Breathing mold is the biggest (IAQ) Indoor Air Quality risk for an occupant’s health.
Visible mold produces MVOCs and Mycotoxins into the air you breathe.
Indicative of a moisture issue.
Severity of Mold Risk:
Cost of Recommendation:
If You See Mold, You’re Breathing Mold
Visible mold is an obvious problem. Breathing mold is typically considered the biggest Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) risk for an occupant’s health. If the mold is actively growing, it is likely producing Microbial Volatile Organic Chemicals (MVOCs) and often various Mycotoxins. MVOCs can be hazardous to health and many classes of mycotoxins are very hazardous to health. Some of the most deadly chemicals on the planet are mycotoxins. People are exposed to mycotoxins via inhalation, ingestion, or dermal exposure (skin contact), which can lead to debilitating cognitive symptoms or even organ failure.
Mold travels just like dust. Visible mold can be thought of as a dandelion, where any disturbance can send the mold spores and mold fragments into the air. If nothing is done about the visible mold, it’s only a matter of time before it begins to spread elsewhere.
Indicative of Bigger Problems
Visible mold growth usually occurs on building materials that have void space such as drywall backing, cabinetry bases, AC registers, etc. When mold is seen, often the hidden mold growth is far greater than what can be observed. So, what appears to be a fairly small problem, may be much larger. If the visible mold is growing, something needs to be feeding it. Which means there may be a moisture issue/intrusion that needs to be stopped.
Mold Prevention & Recommendations
How To Live With Visible Mold
Remove the Mold
Rip, remove, replace – There is no substitute for removal, and this is always the primary recommendation. Use proper conditions (i.e. negative air containment, proper personal protective equipment or PPE, etc.) for your own safety and health if you do it yourself, or call expert remediators. If you live in a situation where removal is not possible, or you are waiting on remediation and contractor delays. Follow the recommendations below.
Stop active leaks – If the visible mold is growing due to an active leak, find it and stop the active leak to prevent any more mold growth.
Vacate & Seal the Space
Seal space from the rest of the home – Close the door to the area and use at least a 4 mil thick plastic sheeting to cover the doorframe, using duct tape to completely attach the plastic to the door frame.
Seal off any HVAC registers – Do this to registers that either blow air into the room, or out of the room.
Please note that if you seal a room, preventing airflow, and there is an active water leak or humidity above 60%, the mold growth will rapidly increase. In these cases, assure that the water source has been stopped and dehumidifiers are present to lower the humidity below 50%. These dehumidifiers can be rented or purchased from local hardware stores.
Encapsulate the Visible Mold
Cover the visible mold – Use one of the following techniques while wearing proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including a Tyvek suit, rubber or nitrile glove, and eye protection.
- Elmer’s or Wood Glue – Use a disposable paint brush and paint over all visible mold growth going at least 6 inches past visible mold. This is a great zero VOC way to encapsulate. Dilute the glue by mixing with tap water if it is too thick to paint.
- Non-VOC (or at least a low VOC) Paint – Use a disposable paint brush and paint over all visible mold growth going at least 6 inches past visible mold.
- Duct Tape – Using strips cover all visible mold going at least 6 inches past visible mold and overlapping the strips 50%. Do this if the previous two options are not possible.
NOTE: Do this if you cannot seal the room off from the rest of the house.
Use a negative air machine or air scrubber to suck contaminated air outside – acquire a negative air machine that can be rented from most equipment rental stores to suck the air in the contaminated room and blow it outside. This will reduce the risk of exposure and contamination of the rest of the house. If the negative air machine cannot be vented outside, run it in the room as an air scrubber, taking care to not blow air directly on the visible mold.
Test for Mold in Other Areas of Your Home
Every 6-12 months check your indoor air in your home for mold growth with the Mold Check-Up. If your results show significant mold growth, that could be an indication of mold spreading.