frequently asked questions
Below are some frequently asked questions about our company and subjects relating to our services. If you have any other questions, please feel free to call us at 1-888-749-1851 or email us.
Click on the appropriate question to be taken to the answer:
- What is mold? How does it get into my property?
- How do I know if I have a mold problem?
- What are the health symptoms of exposure to harmful molds?
- Should I paint, caulk, or try to cover over mold?
- What is the difference between removal and remediation?
- What is the difference between remediation and restoration?
- As a renter in California, do I have rights if I find mold in my property?
- How do I know if I have mold or just water damage?
- What factors increase the likelihood of mold growth in my property?
- What is air duct cleaning and how does it work?
Mold (mildew), mushrooms, and yeast are all types of fungi. Fungi are found both indoors and outdoors.
Mold requires a proper environment to grow and survive. Mold requires nutrients, water, oxygen, and proper temperatures. Mold thrives on dead organic matter such as wood, paper, fabrics, plants, and animals. Certain products considered artificial or synthetic, such as paints and adhesives, can contain trace organic nutrients that molds can thrive on. The moisture that molds thrive on can be obtained directly from water or from the air.
Mold spores can enter a building either through the air or on people, animals, or other objects. Molds are decomposers or organic matter such as wood, plants, and animals. Where there is decaying organic matter you will find greater concentrations of mold spores.
An area the size of a postage stamp can contain up to 65,000,000 (65 million) spores. This is more than enough to potentially spread to contaminate an entire home and all items or furniture inside the building.
You know you have mold when you smell the "musty" odor or see small black, white, green, or other colored specks on walls, below sinks, behind toilets, on carpets, on ceilings, or any other place. Some mold is hidden growing behind wall coverings or ceiling tiles. Even dry, dead mold can cause health problems, so always take precautions when you suspect mold.
Mold is often found in areas where water has damaged building materials and furniture from flooding or plumbing leaks. Mold can also be found growing along walls where warm moist air condenses on cooler wall surfaces, such as inside cold exterior walls, behind dressers, headboards, and in closets where articles are stored against walls. Mold often grows in rooms with both high water usage and humidity, such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements. If you notice mold or know of water damaged areas in your home, it is time to take action.
Symptoms vary depending on the person's age, allergies, current health conditions, and body type. The common symptoms are:
- Nasal and sinus congestion
- Eye irritation, such as itchy, red, watery eyes
- Respiratory problems, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing
- Throat irritation
- Skin irritation, such as a rash
No. Don't paint, caulk or try to cover over mold. The mold will grow under or through the material and it will most likely peel and continue to spread.
When referenced with our company, removal and remediation are basically the same thing. However, remediation is more commonly used to refer to the removal, decontamination (abatement), and cleaning of mold. Removal is also used in regards to mold as it is a more widely understood term. When it comes to water, fire, and smoke damage, we more commonly use terms like removal and restoration. For more about our mold remediation services, click here. For more information about our water damage removal services, click here.
Remediation refers to the removal of mold, water damage, or other contaminants from a building in a controlled fashion. It is also referred to as abatement or removal. Restoration is the re-construction or rebuilding of the damaged or contaminated areas that were removed during remediation. The restoration would put the areas in question back to an original quality state.
Renters in California have the right to live in a safe and health environment, which includes the quality of air in a home, or Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). Mold spores circulating in the air can create harmful living situations and lead to health problems.
California is one of the only five states to have regulations against mold growth in rentals, recognizing that there is a potential health risk involved with mycotoxins (the harmful toxic chemical that some molds produce).
State law provides the renter with the opportunity to fix the problems and deduct the cost from the rent if the landlord is not taking action. The landlord must be given notice of the problem before action should be taken. If the landlord has not taken action within a reasonable period of time, under California law, you are allowed to hire a licensed professional to do mold testing and remediation services on the property so that it can become habitable again.
Refer to the specific California law for further information and details prior to taking action.
The only way to tell if there is a mold problem without the presence of visible mold, a musty odor or adverse health symptoms by a member of the household is to have the air and/or surfaces tested by a professional testing company. If you would like to be referred to a local certified professional for testing services, contact us at 1-888-749-1851 or email us here.
