Acceptable Mold Spore levels from Quality Air Test Results
Significantly different from the surrounding environment. Mold is almost universal since it feeds on rotting plant and wood materials among many other things. As Certified Mold Testing Experts, we do not anticipate a mold test finding that indicates there are no spores present in the house. The existence of these spores, however, could signify a problem with the quality of the air in the home if we discover mold in the home in quantities and forms that we do not observe in the area around it.
The Type of Mold Present
The following list includes some of the most significant molds that your test results may reveal, along with a succinct description of each:
The most prevalent mold species in homes are Aspergillus and Penicillium, both of which have over a thousand distinct species. Even in reasonably clean conditions, these molds can thrive when the only supply of moisture is the air's humidity. Since many times the species of mold outside and inside your home are different, it might be challenging to entirely eradicate these molds from your home.
Another allergenic mold that grows outdoors and indoors is called Cladosporium. It frequently grows on fiberglass, wood, and painted surfaces. Cladosporium has a velvety look and a dark green or black tint.
A particular kind of mold called chaetomium is frequently discovered in wet structures. It typically develops from moist drywall, carpets, and insulation. This particular mold breeds swiftly and disperses. It can seriously harm a house's structural integrity once it gains control of it.
Basidiospore Mushrooms and other fungi create basidiospores. They can frequently be found outside in moist, shaded settings like woodland areas or next to pools of water. On moist surfaces or in humidifiers, basidiospores can also be found indoors.
What is a mold spore trap or air sample? How were these samples collected?
Using a specialized pump, a consistent volume of air is drawn through a mold spore trap, a tiny plastic container about the size of a silver dollar, to collect an air sample. For small to medium-sized homes, we normally collect three air samples: one from the outside, one at the lowest finished level (where we suspect the most problems), and one at a higher level or in the area where we suspect the least problems with the air quality. We might take more samples from larger homes or residences with many possible problem locations for poor air quality.
We transmit the traps and supporting documentation to a lab for analysis after collecting the samples. Each trap's catch will be identified and counted by the lab, and we will receive the results in a report. The findings of a mold test should always be understood in the context of a house inspection or a mold inspection, which is why home inspectors who specialize in mold testing are some of the best experts to contact for a dispassionate assessment of the air quality in the home.
The test outcome will list the quantity and kind of spores discovered in each sample. The information will be presented and organized differently across different labs. Our laboratory divides the various spore kinds into three groups:
Water Indicators: (Red row)
These spores develop on moist or saturated surfaces within the home and may be an indication of a more serious/active/persistent indoor air quality problem with a higher potential for mycotoxin and allergy production.
Predominantly outdoor: (no color)
In general, these spores develop primarily outdoors and are poor predictors of the general air quality within the home.
Indoor/Outdoor: (Yellow row)
These spores, particularly aspergillums/penicillium, are excellent indications of indoor air quality problems since they frequently develop in damp settings in the home. Penicillium and Aspergillus are capable of producing mycotoxin and allergens.
An indoor mold is a form of fungus that is occasionally called mildew. Mold needs moisture to grow. It is recognized that some molds contain mycotoxin and allergenic potential. Mold is highly prevalent inside. Although most molds are benign, some varieties can be extremely harmful to human health, especially when present in huge amounts.
Evaluation of Mold spores Test
Spore Counts in the Raw
The best way to evaluate test findings is to consult a professional. Air quality issues may be indicated when the raw counts of specific spores are significantly out of range from the outdoor sample. Sometimes there are too many spores to count individually, thus only a percentage of them are counted in the lab. For instance, if only 10% of the raw count, which is 60, was evaluated, that may mean there were 10 times as many spores as 600. (Not 60). View the video for additional details
Spores per Cubic Meter Calculated
The report then estimates the calculated number of spores per cubic meter, or how many spores we can anticipate finding floating around in a cubic meter of air, using the raw counts. The test findings are best read by an expert; these visualizations can be informative but potentially deceiving. Remember that the maximum amounts can change depending on the sample; check the video for further details. These graphs are not to scale.
Recognize that fungal spores can be found both inside and outside of the home, so if you see some red on the report marked "ELEVATED," don't panic. That does not imply that there is always a problem. Simply put, it indicates that the fungal spore count in question was at least ten times greater than in the outdoor sample. Regardless of that figure, it might not be a problem. The kind and overall quantity of spores will determine this.
