Don't be confused. It's all about the air we breathe.
(as well as the value of your real estate)
Most Americans spend 90% of their time indoors, and most of that time is spent either at home or at our jobs. It is a fact that mold spores can enter our bodies through skin, eye and mouth contact. In the truest sense, mold primarily becomes a problem when the air we breathe becomes saturated with amplified levels of mold spores.
Mold growth (colonization) occurs when water leaks or water intrusions occur causing mold spores to become airborne. Whether at home, work or school, airborne mold spores can affect our health.
Those affected the most are:
People with allergy or asthma conditions
People with a compromised immune system from a disease, surgery or other health problem
Excessive moisture is the culprit and mold is the result.
When mold colonizes indoors it releases spores which become airborne, just as though it was outdoors. However, when trapped by indoor containments, the airborne spores have nowhere to go. As a result, much like smoke in a closed room, the air becomes densely filled with toxic mold spores, forcing mega-doses to be ingested by anyone who occupies the environment. Performing a mold inspection and taking an air sample will reveal air quality conditions.
Stop the moisture source first. Then clean up the mold.
Create a dry and more efficiently ventilated indoor environment or the situation will only continue to get worse. Mold spores are present naturally on most every surface. Mold spores simply wait for water to begin colonizing. It can be a simple elevation of humidity, not just actual visible water. Although we can never get rid of mold completely, we can control it.
Inspect for mold & water intrusions and test the air.
The only way to know what is in the air is to take samples. People can spend a lot of time and money cleaning mold conditions which pose no direct or potential health threat. A formal water intrusion and mold inspection will reveal current and potential water intrusions and mold colonization.
Air sampling and mold testing should reveal any amplified levels of airborne mold spores, and hopefully the source of the mold spore contamination. Lab analysis will determine the types of mold and the total mold spore counts present. It will also help to determine what further actions may be appropriate.
Beware of bad mold inspectors:
There are a lot of mold inspection companies that play on people's fears to get their money. A true mold problem is handled in three steps.
Initial Inspection: An independent mold inspection and mold testing by a certified and insured mold inspection firm. This step documents the problem and serves as a guide for necessary repairs.
Remove the Mold: Professional mold remediation by an independent certified mold remediation firm (following IICRC 520 standards of practice).
Post-Remediation Inspection: Re-inspection and re-testing by the original inspection company to determine if the repairs were properly and effectively completed.
Never allow the remediation company to perform the post-remediation inspection or testing of their own work. It is a conflict of interest and you can never be certain if the work was done properly.
Your mold inspection firm typically acts as your guide during the process. After the three step process is complete, you will end up with three separate documents. They represent the acknowledgment of a problem, the repair of the problem and the independent verification that all repairs were successfully completed.
By adhering to the 3-step process, not only will you be comfortable that your environment is safe once again, but you will also be protected from real estate devaluation. In today's real estate world, nobody wants to buy a mold problem. Home owners are required by law to disclose home conditions before the home sale.
If you've had water intrusions or leaks which resulted in mold, producing the three documents for the buyer and/or buyers agent will immunize yourself from any attempt at negotiating a lower price due to a mold problem.