Recent Mold Remediation Posts

Watch for Mold Damage in Your Spokane Home

5/28/2021 (Permalink)

Water leaks and unwanted moisture can quickly result in mold growth. Mold is dangerous because it can have health effects in some people. But, it is not always easy to know if mold is present. It can hide behind surfaces and under flooring. 

A Unique Smell

Some types of mold have a very specific smell. If you have a musky, heavy scent in areas where it is damp, such as the basement or a crawlspace, this may indicate the presence of mold.

Discoloration on Surfaces

Mold can be green to black in color. But, you may not see the mold growth because it may be covered by drywall or carpeting. However, it may also climb up on surfaces, such as appliances and cabinetry, over time.

Health Problems

Unfortunately, in some cases, the first sign of mold damage may be health effects. You may notice it is worse in some areas of the home, especially areas that are damp and dark.

Worried You May Have Mold Damage? Let Us Help

If you suspect mold damage, do not try to clean it up yourself. Let the certified professionals at SERVPRO of Spokane County do the work for you. Proper cleanup requires the right equipment and expertise to protect your health. Call us 24/7 for a custom quote today. You can reach us anytime at 509-487-4700.

What Is a Mold Damage Restoration Specialist?

5/30/2020 (Permalink)

A highly trained mold damage restoration specialist is the ideal person to call on when you have significant damage to your home. After a flood or a leak that goes unnoticed for some time, mold can grow rapidly. When this happens, it can put your home and your health at risk. These well-trained professionals are able to find all areas of mold. They can then create a treatment plan to address your needs.

What Type of Training They Have Matters

When choosing someone to handle mold damage, learn what type of training they have. Our team has extensive training, including the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC) certifications. We also have employee certification training, initial franchise training, e-learning programs to further education, and continuing education. All of this works to keep each individual at the top of his or her game in treating your mold.

This type of high level of training can give you peace of mind. It ensures each person understands best practices for detecting and treating mold to ensure the best possible outcome for every individual. This not only covers mold detection but also mold remediation services using the most advanced techniques and equipment available.

Hiring a Trained Professional Makes Sense – Call Our Team

Call SERVPRO of Spokane County for immediate help in handling any mold damage in your home. Our team of restoration specialists is fully trained to answer your questions, create a treatment plan, and execute it. Call us 24/7 for immediate help.

Signs of Mold Damage in Spokane

5/29/2020 (Permalink)

Water leaks and unwanted moisture can cause mold growth rather quickly. Mold is dangerous because it can cause health effects in some people. Yet, knowing mold is present is not easy. It can hide behind surfaces and under flooring. There are several signs it may be present.

A Unique Smell

Some types of mold have a very specific smell. If you have a musky, heavy scent in areas where it is damp, such as the basement or a crawlspace, this may indicate the presence of mold.

Discoloration on Surfaces

Mold can be green to black in color. It is not always evident, though. You may not see the mold growth because it is covered by drywall or carpeting. However, it may climb up on surfaces, such as appliances and cabinetry, over time.

Health Problems

In some cases, the first sign of mold damage may be health effects. You may notice it is worse in some areas of the home, especially areas that are damp and dark.

Worried You May Have Mold Damage? Let Us Help

If you suspect mold damage, do not try to clean it up yourself. Let SERVPRO of Spokane County do the work for you. Proper cleanup requires the right equipment and expertise to protect your health. Call us 24/7 for a custom quote today.

Mold Damage Remediation Services in Spokane

10/18/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO is Here to Help Your Residential Mold Damage Emergency 

It is easy to ignore a simple pipe leakage when it happens, but the results can be costly. Dripping water from burst pipes can penetrate the walls and eventually find its way onto carpets and other house items. Failure to dry these items within 24-48 hours can lead to mold and mildew growth. These fungi thrive in moist environments. In the house, they can grow on cardboards, ceiling, tiles, wood products, foods, plants, fabrics, drywall, carpets, and other materials. While they have their purpose in nature, they can cause health effects. 

Following a water damage incident, it is important to have a mold remediation company check your house for mold growth. If you are looking for mold damage control services in Spokane, SERVPRO has qualified technicians with adequate equipment for the job. Our techniques are up to par with IICRC recommendations, and our emergency response is quick and efficient. 

