For most of us, the word “mold” carries a very negative connotation and is something to avoid at all costs. Mold is often a very unwelcome guest in our homes or businesses and rightfully so, as mold can produce some significant health problems for people with allergies, weakened immune systems (the young, the old, diabetics, etc.), or people who have just been over-exposed to mold spores. In addition to health problems, mold can cause a significant amount of damage to property over time and can be difficult to remove if left unchecked. So if mold is so bad it begs the question; why don’t we attempt to eradicate it? What purpose does it serve?
Many people do not realize that despite mold’s bad reputation as portrayed in today’s media, mold is an important, everyday part of our environment and serves a critical function in the ecosystem of the Earth. Mold (a species of fungi) is natures’ recycling agent and the primary way organic material (dead plants, animals and insects) are recycled by Mother Nature. Without mold, we would have an over abundance of organic waste with no real way to decompose or dispose of it. There is no question that without mold, our ecosystem would be in serious jeopardy and our environment would be overcrowded with dead plants, animals, and insects.
So which is it? Is mold a good thing or a bad thing? The answer is both. Mold becomes a problem for us when it invades areas that it should not be found areas such as inside the bathroom wall cavity as the result of a water leak, or inside an attic space that does not have proper roof ventilation and excess moisture. When mold starts to encroach upon the indoor environments we live and breathe in, we must take proactive steps to address that mold and ensure it is properly remediated and removed from those places.
Mold requires two things to be active; water and a food source so when you suspect a mold problem may exist in your home or business, it’s best to search areas where water intrusion or condensation may occur and organic material can be found (drywall paper, wood, excessive dander from people or pets, etc.). A local water mitigation/mold remediation company can often greatly assists with this process and will often do an initial inspection for free. They can also provide recommendations to address the moisture issues as the mold will continue to grow so long as the moisture is present. Even properly remediated mold can return if the water problems are not fixed.
When it comes to removal of the mold once the water intrusion issues are addressed and the colony is located, it is highly recommended that a qualified mold remediation specialist first inspect the situation before opting to handle the mold yourself. Small areas of mold can sometimes be handled without the assistance of a certified mold remediation specialist, but it’s best to get recommendations from them on how to complete the remediation effectively and safely. Alternatively, you can also contact a local Certified Industrial Hygienist to conduct a series of tests to determine if there are elevated levels of mold spores in your home or business and help locate and address the source of the mold. This is the best method for determining if mold exists in areas that are not able to be visually inspected or are otherwise inaccessible or in cases where a large amount of mold (greater than 10 sq feet) are discovered.
Mold in its natural environment is a good thing and something not to be feared. But it should be respected when it encroaches upon our lives. With the proper understanding and guidance by professionals, mold is something that can be easily dealt with.
For more information on mold or questions about specific mold problems, please don’t hesitate to contact us at ServiceMaster of Redmond (425) 867-5035.