Do you have or suspect mold growth in your house? A number of molds may be found growing in houses with damp, humid conditions. The mold can grow on anything from paper, wood, carpet, wallpaper, ceiling tiles, drywall, insulation material, cloth, leather, books to concrete. Some of these molds such as some species of Stachybotrys, Aspergillus and Penicillium are toxigenic (toxic molds). Others like Alternaria and Cladosporium are well known causes of allergic reactions in sensitized individuals.
The good news is that not all molds that occur in indoor environment are hazardous. However, any mold growth in a home should be treated as potential hazard. Current Canadian mold guidelines advise building occupants to clean-up and/or remove visible mold growth. Mold growth can be controlled by eliminating or reducing moisture on surfaces of materials susceptible to mold attack.
What are the indicators of possible mold growth?
- Excess moisture or water damage. Excess moisture may result from leaks (from pipes or roof), flooding, standing water, condensation, moisture from cooking or washing, and rising damp. Signs of moisture problem may include warping, peeling out of paint, efflorescence, rusting of metal and dampness to the touch.
- Discoloration of surfaces of building materials that are susceptible to mold attack. These discolorations could be due to mold growth or just water stains.
- Earthy or musty odours. Earthy odours are an indication of microbial growth. Lack of moldy odours does not mean there is no mold growth. Not all molds produce detectable odours and inactive or dead mold may not produce significant odours.
If you see mold growth or discolorations, you may send tape samples to a mold laboratory to determine whether the mold present is hazardous or is only of cosmetic concern. Cleaning large areas of hazardous mold requires special protection. To take a sample of visible mold growth, no special mold testing kit is required! For details on how to take a sample of visible mold growth click Tape Samples.
If there is earthy or musty odours but no visible mold growth, you can test the air for mold. Air testing may reveal hidden mold growth. Generally, a professional would be required to perform air testing. However, for peace of mind, homeowners can perform preliminary air testing using a cost-effective and easy-to-use mold sampling kit, which will enable them to take samples in their own homes and send them to a laboratory for analysis. For details on air quality testing click Residential Air Quality Testing: How To Test Home Air Quality.
If you have questions regarding mold growth in your home, give us a call at 905-290-9101. We may be able to help you or direct you to the right professionals or resources.