Massachusetts Home Inspections is not a mold testing laboratory; therefore, the identification of specific types of mold is beyond the scope of my home inspection and I cannot state unequivocally whether any specific type of mold is or is not present. When I do smell musty odors or see mold-like substances growing, I, of course, will note it in your report for you. If you want to know what specific type of mold is present, you should seek the services of a qualified industrial hygienist or a qualified mold testing laboratory. Only they have the necessary knowledge and laboratories equipped to determine what types of mold are growing and thriving in your home. In my opinion, who cares what type of mold it is, if any mold looking substance is growing in a home, the moisture source must be corrected and the moldy material must be removed immediately.
Most of us know what mold looks like and smells like. Mold, mildew, and other toxic organisms commonly occur in areas that show evidence of, or have the potential for, moisture intrusion and/or inadequate ventilation. Any area or item exhibiting such conditions can be a health hazard to some people, particularly children, pregnant women, the elderly, and other people whose immune systems are compromised. The key to controlling mold is controlling moisture: reduce moisture (keep the interior of your house dry and the humidity level below 45%), remove visible signs of mold, and disinfect surfaces. If a water invasion occurs, eliminate the water source and dry, repair, and/or replace any wet areas and items as quickly as possible.
Thousands of different types of mold occur naturally throughout Massachusetts, but apparently only a few of them cause health problems. Mold spores move naturally through the air and can be found in every area of the home, and there's nothing you can do about it.
You are breathing Mold as you are reading this article. It grows on most building materials as long as the requisite moisture is present. Since many homeowners do not regularly inspect their own homes for water and drainage leaks, mold problems do continue to grow inconspicuously in our homes and buildings daily. You can easily prevent mold from growing and thriving in your home, and affecting your health, by inspecting your home (especially the attic and basement) on a regular basis (monthly at a minimum) for water and drainage penetrations.
If you see mold or smell musty odors, chances are great that you have mold growing in your home, and you should first seek out and correct the problems that are providing the mold with the moisture that it needs to grow and thrive. Remove all the items stored under your sinks and inspect the water and drainage pipes, valves, and connections for leaks.
Have any leaks repaired immediately by a licensed plumber. Inspect around sink basins, bathtubs, and shower stalls for deteriorated grouting or caulking. These are areas where water can penetrate into the structure's walls and framing, allowing mold to thrive in those spaces. After using your shower or bathtub, you should use your exhaust fans or open the windows located in the bathrooms to help prevent a build-up of moisture in those areas.
Don't get Ripped-off when dealing with Mold contractors
Can you clean up mold yourself? Yes, but you should realize that there will be a significant difference in the approach used for small amounts of mold in a sink cabinet and a large, contaminated area, such as mold growing in the walls. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a homeowner wearing personal protective equipment may handle small cleanup areas. For larger areas, the EPA advises hiring an experienced, professional contractor. Any home that has sustained major water damage or flooding needs to be inspected by a qualified water loss specialist.
If you decide to take on the task yourself, remember that you will be exposed to potentially toxic mold and strong detergents and disinfectants. Disinfecting agents can also be toxic to humans. They should be used only when necessary and should be handled with caution.
Disinfectants should only be applied to thoroughly cleaned materials. Do not use disinfectants instead of, or before, cleaning with soap or detergent. Take steps to protect human health during any cleanup. Remove and discard moldy items as soon as possible to prevent further release of spores. Ask family members or bystanders to evacuate areas that are being cleaned and minimize exposure to disinfectants. Contain and thoroughly ventilate the work area. Wear protective clothing that is easily cleaned or discarded, and use rubber gloves. Wear a respirator with a P-100 filter to prevent inhalation of airborne spores. Use non-ammonia soap or detergent, or a commercial cleaner, in hot water, and scrub the entire area that is affected by the mold. Use a stiff brush or cleaning pad on cement-block walls or rough surfaces.
Make sure the entire surface is wet, and allow the disinfectant to remain on the surface for the prescribed time before rinsing. Rinse the items, dispose of any sponges or rags used to clean the mold, and properly dispose of extra disinfectant and runoff. The cleaned areas and house should be thoroughly dried and ventilated for several days after the work. If mold returns after a cleanup, it may indicate an undetected problem, such as a leak. If mold contamination is extensive or if you are unsure of yourself during the cleaning process, consult a professional mold abatement company.
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