Many people call us a little frantic.   It starts with a concern about mold and after searching on the internet, the concerns tend to get more intense.   Here at EcoPure, we like to take a different approach so you can feel more confident to understand your situation and your choices so you can make informed decisions and take the most appropriate action. 

Let’s start with understanding about mold.  

Did you knowMolds are not plants or animals, they are organisms found in the kingdom Fungi, like mushrooms and yeast.  They have an important role in the environment by breaking down organic material, such as dead leaves.

Did you know… molds are found both indoors and outdoors.

Did you know… Molds multiply by producing microscopic spores about 2 – 100 microns [μm] in diameter.  A micron is about .000039 of an inch, which is really small!  Because spores are so small they easily float through the air and can be carried for great distances by even the gentlest breezes. The number of mold spores suspended in the air fluctuates seasonally, daily, and even hourly.

Did you know… Mold spores cannot be completely eliminated from indoor environments. Normally, some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in settled dust and not usually a problem as the spores will not grow if moisture is not present. 

Did you know… If mold spores land on a wet or damp spot, they can begin growing. As molds grow they digest whatever they are growing on.  Mold growth can damage buildings and furnishings; molds can rot wood, damage drywall, and eventually cause structural damage to buildings.  Mold can also cause cosmetic damage, such as stains, to furnishings.

Did you know… To grow indoors, mold needs moisture and food. Moisture is the most important factor influencing mold growth indoors and mold needs very little of it.  Condensation is enough moisture for mold to grow.  Moisture control is the key to mold control.

Did you know… Common sites for indoor mold growth include bathroom tile and grout, basement walls, and areas around windows, near leaky water fountains, and around sinks. Common sources of water or moisture include roof leaks, condensation due to high humidity or cold spots in a building, slow leaks in plumbing fixtures, humidification systems, sprinkler systems, and floods.

Did you know… Besides moisture, mold needs nutrients, or food, to grow. Mold can grow on virtually any organic substance. Most buildings are full of organic materials that mold can use as food, including paper, cloth, wood, plant material, and even soil. In most cases, temperature is not an issue; some molds grow in warm areas, while others prefer cool locations such as bread stored in a refrigerator. Often, more than one type of mold can be found growing in the same area, although conditions such as moisture, light, and temperature may favor one species of mold over another.

Did you know… In addition to the structural and cosmetic damage, mold can also impact human health.  Health effects of mold spores include:

  • Allergic reactions-Molds produce allergens, irritants, and, in some cases, potentially toxic substances or chemicals (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Mold does not have to be alive to cause an allergic reaction. Dead or alive, mold can cause allergic reactions in some people. Allergic reactions to mold are common and can be immediate or delayed. Repeated or single exposure to mold, mold spores, or mold fragments may cause non-sensitive individuals to become sensitive to mold, and repeated exposure has the potential to increase sensitivity. Allergic responses include hay fever-like symptoms such as headache, sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Molds can cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, molds can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of individuals whether or not they are allergic to mold.

Did you know… mold can cause other health issues.

Breathing in mold may also cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis, an uncommon disease that resembles bacterial pneumonia. In addition, mold exposure may result in opportunistic infections in persons whose immune systems are weakened or suppressed.

When mold grows indoors, the occupants of a building may begin to report odors and a variety of symptoms including headaches, difficulty breathing, skin irritation, allergic reactions, and aggravated asthma symptoms.

It is important to note all of these symptoms could be caused by other exposures or conditions unrelated to mold growth. Therefore, it is important not to assume that, whenever any of these symptoms occurs, mold is the cause.

Did you know… Health effects of mycotoxins- As molds grow, some (but not all) of them can produce potentially toxic byproducts called mycotoxins under some conditions. Some of these molds are commonly found in moisture-damaged buildings. More than 200 mycotoxins from common molds have been identified, and many more remain to be identified. The amount and types of mycotoxins produced by a particular mold depends on many environmental and genetic factors. No one can tell whether a mold is producing mycotoxins just by looking at it. Some mycotoxins are known to affect people, but for many mycotoxins little health information is available. Research on mycotoxins is ongoing. Exposure to mycotoxins can occur from inhalation, ingestion, and skin contact. It is prudent to avoid unnecessary inhalation exposure to mold.

How do you know if you have mold?

Typically, mold is found with eyes and noses.   Musty smells and visible growth are the most common ways of finding mold.   Molds grow in all shapes, sizes, colors and figurations, so it may be hard to tell if something is actually mold.  Mold can be confused with dirt, efflorescence, soot, and other substances.   Even a trained mold professional can’t always determine if the substance is actually mold.  However, a trained professional by a thorough inspection will know if the conditions are favorable and determine if there is a need to test the substance.  

Hidden mold-there are times when mold is growing where it cannot be seen.   A trained professional will use tools such as a moisture meter and/or infrared technology to determine if there is a moisture issue.   If there is a moisture issue found, regardless if there is mold present, the issue will need corrected to prevent mold.   There are other ways and tests trained professionals can use to look for signs of hidden mold.  

What do you do if you think you have mold…

Have an inspection-the most effective first step in addressing a possible mold issue.

  • A mold inspection is a paid-for service to determine the presence of mold greater than normal conditions and (possibly) determine the source of the mold.  The inspection includes diagnostic tools such as a moisture meter and infrared technology. 
  • The inspection with our professional expertise, is often able to identify the issue without testing.  
  • Mold inspections are based off the size of the building and the scope.  A single-family home inspection is $119.  Please inquire for commercial space and multi-family housing. 

Mold Testing is not recommended as the first course of action for mold.  In fact, the US EPA states that testing is often not necessary when there is visible mold present.  

  • However, testing is an important tool available and is often used for the following circumstances:
  • During real estate transactions where a decision to purchase needs to be made quickly.
  • To determine the level of contamination or type of mold present before remediation.
  • After remediation
  • Spore trap analysis are $87 per test.  (Minimum necessary to test is usually three)
  • Tape lift, swab or bulk samples are $87
  • MVOC (mold volatile organic compounds) test are $309 per test.
  • Other tests are available as needed
What do you do if you know you have mold

According to the US EPA

  • The average person can clean up mold less than 10 square foot.  
  • If the mold is greater than 10 square feet and less than 100 square feet and you have experience in construction, you may be able to clean up the mold.
  • If the mold is greater than 100 square feet, the space needs professional remediation.

Cleaning up mold includes identifying the source of moisture in the structure and preventing the moisture from reoccurring.  If this is not done, mold will return.  

For more information, please visit the EPA website.

EcoPure does not provide mold remediation services; we provide consulting services for remediation which can include:

Mold remediation protocol writing

Mold remediation service provider selection

Mold remediation oversight

Post mold remediation testing