Mold Myths Busted!

MYTH:  Buildings can, and should, be completely free of mold.

FALSE:  Mold spores are part of the natural environment and are all around us both when we are inside and outside. It would be virtually impossible (and totally unnecessary for most people) to remove every mold spore from a building. Greater amounts of mold can pose health risks and cause significant damage to a building if it is not taken care of promptly.

MYTH:  Once you’ve killed mold, removal of materials is optional.

FALSE:  The allergens in mold are still present and can become airborne even when mold is dead. All affected building materials should be removed or encapsulated (if they cannot be removed, such as studs).

MYTH:  Bleach kills mold.

FALSE:  Bleach can kill certain kinds of mold on nonporous surfaces. However, it is unclear if it kills all kinds of mold on every type of surface. Its effectiveness on porous surfaces like wood is still very much in question. Usually, all bleach does is bleach the mold so it’s not as visible.

MYTH:  Mold remediation is something you can easily handle yourself.

FALSE:  Mold remediation can be handled for small areas fairly easily. However, efforts in removing mold may accelerate mold growth if not properly contained and remediated. For a pervasive problem, the help of a professional is highly recommended and often regulated by the State. In fact, large areas of mold (more than 25 square feet) must be removed by a licensed mold remediation contractor, as overseen by a licensed mold consultant firm.

MYTH:  A small amount of mold generally doesn’t indicate a problem.

FALSE:  A small amount of mold, especially adjacent to an area you can’t see, can be just the tip of the iceberg. Only a licensed mold assessor technician can tell you for sure the extent of your mold issue.

MYTH:  Mold is always visible.

FALSE:  Seeing isn’t believing when it comes to mold, as not all types of mold are visible.

MYTH:  A mustiness smell indicates mold.

FALSE:  Smelling isn’t believing when it comes to mold either. Some mustiness may be just that, moisture. However, any moisture intrusion, no matter how small, should be dried up immediately to avoid mold growth.

MYTH:  You can identify the species of mold that’s growing in your building.

FALSE: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that there are anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of mold and fungi species — far too many to identify. Laboratory analysis is required to identify the species of mold growing in a building. A licensed mold assessor technician can assist with collecting samples and obtaining this analysis.

MYTH: You shouldn’t worry about a small spot of mold.

FALSE: In reality, a mold problem can become a bigger issue if the moisture problem is not addressed. What’s more, mold can spread to any organic surface, as well as to the HVAC system. This can result in widespread damage and costly repairs.

MYTH:  Once the mold is gone, it won’t come back.

FALSE:  Removing mold is one thing but resolving the water issue is something else. The only way to completely stop mold from returning is to resolve high humidity, moisture, or water problems that cause mold to grow promptly. The State requires any water-intrusion related repairs to be completed prior to mold remediation.

MYTH:  You only have to worry about mold after a water leak.

FALSE:  The perfect environment for mold is a moisture source and porous materials. Anywhere there is a higher level of heat, and any amount of water (causing elevated humidity levels) can result in the perfect conditions for mold.

MYTH:  Mold makes people sick.

FALSE:  Mold affects people differently and these effects can vary. Some people can be allergic to the allergens formed by mold. Others won’t be affected until the mold growth is severe. Still others won’t be affected at all.