Mold is a common term used to describe various types of fungi, which often appear as unwanted and unsightly patches of black, brown, yellow, pink, green, smelly, and fuzzy growths. Through mold inspection, countless mold species can be found inside and outside buildings.
In a mold inspection, the terms “mold” and “fungus” often evoke negative associations such as musty odors, damp basements, moldy carpets, water damage, soggy drywall, and even hazardous elements like athlete’s foot and poisonous mushrooms. However, molds can also be found to play a crucial role in producing beneficial substances like penicillin and blue cheese during a mold inspection. Fungi, including yeasts, are used in bread, beer, and wine, and certain mushrooms are considered a delicacy. Without fungi, the world would be overwhelmed by an accumulation of leaves, trees, grass, and waste.
Mold and its particles are present everywhere, but through a mold inspection, you’ll learn that active growth of mold only occurs when there is moisture. Indoor mold can grow on visible surfaces or hidden behind walls, in attics, or under carpets, in the presence of excessive dampness or water. Other harmful substances can also be found in moist indoor environments.
Indoor mold may not only be visually unappealing and emit unpleasant odors but also pose more serious problems. Through mold inspection, actively growing mold can be found and identified, which can damage the surface, compromising the structural integrity. Additionally, mold is linked to negative health effects in humans, such as allergies and infections. While some health issues in mold-contaminated environments may be attributed to bacteria or dust mites, the existence of “toxic mold disease” and its connection to “toxic mold” has not been scientifically established through mold inspection. The same goes for the alleged symptoms of “sick building syndrome” and their supposed association with “toxic mold.”
Fungi and Mold
Fungi make up a vast group of organisms, possibly numbering as many as 300,000 species. They are also described as “plants without leaves, flowers, or roots.” During a mold inspection, this diverse group of organisms can be uncovered, including poisonous and non-poisonous mushrooms, causes of athlete’s foot, fingernail infections, and certain types of pneumonia, molds found in food items such as cheese, peanut butter, and spoiled food, as well as the black growth in bathroom grout.
A mold inspection can help identify areas in your home or building where fungi multiply through tiny pieces carried through the air and taking hold on surfaces. While many of these fragments can lie dormant for long periods under dry conditions, they generally grow into fungi when moisture is present, which can be identified during a mold inspection.
Outdoor fungi decompose organic matter, such as leaves, grass, and fallen trees, and the fungi create a significant amount of material consisting of various fragments. These fragments can change depending on the surface they are found on, the time of year, and weather conditions. A mold inspection can help determine if the same fragments are found indoors at any given time as they are brought in through doors, windows, clothing, and shoes.
Homes and structures can easily provide opportunities for mold growth, even without obvious water leaks, such as through seepage in the foundation walls and cellar floors, air conditioners and dehumidifiers, condensation on windows, faulty plumbing, damp bathrooms, air filters, and potted plants. A mold inspection can help determine different varieties of mold that may thrive on different surfaces. For instance, “yellow slime” growing on hardwood mulch wouldn’t be present in a tiled bathroom area.
Impacts on well-being linked to exposure to moldy indoor environments and moisture.
The growth of molds and fungi is common in humid indoor environments, where people who occupy the area may experience respiratory issues, headaches, and other physical symptoms. In addition to visible or concealed mold, these damp spaces may contain mold byproducts, dust mites, bacteria, harmful chemicals, gasses, and particles released from surfaces on which molds grow. The complexities of testing for all these elements make it challenging to establish a clear link between exposure and the observed health effects. A mold inspection can help identify potential sources of indoor mold and determine the extent of the contamination.
A recent study that reviewed data from ten countries discovered that mold in households was linked to various respiratory problems among children aged 6 to 12, such as wheezing, coughing during nighttime, allergies, and hay fever.
If mold exposure is causing health problems, leaving the affected environment and performing a mold inspection is a crucial step in preventing and treating the issue. Several case studies showed that people who developed allergies, bronchitis, and asthma when in damp spaces saw improvement in symptoms when removed from these environments, and a mold inspection was performed to address the mold problem. Even if the exact cause of illness couldn’t be determined, removing individuals from the damp environment and conducting a mold inspection was necessary in these cases.
Preventing and getting rid of mold
To prevent mold growth, controlling moisture is essential, as mold fragments are everywhere. Homes, businesses, and schools may have mold sources such as leaks in Leaks through the roof, walls, and basement, condensation on windows and bathrooms, standing water in drains, heating and cooling equipment, and damp floors and carpets can all be sources of mold growth. To avoid mold growth, one must prevent leaks, eliminate standing water, properly vent areas susceptible to condensation, quickly dry damp carpets and furniture, and use mold-resistant paints indoors. During humid weather, air conditioners and dehumidifiers may be used as well. A professional mold inspection can help identify potential mold sources and give you recommendations for mold remediation.
Even though eliminating mold and mold particles in a home is attainable with professional help, controlling moisture levels through a mold inspection is the most effective way to prevent or stop mold growth, as mold can only increase with it. If mold has already taken hold in your home, it is crucial to remove it through a mold inspection and address the underlying cause of dampness. If the root issue is not fixed, the mold will likely return even after cleaning it up.
If you’re interested in having a mold inspection, visit moldtesting-houston.com to set your appointment, and we guarantee to give you the best deal possible. Remember, “Prevention is better than cure.”