As homeowners become increasingly aware of the problems associated with mold, they are left with many questions.
Bart Drake, owner of Alpha Omega Inspections, a Florida certified mold assessor and remediator, sat down with Coastal Breeze News to give us the facts.
Bart explained that there are common misconceptions about mold that can affect your health, your home and your wallet.
Some of the things we learned were the basics about mold.
Mold, which is living, needs a food source- be it cardboard, leather, wood, drywall, etc., and a moisture source. Mold grows above 60% humidity in as little as 24 hours, making it hard, if not impossible, to prevent in South Florida. “Every structure has some mold,” Bart told us.
There are hundreds of thousands of types of mold. The two main distinctions of mold are toxic (pathenogenic) and non-toxic (nonpathenogenic). Toxic mold is not as common as most people think.
Common things contributing to mold growth include moisture from air vents, broken pipes, open doors and windows, and areas of increased humidity (such as the bathroom).
People often think that ‘If I had mold, I would see it or smellit.’
Bart tells us that this is a misconception. Often there are no visible or olfactory signs of mold, even when it is present.
Another common misconception is that mold is only a problem for people who are allergic to it.
Although a mold allergy is the most common problem caused by exposure to mold, mold can cause illness without an allergic reaction. Mold can also cause infections, as well as irritant and toxic reactions. The impact on your health runs the gamut from mild to severe. Infections caused by mold can lead to a variety of problems from flu-like symptoms to skin infections, and even pneumonia. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm#affect.
And toxic mold isn’t the main culprit. Bart says “At certain levels even non-toxic mold will bother some people.”
So what should you do if you suspect mold?
If it’s simple mold in the shower- clean it. Otherwise, call a professional prior to any attempt to clean, because you can easily spread the mold, causing a much more costly clean up.
Molds have different characteristics- and some are airborne. Seek professional help to avoid unintentional spreading which could rapidly turn a small problem into a bigone.
If you suspect mold, your first step should be a mold assessment.
When Bart performs a mold assessment he begins with a thorough visual inspection, where he looks for signs of moisture such as stains on the ceiling. Next, he takes at least one indoor and one outdoor air sample, which he sends to a laboratory for evaluation. If there is visible mold Bart takes a “lift sample” as well.
Much of the process involves investigation and detective work. Bart’s thirty year background in construction gives him a unique advantage over other mold inspectors, who may only do air sampling. Further, many assessors and remediators say they are certified, but they are not. Bart suggests always checking credentials with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) through the website at: www.myflorida
Alpha Omega is located on Marco Island. It’s a family business; wife Leslie is the office manager.
Mold assessment typically costs $275 for an average home, but varies according to size and number of air conditioners, square footage, etc.
For further information on mold assessment and remediation, contact Bart Drake, Alpha Omega Inspections, by phone 239-450-8211, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.alphaomegainspections.net.