Indoor air quality and mold can be an issue in the winter months here in states like Minnesota.
When winter falls upon us we are all going to close up shop and we are pretty much stuck with the air that gets more trapped inside our homes. In the summer months we can open windows and let the fresh air in however that old saying from your father rings true in the winter, “we’re not trying to heat the whole planet”. Any mold or radon that has been hiding in your home will have more damaging effects in the winter months.
A professional mold and indoor air quality evaluation and testing can provide answers. A professional home inspection can provide a complete evaluation of the interior and exterior your building using state of the art testing equipment and analysis.
First you have to understand what you are up against.
What is mold and where does it come from?
Mold is a type of fungus, comprising single-celled or multi nucleate organisms that live by decomposing and absorbing organic material in which they grow, ie: mushrooms, molds, mildews, rusts and yeasts. Molds are decomposers of dead organic material such as leaves, wood and plants. Molds sometime infect living plants and animals. The spores and mold colonies are to small to see with the human eye without a microscope. When a lot of mold is growing on a surface, it often appears black, green, pink or purple. Mold growing on fabric is called mildew.
How does mold grow and spread?
Mold needs moisture to grow, without water it cannot grow. Mold also needs food, oxygen and a temperature between 40 and 100 degrees F. Mold needs a damp or wet organic material to grow on. Some molds can get moisture from the air. All they need is a relative humidity above 80%. Mold is virtually everywhere.
What are the health effects of mold contamination?
This depends on the level of contamination and the health of the individuals living within the exposed area. Children and the elderly are probably the most susceptible to mold. It can irritate the eyes and especially the lungs. Asthma or other breathing issues can be a sign of a mold issue. Chronic coughing and sneezing, irritation to the eyes, mucus membranes of the nose and throat, rashes, chronic fatigue and persistent headaches can all be symptomatic of mold exposure.
How do I test for Mold?
Visual inspections can be performed by a homeowner it will be pretty obvious to the naked eye if you look thru your basement or attic mold can often be seen in plain sight near damp areas. However more extensive testing must be performed if you suspect a mold issue may be underneath a carpet or inside a wall. The can be non-invasive tests performed with a hygrometer. A hygrometer is one way to test for mold but depending on to your situation it may involve more complex testing such as sampling and lab tests.
If you suspect your home has a mold issue or if you are purchasing a home and want peace of mind contact a professional home inspection company. In the Twin Cities contact Inspections Plus, with over 25 years of experience in the construction and home inspection industry Inspections Plus can complete a mold testing program and give the results fast.