Mold and mildew can be found almost anywhere. It can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed.
Our mold testing is done by certified indoor environmentalists. Mold, mildew and other fungi live and prosper in the same environment as we do. The houses we live in and buildings we occupy, provide great conditions for mold growth.
All facilities need regular inspections for mold and mildew along with other periodic preventative air maintenance inspections. Before fungi (mold) can colonize, four requirements must be met:
Humidity and water leaks are the cause of most Mold Infestations. Leaks, being the easiest to spot, are the first indications that mold may be present. But often mold grows behind walls, baseboards and other unidentifiable areas. Using your senses (visual and smell), can usually indicate the first signs of trouble.
In humid conditions air conditioners can become a host to fungi and mold. If air conditioners are not operating properly and the indoor humidity rises, conditions become favorable for mold to grow.
Infrared Cameras: Valuable diagnostic tool which gives us the ability to detect water leaks behind walls, in ceiling, or under floors without the need for any destruction. In addition it can identify dew points which indicate areas of potential mold or mildew growth.
Moisture Meter: Detects moisture measurement in walls, in ceiling surfaces, flooring and around windows. If the moisture level is high, the possibility for mold or mildew increases.
Indoor Air Sampling: Indoor air samples will be taken to confirm the presence of mold, to identify the mold, and the level of mold contamination. Indoor air samples are taken using an air-vacuum as well as surface swab samples to identify species and get an accurate count of how many mold spores might be in the air. Mold spores are much smaller than pollen grains, allowing many of them to bypass the normal filtering function of the nose effectively. Inhalation of mold spores into the lung is a common cause of asthma attacks in people who are allergic to molds. In some patients with chronic sinusitis an allergic reaction to mold overgrowth in the nasal sinuses can cause a condition termed allergic fungal sinusitis.
Dust Particulate Sampling: Laser particulate counter is used to measure airborne particulates in five different sizes from 0.3 micron to 5.0 microns. Excessive dust can be the result of poor air filtration and can cause allergic reactions in many individuals.
For more information on any type of testing please contact us at 610-357-1450.
Molds produce tiny spores to reproduce. Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods. When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or un-addressed. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
The key to mold control is moisture control. It is important to dry water damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. If mold is a problem in your home, clean up the mold and get rid of the excess water or moisture. Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water. Wash mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely. Absorbent materials (such as ceiling tiles & carpet) that become moldy may have to be replaced.
Molds can trigger asthma episodes in sensitive individuals with asthma. People with asthma should avoid contact with or exposure to molds.
How do molds affect people?
Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds, may have more severe reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs.
EPA's publication, Indoor Air Pollution: An Introduction for Health Professionals , assists health professionals (especially the primary care physician) in diagnosis of patient symptoms that could be related to an indoor air pollution problem. It addresses the health problems that may be caused by contaminants encountered daily in the home and office. Organized according to pollutant or pollutant groups such as environmental tobacco smoke, VOCs, biological pollutants, and sick building syndrome, this booklet lists key signs and symptoms from exposure to these pollutants, provides a diagnostic checklist and quick reference summary, and includes suggestions for remedial action. Also includes references for information contained in each section. This booklet was developed by the American Lung Association, the American Medical Association, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the EPA. EPA Document Reference Number 402-R-94-007, 1994.
Allergic Reactions – excerpted from Indoor Air Pollution: An Introduction for Health Professionals section on: Animal Dander, Molds, Dust Mites, Other Biologicals .
"A major concern associated with exposure to biological pollutants is allergic reactions, which range from rhinitis, nasal congestion, conjunctival inflammation, and urticaria to asthma. Notable triggers for these diseases are allergens derived from house dust mites; other arthropods, including cockroaches; pets (cats, dogs, birds, rodents); molds; and protein-containing furnishings, including feathers, kapok, etc. In occupational settings, more unusual allergens (e.g., bacterial enzymes, algae) have caused asthma epidemics. Probably most proteins of non-human origin can cause asthma in a subset of any appropriately exposed population."
