Home Mold & Moisture Inspection Minnesota
Why has mold become such problem today?
Mold has received a lot of attention lately. Primarily due to the vast amount of sickness it has caused, to the many law suits it has generated, and to modern building practices. Mold has always been around. It has been documented as the cause of the Ergot Epidemic (a mold induced food poisoning) which plagued Europe and limited population growth for over 500 years during the Middle Ages. The Irish Potato famine of the mid-1800’s was caused by a species of mold that killed the plants causing the migration or starvation of millions of people.
The reason we see more mold in our homes is partly due to the fuel shortage of the 1970’s and the high cost of energy today. Most homes are heavily insulated and many are wrapped on the exterior with a vapor barrier, which does save energy. However, these practices create less ventilation within the home and when there is a water event (condensation build up or a leaking pipe, window, roof, etc). If there is a water event there is the potential for mold growth.
The Bureau of the Census reports that 35% of homes are damaged due to water or moisture each year. The products we use to build our homes such as wood, cellulose and other organic materials provide a fertile platform for mold growth.
What kind of mold is it? Is it toxic?
Unfortunately, mold cannot be identified by sight and there are thousands of types of mold. Our job is the first step, which is to collect samples and have a lab analyze them. Molds can be divided into 3 basic groups based on their health affects: Allergenic, Pathogenic, and Toxic. Allergenic mold can cause allergenic symptoms such as wheezing or a runny nose. Pathogenic molds can cause suppressed immune systems or serious health effects in a person who already has a decreased immune system. Toxic mold can cause serious health effects in almost everyone. These effects may be short-term irritations or even cancer.
How do you test for mold?
There are two typical methods used for mold testing. One is air sampling (air is drawn through a Spore Trap with a vacuum pump) where air samples are taken inside the home and an additional sample taken outside the home for comparison to detect a problem. The other is a swab sample or tape lift of any visible mold to determine the type of mold.
Why an Indoor and an Outdoor Sample?
Mold exists everywhere in the outdoors. Mold spores enter a home through open doors or windows and attached to people or items brought into a home. These spores will likely remain dormant unless they contact an area with sufficient moisture to grow. The logic behind this method of testing is: If the level of mold spores inside the home is significantly higher than the level of spores outside the home, then there is mold growth inside the home.