What, Where, and Why Molds Grow
Molds are also known as fungi or mildew which are organisms that may be found indoors or outdoors. Molds can multiply by producing microscopic spores, similar to the seeds produced by plants. Many spores are so small they easily float through the air and can be carried for great distances even by the gentlest breezes. Although some molds may not be toxic, others can pose health problems in humans and animals.
Mold can grow on virtually any organic material as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that grow on wood, paper, carpet, food, and insulation. Because mold eats or digests what it is growing on, it can damage a building and its furnishings. If left unchecked, mold eventually can cause structural damage to building materials.
Lack of adequate moisture ventilation is the primary reason why mold grows. Undiscovered or ignored moisture problems can create an environement in which mold can grow. Mold does not need a lot of moisture to begin growing and without adequate ventilation, mold can grow and spread very quickly.
Remediation & Prevention
The goal of mold remediation is to find the source of the water/moisture problem, fix it, and clean up the mold. It is important not to try and clean suspected or confirmed mold unless professionally remediated to prevent, the spread into other areas of your home or come in contact with your respiratory system or skin. It is best to have a Certified Mold Inspector separate from the remediation company to perform the inspection for mold and excessive moisture to avoid conflicts of interest.
The key to mold prevention is moisture control. Special attention should be given to areas that are hidden, but might have gotten wet. Water entry into buildings and crawl spaces should be removed immediately and affected areas should be dried out. Perform regular building and HVAC inspections and maintenance as scheduled. In general, all wet areas should be completely dried within 48 hours to prevent mold from growing. If you are not experienced with home/building repairs you may want to consult a professional when making repairs, or for assistance with mold-prevention-related changes to your home/building.
Our mold assessment consists of three parts to ensure accuracy: Visual, Thermal, and Meter. WE DO NOT REMEDIATE MOLD (clean up). Our assessments are designed to identify potential moisture problems and/or find the cause of the mold/moisture problem. Once the problem is identified we will refer you to a few different remediation companies.
Visual - we visually survey the exterior and interior structure (including crawl spaces, basements, and attics), for obvious/visible moisture or mold growth.
Thermal - we use thermal imaging to detect exterior and interior elevated moisture and leaks that are not visible to the eye (behind walls, under carpet, ceilings, roofs, etc.)
Meter - once moisture is detected from visual or thermal imaging we use our moisture meter to confirm the specifics of the leak or moisture.
Mold spores cannot grow without water or moisture. Identifying and controlling areas of moisture are key to preventing mold growth inside of your home. Our state-of-the-art infrared thermal imaging technology provides a visual footprint of moisture within the walls and ceiling of your home by detecting the wet areas. Many times these areas go unseen because they are not visible to the naked eye. With the combination of our visual inspection, thermal imaging and the use of moisture meters, you can rest easy knowing your family, guests, and pets will be healthy and safe.
For more information, read the EPA's A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home.
The above information is provided as a public service by the Environmental Protection Agency for educational purposes.