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  • Actions that will help prevent condensation:
  • Reduce the humidity.

  • Increase ventilation or air movement by opening doors and/or windows, when practical. Use fans as needed.

  • Cover cold surfaces, such as cold water pipes, with insulation.

  • Increase air temperature.

Real Estate Market Value Price Expert Home Inspection Repairs Improvements

Figure 144: Mold growing on wooden headboard in room with high humidity.

  • Renters: Report all plumbing leaks and moisture problems immediately to your building owner, manager, or superintendent. In cases where persistent water problems are not addressed, you may want to contact local, State, or Federal health or housing authorities.

  • Testing or sampling for mold

Is sampling for mold needed? In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary. Since no EPA or other Federal limits have been set for mold or mold spores, sampling cannot be used to check a building's compliance with Federal mold standards. Surface sampling may be useful to determine if an area has been adequately cleaned or remediated. Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods, and interpreting results. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or other professional organizations.

  • Hidden Mold

You may suspect hidden mold if a building smells moldy, but you cannot see the source, or if you know there has been water damage and residents are reporting health problems. Mold may be hidden in places such as the back side of dry wall, wallpaper, or paneling, the top side of ceiling tiles, the underside of carpets and pads, etc. Other possible locations of hidden mold include areas inside walls around pipes (with leaking or condensing pipes), the surface of walls behind furniture (where condensation forms), inside ductwork, and in roof materials above ceiling tiles (due to roof leaks or insufficient insulation).

  • Investigating hidden mold problems

Investigating hidden mold problems may be difficult and will require caution when the investigation involves disturbing potential sites of mold growth. For example, removal of wallpaper can lead to a massive release of spores if there is mold growing on the underside of the paper. If you believe that you may have a hidden mold problem, consider hiring an experienced professional.

  • Cleanup and Biocides

Biocides are substances that can destroy living organisms. The use of a chemical or biocide that kills organisms such as mold (chlorine bleach, for example) is not recommended as a routine practice during mold cleanup. There may be instances, however, when professional judgment may indicate its use (for example, when immune-compromised individuals are present). In most cases, it is not possible or desirable to sterilize an area; a background level of mold spores will remain - these spores will not grow if the moisture problem has been resolved. If you choose to use disinfectants or biocides, always ventilate the area and exhaust the air to the outdoors. Never mix chlorine bleach solution with other cleaning solutions or detergents that contain ammonia because toxic fumes could be produced.

  • Please note: Dead mold may still cause allergic reactions in some people, so it is not enough to simply kill the mold, it must also be removed.

  • For more information on mold related issues including mold cleanup and moisture control/condensation/humidity issues, you can call the EPA Indoor Air Quality Information Clearinghouse at (800) 438-4318. Or visit: www.epa.gov/iaq/molds

Real Estate Market Value Price Expert Home Inspection Repairs Improvements

Figure 145: Water stain on a basement wall - locate and fix the source of the water promptly.

Real Estate Market Value Price Expert Home Inspection Repairs Improvements

Figure 146: Mold growing on fallen leaves.

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