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We hope you will enjoy this month's articles. The topic is Mold and Mildew.
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In This Issue
Mold or Mildew
What are They? How to Identify Them
Mold or mildew can both grow and spread quickly soon after water has flooded your home or business. If you are confused about how to identify either of them (especially the dangerous ones), please read on.
Both mold and mildew are forms of fungi. Mildew is actually a type of mold. They are members of a large variety of micro-organisms which also include algae, rusts, yeasts, and bacteria. They have the ability to exist on just about any type of material (as long as there is a supply of organic material for them to feed on) and they are often called the 'chief agents of deterioration.'
Active mold is usually red, green, blue, and black and tends to be fuzzy and slimy. Mold can survive on non-living materials such as tile and plastic as well as on plants.
Mildew is usually powdery and most commonly comes in colors of gray and white. Mildew thrives on surfaces where the moisture content is very high. Examples would be ceilings, walls, floors, window sills, leather, paper, etc. It is usuallly mildew that is found in showers, bathtubs, sinks, and toilets.
There is a type of mildew that is specific to wool carpet and rugs and another type of mildew can be found as yellow spots on leaves or fruits.
Mildew specifically seeks out animal and plant goods and is thus especially devastating to crops.
Mold and mildew cannot resist surfaces where there is moisture. They both prosper in dark, humid, damp, and poorly ventilated environments.
Both are invisible and odorless! You may ask what those black, green or yellow spots are. And what about that moldy odor? What you are actually seeing and smelling is the end result of the digestive process of these micro-organisms as they eat through your organic possessions.
Both mold and mildew, since they are forms of fungi, do not need to derive their energy for growth from light. Instead, they need organic materials to supply their nutrients.
Both of these micro-organisms spread by sending out massive amounts of spores (or seeds) that are always present in the air and are spread by air currents. Once landing on a host material, the spores must find sufficient moisture and food to germinate. If the spores cannot find moisture, they will remain in the air, lying dormant until moisture occurs.
MOLD or MILDEW? DANGEROUS TO HUMANS?
To find the answer and continue reading about mold and mildew, please click here.
FLOOD? 3 Steps to Take Right Away
When a flood occurs in your home or business, it must be dealt with as quickly as possible since this type of damage is a major cause of mold and mildew growth.
Mold and mildew will begin to develop within 24 to 48 hours of any water exposure in the home, such as ground water intrusion, leaks, sewage back-ups, overflows, etc. Mold and mildew will continue to grow until the source of the moisture is dealt with.
3 Steps to Take When a Flood Occurs in Your Home or Business
1. Call Your Insurance Company.
You will need to determine if the damage will be covered. Some policies require extra insurance if you are in a flood zone. Without that insurance, ground water coming into your home or business will usually not be covered.
2. Call a Certified Water Damage Restoration Company Immediately.
Doing this as soon as possible after you notice any flood damage can make the difference between a relatively short job and a much longer, costlier one.
3. Obtain Answers to the Following Questions:
The answers to the following questions are important in order to determine whether or not mold and mildew have had a chance to start, which leads to different skills and services. The answers to these questions will also help the restoration technician decide what equipment needs to be brought to the site.
1. The location of the damage.
2. The extent of the damage.
3. The source of the water.
4. Whether or not the water flow has been stopped.
5. The size of the area affected.
Additional questions which will help determine the degree of drying required:
1. What exactly happened?
2. When did the intrusion occur?
3. Has this happened before? if so, was it professionally remediated?
4. What are the walls made of?
WHAT to EXPECT FROM THE PROFESSIONAL DURING A WATER DAMAGE RESTORATION
Continue reading here for more information.
PREVENT MOLD and MILDEW
4 Steps to Take to Prevent Mold and Mildew
Step 1. Control and Monitor Relative Humidity
In order to prevent mold and mildew, the control of and monitoring of the relative humidity in the home or business environment is of the utmost importance.
Relative humidty should always be kept below 65%. It is much less likely that sport germination (the way mold and mildew spread) will occur at around 45% to 55% relative humidity.
Since most home dehumidifiers only to to 50%, in problem situations of high humidity such as a damp basement, it makes sense to invest in a commercial dehumidifier. A temperature between 64 and 68 degrees F. should also be targeted.
Any conditions that raise humidity levels need to be remediated. Some of these may be leaking pipes, gutters and downspouts, leaking roofs, cracked walls or windows, etc. Proper humidity and temperature controls decrease the possibility of germination and thus growth of mold and mildew.
Step 2. Provide Adequate Air Circulation
It is of equal importance to maintain adequate air circulation, such as with a fan (especially in bathrooms). Moving air evaporates moisture.
CAUTION: Do NOT use fans if mold is suspected to already exist so as not to disturb the spores and send them airborne.
After the moisture is gone, the invisible spores will be searching again. Fans can move the air to keep evaporating moisture.
Step 3. Keep Home or Business Environment Clean
In combination with lowering humidity levels and providing adequate air circulation, the home or business environment should be cleaned regularly to remain as free as possible of dust, dirt, and organic debris that can feed spores.
Step 4. Keep a Light On, If Possible
You can also put a light on as micro-organisms such as mold and mildew need not only moisture, high temperature, and a food source but they also need darkness. Removing any of these four factors will deter their growth.
WHAT IF YOU FIND MOLD OR MILDEW IN YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS?
Find out what to do by clicking here.
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