Water damage situations provide an excellent environment for mold growth. Molds feed on organic materials such as natural fibers, drywall, paper, and wood. Additionally, they thrive in typical building temperatures of between 68 and 86 degrees F (meaning either extremely hot or cold temperatures). Some can survive in low relative humidity levels (up to 65 degrees low), but most prefer lots of moisture. To control their growth, our technicians use different equipment to reduce the RH to below 60%. 

The purpose of mold damage remediation is to eliminate any mold growing inside the house and to prevent exposing you to large amounts of mold. To do this effectively, SERVPRO technicians have to calculate the extent of the contamination. Indeed, mold does not always grow in one place. 

Based on our calculations, we can determine the most efficient method and products to use. The idea is to stop the water source, remove all moisture, and dry the area completely to avoid future mold growth. Air movers are particularly useful in drying a mold-damaged area. They create airflow at the surface level, allowing moisture into the air in the form of vapor. Drier air fills up the vacuum created, thus accelerating evaporation.

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

Molds may (or can) cause health effects if not addressed. As a locally-based water damage restoration company, SERVPRO of Spokane County can arrive quickly to control the mold damage. Call us today at (509) 487-4700.

Cleaning and Removing Mold From Spokane Homes

10/18/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Technicians Understand the Three Major Tasks After Finding the Source of the Mold Infestation in Your Home

The first sign of mold for Spokane residents is that telltale ‘musty’ odor everyone recognizes. In some cases, it is the only sign that a homeowner ever notices. 
Once we are called in, SERVPRO technicians often trace mold damage in Spokane homes using that odor as well. Although we can use air content meters to analyze mold spore counts, it is often easier and faster to find the starting growth point for a mold colony just by following our sense of smell. 
After we find the starting point, our technicians have three tasks: Stop current growth, kill the active spores, and clean the home to prevent future mold growth. Team members stop the growth by finding and eliminating the source of water that allows the spores to expand and search for food and more moisture. 
In most homes, the water source is a small leak from a leaking pipe connection or even a rubber washer that needs replacing. SERVPRO specialists can fix these small issues quickly, but if they find a major leak, the team leader recommends the homeowner bring in a licensed contractor or plumber. After stopping the leak, our personnel can remove any puddles or other standing water with sponges and cloths. 
If there is a large amount of water, they use extraction wands. The wands we use are commercial grade versions of a Water-Vac, but are adjustable in speed and have more options to draw out water from tight places in attics or crawlspaces. Once the water source is gone, the mold rapidly returns to an inert state and growth stops immediately. 
Next, our restoration team wipes down every affected area with a dry sponge which removes the majority of the inert spores. Then they spray an anti-fungal agent over spots where the mold layer is thick. The chemical breaks up the clumps of spores, kills the few remaining active spores, and allows our specialists to remove them easily. The agents evaporate quickly, so our teams leave a clean, dry structure for the homeowner and residents to reoccupy. 
If you suspect there is mold in your home, call SERVPRO of Spokane County today at (509) 487-4700. That musty odor is a warning you cannot ignore, so let us help you get rid of it.

Mold: Myths, Facts and Solutions

7/5/2018 (Permalink)

Great example of mold visibility and level of actual damage

Mold is everywhere. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. That said, mold is not always bad. Many molds we embrace, and some of us even eat types of mold as delicacies. Yeast, Mushrooms and Blue Cheese are great examples of molds we embrace and which are widely consumed.  In addition to those, many types of mold are used in hospitals every day to fight and ward off infections - these include Penicillin, Lovastatin, Cyclosporine and many more. We also find ourselves in contact with mold every time we go outdoors - most of this mold is harmless and does nothing to us. Mold becomes dangerous and potentially harmful when it occurs in enclosed spaces with reduced circulation and a moist environment. There are specific types of mold that produce spores known as Mycotoxin - these are the ones you do not want around. That being said, there are some myths about how to handle, clean and remove mold should you find it within your home. 

Let us take a look at the top 8 myths:

Mold is natural so you do not have to worry about it.

If you only see a little bit of mold it is nothing to worry about it.

There should be no mold inside.

All mold is bad.

All mold causes health problems.

Bleach Kills mold.

Killing mold is enough I do not have to remove it.

Cleaning up mold is not that hard you can do it yourself.

WOW! Ok, that is a lot of information and very contradictory information at that. We have already debunked the idea that all molds are bad but what about the rest? While mold is a naturally occurring substance that does aid in decay it does not make it safe all the time. As we stated, it is the type of mold that can be damaging not only to the air but also to any building or area that it is found in. This is due to the way it feeds - mold must absorb nutrients from the organism rather than directly eating it.

