Monday, February 18, 2013
Are Molds Really Dangerous?
Whenever water damage is involved, mold is almost always a part of the equation, particularly if the leak is not immediately shut off and the water extracted. Since mold spores are everywhere, mold can easily form within 48 hours provided that conditions are right for it to grow; all it needs is moisture, warmth and a porous material. On most water damage situations where the leak has been going for a while, mold infestations are pretty clear-cut: damaged drywall or carpet will be lined with dark splotches easily visible to the naked eye. For leaks where the water can be shut off in time, mold usually doesn't have time to develop, since the water is often extracted before it has time to settle.
But what about other situations where water damage is not involved? Sometimes, mold won't be noticed until it's much too late. In cases where leaks are mostly out of sight, slow leaks can cause mold to breed and grow for months or years until it finally comes to light. However, there are some things to keep in mind if you suddenly notice mold growing inside a wall or in the attic.
There's widespread notions that mold is extremely toxic and can cause serious illness or death if you are exposed to it. However, keep in mind that mold is literally everywhere; depending on where you live, there can be dozens of different types of mold spores floating in the air. The vast majority of molds are also harmless to humans: out of the 400,000 different types of classified molds, there are a few dozen that are actually harmful. Of course, playing the odds is not the best way to handle mold, but even to this day, many of the supposed hazards of molds are overstated.
The first thing to keep in mind is that if you have been living in a home where mold has been growing for years, it is most likely non-toxic. Unless you or someone in your family has serious allergies, it's quite possible to have mold in your home for a long time before it comes to light. Also, in these cases, homeowner's insurance will almost definitely not cover the damage, as long-term mold damage falls under gradual damage that is the homeowner's responsibility to fix as part of their regular home maintenance and upkeep.
That doesn't mean you should just sit around idly and let mold keep growing, of course. Even though it may not pose any significant health hazard, mold can cause other problems that can compound into major issues. Mold growing on drywall or wood will significantly weaken the structural integrity of a wall or beams, potentially leading to much costlier repairs if a wall should collapse. Slime mold can also cause problems with clogged pipes if they are not cleaned and sanitized, and this in turn may lead to your average water damage scenario.
While there are companies that offer specific mold insurance that covers the gaps where homeowners insurance does not, they are usually very expensive and the initial upfront cost many not be much better than simply hiring a remediation company. With proper maintenance, mold is typically not a recurring problem in a home and proper maintenance and ventilation will prevent future infestations from happening. If you do find mold in your house, the real problem - particularly if it looks like it's been around for a while - is the source of the leak. As long as that is handled, mold should not be an issue once it is removed by professionals.
So in conclusion, just remember not to be fooled by some of the scare tactics out there by less-than-scrupulous mold companies. Yes, mold is an issue and should always be removed and remediated by professionals if it exists in large amounts. However, a lot of the potential dangers of mold have been exaggerated by both the media and firms alike, so be sure to think rationally and speak with your mold technician what the real threat of the mold in your home may be before spending too much time or money on things that may not need fixing.
Superior Restoration is a Corona water damage company servicing the entire Inland Empire area. Family owned with over ten years of industry experience, Superior prides itself on excellent quality of work and the best customer service in the Southern California restoration business.