Three air samples are taken to examine the air's quality; one sample is taken outside the house, and the other two are taken within. When the test results are available, we contrast the two indoor samples with the outdoor sample (which is called "background" on the report). We will know there is a problem in the house if any of the inside samples contain noticeably more mold spores than the exterior sample.
Common Signs of Water Damage?
Water damage can leave you with a costly bill and can result in irreversible damage. Fortunately, there are some common signs to look out for, so you can catch it early if it does happen and get it repaired as soon as possible.
Your Ceiling and Wall Paint is Peeling and Warping
Take a look around your home and examine the walls and ceilings. If they are water damaged, you may notice that the wallpaper or paint is peeling or even has a bubbling effect. More often than not, this is because of excess moisture. Water-filled bubbles form, and can be large or small depending on the extent of the water damage. Even small bubbles should be inspected and addressed immediately. The bubbling effect can be especially found in bathrooms and kitchens. Even tasks as simple as boiling a pot of water can cause water damage to the walls, especially if there is condensation. If you have a painted overhang above your stove, you can find these water-filled bubbles as well.
If you have water damage, you also may notice that your drywall is warping or your ceiling feels soft and spongy to the touch. Warped drywall is never good as it can lead to structural damage and ruin the integrity of the drywall. You won’t be able to hang shelving or anything heavy on the drywall as it will turn to mush and crumble. Plus, anything you already had hanging on the drywall, such as an expensive TV can fall to the ground and become damaged. You are looking at damages beyond the drywall itself which is why it is important to address it as soon as you notice it.
Buckled Hardwood Floors
If your floors are looking a little odd and not as they used to, trust your gut as it may be water damage. What constitutes odd? You may notice that your floors are what experts call ‘cupping’. This is when the sides of your floorboards are higher than the centre of the floorboards. This generally occurs when moisture builds up inside the wood and swells it while weighing down the centre. You will notice the opposite effect when too much moisture is removed from the floorboards and they shrink. In addition, your hardwood floors can ‘crown’ which is the opposite of cupping. Moisture builds up inside the boards and the centre of the wood is higher than the sides of the wood.
If you notice your hardwood floors ‘buckling’ than this could be a sign of water damage. When your hardwood flooring buckles, the wood will lift from the subflooring several inches in multiple places or one.
You must take into consideration how your wood flooring was installed. Sometimes it is not due to water damage at all, but to wear and tear and improper installation. Hardwood flooring needs time to get used to the environment and the elements it will be exposed to. If this doesn’t happen and it is installed before it is ready, cupping, crowning, and buckling can occur as well.
Visibly Stained Ceilings and Floors
Take a look at your ceilings and floors and take note of any stains. Feel your carpets as well and if they are wet to the touch, that is definitely a sign that a leak has occurred and there may be water damage. If the stains on your ceilings are yellow or brown and are various shapes and sizes, that is a sign of water damage. Take note of where the stain is as well. If the stain is underneath your bathroom where the toilet or shower is, that increases the chances of it being water damage from a leak.
A tell-tale sign that there is water damage in your home is mold as mold can only develop if there is a source of moisture. You may find mold spores on your hardwood floors, inside the wall and outside the wall, and on the ceiling. Check your basement thoroughly as well as most people find Mold there. It can be a variety of colours, the most common being black mold. Keep in mind that no mold does not mean you are safe from water damage and it doesn’t exist. Mold is highly dangerous to your health and can even lead to death with long-term exposure, so it is not an issue to be taken lightly.
For most cases, Mold Damage will only begin to grow if the source of the water damage has been damp for a long time. In this case, you may have water damage long before you notice it.
Bad Odours Smells
Don’t ignore that musty smell you have been sensing for weeks, as it may be related to water damage. The scent tends to grow stronger the closer you are to the source of the water damage. The smell can be coming from the mold resulting from the water damage, or the water damage itself if it is from a leak from a sewer pipe. Sewage is a biohazard so this should be addressed as soon as possible. It is not safe to be exposed to a biohazard for any period of time.
High Water Bill
This one is not really a direct sign of water damage, but something to look out for. A higher utility bill without intentional use of excessive water is usually a sign of a leak. If there is a leak, then there could quite possibly be water damage you haven’t noticed yet.
Take an extra moment out of your day, if you can, to analyze your home and look out for water damage. Check for leaks as well in every room, especially the bathroom, kitchen, basement and laundry room. If you do spot water damage in your home, don’t ignore it. Water damage can become more expensive the longer it is left, and could even be detrimental to your health. Call a professional as soon as possible to confirm the water damage and get it repaired.