When you can actually see the mold, you have a much larger problem. Mold likes warm moist areas to live and all too often these are places that go undisturbed for extended periods of time. When you can see the mold it is like an iceberg -the majority of it lives below the surface. When you open a container of fruit that was in the back of the refrigerator, what you see is contained inside a sealed area. Your home attic, basement or forgotten closet is not quite as contained.

This is not to say that no mold should be inside a home at all. Mold is everywhere and all around you but acceptable levels and safe types of mold are the focus here. When an area is given ripe conditions for growing mold is where problems arise. Your health along with any allergies will determine how much mold you can tolerate within the environment. No one has set specific levels however. There are a great number of contributing factors that come into play. Central heating and cooling for example allow for rapid air flow which can circulate spores faster as well create more airborne particles more likely to be breathed in than those that are not.

Having already determined that not all mold is bad, let us examine what happens to your health when you do come into contact with mold. First and foremost, it does not mean you will get sick. Just like anything else, there are varying degrees. For example, if you are very sensitive to the environment, already sick, or have severe allergies to other things, this could lead to a more intense reaction to mold spores. This does not mean a lack of a reaction means the mold is safe and does not need treated - if left untreated, it will continue to grow and can quickly become out of control.

So how do you get rid of it? Bleach right? WRONG! Understanding basic science helps here. Bleach is meant for topical treatments and does not soak into materials. Bleach is also very strong and can damage many surfaces that it comes into contact with. So anything porous gets a good cleaning from the surface could be ruined and you still have mold. Mold does not live on the surface of materials which we already discussed. It is a deep down organism and it needs the same to combat it. Concrobium (commercial grade) is a product that has these properties. It gets through the surface deep down into the materials, finds the mold spores, wraps itself around them and crushes them as it dries. While doing so, the anti-microbial barrier remains on the surface to protect against future mold growth. Bleach dries and evaporates. Remember mold is under surfaces just like the iceberg.

Ok, so you can go to the store and get some of that and are all set right? Well not exactly. Just wiping down a surface with the Concrobium is not enough. What caused the mold to grow in the first place? Did you use a scope and look behind the walls, get into the attic, or crawl space and see what was going on? Did you stop the problem? Did you remove the ruined insulation? What was the insulation rating, how thick was it and what did you do to replace it? How about that wall that is covered from the back? Were you able to get it all wiped and cleaned... wait, what about the front of the wall, the pretty part? Did you spray and wash that down? Did you know that the middle part of the wall has a membrane that most moisture can not get through which is why you only saw it on the back of the do you access that? This is why you do not just wipe it down and move on.

Killing the spores that are there does not mean you still do not have a problem. If some of the spores were disturbed while you were spraying the solution and traveled outside of the treated area, you will have this problem again. If too many of the spores became airborne they can get into vents and duct work and move to other areas of the house or even push down deeper into the materials affected and work from the other side that you may not have treated. Looking behind walls to determine the extent of the damage is important. Many walls and beams can be affected and could need to be replaced. Calling a professional to assist in the proper remediation is the best way to get it taken care of properly.

Myths debunked - Check. Doctor visits are recommended if you suspect you have any issues that could stem from mold. Always call a professional and have them assess the situation before you try and handle it yourself. Be safe out there and make sure you remember - not all mold is bad!

What You Should Know About Mold Remediation and Mold Removal

7/5/2018 (Permalink)

What You Should Know About Mold Remediation and Mold Removal

Mold is found under the fungi classification. It is a soft green or at times grey growth which develops on objects or old food left for a lengthy period in warm, wet air. It can be found in outdoor and indoor places, thus, it is important for the indoor humidity to be kept below forty-five percent because a higher humidity supports the growth of this class of fungus. Floods and high humidity levels often lead to microbial growth and fungus. Microbial growth can be present in an area, but that does not classify it as mold. The most efficient method of controlling microbial growth is by the moderation of temperature. When the temperature is lowered, the rate of microbial growth decreases rapidly. 
Mold and mildew are two fungi that people often tend to confuse. Mildew appears to be powdery and white in color then later turns to brown, black or yellow. The other fungus seems fuzzy but can appear in similar colors as the mildew. Mildew damages crops while molds damage the structural foundations of homes. Both fungi are usually accompanied by a musty odor which can lead to more health issues. It likes to thrive in moisturized areas and grows quickly into colonies with water exposure. These colonies are responsible for the production of irritants and allergens that affect the health of people. 

