The State of Oregon does not have requirements for mold testing or mold mitigation. Anyone can do it. Dwellsafe employs a Master's level scientist to help answer question about mold results and mitigation (ANSI/IICRC standards). In order to remain unbiased we do not perform mold mitigation or make referrals.
Indoor Mold and Your Health
"Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. " - EPA
Mold surface sampling is performed to determine the species of mold present. The test does not tell us if the mold is alive. Mold can remain dormant for decades.
Mold is everywhere. What's important is finding where the mold is coming from. Mold air sampling involves taking a minimum of one air sample inside the home and one outside. We then compare the samples to determine if there is a mold source in the home (concentrations inside are greater than outside) and if the levels are high enough to cause problems.
The mold sampling report details all of the mold species present in each sample, the concentrations of each species, if the level are high and the associated health affects of each species found. The analysis is done by a accredited mold laboratory. We pay extra so you get the most detailed mold report available.
Mold cannot live without moisture and all areas of high moisture will grow mold. Simply testing for mold isn't good enough, you should also test for moisture. If high moisture is present, then so is mold, even if it isn't noticeable yet.
We use a combination of infrared cameras and an electromagnetic wave moisture meters that can "see" 3/4" through any building material (except metal) and give us the exact moisture content. It's like x-ray vision without x-rays. We can use the % moisture to determine if mold and rot are likely.
The scan is completely non-invasive and will not result in any damage to the home. You won't even know we were there.
Everything else you've always wanted to know about mold
Why is there mold in my home
Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter, such as fallen leaves and dead trees. But indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.
how do i get rid of mold
It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors. Some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. Mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean up the mold but don't fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will recur.
Can I clean up the mold myself
his depends on a number of factors. One consideration is the size of the mold problem. If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3-foot by 3-foot patch), in most cases, you can handle the job yourself, following the guidelines below.
If there has been a lot of water damage, and/or mold growth covers more than 10 square feet, consult with an InterNACHI inspector.
If you choose to hire a contractor (or other professional service provider) to do the cleanup, make sure the contractor has experience cleaning up mold. Check references and ask the contractor to follow the recommendations of the EPA, the guidelines of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygenists (ACGIH), or other guidelines from professional or government organizations.
Do not run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold. This could spread mold throughout the building.
If the water and/or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, then call in a professional who has experience cleaning and fixing buildings damaged by contaminated water.
If you have health concerns, consult a health professional before starting cleanup.
Tips for cleaning mold
The tips and techniques presented in this section will help you clean up your mold problem. Professional cleaners or remediators may use methods not covered here. Please note that mold may cause staining and cosmetic damage. It may not be possible to clean an item so that its original appearance is restored.
Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible. Dry all items completely.
Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely.
Absorbent or porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet, may have to be thrown away if they become moldy. Mold can grow on or fill in the empty spaces and crevices of porous materials, so the mold may be difficult or impossible to remove completely.
Avoid exposing yourself or others to mold.
Do not paint or caulk moldy surfaces.
Clean up the mold and dry the surfaces before painting. Paint applied over moldy surfaces is likely to peel. If you are unsure about how to clean an item, or if the item is expensive or of sentimental value, you may wish to consult a specialist. Specialists in furniture repair and restoration, painting and art restoration and conservation, carpet and rug cleaning, water damage, and fire or water restoration are commonly listed in phone books. Be sure to ask for and check references. Look for specialists who are affiliated with professional organizations.
What should i wear when cleaning mold
Avoid breathing in mold or mold spores. In order to limit your exposure to airborne mold, you may want to wear an N-95 respirator, available at many hardware stores and from companies that advertise on the Internet. (They cost about $12 to $25.) Some N-95 respirators resemble a paper dust mask with a nozzle on the front, and others are made primarily of plastic or rubber and have removable cartridges that trap and prevent most of the mold spores from entering. In order to be effective, the respirator or mask must fit properly, so carefully follow the instructions supplied with the respirator. Please note that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that respirators fit properly (via fit testing) when used in an occupational setting.
Wear gloves. Long gloves that extend to the middle of the forearm are recommended. When working with water and a mild detergent, ordinary household rubber gloves may be used. If you are using a disinfectant, a biocide such as chlorine bleach, or a strong cleaning solution, you should select gloves made from natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile, polyurethane or PVC. Avoid touching mold or moldy items with your bare hands.
Wear goggles. Goggles that do not have ventilation holes are recommended. Avoid getting mold or mold spores in your eyes.
Mold prevention tips
Moisture control is the key to mold control, so when water leaks or spills occur indoors, ACT QUICKLY. If wet or damp materials or areas are dried within 24 to 48 hours after a leak or spill happens, in most cases, mold will not grow.
Clean and repair roof gutters regularly.
Make sure the ground slopes away from the building's foundation so that water does not enter or collect around the foundation.
Keep air-conditioning drip pans clean and the drain lines unobstructed and flowing properly.
Keep indoor humidity low. If possible, keep indoor humidity below 60% relative humidity (ideally, between 30% to 50%). Relative humidity can be measured with a moisture or humidity meter, which is a small, inexpensive instrument (from $10 to $50) that is available at many hardware stores.
If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes, ACT QUICKLY to dry the wet surface and reduce the moisture/water source. Condensation can be a sign of high humidity.
Ten most important things to know about mold (Summary)
1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposure include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.
2. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
3. If mold is a problem in your home, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
5. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30% to 60%) to decrease mold growth by: a. venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; b. using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; c. increasing ventilation; and d. using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning. 6. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold growth.
7. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials that are moldy (such as carpeting and ceiling tiles) may need to be replaced.
8. Prevent condensation. Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof and floors) by adding insulation.
9. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting.
10. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, provided moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.