What to do if you discover mold growth in your home?
Your house is a place where you find comfort. Its coziness welcomes you every day after you return home from work. If your home is unbecoming you won’t get the stress-free atmosphere you are looking or after a day at work. Therefore, you need to keep your home neat and clean by getting rid of rodents and insects like cockroaches and mice along with other infestation causing organisms like termites and mold.
While cockroaches, mice, and termites can creep into your house even after you take extreme measures, mold can infest your house only if you are careless. What is so special about mold? Let us find out!
Mold and its Growth
Mold is basically a fungus that exists all around is. It is an organism that can be found in the air, in water and even outside in nature. In nature, Mold is an important part of the ecosystem as it helps break down dead leaves, plants, and even trees. It thrives in moisture so it exists widely in Water Damage.
Mold can infest your house only if you leave a damp spot in your house. Now you might think why would you just randomly leave a damp spot in your home? Well, things can happen. Perhaps, you spilled Water Damage on your wall or there is seepage in your walls that keep them damp. Mold only needs little space to flourish and infest your home. And once it cements its place somewhere in your home, it can start to grow and spread just like any other bacteria.
Humidity can also have a similar effect. Basically, anything wet or damp is a breeding ground for such bacteria. You need to avoid such situations and fix any leaking pipes or seepage that might be found in your house.
Adverse Effects of Mold on You and the Environment
Mold is a pretty interesting organism, in that it is different from any other multicellular organism. Unlike most fungi, mold exists everywhere. It is in the air, the Water Damage properties and in the ground. Wherever there is moisture, there is mold. Keeping that in mind you can imagine the adverse effects mold can have on your house and also on your health.
When it comes to your house, mold can destroy its beauty. A clean house can look ugly and smell bad if it is infested with mold. Mold is small and either green or black. It comes in patches in your home from where it spreads into the air and even to the nearest wall or pipe. These patches are usually found under bathroom sinks or near water and sewerage pipes. Small patches of mold pose no threat but if the organism spreads, as it's its nature, you can expect it to release some of itself in the air around you. If you inhale too much mold you might get sick and in the long run, this infestation can become risky for you. Sickness associated with mold exposure is sinus problems, breathing problems, sore throat, nosebleed, headache, skin irritation, and even cancer. You would do well to rid yourself of mold as soon as possible.
So, in essence, with mold not only will your house look bad, it will smell bad and the air inside won’t be healthy for you or your friends and relatives. You should get your house checked for mold and get it treated by professionals. If you are in Toronto, GTA Restoration is a good place to call for help.
Types of Mold
There is no one kind of mold. It has a wide range of species but they can be classified under three types.
This is the mildest type of mold. Allergenic mold can cause problems for people who have asthma or who are specifically allergic to mold. This kind of mold is not lethal but you are better removing it from your home.
This kind of mold is relatively harmful to both sick and healthy people. Pathogenic mold can lead to hypersensitivity pneumonitis, which is harmful and can even lead to death if not treated readily.
This is the most lethal kind of Black Mold as it can cause temporary and permanent illnesses starting from eye and skin irritation and going onto serious issues like cancer, immunosuppression, and neurological disorders. All these diseases are caused by mycotoxins released by the fungus.
How to Prevent Mold
Instead of dealing with mold after your home is affected by it, it is better to prevent mold from developing fully. However, you should keep in mind that keeping your house completely mold free is impossible since bacterium breathe air and you cannot stop air from spreading everywhere.
There are a few ways you can prevent mold:
As we have learned, mold thrives in moisture. So, in order to stop it from flourishing, you need to keep a keen eye on moisture in your home. Regularly check high-risk areas like the bathtub, and wash basins. Furthermore, install dehumidifiers in your home to reduce the amount of moisture in the air.
Dust carries millions of bacteria, which can infect your home. If you can prevent dust from accumulating in your humble abode, you can prevent the formation of mold.
Germs and bacteria like dirty places, as well as places that are devoid of proper ventilation. If your home is not properly ventilated you will find many kinds of bacteria and insects roaming around.
If you want to ensure a healthy living environment, you need to get your house tested and cured of mold. Professionals who can undertake this job are hard to come by but fortunately here at GTA Restoration we employ the best of the best in the field. Our team of trained professionals will do their job to the best of their ability and rid your home of any and all mold infestation. All you need to do is grab a phone to call us and our team of professionals will be at your doorstep at the earliest.