Frequently Asked Questions about Mold
Mold is a problem for two reasons:
- Mold can cause severe allergies, asthma and sinus infection problems.
- Mold is an indication of building failure and always points to an underlying issue.I've heard mold is toxic, is it true?
Technically, yes, some molds are capable of producing airborne mycotoxins. However, the quantity of toxins is extremely small and no medical study to date has found evidence of health implications.
The term 'black mold' is often heard in the media, however, it is not a scientific designation. Many types of mold are black in color, and even more confusing, some are found in a variety of colors.
Stachybotrys has often found itself in the media spotlight, mostly due to its ability to produce mycotoxins. In years past, stachybotrys was implicated in several cases of severe illness and even infant fatalities. However, upon closer scrutiny, the medical community determined toxic mold was not a contributing factor.
In our experience, if dealt with properly, buyers are relatively comfortable purchasing a home with a prior mold problem. This is only possible if proper remediation protocol was followed.
- Source of moisture isn't obvious. (condensation vs. flooding)
- Scope of mold growth is significant or if extent of growth is difficult to determine.
- Current or previous water damage exceeds 72 hours.
- At risk individuals (asthma, allergies, compromised immune system, elderly)
- High risk areas of concern (carpet on concrete, basements, uninsulated walls, etc.)
- Without expertise in containment and negative pressure, standard contractors create more mold problems than they solve.
- Environix Certified Businesses carry mold-specific insurance (very difficult to obtain). A standard general contractor's insurance policy would not cover mold remediation.
- Certified Mold Remediators excel at diagnosing the underlying moisture issues to ensure the mold growth does not return.
- Certification. Do they have a current mold specific training certification?
- Insurance. Obtaining mold specific inspection and remediation insurance isn't easy and provides an excellent litmus test for who to hire.
- Experience/ Previous Clients. Always ask for referrals from at least 3 recent clients.
- Training/ Equipment. Ask what kind of training each of their technicians receives. Do only their supervisors receive training, or does every employee participate?
- Longevity. How long have they been in business?
- Find the source of the conditions that allowed mold growth to occur.
- Determine the scope of the damage.
- Determine the severity of the damage.
- Identify which items must be disposed and which may be cleaned.
- Provide protocol and recommendations for both cleaning up the damage and preventing a recurrence.
- Musty odor, but no visible mold growth.
- Identified active mold growth, but unsure if other areas of the home are effected.
- Determine if cross-contamination has occurred.
- Conditions conducive to mold growth are present (high RH), and identifying visible mold growth would be difficult. For example, carpeting can harbor extensive mold growth without any visible signs.
- Attic sheathing, especially in cool, wet climates.
- Crawlspaces, especially new construction in wet climates and existing construction in hot humid climates.
- Bathrooms, including surface mold growth on showers and tubs and in wall cavities.
- Basement. Often neglected, basements suffer from poor air flow and insufficient heat.