Testing for Mold
Mold spores are everywhere in our environment, indoors and outdoors. Certain spores can lead to allergy symptoms, while others can become more harmful. In the course of a home inspection, clients are most often concerned with mold as a result of water damage, but high indoor humidity levels can also cause significant issues for occupants.
HOW CAN YOU IDENTIFY A POTENTIAL MOLD PROBLEM?
The indoor environment might seem damp or musty. There can be signs of moisture in basements or attics, or you may notice windows have some condensation build-up during the winter months. A hygrometer can be purchased from most hardware stores, and will measure air’s water-vapor content in the home. A home’s relative humidity should be between 30% to 50% RH. (This will change a lot as it gets colder outside. See chart below)
What does Mold Need To Grow?
Mold feeds off of many building materials found in homes, such as paper, wood and carpeting. The ideal temperature for mold growth is 77°F to 86°F. It also needs a moisture source. Generally, that moisture will come from water leaks, high humidity, or condensation. If the conditions are not right, the mold will go dormant and not grow.
How Do You Remove Mold?
If the mold is on a surface that can be cleaned, simply wash it away with a soapy solution. You must be very thorough because any remaining spores will be able to regenerate. If the mold has made it into your walls or carpet, there is a good chance those materials will need to be removed.