Learn More: Leander Mold Removal Company Services
There may be many times when indoor mold growth may be difficult to find. It can be hidden behind walls, under surfaces, and inside unreachable areas where the visibility is almost impossible. Just because it’s invisible doesn’t mean it’s undefeatable, however. Here’s how to spot hidden mold dangers and make your home a little more livable in this toxin filled world.
One of the most common indications that you may have invisible mold growing in your home is a water leak. If you’ve had any recent flooding, roof damage or a plumbing leak, you may have a mold problem. Look around the areas where the leak occurred for moisture.
If you still can’t find the source of the problem, you may want to call on a Leander professional to help you find any hidden mold dangers in your home. This may seem like an expensive alternative, but remember that mold can turn into a serious problem if they are not resolved quickly. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Learn More: Leander Mold Remediation Company Services
Water damage can come from many different sources in your home or business. From a simple roof leak to serious weather conditions such as hurricanes can give you flood damage to your house. When flood damage happens, rug materials absorb large amount of water and high amount of bacteria will reside inside the pile and construction of the rug. Water damage can provide the necessary conditions for mold growth in Leander TX. Water damage cause several damages within hours or even minutes. Water damage will give you an unhealthy environment.
When you face theses type of situations in Leander Texas the first thing that you should take care of is that you shouldn’t panic. The latest technologies can help you if flood damage occurs from flooding, broken water pipes, or any other source. Emergency water extraction from carpets, floor covering and remediation of mold can be easily done as technology had changed a lot and lot different from the conventional carpet cleaning mechanisms.
Leander Mold Inspection company
The fear of hidden mold gives rise to visions of mold remediation experts traipsing around inside specialized enclosures while demolishing your home at tremendous expense to you. If you have noticed moldy odors or water damage, perhaps it is time to consult with a mold expert. However, for the large majority of homeowners who have not noticed the symptoms of mold growth, now is the perfect time to start looking.
Most are familiar with Stachybotrys, the "toxic black mold", which is common to water damaged gypsum wallboard. This mold organism requires high moisture availability, known as water activity, to develop. Optimal growth is achieved at .98 water activity, which is a lot of moisture. Big black patches, powerful odor, and lots of water, usually make this mold hard to miss. The real danger of hidden mold is the ability for a small mold problem to develop into a large and expensive one before being noticed. Wallpaper can help make that possible.
Wallpaper is more than a decorative wall covering. In fact, any large surfaced item or treatment added to a wall, such as bookshelves , paint or wallpaper, can alter the vapor and thermal performance of a wall. This knowledge is particularly important for the perimeter walls of the home, but should be a consideration for some interior walls, as well. There are other factors to consider, but in general; moisture moves from warm areas to cooler areas. So, in the summertime, warm moist air tries to make its way indoors where it is cooler and, in the case of a bathroom, warm moist air from bathing activities migrates to cooler areas. A well designed wall will slow the progression of moisture through the wall and yet allow it to pass through before trapping too much moisture and encountering psychrometric conditions that would permit condensation. Many wallpaper types impede moisture migration at the most crucial location, the coldest surface of the wall. The obstacle also makes possible a higher water activity in the underlying wallboard that leads to hidden mold growth.
Once you have discovered that you have hidden mold, it's time to determine to what extent the mold has developed. Determining the moisture source or psychrometric catalyst is paramount in estimating the size of the damaged area. You may find that the damage is small and limited to an area around a leaking window, air conditioning unit or associated with a vent blowing cold air directly on the area.
When cleaning the moldy area, it is best not to remove the wallpaper. Gypsum wallboard harboring mold growth is generally not considered salvable and removing the wallpaper will only serve to enable the trapped spores to become airborne. Depending on the size of the damaged area, it may be necessary to construct barriers around the work area to prevent the spread of mold spores to unaffected areas of the house while the damaged wall is being removed. Ideally, a timely home inspection will catch the common occurrence of hidden mold before it has grown to epic proportions.
Black Mold Removal - Are The Stachybotrys Spores Really Toxic?
I maintain a few health related websites, one of which discusses the benefits of air purifiers as well as de-humidifiers and I have done extensive research on mold. I thought it would be appropriate to share them here as the content included some lesser known facts about black mold removal.
According to my research and against the common belief that Stachybotrys is a toxic strain of mold, surprisingly though, it is not deemed as a lethal species. They are the black mold found on your leaky plumbing, toilets, wall sidings, ceiling and roof tops, flooring, even on your carpets at times. You might be relieved to know that contrary to common belief, Stachybotrys is a mold strain not as lethal as the infamous Aspergillus which is proven toxic. Often in homes, both exist side by side. Although the former grows faster during the first week or so, the latter strain is a more robust species and often overwhelms the former.
To help you recognize Stachybotrys, they are black, the tiny colonies with brownish surroundings. You should never use chlorine bleach to scrub and clean out the mold, as they are incapable of killing the mold at its roots. Chlorine bleach should not be used in black mold removal as stated by OSHA's mold remediation guidelines.
