Attic Mold Inspections

A lot of people that have upgraded their home in the last few years are now having a problem. The government is promoting energy savings products. Improving your home or business with these energy savings products is a good idea but you need to consider the building science of the dwelling. The study of building science doesn’t seem to be the strong point of government. The eco-energy program was a great benefit for many home owners to upgrade their furnace, windows and insulation levels in their homes.

As you tighten your home or business up, you reduce the air infiltration rate on the windows, doors and furnace and increase the wall infiltration and the attic infiltration rate. Example I will use is a home that has all new windows installed. The windows represented 15-25% of the homes infiltration rate. Now the home has increased attic infiltration and exfiltration. Now with all the humid air from the home moving into the attic you now have the chance for mould (mold) if the moisture can’t escape or you have mould laden air being pulled into the home because of a negative air pressure in the home. With building science you to be balance the air in and out .

If you are going to tighten up your home or business you have to have a plan to replace the air that is not entering into the home. An attic inspection is recommended yearly in your home.

Inch by Inch Healthy Homes conducts black mold inspections and attic mold inspections in Toronto and the GTA.

Get your attic inspected today.

Mold Facts

Hidden Mold

A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home

Suspicion of hidden mold

You may suspect hidden mold if a building smells moldy, but you cannot see the source, or if you know there has been water damage and residents are reporting health problems. Mold may be hidden in places such as the back side of dry wall, wallpaper, or paneling, the top side of ceiling tiles, the underside of carpets and pads, etc. Other possible locations of hidden mold include areas inside walls around pipes (with leaking or condensing pipes), the surface of walls behind furniture (where condensation forms), inside duct-work, and in roof materials above ceiling tiles (due to roof leaks or insufficient insulation).

Investigating hidden mold problems

Investigating hidden mold problems may be difficult and will require caution when the investigation involves disturbing potential sites of mold growth. For example, removal of wallpaper can lead to a massive release of spores if there is mold growing on the underside of the paper. If you believe that you may have a hidden mold problem, consider hiring an experienced professional.

Cleanup and Biocides

Biocides are substances that can destroy living organisms. The use of a chemical or biocide that kills organisms such as mold (chlorine bleach, for example) is not recommended as a routine practice during mold cleanup. There may be instances, however, when professional judgment may indicate its use (for example, when immune-compromised individuals are present). In most cases, it is not possible or desirable to sterilize an area; a background level of mold spores will remain – these spores will not grow if the moisture problem has been resolved. If you choose to use disinfectants or biocides, always ventilate the area and exhaust the air to the outdoors. Never mix chlorine bleach solution with other cleaning solutions or detergents that contain ammonia because toxic fumes could be produced.

Mold And Your Health

Molds produce allergens and irritants that can cause some individuals to experience symptoms of hay fever. These include sneezing, runny nose, skin rashes, irritated eyes, as well as nose, throat, and lung ailments.

Many toxic molds produce poisonous substances called mycotoxins. These toxins interfere with cell structures and processes, and have the potential to cause serious health issues. Their effects to the human body have been documented using controlled laboratory conditions.

Mycotoxins have been proven to be present indoors with victims suffering from:

  • pulmonary hemorrhage or pulmonary hemosiderosis (primarily in infants)
  • headaches and other flu-like symptoms
  • nosebleeds
  • immune system suppression (resulting in increased numbers of infections)
  • hair loss
  • chronic fatigue
  • psychological depression
  • diarrhea
  • sore throats
  • dermatitis

Other symptoms that have been associated with mold:

  • “burning” eyes
  • blurred vision
  • respiratory illness
  • chest pains
  • chest tightness
  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing
  • dry cough
  • nasal congestion
  • aggravated asthma
  • cognitive disorder

Why Have Mold Testing?

Mold testing is an important component in home care, including other building structures. Though simply seen as that green or black colored development on walls inside such building structures, there is absolutely more to the bacteria than you may have realized all along. It is an invading living organism placing everyone inside the home at risk, and for the most part, we simply do not know it is there. Getting rid of it is the only way to go and ensure the safety of everyone living inside our homes. The only way to fully determine if we are indeed at risk would be to conduct professional mold testing right away.