For mitigation of molds to take place, all sources of moisture and water need to be addressed otherwise it may regrow. The first step is to remove all traces of moldy growth immediately. Five fundamental principles must be applied by homeowners and employers to ensure successful mitigation of this fungus. They should focus on the source and moisture removal, safety, contamination control and assessment. Proper mitigation is essential once the fungi is removed because areas must be monitored to prevent it from occurring again.

It is important to determine the party that will be in charge of the mold cleanup. An environmental hygienist can determine what treatment can be used for this fungus. These hygienists mitigate the problem by sealing off the affected areas with plastic sheets to stop dispersion of the spores. Fungus should be dealt with by the wearing a face mask with high filtration and neoprene gloves. Once the mold cleanup is finished, the air around it needs to be cleaned using air exchange and scrubbers. 

It is essential for the environmental hygienist to have a protective suit because harsh chemicals are used for the mold cleanup. Hard surfaces with moldy growth have to be scrubbed with water and detergent and left to dry completely. Porous materials like carpets and ceiling tiles need to be disposed of by the environmental hygienists if they get moldy. The crevices of these porous materials are prone to mold growth, and painting can only happen once the environmental hygienists complete the mold cleanup otherwise the paint peels off. The correct mitigation strategies need to be employed for effective cleanup.

Visit for more information on mold remediation.

How To Choose The Right Dehumidifier To Help Prevent Mold Damage In Spokane

8/9/2017 (Permalink)

Prevent Mold Damage

As a homeowner, it is important to be aware of the risk of mold. Mold is a fungus, and the spores eat into organic materials in your home and bring a real danger of damage to your home and belongings. A home that has mold might smell musty, and the patches themselves are unsightly. Fungus in the home can even cause health effects.

Humidity is a key factor when it comes to mold damage in your Spokane home. Humidity means the amount of moisture present in the air. As mold loves a moist environment, high humidity increases the risk of fungal growth.

One way to reduce moisture and help prevent mold damage is investing in a dehumidifier for your home. A dehumidifier is a straightforward and portable piece of equipment that lowers the humidity level of the air in your house. Dehumidifiers work by drawing in the damp air and forcing it over cooling coils, where the moisture in the air forms condensation which is collected by the machine. The unit pumps drier air back into your room and causes the humidity to go down.

SERVPRO® has a range of powerful dehumidifiers on hand to help you with any damp problems you have. However, if damp is an ongoing concern in your home we highly recommend investing in your dehumidifier, too.

You might wonder how best to choose your dehumidifier. Most manufacturers label dehumidifiers according to how many pints of moisture they remove per day. So, a 20-pint dehumidifier removes 20 pints of water from the air in a 24 hour period. Your choice of dehumidifier relies on two things: How big an area you need it for, and how damp the area is.

The Association Of Home Appliance Manufacturers states the following sizes as a starting guide:

500 square feet – 10 pints
1000 square feet – 14 pints
1500 square feet – 18 pints
2000 square feet – 22 pints
2500 square feet – 26 pints

These recommendations are accurate for a moderately damp home with some musty odor in humid weather. A higher capacity dehumidifier is better for damper homes.

If you are concerned about humidity, give SERVPRO a call. As well as a range of dehumidifiers, we have testing equipment such as moisture probes and thermal hygrometers on hand to assess the damp levels in your home and advise you on the best next steps to take. For help dealing with humidity, call SERVPRO of Spokane County at (509) 487-4700.

For more about Spokane click here.

Discovering Mold Damage in Your Spokane Home and What We Can Do to Help

7/7/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO® Utilizes Varying Methodologies for Mold Remediation in Your Spokane Property

