Mold...our modern day asbestos

March 16, 2018

Everyone dreads to hear that they have black mold in their home. It seems to be the asbestos of our day. It is omnipresent and though no one wants to be exposed to mold, for most people it is not an issue. Those with compromised lung health are most susceptible to being affected by it. We’ve had clients who thought there was black mold in their space and exhibited symptoms of mold exposure, but the air test showed no mold. The anxiety around possible mold exacerbates the problem.

 

The Facts

Mold needs 3 things to thrive - food, moisture, and air. Food for mold is wood or dirt or anything organic. Moisture comes in two forms vapor or bulk. Vapor is a subtle source like moisture in the ground or humidity in the air. Bulk sources are more obvious like rain water or a leak in your plumbing.

When our company encounters mold problems, most prevalently in basements and crawl spaces, we treat the house as a system. The sources and causes of these 3 elements must be identified and cut off. If you just cut one off, mold cannot exist.

 

The rule of mold is the stingy man pays the most. You need a plan by a neutral 3rd party (not the contractor proposing or doing the work) and then exacting execution of that plan. The plan must be an environmental science based plan that is tested at the beginning and the end.

 

 

Case Study

We were recently urgently called to a home in which the homeowner suffered from COPD and had confirmed black mold in her crawl space. She had "friends" remove the black mold laden batted insulation and wipe down the space with a bleach solution. She then had insulation professionals replace the batted insulation.

 

 Here are the problems with this:

1) A bleach solution is not the proper chemical to use to remediate black mold

2) Nobody sanitized the inside of her house. Since there is no air barrier between her crawl space and living space, the black mold spores are inside her home.

3) Nobody addressed any the 3 key ingredients to mold - food, water and air.

4) As a side note: batted insulation alone in your crawl space does little to keep your floors warm and mostly acts as a moisture trap or home for vermits

 

Naturally, the mold returned because the environment was not changed and it had everything it needed to thrive. Now, we are back to square one with thousands of dollars already wasted on the initial failed attempt. We will employ an environmental scientist to propose and oversee a plan that we can execute precisely to permanently and completely remove mold.

 

 

 

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Photo Credits: Kevin Blackburn