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Mold Blog

How Do I Prevent Mold Growth?

If you have a water leak, it’s important to clean and dry the area immediately to prevent mold growth. Porous materials, such as drywall and wood wall cavity wood framing can appear dry, but still hold a significant amount of moisture that will cause mold damage. Under the right conditions, mold can begin to grow in as little as 24-48 hours. 

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Some Quick Ways to Help Prevent Mold Growth

Keep your eyes open.  Identify and controlling water problems is the first step in discouraging mold growth.  Here are a few quick tips.

  • Every month, when you change your AC filters, also look at all of your ceilings and under cabinets.  Look for signs of moisture. 
  • Monitor the humidity in your home.  Keep humidity in the low 50’s or less. 
  • Regularly maintain your HVAC system.  A poorly running HVAC system will not sufficiently process the humidity in your home, which could lead to a Mold Bloom. 
  • Properly ventilate your clothes dryer and clean the lint exhaust regularly
  • Use tile, not carpet or wood, in moisture-prone areas.  In Florida, it is common to find older homes that have elevated moisture in the concrete slab due to the high-water table. 
  • Employ dehumidifiers in the home if humidity is regularly elevated.
  • Insulate cold surfaces like walls, floors and windows.
  • Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens and let them run long enough that you don’t see condensation on mirrors or walls.
  • Improve circulation in the home by using ceiling fans.
  • Above all else, mitigate water damage immediately.  Mold cannot grow without moisture. 

If you suspect water or mold damage in your home, call Lightning Restoration for a free mold evaluation & estimate.  Stay safe and healthy Tampa Bay.

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Mold Blog

Here’s How Mold Spreads in Your Home

We want to talk about exactly what mold is and why it is so harmful to people? If you’re not terribly familiar with mold, it is a microfungi and it’s also saprophytic. Saprophytic means that it eats dead organic material.

Mold is very good at eating dead organic material, and it’s absolutely necessary on this planet. If we didn’t have mold eating those dead organic materials, this planet would be overrun with dead plants, animals, people, and everything else. Simply put, it serves a very good and beneficial purpose.

However, we don’t want it in our homes or offices. Our homes, offices, or any confined space can become very toxic. The reason why?… When you see mold growing in a confined space, you’re seeing the visible vegetative growth. What you’re not seeing are microscopic things that are happening. The mold spreads by releasing spores, which are like seedlings, into the air. All of these spores are carrying mycotoxins with them. And as the name would suggest, that means microscopic poisons.

For example, remember when you were a kid, and you ran outside and you picked up a white dandelion and blew on it. All the little seedlings went flying everywhere very easily as the air just carried them away. That’s the same thing that happens on a microscopic level with mold. As a matter of fact, some molds look exactly like those dandelions, just on a microscopic level.

When air drafts come by and picks up those released spores, it carries those mycotoxins and those seedlings to other areas of the home. And then, with the right amount of moisture, those spores are actually growing and forming their own colonies. Then, all these new colonies are releasing their own spores. So with the right amount of moisture and the right amount of mold in a property, you can have very highly concentrated levels of that poison.

Now, one thing to keep in mind is that mold is ubiquitous. That means you’re not going to go anywhere on this planet and not find mold. However, we want to keep it at an acceptable level inside your confined spaces, which is your home or your office, so that you’re not living in a toxic environment.

And that’s the reason why it’s so important to stay on top of any kind of moisture issues or mold growth issues in your property, instead of letting them go and then letting them get it worse. Because mold spreads so easily,  it will continually get worse until you address it.

CALL LIGHTNING RESTORATION

If there is something you have questions about, or anything that you want to inquire with Lightning Restoration when it comes to mold removal, water damage, or fire damage, please give us a call. You can reach us at 855-850-LTNG, or you can reach us on the web and leave us a message. Be safe out there.

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Mold Blog

What Makes Mold Start to Grow in the Home?

Let’s talk about factors that affect mold growth

The number one factor contributing to mold growth is moisture. Without elevated humidity or direct moisture content, mold will go dormant and will not grow. However, as soon as it touches that extra moisture or comes in a human environment, it springs back to life. So the most important takeaway for any property owner in that case is that if you notice any kind of elevated humidity levels or moisture in your property, address it right away. Don’t sit back and wait. Don’t wait to make decisions based on the fact that they may cost you money to deal with. I can guarantee you that if mold starts growing, the costs will get exponentially higher. Jump on it immediately.