Most people have heard about mold and how it can affect homes in damaging ways, but sometimes what has been circulated by social media or other sources is incorrect of exaggerated. One myth that has propagated online is that mold is only a problem if it is black in color. The fact is that all mold can cause damage to your home, regardless of the color, and many types of mold have the potential also to cause health effects in people.
Residents in Spokane who have mold damage in their home should not panic. Finding mold does not mean that you need to move. The professional technicians at SERVPRO are highly experienced and trained according to standards set by the IICRC, giving them the ability to remediate your mold situation effectively. This brings up another point that you may have heard. Mold cannot be eliminated from your home, only remediated. This is true.
Remediation puts mold back into a normal state. However, mold can never be entirely removed because the fungi have many pathways to re-enter your home and spores are present, even in minute amounts. Excess water and moisture need to be eliminated to mitigate the chances of reinfestations.
Water, one of mold's needs, must be eliminated from the environment in your home. Water should be in the tub, your sinks, and your pets' water bowls, and no other location. Even a small drip is enough to let mold grow and cause substantial damage to your residence. Another myth is that mold can be destroyed by using bleach.
Bleach that you buy at the grocery store is mostly water, the very thing needed by mold. The bleach can make it seem as if the mold is gone, but this is only because of the bleach's color-destroying properties. The bleach never penetrates into the material being cleaned of mold, remaining on the surface. The water, however, finds its way in, then slowly evaporates, giving the mold the nourishment needed to 'return' again. Mold is never actually removed with this method.
What SERVPRO can do to combat mold and any damage may seem complicated, but it is based on very sound science. There are many steps involved, and these measures begin with stopping any water from being where it should not exist. We use moisture meters and humidity detectors to locate areas that are higher in moisture than they should be by comparing readings from one area to another one inside your home. We trace these spaces back to the water's source and stop it from coming in anymore. Installing a dehumidifier when the source of water in your home includes the basement's floor is highly recommended, and we can assist you with this, also.
Then we begin to remove materials that are not salvageable, and quickly replace them. Locations in your home that are not damaged are cleaned. Both types of areas are treated with a mold inhibitor, a very strong preventative measure that is safe around both children and pets once dry. Fungicides, of industrial strength, when applied properly, do kill mold colonies.
Because mold travels by air, heavy duty commercial grade HEPA air filters called air scrubbers are used to filter the air, trapping any mold particles or spores that pass through. When mold damage has created a stagnant odor, we also perform deodorization techniques. These can fall into two groups – agents that change the dominant scent in a room, and neutralizing techniques that remove the minuscule particles that are the cause of the odor.
SERVPRO of Spokane County is your local source for mold damage restoration and remediation. We know you love your home and can help you restore it to the state it should be in, healthy and safe, so that your family can live there worry-free. Call us for answers to your questions. Our number, (509) 487-4700, is answered 24/7, so there is no reason to hesitate to call.

Service Directory for Spokane.

Ten Things You Should Know About Mold In Spokane

11/18/2015 (Permalink)

Source: EPA - United States Environmental Protection Agency

Ten 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
  • 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.

"When It Rains It Molds" Part 2 of 2

11/6/2015 (Permalink)

flooded basement Mold and moisture problems in the basement of an older school.

Source: The EPA

When It Rains It Molds

Part 2 of 2

By Marcia Anderson

When I was in EPA Region 2 (New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) I visited several schools that had questions about mold. This prompted a follow-up discussion with Mark Berry, EPA’s Region 6 (Serving Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and 66 Tribes) Indoor Air Quality Coordinator about common mold questions resulting from these visits. An earlier blog looked at general questions about mold and moisture. Here, we focus on these issues in schools.

What are the most impacted areas in school buildings?

Areas without adequate air flow by themselves are not, necessarily the issue – it is areas where it is damp or humid and the airflow isn’t adequate enough to help dry up the moisture. Problem areas may be in the walls behind restrooms, kitchens, gyms, facility manager closets, near air conditioners, compressors and in damp basements. Moisture problems in schools may also be associated with delayed or insufficient maintenance due to budget and other constraints. Temporary structures, such as trailers and portable classrooms, have frequently been associated with moisture and mold problems. Most respiratory issues are associated with poor ventilation or outdated HVAC units. Mold is often targeted as the cause for illness, but, in fact, the mold is an indicator of moisture.

One area that is often impacted by mold and moisture problems in schools are gym locker rooms. Do you have any advice for school facility managers?

It is common for mold to grow on and around areas that are continuously wet. The moisture has a tendency to increase the relative humidity levels in a building, providing the perfect environment for mold and mold spores to grow.

  • Vent showers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside;
  • Control humidity levels and dampness by using air conditioners and de-humidifiers to provide adequate ventilation.
  • Maintain indoor humidity levels between 30-60 percent.
  • Students should remove clothing from their gym lockers at least weekly, and damp laundry, such as towels, should be removed daily.

