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Cal Grevemberg  
Cal Grevemberg & Associates, Inc.  
(337) 364 9208 Cell (337) 277 3013  
501 Julia St.  
New Iberia, LA 70560  

How Old IS Mold?

Media reports about "Toxic Mold" seem to abound these days.  Toxic Mold in the home has apparently been around for a long time.  The first "Mold Remediation" can be found in the Bible:  Leviticus, Ch. 14. The process for remediation of moisture damage and subsequent mold, hasn't changed very much in thousands of years.  If you suspect a problem with mold in your home, the best course of action is to become informed.  Excessive media coverage often leads to "misinformation".  For example, "toxic mold" is a media term.  The proper term is "toxigenic mold".  Mold belongs to the Fungus Family, and includes mildew, yeast, rust, etc.  Also, the color of mold does not identify the genus.  Black Mold is another media term.  Many molds are black, but not necessarily toxigenic.

At the end of this short essay, there is a LINK to the EPA that offers a world of information about MOLD.  However, let's review a few basic techniques and observations.  Most of these are common sense:

     Small areas of mold are often found in the bathroom shower and/or tub.  TILEX, a common household fungicide, will usually take care of this problem in short order.  Wash the affected area with soap and water first.  Allow the surface to dry, then spray it with TILEX. This works well for mold found in vanities, closets, window sills, and on the surface of A/C supply registers.

     If the mold covers a large area, and is found on the drywall or ceiling tiles, then you may have a real problem.  Often, the mold you see is only the tip of the iceberg.  Toxigenic mold needs three things to thrive:  oxygen, water, and a food source.  According to the EPA, Moisture Control Is The Key To Mold Control.  To eliminate mold growth, one must cut off the supply of moisture.  Your first order of business is to resolve the issue of moisture intrusion, and then remediate the affected area accordingly.  It may be prudent to seek professional help.

     If carpets have been wet, due to a plumbing leak, flood, or wind-driven rain, there's a good chance that mold is growing beneath.  Once again, professional help may be your best choice.  According to the EPA, carpets that have been wet for more than 48 hours should be discarded.  This is also true for ceiling tiles, drywall, fiberglass insulation, and cellulose insulation.  In other words, most items that contain cellulose (books, fabric, wood, drywall, etc.) should be discarded if moldy.  Furniture and personal belongings may require professional restoration.  Vacuuming personal items with a HEPA Vacuum Cleaner and/or spraying with fungicide is one option.  Seek the advice of a qualified contractor.  Sometimes the only alternative is tossing the contaminated items.

     If you suspect that mold is inside your A/C ducts, then you certainly need to call a professional cleaning service.  Make sure the contractor follows the GUIDELINES set by the EPA in the document titled:  "Should I Have My Ducts Cleaned?"  This EPA document can be downloaded from the Internet.  Read it carefully, and make sure your contractor follows the EPA guidelines.  After cleaning the ducts and air handler, install a pleated filter with electrostatic charged synthetic media.  Look for a rating of "12".
Finally, let me comment on "New Construction"ALL homes have mold spores inside the wall cavities.  Lumber gets wet while stored, or after installation.  Microbial growth occurs, and manifests itself as black stains on the lumber (mold).  This is normal.  Once the wall is closed, the amplification stops because the moisture supply is cut off.  However, it's important to maintain the integrity of the building envelope of ALL dwellings so that future moisture intrusion does not occur.  If moisture is introduced into wall cavities, there will be future microbial growth.  Since wall cavities are dark and have little ventilation, microbial growth is rapid.  Usually you will smell it before you see it.  Fresh paint, caulk, secure roof covering, and flashing are the keys to a mold-free dwelling.

As I mentioned in the beginning, mold has been around for a long time.  It's important that you don't over react.  Become informed and resolve the issue yourself if appropriate. Otherwise, retain a professional who will investigate the problem and offer alternatives for remediation.
Finally, don't use the word "mold" when talking to your insurance company.  Use the words "moisture intrusion" instead.  Damage due to moisture intrusion is typically a covered loss.  Mold damage is not.  However, mold is the result of moisture intrusion.

For more information about mold, the EPA web site is especially good, and will help dispel many of the myths.  To go there now, click here:
If you would like to contact me directly, call:  (337) 364 9208
Cal Grevemberg


New Iberia (337)364 9208 *** Cell Phone (337) 277 3013
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