San Diego Mold Testing

Mold-The Dangers and Proper Detection

Quality indoor air is of significant importance to everyone. While most people think they are protected from the potential problems of pollution and allergens indoors, there are several areas of concern for indoor air quality.

Indoor air quality is affected by many factors inside the home or building. Because indoor air quality is often affected by humidity levels and internal home contaminants, people that suffer from lung disease, have auto-immune disorders or are inclined to suffer from allergies should always be conscientious of indoor air quality. When it comes to indoor air contaminants, even people who do not have lung diseases or allergies need to be cautious.

Some of the typical concerns for indoor air quality include:

  • Mold
  • Bacteria
  • Man-Made Toxins

Of all the indoor air quality problems that can arise, mold is considered a pervasive problem in all areas of the country. In many cases, mold is a silent toxin that can affect the lungs without the homeowner realizing it is present and growing. While many people do not think of mold as a problem for air quality, mold is considered one of the biggest health concerns for indoor air.

Most people are familiar with the light amount of mold that can occur in a home in a shower area. However, mold growth can occur anywhere in a home that harbors moisture. If left unattended, mold can spread throughout a home and cause severe damage to a home.

Areas of a home that can be inclined to have mold growth include:

  • Bathrooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Crawl-Spaces
  • Garages
  • Any Area a Water Leak Has Permeated
  • Walls/Ceilings
  • Under Carpets

Causes of Mold

Some of the most common causes of mold in walls and ceilings occur from water leaks from bathtubs, showers, toilets, and sinks. In fact, the predominant reason properties suffer from mold growth is because of the permeation of water into areas of the home that cannot be adequately ventilated to remove excess moisture build-up.

While bathrooms are widely known to cause mold growth from shower areas, the leaks from water-related fixtures and plumbing are often one of the most common concerns. Sometimes before the leak is caught or recognized, mold has begun to grow inside walls, ceilings, and floors. Without proper ventilation of the area, mold can continue to grow throughout the home.

Additional causes of mold growth can include:

  • Flooding
  • High Humidity
  • Moisture in Crawl-Space
  • Overhanging Trees on Roofs
  • Improper Seals Around Windows and Doors

Symptoms of Mold Exposure

Symptoms of indoor mold exposure are often first detected in the upper respiratory tract as well as the nasal cavities and throat. Sinus and nasal congestion is a common first symptom of mold exposure. Other symptoms such as runny nose, persistent unexplained sneezing, throat irritation, eye irritation, cough, and watery eyes are also quite common. As mold exposure becomes more significant, other symptoms such as chest tightness, rash, difficulty breathing, and headache may appear. In more severe cases, lung infections can occur.

Some of the reasons that mold exposure can be difficult to detect is because many of the symptoms that accompany mold growth are mirrored in other conditions such as colds, general allergies, flu, bronchitis, general asthma, and sinus infections. Because the symptoms can be similar to any of these other conditions, people who are exposed to mold may be unaware that they have a problem in their home with hidden mold growth.

Mold is generally detectable by signs of water damage, a musty smell that does not go away and by lab tests of the air and on other materials. Mold is a living species that grows when it has a continuous food source, including moisture and materials that can decay, such as walls, carpet, clothing, and wood. Mold can go unnoticed for a time as it grows if it is being fed by moisture behind walls and under carpets.

For people who are concerned about some of the symptoms they may have, that mimic adverse mold reactions, or for property owners or tenants that have recently discovered signs of mold and are concerned about mold exposure, there are tests available. Specialized air quality tests can be a great way to detect hidden mold. Air samples are taken and sent to a lab that specifically analyzes air particles for mold. Once detected, the property owner can begin the process of identifying the location of the mold for remediation.