February 27th, 2014

Mold In Homes: Facts Versus Fears

Home Owners Network

Molds must have hired a public relations consultant.  Molds, especially black mold, are getting more press coverage now than they have during their billion plus year existence on our planet.  Here are some facts to help you use informed thought instead of hype when thinking about mold, mold testing, and mold remediation. 

  • Mold is everywhere (and has been for a very long time).  It’s in your home right now. Dampness
  • Mold causes allergic reactions in some people; however, there is no proven link between mold and more serious conditions in otherwise healthy people.  There is evidence of serious allergic reactions by some people to some molds.  These reactions are rare and usually occur in people with other health conditions such as compromised immune systems.  Consult a doctor if you have questions about the health effects of mold. 
  • Mold needs food, water, and the right temperature to grow.  We can’t do much about the food and temperature.  We can do something about the water. 
  • Mold’s presence in excessive amounts is a symptom of a failure to properly control water in the home.  Controlling water in the home will go a long way toward curing mold (and other) problems. 
  • There are no independent, peer-reviewed standards about acceptable levels of exposure to mold. 

Based on our research and experience, we believe that the following recommendations are appropriate for most homeowners. 

  • Control mold by controlling water in the home.  Fix water leaks, establish proper drainage away from the foundation of the home, and use kitchen and bath exhaust fans ducted to the outdoors. 
  • Ensure that your heating and cooling system is operating properly and is properly maintained.  Have the system professionally serviced at least once per year.  Have the system evaluated if it cycles between running for short time periods and not running for short time periods (short cycles).  Change your filters regularly.  Pour about 1/2 cup of bleach into the condensate drain pipe at least once a year.  Have the evaporator coils and drip pan professionally cleaned as needed. 
  • Clean small areas of surface mold with detergent.  Remove and replace heavily water-damaged materials.  Use care when working with mold-infested materials and with chemicals.  Mold spores can disperse when disturbed and can contaminate other areas.  Mold infested and damaged surfaces in excess of about 10 square feet should be referred to a certified mold remediation specialist.

 

 The Bottom Line

 Mold is a symptom of a problem, not the problem itself.  Remove the symptom (mold) and the symptom will return.  Fix the problem (water where it shouldn’t be) and the symptom will not return.  Sometimes finding and curing a water problem is easy.  Many times, however, finding the problem requires experience and special equipment.  Don’t be reluctant to ask for help if you have a water problem that you can’ solve. 

We’re here to help at Homeowner’s Network.  Use our “Ask The Experts” service if you need help.  Please include as many details as possible about your situation so we can provide you with our best advice.

 If you need a qualified technician to help you, try our “Find a Contractor” referral service.  Log on to your Homeowner’s Network account to access the “Find a Contractor” page.

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