Mold Appears Around Hvac Events What Should I Do
I assume this home has air conditioning? If so, this is due to condensation forming on the cold ducting in the attic, then dripping onto the adjacent sheetrock. Check the insulation around the ducting and register.
This could also be due to an oversized air conditioner, which causes the unit to power off before its sufficiently pulled the humidity from the air.
hen the cold air exiting the ducting lowers the temperature of the surrounding sheet rock. If the humidity in the home is high, this will cause condensation and mold growth.
How Do I Address The Problem
Mold Clean-Up And Removal:
To clean up and remove indoor mold growth in small quantities, follow these steps as they apply to your home.
- Identify and Fix the Moisture Problem
- Begin Drying All Wet Materials
- Remove and Dispose of Mold Contaminated Materials
- Clean Surfaces
- Disinfect Surfaces – optional
- Remain on Mold Alert
- Identify and Fix the Moisture Problem – the most important step in solving a mold problem is to identify and correct the moisture sources that allowed the growth in the first place.
Common Indoor Moisture Sources Include:
- Flooding, inadequate maintenance and failure of building materials and systems
- Roof leaks
- House plants – watering them can generate large amounts of moisture
- Water movement through basement walls and slabs
Drying The Indoor Environment:
To keep indoor surfaces as dry as possible, try to maintain the home’s relative humidity between 20-40 percent in the winter and below 60 percent the rest of the year. You can purchase devices to measure relative humidity at some home supply stores. Ventilation, air circulation near cold surfaces, dehumidification and efforts to minimize the production of moisture in the home are all very important in controlling high humidity that frequently causes mold growth in our cold climate.
Begin Drying Of Wet Materials:
Remove And Dispose Of Mold-Contaminated Materials:
How Can I Know If Theres Mold In My Carpet
The plush fibers of a carpet can be a thriving spot for mold spores. Its easy for the spores to stick to the surface and theres often a significant amount of dirt, dust and bacteria. Once moisture is introduced, mold will likely begin to grow.
Mold can grow inside the carpet or underneath. The padding or backing of carpets is likely to have mold if exposed to moisture.
A tell-tale sign of mold in a carpet is a musty or even sour odor. However, the best way to know whether or not theres mold growing in your carpet is to pull it up and inspect it.
If you do find mold, consider the severity of it and whether the carpet is worth trying to save or not. You can easily remove the area affected by mold and replace it with new carpeting. Adding additional waterproof padding underneath can help to keep mold and mildew at bay.
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Why Does Mold Form In Homes
Mold forms in homes because, in many cases, a home is the ideal place for mold to grow particularly in basements and other areas which may be dark and moist, and have a similar temperature all-year-round, due to furnaces and water heaters.
Essentially, there are mold spores in the air at all times and once they find a place thats hospitable to them, theyll start reproducing, causing a visible mold problem.
Who Is Most At Risk For Health Problems Associated With Exposure To Mold
People with allergies may be more sensitive to molds. People with immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections. Individuals with chronic respiratory disease may experience difficulty breathing. Individuals with immune suppression are at increased risk for infection from molds. If you or your family members have these conditions, a qualified medical clinician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment.
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Dont Want To Use Chemicals Heres How To Test For Mold In Your Home Naturally
If youre concerned about the effects of harmful chemicals when testing for mold in the house, worry not. Testing for mold doesnt use any chemicals, and kits are non-toxic.
In fact, the main thing you should be worried about when testing for mold is the mold itself. If you are collecting direct samples of mold using the swab technique, wear gloves and a mask to reduce your exposure to the mold.
Should I Have My Home Or Business Tested For Mold
IDPH does not recommend testing for mold . If mold growth is visible, testing is not needed to identify what type or level of mold is present. Mold testing also is not typically useful in determining what steps to take for cleanup.
If you can see or smell mold, testing is usually not necessary. It is likely that there is a source of moisture that needs to be fixed and the mold needs to be cleaned or removed. Even if testing is done, no standards or guidelines exist to judge acceptable amounts of mold. Testing cannot determine whether health effects will occur.
