Blog Articles About Mold


What’s the Best Way to Fight Mold in Seattle?

How do you Fight Mold?

Image of How Can You Fight Mold? - Mold Solutions NWObviously the best way to fight mold is to prevent it from ever getting started in the first place. But that is sometimes easier said than done.

We can’t run and we can’t hide, mold spores are not only insidious, but they are everywhere and always with us.

During the winter months, especially in the Seattle area, mold can become a real problem as furnaces are turned on, doors and windows are closed and humidity levels increase. These are indoor conditions that encourage mold growth.

Are we safe during the summer?

That being said, you might think that during the summer months mold would die, but that isn’t the case. During the summer months we experience hot humid days; these are outdoor conditions that encourage mold growth.

Whether in the winter or the summer, excess humidity in our homes is mold’s best friend. It has been estimated by George Tsongas, a Portland State University professor emeritus, that nearly 1/3 of the homes in the Pacific NW have mold or mildew problems.

One out of 3 homes is an extremely high number, and unfortunately, most of those homeowners don’t even realize they have mold. Once you have it, it doesn’t go away on its own. It will probably be necessary to contact a mold inspector and professional remediator.

If you don’t have mold, or you have had remediation, to keep mold from beginning or coming back, it is absolutely imperative to control the moisture in your home.

An instrument called an hygrometer can check the humidity levels, which should be kept below 50%, although most of us are more comfortable when they are lower than that.

Suggestions to lower humidity

  • Always use exhaust fans in your kitchens and bathrooms.
    • Image of House Plants create humidity - Mold Solutions NWThese fans should vent to the outside.
  • If your home has naturally high humidity, you could purchase a dehumidifier.
  • Keep in mind that too many house plants can cause higher humidity as they give off moisture.
    • Just remember how humid it felt the last time you were in a greenhouse.
  • Never store firewood in your house; as it dries it gives off moisture.
  • Leaky faucets should be repaired.

If you think you have a mold problem, don’t wait, give us a call…

Mold Solutions is a full service mold solutions provider for the Seattle Puget Sound area, Bellevue, Everett, or Tacoma
We can remove the threats to your health and safety caused by mold.

 


Should You Use a “Mold Test Kit” to Identify Mold?

Are Mold Test Kits Effective at Identifying Mold? Image of Mold test kits aren't helpful - Mold Solutions NWIn an effort to save money, many people invest in Mold Test Kits for the home. Some kits advertize results in 48 hours, while others go so far as to say that in 5 minutes you can swab and and have results.

After hearing these types of claims, a well known phrase comes to my mind: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!”

The other thing that comes to my mind is: Are you going to risk possible health problems by using a 5 minute mold test kit?

Unfortunately I need to tell you that most of these kits are a waste of money, especially when you will probably end up hiring a mold inspector anyway.

A waste of time and money

  • Although these kits can give you a few answers, some that you most likely already know, they can’t provide the whole picture.
    • Basically they test only for the presence of mold…mold is always present, so this is not new or helpful information.
    • When the mold test indicates the presence of mold, it doesn’t mean you have a mold problem.
    • These kits, because they will almost always test positive for mold, strike fear in the hearts of homeowners who now think they have a mold problem, when they don’t necessarily have one.
  • Mold kits do not inspect the entire home or building.
    • Image of Mold Inspectors locate the problem - Mold Solutions NWMold inspectors, using their expertise of building construction and problematic situations that encourage mold growth, will examine the structure inside and out, looking for such things as:
      • Poorly ventilated attics and crawl spaces
      • Cracks in the foundation that can allow moisture in
      • Leaks in plumbing
      • Condensation, excess humidity
      • Inadequate outside drainage that doesn’t move water away from the house.

Here is what I think…

As a certified mold inspector, I recommend that you do not waste your efforts on mold detection kits. Not only do they provide you with information that you already know, but they won’t identify what the problem is that started the mold and how to effectively resolve the issue.

Mold Solutions is a full service mold solutions provider for the Seattle Puget Sound area, Bellevue, Everett, or Tacoma
We can remove the threats to your health and safety caused by mold.


What are Spores

What is a Mold Spore?

Image of Spores are part of mold's reproductive process - Mold Solutions NWAs a living organism, mold needs a way to reproduce. That is where spores some in.

Spores are the reproduction method for fungus and algae. Since mold is a fungus, its means of reproduction is through spores, which are asexual, and don’t need to combine with anything else in order to reproduce.

Spores are much like seeds, but are much quicker and have a higher reproduction rate.

How do spores travel?

Traveling through the air, mold spores are always with us, inside and outside. If they were able to stay outside, they wouldn’t be a problem, but they enter our homes everytime we open a window or a door.

Then, once they are inside, their movement and ability to spread is assisted by our activities that cause air movement, such as cleaning and vacuuming. It’s kind of frustrating to think that some of the things we do to eliminate these problems are the very things that help spread them.

