Better Business Bureau
of the Southland
Member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Small Business Nation
ALL ABOUT MOLD
MOLD SCAMS AND
Leary about those ads offering "free
mold inspections" from contractors playing both sides of
the fence?? You should be!
Before calling a mold inspector take a moment to
read this and avoid being the next victim of the mold
common mold scams and fraudulent business practices
being perpetrated right now in your community. Click
here for details.
TOXIC MOLD IN A BRAND NEW HOME?
Think your property has to be old to
have mold? Think again!
Watch one family's story about mold in their brand
new home in this video shown on FOX News.
MOLD IN YOUR CAR, TRUCK, RV, BOAT?
Can Mold In Your Vehicle
Cause Fungal Infections?
Yes. Have you ever turned your vehicle's air conditioner
or heater and smelled mold? Or jumped in your boat or
motor home after its been closed up for a while and
noticed a repugnant odor? Our cars, trucks, SUVs, RV's,
motor homes, boats, and airplanes can all be a source
for exposure to high levels of airborne mold spores.
If you live or work in a moldy building, mold spores
that cling to your clothing often end up in your car's
air conditioner or heater. Water-damaged vehicles and
even vehicles that have been cleaned but the upholstery
or carpets have not been dried properly can all be
infested with mold.
MOLD IN HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING VENTS
Can air ducts become
contaminated with mold?
Yes. Dusty HVAC ductwork provides an
ideal environment for mold and other allergens to grow
in. Air duct systems may be constructed of bare sheet
metal, sheet metal with fibrous glass insulation on the
exterior, or sheet metal with an internal fibrous glass
insulation. Bare sheet metal systems and sheet metal
systems wrapped in fibrous glass insulation can be
cleaned and disinfected. If ductwork made of sheet metal
with internal fibrous glass liner or ductwork made
entirely of fibrous glass becomes water damage or mold
growth occurs, replacement may be necessary.
Call AMI today for a quote on
testing your recycled indoor air
If your mold inspection is not conducted with infrared
thermal imaging, your mold inspection may be
Moisture detected in a first floor bathroom ceiling
caused by a leaking shower on the second floor.
Moisture detected in a first floor ceiling caused by an
improperly sealed shower door gasket above.
Moisture detected in a bedroom ceiling caused by a roof
Moisture detected in a first floor kitchen ceiling
caused by a leak under a second floor kitchen sink.
Moisture detected in a bedroom closet ceiling caused by
a roof leak.
Moisture detected in a bedroom ceiling caused by an
improperly installed drain in a second floor deck. |
in Your Home
Mold plays an essential role in our outdoor
ecosystem. Without mold, we would find ourselves
wading neck-deep in dead plant matter. And we
wouldn't have great foods and medicines, such as
cheese and penicillin. However, problems arise when
mold starts digesting organic materials we don't
want them to, like our homes.
What are Molds?
Molds are microscopic organisms that produce two
1. enzymes to digest organic matter, and 2. spores
With more than 100,000 species in the world, molds
can be found literally everywhere. Molds are part of
the fungi kingdom along with mushrooms, yeast, moss
and mildew. In nature, mold plays a key role in
balancing the ecosystem by decomposing and digesting
leaves, wood, plant debris, and virtually any other
natural or man-made organic materials.
When defining mold it is important to distinguish
between mold growth you can visibly see on a
surface, and mold spores that cannot be seen with
the naked eye but are ever-present in the air. The
mold you can see growing on the surface of
construction materials can cause property damage.
The mold spores you cannot see floating in the air
can cause people damage.
Mold spores are regenerative cells surrounded by a
very tough coating that can survive detergents,
chemicals, bleach and extreme temperatures.
Invisible to the natural eye, mold spores typically
require between 400 and 600X magnification to
identify. It is has been said that 250,000 mold
spores can fit on the head of a pin. A visible patch
of mold the size of a quarter can represent
literally billions of mold spores.
Molds reproduce by releasing spores. Airborne mold
spores are literally everywhere - all the time,
continually floating in and out of the buildings we
all live and work in. Generally speaking, every day
levels of mold spores floating in and out of
buildings is not a problem unless there is dampness
somewhere in the building. When airborne mold spores
come in contact with wet or damp construction
materials, such as wood, drywall, cabinets, carpet,
etc. they colonize (settle). When mold spores
colonize on a surface they can grow and spread
rapidly, significantly multiplying indoor spore
levels, giving off a variety of odors, and
exhibiting hundreds of different colors and
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Where Can I
Molds thrive in warm and humid conditions, but you
can find them year-round in virtually every type of
environment, both indoors and outdoors. You'll find
them outdoors in shady, damp areas and places where
leaves or other vegetation is decomposing. Indoors
you will find them in basements, showers, sink
cabinets and in other areas where humidity levels
are high or moisture intrusion has occurred. It's
worth noting that you can use the terms "mold" and
"mildew" interchangeably. Mildew is often applied to
growth of fungi on fabrics, window sills or bathroom
tiles, however, mold, mildew, moss, and mushrooms
are all just different variations of the same thing
- fungi or fungus.
People who live near the ocean or in areas where it
rains frequently often assume that mold simply comes
with the territory. People who live in dry desert
areas assume they could never have mold problems.
While both assumptions may likely be true outdoors,
geography has nothing to do with indoor mold growth.
Any time mold is growing indoors it is because
something got wet.
How Does Mold Grow in My Home or Workplace?
Once mold spores settle in your home, they need
moisture to begin growing and digesting whatever
they are growing on. As long as there is no
dampness, excessive humidity, or other of source
water intrusion, indoor mold growth should not
There are molds that can grow on wood, ceiling
tiles, wallpaper, paints, leather goods, clothing,
furniture, carpet, drywall, and insulation. When
materials get wet or damp because of high indoor
humidity, which is often caused by indoor
humidifiers or excessive moisture in concrete slab,
roof leaks, plumbing leaks, flooding, etc.,
conditions are often ideal for indoor mold growth.
Indoor mold growth can also occur from sprinklers
contacting exterior walls over time, or from
standing water next to or under the structure.
Realistically, it is almost impossible to rid all
airborne mold spores from an indoor environment,
however, you can prevent mold from growing indoors
by controlling moisture.
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I Be Exposed to Mold?
Illness from mold exposure can only occur one of
three ways; 1. through absorption into the skin, 2.
ingestion, or 3. inhalation. While it is never good
to have mold growing indoors, if it is, you are not
necessarily exposed to a health risk just because
its there. Nobody gets sick looking at mold on a
wall. But when molds are disturbed, their spores may
be released into the air. You then can be exposed to
the spores through the air you breathe. Also, if you
directly handle moldy materials, you can be exposed
to mold and mold spores through contact with your
skin. Eating moldy foods or hand-to-mouth contact
after handling moldy materials is yet another way
you may be exposed. Other than small child who
doesn't know any better, most people would not
intentionally touch mold or knowingly ingest it. But
disturbing mold can easily send billions of spores
the air and create an immediate health risk in an
enclosed indoor environment.
How Is Mold
An action as simple as cleaning mold that is growing
on a surface will send spores airborne. Other ways
- Scraping or scrubbing mold off of moldy
- Demolition or tear out of mold contaminated
- Vacuuming moldy carpet (conventional vacuum
cleaner bags do not trap mold spores - they blow
them through the bag and into the air)
- Running a furnace or air conditioner with
mold in the duct work
- Running fans in rooms where mold with
- Opening doors an windows when a house smells
like mold. If a strong breeze is blowing through
it can stir up a lot of settled mold spores into
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How Do I Know If I Have a Mold Problem?
You may have seen white thread-like growths or fuzzy
blue-green clusters or small black specks on
surfaces in your house, or smelled a "musty" odor.
Obviously, if you see mold or smell mold indoors,
you have a mold problem. However, you can't always
rely upon your senses to tell if you have a mold
problem. Hidden mold can be growing inside wall,
floor, or ceiling cavities long before being
Remember that all indoor mold growth is caused by
some form of water intrusion. Have you ever had a
flood, a toilet or bath tub overflow, a roof leak, a
slab leak, a plumbing leak, a hot water tank leak,
or even a freak accident like a fish tank break
open? Does water pool under or next to your house.
Has water from sprinklers been spraying on the
building for a long time? All of these things are
what causes indoor mold problems. If you answer YES
to any of them, it is possible that you have a mold
Common places to find mold are in areas where water
has damaged building materials and furnishings. Mold
can also be found growing along walls where warm
moist air condenses on cooler wall surfaces, such as
inside cold exterior walls, behind dressers,
headboards, and in closets where articles are stored
against walls. Rooms with both high water usage and
humidity, such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry
rooms, and basements are often havens for mold. If
you notice mold or know of water damaged areas in
your home, it is time to take action to control its
growth. It's time for a professional mold
How Can I Control Mold Growth In My Home?
Fix any moisture problems in your home:
- Stop all water leaks first. Repair leaking
roofs and plumbing fixtures. Move water away
from concrete slabs and remove water from crawl
spaces. Redirect sprinklers that spray on
exterior walls. If you're not sure about current
or previous water intrusion sources, have a mold
inspection and moisture assessment done by a
Certified Mold Inspector.
- Increase air circulation within your home,
especially along the inside of exterior walls,
and ventilate with fresh air from outside.
Provide warm air to all areas of the home. Move
large objects away from the inside of exterior
walls just a few inches to provide good air
- Install and use exhaust fans in bathrooms,
kitchens, and laundry rooms.
- Ventilate and insulate attic and crawl
spaces. Cover earth floors in crawl spaces with
- Clean and dry water damaged walls, cabinets,
carpets, clothing, bedding, upholstered
furniture within 24 to 48 hours, or consider
removing and replacing damaged furnishings.
- Invest in high quality Heppa vacuum cleaner
bags. Vacuum and clean your home regularly.
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How Do I Clean
The time you are most likely to stir up
spores and expose yourself and other occupants to
potential health risks is the very time you are
trying to clean up your mold problem. That's when
you need to be the most careful.
First, try to determine the extent of the mold
infestation. If you are absolutely certain that the
affected area is small and well-defined, you can do
the clean up yourself, as long as you are free of
any mold allergies or health problems. However, if
you cannot be certain whether or not the mold
problem is extensive, such as between the walls or
under the floors, you should leave clean up to a
The best money you will spend before hiring a mold
remediation contractor is having an independent,
third-party, certified mold inspector conduct a mold
inspection and moisture assessment.
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