Mold Assessment Overview
Silver Maple Home Inspections LLC is a New York State licensed Mold Assessment Contractor. License # 01845
Mold is a common issue here in the Hudson Valley of New York. The combination of abundant water sources and shade trees, lends itself to optimal conditions for mold growth. While mold may be naturally occurring in nature, when it exists within your home, it can have negative effects on the health of you and your family.
Here we will discuss the most common causes of mold growth within a home, different types of mold, and how Silver Maple Home Inspections can provide mold assessment services inline with the New York State laws and standards.
What Is Mold and How Does It Grow?
Mold is any multicellular fungi growth capable of creating toxins that can cause pulmonary, respiratory, neurological or other illnesses after minimal exposure. Mold forms and spreads on various types of damp or decaying organic matter. There are many mold types and species, and they can be found in all climates, indoors and outdoors, during all seasons of the year.
Indoor molds need moisture to grow, as well as a carbon source. These carbon sources usually come in the form of building materials or a building’s contents.
Here Are The 7 Things Which Cause Mold Grow In a Home
- Mold Spores. These may be naturally occurring, or brought into the home from the surrounding areas.
- A food source. As previously mentioned, mold survives on organic matter. This may take the form of wood, drywall, clothing, or even household dust.
- A temperature range between 40-100 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Moisture. This may be introduced into the building, such as a leak orcondensation from a humid temperature differential. Or caused by an internal leak from a plumbing defect.
- Relative humidity range. If the interior humidity is above 65%, this is where mostmolds can begin to form. Per the CDC keeping the humidity levels in a home below 50% is optimal.
- Shade from UV light. Ultraviolet light will not allow mold to grow. Areas of the home where it is dark may produce mold with the above combination of elements.
- Lastly, time. Mold can begin growing within 24-48 hours if the conditions allow.
Home Defects Which Can Cause Mold
Common areas of the home where mold is found include the attic, the basement, and areas with plumbing fixtures, such as bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms. Of course mold may exist in other areas of the home as well. If it is believed that mold is present in a home, it is not only important to remediate it (aka remove/kill it) but also to fix the root cause of how it got there in the first place.
Here are some common issues which cause mold to grow.
Attic: Mold is often found in the attic for two reasons. Poor ventilation, and roof leaks. Most roof structures are designed to allow for ventilation to occur by circulating air out of the ridge or gable end vents. This air flow removes any condensation which may be produced by the mixing of warm and cool air. Poor insulation may add to this problem. Other sources of poor ventilation may include bathroom fans which are not vented to the exterior of the building. The warm, moist air from the bathroom gets trapped in the attic, which is conducive to mold growth.
Roof leaks are a more obvious source of water intrusion. Often found around chimneys or other penetrations in the roof. Leaks allow water into the attic, which can not only grow mold, but ultimately damage building elements.
Basements: When inspecting the basement areas, there are several things to take into account. The grading of the property is often high on the list. If the slope of the property is pitched toward the structure, you can bet that groundwater will follow that slope. Oftentimes, exterior drainage, or foundation waterproofing is required to handle this ground water.
Another common issue is a lack of proper gutter systems on the roof. 1,000 square feet of roof surface can collect roughly 623 gallons of water, with just 1 inch of rain. If this water is not properly diverted away from the home, it will likely find its way along the exterior foundation wall, and potentially seep into the basement through openings, or hydrostatic pressure.
There are many companies which specialize in basement water mitigation. If keeping the water out of the basement is proving to be difficult, these companies may install systems within the home to remove water and dry out the interior area.
Plumbing Fixtures: This may also be an obvious reason for mold growth. We bring water into the home for sanitary and heating needs. But if this water is not controlled, this is where mold may potentially form. Kitchens and bathrooms are the most common areas for these issues to start. However, defective plumbing lines for heat or domestic use may run behind walls, causing leaks in other areas of the home.