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Detecting Mold Problems  

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Molds are found in virtually every environment and can be detected, both indoors and outdoors, year round. Most of us already have two effective mold detectors: our eyes and our noses. If black or green discoloration is noticed in a location that is damp or had been damp, it is almost certainly mold. If a building smells musty, there probably is mold somewhere. You may not know what type of mold it is or how extensive the problem may be, but you do know that a problem exists and it should be addressed. On the other hand, mold is not always that obvious, in which case it is wise to hire a Certified Mold Inspector whose expertise is in locating mold problems that are otherwise undetectable to the untrained eye. If and when that need arises, we hope you will consider AMI to inspect your property. 

The following information and images will help you better understand how to recognize some of the more obvious mold problems.
  
Surface Mold Inside Window 
Cause
: Improper window seal or poorly installed flashing
Consequences: Moisture inside window and damage to window sill 
Repairs: The window must be removed and re-sealed; sometimes a new window must be installed

Surface Mold Inside Window 
Cause
: Improper window seal or poorly installed flashing
Consequences: Moisture inside window and damage to window sill 
Repairs: The window must be removed and re-sealed; sometimes a new window must be installed 

Bathtub/Shower Mold 
Symptoms
: Mold in bathtub/shower that is easy to clean but always comes back (it's coming from growth inside your bathtub/shower walls and floor) 
Cause: Improperly installed shower tile and drywall system 
Repairs: Removal and replacement of tub, tile and drywall 

Dry Rot on Eaves 
Cause
: Improper installation of roofing paper 
Repairs: The tiles within 3 to 4 feet of the affected area must be removed and damaged wood replaced

Mold on Eaves 
Cause
: Improper installation of roofing paper 
Repairs: The tiles within 3 to 4 feet of the affected area must be removed and damaged wood replaced

Roof Leak (Discoloration of Stucco Near Roof) 
Cause: Improper installation of roofing paper 
Repairs: The tiles within 3 to 4 feet of the affected area must be removed and damaged wood replaced; removal and patching of stucco in affected area 
Discoloration or Mold On Stucco 
Cause: Poor drainage or excessive ground water 
Consequences: Destruction of the stucco; rusting of the stucco weep screed; mold and mildew growth and dry rotted interior wood framing 
Repairs: Removal and replacement of stucco in one foot band around home; must be done in combination with addition of drains around home to eliminate ground water 

 More on where to look for mold and potential mold problems.

      
Mold and/or Mildew
Fungus that grows in damp, dark areas, causes discoloration, musty smells and odors.

Musty Odors
This is the result of the decay process from mold, mildew, and dry rot.

Damp Spots on Walls
Sign that water has absorbed through wall block will have dark gray splotches in various places. 

White Chalky Substance on Walls
Known as efflorescence, this is a chemical breakdown of the bonding agent that holds your walls together. Sign of possible structural deterioration.

Cracked Walls
Sign that foundation has moved/shifted should be inspected to determine the exact cause.

Peeling Paint
Sign that the wall has taken moisture inside, as paint will not stick to a wet surface.

Rust on Appliances or Furniture
Look for rust on bottoms of furnaces, water heaters, and other metal appliances. Sign of dampness and water evaporation.

Dry Rot
Dark brown/black fungus. Grows on walls and other surfaces. Grows mostly on wooden surfaces, causing wood to decay.

Warped Paneling
Moisture will cause paneling to bow and discolor, commonly at the bottom portion of the paneling.

 10 Things you should know about mold.

  
1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.

2. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.

3. If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.

4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.

5. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60% ) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.

6. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

7. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.

8. Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.

9. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).

10. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.

Next page: Removing Mold

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