Signs of a mold problem

Mold is not only unsightly, but it can be unhealthy and cause or increase respiratory problems. Although we don’t need to be paranoid about watching for mold, we do need to be aware of any signs of mold growth:

  • Your nose might be the first to notice that musty smell of mold. Though you may not be able to see the mold, you may be able to smell it.
  • Have you discovered a leak? Leaks are one of the largest contributors to mold problems. Mold begins fast, it only takes about 24-48 hours for water damaged surfaces to start showing signs of growth.
  • Image of  Black Mold growing on a wall - Mold Solutions NWVisible signs of mold isn’t always consistent, it could look black, brown or even orange, and it could be fuzzy or slimy.

It’s recommended that if you have spotted mold growing in your home and it is in an area of about 10 sq feet or more, you should probably have a trained professional come out and assess the damage and risk.

Not all mold is toxic, but unless you have been trained, you won’t know the difference, don’t take a chance with yours our your family’s health.

Mold Solutions is a full service mold solutions provider for the Seattle Puget Sound area, Bellevue, Everett, or Tacoma

We can remove the threats to your health and safety caused by mold.


Is There a Difference Between Mold and Mildew?

Mold vs Mildew Difference

Image of Questions about mold and mildew - Mold Solutions NWMany people use the terms mold and mildew synonymously, substituting one for the other, which causes confusion, because we wonder if they are the same or if there is a difference.

They are the same, but they are different…does that clear things up?

Like so many things in life, they have various similarities and various differences.

Let’s talk about the similarities between Mold and Mildew

  • Both are types of fungus and spread by spore movement
  • Both can be found growing in damp warm areas
  • Both produce allergens and can be toxic and cause health problems
  • Both can be found growing on a variety of surfaces
  • Both move and spread easily and freely
  • Both are always with us…they’re everywhere
  • Both give off a musty smell

What are the differences?

  • They are different in color
    • Mold is found in a variety of colors, from black to green to orange and even blue
    • Mildew is normally gray or white and can change color as it matures
  • They are different in appearance or texture
    • Mold is often thicker, it can be slimy or fuzzy
    • Mildew is either powdery or downy
  • Mildew can be spread by animals or even be transported on your clothing or shoes
  • Some molds serve a purpose, they can be used in the production of penicillin or cheese
    • There aren’t any good uses for mildew
  • Mildew is more predominantly found on fabrics, paper and showers
    • Mold is more typically found in walls, on ceilings and on food, in attics and crawl spaces
    • Moldy food should never be eaten

Whatever their similarities or differences, it is unhealthy for you to have them growing in Image of Trash moldy food - Mold Solutions NWyour home or any place where you spend several hours a day.

If you have mold on your food, throw it away.

Most people don’t have the knowledge or resources to remediate mold safely and permanently, so if you have mold growing on your walls or ceilings call a professional to assess the damage and eliminate the problem.

Mold Solutions is a full service mold solutions provider for the Seattle Puget Sound area, Bellevue, Everett, or Tacoma

We can remove the threats to your health and safety caused by mold.


Are You Living With Mold? It’s More Likely Than You Think

Could You Be Living With Mold?

Your child could be exposed to mold at school - Mold Solutions NWBecause we know that mold spores exist virtually everywhere, we should each be asking ourselves if we could be living with mold.

Chances are pretty good that each of us comes into contact with mold several times a week, and we probably don’t even realize it. But coming into contact with it isn’t nearly as bad as if we are living with it.

Where we live…

Although our houses are the predominant places we “live”, we also have to consider the other places we “live” or spend a large part of our lives. Mold can be found in:

  • Homes & Apartments
    • Mold will be found growing in attics, crawlspaces, under sinks and in closets and drawers.
    • When mold is found in apartments or rental houses, the issue really becomes who is responsible for the cost of remediation.
  • Schools
    • It can be found on walls, in restrooms, showers and kitchens.
    • When mold growth is too great, it will impact the comfort and health of staff and students causing fatigue, nausea, or even increasing asthma attacks.
    • All schools can experience mold problems, but older schools and schools located in areas of high humidity are at higher risk.
  • Businesses and offices
    • Currently, there are no OSHA standards for what are acceptable levels of mold spores in the workplace, but the effects on health should be reason enough for business owners and managers to prevent or remediate mold growth.
  • Mold can grow in your hair - Mold Solutions NWEven in your hair!
    • I read an article the other day that talked about people who wore their hair in dreadlocks. The article commented that dreadlocks require a proper amount of maintenance which includes special products that allows the hair to continue to grow and entangle. However, if there is too much maintenance and too much product, the hair may not thoroughly dry out, and mold and mildew will begin to grow.

What should you do?

If the mold problem is in our home, the solution is easy, hire a mold inspector to locate the growth and what is causing the problem, then get it remediated.

But if the mold issues are in a school, an apartment or a business it gets a little more complicated. A mold inspector still needs to be hired, but it’s not up to you as an individual to do that. So I would begin by talking to administrators, managers, apartment owners and business owners to get the process started. Don’t ignore the problem because you are not in direct control of the situation, keep talking to people until you have found the person who can get things done.

Luckily, if the mold is in your dreadlocks, you don’t need an inspector, you may just need a haircut.

Mold Solutions is a full service mold solutions provider for the Seattle Puget Sound area, Bellevue, Everett, or Tacoma

We can remove the threats to your health and safety caused by mold.