FAQ

mold services

What is mold?

moldy atticMolds are tiny organisms that produce enzymes to digest organic material. They are instrumental in the decomposition process of animals and plants. Molds reproduce via spores.

Molds can be found in places with damp, warm and humid conditions. Outdoors, you can find them in wooded areas, damp gardens, or other areas where there are plenty of dead leaves or other decomposing vegetation. Indoors, they can be found in bathrooms, basements, laundry rooms, and in areas where it’s humid, dark, and damp.

Mold spores develop into actual mold when they are exposed to moisture and any organic material that they can digest. Molds can grow on walls, carpets, wooden furniture, and floor tiles that have been constantly exposed to moisture and humid air.

How are people exposed to mold?

Mold spores can be released through the air we breathe, and that sometimes can cause allergic reactions in certain types of people. Mold can also be released into food or drink, and consequently ingested into the body. Exposure can also happen when people handle objects that have been exposed to molds, like kitchen utensils, toys, or clothing.

How do I know if it’s mold growth? How can I detect it?

Mold may grow as thin, white strips, or as small, black lumps that appear on bathroom tiles, in wall cracks, or around ceiling leaks. These growths usually emit a faint or decaying odor. Sight and smell, however, may not be completely reliable tools in detecting molds. Growth may occur behind tiles, paint, or other wall coverings. For a more sure way of detecting mold infestation, call Active Mold Control and we’ll conduct an expert and reliable mold inspection of your house.

What are common places in the house where you can find mold?

Mold growth can be expected in places where there are plumbing leaks. Parts of houses or buildings that are prone to flooding are also ideal places for mold infestation. Bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens usually have high moisture and humidity levels, so mold infestation is more likely to occur in those areas. Basements that are not properly ventilated tend to get damp and humid – thus inviting mold growth.

Can I do something to prevent or minimize the occurrence of mold growth?

Yes, you can. Here are simple and practical tips you can follow:

  1. Check for water leaks – and fix them. Make sure the plumbing in your kitchen and bathroom is leak-free. If you have a leaking roof, it’s best to repair it as soon as you can.
  2. Optimize ventilation in your home. Set up exhaust fans in basements and laundry rooms so that air can freely circulate to the outside. It’s also good if you can let in warm or fresh air from outside into the structure. If feasible, provide some space between large objects and the inside of your exterior wall to allow air to circulate more. Try to ventilate your attic if you can.
  3. Dry off soaked carpets, upholstered furniture, clothing, bedding, blankets, and sheets. Always clean and dry them within a day or two. If you have water-damaged furnishings that are difficult to clean or completely dry off, you may have to replace them.
  4. Clean your house on a regular basis. The cleaner and dryer your home is, the less likely it will be to invite the propagation of mold spores.

How can I eliminate mold?

The elimination of molds requires careful execution of proper mold removal procedures. Cleaning up infested areas in your house by yourself may only stir up mold spores – and worsen the problem in the long run. In addition, mold exposure during a do-it-yourself cleanup can sometimes pose serious health risks, especially for people with allergic reactions to mold. If the problem is very minor, and you feel you’re confident enough to do it yourself, please exercise caution when you attempt the cleanup process. If the mold growth is extensive or inaccessible, call Active Mold Control so that we can handle the mold remediation for you.

For small areas of infestation:

We still recommend that you get professional mold remediation and abatement services. However, if you are up to the task, you should still exercise great care. Protective gear like goggles, rubber gloves, and face masks are a must to avoid exposure. Try to wear clothing that covers most of your skin, so that direct contact with mold spores is minimized.

There’s a substantial risk of stirring up the mold colony, so it’s advisable to seal off the affected area from the rest of the house when the cleaning is taking place. Ventilation ducts and heat registers should be also be sealed off. Cover your furniture and remove carpets if possible.

Discard all moldy materials in a carefully sealed bag. Thoroughly clean any hard surfaces that were affected. You can use warm water and laundry detergent for an initial cleaning. Afterwards, mix a solution of 1 quart of water and cup of bleach. Apply to the hard surface and wait for a period of 20 minutes. Re-apply and wait another 20 minutes. Finally, use a borate-based detergent solution on the area – but refrain from rinsing. Keeping moisture at a minimum will help stop the mold from growing back in the area.

Clean, clean, clean! Wash beddings, sheets, and clothing that were exposed. Vacuum your floors and carpets.

How do I clean furnishings exposed to mold?

Permeable and washable types. These are the items made of porous material that can withstand washing. Examples of this are clothes and bedding materials. The quickest way to clean them is through the laundry, as you would normally do.

Non-permeable and washable types. This category includes plastics, ceramics, glass, silverware, jewelries, metals that resist oxidation, and wooden items. Wipe them with a solution consisting of 1 quart of water and 1 cup of bleach. Please note that bleach may cause discoloration, so test before fully applying.

Permeable but not washable types. Beds and furniture fall in this group. If you have moldy furniture, it might be best to discard it. If you want to salvage it, take it outside, clean what parts you can, vacuum it extensively, and then let it completely dry out. Unfortunately, it’s quite possible you may not be able to get rid of all the mold spores, so we recommend that you continue to monitor the situation. If your furniture doesn’t exude a musty odor, and if there’s no visible sign of mold growth, then it may have been spared from irreparable mold damage.

How can I control mold?