What else can affect mold growth?

Other factors that affect mold growth include the fact that there has to be a food source for mold. It won’t grow unless there’s something for it to eat. Now we know that mold is saprophytic. It eats dead organic material, and our homes are filled with dead organic material. So it’s not hard for it to find a food source to eat.

Other factors include the fact that it does take some time. It doesn’t grow immediately, but it does grow quickly. We find that it’ll start growing usually in about 24 to 72 hours, depending on the conditions. Other conditions and factors include how much air movement there is, how much light there is, and what the temperature is. The ideal condition for mold to grow is in a dark, damp area with not a lot of air movement. You’ve got the food source. You have the mold present. You have the moisture present. It’s dark, it’s damp, it’s going to grow very quickly.

Now when we go into a standard water loss, a lot of times we’ll go in there and the property’s only been sitting there for a couple of days. But as soon as we pull back those baseboards, we notice a lot of mold growth. The reason why is because that is the ideal situation. The food source is the back of the baseboard because it’s not painted over, it’s a raw wood surface. It’s dark, it’s humid in the air, it’s damp. It has its food source, it has the mold present, it has the moisture and it begins growing very, very quickly.

Is mold growing in your home?

So, remember our number one takeaway. Address moisture immediately. Stop the damage from getting worse, and if you need professional help or you want to inquire with Lightning Restoration when it comes to mold removal, water damage, or fire damage, please give us a call. You can reach us at 855-850-LTNG, or you can leave us a message. Be safe out there.

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Mold Blog

What You Need To Know About Mold Blooms

Today I want to talk about mold blooms. So if you’re not living in an area where there’s high humidity, or you don’t have a very tropical environment, you’re probably not very familiar with mold blooms. But here on the Gulf Coast of Florida, we’re very familiar with them, because they’re extremely common. They happen all the time.

Now, what exactly are mold blooms?

Well, imagine going into a property, whether it be a commercial property or residential, and literally seeing mold growing on every surface. It’s in the AC system growing through the ducts. It’s on all the walls growing down, it’s on the cabinets. I’ve actually been in a house before where I saw the actual surface of a metal refrigerator, or steel refrigerator, that had mold growing on it.

Now that kind of contradicts what we know about mold, because we think that in order for mold to grow, it has to have a dead organic material as a food source. Well, I’ll explain that in just a little bit. First, I want to talk about what would actually cause a mold bloom to happen. So typically we have one or two scenarios:

  1. – The first scenario being, we had some kind of water occurrence, some kind of water loss inside that property that went unchecked. And because it went unchecked, we had increased humidity levels in there. And those humidity levels reacted with the actual spores that are in the property. Because if you remember correctly, mold is ubiquitous, it’s everywhere. It’s all in this office here with me. So all you have to do is have that increased humidity and it will react with those mold spores and it will start growing.
  2. – The second scenario is typically where someone is not utilizing their HVAC system at all, or they’re utilizing it incorrectly, and they’re keeping their AC too high, or like I said, they’re not keeping it on at all for longer periods of time, which causes an increase in humidity in that property, which causes the actual mold blooms to grow because there’s all this moisture there, all the excessive moisture.

How do I prevent it?

Typically you want to keep humidity levels in your property below 60%. Anything above 60% relative humidity lends itself to mold growth. The reason why is because it’s so heavy in the air that it literally sticks on all the surfaces. Just like on the outside of a cold Coke can, you get the condensation. Now, if you’ve got that on a surface of a wall, or cabinet, or the refrigerator, what you get is you get sustained moisture. When you have a sustained moisture problem over a long period of time, you get bacteria growth. Then when that bacteria grows in that water, it lives, it dies, it eats…all those things. That actually becomes the food source for the mold problem, which allows it to grow on any of those surfaces.

When mold grows on every single surface, there’s going to be a lot of things that we can save and a lot of things that we can’t. But either way, it becomes an extremely expensive process, whether it be through replacement or through the remediation and cleaning of everything.

Call Lightning Restoration

So our objective always is to save and salvage as much as we can. So we do exactly that without putting anybody in that property at risk from future mold contamination and mold damage. If that’s something you have questions about, or anything that you want to inquire with Lightning Restoration when it comes to mold removal, water damage, or fire damage, please give us a call. You can reach us at 855-850-LTNG, or you can reach us on the web leave us a message. Be safe out there.