Posts Tagged ‘sampling’

It's not a mold problem-It's a moisture problem

November 8, 2009

This is the first post to my blog and I have been thinking about what would be a good first post.  I have been thinking that it should be related to mold, because it is a subject I know well and which has a lot of confusion surrounding it.  Yesterday, I attended one of those “conferences” where the “presentations” are basically sales pitches for the presenter’s much more expensive trainings seminars.

One of these guys, who claimed to be a “mold expert” because he was certified for taking the EPA Mold Course, claimed that he could reduce any foreclosed property’s sales price by taking a mold test.  Yes, he was right that a person could pretty much find mold in any house and develop an expensive remediation plan for it.  Even if the house is squeaky clean, if it has been around a couple of years, all the person collecting an air sample has to do is set the thermostat’s fan switch to ON and whack the duct leading to the area.  That will generate a good amount of material for the sample.

Now, by passing this information I do not want to say that I am recommending that people collect samples this way.  What I am trying to say is that a lot of ignorance exists around mold sampling, what the sample results mean and whether a mold problem exists.  And, that last point is where I want to begin.

When does a mold problem exist in a building?  Straight out, a mold problem exists only when the mold growth is or potentially can be a health hazard to the people occupying the building.  These are the cases that require immediate and sometimes drastic remediation, which can be expensive.  In most cases, mold is a nuisance to people and not a true health hazard, although some would argue that nuisances are health problems.  But, that may be a subject for a future blog post.

Mold growth in a building is always a symptom–of a moisture problem.  Mold contaminants are pretty much common in all buildings.  However, mold growth is not.  For mold to grow, adequate moisture must be present.  A person cannot get rid of the mold growth without first understanding and getting rid of the moisture problem.  Cleaning up the mold problem without resolving the moisture problem will end up with more mold growth.  The exception is those cases where the moisture problem was an unusual event, such as a flood.

To bring this blog post to an end and keep under my self-imposed 500 word limit, I want the reader to take away this point:  the problem is not a mold problem; it is a moisture problem.  To bring it around to my original point about the banks, if the bank personnel were a little wiser about this point, they would not be so easily duped by a mold problem report, which could save them thousands of dollars.


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