What is Mold?
Mold is a common term for many types of fungi; unappealing patches of black, brown, yellow, green or fuzzy growths found on your walls, floors ceilings, basements and attics.
“Mold” or “fungus” can present with musty odors before detection. It is most commonly found in damp basements, attics with little to no ventilation, wet carpets, where water leaks & soggy drywall are found.
Several types of mold are mildly harmful to humans, while others are considered toxic. Harmful molds are classified as:
- Allergenic: Types of molds that can cause allergic reactions like asthma attacks, coughing or wheezing.
- Pathogenic: These types of molds cause health issues for people suffering from acute illnesses.
- Toxogenic: A toxigenic mold produces dangerous or even deadly health hazards such as headaches, fatigue, chronic cough, skin irritations and nose and throat irritations. The most infamous example of toxic mold is known as black mold.
While mold is a living substance, it cannot die on its own and must be actively eliminated — it has two life cycles, actively growing and dormant. There is no way to completely eliminate mold spores in an indoor environment — you must control the amount of moisture present by reducing humidity and eliminate excess sources of moisture like persistent leaks.
Although mold spores are literally everywhere, active mold growth requires moisture. Indoor mold needs 3 things to grow, warm temperatures, moisture and cellulose (food). That tasty drywall and wood beams are just delicious. Mold has two life cycles, actively growing and dormant.
Typical sources of moisture in a home are: seepage through foundation walls and basement floors, air conditioners, window condensation, defective plumbing, damp bathrooms, air filters, and potted plants. Different types of mold spores thrive on different surfaces; for example, the “yellow slime” found on hardwood mulch won’t be found growing in a tiled bath enclosure
Actively-growing mold damages the material it lives on, weakening its structural integrity in the long run.
Signs of Mold
Mold growth is a terrifying and costly event for many homeowners, but it can be easily detected by noting several common signs. If you suspect mold growth in your home, look for the following:
- Colorful Growths: The most obvious sign your home may have mold is if you spot growths along floors, walls and ceilings. Sometimes mold can be difficult to spot in small patches, but note any unusual colors or textures. Mold can be any color, ranging from whites and browns to blacks and blues, yellows, greens, reds and oranges, and appear as wispy threads, black pepper-like clusters or fuzzy spots.
- Unpleasant Odor: If mold in your home is hidden away, note any unusual smells lingering throughout your home. Mold inside your house will often smell musty and stale.
- Declining Health: If you or your family begin showing signs of failing health, you should consult an expert to identify mold growth. Common health concerns associated with mold include respiratory issues, nose and throat irritations, nausea, headaches, fatigue and skin and eye irritation.
What are fungi?
Fungi comprise of as many as 300,000 species. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines funguses, or fungi, as “types of plants that have no leaves, flowers or roots.”1 Fungi include all mushrooms; molds found in cheese, mulch, hay, grains, peanut butter, spoiled fruit and vegetables; athlete’s foot; and yes your bathroom grout. Spores are spread through the air and can be dormant for ever.
How do you prevent and remove indoor mold?
The key to lasting and effective mold prevention is to closely control and monitor your home’s moisture — mold can’t develop if there’s no moisture source to promote growth. Moisture throughout your home should be no higher than 50 percent.
To best keep moisture levels low throughout your home, consider these tips:
- Use vents when cooking or showering.
- Seal any cracks found throughout your basement.
- Make sure your dryer is properly venting outside.
- Store any firewood outside.
- Install dehumidifiers throughout your home.
- Repair any leaks in your roof, walls or plumbing.
- Remove and replace carpeting that has been damaged by flooding.
Not sure what you need?
Haven Property Solutions LLC is here to help. If mold is present or suspected in your home in New York, New Jersey or Pennsylvania, hire a professional to take a look. Haven Property Solutions LLC offers free estimates in most cases. We will let you know what steps to take whether or not this is something you can tackle on your own or recommend a local assessor. It is recommended before remediation to have an assessment per Article 32 of the NYS labor law.
If mold is clearly present, as determined by visual inspection or laboratory tests run by a reputable assessor, it should be removed as soon as possible. It can damage the materials it grows on and is associated with human health problems. Small amounts of mold on hard surfaces can be removed with commercial fungicides. However large amounts of mold require specialized removal techniques and personal protective equipment.
What is Article 32 of the Labor Law?
Effective Jan. 1, 2016, under Article 32 of the Labor Law, individuals or companies that call themselves out as mold “remediation” contractors or mold “assessors” must be (1) registered with the Department of Labor; (2) complete training and education courses; and (3) provide minimum work standards when they enter into contractual work for remediation of existing mold. It is unlawful for any person or company to engage, advertise or hold themselves out as a mold assessor, a mold remediation contractor / company, or even an abatement worker unless they have a valid license issued by the Commissioner of the Department of Labor.
Initially, a licensed mold “assessor” must be hired in order to perform the initial mold assessment, testing or visual site inspection (in clear cases of contamination) to determine whether or not there is mold at a property.
Once the licensed mold assessor determines that there is mold at the premises, the law then requires that a separate mold “remediation” contractor be hired to remove and/or remediate the mold issue.
This is where Haven Property Solutions LLC comes in. We can recommend licensed assessors; guide you through the entire process. Call us today for your free estimate.
Haven Property Solutions LLC taking care of your haven whether home or business! Our professional mold experts are waiting for your call. We are a local company with fair pricing.
1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Pesticides: Glossary. Updated Feb 16 2011. Accessed April 3, 2014.