers to the removal of mold, water damage, or other contaminants from a building in a controlled fashion. It is also referred to as abatement or removal. Restoration is the re-construction or rebuilding of the damaged or contaminated areas that were removed during remediation. The restoration would put the areas in question back to an original quality state.

Is there a way I can improve the overall air quality inside my property?

Yes. There a variety of ways that you can improve the indoor air quality at the property where you live, work, or otherwise reside. One of the easiest ways to do this in properties with central air for heating and air-conditioning is to begin using HEPA filters on their air intake vents, whether they pull air in from the outside or circulate it internally. These special filters can be purchased through accredited organizations, such as Nation Laboratories. Another option is using a portable or installed air filtration system. These air filtration system or air purifiers are useful in helping contain airborne contaminants, such as dust, mold, allergens, and other particulates.

Speak with a Clean-Air Expert