Healthy Homes by AmeriSpec provides professional residential mold testing and assessment services. If you suspect there is mold in your home, we are here to help.
What is mold?
Molds are forms of fungus (mildew, yeast and mushrooms, etc.) that grow indoors and outdoors.
Mold releases spores into the air that you then breathe in. Molds grow excessively in areas called amplification sites — areas where temperature, moisture content, and nutrient sources exist at the optimal levels to produce mold spores.
Mold can grow in damp or wet areas in your home caused by water leaks, flooding, or high humidity. The excessive dampness can also result from everyday activities like cooking, showering, doing laundry, or having an excessive number of plants. Mold can grow on wood, paper, fabrics, drywall and insulation. It can hide inside walls or above ceiling tiles.
Common places where mold grows include attics, window sills, fabrics, carpets; and on walls in basements, kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms.
Not all molds are visible to the human eye. Some dormant mold spores need professional testing to detect their presence. Some studies indicate that up to 90% of mold growth is not normally visible. A professional inspection is necessary to make a complete assessment of the extent of mold contamination in a residence.
How does the presence of mold in your home affect you?
Exposure to mold can cause different types of illnesses including allergic and irritant responses, infectious diseases, respiratory problems, hypersensitivity reactions, and organ toxicity. In addition, some molds produce chemicals called mycotoxins, which can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, health problems that are attributable to mold are temporary and can be controlled by limiting exposure to molds.
Some molds are more hazardous than others, and different people have different responses to mold exposure. Those with allergies, existing respiratory conditions or suppressed immune systems are especially susceptible to health problems from mold exposure.
Many molds found in the home, such as aspergillus or cladosporium (usually found in toilets and air ducts), are non-toxic. However, they are allergenic, and can trigger symptoms such as watery eyes, rashes and a sore/itchy throat. But other molds, such as stachybotrys atra (a.k.a. black mold), are toxic and can cause reactions such as nausea, chronic coughing, rashes, fatigue and long-term headaches. In addition, for some people, toxic molds can cause infectious diseases, respiratory problems, hypersensitivity reactions, and organ toxicity.
Studies indicate that up to 90% of mold growth is not visible. A comprehensive professional inspection is necessary to make an accurate assessment of the extent of mold contamination in a home.
How can a mold inspection help?
Having a professional indoor air quality test and assessment completed in key areas of your home will determine whether mold is present. Once you know the answer, you can then take the necessary next steps to address and eradicate the problem, and prevent it from reoccurring.
A mold inspection is advised if:
- You have health concerns and symptoms that are consistent with the presence of mold in your home
- You are concerned about musty odours or dampness
- You suspect previous water damage or you have had recent flooding in your home and want to ensure there is no mold growth
- You are considering renovations in your home
- You see any visual signs of mold growth in areas of your home
What to expect from a mold inspection
Here’s what you can expect when you book an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) test with Healthy Homes by AmeriSpec:
- A comprehensive walk through and assessment by a qualified Healthy Homes by AmeriSpec technician, including a complete visual inspection of the home and key area(s) of concern
- Mold air quality testing, inspection and assessment to determine mold spore count and types of mold species present, including independent lab analysis of results
- AmeriSpec tests for airborne mold spores using proprietary air pump and cassette measurement technology. One or more inspections and tests may be conducted inside the home as well as an exterior or baseline test to determine normal mold levels in the surrounding neighbourhood
- An air tightness test may be required to pinpoint possible areas of excess humidity
- Testing and measurements with moisture meter to determine where walls, floors or ceilings may have moisture issues
- Thermal imaging to locate possible hidden moisture areas in walls, floors and ceilings
- After all testing and assessment procedures are completed, you will be provided with detailed and easy-to-understand evaluation reports
Important facts about mold
Nutrients absorb moisture to maintain a favourable environment for mold growth and can be found on many surfaces, including soil, dirt, wood, cellulose (paper, ceiling tile, jute carpet backing, cork, pipe wrap), and some forms of insulation.
Moisture sources include condensation in humid rooms or on windows or walls, or in unheated closets; dampness under carpets, on shower curtains, and wet sections in duct work of air-conditioned ventilation.
Molds typically require between 5°C and 38°C to grow.
There is a misconception that applying bleach or other chemical products gets rid of mold. This is not an effective solution because while there are some types of mold that can be cleaned in this manner, other varieties of dormant mold spores cannot be eradicated this way, and these can be just as harmful to the human lung as live spores.
The first step towards having a healthy home is to have your indoor air quality professionally tested.
If you are concerned about mold in your home…don’t wait. Your lungs will thank you.