Mold : It’s a Serious Health Risk and causes Structural an aesthetic Damage

“Molds” are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, mold plays a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold-growth should be avoided. Molds-reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. “Mold” may begin growing indoors when mold-spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold*, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.

These tiny spores if left unchecked can and will infiltrate walls, floors, heating and air systems and eventually are visibly growing in the home. Left untreated not only can they cause damage to HVAC and structural components but they can cause serious health issues for the occupants and visitors. It is wise to follow the Guide to Elimination of Mold

in order to protect you, your family and your home from serious health or structural problems. Mold-can cause health problems that range from itching eyes, sneezing and coughing to serious allergic reactions, asthma attacks and even permanent lung damage. What many people do not know is that mold-could be growing in their homes right now.

Molds-produce allergens which substances that can cause allergic reactions, irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances such as mycotoxins. Inhaling or touching-mold or mold-spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold* are common. They can be immediate or delayed. "Molds" an also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to “mold”. In addition, mold-exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling-mold. Research on "mold" and health effects is ongoing.

Why is mold growing in my home?

Mold-search for moisture, warmth, and food, and all three conditions are necessary for it to grow. “Mold” is most likely to find a place to grow in rooms such as a bathroom, basement or kitchen, but it can grow in other rooms if conditions are favorable. The climate where you live and the living habits in your household can affect the ability of mold-to grow. Mold-spores can flourish and reproduce in wet or damp parts of your home: areas that have flooded or where leakage have occurred in roofs, pipes, or walls, or areas around house plants, especially ones that sometimes are over-watered. In just 48 hours, a moist environment combined with room-temperature conditions and an organic food source can lead to mold-growth.

Getting Rid of “Mold”

It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. This is why your ventilation choice is crucial. You need to provide the proper amount of ventilation with conditioned air for dust and humidity. By providing quality air and the right turn over rate you can avoid the mold-and-mildew issues. If there is mold-growth in your home, you must clean up the mold-and fix the water problem. If you clean up the “mold”, but don't fix the water problem then the mold-problem will come back.

Once a mold-spore has embedded itself in dust it has the nutrients it needs so if moisture is present then the spore will grow rapidly. Moisture can come from condensation produced by the air-conditioning coil, from a faulty humidifier attached to the system, or even from high levels of humidity in the air itself.

While it is possible for mold-to grow in the ductwork of a central heating system it is more common to find it in the parts of the system that collect the most dust and have the greatest potential for being exposed to moisture. The air-conditioning coil and its fiberglass lining, and the cabinet that houses the blower fan.

If mold-starts to form in your heating and cooling system it can literally cover the entire inside of the system. Then when the heating system is turned on, the blower fan distributes mold-spores throughout the house. You may not even know you have a problem until you start feeling ill.

In most cases the only way to determine with certainty whether-mold is growing inside a central heating system is to gain access to the coil, its lining and the blower, and take a dust sample from the surface of the components.

That sample must then be examined under a microscope. Here you look to see if the spores are active in the dust or if the system is collecting them from air in the house. It is possible for mold-spores from other areas of the house to get caught in the dust in the furnace. The test is to see if active mold is growing in the HVAC or being collected from the household air movement. For safety an inspection of your system is advised. You can use the Guide for a Mold Free Living to do your own mold investigation and remediation if required or if you are not able to then you can hire a professional inspection which can range from $200 to $1,000 or more, depending on scope and complexity. If active "mold" is found in the heating system, a homeowner should hire a professional remediation expert that is certified and licensed in "mold" removal. Remember to check for:

1. License and Bonding

2. References

3. Better Business Buearu Report

4. Estimate of the work and scope of what will be performed

5. If mold tests are ran make sure it is a reputable lab and you receive copy of the results.