Winter to Spring – Awakening the Sleeping Mold

Spring is officially here now. You may start thinking about spring cleaning. This week’s guest blogger is a certified home and mold inspector, Robert Kin.

Can you feel it? The birds are chirping, the sun shines longer providing warmth and there is more puddles of water compared to the ever so disappearing surrounding snow.

With the significant March 20th date past us or as many of you know as the first day of spring, people are generally happier. It’s been such a long cold winter. I’m tired of snow shoveling, the slippery ice and the extreme wind chills. Bring the heat please.

Well as you step outside, you’ll likely smell moisture in the air. With the long winter approaching a much needed end,  everything outside including the ground beneath us has started thawing out. This means outdoor allergies turn into a frequent issue, as bacteria fills the outside air.

Did you know moisture moves into any material area that can absorb moisture? This includes the basement area which is a haven for picking up moisture. Basement foundation are typically made of material (i.e. concrete) that is porous and eventually degrades over time. Any pre-existing cracks will become larger and water eventually moves into the basements.

The end result is a musty smell found within basement areas. When you smell mustiness you’re smelling bacteria or as others cringe to say “mold”.

moldMold develops within 24-48 hours in areas where moisture comes in contact with organic material (e.g. cotton, wool, paper, wood) coupled with insufficient air ventilation. Smell and discoloration of surfaces are indicators that mold is present.

If mold is present, then this can have a direct effect on one’s physical well being. Mold can cause cold-like symptoms, a degradation of one’s respiratory system, nasal issues, watery eyes, skin irritations just to name a few.

If you are experiencing the aforementioned then it is highly recommended you visit a specialist. I find using a Naturopath, Homeopath, an Allergist or even a Chiropractor is very important in maintaining oneself.

The key here is removing the mold. Depending on the size and type of the mold, one might need to have it removed professionally by a Mold Remediator,

A Mold Inspector can help determine this through lab testing. Best case scenario, is If there is no smell of mustiness in the basement. Likely no mold present.

To be proactive going forward  a homeowner should obtain a dehumidifier for the basement area. This is a preventative measure and should be used often during the non-winter months. We want to get rid of the moisture which again is a catalyst for mold development especially in areas with organic materials no very little air ventilation.

Another solution but not as affective is opening up windows allowing air flow and thus drying out the given areas.

Speaking from experience there was one family told their young 2 & 4 year old kids had Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). The 4 year old was barely speaking. This was horrifying for parents to hear. They’re family history showed no signs of ADD and they were doubting their own child rearing ability. What do you do in this situation? Who do you go to? Who should you listen to? In one case, a friend had mentioned the mustiness was strong within their home. I was brought in.

Upon further inspection, mold was found in the basement and we suspected to be the instigator in ADD behavior. Mold Remediation (removal) took place. Soon after their kids started developing tremendously. 6 months later, their eldest had caught up to her peers and does not stop talking. The youngest is like any 2 year old. Being the Curious George,  very mischievous but doing in ever so adorably.

While there is great debate on what causes health issues … one cannot deny the feeling its better to not being exposed than being exposed to mold.

Now what do you smell in your basement…..

Robert Kin, Cerftified Home & Mold Inspector, Superior Home Inspectors, 416-528-1443; rkin@superiorhomeinspectors.ca www.superiorhomeinspectors.ca

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