Recent Mold Remediation Posts

Guide to Mold Colors and What They Mean

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

Guide to Mold Colors and What They Mean

Green, brown, yellow or black, mold has no place in your home

Mold works non-stop to keep the planet going by breaking down organic matter — but we still don’t want it in the house, and for awfully good reason. Whether it’s black, brown, green or pink, experts agree you should get rid of it. “Any visible mold should be removed, no matter what its color or species,” says Tiina Reponen, PhD, professor of environmental health at the University of Cincinnati. “In a healthy building, you don’t have visible mold.”

Like most fungi, molds grow best in damp conditions — think bathrooms and basements. If the spores find a moist surface to land on, they grow.

Although “toxic mold” is a misnomer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the agency notes some molds do produce toxic substances called mycotoxins.

Here, a color guide to molds commonly found in the house.

Green

If you see green mold, it could be just about any type of unwelcome fungus. There are more than a hundred thousand types of mold — and thousands of species of green mold. So what does the color green tell you? Not much.

Olive-green, brown, grey or black

These are common molds in the Cladosporium genus. Outdoors, they lurk on plant leaves. Indoors, they're often found on walls and insulation and can grow on damp carpet, too.

Blue, green, or white

These molds, also common, belong to the Penicillium genus. You’re right if you think that a type of this mold was used to make penicillin many years ago. It’s usually found on food and walls.

Yellow, green or black

These may be Aspergillus molds. People breathe in these molds every day.

Black or grey

These could be Alternaria, which is most common as an outdoor mold, growing around damp, dusty areas, soil and plants. But it has made its way indoors. In one study, Alternaria was found in more than 90 percent of house dust samples.

Pink

The pink “mold” often seen in the bathroom in the form of a slimy, pinkish discoloration on sinks and tubs is actually bacteria, not mold. Specifically, it's Serratia marcescens. It thrives on soap and shampoo residues.

Greenish-black

This mold, of the Stachbotrys genus, is the infamous “black mold”. It's less common than the molds described above — and possibly less dangerous than news reports would have you believe. It prefers to live on high-cellulose, low-nitrogen surfaces, which include drywall, gypsum board, paper, dust and lint that is regularly exposed to moisture. The CDC notes, "Growth occurs when there is moisture from water damage, excessive humidity, water leaks, condensation, water infiltration, or flooding. Constant moisture is required for its growth."

Article source: http://www.safebee.com/home/guide-to-mold-colors-what-they-mean

How Long Does it Take Mold to Grow?

11/27/2017 (Permalink)

How Long Does it Take Mold to Grow?

Interesting question. As a technician who has performed many water damage mitigations and mold remediations, the answer to this question has always been elusive.

When performing water damage mitigation work on some projects that had been wet for two or three days when we arrived, there was minimal indication of microbial growth.

If there were any indications, it was usually that “musty” odor, which we know are microbiological volatile organic compounds (MVOCs). We normally associate these odors with mold growth.

But, with no visible signs of mold growth, was mold contamination an issue? Or could the problem have been something other than mold?

On other jobs, upon arrival it was immediately apparent that the building had more issues than just being flooded. In these instances, we observed visible growth, assumed it was mold and determined that the site would have to be properly remediated.

From the 2002 New York City Guidelines of Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments, the inference was that mold would begin to grow in 24 to 48 hours. That statement was removed in the 2008 version. Additionally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its publication, Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, references the time line of 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold growth and states that “even if materials are dried within 48 hours, mold growth may have occurred.”

While both publications do not specifically state that mold begins to grow in 24 to 48 hours, this is the generally accepted time frame used by water damage responders to determine when mold begins to grow.

So we have the inference from the guidance documents that mold can begin to grow in 24 to 48 hours. We also have personal conflicting evidence: On some losses mold seems to grow, and on other losses mold does not seem to grow.

