Mold damage costs homeowners and home insurers an excess of $1 billion every year. For this reason, home buyers, real-estate professionals, and mortgage companies request home and mold inspections for new and existing homes alike. With all the advances in industrial technology in the past few years, you'd think mold would be less of a problem than it was 10 - 20 years ago, however, the opposite is true. New homes are typically better sealed than homes built 20 years ago. While this makes them better insulated against extreme temperatures, it also provides mold with the necessary growing conditions. The insulation provides the mold with its desired temperatures, and the tighter seal raises humidity levels due to lack of ventilation.
Be mindful that mold is a serious and complex problem. Water damage or water leaks, missing sealing or insulation, and poor ventilation may lead to mold formation. United Inspection Group utilizes a latest technology to provide quick and reliable results. We are certified to perform Mold Inspections. We use traditional methods with Thermal Imaging Survey to perform mold inspections more efficiently. Remember, when United Inspection Group works, you save!
What is Mold
The term ‘mold’ refers to a fungus growth on a porous, often rotting material. All molds are fungi organisms; however, not all fungi are molds. There are hundreds of varieties of mold, and many types often grow in the same location.
The term ‘mildew’ refers to one of the most common types of mold. Like many molds, mildew generally causes a discoloration of an underlying, porous material. It is commonly found in living areas but can thrive in hidden inaccessible areas as well. Mildew can grow when high moisture levels are present. It requires oxygen, water, a food source, and a narrow temperature range to metabolize and reproduce. It is typically found on wooden surfaces (feeding off oil extracts), but can grow successfully on just about anything. Since it can only live on the surface and cannot use wood or cellulose as a food source, mildew by itself is not cause for great alarm, but it could lead to more hazardous mold if not addressed.
The most common type of toxic mold is Stachybotrys or "black mold," which can be described as green-black, slick, and slimy. Stachybotrys chartarum may produce several different mycotoxins, which protect against other competing organisms like bacteria that are trying to grow in the same area. The mycotoxins are attached to the mold spore and, when they are inhaled or come into contact with the skin, an allergenic reaction may result. Toxic molds can be extremely dangerous to everyone, but especially people with existing health problems. Home repairs with toxic molds present should be handled only by certified biohazard contractors.
Cause and Effect
Molds, yeasts, and mildews are included in the approximately 70,000 species of fungi that have been identified. All fungi can cause health problems, but only about 100 species, called toxic molds, cause disease in humans. Fungi are found everywhere, both indoors and out. Fungi break down organic matter such as cellulose, and either absorb or eat the nutrition. Volatile organic compounds are airborne and may be evidenced by odors caused by fungi, some of which cause irritation and upper respiratory tract problems. Certain cancers can also be caused by exposure to toxic molds over extended periods of time.
The most common health problems associated with mold are allergy symptoms. Other symptoms include:
• Nasal and chest congestion
• Wheezing and breathing problems
• Sore throat
• Skin and eye irritation
• Sinus and upper respiratory infection
• Triggering of asthma attacks
• Respiratory illness
• Shortness of breath
• Tightness in the chest
• Endocarditis (heart disease)
Anyone can be at risk for health problems from exposure to indoor mold. Everyone has a different tolerance, so there is no set "time table" within which health problems become apparent. The type and severity of health effects from exposure to mold are difficult to predict. Whether or not symptoms are caused by mold can only be determined by a physician.
Where to Look for Mold
Mold will grow only where there is something to consume. Cellulose, mold's favorite food, thrives in conditions including leaking water, condensation, and high humidity. Some of the most common areas for mold are listed below:
• Underneath kitchen and bathroom fixtures (sinks, toilets, or bathtubs)
• Basements or cellars that have flooded
• Behind walls that contain plumbing
• Behind wallpaper that was once damp
• Between baseboards and the wall or the floor
• Around air-conditioning units
• Around leaky windows
• Underneath previously wet carpet