Mold is everywhere. Outdoors it lives on dead leaves and plants. Indoors it forms on the building materials and HVAC systems of homes and office buildings. It releases spores which travel through the air. We breathe them into our lungs where they can cause, sometimes serious, health problems. Mold identification is the first step followed by plans for remediation and prevention.
What is Mold?
By definition, mold is a fungus consisting of tiny organisms that feed on decaying organic material. It’s a necessary part of our ecosystem. When it forms indoors, that’s another matter, and one that has health implications for workers and other building occupants.
While it doesn’t need sunlight to grow, mold does need moisture. Damp and dark areas of buildings with poor ventilation create ideal conditions for mold to form. Organic building materials, such as drywall and wood, and office products such as paper, cardboard, and adhesives, also contribute to the development of mold. Condensation on pipes and leaking roofs causes moisture to collect in areas of the building that go undetected. Wet wood and wallboards also provide excellent conditions for building mold to grow. The average temperatures of most office buildings create ideal conditions as well.
Health Effects of Mold on People & Buildings
Mold impacts indoor air quality in harmful ways. Poor air quality affects employee health and morale and productivity begins to suffer as a result. It also triggers allergy and asthma symptoms in building occupants. Building managers need to be proactive in mold prevention and remediation as more serious health problems can occur in individuals that are highly sensitive. It is important to detect mold and have a plan for remediation.
Problems caused by mold:
- Respiratory ailments
- Degradation of building materials
- Musty smell throughout building
- Release of harmful toxins (spores)
- Failure of building envelope
Building Mold Detection & Remediation
Proper mold detection requires measuring building mold levels both inside and out. A high counts inside the building is a problem for indoor air quality. Mold needs moisture to thrive so identifying areas of the building that collect moisture is necessary. Seasonal rains in some parts of the country, or prolonged periods of cold temperatures, trapped heat and moisture in building components act as a mold incubator. High humidity also causes problems requiring improvements in air venting and circulation. After addressing these issues, building mold prevention is the next step.
Mold Prevention in Buildings
A good environmental project management plan, including regular inspections, limits the potential for mold to return after remediation. De-humidifiers limit the damp conditions in areas of buildings prone to collecting moisture. It is important to keep air intakes, diffusers, and filter boxes clean. Applying fungicidal paint to walls and scheduling regular cleaning of carpets, walls, floorboards, and other surfaces is also needed.
WTI | Pure Air Control Service’s Solutions
WTI | Pure Air Control Services provides building assessments to those who suspect they have a problem. Our building sciences and environmental laboratory teams test for bacteria, mold, and particulates. Air and surface samples get collected and analyzed to keep indoor air quality at optimal levels. This aids in the prevention of mold and the reduction of contaminants that lead to Sick Building Syndrome.
If you suspect a building has a mold issue requiring remediation, contact WTI | Pure Air Control Services for a complete building health check or an HVAC hygiene assessment. We are an IAQ and HVAC system-focused company in operation since 1984.
Call today for a free consultation 1-800-422-7873 or email us here.