Is There a Fungus Among Us?

Mold is a common problem in many homes and can have devastating effects on our health and property. It is one of the many Household Allergens that we try to control. The information in the article sheds light on some of the factors that contribute to mold growth, some of the benefits of mold and mold control info.

Is There a Fungus Among Us?

Author: Wallace J. Conway

Mold has taken hold! Not that the microbes have reached out and grabbed us, but rather they have captured our attention. A rash of recent high profile media stories have petrified many people with concerns for both their health and finances. While it is true in some situations that variations and concentrations of mold can kill us both physically and financially, in the vast majority of cases mold problems can be remedied simply and economically.

Molds exist naturally all around us. Molds play a vital role in the decomposition of organic waste such as in a compost pile. Other molds are essential in the creation of some of our finest foods, such as wine and cheese. But, when mold growth occurs in an inappropriate place or in extreme concentration, the health of our home and family can be at risk.

All molds need two basic ingredients to grow, food and water. The favorite food of mold is cellulose. In our home, cellulose is a common constituent. Wood, paper, cotton, and drywall are plentiful in construction and are great sources of cellulose. Water is everywhere in our homes, both on the surfaces and in the air.

As the tightness of our homes has increased in response to a desire to conserve energy, the unintended consequence has been the trapping of moisture. The increase in moisture in our homes has in some cases resulted in a relative humidity above the 60% level needed to sustain mold growth in interior spaces. In some cases, the moisture level of the interior spaces is below the mold growth threshold, but the exterior wall cavities retain the required moisture level for rapid mold growth within the walls. To make matters worse, this condition is also perfect for accelerated wood rot and termite infestation.

So what is a reasonable person to do? Much like a physical exam is the first step in a plan for personal health, a home inspection is the first step in a mold survey. The intent of the inspection is to seek out all sources of moisture that may contribute to an environment that is attractive to mold and to visually identify any existing mold colonies. Roof leaks, plumbing leaks, and improper sprinkler positioning are among the more common sources of mold-causing moisture problems. After identification of the moisture source, a reasonable and practical remedy can be prescribed.

Areas with visible mold colonies can be thoroughly cleaned with detergent, followed by wiping with a bleach and water solution. Porous materials such as ceiling tiles and carpet are difficult to clean and often require removal and replacement in all but the most minor of outbreaks.

In most cases, testing to determine mold species is not necessary to solve the problem. If an individual has an extreme or specific health risk factor, testing may be of value in assisting the medical professional in addressing the specific health situation. If the outbreak of mold is extreme, testing maybe wise in ensuring safety during remediation. The choice to test or not should always rest with the homeowner or potential homebuyer, but the decision should be an informed one made with the assistance of an ASHI certified home inspector who has received additional training specific to mold management.

With a basic understanding of the management of moisture, household mold maintenance is simple. Molds have been around forever and will never be gone, and it is good that they are here. But like so many things, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Stay informed, but don’t get caught up in the hype. Remember, it’s about knowing!


Copyright © Florida HomePro, Inc. and Wallace J. Conway. All rights in all media reserved.

About the author: Wally Conway is President of Florida HomePro Inspections, and is featured regularly on HGTV’s “House Detective”. As a speaker, writer, instructor, and host of The Happy Home Inspector radio show every Saturday at 5 PM on WOKV 690, Wally blends the right amount of up-to-date information with just the right amount of humor, insight, motivation, and real-world application. Visit http://www.wallyconway.com and http://www.gohomepro.com for more information!

Manage Your Pollen Allergies

Often called Hay Fever, pollen allergies affect millions of people every year and can be mild or sever depending on your sensitivity. Small particles of pollen are released from plants, grasses, weeds and trees constantly. When these particles become air-born, they are almost impossible to avoid. People with pollen allergies are often sensitive to other […]

Pet Dander

Cat Dander And Dog Dander Are The Most Common Types Of Pet Dander That We Come In Contact With  Pet dander is dry skin flakes that our pets continually shed. This dander then becomes airborne as our pets move about our homes and clean themselves. Pet dander also becomes airborne when we pet and groom […]

Dust Mite Allergy

How do you feel about spiders? Do you find the thought of spiders living in your home unsettling? House dust mites are members of the spider family. That’s right, these eight-legged microscopic creatures are arachnids and relatives of spiders. The house dust mite is unable to bite people because they are too small. Dust mites […]

What are Household Allergens?

The most common types of household Allergens are biological contaminants. These household Allergens are living organisms, or were living organisms at one time, and contribute to indoor air pollution. Common household Allergens include bacteria, household mold, mildew, viruses, pet dander, dust mites, and pollen. These organisms come from many sources.   What Can Be Done […]

Pollen Allergy Symptoms

Pollen is just one of many particles that become suspended in the air we breathe. It can often be difficult to differentiate between pollen allergy symptoms and cold symptoms. When you inhale pollen, it acts as an irritant and causes mast cells in your nasal passages to release chemicals. This can result in inflammation and […]

Dust Mite Control Can Help Reduce Allergies

Are you wondering if you have dust mites in your house? Even the cleanest home will have dust mites and there is really no way to eliminate them entirely. Implementing some or all of the dust mite control tips below may reduce populations enough so that you have no more dust mite allergy symptoms. The […]

Mold Allergy

If you suffer from a mold allergy then the transition into spring and summer may not be a pleasant time of year for you. Although a mold allergy is not a big problem outside in the winter, it can still be a serious problem inside. Like pollen allergies, a mold allergy is cause for concern […]

Household Mold

Household mold and mildew are smelly fungi that grow in humid and poorly ventilated places. Household mold can grow in almost any humid place. Although we consider mold something to be avoided and a nuisance, it does serve a useful purpose. Mold helps to break down dead materials and can be found growing almost anywhere. […]