Mold - How to Get it Out of Your Home & Keep it Out
Mold can appear in one's home for a variety of reasons. It could be the result of a catastrophe such as a flood, hurricane, or typhoon. It could also result from broken plumbing pipes or simply because of a high humidity and moist region in one's home. Bathrooms and basements tend to be damp spaces where mold shows up.
Whatever the cause and scale of the problem, the homeowner must get rid of it. Health problems including breathing difficulties, infectious skin lesions and allergic reactions may begin to affect the inhabitants of a home infested with mold and mildew.
Four main steps must be taken if this appears to be a problem in your abode.
If you have a mold problem that seems fairly extensive, it would be a good idea to have the premises inspected by a professional who specializes in these issues. A professional will know the most optimum methods for eradication and removal. Don't take a chance with the health of your family and the investment value of your home.
Mold Inspections - Make the Best Choice
Mold (American English) or mould (British English) is part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees; indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores. The spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through the air. Mold may begin growing indoors when spores land on moist surfaces. There are many types of mold, but all require moisture for growth.
Molds are ubiquitous, and mold spores are a common component of household and workplace dust. In large amounts they can be a health hazard to humans, potentially causing allergic reactions and respiratory problems.
Some molds produce mycotoxins that can pose serious health risks to humans and animals. "Toxic mold" refers to molds which produce mycotoxins, such as Stachybotrys chartarum. Exposure to high levels of mycotoxins can lead to neurological problems and death. Prolonged exposure (for example, daily exposure) can be particularly harmful.
Symptoms of mold exposure may include nasal and sinus congestion; runny nose, eye irritation; itchy, red, watery eyes, respiratory problems, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing, chest tightness, cough, throat irritation, skin irritation (such as a rash), headache, and persistent sneezing.
Infants may develop respiratory symptoms as a result of exposure to Penicillium, a fungal genus. Signs of mold-related respiratory problems in an infant include a persistent cough or wheeze. Increased exposure increases the probability of developing respiratory symptoms during the first year of life. Studies have indicated a correlation between the probability of developing asthma and exposure to Penicillium.
Mold exposure has a variety of health effects, and sensitivity to mold varies. Exposure to mold may cause throat irritation, nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, cough and wheezing and skin irritation in some cases. Exposure to mold may heighten sensitivity, depending on the time and nature of exposure. People with chronic lung diseases are at higher risk for mold allergies, and will experience more severe reactions when exposed to mold. Damp indoor environments correlate with upper-respiratory-tract symptoms, such as coughing and wheezing in people with asthma.
Molds are found everywhere, and can grow on almost any substance when moisture is present. They reproduce by spores, which are carried by air currents. When spores land on a moist surface suitable for life, they begin to grow. Mold is normally found indoors at levels which do not affect most healthy individuals.
Because common building materials are capable of sustaining mold growth and mold spores are ubiquitous, mold growth in an indoor environment is typically related to water or moisture and may be caused by incomplete drying of flooring materials (such as concrete). Flooding, leaky roofs, building-maintenance or indoor-plumbing problems can lead to interior mold growth. Water vapor commonly condenses on surfaces cooler than the moisture-laden air, enabling mold to flourish. This moisture vapor passes through walls and ceilings, typically condensing during the winter in climates with a long heating season. Floors over crawl spaces and basements, without vapor barriers or with dirt floors, are mold-prone. The "doormat test" detects moisture from concrete slabs without a sub-slab vapor barrier. Some materials, such as polished concrete, do not support mold growth.
Significant mold growth requires moisture and food sources and a substrate capable of sustaining growth. Common building materials, such as plywood, drywall, furring strips, carpets, and carpet padding provide food for mold. In carpet, invisible dust and cellulose are food sources. After water damage to a building, mold grows in walls and then becomes dormant until subsequent high humidity; suitable conditions reactivate mold. Mycotoxin levels are higher in buildings which have had a water incident.Although this home experienced minor exterior damage from Hurricane Katrina, small leaks and inadequate airflow permitted mold infestation.
Mold is detectable by smell and signs of water damage on walls or ceiling, and can grow in places invisible to the human eye. It may be found behind wallpaper or paneling, on the inside of ceiling tiles, the back of drywall, or the underside of carpets or carpet padding. Piping in walls may also be a source of mold, since they may leak (causing moisture and condensation).
Spores need three things to grow into mold: nutrients - cellulose (the cell wall of green plants) is a common food for indoor spores; moisture - To begin the decaying process caused by mold; time -mold growth begins from 24 hours to 10 days after the provision of growing conditions.
Mold colonies can grow inside buildings, and the chief hazard is the inhalation of mycotoxins. After a flood or major leak, mycotoxin levels are higher even after a building has dried out.
Food sources for mold in buildings include cellulose-based materials such as wood, cardboard and the paper facing on drywall and organic matter such as soap, fabrics and dust-containing skin cells. If a house has mold, the moisture may originate in the basement or crawl space, a leaking roof or a leak in plumbing pipes. Insufficient ventilation may accelerate moisture buildup. Visible mold colonies may form where ventilation is poorest and on perimeter walls (because they are nearest the dew point).
