12/5/2015

Myths about Mold

Mold spores are not visible to the naked eye and occur virtually everywhere on Earth. There are all different kinds of mold; some are used to make penicillin, others are used to age cheese, while others are harmful to health when inhaled. Over the last decade, “mold” has become a sort of trigger word that invokes scary images of persistent coughing and untreatable health conditions. The following are a few common myths about mold and the truth behind the fiction.

Homes and Buildings Should Be Completely Mold Free

Mold is virtually everywhere, so it is nearly impossible to completely eliminate mold from a room, home, or building. Mold is natural, but the concentration of mold in the air should be controlled using ventilation in order to minimize the impact on health and well being. Conditions should also be made unfavorable for mold to grow in between walls or on household surfaces.

All Mold Causes Health Problems

Some types of mold are helpful, some are harmful, and some are deadly. Other types basically do not do anything at all. Even molds that produce allergens that may have an effect on some people may have no effect on others.

Mold Can Only Grow Where It Is Wet

Mold needs moisture to start growing at the very beginning but can continue to grow by feeding off of the moisture from the air. Any air that has more than four percent humidity can sustain mold that has already started to grow. It is not necessary for tangible moisture to be present on surfaces.

Mold Can Just Be Painted Over or Removed with Bleach

Mold can eat through paint, so it is more logical to remove the mold before redecorating and painting. If mold is only on the surface of a wall or other façade, it may be possible to clean the mold off using bleach. However, if the mold has damaged drywall or wood, the whole structure must be removed or the mold will continue to grow.

All Black Mold is Toxic and Can Kill

Only a few types of mold are known to be potentially toxic and even those types must be presented with a perfect set of circumstances in order to develop toxic characteristics. Many different types of mold and other non-mold substances appear black, but this doesn’t mean that these are toxic. If a homeowner is concerned that “toxic” black mold may be present, a sample can be taken and tested.

Mold Won’t Grow In New Houses

New homes are at least as susceptible as old homes to mold growth due to the use of more porous materials that take longer to dry. More effective sealing techniques also have an impact, as mold concentration can quickly become high in new homes due to inadequate fresh air exchange.

Drying the Area Will Make Mold Disappear

If mold is caught at early stages, it is possible to get rid of it by eliminating the source of moisture, cleaning the surface area thoroughly, and drying out the problem area. However, if it is suspected that mold has set into materials or spread, professionals should be called in. Even if there is not a known mold problem, installing adequate ventilation such as a Zehnder Comfofresh Air Distribution System can help to keep mold concentrations low to preserve the health of occupants.