Keep Mold Away With Sandra’s Home Trainin’!

Posted on | Education/Informing, Maintenance, Opinion, Property Management Blog

Here’s to Being Mold-Free!  Well…Kind of! 

The mold class lunch and learn was hosted by Emergency Restoration Services locally and there was no alcohol served at this event despite the festive photo of me and my home-girl Jill!  It was extremely informative and we learned a lot. They provide free inspections for property management companies. If samples are taken, the cost is $75.00 per sample and they usually take 3.  Not bad.  

Who’s Responsible for Mold?

Owners and property managers can be liable for mold remediation. There are different responsibilities for the owner, tenant and Property Manager. The VRLTA is very specific on this.  For more info check out their website They have a YouTube video of one of their training sessions on their website too. 

Here’s the skinny on mold:  

Mold Facts:  There are over 100,000 different types of mold. Molds can multiply by producing microscopic spores (2-100 microns in diameter) similar to the seeds produced by plants. The number of mold spores suspended in indoor and outdoor air fluctuates from season-to-season, day-to-day, and even hour-to-hour.

Mold is everywhere all the time.   

How to Grow Mold: Mold needs moisture and food to grow. Moisture is the most important factor influencing mold growth indoors. Buildings contain many food sources for mold to feed on. Any organic material such as wood, paper or natural fiber clothing will support mold growth

Moisture Sources: Common sources of water or moisture include roof leaks, condensation due to high humidity or cold spots in a building, slow leaks in plumbing fixtures, humidification systems, sprinkler systems and floods.

Mold or Mildew?:  Mildew is a parasite that requires a living host to live. It is typically found on tropical household plants, white powdery growth, gets its moisture from its host plant. Mold: is a Fungi that requires a dead organic surface to grow on, typically found on all sorts of building materials, comes in many colors, needs a moisture source to grow.  

Mold inhalation hazards: Both the EPA and CDC list all molds as allergenic. Inhaling or even touching mold may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Mold does not have to be alive to cause an allergic reaction! Inhalation exposure to mold indoors can cause minimal to severe health effects in some people. Molds produce allergens, irritants and in some cases potentially toxic substances or chemicals (Mycotoxins)

Mycotoxins: As molds grow, some (but not all) of them may produce potentially toxic byproducts called Mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are the mold’s defense system. Mycotoxins are used by them to compete or fight with other mold colonies. The amount and types of Mycotoxins produced by a particular mold depends on many environmental and genetic factors.

Colors of Mold: Molds come in many colors including yellow, green, brown, pink, purple, white and black. “Black mold” is not a species or specific kind of mold, and neither is “toxic mold”

Preventing Mold: Keep HVAC drip pans clean, flowing properly and unobstructed. Vent moisture generating appliance, such as clothes dryers and bathroom vent fans to outside. Never vent dryers to crawlspaces or attics. Maintain low indoor humidity, below 55% relative humidity. Perform regular building and HVAC inspections and maintenance as scheduled. Don’t let foundations stay wet. Provide drainage and slop the ground away from the foundation

Moldy Misconceptions:

1) Only “black toxic mold” is bad. NO! According to the CDC and EPA all molds have the potential to be allergenic at a minimum. Many molds are linked to serious illnesses.

2) Common crawlspace mold is not a problem. NO! Over 35% of the air in your home comes from the crawlspace in your home through the normal breathing process of your home. HVAC ducts in the crawlspace will significantly increase this number.

3) Bleach will kill mold on porous building materials. NO! A recent Duke University study showed that bleach can actually increase mold growth on porous building materials such as drywall.

4) Applying a sealer over mold like KILZ will fix the mold problem. NO! Stain blockers will not prevent mold from continuing to grow. Covering up mold can lead to costly litigation!

Moldy Tidbits:  

1) Drywall sucks up moisture when it gets wet. If drywall has mold it must be removed/cut-out. If less than 10 sq ft of drywall are affected remediation does not require filtration and containment but the area of drywall must be cut out, bagged and removed from property.

2) Insurance – VA is a mold exclusion state.

3) Mold testing and remediation is not regulated in VA. No license required.

4) There is always mold. The question is “how much”.

5) Bleach turns mold white. It will still be there but you may not see it.

6) When cleaning moldy surfaces use a moist rag to reduce the amount of mold becoming airborne.

FYI – I picked this picture because it kind of matches our property management colors!  #creativityscore   #moldisprettywhenmicroscopic 

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