Have Questions About Mold?
Real Questions Answered By Mold Experts at Neptune Mold Solutions
Mold is a concerning topic for homeowners in Houston, and it’s essential to understand before concerns can be addressed effectively. Mold is a type of fungus that can grow both indoors and outdoors. It thrives in environments with lots of moisture, warmth, and organic materials like wood or paper to feed on. In nature, mold helps break down dead plant matter and returns nutrients to the soil, which is a crucial part of earth’s ecosystem.
Finding mold growth inside your home is usually more concerning. When moisture accumulates within your home due to leaks, high humidity, or flooding, tiny mold spores travel through the air and can begin to grow. Mold can take on various colors and textures, and it’s often seen as discolored patches on walls, ceilings, or other surfaces.
The biggest concern with indoor mold is that it can lower air quality, property value of your home, and can pose various health risks, which is why addressing any mold-related issues or concerns is very important and should be taken seriously.
Mold and Mildew are in the same family, but have different characteristics. Here’s a breakdown of their differences:
Mold: typically has a fuzzy or velvety texture and grows in a few different colors including green, blackish-brown, and even spots of white. Because mold can grow on many different surfaces, the longer it goes unnoticed, the deeper it latches onto materials, making it harder to clean and remove. Mold grows the best in humid environments and can damage the structure of your home if not properly removed. To simplify, its a slimy green substance that is slightly raised and textured.
Mildew: on the other hand, is a specific type of mold that often appears as a flat, powdery substance. Mildew is usually a white or gray color and typically grows on the surface of damp materials. Areas prone to high humidity levels like bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms, are common breeding grounds for mildew. Unlike mold, mildew is usually less invasive and can be removed easily. To simplify, mildew is a dusty-gray powder usually found growing on flat surfaces.
Both mold and mildew can impact your health and should be taken seriously, especially people with sensitivities or allergies. In most cases, mold is often more of a threat to the structure of your home due to its ability to sink into materials and spread its growth.
If you suspect your home or business has mold, call Neptune Mold Solutions to schedule a risk-free, $0 visual inspection and consultation with a mold expert.
The most common methods of testing for mold are surface sampling, air quality testing, and bulk sampling. Each method is used in different scenarios depending on home being tested, the condition of the infected area, and the expert opinion of the inspector.
Surface Sampling: samples are gathered by swabbing or tape-lifting suspected areas of mold growth, such as visible mold patches on walls, floors, or ceilings. These samples are examined under a laboratory microscope to identify the type of mold and its concentration on surfaces throughout your home. One mold sample alone cannot determine the full extent of any mold contamination, your inspector may need additional samples from various locations in the home to confidently diagnose the issue.
Air Sampling: This method collects air samples using an Air-O-Cell Cassette, which are sent to a lab to examine the spore count and types of mold present in your home. This method requires an experienced mold inspector as mold spores fluctuate depending on the environment.
Bulk Sampling involves collecting pieces of material, such as carpet, wallpaper, or wood, from different areas within your home and sending them to a laboratory for examination. This testing method serves several purposes:
- Identifying Mold Presence: Bulk testing helps determine whether there is a mold problem in your home. By analyzing the collected material under a microscope, experts can confirm whether mold is present.
- Identifying Mold Species: If mold is detected, the laboratory analysis can also identify the specific species of mold present. This information is valuable because different mold species may have varying health implications and require distinct remediation approaches.
- Measuring Mold Concentration: Bulk testing provides insights into the concentration of mold particles within the collected material. This information can help assess the extent of the mold issue and guide remediation efforts.
Mold requires two main factors to grow: moisture and organic materials. The moisture can originate from various sources in your home, such as leaks in plumbing, roofs, flooding from Houston’s hurricane season, or simply high indoor humidity levels. Areas that are frequently humid, like bathrooms and kitchens, are more prone to mold growth if the space lacks proper ventilation and airflow.
Organic materials that mold can use as a food source can be found in many places inside your home. Wood, drywall, paper, fabric, and even dust can provide enough food for mold to start growing. When these two critical factors align—excess moisture and organic materials—mold can take hold and begin to colonize your indoor environment.
In Houston, where humidity levels can be high, it’s important to maintain proper ventilation and keep an eye out for any signs of moisture intrusion or leaks. By addressing these issues as soon as you see them can significantly reduce the risk of mold taking control of your home. If you suspect mold is already present, or if you can visually see mold growth inside your home, we recommend seeking a professional inspection to make sure an effective plan to prevent further growth is created properly.
Yes, mold can impact your health and should be taken seriously. The level of danger depends on various factors like the type of mold, your individual sensitivity, and how much you’ve been exposed. For some people, mold can trigger allergic reactions, resulting in symptoms like sneezing, coughing, itchy or watery eyes, and skin irritation. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions may experience these symptoms more severely depending on the amount of exposure.
Less common household molds, like the infamous black mold (Stachybotrys chartarum), can produce mycotoxins, which are harmful if ingested, inhaled, or make direct contact with the skin. It’s important to emphasize that not all molds are toxic, and most molds do not produce mycotoxins. The majority of individuals exposed to mold do not experience severe health effects.
