Mold can become a serious problem if it is allowed to develop in the walls, floors, ceilings or heating and air conditioning ducts of a building. “Mold makes people sick,” says John Taylor, a mold remediation specialist with Mold Aid, a company that removes mold from homes and businesses in the Washington, D.C., area. “In fact, mold has been linked to serious illnesses in sensitive individuals. That means that if your home or business becomes wet because of a flood or a burst pipe, you could have a real problem on your hands if you do not take the right steps to treat it.”

What’s the Big Deal With Mold?

Experts, including the Centers for Disease Control, agree with Mr. Taylor’s assessment. ” Mold can cause fungal allergy and respiratory infections or worsen certain illnesses such as asthma. Molds are microorganisms that are found virtually everywhere, indoors and outdoors. The potential health effects of exposure to indoor mold are of increasing concern,” says the CDC at Mold is more harmful to those who are sensitive than those who are not; however, anyone can be affected by large quantities of mold spores in the air.


Mold can cause a number of allergic reactions, most of them respiratory in nature. Small children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are most likely to be affected, but even healthy adults can suffer breathing problems or runny noses, itchy eyes and coughing in the presence of mold spores. Another typical reaction is a skin rash; many people exposed to certain types of molds break out and become itchy and uncomfortable.


How Do I Know If I Have Mold?

Mold is not always visible. It may hide in unseen areas, grow and release its spores into the air. The spores are actually what cause the reaction in sensitive people, but they are invisible and usually odorless, making them difficult to detect. Most people with serious mold problems do not know that they have an issue until someone becomes ill. The only way to truly measure the scope of a mold problem is by calculating indoor air quality with a device used to measure the parts per million of sports in the air.

“Indoor air quality is the metric that is used to meas

ure the potential for harm in a given room,” notes Taylor. “We measure indoor air quality using a number of different technologies. After a flood, we often see that mold and other issues develop quickly and indoor air quality suffers.”


Taylor also notes that many people in these situations take steps that seem intuitively correct but in fact make the problem worse. For example, many home or business owners instinctively open windows to bring in fresh air after a flood and help dry out furniture and flooring. While this may help speed drying time, it may also introduce outside air which contains even more mold spores. “It is important to know how to properly dry floors, carpeting and furniture to prevent further damage or the introduction of new mold species into a room,” notes Taylor. “Additionally, many people think they have dried a carpet or sofa only to find later that mold has taken hold and is now growing in the hidden crevices of the room or furniture.”

Battling Mold The Right Way

“The only real way to ensure that mold is gone for good is to remove any item that has been saturated. Failing that, there are ways to prevent mold from growing by the application of certain chemicals. Ultimately, you must starve mold in order to beat it,” says Taylor. He notes that mold lives on two things: moisture and air. “If you deprive mold of oxygen or water, it cannot grow,” says Taylor. “Therefore, the most important things to do when there are mold infestations are to dry them up and cover them up.”

Taylor’s firm uses state-of-the-art technology in order to identify mold growth, even in hidden spots in a home or business. Some of these devices can spot mold hidden inside walls and measure indoor air for random spores. Based on these readings, Taylor and his team will then take steps to remove, control or contain the mold growth.

“In some cases, the property owner has to make a tough decision,” notes Taylor. “It may be too expensive to dig out and completely remove mold from hidden spots. In fact, it could destroy a building in some cases to try to get to the mold to remove it. Therefore, in those cases, we have to take other measures. We starve the mold by denying it moisture and oxygen, covering it with a substance that will contain it and keep it from spreading or growing.”

After successful mold containment and treatment, Taylor says that home or business owners can return to their property safely. “Once mold is contained, it loses its power over the inhabitants of a building. They can safely go about their lives without worrying about sickness or injury.”

Taking mold seriously is important. Taylor notes, “Too many people think they can attack a mold problem with a spray bottle of bleach and a scrub brush. In fact, sometimes when my company is called in, we find that the home or business owners have actually made the damage worse with their own ‘cleanup’ efforts. We strongly encourage anyone who has been the victim of a flood or of a serious water leak to contact a professional in order to ensure that their home or business is safe.”


About Mold Aid

Mold Aid offers mold testing, certification and remediation to home and business owners who have experienced problems with mold growth due to flooding or other causes. The company also provides HVAC cleaning, drywall removal and building inspection services as well as indoor air quality testing.

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