Moulds (mold) are fungi that grow in damp environments. They grow and reproduce rapidly. With enough moisture, mould can grow on many surfaces, including wood, drywall, insulation, ceiling tiles, cardboard, paper and fabric. Excess moisture can be caused by leaks and floods, too much humidity, or condensation on windows and walls. Stale water in humidifiers may also lead to growth of mould and bacteria.
Mould can be harmful to you and your family’s health. Health experts say that moulds can cause allergic reactions and illnesses, depending on the type of mould, the amount and degree of exposure, and the health condition of the home’s occupants. Pregnant women, infants, the elderly and people with a respiratory disease or a weakened immune system are at higher risk when exposed to mould.
If you suspect there is mould in your home that is causing health problems, you will want to hire a Certified Mold Professional like C.H.I. Home Inspections to help you. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Industrial Hygiene Association do NOT recommend testing the air for mould in single-family dwellings yourself.
The recommended first step is having a trained investigator check your house for mould.
Testing for Mould
An experienced investigator like C.H.I Home Inspections can determine if your house has a mould problem. I start my investigation by investigating your home’s background. Is there a history of flooding? Has the roof or plumbing leaked?
I will then check for visible signs of mould, the presence of mouldy odours and other indicators. This will help me determine the extent of the mold. The larger the affected areas, the higher the concentration of mould in the indoor air.
A trained investigator will collect air samples after visually inspecting your house for mould because it can be hidden (for example, in a wall, in the attic or in the crawl space). I will collect these air samples using the proper equipment and send them to a local laboratory for analysis. I will go through these reports in detail with you.
The report and findings I provide will give you everything you need to proceed to the next step – remediating the problem. Removing mould must be done carefully under controlled conditions. After the mould is removed, the underlying moisture problem must be fixed to prevent mould from returning.
For information about removing mould, go to the Health Canada website.