Places to Examine Mold Growth
Look especially for black, grey-brown, grey-green or pink mold areas. Gently pull back rippled, water damaged wallpaper or wallboard paper in order to look at what molds may be underneath. If you discover mold… STOP Contact Us for a free consultation. If ducts are suspect, dab a little sticky tape into their interiors to sample the materials adhering to their surfaces. When you find suspected mold growth, impress it onto sticky tape (cellulose-acetate, e.g., Scotch brand) and examine it under the microscope. Under the microscope, make sure you see not just conspicuous dark conidial types but also less conspicuous hyaline conidia, especially small, roundish conidia in chains, signifying the presence of Penicillium or Aspergillus. Look also for arthropods, their exoskeletal fragments, and their fecal pellets. Fungivorous (fungus-eating) mite pellets are rounded and usually full of conidia. Booklouse, beetle and millipede faeces, at least when found in mold infestations, resemble short, broken cylindrical columns composed of masses of conidia. Sometimes arthropod pellets will contain interesting mold elements not seen directly on the material sampled.
If there are continued complaints and mustiness but no mold is found, consider whether or not there are any clues to where hidden mold may be. If building occupants remember a substantial leak or flood (or similar incident, e.g., fire extinguished with water) in a certain area, consider inspecting the wall, ceiling or floor interior at that place. The exterior of the damaged area may have been superficially repaired, leaving all the interior problems intact. You have 3 options. Call a certified Industrial Hygenist, Contact Us, or perform a little deeper investigation yourself. If you open a wall, wear gloves, eye protection and a resperator (be fit tested by a professional). Take out a ceiling tile or cut a 4- to 8-inch inspection port into the suspect area. The same may be done in areas where wallboard or ceiling tiles have become watermarked but the exterior is not actually moldy. The interior space, which forms a sheltered humid chamber facilitating fungal proliferation, as well as a conduit for leaks, is far more likely to be grossly moldy than the exposed exterior is. There is actually plenty of airflow between wall and ceiling/floor interiors and the inhabited parts of rooms, especially at the joins, so molds inside structural interior spaces are frequently sources of problems for building occupants.
If there is no strong clue to where mold may be, this is the best time to try air sampling, which is performed by a certified industrial hygenist. Analyse culture plates or strips in comparison to an outdoor air control to determine if there is an unusual mold buildup in the building. If there is, look up the mold’s general habitat characters in a reference work such as the Compendium of soil fungi.
Use the information given as a clue to what sort of indoor microhabitat you will find the mold growing in. It is best to use a medium such as DG18 (dichloran 18% glycerol) that both osmotolerant fungi (drought-tolerating fungi such as Aspergillus glaucus) and mesophilic fungi (fungi such as Stachybotrys requiring high moisture levels) are known to grow on. In addition to viable air sampling, non-viable air sampling may be used (e.g., Rotorod). It will detect significant dead elements such as effete Stachybotrys conidia. An alternative to this non-viable air sampling is direct microscopy of settled dust, e.g., from shelf surfaces. Dust from floors that are frequently walked on with shod feet may be difficult to analyse because of the deposition of outdoor mold spora elements.
Signs of Mold in House
Below are some common signs to watch out for that could indicate you have mold growing in your house.
Allergic Symptoms from Mold
If you are having a problem with allergies then there’s a good chance there could be mold growing somewhere in your home. Common allergic reactions to mold include sneezing, sore eyes and a runny nose or nasal congestion.
Do you notice your allergic reactions are worse when you’re at home but you feel better when you go out? If so then it’s especially likely you could have mold. If you find that your allergies are worse in some other building, like your workplace, then there could be mold growing there instead.
Smelling a Mold Odor
When you have mold growing hidden away in your house, often a moldy smell might be the only clue that it’s there. Don’t ignore mold odors if you can’t see any mold. You should thoroughly inspect your home before any mold problems get worse.
Seeing Signs of Mold Growth
Visible mold growth might seem like an obvious sign of mold. However many people don’t notice small amounts of mold growth or they think it’s just soot or dirt. Sometimes people simply ignore visible mold in their house.
If you can see mold growth, even if it’s only small, you should take action immediately. Small mold patches can spread and the fact that there is any mold shows that the conditions in your home are right for mold to grow.
If you don’t take care of mold it will soon become a bigger problem. Visible mold growth could also be a sign that there is a much larger mold colony growing hidden away from view.
Sometimes you might not realize there is mold in your house, especially if it is unusual looking mold. Some mold growth looks white and thread-like. Other mold appears as clusters of small black spots. Mold can be black, gray-brown, gray-green or white in color. Mold growing behind wallpaper made of vinyl can even appear orange, pink or purple.
**WARNING** – DO NOT attempt to remove mold on your own, it could make the situation much worse! Disturbing mold can cross-contaminate your home or business and can increase the risks to persons in the area!
**NOTE** – Mold Remediation and/or Water Damage Restoration / Mitigation is most likely covered by your Home or Business Insurance policy. Contact one of our remediation experts for complete details and a free consultation.
Mold can be a health hazard to many people. The young & elderly are especially susceptible to the dangers of mold. If you’ve had a recent flood, you should have your home checked for mold.