The Dangers of Mold in your home living space.

By
Home Inspector with INDOOR MICROBIAL SPECIALIST HI-80 & MRSA1895

Molds produce allergens, which are substances that can cause allergic reactions, as well as irritants and, in some cases, potentially toxic substances known as mycotoxins.  Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.  Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis).  Allergic reactions to mold are common.  They can be immediate or delayed.  Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold.  In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people.  Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold, but can also occur.

 

Carpet at Risk

  • Carpeting is an area of the home that can be at high risk for mold growth.  In order to grow, mold needs moisture, oxygen, a food source, and a surface to grow on.  Mold spores are commonly found naturally in the air.  If spores land on a wet or damp spot indoors that contains dust for them to feed on, mold growth will soon follow. Wall-to-wall carpeting, as well as area rugs, can provide an ample breeding ground for mold if conditions are right.  At especially high risk for mold growth are carpeting located below ground level in basements, carpet in commonly moist or damp climates, and carpet that has been wet for any period of time. 

 

Identifying Mold in Carpeting

Just because mold is not immediately apparent or visible on a carpet's surface does not mean that mold growth is not in progress.  In fact, mold will probably only be visible on the surface of carpets in unusually severe cases of growth, such as carpet damaged in flooding that has remained wet for some time.  The following are some examples of identifiable instances where mold growth has occurred or is likely to occur:

  • visible mold growth:  As stated above, this can be a rare case, but sometimes it may be obvious from visual inspection that mold growth is occurring.  Carpet in this condition is most likely not salvageable and should be disposed of and replaced.  Often, even if mold growth is not visible on the top of carpeting, it may be occurring underneath the carpet where it can't be easily seen.  Carpet suspected of containing mold should always be examined on both sides.

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  • carpet mildew:  Any discoloration or odor on carpeting that might be described as mildew is probably a case of mold.

  • wet or water-damaged carpet:  Any carpet that has been subjected to water damage from flooding or standing water will most likely need to be disposed of.  Conditions are ripe for mold growth, in this case.  Even if visibly apparent mold growth has not yet begun, it is highly likely to happen unless the carpet is completely removed, cleaned and dried within 24 to 48 hours.  Even then, removal and cleaning are not guaranteed to prevent mold growth.  It is more likely that the carpet will need to be replaced.

  • wet padding beneath carpet:  If padding beneath the carpet has become wet for any reason, or has become moist from condensation, the padding as well as the carpet on top are at risk for mold growth.  The padding may need to be replaced, as will the carpet, in some cases.

  • basement carpet:  Carpeting in basements below grade level is especially at risk in areas where humidity is high, or where wide temperature swings can produce condensation.

  • odors and stains:  There is a wide range of things that can cause odors and stains on carpets.  If mold is suspected, samples can be taken and sent for analysis to determine if mold growth has occurred.

Preventing Mold Growth in Carpeting

  • The best method for combating mold is to not allow mold growth in the first place.  The best way to do so is by ensuring that conditions conducive to growth do not exist.  Below are some ways to prevent mold growth in carpets.
  • Reduce indoor humidity.  The use of dehumidifiers will help control moisture in the air, depriving mold spores of the water they need to grow into mold.  A range of 30% to 60% humidity is acceptable for interiors.
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  • Install intelligently.  Do not install carpeting in areas that are likely to be subject to frequent, high moisture.  Carpet in a bathroom, for example, will quickly turn to a breeding ground for mold growth due to the high humidity from constant water use in that area.

  • Choose high-quality carpet padding.  Solid, rubber-slab carpet padding with anti-microbial properties is available.  It is slightly more expensive than other types of padding but can be helpful for preventing the growth of mold, especially in climates prone to periods of high humidity.

  • Never allow standing water.  Carpet exposed to standing water will quickly be ruined.  If standing water ever occurs because of a leak or a spill, all carpeting exposed must be immediately cleaned and dried.  The top and bottom surfaces of the carpet, any padding, and the floor underneath must be cleaned and completely dried within a short period of time after exposure to standing water if the carpet is to be saved.  If a large flood has occurred, or if standing water has been present for any extended period of time, the carpet will probably need to be replaced.

  • Clean smart.  When carpeting needs to be cleaned, try to use a dry form of cleaning, when possible.  If any water, liquid, or other moisture has come in contact with the carpet during cleaning, be sure it is dried thoroughly afterward.

We offer consulting services regarding organic microbial / mold inside the house living space.