If there are mold problems in a house only during certain times of the year, the house is probably too airtight or too drafty. Mold problems occur in airtight homes more frequently in the warmer months (when humidity is high inside the house, and moisture is trapped), and occur in drafty homes more frequently in the colder months (when warm air escapes from the living area and condenses). If a house is artificially humidified during the winter, this can create conditions favorable to mold. Moving air may prevent mold from growing, since it has the same desiccating effect as low humidity. Molds grow best in warm temperatures, 77 to 86 °F (25 to 30 °C), although growth may occur between 32 and 95 °F (0 and 35 °C).
Removing one of the three requirements for mold reduces (or eliminates) new mold growth: moisture; food for the mold spores (for example, dust or dander); and warmth since mold generally does not grow in cold environments.
HVAC systems can produce all three requirements for mold growth. The air conditioning system creates a difference in temperature, encouraging condensation. The high rate of dusty air movement through an HVAC system may furnish ample food for mold. Since the air-conditioning system is not always running, warm conditions are the final component for mold growth.
The first step in assessment is to non-intrusively determine if mold is present by visually examining the premises; visible mold helps determine the level of remediation necessary. If mold is actively growing and visibly confirmed, sampling for its specific species is unnecessary.
Intrusive observation is sometimes needed to assess the mold level. This includes moving furniture, lifting (or removing) carpets, checking behind wallpaper or paneling, checking ventilation ductwork and exposing wall cavities. Detailed visual inspection and the recognition of moldy odors should be used to find problems. Efforts should focus on areas where there are signs of liquid moisture or water vapor (humidity), or where moisture problems are suspected.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not generally recommend sampling unless an occupant of the space has symptoms. Sampling should be performed by a trained professional with specific experience in mold-sampling protocols, sampling methods and the interpretation of findings. It should be done only to make a particular determination, such as airborne spore concentration or identifying a particular species. Before sampling, a subsequent course of action should be determined.
In the U.S., sampling and analysis should follow the recommendations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the EPA and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA).
Types of samples include air, surface, bulk, and swab. Air is the most common form of sampling to assess mold levels. Indoor and outdoor air are sampled, and their mold-spore levels compared. Air sampling often identifies hidden mold. Surface sampling measures the number of mold spores deposited on indoor surfaces, collected on tape or in dust. Bulk removal of material from the contaminated area is used to identify and quantify the mold in the sample. With swab, a cotton swab is rubbed across the area being sampled, often a measured area, and subsequently sent to the mold testing laboratory. Final results indicate mold levels and species located in suspect area.
Multiple types of sampling are recommended by the AIHA, since each has limitations; for example, air samples will not identify a hidden mold source and a tape sample cannot determine the level of contamination in the air.Mold remediation
The first step in solving an indoor mold problem is to remove the moisture source; new mold will begin to grow on moist, porous surfaces within 24 to 48 hours. There are a number of ways to prevent mold growth. Some cleaning companies specialize in fabric restoration, removing mold (and mold spores) from clothing to eliminate odor and prevent further damage to garments.
The effective way to clean mold is to use detergent solutions which physically remove mold. Many commercially available detergents marketed for mold cleanup include an EPA-approved antifungal agent.
Significant mold growth may require professional mold remediation to remove the affected building materials and eradicate the source of excess moisture. In extreme cases of mold growth in buildings, it may be more cost-effective to condemn the building than to reduce mold to safe levels.
The goals of remediation are to remove (or clean) contaminated materials, preventing fungi (and fungi-contaminated dust) from entering an occupied (or non-contaminated) area while protecting workers performing the abatement.
The purpose of cleanup is to eliminate mold and remove contaminated materials. Killing mold with a biocide is insufficient, since chemicals and proteins causing reactions in humans remain in dead mold. The following methods are used.
Equipment used in mold remediation includes: moisture meter: measures drying of damaged materials; Humidity gauge: often paired with a thermometer; borescope: Camera at the end of a flexible snake, illuminating potential mold problems inside walls, ceilings and crawl spaces; digital camera: Documents findings during assessment; personal protective equipment (PPE): Respirators, gloves, impervious suit, and eye protection; thermographic camera: Infrared thermal-imaging cameras identify secondary moisture sources.
During mold remediation in the U.S., the level of contamination dictates the protection level for remediation workers. Contamination levels have been enumerated as I, II, III, and IV:
After remediation, the premises should be reevaluated to ensure success.
According to the EPA, residential mold may be prevented and controlled icy cleaning and repairing roof gutters, to prevent moisture seepage into the home; keeping air-conditioning drip pans clean and drainage lines clear; monitoring indoor humidity; drying areas of moisture or condensation and removing their sources; treating exposed structural wood or wood framing with an EPA-approved fungicidal encapsulation coating after pre-cleaning (particularly homes with a crawl space, unfinished basement or a poorly-ventilated; attic).
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