May 2017

The Top 3 Types of Mold & Where to Find Them in Your Home or Business

Posted by MikaB on May 30, 2017

3 kinds of mold in your home

We build our homes and businesses according to functionality and safety. Unfortunately, one of the elements that affects safety is something small and often hidden…mold. Mold comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Could you identify the most common types of mold and where they are found within your home or business? Most people cannot. Let’s discuss the top three kinds of mold and where to find them in your residential or commercial property.

Aspergillus

Aspergillus is an allergenic mold. It is most associated with homes in warm and humid climates, where constant dampness is hard to avoid. Here’s an interesting fact about aspergillus: it was first discovered and cataloged by Italian priest and biologist, Pier Antonio Micheli, in 1729.

This type of mold is seen all over the world, from the tropics to the Arctic. Although this type of mold is fairly common, it does not normally cause illness, except to those with weak immune systems. Aspergillus mold looks just as you would think, the greenish, grayish, slightly fuzzy growth that was on the strawberry you threw out last week!

Given the fact that this mold is most common in areas that have experienced flooding, calling professionals to assist in addressing all issues is a wise idea.

Cladosporium

Cladosporium is a black or green “pepper-like” substance that is usually found growing on the back of toilet tanks, painted surfaces and fiberglass air ducts. Ranging in color from dark green, brown, or black, this mold is well known to aggravate those with allergies. It has even been reported to cause infections.

It  is commonly found in fans and ventilation systems, a serious issue for people with asthma and other breathing conditions. It can be present in carpet, wallpaper, and mattresses, making it hard to avoid. Again, maintaining humidity is necessary to restrict the growth of this mold. Wiping off visible mold and cleaning with the right solution will help, too.

Stachybotrys Atra (also known as “black mold”)

This kind of mold is most likely to appear in areas of your home or commercial property that are warm, humid, and damp. Basements are particularly susceptible to the growth of black mold. Leaky pipes or a leak in the roof can also lead to excess moisture buildup that may go unseen, leading to mold growth.

Prevention is key, such as proper ventilation in bathrooms and using a dehumidifier in the basement. Mold resistant paint is also an option. The first step is to repair leaks and thoroughly dry areas that have been exposed to moisture. Hard surfaces can be cleaned but care should be taken to follow directions of the product you use.

For those with allergies or compromised immune systems, care has to be taken to avoid exposure as it can cause illness. Black mold can cause a variety of health problems in people who reside in buildings that contain it. Symptoms of mold exposure include: chronic fatigue or headaches, fever, eye irritation, sneezing, rashes, and chronic coughing.

Four Steps for Mold Prevention

Now that we know the three most common types of mold and how to identify them, let’s talk about how to prevent mold growth. First of all, you want to identify mold problems areas in your home:no mold sign

  1. Dry areas that have become wet immediately.
  2. Prevent extra moisture in the air by making sure that your home has proper ventilation. An example of this would be cleaning your vents frequently and running an exhaust fan while showering.
  3. Monitor the humidity in your home or commercial property. The EPA recommends that indoor humidity should be between 30 and 60 percent.
  4. Try to keep mold off of your indoor plants. A good idea for this is to add a little Taheebo tea to the water that you give your indoor plants. The oil in the tea helps to decrease mold growth in the soil.

If you suspect or know that your home or business has a mold problem, Titan Environmental Services provides professional and affordable solutions. For more information about how we can help, please contact us.

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Top 10 Things You Should Know About Mold

Posted by MikaB on May 11, 2017

checking mold on ceiling

Mold growth in your home or business can cause unpleasant odors, allergic reactions, and even serious medical issues. The good news is, you can usually remove surface mold by wiping it away with a wet cloth and detergent.

But if mold is growing inside the walls of your home or business, getting rid of it poses more of a challenge. You might have to open up the wall to assess the extent of the damage and remove the mold. Titan Environmental Services has put together this fact sheet about mold to help you know what to do when you find it.

10 Mold Facts Worth Noting:

Because mold can cause health problems, it’s good to know its causes, proper treatment, and removal methods.

  1. Moisture, condensation, and water leaks are the main causes of mold growth. By staying on top of these issues, you reduce the chances of a mold problem developing in your home or business.
  2. You can reduce indoor moisture by venting bathrooms, installing dehumidifiers, and using fans during any activity that generates humidity.
  3. It is vital to clean up water spills and leaks within 24 to 48 hours so that you don’t give mold a chance to grow.
  4. Prevent condensation by adding insulation to all potentially cold surfaces, such as floors, windows, and exterior walls.
  5. Avoid carpeting areas where moisture is prevalent, such as below sinks or drinking fountains. Carpet traps water and creates an atmosphere where mold is likely to fester.
  6. As soon as you spot surface mold, immediately wipe it away using a wet towel or wipe and detergent. If mold is present on a porous surface, have a professional from Titan Environmental Services inspect the area to ensure mold isn’t growing inside the material. If it is, you will need to remove the section containing mold.
  7. After cleaning up mold, identify its root cause (e.g., moisture, a water leak, condensation) and eliminate it. Otherwise, the mold will grow back in short order.
  8. You can never completely eliminate mold in your home or business unless you completely eliminate moisture. Therefore, aim for as little humidity as possible.
  9. Mold can grow almost anywhere with moisture. If you leave a sheet of paper on your desk in a high-humidity environment, you might return to find it covered in mold.
  10. Prolonged exposure to indoor mold can cause allergic reactions and respiratory ailments.