There are simply so many reasons why the process is a must in every home and business establishments even when there are no direct signs of manifestations. It tests the air quality inside your home. Since we are already aware that mold buildup can happen on almost any surface type everywhere, it would be smart to take preventive action and put them under control whenever they are already there. Note that they all thrive in moist locations well, especially with oxygen present, and including some organic material types as their source of food.

The presence of water is an important consideration here. Mold testing should take place immediately should you suffers from water problems (leakage) anywhere in your home. Wet surfaces left for about 18 hours are the perfect condition that stimulates mold growth, and places everyone inside the home at risk. There are times when such things may happen sooner than you have anticipated. By testing for mold, you will immediately identify if particular surfaces within your home and the air surrounding them places all inhabitants inside at risk.

Humid conditions should serve as a warning sign in any case. You may have not know this now but humidity in air is already enough to encourage mold growth, at least some types of it, though these may include those that are plainly dangerous for us to ingest. Unfortunately, in some regions around the world, controlling the humidity present inside homes can be very hard. The presence of air conditioning in such instances helps in many ways. However, it would be wise to conduct mold testing first to determine the presence of such molds to support any actions that will be taken and make sure nothing is growing in areas that should not be there.

Mold testing is not really considered a complex process, but it does not mean you can perform it yourself. In most cases, you need a professional to do this for you that is, if you want to get it right. Hiring a professional would mean you can have accurate results that identifies any mold type present in specific areas within your home. Your treatment options get better the moment you have an idea of what is troubling your house. As soon as the testing for molds is over, you can now determine the right solutions and keep the dangers at bay.

Moisture Problems

Moisture problems can have many causes. Some moisture problems have been linked to changes in building construction practices since the 1970s. These practices led to buildings that are tightly sealed but, in some cases, lack adequate ventilation. Without adequate ventilation, moisture may build up indoors and mold may grow.

A building must be properly designed for climate, site location, and use, and its design must be accurately followed during construction or the building may have moisture-control problems.

Delayed or insufficient maintenance can lead to moisture problems in buildings. Undiscovered or ignored moisture problems can create an environment in which mold can grow. Moisture problems in temporary structures, such as portable classrooms, are also frequently associated with mold problems.

Common moisture problems include:

  • Leaking roofs.
  • Leaking or condensing water pipes, especially pipes inside wall cavities or pipe chases.
  • Leaking fire-protection sprinkler systems.
  • Landscaping, gutters, and down spouts that direct water into or under a building.
  • High humidity (> 60% relative humidity).
  • Unvented combustion appliances such as clothes dryers vented into a garage. (Clothes dryers and other combustion appliances should be vented to the outside.)

Some moisture problems are not easy to see. For example, the inside of walls where pipes and wires are run (pipe chases and utility tunnels) are common sites of mold growth. Mold is frequently found on walls in cold corners behind furniture where condensation forms. Other possible locations of hidden moisture, resulting in hidden mold growth are:

  • Poorly draining condensate drain pains inside air handling units.
  • Porous thermal or acoustic liners inside duct work.
  • Roof materials above ceiling tiles.
  • The back side of drywall (also known as gypsum board, wallboard, or SHEETROCK®), paneling, and wallpaper.
  • The underside of carpets and pads.

You may suspect mold, even if you can’t see it, if a building smells moldy. You may also suspect hidden mold if you know there has been a water problem in the building and its occupants are reporting health problems.

Building Design and Vapor Barriers

Many buildings incorporate vapor barriers in the design of their walls and floors. Vapor barriers must be located and installed properly or the building may have moisture problems. A vapor barrier is a layer of material that slows or prevents the absorption or release of moisture from or into a wall or floor. Vapor barriers can prevent damp or wet building materials from drying quickly enough to prevent mold growth.

IICRC Certified Mold Inspection