Are in your home. Except water. The food source is cellulose. Paper and wood are cellulose.The temperature range is optimal for mold to grow. But we keep the moisture (humidity) low when we air condition our homes.
Other sources of water can include plumbing leaks or leaks from the roof, windows and doors. If the home is on a slab, water can seep or wick up into the floor coverings from below. High humidity will condense out onto building materials and furnishings if cooling occurs below the dew point. We see this when the morning dew condenses onto the grass. Keep water vapor to a minimum indoors. Run the vent fan when showering, run the hood vent when cooking and vent your clothes dryer outdoors.
Mold spores are present, lying dormant, on most surfaces inside and outside your home. That is not a problem unless the spore counts are very high in the indoor air. But if the mold spores get a source of moisture they will begin to grow. Any place where warm humid air meets cold air moisture will condense out into water.Undersized, over sized or poorly maintained A/C units will cause condensation. A rip or hole in the A/C ducting will cause condensation.
Exposure to mold can occur when spores are inhaled. We breathe mold spores every day but when the spore count is very high or when our body’s immune system is weak because of sickness, asthma or allergies we can experience symptoms of illness. Inhaled spores are killed by the immune system.Very high spore levels can cause allergic reaction symptoms like runny nose,sore throat and sneezing. People with Asthma and allergies will often have their symptoms worsened by exposure to high levels of mold.
Some species of mold can cause respiratory infection when live mold invade the tissue of the lungs or respiratory tract. This is not a significant risk for healthy people but may affect individuals with weakened immune systems. Very large doses of certain molds can result in allergic symptoms caused by Mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are the chemical weapons that different species of mold use to combat each other. The cases of serious physical or neurological damage being cause by mold exposure are very rare.
There are no federal regulations covering professional services in the area of Indoor air quality. However, there are steps that you can take to ensure that you have selected the best assistance available. A mold remediation professional should have significant experience in the field and be able to demonstrate a broad understanding of the mold remediation guidelines asset forth in the IICRC S520 manual. The qualified mold remediation contractor will be recognized by professional associations such as the IAQA Indoor Air Quality Association and by local and state Air quality investigators and testing laboratories.
Also these steps should be followed in selecting a qualified Mold Remediator:
- Ask for a written proposal with probable cause and steps to be taken to remediate the problem (Protocol). The proposal should emphasize observations rather than measurements. Beware of a contractor or consultant who wants to conduct extensive air testing as a first step in the process. A thorough visual inspection listing the cause of the problem and the extent of mold growth followed by appropriate air tests if necessary are recommended.
- Ask about years of experience in the field of remediation. Ask about industry certifications and Insurance coverage specific to mold remediation. Ask to speak with others who have had similar problem that have been remediated by the contractor. Ask for letters of recommendation.
- Since most mold growth problems are caused by water intrusion, consider using a mold remediation company with expertise in the water damage restoration field.
- Conduct an interview and watch to see if the initial inspection demonstrates a thorough knowledge of the field. Ask how the mold remediation contractor is going to protect your personal belongings during the remediation process.
The best Mold Remediation Contractor will have a broad knowledge and verbal comfort discussing the cause of the problem, the process of remediation, a plan to protect you, his workers and your possessions and what reconstruction will be necessary to put you home back in pre loss condition.
The best Mold Remediator will work with your insurance company to explain and advocate for you in the process of repairing your property.
The best Mold Remediator will explain each step of the process and show how one step fits with all the others.
- The best Mold Remediator will present a contract detailing scope, schedule for completion and the estimated costs. Communication will be key and frequent updates can be expected.
- DO NOT HIRE a Mold Remediator who also acts as Consultant. Air testing and Clearance Reports are the job of a third party expert.
The very best Mold Remediator will meet and exceed all these requirements.