Mold in the Home

The first thing to understand about mold is that there is a little mold everywhere – indoors and outdoors. It’s in the air and can be found on plants, foods, dry leaves, and other organic materials.It’s very common to find molds in homes and buildings. After all, molds grow naturally indoors.  And mold spores enter the home through doorways, windows, and heating and air conditioning systems.  Spores also enter the home on animals, clothing, shoes, bags and people.When mold spores drop where there is excessive moisture in your home, they will grow. Common problem sites include humidifiers, leaky roofs and pipes, overflowing sinks, bath tubs and plant pots, steam from cooking, wet clothes drying indoors, dryers exhausting indoors, or where there has been flooding.Many of the building materials for homes provide suitable nutrients for mold, helping it to grow.  Such materials include paper and paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood and wood products, dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation materials, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.

The importance of mold in the real estate market today

Much has been made of indoor mold in advertising and the media lately, so it’s a common concern for homeowners and buyers.  It’s common to find mold even in new homes.  Whether you’re selling your current home or looking into buying one, it’s vital to get a mold inspection.  Presence of active mold can drastically affect the resale value of any home.

At Home and Hearth Inspections, Inc., we look for signs of moisture entering a house as a normal part of our inspection process. We also have the capability to sample areas of suspected mold to determine (by sending the sample to a accredited laboratory) if it is mold and what kind of mold is involved. For buyers, mold sampling and analysis will ensure that you’re not surprised by costly clean up and the potential health hazards of mold.  If any mold is found to be present and active in the home, the mold sampling will allow you to ask the seller to do the clean up prior to buying the home.

If you are simply worried about possible mold in your house, we can help you find where the moisture is coming from, ideas about how to remedy it and then have samples sent to a lab so you know which molds you are dealing with. Armed with this information, you can cure the water intrusion and then eliminate the mold.

Exposure to mold

Everyone is exposed to some amount of mold on a daily basis, most without any apparent reaction.  Generally mold spores can cause problems when they are present in large numbers and a person inhales large quantities of them.  This occurs primarily when there is active mold growth.

For some people, a small exposure to mold spores can trigger an asthma attack or lead to other health problems.  For others, symptoms may only occur when exposure levels are much higher.

The health effects of mold can vary.  The production of allergens or irritants can cause mild allergic reactions and asthma attacks.  The production of potentially toxic mycotoxins can cause more severe reactions, and in rare cases death.

Should I be concerned about mold in my home?

Yes.  If indoor mold is extensive, those in your home can be exposed to very high and persistent airborne mold spores.  It is possible to become sensitized to these mold spores and develop allergies or other health concerns, even if one is not normally sensitive to mold.

Left unchecked, mold growth can cause structural damage to your home as well as permanent damage to furnishings and carpet.

All molds should be treated with respect to their potential health risks and removal.

Can my home be tested for mold?

Yes.  We can sample suspected mold areas and confirm the type of mold involved.

James Christoforo has achieved certification as a “Council Certified Residential Mold Inspector” by the National Asbestos and Environmental Training Institute (NAETI). NAETI is one of the longest established environmental and technical training companies in the US and was founded in 1985. James, also a member of the American Indoor Air Quality Council, will be performing preliminary residential mold inspections throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

How do I remove mold from my home?

First address the source of moisture that is allowing the mold to grow.  Then take steps to clean up the contamination.  Here are helpful links to lean more about cleaning up mold in your home.

 

*Sources: California Department of Health Services Indoor Air Quality Info Sheet, “Mold in My Home: What Do I Do?” revised July 2001Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Questions and Answers on Stachybotrys chartarum and other molds” last reviewed November 30, 2002.