Mold presents a significant threat to your home or business, particularly if you live in a humid climate. By understanding what makes mold grow and how to deal with it, you can create a safer and healthier environment to live and work.

If you suspect mold that you can’t see or have battled a mold problem just to have it return, give the professionals at Titan Environmental Services a call at (913) 325-4328 or contact us to fix your mold problem today.

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Mold 101 – What Is Mold & Why Is It Dangerous In My Home?

Posted by MikaB on May 3, 2017

dangerous mold in home

Chances are you’ve have some encounter with mold, but have you ever wondered what it’s really made of? Or where it comes from? Lucky for you the experts at Titan Environmental Services are breaking down the most frequently asked questions about this common organism.

What Is Mold?

Mold is an organism that’s found both indoors and outdoors. They are in our environment, everywhere, all the time. While sometimes referred to as fungi or mildew, mold is neither a plant nor animal; it’s a part of the Fungi Kingdom.

Various types of molds are a natural and important part of our environment and play a critical role of breaking down and digesting organic material, such as dead leaves.

How Does Mold Grow and Spread?

Molds multiply by producing microscopic spores (or sporulation), and upon their release, they easily float through the air and are carried great distances or across the room to colonize.

The number of mold spores suspended in both the indoor and outdoor air fluctuates from season to season, day to day, and even hour to hour….it’s constantly changing.

Why Is Indoor Mold a Problem?

We know that mold is usually not a problem indoors until water and/or moisture is introduced into the indoor environment, and when left unchecked, molds will start to grow on and digest porous contents and cellulose rich building materials such as sheetrock, cabinets, carpeting and padding, etc.

Unchecked mold growth can cause damage to building materials and furnishings, and can even eventually cause structural damage. Mold also poses a threat to human health. It is important, therefore, to prevent mold from growing indoors.

The Color of Mold

If you thought mold was always black, you’d be wrong. Molds exist in practically every color you can imagine, ranging from purest white to darkest black with stops along the spectrum at brown, tan, green, red, orange, yellow, and even blue.

“Black mold” is not a species or specific kind of mold, and neither is “toxic mold“…although the news media likes to loosely throw those terms around. Biologically a mold is a mold is a mold. Many black molds are relatively benign and common in the environment.

The mold growths that cause the most concern among mold specialists are actually the white molds which can include some very dangerous characters indeed.

Mold Needs Two Things to Grow Indoors

To grow indoors, mold needs water and/or moisture and a food source. Mold can grow on virtually any organic substance and most buildings are full of organic materials that mold can use as food, including paper, cloth, wood, carpet, furniture and other cellulose rich contents. Water and moisture intrusion control is the key to mold control.

Where Does Mold Grow?

Mold can be found anywhere moisture and a food source are found. Many times darkness accompanies mold growth as well. Often, more than one type of mold can be found growing in the same area, although conditions such as moisture, light, and temperature may favor one species of mold over another. Common sites for indoor mold growth include:

  • Sheetrock walls and ceilings
  • Bathroom tile and grout
  • Behind refrigerators and dishwashers
  • Under and behind sinks and toilets
  • Behind clothes washers and dryers
  • Surrounding, under and in furnaces and air conditioning systems
  • Finished basements and the contents within

Types of Mold

The most common types of mold include aspergillus, cladosporium and stachybotrys atra (also known as black mold).

Aspergillus

Aspergillus is a fairly allergenic mold that is commonly found on foods and in home air conditioning systems.

Cladosporium

Cladosporium is typically a black or green “pepper like” substance that grows on the back of toilets, painted surfaces and fiberglass air ducts. While this mold is nontoxic to humans, it can trigger common allergy symptoms, such as red and watery eyes, rashes and a sore throat.

Stachybotrys Chartarum

Toxic black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, as it’s known to scientists, can release spores as it feeds on organic materials in common household items like drywall, carpet, insulation or subflooring that have been exposed to moisture.

These spores, if ingested or inhaled, can cause a range of unpleasant and even dangerous symptoms in humans including:

  • Chronic coughing and sneezing
  • Irritation to the eyes and mucous membranes (nose and throat)
  • Rashes
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Persistent headaches

In particularly severe cases of prolonged exposure, and compounded by allergic reaction to the black mold spores, symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, and bleeding in the lungs and nose. Understanding black mold symptoms and health effects can help you and your family identify these indicators and take swift action to protect your health and your home.

If you suspect mold in your home or business, give Titan Environmental Services a call at 913-325-4328 and we’ll send someone to investigate.

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