September is Mold Awareness Month and I thought it would be a good time to provide some helpful tips about mold. This was prompted by a discussion that came up the other day when I was conducting a webinar on “The Future of Building Materials and Their Impact on How we Build”. Mold is not always visible but early detection of a mold problem is critical to the health of a building.
Mold has a long history, in fact, references about mold can be found in the Bible (Leviticus 14: 33-53). When you are dealing with living things that have that much staying power, it is clear that you can’t or won’t get rid of them easily. In a previous blog, I discussed the four things that mold needs to grow: the right temperature, sufficient water, oxygen and food. But you can control the growth by eliminating one of the elements. If the problem is moisture in the wall cavity you need to remove all the wet insulation and drywall and thoroughly dry the assembly.
One of the best ways to identify a mold problem early is through smell. Often you can smell it before you see it. If you smell something that doesn’t smell right, trust your instincts and check it out. This is your learned response to protect you from dangerous materials.
If you think you may have mold, get on your hands and knees and sniff around the outlets in your walls. If you have it – you will smell it. Also, check areas that do not have adequate ventilation (closets or other spaces with no vents or registers).
If you smell it that means the mold spores are airborne and that is when they present the most health risk. When it’s dormant you are not going to smell it but if the spores go aerosol, you need take action.