If you suspect mold in your home or are experiencing unexplained health issues that may be related to mold exposure, take the situation seriously. Professional mold inspection and testing can help determine the presence of mold and its potential health risks. If mold is identified, consult with your mold inspector to create a mold remediation strategy.
Mold often releases a “musty”, earthy, or smelly odor. It’s hard to describe with words, but It’s the scent commonly associated with dirty socks or smelly boots. This odor is a result of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) produced by mold as it grows and breaks down organic materials. The smell depends on the type of mold and the material it’s growing on. It’s important to note that not all molds produce a smelly odor, especially in the early stages of growth.
If you detect this unusual, musty smell in your home like the one described above, it could be an indication of mold presence, even if you can’t see any visible mold. Please remember that odor alone may not confirm the growth of mold, but it’s a strong indicator to call a professional mold inspector to take a closer look
Well, this is where it gets complicated. Homeowners insurance coverage for mold damage often depends on your insurance provider and the details of your policy. We recommend you to consult with your insurance provider directly about your coverage.
Insurance companies typically cover mold contamination resulting from sudden and unexpected events, like an active pipe leak, toilet overflow, or a broken A/C unit, assuming you take reasonable steps to prevent the damage.
Examples of mold damage that are likely covered:
- If a pipe bursts and floods the entire first floor of your home while on vacation
- In the event of a dishwasher malfunction that leads to a kitchen flood
Additionally, mold resulting from storm-related flooding is typically not covered under standard homeowner’s insurance. You would need a separate flood insurance policy covering these scenarios specifically.
Examples of mold damage that are often not covered:
- If your bathtub has been leaking for six months, leading to a mold infestation.
- In cases where you live in an extra humid climate (like Houston) but fail to use a dehumidifier to manage moisture levels.
- If immediate action isn’t taken after an accidental flood or overflow and you forget to dry out all affected areas
To legally extract mold in Texas, homeowners need a Certificate of Mold Damage Remediation (CMDR) when filing a mold damage claim through their homeowner’s insurance policy. To obtain this certificate, homeowners must follow a specific process:
Request a Professional Mold Assessment by a Texas-Licensed Inspector:
- The first step is to schedule your inspection and assessment with Neptune Mold Solutions
- During this assessment, the inspector will examine the affected areas to determine the extent of the mold problem.
- The inspector will also provide a written protocol known as a Mold Remediation Protocol, outlining the best methods and strategies for mold remediation.
Find a trustworthy Texas-Licensed Mold Remediation Company:
- With the written protocol in hand, homeowners should then engage the services of a Texas-licensed mold remediation company.
- The mold remediation company will follow the protocol provided by the inspector to carry out the required mold remediation work.
- It is crucial to ensure that the remediation company is licensed in Texas to ensure compliance with state regulations
Get a Post-Remediation Clearance Inspection by a Licensed Mold Consultant:
- After the mold remediation work is completed, a licensed mold consultant from Neptune Mold Solutions will conduct a post-remediation clearance inspection.
- This inspection is designed to double check that the mold issue has been effectively addressed and that the affected areas are now completely mold-free and safe to enter.
- If the clearance inspection confirms that the remediation was successful, a Certificate of Mold Damage Remediation (CMDR) will be issued.
- When the mold remediation is complete, the restoration company hired to do the work will sign their portion of the CMDR within 10 days.
Finally, your mold consultant at Neptune Mold Solutions will sign their portion of the certificate, approving the project’s completion and the mitigation of mold damage.
Please note that these procedures apply to mold damage claims in the state of Texas and may differ in other regions. Always consult your specific policy and local regulations for precise requirements.
Less-severe symptoms of mold exposure can feel similar to having a common cold:
- Sore throat
- Heavy breathing
- Body aches
- Skin rash
- Nasal congestion
It’s important to mention that everyone has a slightly different immune system, so individuals who are more sensitive or less healthy may experience these side effects differently. Long-term exposure to mold can lead to additional medical conditions such as:
- Depression and anxiety
- Chronic fatigue
- eliminate existing mold growth
- stop the mold from spreading any further
- prevent mold from growing back
It’s important to recognize that unaddressed mold issues can pose significant health risks and jeopardize the structural integrity of your home or building.
Before mold is removed, Texas law requires mold remediation of 25 contiguous square feet of visual mold in residential properties must be performed by a Licensed Mold Remediator.
In many cases, if the mold growth is a result of sudden water damage or circumstances that couldn’t have been prevented beforehand, your insurance may help cover the cost. If the mold growth could have been prevented, you may have to pay out of pocket for the remediation.
We recommend contacting your insurance provider concerning the coverage of your policy. To learn more about navigating the mold remediation process, read this helpful article.
- the extent of the mold growth
- your insurance coverage
- and the underlying cause of the mold growth
Every home is different, and every mold problem is unique. To better understand the scope of remediation required (if any), a licensed Mold Assessment Consultant will inspect your home and collect samples to be tested at a Mold Laboratory
The duration of mold remediation varies depending on the scope of the mold problem. For minor issues, it can be completed in a matter of days, while more extensive cases may take weeks. Our skilled professionals at Neptune Mold Solutions will assess your specific situation and provide a timeline tailored to your needs. Rest assured, we work efficiently while maintaining high-quality standards to ensure a safe and prompt resolution.