Article source: http://www.cleanfax.com/restoration/how-long-does-it-take-mold-to-grow/

How to identify common types of mold in your household

11/20/2017 (Permalink)

How to identify common types of mold in your household

Mold is an unwanted fungus. Untreated mold is a common problem in the average household. Do you know what type of mold you’re looking at?

Why bother with a Professional Remediation Company?

You may be able to clean up certain kinds of mold in small quantities, but most people are not equipped to perform a proper mold remediation no matter what the size. Simply wiping down the evidence is not good enough. Mold removal can involve setting up containment barriers, use of commercial size air filtration devices, wearing proper personal protective equipment, vacuums, and specialized cleaning agents. So give the SERVPRO team a call today at 440-887-9000. SERVPRO specializes in the cleanup and restoration or residential and commercial properties.

Alternaria

Alternaria grows in damp spaces, like showers and under sinks with leaky pipes. It sometimes grows in carpets that have been damp for a while, too. However, it can grow in areas with only minimal moisture. It can be found outdoors as well as indoors and spreads easily

Cladosporium

Cladosporium grows on both wooden surfaces and fabrics, like carpeting. It can also be found outdoors, where it mainly grows on plant material. It typically enters the house through HVAC systems or simply through open windows or doorways.

Penicillium

Penicillium is frequently found in things like insulation, carpeting, wallpaper and rotting fabrics (things like old mattresses, couch cushions, etc.). It’s known to spread rapidly and easily from one place to another. It’s one of the most common of all the different types of mold, and is actually the substance from which the antibiotic penicillin is made.

Stachybotrys chartarum

Stachybotrys chartarum, sometimes referred to as “black mold” due to its slimy black appearance, typically grows in places with continuous moisture, like around a leaky pipe or in air conditioning ducts where there is a great deal of condensation. It can spread to other areas, though. Laboratory tests can determine which mold type you have in your house, but it may not really matter. Any type of mold that’s obvious to you needs to be removed. You may be able to remove small amounts of mold yourself, but we suggest you have a mold removal specialist assess the situation for you.

Article source: http://smkazoo.com/2017/04/28/how-to-identify-5-common-types-of-mold-in-your-household/ and https://www.black-mold-guide.com/types-of-mold.html

What is mold

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

What is mold?

Molds are various types of fungi (singular = fungus) that grow in filaments and reproduce by forming spores that can travel through the air. The term mildew is sometimes used to refer to some kinds of mold, particularly mold in the home with a white or grayish color or mold growing in shower stalls and bathrooms. Mold may grow indoors or outdoors and thrives in damp, warm, and humid environments. Mold can be found in essentially any environment or season.

The most common types of household mold that are found indoors include Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus. Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as Stachybotrys atra and sometimes referred to as "black mold") is a greenish-black mold that can also be found indoors, although it is less common than the other types of mold found in homes. Stachybotrys grows on household surfaces that have high cellulose content, such as wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust, and lint. There are types of mold that can grow on substances as different as foods and carpet.

Molds reproduce by forming tiny spores that are not visible to the naked eye. Mold spores are very hardy and can survive under conditions in which mold cannot grow, such as in dry and harsh environments. These spores travel through outdoor and indoor air. When the mold spores in the air land on a surface where moisture is present, mold can then start to grow.

Outdoors, molds play a role in the decomposition of organic material such as dead trees, compost, and leaves. They are most common in damp, dark areas or areas of decomposing plant life. Indoors, mold is often found in basements or shower stalls. Indoor mold in residential areas has the potential to cause health problems and can destroy surfaces and objects where it grows.

Article source: https://www.medicinenet.com/mold_exposure/article.htm

You can control mold. Mold prevention tips

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

You Can Control Mold

Inside your home you can control mold growth by:

Controlling humidity levels;

Promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows, and pipes;

Thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding;

Ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas.