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How To Prevent The Growth Of Mold
Keeping the interior of your home dry can help prevent mold. The home inspector can discover leaks, issues with plumbing, or problems with the HVAC system and ventilation, which can lead to the growth of mold. This is why a professional home inspection is so important.
High humidity levels can also cause mold to form on wood, drywall, and other materials the mold considers food. Using a dehumidifier to regulate humidity levels can help to prevent mold.
Common places you might find mold include:
- Areas where pipes have been leaking
- Areas beneath roof leaks
- Basements where there has been water damage or flooding
- Areas where you see a buildup of moisture
- Homes with poor air circulation and ventilation
A Qualified Environmental Lab Took Samples Of The Mold In My Home And Gave Me The Results Can Cdc Interpret These Results
Standards for judging what is an acceptable, tolerable or normal quantity of mold have not been established. Sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable quantity of mold have not been set. The best practice is to remove the mold and work to prevent future growth. If you do decide to pay for environmental sampling for molds, before the work starts, you should ask the consultants who will do the work to establish criteria for interpreting the test results. They should tell you in advance what they will do or what recommendations they will make based on the sampling results. The results of samples taken in your unique situation cannot be interpreted without physical inspection of the contaminated area or without considering the buildings characteristics and the factors that led to the present condition.
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Who Checks Air Quality In The Home
The best person to inspect for pollutants in the home is an indoor air quality consultant or inspector. These individuals will have an official certification in the service and the proper tools for performing an assessment. There are many options for certification through various associations. Many HVAC and home inspection pros have this certification.
Hire an Air Quality Professional Today
Last July I Was Told That I Should Move Out Of My Home Right Away Because Of Dangerous Mold Since Then The Insurance Company Has Refused To Pay For Remediation And I Have Been Paying Rent And Wondering How I Will Be Able To Save Money To Get Back Into My Home I Have Been Wondering Lately If I Reacted Too Rashly And Wonder If They Were Just Hoping I Would Pay For Remediation I Live Inland In Sw Florida What Do You Think About All Of This
The mold testing report indicates the outside air had a higher mold spore count than the air inside your home. This is a good sign and certainly is no cause for vacating the property, unless there was substantial visible mold growth. We see this situation quite often. The industry is full of unscrupulous inspectors who stoke fears by misinterpreting results.
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What Is The Difference Between Mold Inspection And Mold Testing
A mold inspection occurs at the home, where the home inspector or mold inspector conducts a visual inspection of the house. The inspector will also talk to the homeowner about any water damage, leaks, moisture problems, and areas of mold that might have already been discovered.
Mold testing occurs at a laboratory from samples taken at the mold inspection. The samples that have been collected are examined in carefully controlled conditions. The types of mold are identified, as well as how many mold spores are circulating through the air in the home. Some mold inspections will include mold testing as part of the service.
How To Test For Mold In Air
In order to test your air for mold, youll need a viable mold test kit. These are widely available at any home improvement store and online at sites like Amazon and Home Depot.
Once mold is determined, call a professional to do additional tests to see what type of mold is present and how to remove it.
Keep In Mind
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Do The Petri Dish Mold Testers Like Mold Armor Work They Say Watch It For 48
In general, Ive found the petri dish style sample kits provide limited information. The industry gold standard is a 5 minute Air-O-Cell style non-viable sample. These provide true spore count levels and are easily compared to other test samples. The results of this test should be compared to average outdoor data for your region. For example, basidiospores levels are very high in the late summer and early fall. If youre just looking at total spore counts, you might conclude your house suffered from a mold issue. Yet Basidiospores do not grow in the home. Therefore, its important to separate out the types of spores in your home. Petri dish style kits cannot effectively achieve this type of analysis.
If You Use Bleach To Clean Up Mold
- Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce a poisonous gas.
- Always follow the manufacturers instructions when you use bleach or any other cleaning product.
- Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
- Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles during cleanup of affected areas.
- If you need to clean more than 10 square feet, check the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guide titled Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, which gives advice on all building types. You can get it by going to the EPA web site at .