For existing mold, the first step is to eliminate the moisture source, then take appropriate steps to clean it up. The EPA does not encourage the use of harsh chemicals for mold clean-up. Soap and water will suffice. These measures, along with monitoring for adequate ventilation, locker checks and educating students about the importance of following these guidelines, will go a long way to decreasing mold in your school.

What do we do if we suspect hidden mold?

Investigating hidden mold problems may be difficult and will require caution when it involves disturbing potential sites of mold growth. If you believe that you may have a hidden mold problem, consider hiring an experienced professional.

What can building facility managers do to decrease the incidence of mold in their buildings?

EPA’s guidance is solutions based – to focus on the source of the moisture that feeds the mold. The three principles of mold remediation are:

  1. Fix and eliminate the moisture source.
  2. Clean and remove mold and mold spores. In many cases detergent and water will be sufficient – there is no need to use harsh chemicals that may endanger your health. Follow all manufacturer’s directions when using cleaning products.
  3. Dry out the area. If you continue to see mold growing, you have not eliminated the moisture source and should repeat step 1.

Does carpet cause mold or related allergy problems in schools?

Carpet use in schools provides a decrease in noise, falls and injuries. Mold problems can be encountered with carpet and many other materials if the school has any type of water intrusion or moisture problem, such as a leaky roof. If carpeting remains damp, it can become a primary source for microbial growth, which frequently results in adverse health effects. Carpet and other furnishings that become significantly water damaged should be removed and discarded. Use care to prevent excess moisture or cleaning residue accumulation and ensure that cleaned areas are dried quickly. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).

How does mold affect asthma?

Molds can trigger asthma episodes in sensitive individuals with asthma. People with asthma should limit contact with and exposure to areas contaminated with a mold presence. However, remember that molds are a natural part of the environment – and it is impossible to totally avoid mold for asthmatics. EPA provides very useful information on mold and asthma.

How does mold remediation compare to Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?

IPM and mold remediation are both based on the principle of limiting sources of the primary needs for life – but they are very different practices. Molds are microscopic fungi that grow best in damp places such as kitchens, bathrooms and basements. Mold has the same basic needs as any pest: 1. Mold needs a surface to grow on; 2. Food (paper, wood, carpet, food, insulation or other organic fibers); and 3. Water (moisture to germinate and grow). IPM is similar, in that it employs common sense strategies to reduce sources of food, water and shelter for pests in your school buildings. If just one of the essential components that a pest needs to survive can be removed, then the pest cannot survive. In the case of mold, remove the moisture. Mold problem solved.

For more information on controlling mold and moisture, visit

About the Author: Marcia is with EPA’s Center of Expertise for School IPM in Dallas, Texas. She holds a PhD in Environmental Management from Montclair State University along with degrees in Biology, Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture, and Instruction and Curriculum. Marcia was formerly with the EPA Region 2 Pesticides Program and has been a professor of Earth and Environmental Studies, Geology, and Oceanography at several universities.

"When It Rains It Molds" Part 1 of 2

11/6/2015 (Permalink)

Source:  THE EPA

When It Rains It Molds

Part 1 of 2

By Marcia Anderson

When I went back home recently to visit my family, I noticed a number of mold spots on the ceiling in multiple rooms. A result of roof water damage from the winter ice and snow the northeast experienced this year. This prompted me to have an interview with Mark Berry, EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Coordinator for Region 6 (serving Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and 66 Tribes). Here are his responses to some common questions about mold and moisture.

1. What is it that many people misunderstand about mold? It is important to view mold, not as a mold issue, but as a moisture issue. People think that mold is a hazardous material. Most people do not realize that mold and mold spores are all around us. Molds live in the soil, on plants, and on dead or decaying matter. Outdoors, molds play a key role in the breakdown of leaves, wood, and other plant debris. Molds produce tiny spores to reproduce, just as some plants produce seeds. These mold spores can be found in both indoor and outdoor air, and settled on indoor and outdoor surfaces. When mold spores land on a damp spot, they may begin growing. It is important not to provide the moist environment mold needs to grow.The solution to the problem is to find and eliminate the moisture source first, and not focus only on the mold. Removing the mold alone does not solve the problem. If the water remains, new mold will grow in the same area.

2. Should I use bleach to clean up my mold? In most cases using bleach isn’t necessary. Soap and water will often do the trick. Using bleach or some other harsh chemical cleaners can create a breathing hazard for you. If you choose to use disinfectants or biocides, always follow manufacturer’s directions, 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.

