Everyone is so concerned about black mold. Indeed, Stachybotrys, this so-called black mold, might be the most dangerous, but is also easy to spot, and should be taken care of in the same manner as all molds. You’ve probably heard the most about this type of mold in the news, and it probably comes up first on internet string searches. Truth be told, it is dangerous, and should be taken seriously. But you don’t have to become a scientist – or even personally consult a scientist – to learn all you need to know about black mold.
1. Follow the smell. Living mold gives off an odor (musty smell) as it digests the wet material it is growing on.
2. Turn all the basement lights on and bring a flashlight. Do not adjust any airflow. Leave windows, fans, and blowers in their normal, everyday positions.
3. Measure the length and width of the basement and, using bits of tape or paper, divide off approximately six equal areas on a floor. Make a sketch on a piece of paper of these six areas and mark them 1- 6.
4. Stand in each of the six boxes and smell and look at the nearest wall and ceiling for dark blotches and stains. Record your smells and sightings.
5. Walk to the nearest wall and look closely at discolorations. Look at any stored goods for any signs of staining, blotches, or fuzzy-dusty looking surfaces.
6. If the wall is bare block or cement and has white powdery patches on it. This is not mold. This is almost always mineral salts leached out of the cement due to moisture in the wall. This is the same type of white powder you occasionally see staining red brick fireplace chimneys. Continue reading
Considering how fast and easy a mold spore can propagate itself if it finds itself in the proper conditions – one single mold spore can become trillions via mitosis, it’s no wonder most home and business owners are fraught with worry when it comes to mold. Right from the start, the usual questions pop up: where is the mold? How do I find it? What kind of mold is it? Will I find it in time? Will it cause occupants to become sick? Am I, as a business owner or tenant, liable at all for the problems of mold? Indeed, once mold is detected, it’s easy to hit the panic button right then.
Be careful when looking or trying to remove mold from your home. It seems that every single competitive business enterprise has one thing in common: there will be scams. After all, when it comes to business, it’s all about money, and there will always be those who will try to use any number of tools in order to empty people of their wallets. Often they seem to be the most helpful but they will make sure that will remain in a position that they know more about mold, how it works than their customers do. They are counting on the fact that the general public will know next to nothing about a specific scientific subject of any kind, let alone knowledge about mold. Scammers have a talent for exaggeration and playing on people’s fears. It’s so important to not give into these emotional pressures and use common sense to make sure you are not robbed blind.
Let’s say you have found a source of growing mold – perhaps by using an inexpensive home mold testing kit – and, unfortunately, you think it may be a problem if you don’t deal with it right away. First, don’t panic, there are millions of homeowners who have faced similar situations and they all have gone through the same concerns as yourself.
Truthfully, the first and biggest mistake you can make going in is to haphazardly clean it up or pull out moldy materials. You need to establish both a plan and a methodology from which to proceed. Do not try to dust, brush, blow or vacuum the mold – this will only spread the mold spores. Do not let an allergic or asthmatic individual do the clean up or remain in the room during the mold clean-up
If you disturb a source of growing mold the wrong way, it can injure your health and contaminate larger areas of the building.
Is it likely that you have mold in your home? If you coming to the realize, that in fact, there is mold your home, or that it’s at least likely that this is the case, it seems that many questions immediately come to the forefront. Where is it? What kind of mold is it? Is it dangerous? How has it been affecting the health of my family or my pets? How do I clean it up? How much is finding and cleaning it going to cost? Since all of these questions come up at once, they are clearly all important, but, whether or not most people would actually admit it, cost is certainly a big consideration, particularly in this economy. It’s easy to assume that dealing with mold problems will be prohibitively expensive. The truth: it can be, if you are not smart.
The first thing to keep in mind is that some materials are automatically conducive to having mold if there is enough moisture in the air and if the humidity and temperature is correct. In short, new houses that use dry walling are just as susceptible to having mold grow on that dry wall as old homes that use dry wall.
Mold detection can almost seem so daunting and futile of a task when you realize that it’s possible for mold spores can reside on almost any surface in your house. So, where do you start to look for mold? It’s scary enough to have your phone or computer at the ready, so you can get in touch with a mold inspector to come and have a look, or you can order a home testing kit.
However, wouldn’t it feel better if you had an idea of where to start looking, so that you can narrow down the possibilities? Of course you can’t know where to look for mold until you know a little about why mold grows at all. That realization, in particular, is the key starting point, and leads to a key distinction that must be made. Indeed, while mold spores can be deposited on almost any surface in the home, it doesn’t necessarily follow that these spores will actually grow into mold contamination. These spores need the proper conditions – including temperature, nutrients, and level of moisture, in order to germinate. Otherwise, while the spores themselves might be on nearly every surface, they will probably remain dormant and wouldn’t cause a problem until they all became airborne at one time. In short, the real problem begins when the conditions are just right for mold to grow on those surfaces; they will germinate and become that same toxic mold that everyone’s concerned about.