Saturday, December 6, 2008

Do You Have A Mold Problem?

Molds are found in the air outside and in all buildings. They come into the home in many ways -- through open windows and doors, on clothing, pets, food or furniture. The problem actually begins when mold starts to grow inside the home.

Some mold growing, for instance, on the window sill, but not anywhere else, is not a cause for concern. You should take a look at your home to find out the presence and extent of mold.

One way to figure out the extent of mold in your home is to estimate the area of mold.

Mold is considered to cover a small area if the area is no larger than a square metre. There should be no more than three patches, and each patch needs to be smaller than a square metre. You can clean these areas up yourself using a detergent solution, rubber gloves and a dust mask. You need to clean these small areas up because they could grow into larger areas over time if ignored.

Bleach is not recommended as a cleaning agent for mold because the presence of organic materials, the pH (acidity/alkalinity) of the water, the surface material and contact time affect the effectiveness of the bleach for disinfection. Since these factors are not controlled, bleach can't be relied upon for disinfection. As well, cancer-causing substances can be formed by the reaction of bleach with organic materials. In addition, the fumes created are harmful.

The area is considered moderate if there are more than three patches, each patch is smaller than a square metre, or there is one or more patches larger than a square metre, but smaller than three square metres. In this case, you should hire a professional to assess the situation. You can clean it by yourself, but you have to follow proper procedures and use the proper protective equipment.

A mold area is considered extensive is a single patch of mold is larger in area than a sheet of plywood, or three square metres. Being exposed to this much mold is not a good idea, so don't try and clean this up on your own. You need professional help to both determine WHY the mold is there, and how to clean it up.

Seek professional help if there's a lot of mold, the home is very damp or moist, mold keeps returning after repeated clean-ups, or someone has asthma or other health problems that seem to be aggravated inside the home.

To get professional help, contact the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) for a list of people who have completed the CMHC Residential Indoor Air Quality Investigator Program. The investigator will examine the indoor air quality and document your concerns. As well, he will identify the problems, find the source, and suggest solutions.

1 comment:

spyscribbler said...

We have mold in the house we're renting. The landlords did agree to tear out a wall and they fixed that, and my asthma attacks stopped, but the basement is a different story. They fixed the leaking in such a way that I'm sure there's mold hidden under plastic sheets stapled to the wall. Every time we go down there, both my husband and I have an asthma attack.

In general, we are not in good health there, but we can't move at the moment. I can't wait to get out of that house, though, let me tell you!