There’s no doubt about it, water is pervasive! Even a seemingly small volume of water from a pipe, gutter problem, or roof leak can become a major problem. Even high humidity and condensation can cause enough water to pool up to affect surfaces in your home or office that are seldom seen or otherwise hard to detect. Not to mention buildings that experience flooding caused by natural disasters can hide water and deeply saturated materials long after all the surfaces appear to be dried.
Of course, the problem with any wet surface is that it can become a prime breeding ground that makes it easy for airborne mold spores to germinate into a large active colony. In ideal warm, moist conditions mold colonies can sometimes start to form within 24 to 48 hours. When mold develops in a hard-to-reach or hard-to-see area, such as in a crawlspace, behind wallpaper, or behind drywall it can grow unchecked to severe proportions.
The Dangers Of Undetected Mold
When mold colonies are allowed to develop unchecked, the health risk and the potential damage to the property can be exponentially severe. The airborne presence of mold spores and potentially harmful mycotoxins can lead to:
- Respiratory distress for people breathing the air
- Increased problems with asthma and respiratory allergies
- Skin irritation
- Chronic inflammation conditions
These reactions can become increasingly severe if the type of mold is Stachybotrys chartarum which is also known as “Toxic Black Mold.” There have been several cases of this mold strain causing severe health reactions and leading to long-term medical complications in even relatively healthy individuals.
The presence of mold can also cause increasing structural damage to your home or commercial property. Active mold colonies have microscopic roots that can run deep into porous materials. When a mold colony goes undetected and is allowed to spread unchecked, the damage it can do to porous materials like wood, drywall, and plywood can be severe. In time, it can cause structural damage that can lead to expensive remediation, removal, and repair costs.
Common Signs Of An Indoor Mold Problem
There are a few common signs that should make you suspicious of an undetected indoor mold problem in your home or commercial property. Some are visually overt, though some are more subtle. Especially if water has been or is present in a hard to see location. This includes things like
- Discolored splotches on walls
- Discoloration on porous materials like wood & drywall
- Musty or earthy odors
- Bubbles or blisters under paint or wallpaper
- Foul-smelling carpets or other types of flooring
- Individuals frequently cough, sneezing or have headaches
- Distress from people with asthma or respiratory allergies
- Individuals having flare-ups from chronic inflammation conditions
- Professional Testing For Mold Problems & Water Damage
If you have noticed any potential signs of an indoor mold problem you shouldn’t try to go at it alone. Attempting to alter or clean up a suspected mold colony can accidentally cause the release of a high volume of mold spores and mycotoxins causing the mold problem to simply spread. At the same time, a lot of the at-home mold testing kits that you see being sold in stores do a poor job of detecting active mold colonies in hard-to-reach places.
Mold Testing Techniques
There are several different techniques that a professional mold inspector might use to test for the presence of mold, water leaks, and unseen water deposits. This starts with physical testing via things like tape samples, and physical samples of visually noticeable mold colonies.
If there are strong odors and minimal signs of physical mold colonies, or other factors suggest to the mold inspector that there is mold in other hard-to-reach places they might advocate other testing techniques such as taking air samples from strategically positioned locations. One of the newest technologies for finding suspected mold colonies and water deposits in hard-to-reach places involves the use of Thermal Infrared Cameras.
Using Thermal Infrared Cameras To Detect Water Damage & Suspected Mold
It isn’t always easy to find water damage, the source of leaks, and water-saturated mold colonies. This can include things like undetected pipes leaks, water seepage from cracks in the foundation, and water intrusion from gutter problems, or undetected roof leaks. Not to mention the risk of high condensation from a building’s wet wall or HVAC system seeping behind drywall, paint wallpaper, or other surfaces.
Fortunately, a thermal imaging camera can detect the subtle heat energy that is emitted by various objects and surfaces that might not look wet but contain water and potential mold colonies underneath. The thermal imaging camera then displays these heat signatures in an image known as a thermogram, which translates it into color images that are easy to read.
With this information in hand, a professional mold inspector can use the thermogram information to carefully pinpoint locate wet or damp areas for strategic testing. Even if there isn’t an active mold colony present, the information on the thermogram will help you better understand what repairs are needed, as well as assess the severity of the damage without having to completely open up the suspected wall.
Dealing With Water Damage & Mold Problems
Water damage on its own can be a major hassle to deal with on your own. It can become a true hazard if there happens to be mold present in the underlying wet environment. Professional mold inspectors and mold remediation specialists like those at Building Services Inc. can detect water damage using state-of-the-art techniques and technology, to help you understand your mold remediation options.
If mold is present, our technicians can use professional-grade equipment and cleaning products to thoroughly eliminate the presence of mold. Any water damage or mold-infested materials that need to be removed from the site will be disposed of in accordance with all pertinent regulations.
After the testing and remediation process is complete, our specialists will help you understand the necessary repairs that need to be made to prevent water leaks and water damage in the future, as well as provide you with strategic tips to prevent recurring mold problems in your home or commercial property.