Mold is everywhere. There is no need or ability to get rid of all mold in the world. Mold is a fungi that exists naturally. In fact, when the interior of a home is tested for mold, the exterior must also be tested to determine the relative spore types and concentrations.
There are numerous different types and species, and the kind of mold will determine the impact on your home and/or health. In order for mold to grow, it needs moisture, a nutrient or food source, and a warm environment. Moisture is the main element required for mold growth. This can be in the form of water or even just high humidity. Nutrients for mold are mainly materials made from plants. Many building materials will fall into this category. Food sources for mold can come from almost anywhere including wood products, dust and dirt. Mold generally grows above 32 degrees Fahrenheit and will grow faster as the temperature rises to about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In higher temperatures, the mold will continue to grow, but the rate of growth will slow. Without these factors, mold will remain present but dormant for many years. However, as soon as moisture, a food source or the right temperature is reintroduced, the mold will begin to grow again.
Mold is not a new problem, but there has been a heightened awareness concerning mold over the last decade. There have been changes to home design and building over the last few decades as homes have become more energy efficient in that the buildings are tighter. While that is great for reducing energy usage, it has created problems in indoor air quality. Indoor air pollutants, including mold spores, can no longer escape to the outside.
How much is too much? There are no set standards for “acceptable mold levels.” From a health standpoint, it will vary from person to person. Some people are highly allergic to even slight amounts of mold, and others are not affected. The exact correlation between adverse health effects and mold still needs more scientific study. It has been difficult to make a direct link between mold and a specific health claim. But in general:
- Mold should be removed from inside your home and/or crawlspace when found.
- Mold should be seen as an indication of another problem – generally with water or moisture.
- Mold may or may not be a health issue.
- All molds are not the same. Some molds are called indicator species and require more available water to grow than other molds.
- Some of these indicator species of molds are also more likely to be associated with health issues, particularly Aspergillus and Stachybotrys which are often talked about.
Keep in mind again that mold is everywhere and cannot be eliminated completely. However, mold inside a home or crawlspace should ideally be similar in type and quantity to mold found naturally outside the home. Mold that is present will generally need to remediated and then prevented. If you have a real mold problem and/or you or someone in your home is highly sensitive to mold, contact a professional mold remediation company to determine the best course of action. Check references and licenses for mold expertise. If you attempt to remove small amounts of mold on your own, you need to take precautions to protect yourself and avoid spreading mold spores to other areas of the home. When investigating options for mold remediation, keep in mind that some methods may cause mold spores to become airborne, and bringing in certain chemicals can create other health concerns.
Clark’s offers mold remediation services for our customers. These treatments vary but often include a mold inhibitor/surface protectant being applied to the wood framing and/or sub-floor, a crawlspace ventilation system, a Moisture Guard Barrier and/or a drainage system. Clark’s offers a 25-year warranty to protect crawlspaces from mold. This warranty is transferable to subsequent buyers and works very much like a termite bond.
Remember that a house will never be mold free. Even after an expensive mold remediation, without eliminating further moisture, the problem may still exist and mold could grow back again quickly. A moisture control system installed in a crawlspace can stabilize the moisture levels, but it cannot remove mold that is already present. Remediation is the only way to eliminate any existing mold growth and should be considered along with the proper moisture control system.