Why is Condensation a Problem?

Condensation Problems Can Cause Mold Growth

Condensation - Mold Solutions NWCondensation occurs when warm water vapors, such as steam, turn into small droplets of water as it comes into contact with a surface that is cooler.

It’s never a good thing when a homeowner discovers condensation in their home. A little moisture on your windows or even your walls doesn’t seem like it could be too important, but condensation is a sign of problems, either now or in the near future.

There is even some condensation you may not see, because it can accumulate on fabrics, carpets or even clothing and is absorbed, leaving the item damp.

Why is it a problem?

Because it originates inside your home, it has been called “The enemy from within”.

When condensation forms and is allowed to continue, meaning the reason for its existence isn’t dealt with, it can cause destruction in your home that can be very costly:

  • Structural damage to your roof
  • Warped wood
  • Wood rot
  • Peeling or blistering paint
  • Energy loss
  • Mold growth and damage

Which is the Biggest Problem?

In my opinion, the damage to your home, your belongings and your health caused by mold growth is the biggest problem that condensation can cause.

Mold thrives on warm damp surfaces. As the moisture from condensation, that takes place on a regular basis, remains, organic surfaces absorb the dampness. Mold spores, that are always floating in the air, have the opportunity to take hold and begin growing and reproducing.

You may think that the moisture on your windows won’t effect other parts of your home, but if the moisture is allowed to remain, it is the prelude to mold.

The Key to Condensation Control…

Control your humidity level:

  • Open Window Prevent Condensation - Mold Solutions NWMake sure your attic and crawlspace is ventilated properly
  • Periodically open your fireplace damper and your windows to improve ventilation
  • Keep warm, moist air out of the house by always using ventilation fans in the bathrooms and kitchen.
  • Don’t “air” dry your laundry indoors.
  • Use a dehumidifier

When you realize that even your breath can cause condensation, I would say overall, good ventilation is the key.

 If you have a condensation problem, chances are  you also have a mold problem…


Types of Mold

Are All Types of Mold Dangerous?

Types of Mold - Mold Solutions NWIt’s amazing to note that there are over 100,000 different types of mold that we co-exist with, which makes it all the more understandable to realize that mold is everywhere and is always with us.

And although we shudder when we think about living with mold, many of its species are harmless and serve an important purpose in our environment.

Along with the harmless mold, there is also the toxic type, which can cause health issues, some of which are quite serious. When toxic mold spore levels are low, there is not much risk to your health, but when the levels increase you may experience such symptoms and illnesses as:

  • Headaches
  • Increased asthma symptoms
  • Infections
  • Respiratory problems
  • Rashes

The elderly, the very young, and people who already have pre-existing conditions such as auto-immune deficiencies or respiratory conditions are especially affected.

The 3 Major Mold Groups:

These mold groups are the most common and are the ones that will jeopardize your health.

  • Allergenic mold – Typically this type of mold will not cause severe illness, but rather cause scratchy throats, irritated eyes and nose and skin rashes.
  • Pathogenic mold – This mold can cause infections and more severe health issues especially for people who have HIV, Auto-Immune Disorders or who are currently having chemotherapy treatment.
  • Toxic mold – This type of mold actually produces toxins that are harmful. Luckily they are rare, because they have been linked to cancer and in rare cases, death.

Toxic Molds

Black Mold - Mold Solutions NWThere are 2 types of toxic molds:

  1. Stachybotrys, which is more commonly called black mold. (Just the name sounds ominous!) Because it is difficult to find, which gives it the opportunity to easily grow and reproduce, black mold is extremely dangerous. Unlike other molds whose spores float easily through the air, when black mold spores are damp, they become sticky making them harder to detect with air quality sampling. A lethal toxin, it has been known to be fatal to animals and cause extreme health conditions in human.
  2. Memnoniella, like Stachybotrys, is a contaminant and also thrives on organic, wet materials such as fabrics, wood, and wallboard. Their toxicity and danger are also very similar.

If you are experiencing health issues that you can’t explain, or you think you have toxic mold growing in your home, you should contact a certified mold inspector and remediator to assess your situation.

Because mold is so easily spread, and you’re not trained to locate, recognize and remediate mold, it’s probably not a good idea to tackle the job yourself

 


Sick Building Syndrome

Are You a Victim of Sick Building Syndrome?

Sick Building Syndrome - Mold Solutions NWYou may be wondering if this is a made up term or if it’s real, but believe me, it is very real. Health issues and syndromes may be caused by buildings.

Buildings, such as homes, schools, churches and offices can become toxic, and cause what is called Sick Building Syndrome or SBS. SBS is an environmental illness or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity manifested by a variety of symptoms in people who inhabit these spaces.

Symptoms of SBS

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Irritation in eyes, nose and throat

You can see by the types of symptoms, it can be difficult to diagnose this syndrome, but one thing that can give you a hint into what the problem might be is if after leaving a building, you get relief.

Causes for Building Toxicity:

  1. Chemical contaminants which could be anything from vehicle exhaust to adhesives for upholstery, cleaning agents or pesticides.
  2. Biological contaminants such as pollen, viruses, bacteria or mold.