Location - some regions have a greater number of mold spores found in the air. Factors that affect this are:
- Amount of precipitation
- Number and type of plants and trees in the area
Time of Year - at different times of the year, there are climate and social factors that can increase the likelihood of mold growth. These factors can originate inside or outside of a property:
- Inside: During fall and winter, when it is colder, people tend to seal up their house and stay indoors, which traps moisture and humidity (humidity can be caused be more persons residing indoors and not allowing a property to “air-out”). This with the warmer temperatures brought on by furnaces, creates a more ideal environment for mold growth. Leaks from roofs, windows, walls, ceilings, or plumbing can dramatically increase the likelihood of mold growth if the moisture is allowed to sit for longer periods of time.
- Outside: During different time of the year there can be more or less mold in the air. In fall and winter when leaves fall to the ground, some plants die, and extra rainfall produces moisture, the decaying plant matter often releases a greater amount of mold into the air.
Household Plants - Certain plants attract the growth of mold, as the mold will feed off the plant matter or wetted soil. Dead or dying plants are more ideal for mold growth as mold plays a key role in the decomposition of organic matter. In addition, the presence of plants requiring wetted soil and water for their survival will increase the relative humidity indoors as much of this water evaporates into the air.
Plants around Property and Neighborhood – For similar reasons as stated above, a greater number of trees and plants will increase the likelihood of mold spores being present in the air. Some molds grow and feed off of living plants while many survive off of dead organic matter. These mold growths can release spores or mycotoxins into the air.
People – The more people there are living inside of a property, using the plumbing systems, sweating, breathing and coming or going increases the likelihood of mold growth and that there will be an increased number of mold spores in the air inside of a property. Use of plumbing, sweating, and breathing increases the relative humidity. Mold grows where this is moisture so this affects that likelihood. The process of coming or going from a property by its occupants increases the likelihood of additional spores being present in the air and mold growth as those occupants often bring back spores with them that become attached to their skin, hair, or clothing.
Indoor Pets – Pets, like humans, sweat and breath. These actions increase the relative humidity inside of a property, which increases the chances of mold growth. In addition, pets that are allowed outside can pickup organic matter and mold spores from the random terrains they travel through and bring them inside of a property.
Air duct cleaning (or HVAC cleaning) is the process of cleaning dust, mold, and other contaminants out of the air ducting system around a property. This is important as your HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) system either circulates air from inside or brings air from outside of your property through this ducting system. Any dust, mold, tree and plant, or other contaminant particles that become stuck or settle (or grow, in the case of mold) in this system can be pumped into the breathing air of the property when the system is used. While interior or exterior air filters can provide a level of filtration, no filter can stop all particles from entering the system. Many filters simply don’t have enough layers to stop all of the particles. Some particles can find their way in through cracks around the edges of filters.
The accumulation of contaminants in a ducting system over a period of time can wreak havoc on the occupants of a property. People who often notice allergies, respiratory (breathing), or other health problems around the time they use their heater or A/C may have contaminated ducting. This has led to a reduction in the indoor air quality (IAQ) of their property.
Whether it be your home or the business you work at, to prevent the exposure of yourself, family, pets, coworkers, or visitors to potentially harmful contaminants, it is important to make sure that you have a clean HVAC system. To ensure that proper equipment and techniques are applied to this process, it is best to hire a professional duct cleaning company.
When choosing a company to hire for duct cleaning, make sure that they are knowledgeable, experienced, and using proper equipment. There are different techniques for duct cleaning. The three most common and efficient techniques are described below:
- Vacuuming – Using a powerful and heavily filtered HEPA (high efficiency particle arrestor) vacuum system, the ducts are vacuumed to remove contaminants.
- Scrubbing – Using a serious of flexible polls or wires, the ducts are scrubbed to loosen contaminants for vacuuming or the poll-system itself will have a vacuum attachment to remove contaminants as it scrubs.
- Fogging – The ducting is pumped or fed a specialized disinfecting/anti-fungal agent to loosen dirt, mold, and other contaminants while killing mold and bacteria in the process. The remnants should be vacuuming out following the fogging process. Only biodegradable agents should be used to remove these contaminants. If a harsher chemical substance is used, it is important that the substance is fully removed from the ducting to prevent human inhalation when the system is used later.
If you are interested in receiving more information on duct cleaning or to receive a quote for your property, call 1-888-749-1851.