Things you should know about mold
According to the EPA the ten things you should know about mold:
1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints.
2. 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.
3. If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
5. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by:
• Venting bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside
• Using air conditioners and de-humidifiers
• Increasing ventilation
• Using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing and cleaning
6. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
7. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
8. Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
9. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
10. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.
It is the water that you do not see that causes the most damage to your home and business. Water contains bacteria that can cause mold, rot, and other unseen damage.
Allergic reaction to mold are common, however, asthma attacks, skin and eye irritation, and coughing attacks are also common. Those with special health concerns should consult their doctor if they are concerned about mold exposure. Symptoms that may seem to occur from mold exposure may be due to other causes, such as bacterial or viral infections or other allergies.
In order to control mold, you have to control the moisture in a building. Once you detect water, acting promptly is the key to controlling mold. You need to get the water infiltration stopped and cleaned within 24-48 hours.
The IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification) gives several good tips on how to prevent mold.
• Repairing plumbing leaks and leaks in the building structure as soon as possible.
• Looking for condensation and wet spots. Fix source(s) of moisture incursion problem(s) as soon as possible.
• Preventing moisture from condensing by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in the air (humidity). To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in the air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid).
• Keeping HVAC drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed.
• Performing regularly scheduled building/ HVAC inspections and maintenance, including filter changes.
• Maintaining indoor relative humidity below 70% (25 - 60%, if possible).
• Venting moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.
• Venting kitchens (cooking areas) and bathrooms according to local code requirements.
• Cleaning and drying wet or damp spots as soon as possible, but no more than 48 hours after discovery.
• Providing adequate drainage around buildings and sloping the ground away from building foundations. Follow all local building codes.
• Pinpointing areas where leaks have occurred, identifying the causes, and taking preventive action to ensure that they do not reoccur.
It is impossible to rid your home or business of mold spores. Some mold spores can travel through the air and in dust, however if there is no moisture present, there can be no mold growth. Remember, if you clean up the mold, but do not fix the water problem, then the mold problem will continue to come back. That is where SERVPRO is here to help. Should you suspect mold in your home or business, contact our office at 708-240-4873.