Mold FAQs

We’ve all heard horror stories of mold in homes, but what if we smell mold, or have headaches or sinus issues? What mold FAQs do you need to know? We’ve looked around for the most asked Mold questions on the internet to get you the answers you need.

What is Mold?

Mold is one type of fungus whose job it is to decompose organic/dead material. Mold sometimes infects living plants and animals. Molds are naturally occurring organisms playing a major role in the earth’s ecosystem.

What does Mold look like?

The spores and fiber-like structure of individual mold colonies are too small to see without a microscope. When enough mold grows together on a surface it will appear in different colors.

How do I know if I have a mold problem?

Mold needs a few things, water, food (something for the mold to grow on/feed off of) but the one primary thing is water.  If you have materials that are getting wet and staying wet or getting wet repeatedly you are going to get mold growth. 

Is my house SAFE, what is a normal amount of mold?

We cannot guarantee any home is safe. Even though the mold levels/types in your home may be what is normally found in the average indoor environment, that does not mean it is safe. There are instances, though rare, that certain people become sick or have negative responses to “normal” levels/types of mold. Every person’s body responds differently to any given environment.

How do I know if I have mold in my home?

There are airborne mold spores everywhere.  Inside, outside, every home and structure has airborne mold and it’s a healthy part of nature.  The problem occurs when those spores find water/moisture for an extended period and begin to grow. 

What should I do if my house has black mold or toxic mold?

There are many types of mold. “Black” is a color, not a type. All mold should be addressed in the same manner of seriousness. The CDC states that there is no one type of mold more dangerous than another. Any type of foreign substance, especially in excess, is not good for the human body.

How can mold affect me?

Mold gets into your body by touching it, eating it or breathing it. How it ‘affects’ a person can and will vary greatly as every person’s body reacts differently to different substances, including mold.  While symptoms of mold exposure can vary greatly, they can sometimes be similar to that of basic allergies, running nose, itchy eyes etc.

How does mold become airborne?

Mold reaches a stage when it releases spores into the air, called sporulation. This can occur at any time. Things which cause mold to go airborne are cleaning, removal and disturbing the mold. Because mold needs water to grow, you often see it growing on wet building materials, so a natural inclination is to begin drying out the wet materials. Direct heat or fans which are often applied to ‘dry it out’ will cause massive sporulation which can become very dangerous for your health.

If I have surface mold growth, should I be concerned?

Just because you have surface growth does not mean you have an airborne mold problem, and it’s through the air that it enters your body.  It is important to take any type of surface mold growth, no matter the color or location, seriously. And hire a professional remediation company.

How do I know if there’s mold behind my walls?

There is no technology available today which can detect mold hiding in or behind a wall. If a mold air test reveals ‘abnormal’ mold types/levels you can be sure there is a mold ‘source’ somewhere. Testing reveals which areas of your home are most laden with mold in the air. Give us a call to determine if a mold test is right for you.

What do I need to know about mold testing methods?

There are two primary methods of mold air testing today. Cassette and digital optics.  Similar to the difference between a film camera and a digital camera, cassettes have to be sent away for processing and you have to wait for results, with digital optics you get instant results.  Additionally, the cost of cassette testing two rooms of your home will generally run about $500, and for about the same amount you can get your whole house tested using the advanced digital testing and have the added benefit of getting an instant report.  Airborne mold does not level off and balance out in a structure, so you can get very different readings room to room.  Therefore it’s critically important to have every room tested, otherwise you may step right over the problem and not know it. 

Can you tell me what type of mold is in my house?

Depending on the testing method, the type of mold can be determined.  However, contrary to popular belief,  learning what type of mold it is has almost no value as all mold is treated/remediated the same way regardless of the type. 
Many companies use terms like ‘Black Mold’ or ‘Toxic Mold’, but these are terms meant to scare people and cause fear. Scientifically, there is not a type of mold called ‘black mold’ or ‘toxic mold’ The national center for disease control says there is not one type of mold any more dangerous than another and learning the type of mold is not important.  If you have mold, get it remediated.

Will mold testing be covered under my homeowners insurance?

Every insurance policy is different, please refer to your policy terms/conditions.

Will air and surface testing be covered under my homeowners insurance for my water restoration project?

Since every insurance policy is different, you should refer to your policy terms/conditions.  However, we have worked for years with every major insurance company and have always found this to be covered in the policy.

What do I do if you find mold? 

If there is surface growth mold and/or an airborne mold contamination problem, it is advised that a certified professional mold mitigation company get involved. They are trained in following all the proper procedures for mold remediation.  Never hire a remediation company who offers to do the testing for you themselves, it’s a conflict of interest for the remediation company to also perform the testing. 

What if I need to know the type of mold that is in my house?

If you need to know the specific type of mold species, you will need to perform cassette or tape lift testing.  Since cassette testing is often limited in how many rooms are tested it may not give you a full picture of what is happening throughout the entire house/structure. The cassette will only show limited data that has been pulled through the cassette and only in the room it was taken, which is not adequate.

Can I or my family get sick from mold exposure? 

Yes, but only a doctor can definitively connect your illness to mold exposure. 

Can you tell me where the airborne mold is coming from?

There is no technology available today which can detect mold hiding in or behind a wall. If a mold air test reveals ‘abnormal’ mold types/levels you can be sure there is a mold ‘source’ somewhere.  Unfortunately, pinpointing the location of surface mold growth can be difficult.  Always start by looking in the areas of your home/structure that have water/moisture availability, like kitchen and bathroom plumbing, roof leaks, pipes leading to exterior hose bibs etc…