Consult the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website
The EPA publication, "A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home" , is available here in HTML and PDF formats. This Guide provides information and guidance for homeowners and renters on how to clean up residential mold problems and how to prevent mold growth. A printed version will be available soon.
Biological Pollutants in Your Home – This document explains indoor biological pollution, health effects of biological pollutants, and how to control their growth and buildup. One third to one half of all structures have damp conditions that may encourage development of pollutants such as molds and bacteria, which can cause allergic reactions — including asthma — and spread infectious diseases. Describes corrective measures for achieving moisture control and cleanliness. This brochure was prepared by the American Lung Association and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. EPA Document Reference Number 402-F-90-102, January 1990.
Moisture control is the key to mold control, the Moisture Control Section from Biological Pollutants in Your Home follows:
Water in your home can come from many sources. Water can enter your home by leaking or by seeping through basement floors. Showers or even cooking can add moisture to the air in your home. The amount of moisture that the air in your home can hold depends on the temperature of the air. As the temperature goes down, the air is able to hold less moisture. This is why, in cold weather, moisture condenses on cold surfaces (for example, drops of water form on the inside of a window). This moisture can encourage biological pollutants to grow.
There are many ways to control moisture in your home:
Your humidistat is set too high if excessive moisture collects on windows and other cold surfaces. Excess humidity for a prolonged time can damage walls especially when outdoor air temperatures are very low. Excess moisture condenses on window glass because the glass is cold. Other sources of excess moisture besides overuse of a humidifier may be long showers, running water for other uses, boiling or steaming in cooking, plants, and drying clothes indoors. A tight, energy efficient house holds more moisture inside; you may need to run a kitchen or bath ventilating fan sometimes, or open a window briefly. Storm windows and caulking around windows keep the interior glass warmer and reduce condensation of moisture there.
Humidifiers are not recommended for use in buildings without proper vapor barriers because of potential damage from moisture buildup. Consult a building contractor to determine the adequacy of the vapor barrier in your house. Use a humidity indicator to measure the relative humidity in your house. The American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends these maximum indoor humidity levels.
Outdoor Recommended Indoor Temperature Relative Humidity
+20 F. 35%
+10 F. 30%
0 F. 25%
-10 F. 20%
-20 F. 15%
Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus, with reference from the Association for Home Appliance Manufacturers ( www.aham.org ).
Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned? – excerpt on duct cleaning and mold follows, please review the entire document for additional information on duct cleaning and mold.
You should consider having the air ducts in your home cleaned if:
There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system. There are several important points to understand concerning mold detection in heating and cooling systems:
How much all your mold testing costs will be depend on a number of circumstances. How large a property is, the extent of a problem. You may look at spending money on mold testing as expensive, but most of the time you a spending more money up front to save money in the long run.
While we can give an estimate of the total bill based on information you give us, we do not like to give a final cost until our inspector assesses the property. What we can do is give you our pricing structure and information about how it works. We charge $150 for a visual inspection and $75 per sample that is taken. However we do not come out to perform a visual inspection without sampling and you must get a minimum of 2 samples as an outside control sample is always required.
After the initial 2 samples, you can expect to be recommended 1-2 additional samples per problem area. The basic idea of our testing protocol is to determine the following…
Our inspectors will do their best to get the most amount of information from the least amount of tests. At the same time it is important to understand how each situation can effect the price. If you have multiple problem areas, you will need testing in each of those areas to get specific advice for removal. If a mold remediation company does not know exactly what needs to be done based off testing, chances are they will go overboard. You are spending extra money to ensure no unnecessary work is performed.
Regardless of the size of a building or any other factors, we only recommend samples that can be beneficial to you. For example, if it is obvious to our technician that an area has been unaffected by a problem in another area they will not recommend a sample be collected. Our goal is to get as much information as we need to create the most detailed protocol for professional mold removal with the least amount of tests as possible.
Please let us know if you have any questions or would like to schedule an inspection, our phone number is 610-357-1450.
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