Mold 101: Why Knowing the Basics Matters


There’s no escaping it. It has been around for millions of years. It’s everywhere, both indoors and outdoors.

Despite it being all around you, are you any familiar with it? Chances are, if you are like most people, you avoid it on purpose.

And hey — we don’t blame you.

Dealing with mold is a huge hassle, and the health risks that are often associated with mold are frightening. The Institute of Medicine found evidence that linked indoor mold exposure to upper respiratory tract symptoms, coughing and wheezing symptoms in “otherwise healthy people” in 2004. Additionally, recent studies also show that early mold exposure may have a potential link to some children developing asthma.

This in itself explains why the closing of an elementary school in Philadelphia on October 11 after mold was found in a number of classrooms made major headlines. Hundreds of students ended up missing school during a weeklong mold cleanup. The executive director of PennEnvironment, David Masur, described the event as “just the tip of the toxic iceberg,” implying that a number of city schools have similar issues smoldering under the surface, continuing to shed light on this issue.

Aside from the health issues, there is also the factor of what the remediation cost may add up to. It can cost an average of anywhere from $500 to $6,000 depending on the size and extent of the infestation. As a general rule of thumb, the size of your bill will often depend on the intensity of the issue.

This is a good thing to know, however, because if you are knowledgeable of the subject, you can be proactive and prevent yourself from having to deal with this issue. So, look no further – at Berks Fire Water Restorations, we are here to help.

Here’s your crash course on Mold:

Mold thrives anywhere between 64 and 90° Fahrenheit where there is moisture. Although mold can grow in nearly any humidity level, it tends to thrive when the relative humidity exceeds 60%. An organic food source, such as drywall or skin, is necessary for mold to be able to grow, and it will grow better in darkness.

In order to prevent mold, you should be sure to properly mitigate water damage, manage the environment by controlling the temperature, ventilation and humidity, and ensure proper maintenance of your home, through appropriate drainage systems and roofing, installing dehumidifiers, monitoring slow and continuous leaks, and ventilating shower, laundry and cooking areas.

It is important to note that, if you do find mold growing in your home, you not only clean up the mold but also fix the moisture problem to prevent it from happening again.  In general, mold remediation is about the process not the product used to remove it. Aside from cleaning the affected area, you must be sure to contain the area and remove not just viable mold but nonviable mold, too.

Don’t worry about what type of mold is present. No matter what it is, it should be removed. Relying on sampling or culturing the mold is not only expensive, but will also not result in you being guaranteed to know your health risk given the fact that the effect mold can have varies greatly from person to person.

Be sure to document any damage with photographs and avoid turning on any fans near the affected area since this could cause the contaminated air to spread even more. In general, you should have everyone, including pets, avoid the contaminated area. If you must have contact with the affected area, be sure to wear appropriate protective equipment, including gloves, eye protection, and, depending on the severity of the mold, a respirator with HEPA filter.

Check out this brief guide on mold, moisture and your home, which provides guidance on how to clean up residential mold problems and prevent mold growth from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Also, be sure to take a look at our fact sheet for quick summary of tips and information regarding mold:

If the mold issue you are dealing with is too serious for you to remove on your own, be sure to verify the qualifications of any mold remediation professional you are considering. They should be able to provide you with MSDS sheets for any of the products they would be using on your property, and you should look to see that they follow the IICRC S520 Standard of Care for Mold Remediation, as we do at Berks Fire Water Restorations.

At Berks Fire Water Restorations, we are fully staffed with IICRC AMRT Mold Remediation Technicians and are available around the clock throughout the mitigation process.

We are here to help you with any questions or concerns you may have regarding mold. Please feel free to ask us anything in the comments below, or you can share your own experience dealing with this issue.