You can prevent mold growth by managing the humidity level inside your house. We recommend keeping it between 40% and 55%. If you detect early mold growth, have it cleaned up before it starts to spread. You can do it on your own using detergent and bleach solutions, but only with extreme care. To be safe, contact Active Mold Control and we’ll do it for you.

Here’s a quick summary of our specific recommendations:

  • Humidity inside your home should be between 40% and 55%.
  • In especially humid months, use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier.
  • Install proper ventilation ducts and exhaust fans.
  • If you are applying paint, it’s best to add mold inhibitors when possible.
  • Use anti-mold cleaning agents for bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms.
  • Avoid putting carpets in bathrooms and basements.
  • Discard and replace water-damaged carpets and upholstered furniture.

What are the dangers of mold? How can mold exposure affect my health?

The health hazards of mold exposure may vary depending on the individual exposed. Persons with existing allergies or asthma are particularly more vulnerable to skin irritation, coughs and colds, eye irritation, and breathing difficulty. Those with underlying respiratory ailments or weakened immune systems may be even more at risk of acquiring mold infections.

Serious health hazards
Certain individuals who undergo constant and prolonged exposure may experience severe, chronic problems like flu-like symptoms, exhaustion, pneumonia and other bronchi ailments, nose-bleeds, nausea, migraines, vomiting, diarrhea, and liver damage. The symptoms may stop when the individual is no longer exposed, but in some cases, the effects become permanent.

Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds (mVOCs)
mVOCs are compounds released into the air as an end product of fungal metabolism. These compounds give off a strong, “rank”, odor. Although research about mVOCs’ health effects is still in the initial stage, studies indicate that they may cause eye irritation, nasal congestion, respiratory diseases, headache, dizziness, and fatigue.

Mycotoxins
Certain molds discharge toxins as a defensive mechanism against other molds and bacteria. These compounds are called mycotoxins, and they may induce nausea, eye irritation, respiratory ailments, and fatigue.

How do I know if I have been exposed to mold?

If you suspect mold exposure, it is recommended to undergo testing for mold-specific antibodies. If these antibodies are present in your system, there’s a probability that you have been exposed.

How do I know if I’m allergic to molds?

There are existing skin and blood tests to determine mold allergies. Skin tests are generally considered to be faster, more effective, and less expensive than blood tests. People who often exhibit symptoms that may be caused by indoor allergies should undergo skin testing.

The Radio Allegro Sorbent (RAST) is a type of blood testing that detects the levels of antibodies in your system that react to different allergen types. This test is quite effective, but it is also costly. Test results may take 2 weeks.

Is there a type of medical specialization in mold exposure?

We recommend that you first consult your family doctor or preferred health care provider if you get exposed. Depending on the initial tests, they will refer you to a specialist. These specialists may range from allergists to infectious disease physicians who treat advanced mold infections. Exposures that result in respiratory problems may be referred to pulmonary specialists. Individuals exposed through their occupation may opt for occupational health services.

What do I do when water intrusion occurs?

The key is acting quickly. Shut off the water supply if the water intrusion is brought about by faulty piping or damaged appliances. Get rid of standing water and moist materials as soon as you can. The damage caused by the water intrusion can result in both structural failure and mold growth. After the immediate water intrusion is brought to a halt, call Active Mold Control. We’ll quickly assess the damage done and then recommend a course of action to repair it.

In case of disasters like fires, floods and storms, we strongly advise you to take action only when it’s safe to do so. Board up broken windows or doors, and cover damaged roofs using plastic sheets. Remove soaked carpets, rugs, sheets, and belongings.

How can I tell if the humidity indoors is acceptable?

While it is possible to get a qualitative “feel” for the humidity level in a structure, it is better to have an objective measurement. Your local home-improvement store can help you to find a humidity sensor with an understandable display. While it is not usually necessary to spend a large sum on a high-precision device, you should be sure to ask for a sensor with a good track record.

Why do I sneeze when the air is humid?

Sneezing is one of our body’s most common defense mechanisms. Our body is protecting itself from potentially harmful microscopic organisms present in the moist air.

“Humidity promotes mold growth and dust mite population growth,” said Dr. Michael Ruff, an allergist who works to raise awareness about asthma and allergies for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. “Both are significant indoor allergens and can set off allergic sensitivity and can trigger rhinitis and asthma.”

We don’t always realize it, but millions of organisms are thriving in the air, on door knobs, on table tops, in carpets, in pillows, on blankets, and on furniture. If the air around these places is moist, it’s a good area for molds to flourish. Lower humidity levels usually mean lower mold and dust mite growth.

Can humid air affect the structure of my house?

Yes, it can. High humidity can cause decay, especially of the wooden components of your house or building. Humid air also attracts all sorts of insects who benefit from the moisture in the surroundings. It may not be immediately obvious when you look at the surface, but inside your walls, the structure may be eroding.

How do I solve mold infestation? What are my options?

The first step to a solution is detection. Get professional mold inspection services to properly assess the problem. Call Active Mold Control now, and we will schedule a full mold inspection of your home, including humidity level testing, to determine the best suitable solution for your mold infestation concerns.

The second step is elimination. We have the knowledge, experience, and equipment to conduct a complete mold remediation and abatement procedure in your home’s affected areas. The process is guaranteed to be environmentally safe and risk-free. The extensive service will be performed by our professional and dedicated staff, and we will make sure that the chance of re-contamination will be minimal. We offer these services at very affordable rates. Feel free to contact us for more details.