Mold Testing

AMK Home Inspection, LLC

Mold Testing

Mold is part of the natural environment. Outdoors, mold plays an important part in nature by breaking down dead organic matters such as fallen leaves and dead trees. But indoors, mold growth should be avoided.

Molds can be found almost anywhere. They can grow on virtually any organic substance as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed.

It is tough to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be reduced by controlling moisture indoors.

Ten Things You Should Know About Mold
  • 1 Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures. These include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.
  • 2 There is no practical way to eliminate all molds and mold spores in the indoor environment. The way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
  • 3 If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
  • 4 Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
  • 5 Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth. It can be done via multiple practices. A few ideas include venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources, using air conditioners and de-humidifiers, increasing ventilation and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.
  • 6 Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24 - 48 hours to prevent mold growth.
  • 7 Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
  • 8 Prevent condensation or reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
  • 9 In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
  • 10 Mold can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, where moisture is present. Some mold can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods as well.
Ways to Control moisture
  • The first thing to reduce moisture is to fix leaks and seepage. If water is entering the house from outside, your options range from simple landscaping to extensive excavation and waterproofing. (The ground should slope away from the house.) Water in the basement can result from the lack of gutters or a water flow toward the house. Water leaks in pipes or around tubs and sinks, provide a place for biological pollutants to grow.
  • Put a plastic cover over dirt in crawlspaces to prevent moisture from coming in from the ground. Be sure crawlspaces are well-ventilated.
  • Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens to remove moisture to the outside (not into the attic). Vent your clothes dryer to the outside.
  • Turn off certain appliances such as humidifiers or kerosene heaters, if you notice moisture on windows and other surfaces.
  • Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners, especially in hot, humid climates, to reduce moisture in the air. Ensure that the appliances themselves don't become sources of biological pollutants.
  • Raise the temperature of cold surfaces where moisture condenses. Use insulation or storm windows. A storm window, installed inside, works well than one, which is installed outside. Open the doors between rooms, especially doors to closets which may be colder than the rooms, to increase circulation. Circulation carries heat to the cold surfaces. Increase air circulation by using fans and by moving furniture from wall corners to promote air and heat circulation. Be sure that your house has a source of fresh air and can expel excessive moisture from the home.
  • Pay special attention to the carpet on concrete floors. Carpet can absorb moisture and serve as a place for biological pollutants to grow. Use area rugs which can be taken up and washed often. In certain climates, if the carpet is to be installed over a concrete floor, it may be necessary to use a vapor barrier (plastic sheeting) over the concrete and cover that with sub-flooring (insulation covered with plywood) to prevent a moisture problem.
  • Moisture problems and their solutions differ from one climate to another. The Northeast is cold and wet; the Southwest is hot and dry; the South is hot and wet; and the Western Mountain states are cold and dry. All of these regions can have moisture problems. For example, evaporative coolers used in the Southwest can encourage the growth of biological pollutants. In other hot regions, the use of air conditioners which cool the air too quickly may prevent the air conditioners from running long enough to remove excess moisture from the air. The types of construction and weatherization for different climates can lead to different problems and solutions.