Mold growth, which often looks like spots, can be many different colors, and can smell musty. If you can see or smell mold, a health risk may be present. You do not need to know the type of mold growing in your home, and CDC does not recommend or perform routine sampling for molds. No matter what type of mold is present, you should remove it. Since the effect of mold on people can vary greatly, either because of the amount or type of mold, you can not rely on sampling and culturing to know your health risk. Also, good 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.

MOLD PREVENTION TIPS

Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%–all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.

Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.

Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.

Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly (within 24–48 hours) after flooding.

Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting.

Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.

Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly. Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.

Article source: https://www.cdc.gov/mold/dampness_facts.htm

Mold Inspection

7/19/2016 (Permalink)

Mold Inspection

If you see signs of mold in your home you need to have a mold inspection performed.

 There are two goals of a mold inspection. The first is to find any mold growing in your home. The second is to find the moisture problem which caused the mold to grow.

 Why You Should Have a Mold Inspection

When it comes to mold problems in the home, the earlier you can detect them the better. The longer mold is left the more it will grow and the harder it will be to remove. This is why it's best to have a mold inspection performed at the first sign of mold in your home.

One of the main reasons to have a mold inspection is if you smell moldy odors in your home but you can't find any mold growth.

 If you've had water problems, such as flooding or leaks, or if you notice signs of water damage it can also be a good idea to have a mold inspection. In these, and other, cases a mold inspection should be performed to find any hidden mold that might be growing.

 Even if you've already been able to find some mold growth in your home it is often a good idea to still do a mold inspection. This is because finding mold can often mean there is more mold hiding somewhere else. For example, mold growth on a wall, floor or ceiling can mean there is a mold colony on the other side of the material which has grown through.

 Even if there are no signs of mold in your home there can still be good reasons to have a mold inspection. If you're selling your house, for example, a thorough mold inspection could save you a lot of trouble in the long run. By finding any mold problems you can remove them before you sell your home, avoiding a potentially bigger problem later on.

Hiring a Professional Mold Inspector

If at all possible you should hire a professional mold inspector to inspect your home. Professional mold inspectors know the best places to look for mold. They can also immediately recognize subtle signs of mold growth and signs of water problems.

Professional mold inspectors are not only experienced but they also use sophisticated equipment. This equipment is very effective at finding hidden mold with minimal impact to your home. Some of the tools and techniques professional mold inspector use are infra-red inspection, borescopes (fiber optics), moisture meters and hygrometers.

Many professional mold inspectors also have a developed sense of smell for mold or they use mold sniffer dogs to quickly sniff out hidden mold. By hiring a professional mold inspector you can be sure that if there is any mold in your home it will be found.

Equipment for Mold Inspection

Moisture meters are used by many professional mold inspectors. Moisture meters have a narrow probe which can be used to test moisture levels by inserting it into, or pressing it against materials such as carpets, drywall, bricks, wood or concrete. By finding damp areas the mold inspector can work out places in your home where mold is most likely to be growing.

 Another piece of equipment used in mold inspections is a borescope. Borescopes are useful for finding hidden mold behind walls and other surfaces. First a small hole is drilled in the surface and then the borescope, which is a fiber optics probe, is inserted to look for mold on the other side. This way borescopes can find hidden mold while minimizing the damage to the wall or other surface.

 Mold is more likely to be growing in areas of your home with high humidity. Hygrometers can measure the humidity of the air, giving the mold inspector a better idea of where mold might be growing.

 If it's not practical to hire a professional mold inspector and you have to perform the inspection yourself you won't have access to the above equipment. In this case your most valuable tools when it comes to finding mold will be your eyes and your nose to see and smell mold in your home.

History of Water Problems

Even the most experienced mold inspector cannot perfectly spot signs of every single past water problem in your home. This is why you should think of a list of any past water problems, such as leaks and floods, including how much water was released and how long before the water was removed. You should let the mold inspector know this information before they begin the mold inspection process.

