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What To Do When You See Symptoms Of Mold

A growing concern for property owners and renters during the past 50 years has been the increase in problems associated with mold. Once an issue primarily associated with tropical climates, these invasive fungi can now appear in a variety of geographic areas.  And this is not due to climatic shift. Rather, it's a combination of factors.

The use of building materials conducive to its growth is a common cause. The use of plastic pipes that lack the durability of copper or metal alloys allows moisture to enter an area through cracks that develop in the pipes. Drywall use in homes provides a substrate for mold to grown on and feed on, should water drip on it or should moisture be absorbed through it. It can gain a foothold underneath a wet carpet, a problem that wasn't common when floors were wood. When air conditioning became the primary method to cool a home, the fungi found an ally in the cool, moist air and oxygen being circulated and in the condensation occurring by the vents. These are just a few examples of conditions favorable to mold growth.

But where does this resilient fungus actually come from? The answer is spores. Spores that can enter through an open window, on a person's clothing or shoes, in the fur of a pet, leaks in a roof or from spores already present in the home. These spores multiply and trigger the symptoms of mold.

The spores are microscopic in size. You can't see an individual spore. What someone can see however is the result of a large number of mold spores reproducing and thriving. These symptoms of mold can be seen in dark patches near places with a discernible amount of moisture such as vents, showers, bathtubs, sinks or leaks. Sometimes the black patches, which are usually irregular in shape, may have a whitish or greenish border. It can also be detected by odor. This smell as been described as musty, like an old room or tomb, or having the smell of mildew.

So, if these symptoms of mold are present, what can be done to remediate the problem? And when? Generally, the earlier the better. When the symptoms of mold such as the visible dark patches and musty odor are first noticed, it would be prudent to contact a remediation specialist.

A remediation specialist can:

  • Determine what type of mold is the culprit. There are more than 1,000 species but the one that causes the most concern is black mold (Stachybotrys chartarum). There may even be several different types in a home but S. chartarum is thought to have the most health risks for humans.
  • Determine how extensive the outbreak is. A remediation specialist will recognize the symptoms of mold and know where to check to see if it’s present and to what degree. Typical locations would be inside the walls, in air conditioning ducts or vents and underneath the carpet.
  • Determine the most complete and efficient way to eliminate different types of mold and the best technique to remove it, no matter the location, and then perform the necessary procedures.

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