Mold is everywhere around us, it’s part of our natural environment, but when it takes hold and grows uninhibited in the spaces we “live” in, it can cause many health issues, even more than the ones listed above.

Interesting Facts About Mold

  • Mold has been known to cause over 30 types of health problems.
  • Penicillin is created by purified mold.
  • Health Issues Caused by Mold - Mold Solutions NWMold is the great wood destroyer: It destroys more each year than the combined destruction of fire, termites or floods.
  • Mold can survive and thrive on just about any surface.
  • People who suffer with chronic sinus infections are usually exposed to mold growth.
  • Mold likes dark, damp humid areas for growth.

With the knowledge that approximately 50% of homes in the United States are affected by mold, it stands to reason that many of us could face the possibility of being exposed to mold and the risk of Sick Building Syndrome.

If you or someone you know is experiencing unexplainable symptoms such as the ones mentioned above, you should have your home, or possibly another building where you spend a great deal of your time, inspected.

Contact us for a Free Mold Assessment


What Mold Does to You

What Can Mold Do to You?

Open Door to Mold - Mold Solutions NWBecause mold spores are always in the air, everytime you open a door or a window, you’re inviting mold into your home. It’s unavoidable. Spores can also enter your home through your air conditioning or heating systems and on the bodies of your pets as they come and go.

You wouldn’t think that something so tiny as these microscopic spores could cause the damage they are able to, but because they are the reproductive cells of mold, their reason for existence is to multiply and continue their life cycle.

Food for Mold

Their means of growth is to attach themselves to anything organic in warm, damp, humid conditions:

  • Walls, ceilings
  • Wood  and wood products
  • Drapery, upholstered furniture
  • Paint
  • Carpet
  • Even household dust

Once they have accomplished this task, it only takes between 24-48 for growth to begin. When this happens, mold begins digesting whatever it is attached to, and if left alone will destroy it and whatever else it spreads to. More spores are then created, and the cycle continues.

Mold Destroys More Than Your Home

Mold can destroy your health, especially if you are someone who has respiratory conditions, immune suppressed conditions, if you are elderly or very young. It can cause:

  • Allergy symptoms
  • Congestion
  • Nasal irritation
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Asthma attacks
  • Skin rashes
  • Eye and throat irritation
  • What Mold Does to You - Mold Solutions NWMigraine headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Chills or fever
  • Aching muscles
  • Nausea

As you can see from this list, because mold symptoms can be attributed to any number of  conditions, it is often difficult to diagnose that what you’re experiencing has been caused by toxic mold. For this reason, many people have become very ill from mold exposure.

If you or someone in your home is experiencing chronic symptoms that can’t be attributed to a physical condition or doesn’t respond to treatment, you should consider having your home inspected for mold. Mold is not always visible to you because it can grow in places you don’t necessarily look at frequently, if at all.

Call a professional, trying to handle a mold problem on your own can make the situation worse by inadvertently spreading it. A professional mold remediator will locate the cause of the mold, then safely and thoroughly get rid of it for you.

 


What does it take for Mold to Grow in Seattle?

How Does Mold Grow in Seattle?

How Does Mold Grow - Mold Solutions NWMany people are amazed when they discover that they have mold growing in their home.

The problem is, they’re not thinking of mold in the right way…they equate it with dirty living conditions. You can have a very clean house, and still have mold. It’s not about the dirt, it’s about mold spores that colonize anywhere there is moisture, oxygen and organic material for them to feed on.

Mold spores are extremely tiny and invisible to the naked eye, but the damage they can do is not. Once mold gets started, it doesn’t take long to take hold and begin the damage.

Damage from mold

If you’re wondering what type of damage mold can cause in your home, ask the victims of Hurricane Katrina and most recently Hurricane Sandy.

The news talks about power outages, shortages of gas, no food, no water, injury and evacuations. What you don’t always hear about is the destructive force of mold.

Once any type of water damage occurs, you only have 24-48 hours before mold begins to grow. If you can repair and stop the damage right away, you probably don’t need to worry. But in natural disasters where homes are evacuated and flooded, it’s unlikely that homeowners will not be able to return soon enough to stop the damage.

For homes (or any other buildings) that were left standing in water after the storms, mold will be their largest enemy. By the time people were able to re-enter their homes after Katrina, mold was growing everywhere and the homes were beyond repair.

But it doesn’t take a hurricane for mold to begin growing, it only takes a leaky pipe, too much condensation or lack of good ventilation.

Tell tale signs of mold

Water Damaged Home - Mold Solutions NWIf your home, office or school has experience any type of water damage, be on the look out for signs such as these:

  • Water stains
  • Musty smell
  • Discolored walls or ceilings
  • Warped floors

Mold doesn’t go away on its own…if your home has had water damage that has encouraged mold growth, don’t try to deal with it yourself, you could actually make matters worse – call trained mold inspectors and remediators. They know how to solve your mold issues safely and without spreading the spores so they can start again.