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Comments (4)

Philip A. Raices
Turn Key Real Estate - Great Neck, NY
1 of the Most Knowledgeable Brokers on the Net!

Good afternoon John,

I have dealt with mold for about 39 years and found for the most part that it doesn't cause much of an issue with healthy families and individuals.  However, due to the fact that 65% of people in the U.S. are considered unhealthy due to obesity, and being overweight or health issues are where the largest problems exist, not the mold.  Where you have health issues that are where mold has the biggest consequence.  The majority of people don't die from the mold but die from being unhealthy.  Their immune systems have been compromised or they have inherited issues from previous family members.  But people give up figuring there is nothing that they can do about it and that is where people lose faith and don't do anything about it whether it be from changing their eating habits or seeking out professional assistance to see whether or not something can be done to change the parameters to be healthier.  Sometimes there is nothing that can be done to alleviate a heredity issue and sometimes life can be prolonged.   This is not any different than the 514,000+ that have passed so far from the Covid-19 Pandemic as most were unhealthy, obese, and/or overweight.  This is the greatest problem in the U.S. not the virus but the unhealthy condition of our population whether it be eating habits and/or lack of exercise or unhealthy habits of drugs, alcohol, or whatever else that puts them in a high-risk category.  The health of our country has more to do with the death rates than anything else. Lastly, people do not know how to deal with their own stresses in life which is a major cause of bodily dysfunction, mental illnes, and disease from what I have read.  Minimize the stress and you maximize the quality of life. The mold is the least of our problems and there are many times it is a scam as I have experienced what mold remediation companies charge and it's a crime.  In many cases, bleach will resolve issues without any major costs, but not always.  Every situation is different.  But if those who are unhealthy, obese, and overweight would get care enough and get some much-needed assistance our health insurance would be considerably lower; but the politicians never go there because it's not a popular subject to enable them to get re-elected and this and many other subjects is causing our country to become more and more mediocre every year!  the average age of an empire is 250 yrs (which we are not and have never been) and for the richest most powerful country in the history of mankind we just may become average in the next 5 1/2 years when we will be 250 years young!  Time will tell if I am correct or incorrect as to where we are heading!  G_D help us!!!

Mar 10, 2021 03:24 PM
Eva B. Liland Century 21 Doug Anderson
Century 21 Doug Anderson - Lancaster, CA
Glad to be of Service 661-714-1643

Thank you for this informative post, really an eye-opener. These days most people prefer plank flooring though except for in the bedrooms.

Mar 10, 2021 05:09 PM
Philip A. Raices

Good afternoon Eva,


Thanks you for your comment.


Yes, most do prefer hardwood floors, although I wish that would solve are greatest issue in the U.S. HEALTH and becoming healthier in so so many ways!  Many are way to lazy to care enough about their own health, which actually costs everyone more money in our healthcare system.  Politicians need to wake up and step up to the plate and do something to make required changes; no more than when you drive drunk or speed and get caught you pay more.  Well health should be another facet of our lives that we need to take responsibility for otherwise suffer some type of financial consequences and let the healthy pay less.  However, there will always be exceptions due to heredity issues, that in the future we should be able to minimize with all our current and future technologies coming down the pike.

Mar 17, 2021 10:12 AM
John M. Acaron, CMI, MRSA
INDOOR MICROBIAL SPECIALIST - The Villages, FL
Master Mold Inspector & Chief Mold Assessor

Wood flooring provides another layer of protection on your concrete slab, the adhesive used to install the woof flooring that is in the market today can seal the concrete floor and mitigate any possible moisture migrating from the ground if there is any damage to the moisture barrier when it was originaly installed. Here in Florida we come across this issue quite often. Maintaining a R/H below 60% and maintaining the house free from water leaks is the key to prevent airborne spores to settle and germinate developing colonies of mold. What affect people inside the living space is the high counts/m3 of airborne spores inside the living space. This occurs when colonies of mold are growing and they start releasing spores to continue developing/grow. Many of these spores produce mycotoxins that get older people and infants very sick. 

Mar 12, 2021 06:01 AM
Philip A. Raices
Turn Key Real Estate - Great Neck, NY
1 of the Most Knowledgeable Brokers on the Net!

Excellent info John, I learned something today!  However, if you read my comment to Eva, HEALTH of our citizens is one of the most pressing issues and our politicians need to take a stand and not worry so much about getting re-elected but do the right thing for the benefit of all of us in the U.S.

Mar 17, 2021 10:14 AM