Finding and Fixing Water Problems During the Mold Inspection

If you have mold in your home then it must have had a moisture source to grow in the first place. Make sure you've fixed any existing water problems you know about. After that you should look for new causes of moisture problems. Look out for things like leaks, humidity problems, condensation or floodwater.

 Finding moisture can also lead you to find new mold growth. And, vice versa, finding mold can lead you to the moisture problem that caused it.

 It is important that you find and fix the water problems which caused the mold to grow in your home before you begin the mold removal process. After all, you do not want to spend time and money removing mold only to have it return because there's still a water problem.

Finding Mold

Next it's time to find the mold. If you are performing the mold inspection yourself you should begin by thoroughly searching every room in the house. Carefully look for visible signs of mold growth and remember to pay attention to any damp or moldy odors.

If you are suffering allergic symptoms take notice of which rooms upset your allergies more. You may already have an idea of which rooms your allergies have been worst in in the past. If so then there is a good chance that mold is lurking in these areas.

 Also look carefully in places where water flows, such as near pipes and sinks, or places which you know have had leaks or flooding in the past. Check spots where moisture accumulates such as surfaces with condensation, humid areas or any other places where you often see moisture. Rooms where surfaces are regularly wet such as the bathroom, laundry and kitchen are common locations for mold growth too.

 You also need to look for signs of water damage. Water damaged materials usually have abnormal surfaces such as warping or bulging. Discoloration, stains, and cracked or peeling paint are also signs. Small dots of mold growth can be a clue there's a larger mold colony nearby.

 The materials most suited to mold growth are ones high in cellulose, like drywall. And finally, mold often grows in air ducts so check them out as well.

 If you do find mold make sure not to disturb it. Large mold colonies should not be removed without properly sealing off the room first and following best practice removal methods.

Inspecting for Hidden Mold

Most people have a mold inspection because they have hidden mold in their home. The above signs can help with finding visible mold, but they also help to narrow down where hidden mold is probably growing. If you think you have worked out a location where hidden mold is probably growing you will then have to use invasive inspection techniques to look into the area.

 Invasive inspection techniques usually involve removing parts of surfaces to look behind them for hidden mold, for example: a hole drilled in a wall to insert a borescope to look for mold in the wall cavity.

This is where it's a big advantage to hire a professional mold inspector since they can check for hidden mold with minimal damage to your home. You might also want to turn to mold testing to make certain you have hidden mold before you begin invasive inspection.

 If you are doing invasive inspection yourself you should wear protective equipment. This is because there is a good chance you could trigger the release of large amounts of mold spores into the air.

Invasively inspecting for hidden mold also includes lifting carpet to check for mold underneath, looking behind paneling, looking behind ceiling tiles, looking under wallpaper, looking inside air ducts and moving furniture or insulation to check behind.

Your house could have hidden mold if you've had flooding or leaks. Leaks in pipes which run behind walls are an especially common cause of hidden mold. Another sign of hidden mold is if you can smell mold or you have allergic symptoms but you can't see any mold growth.

After the Mold Inspection

After the mold inspection you have the option of either having mold testing performed or moving on to the mold removal.

Mold Testing

There are a few reasons you might want to have mold testing done after a mold inspection. One reason is if you could not find any mold - or you found some mold but suspect there is more. In this case mold testing can confirm whether you have mold in your home and help you locate it.

 Secondly, if you found what looks like a toxic species of mold then you need to have it tested by an expert to identify it. Removing toxic mold is dangerous and should only be handled by professionals. This is why you need to know for sure if the mold is toxic before you begin removing it.

 Lastly, sometimes you might not be sure if what you've found is actually mold. For example, soot or dirt can sometimes look like mold. You might want to test what you have found to be sure.

Mold Removal and Remediation

Once you have found all the mold growth in your home you can start to plan for mold removal.

blog credit: http://blacktoxicmolds.com/mold-inspection.php

photo credit: http://leap-va.org/energy-ed-center/moisture-mold/