Toxic Mold, Moisture Testing
Moisture Meter Testing
Testing Housing Materials for Moisture
Too much moisture in the home can be damaging to your health and the house structure. The amount of moisture in concrete, wood and drywall can be measured. At 16 % moisture content mold can grow on most surfaces, Also, the amount of moisture in wood joists, studs, furniture cabinetry can be determined with a moisture meter. If the moisture content is less than 10% don’t worry. Readings above 20% could indicate a problem.
If your house contains excess moisture:
- Turn up your thermostat higher than normal.
- Crack open two or more windows.
- Run exhaust fans.
- Run the bathroom fan beyond shower time.
- Use a dehumidifier (especially in hot, humid months).
- Check to see that exhaust appliances are running properly. Furnace, water heater and clothes dryers that are improperly vented increase moisture in the home.
We take samples, be it in the air or direct samples from known areas of mold with our equipment. The samples are then sent to the labs for analysis to determine the classes of mold found, and to identify which ones are toxic in your environment. A separate report is then generated and delivered to you.
Basic Mold Cleanup
The key to mold control is moisture control. It is important to dry water damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. If mold is a problem in your home, clean up the mold using a respirator mixing 1part bleach to 3 parts water and get rid of the excess water or moisture by using a dehumidifier keeping the area below 55 percent humidity. Add bathroom fans and use them up to 30 minutes after bathing. Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water. Then wash off surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely. Professionals sometimes use the dry ice blasting method Absorbent materials (such as ceiling tiles and carpet) that become moldy may have to be replaced.
Ten Things You Should Know About Mold
- Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.
- There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
- If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
- Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
- Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60% ) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dish washing, and cleaning.
- Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
- Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
- Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
- In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
- Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.
Source: US EPA http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldresources.html
Outdoor Recommended Indoor Temperature Relative Humidity
Source: Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus, with reference from the Association for Home Appliance Manufacturers www.aham.org.