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How Can I Clean Areas Of Mold In My Home Or Business
The guidelines for cleaning smaller areas of mold growth include the following practices:
The guidelines for cleaning areas of mold growth larger than 30 square feet include these additional practices, which may require the services of a professional mold remediator:
Limitations Of Mold Testing
There are many testing methods that can detect molds. They can be used to find mold particles suspended in air, in settled dust, or growing on surfaces of building materials and furnishings. Some methods can identify a portion of the types of live molds in a sampled environment, but these may also miss or undercount those are not live or wont grow well on the nutrients used to incubate the sample. Other methods are better able to characterize the total amount of molds in a sample , but not very good for identifying the specific types of molds. Even tests that are done well only give a partial estimate of the amount and types of molds actually collected in a sample or in the sampled environment.
Despite these limitations, there are situations where mold testing by skilled investigators may be valuable for example, to justify remediation expenses or to document that cleanup has met expectations. In some cases, tests can also provide clues that may help find hidden mold, but the growth still has to be found by looking for it so that it can be removed. Experienced investigators should evaluate whether testing is warranted and if they are ethical, they should advise against testing whenever the problem can be corrected without it. Testing may be useful as part of an investigation, but it is never a substitute for a thorough visual inspection.
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Had Mold In Crawlspace Remediated 25 Years Ago Inspector Said Tiny Bit Of Mold There Now But Not Enough To Cause Our Ermi Result Over 15 No Visible Mold In House Proper We Didn’t Clean All Surfaces After Initial Remediation Could Enough Mycotoxins Remain From Then To Cause Current Ermi Score If So Do House Fogs Work Or Must We Clean Every Individual Item In The House To Get Rid Of The Mycotoxins
ERMI testing is not accurate and should not be used for residential mold investigations. Please read our article on ERMI Testing. ERMI testing cannot differentiate between spores from last week vs. 10 years ago. It also cannot differentiate between a systemic, long term issue vs. a single, one-time event. I recommend hiring a company that uses non-viable air sampling. This is the industry gold standard technique and can determine the current state of your indoor air quality.
In general, I do not recommend house fogging. It is far better to remove the contaminants than to attempt to neutralize them. Fogging can be useful when dealing with viruses or bacteria. In those situations, your goal is to kill the organism. With mold growth, we need to physically remove the spores from the home. Therefore, HEPA vacuuming and damp wiping are much more effective.
If You Have Mold In Your Home
Mold can look like spots. It can be many different colors, and it can smell musty. If you see or smell mold, you should remove it. You do not need to know the type of mold.
If mold is growing in your home, you need to clean up the mold and fix the moisture problem. Mold can be removed from hard surfaces with household products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of household laundry bleach in 1 gallon of water.
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How To Detect Mold In Your Basement Or Home
You won’t always know if there is mold in a house you’re considering buying, but you can take a few easy steps to try and find out.
Be on the lookout for mold. When you’re thinking about buying a home, look for the elements above to figure out if there are any obvious signs of mold or the potential for mold. Keep your eyes peeled for standing water in the basement, water marks on walls , or musty smells .
If you’re looking at a newer home, find out whether it is built with “synthetic stucco,” also called the Exterior Insulation and Finish System . This airtight barrier is supposed to improve insulation but, if improperly installed, may allow water penetration and mold growth on the inside of walls.
Ask your home inspector. If you have the home professionally inspected before you buy it, your home inspector may see obvious signs of mold or water damage. While it’s not the inspector’s job to look for mold, most home inspectors will mention obvious signs of water damage and the possible presence of mold. And, because the inspector will poke around in spaces you might not, he or she may see things you wouldn’t. For more information, see the Nolo article, “Getting a Home Inspection.”
In states where mold disclosure is not required, you can still ask for such disclosure. In addition, ask questions about things that could lead to mold growth, such as “Have any pipes ever burst?” or “Have any of the windows ever leaked?”
Take Steps To Protect Yourself
The amount of mold particles in air can increase greatly when mold is disturbed. Consider using protective equipment when handling or working around mold contaminated materials. The following equipment can help minimize exposure to mold:
- Rubber gloves
- Eye goggles
- Outer clothing that can be easily removed in the work area and laundered or discarded
- Medium-efficiency or high-efficiency filter dust mask — at a minimum, use an N-95 or equivalent dust mask
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