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Frequently Asked Questions about Mold
1. What is mold?
We have probably all encountered mold at one time or another. It might have been in the shower, or on a stale piece of bread or wet drywall. Mold is a microscopic life form found in all parts of the world. It is part of the natural decay process of organic materials. There are many different species of mold, and while they are diverse, they share some common characteristics:
- Molds require an organic food source. The most common food source indoors is cellulose, which is found in building materials such as wood and drywall.
- Molds require oxygen, so they do not grow under water.
- Molds require moisture. To prevent mold, buildings must be kept dry.
- Molds are spread by tiny particles called “spores. “
2. Why is it a problem?
- The colored, fuzzy growth on the surface of a wall, floor, ceiling or other indoor surface is obviously very objectionable.
- Active mold colonies usually emit a very unpleasant, musty odor.
- Because the job of mold is to digest, decay and recycle dead organic matter, it will eventually destroy whatever surface it grows on.
- Exposure to mold spores can cause mild to severe allergic reactions, depending on individual sensitivity. Young children, the elderly and persons with compromised immune systems are at high risk of becoming ill from potential mold issues in a home or business.
3. What is a reasonable & safe response?
The best way to deal with mold is to prevent it from happening. If the drying of wet building materials is commenced within 24 hours (assuming clean water), the chances of preventing mold growth are excellent. If building materials remain wet, it is inevitable that mold will start to grow. Therefore, addressing and eliminating moisture problems is the critical first step. Simply put, “Got Moisture? Got Mold!”
However, once mold is present, drying is not enough. Moldy materials must be either removed or decontaminated. This process is called remediation, which means “to remedy” or “to cure.” Proper remediation procedures will be determined by the size, scope and nature of the mold contamination.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a helpful guidebook for homeowners about the cleanup and prevention of mold problems in homes. This booklet, entitled A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home, can help you decide when you can handle mold cleanup yourself and when you should call a professional. The booklet is available on the EPA website at www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/moldguide.html
ServiceMaster of Eugene can help
We have completed the ServiceMaster Clean Quality Restoration intensive mold remediation training. We have also received instruction in the proper procedures for handling mold claims. We are prepared to handle small (10 square feet or less) and isolated areas affected by mold that may be encountered in the course of normal water damage mitigation services. In addition, we are trained and certified to perform larger mold remediation projects. Just how far reaching the effects of mold may be is yet to be determined. What is clear is that living or working in a moldy home or building is ill advised. The obvious response is to address water intrusion issues promptly and thoroughly, before mold has a chance to grow. ServiceMaster of Eugene is the industry leader in professional water damage mitigation and restoration services and stands ready to serve you.