  1. Can I just paint over the mold? Many people see mold, spray some chemical then paint over it, thinking that will solve the problem. Mold can grow between the paint and the wall in all directions. The paint merely acts as a temporary cover-up. The issue with the paint is that it traps moisture between the paint and the wall, further aiding and abetting the growth of mold. Fix the source of the moisture first, and then take the appropriate steps to clean the affected area or remove it altogether.
  1. What are your most compelling mold calls? Landlord /tenant disputes over mold are our most frequent calls. We attempt to educate and make suggestions for remediation that may be used or not used by the caller’s choice. Callers need to consider the problem as both a building water issue as opposed to a mold issue. This strategy addresses the cause of the mold infestation and not the symptom. We try to get to the root cause of the problem and ease the caller’s concerns. Mold is essentially the result of water damage.
  1. Is there more mold in different parts of the country? Yes, and No. We have more mold inquiries in humid areas because the mold continually gets fed more moisture which allows it to flourish. However, mold can grow everywhere and can exist in a broad range of temperatures and humidity levels. Although moisture is necessary for growth there are molds which prefer drier environments and would need much less than other types to survive.
  2. What are your most frequent calls? “I’ve got mold problems can you do something to help me?” EPA Region 6’s Indoor Air Quality program (IAQ) is a voluntary program primarily responsible for conducting outreach and educating the public about indoor environmental issues, including health risks and the means by which human exposures can be reduced. IAQ educates the public about indoor environmental pollutants and sources of pollution, including mold. However, EPA does not have any regulatory authority to control mold in private residences nor do we have the resources to inspect individual homes.

    The EPA does not conduct mold cleanups, but we do provide the education necessary to give people the strategy and empowerment needed to solve the problem. We recognize the health danger to schools, homes and places of work. The EPA is the technical lead in mold research from which many states and local agencies borrow.

  3. Is testing for mold necessary?
    In most cases, if visible mold is present, sampling is not necessary. Since no EPA or other federal limits have been set for mold or mold spores, sampling cannot be used to check a building’s compliance with federal mold standards. Remember that mold and mold spores are natural in the environment so any sampling will result in finding mold.

    For more information on controlling mold and moisture, visit

About the Author: Marcia is with EPA’s Center of Expertise for School IPM in Dallas, Texas. She holds a PhD in Environmental Management from Montclair State University along with degrees in Biology, Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture, and Instruction and Curriculum. Marcia was formerly with the EPA Region 2 Pesticides Program and has been a professor of Earth and Environmental Studies, Geology, and Oceanography at several universities.

Mold and Health In Spokane, WA

11/5/2015 (Permalink)

Source: The EPA

How do molds affect people?

Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions) and irritants. Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash.

Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.

The above does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure. For more detailed information consult a health professional, your state or local health department, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mold website.

Contact the Mold Professionals at SERVPRO of Spokane County for all mold-related questions and/or to report a problem - We Are Here To Help!

SERVPRO Of Spokane County Shares Basic Mold Cleanup Info From The EPA

11/5/2015 (Permalink)

Basic Mold Cleanup

  • The key to mold control is moisture control.
  • It is important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
  • If mold is a problem in your home, clean up the mold and get rid of the excess water or moisture.
  • Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water.
  • Wash mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely. Absorbent materials (such as ceiling tiles & carpet) that become moldy may have to be replaced.

Contact the Mold Professionals at SERVPRO of Spokane County for all mold-related questions and/or to report a problem - We Are Here To Help! 

SERVPRO Of Spokane County Shares What You Need To Know About Mold In Spokane

11/5/2015 (Permalink)

Source: Centers For Disease Control & Prevention

The CDC's Mold Web site provides information on mold and health, an inventory of state indoor air quality programs, advice on assessment, cleanup efforts, and prevention of mold growth, and links to resources.

Mold: Basic Facts

What are molds?

Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth.

What are some of the common indoor molds?

  • Cladosporium
  • Penicillium
  • Alternaria
  • Aspergillus

How do molds affect people?

Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds, may have more severe reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs.

In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children. In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould [PDF - 2.52 MB]. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies, but more research is needed in this regard.

Where are molds found?

Molds are found in virtually every environment and can be detected, both indoors and outdoors, year round. Mold growth is encouraged by warm and humid conditions. Outdoors they can be found in shady, damp areas or places where leaves or other vegetation is decomposing. Indoors they can be found where humidity levels are high, such as basements or showers.

