Everyone is exposed to some mold on a daily basis without evident harm. Whether or not symptoms develop in people exposed to mold depends on the nature of the mold, the exposure level, and the sensitivity of exposed persons. Mold spores primarily cause health problems when they enter the air and are inhaled, especially when spore counts are elevated. Mold growth can occur within 24-48 hours after any water incident in your home. Leaks can be hidden inside of walls, under cabinets or in your attic. Flooding in your crawlspace, or improper ventilation in your bathroom/kitchen can also provide enough moisture for mold to take root in your home. Some possible indications of hidden mold in your home are:
- Musty/Earthy odors
- Bubbling or Peeling paint
- Discoloration on your walls and/or ceiling
- Stained carpets, especially in corners and against walls
- Unexplained or sudden onset allergic reaction when in home
- Chronic respiratory or sinus issues
The best way to determine whether or not mold is present in your home is through inspection and testing. A visual inspection alone will not provide you with the information you may need.
Step 1: Before you call us, minimize further damage
Mold contamination can cause health issues, so it is not recommended to try and clean the areas of suspect mold growth yourself. However, there are some ways that you can prepare for your inspection, that will help us collect the most amount of information possible.
- If there is a leak, or suspect mold under sinks, clean everything out from inside the cabinets so that the inspector can access those areas fully. Turn off water to these areas to minimize damage, and contact a plumber to have any leaks repaired.
- If your area(s) of concern are in a room with large furniture, pull everything away from the wall about 18” to allow the inspector better access to those areas.
- Keep doors and windows closed 8-12 hours before any inspection, to allow for more accurate air testing.
- Do not touch, or bleach, any of the areas of concern as this could potentially cause more spores to become airborne.
- Remove any loose rugs or floor coverings and place them somewhere where they can dry completely. Do not remove carpet or padding until inspection is completed.
- Remove or soak up as much excess water from the affected area as possible—if there is standing water, such as in a crawl space, use a sump pump.
- If the home is vacant, make sure that power is turned on so that air samples can be collected.
Step 2: Assessing the extent of the contamination
The first step, when we arrive, is to perform a comprehensive visual inspection of your area(s) of concern. We will also perform testing with a digital moisture meter to determine if there is any hidden moisture, or to outline the extent of known moisture issues. Our inspectors will then collect samples to be analyzed by a third party laboratory, as well as collect measurements, and take photos of each area. We test for many different types of mold, and these will generally fall into three categories:
- Allergenic – Is the most common effect and can range from hay fever and asthma all the way to very particular reactions and diseases in certain organs or tissues. Hay fever like symptoms are probably the most common health effects attributed to mold in indoor environments. Major indoor allergenic mold include: Cladosporium, Alternaria, Ulocladium
- Toxigenic – Mold in this category can manifest themselves in a very wide variety of ways. Most research up to now has been directed at effects that have to do with ingestion (such as by eating contaminated grain), and comparatively little has been studied about inhaled effects. A particular species of Stachybotrys ( chartarum) produces a toxin that has been linked to bleeding lung deaths of ten infants in Cleveland. A host of other severe health effects has since been attributed to this toxin, and currently this and very similar toxins produced by other molds (Memnoniella and Trichoderma) are where much interest has been directed in terms of inhaled toxins. Major indoor toxin producing mold: Stachybotrys, Memnoniella, Trichoderma, Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium
- Infectious – Are potentially the most dangerous and deadly of mold health effects, but mold in general has an inherently difficult time infecting an uncompromised immune system. Many molds won’t even grow at normal body temperature. While these infections are rare, infections in compromised individuals are much more common and can be very dangerous and problematic do to the lack of treatment options. Compromised individuals include those whose immune system systems are weakened such as (but not limited to) those with AIDS, certain cancers, the very old, the very young, and those undergoing certain drug therapies. Major infectious indoor mold: Aspergillus, Fusarium, Zygomycetes (includes Mucor / Rhizopus)
A full report with pictures will be sent directly to your email, which will include the lab report with the types of mold identified, air quality analysis, the on-site inspector’s notes, as well as recommendations for remediation (if needed), and estimate for remediation services through our company.
Step 3: Consultation
Once all reports have been completed and sent to you, you will receive 30 minutes of free consultation time with a Mold Specialist. They will go over your report in detail, and explain the remediation process in full.