Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoor molds play a valuable part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees. To grow and thrive, mold needs three things, moisture, a conducive surface to attach to, and an organic material: food. Outdoor molds may cause allergy-like symptoms in summer and fall (or year-round in some climates.)
WE JUST DON'T WANT CERTAIN KINDS & LEVELS OF MOLD INSIDE THE HOME
Different people react to mold exposure in different ways. Those affected most seem to be youngsters whose immune systems have not yet fully developed, those that are naturally prone to the affects of allergens, those with asthma or other existing respiratory conditions, those with already weakened or compromised immune systems, and the elderly.
The type and severity of the symptoms depend on the types of mold present in the home and the extent of exposure to the mold. Some studies show that prolonged and repeated exposure has the potential to increase sensitivity. Laboratory testing is the only way to conclusively determine if what appears to be mold indeed is, and what type it is.
That being said, attempts at limiting mold growth are prudent. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment, but we don't want to make it easy for mold either. Therefore the key to mold growth is MOISTURE. If you control the indoor moisture, you can effectively control mold growth.
CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN
Again, the key to controlling mold growth is to control moisture. If you control moisture, you win.
These are some ways:
*Control your indoor humidity. (Shoot for 20-50% RH in winter, and less than 60% RH the rest of the year.) If you have a humidifier, clean the fluid reservoir often.
*If you have central air conditioning, use it.
*Open the window and/or run the bathroom exhaust when taking a shower and then let it run for a bit afterwards also.
*Use exhaust fans when cooking, washing dishes or cleaning.
*Bath exhaust fans and clothes dryers should ALWAYS vent to the EXTERIOR of the home. Showers and dryers are moisture making machines on steroids!
*Remove carpeting in bathrooms.
*Never ignore a leak, of any size. If you begin to see staining, or smell any musty odors, get it addressed immediately, don't delay.
*Leave the door cracked on washing machines when not in use.
*Prevent condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof or floors) by adding insulation.
*Check windows for condensation (water droplets or mist.)
*If your bedroom closet is colder than rest of the room, leave the closet doors open.
*Open doors between rooms, and allow air flow to increase.
*Move furniture out a few inches so that it's not physically touching the walls.
*Use ceiling fans to circulate air.
*Keep gutters free of debris and flowing properly.
*Make sure gutters are effectively diverting water AWAY from foundation.
Asking some questions and gathering a few facts can help determine what might be the culprit. At "A FRESH LOOK," we perform a visual mold assessment with every home inspection, at no additional cost! If needed, we perform affordable air and mold testing with quick results.
Some mold problems are obvious. You can visually see the mold, and maybe even smell it too. If you can see mold, or if there is a musty odor in your home, you probably have a mold problem. But sometimes it is not so obvious. Mold can sometimes be hidden, or begin growing in areas not visible, such as behind walls, behind baseboard trim, behind a cabinet, or the underside of carpet and pads.
If you don't have any apparent observable mold, but you are experiencing health related symptoms, mold could be growing in areas you can't see, such as those already mentioned, or in such areas as heating ducts. In these situations, the best way to determine if you have mold spores is to have mold testing performed. Testing is the only way to determine if you have a mold problem, and what type it is.
WHEN SHOULD A MOLD TEST BE PERFORMED?
*When you can See a physical mold-like substance, if you see staining on walls, ceilings or other items;
*You can Smell something musty but you can't find the source;
*When there are prolonged plumbing or roof Leaks;
*When Past moisture damage or flooding was disclosed by the seller.
*When someone who will be living in the home has allergies or other health related issues.
" A FRESH LOOK" Home Inspectors are trained to LOOK carefully for trouble spots."
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