How can people decrease mold exposure?

Sensitive individuals should avoid areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas. Inside homes, mold growth can be slowed by controlling humidity levels and ventilating showers and cooking areas. If there is mold growth in your home, you should clean up the mold and fix the water problem. Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of household laundry bleach in 1 gallon of water.

If you choose to use bleach to clean up mold:

  • Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce dangerous, toxic fumes.
  • Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
  • Wear non-porous gloves and protective eye wear.
  • If the area to be cleaned is more than 10 square feet, consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guide titled Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. Although focused on schools and commercial buildings, this document also applies to other building types. You can get it by going to the EPA web site at
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using bleach or any other cleaning product.

Specific Recommendations:

  • Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%--all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
  • Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.
  • Be sure the home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans.
  • Add mold inhibitors to paints before application.
  • Clean bathrooms with mold killing products.
  • Do not carpet bathrooms and basements.
  • Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery.

What areas have high mold exposures?

  • Antique shops
  • Greenhouses
  • Saunas
  • Farms
  • Mills
  • Construction areas
  • Flower shops
  • Summer cottages


I found mold growing in my home, how do I test the mold?

Generally, it is not necessary to identify the species of mold growing in a residence, and CDC does not recommend routine sampling for molds. Current evidence indicates that allergies are the type of diseases most often associated with molds. Since the susceptibility of individuals can vary greatly either because of the amount or type of mold, sampling and culturing are not reliable in determining your health risk. If you are susceptible to mold and mold is seen or smelled, there is a potential health risk; therefore, no matter what type of mold is present, you should arrange for its removal. Furthermore, reliable sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable or tolerable quantity of mold have not been established. 

A qualified environmental lab took samples of the mold in my home and gave me the results. Can CDC interpret these results?

Standards for judging what is an acceptable, tolerable, or normal quantity of mold have not been established. If you do decide to pay for environmental sampling for molds, before the work starts, you should ask the consultants who will do the work to establish criteria for interpreting the test results. They should tell you in advance what they will do or what recommendations they will make based on the sampling results. The results of samples taken in your unique situation cannot be interpreted without physical inspection of the contaminated area or without considering the building’s characteristics and the factors that led to the present condition.

What type of doctor should I see concerning mold exposure?

You should first consult a family or general health care provider who will decide whether you need referral to a specialist. Such specialists might include an allergist who treats patients with mold allergies or an infectious disease physician who treats mold infections. If an infection is in the lungs, a pulmonary physician might be recommended. Patients who have been exposed to molds in their workplace may be referred to an occupational physician. CDC is not a clinical facility. CDC does not see patients, diagnose illness, provide treatment, prescribe medication, or provide referrals to health care providers.

My landlord or builder will not take any responsibility for cleaning up the mold in my home. Where can I go for help?

If you feel your property owner, landlord, or builder has not been responsive to concerns you’ve expressed regarding mold exposure, you can contact your local board of health or housing authority. Applicable codes, insurance, inspection, legal, and similar issues about mold generally fall under state and local (not federal) jurisdiction. You could also review your lease or building contract and contact local or state government authorities, your insurance company, or an attorney to learn more about local codes and regulations and your legal rights. CDC does not have enforcement power in such matters, nor can we provide you with advice. You can contact your county or state health department about mold issues in your area to learn about what mold assessment and remediation services they may offer. You can find information on your state's Indoor Air Quality program at

I'm sure that mold in my workplace is making me sick.

If you believe you are ill because of exposure to mold in the building where you work, you should first consult your health care provider to determine the appropriate action to take to protect your health. Notify your employer and, if applicable, your union representative about your concern so that your employer can take action to clean up and prevent mold growth. To find out more about mold, remediation of mold, or workplace safety and health guidelines and regulations, you may also want to contact your local (city, county, or state) health department.

You should also read the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Guidelines, Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, at

I am very concerned about mold in my children’s school and how it affects their health.

If you believe your children are ill because of exposure to mold in their school, first consult their health care provider to determine the appropriate medical action to take. Contact the school’s administration to express your concern and to ask that they remove the mold and prevent future mold growth. If needed, you could also contact the local school board.

CDC is not a regulatory agency and does not have enforcement authority in local matters. Your local health department may also have information on mold, and you may want to get in touch with your state Indoor Air Quality office. Information on this office is available at

You can also read the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines, Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, at Also, see these Web sites for more indoor air quality tools for schools: