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Mold Clean Up  Mold Health Effects

  Water it and they will grow!  
  Mold spores are present in nature and in indoor air in seasonal quantities. While sensitive individuals can have allergies at any time, mold becomes a problem when there is sufficient moisture present for spores to thrive and multiply. Thus, it is not sufficient to simply clean up mold, the source of moisture must be identified and corrected. If you have a flood or sewer backup, drying and clean up must occur immediately. Mold will grown within 24 hours.   
  Don't use bleach to clean up mold. Bleach does not "kill" mold and you unnecessarily expose yourself to harmful chemicals. Neither does ozone, UV light or KillZ paint. A mold spore is like a seed or acorn. "Dead" mold spores are still allergenic and toxins are not neutralized by bleach. Mold spores need to be removed and this is accomplished by effective cleaning.  

Sources of Moisture

  • Plumbing leaks inside wall cavities

  • Moisture behind kitchen and bathroom tiles resulting from cracks or gaps in caulk in shower.

  • High humidity in crawlspaces or basements from insufficient ventilation, venting of dryer into the crawlspace, poor site drainage or high water tables.

  • Open windows and wet carpet

  • Condensation on window sills due to high indoor humidity and/or cold surfaces

  • Drain pan under refrigerator

  • Leaks around toilet seal

  • Mold build up in air conditioning drain pan due to condensate drain pipes that are clogged, not sloped properly or have a sump pump that is not operating properly or float not working

  • Roof leaks.

  • Water ingress due to construction defects, poor flashing, insufficient or clogged gutters

  • Improperly positioned sprinkler heads watering the side of the building.

  • Humidifiers and aquariums (keep humidity <50%) 

  • Wet lumber used in new construction. Lumber should be delivered and kept dry (<17% moisture content) and not contain any visible mold.

  • Missing vapor barriers under concrete slabs resulting in high levels of indoor humidity.


Indicators of a Mold Problem

  Due to variances in personal sensitivities, on average, only about 10% of the occupants in a building may experience health symptoms when there is a mold problem present. Thus if one or two people in an office complain there is potentially a mold problem or some other indoor air quality problem that needs to be remedied. If symptoms get worse while the occupants are in the building and get better when they are away, the building may be contain mold or some other indoor air contaminate.   
  Musty odors and visible water stains are indicators of a possible mold problem. Mold may be present, however,  without a musty odor being present, especially if the source of moisture dried up a some time ago. Studies of microbial problems in buildings have shown mold is hiding about 50% of the time.   
  When you can't see mold but have health symptoms associated with mold it is prudent to have testing done to verify there is a problem and to locate the source. Testing may consist of air samples, Wall-checks, a non-destructive method  for assessing for the presence of mold in wall cavities and dust samples to assess the microbial history of the building by screening for mold spores in settled dust.  
  Healthy Living Spaces LLC has certified mold inspectors who can perform this testing and make recommendations to you. Call us toll free (877) 992-9904 or in New Mexico (505) 992-9904  

Tips for Preventing Mold Growth

  • Keep building clean, well ventilated and use available light to reduce the opportunity for microbial growth. 

  • Find and eliminate the cause of damp conditions. 

  • Thoroughly clean and dry water-damaged carpets and building materials within 24 hours or consider removal and replacement of materials. 

  • Keep indoor humidity below 55%. The ideal relative humidity (RH) range is 40-60%, with 50% ideal. Mold growth is prevented below 60% RH.

  • Try to identify why condensation is forming on interior surfaces and correct the problem. 

  • Use exhaust fans that are vented to the outdoors in kitchens, bathroom and laundry rooms. 

  • Adequately ventilate the attic and crawl spaces 

  • Do not store cardboard boxes in the crawlspace. 

  • Seal all cracks in grout and replace missing caulk in around bathroom shower and behind kitchen sink. 

  • Clean refrigerator pans twice a year.

  • Vent cloths dryer to outdoors

  • clean humidifiers regularly and keep de-humidifier pans clean and empty frequently.  

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  Copyright  2014 Healthy Living Spaces LLC.  All rights reserved.   877-992-9904
Revised: February 10, 2014.

Information in this document is subject to change without notice.
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