Q: I have a musty smell in my home but don’t see any mold, what does this mean?
When fungi are actively sporulating (growing) they can produce certain chemicals (called volatile organic compounds or VOCs) that give off a “musty” odor.

Q: How do you test for mold if it’s not visible?
A: Air sampling, using a spore trap, is the best way to do this; this method employs a vacuum that draws in a certain volume of air, spores in the air are impinged (or trapped) on a coverslip which is then examined under a microscope so that the number and types of mold spores present can be determined.  When sampling suspect areas inside, an air sample must also be collected from outside the property to establish a baseline spore count for comparison to the indoor samples.

Q: How do I know if the visible mold growing in my home is toxic?
There has been a lot of misinformation about “toxic mold” (particularly “toxic black mold”) in the media.  While there are certain types of fungi that can produce mycotoxins (under certain conditions), the presence of any mold in large quantities should be of concern (regardless of the types of mold), investigated, and removed using appropriate methods.

Q: What is toxic black mold?
The “toxic black mold” that has received so much publicity (Stachybotrys) was previously misidentified as being the cause of a serious disease in infants; even though the CDC retracted this misdiagnosis, the damage was done and people still worry about this particular mold.  Stachybotrys is a high moisture indicator mold so it’s presence inside indicates a serious moisture problem that will also support the growth of numerous fungi (other high-moisture indicator molds and especially fungi that require less moisture).

Q: How do you get rid of mold in my house and how much will it cost?
It depends on where it is (i.e. visible surface mold on a wall that is not wet inside or mold growing inside a wet wall), and how much mold is present (i.e. roof and plumbing leaks or floods can result in extensive water damage and support a lot of mold growth).  Best case scenario, the spore counts are not too elevated and the mold is visible on building materials that have dried out; getting rid of the mold will not involve invasive procedures and may only require limited containment because the growth is confined to a small area.  Second scenario, highly elevated levels of mold spores are present and wet building materials are present; in this case mold remediation will require more invasive procedures (removing drywall, plaster, or other building materials), may include contents decontamination, and extensive containment procedures to prevent cross-contamination to other areas of the home.  The price will vary based on the extent of the problem and the remediation methods required; these crucial items will be determined during the mold inspection.

Q: What is the most important aspect of a mold inspection?
Glad you asked this!  If you have elevated levels of mold in your home that means you have to have a moisture source (feeding the mold), so the most important part of the inspection is to identify what’s causing this so it can be corrected or repaired.

Q: My child has been having allergies since we moved into our home, what could be causing this?
Mold sensitivities do not affect everyone but children and the elderly tend to be more susceptible to most illnesses; children with asthma may also be more sensitive to mold exposure.  If you have recently moved and your child was not having any symptoms before, then they could in fact be reacting to elevated mold levels in your new environment; air sampling is a cost-effective way to evaluate this and based on these findings, your physician may suggest allergy testing for your child.

Please contact us if you have a specific question.