Facts About Mold


Q: What is mold?

A: Mold is a microscopic fungus that is part of the natural environment and necessary for our ecosystem. While it is necessary in the outdoor world, too much mold inside a structure can be dangerous and unsanitary. Mold produces spores as part of its lifecycle, and these spores float through the air both inside and outside.

 Q: Why is mold a problem?

A: Many people aren’t aware that mold can cause serious structural damage to homes, which, if left undetected, can cause a property to lose value and/or require significant repairs. And if you have ever suffered from allergies, exposure to molds can often cause nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, skin irritation or even more severe reactions.

 Q: What does mold need in order to grow?

A: Mold needs a moist environment, temperatures above freezing and a food source, which could be leaves, paper, dirt, wood or other building materials. Mold is more likely to be found in damp, dusty spaces or areas with stagnant air.

 Q: How can I tell if I have mold?

A: If you see mold growth or water stains, a mold test can help identify related microbial activity. You can also look for areas where water leakage has occurred, such as roofs, pipes, ceilings or walls. Musty smells may also indicate the presence of mold. Unseen airborne mold can be detected by InstaScope.

 Q: What can I do to prevent the growth of mold in my home?

A: The most effective means to keep mold in check include keeping the humidity level of your home at 40–60 percent, using an air conditioner and/or dehumidifier during humid months and in damp spaces like basements, and always utilizing exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens, along with dryer vents outside your home. Lastly, if there are leaks in your roof, walls or plumbing, it is important to repair them as soon as possible.

 Q: When does mold need to be handled by a professional remediation company?

A: When there’s mold, we can help. Most experts recommend a professional remediation company when elevated mold levels are detected. Remediation professionals are specially trained to isolate and treat mold-affected areas to avoid contaminating adjacent spaces.

 Q: How is a traditional mold test conducted?

A: Most mold testing is done as a comparison between mold levels outside the structure and inside the structure. Traditional mold testing typically captures samples that are placed on slides, taken to laboratories and manually inspected under a microscope. A report indicating the findings is typically released several days later and may provide an incomplete look at the mold conditions.

 Q: Some molds have the reputation of being more dangerous than others. Is identifying the mold important?

A: Sometimes you will hear terms like “toxic mold” and “black mold” used to refer to molds. While identifying the type of fungus or mold may be interesting, it doesn’t affect the course of action. If mold is present, the CDC has strongly recommended that it be removed, no matter the type.

 Q: How does InstaScope differ from typical mold detection?

A: Unlike traditional methods that require several days of lab processing, InstaScope can instantly calculate airborne mold levels and provide an in-room average during the time of the scan. It can also help in the identification of mold sources.

 Q: What’s the science behind InstaScope?

A: InstaScope uses optical detection and identification technology originally developed for detecting biological aerosols. It detects and identifies particles one at a time, much like a microscope would and then applies advanced algorithms and analysis to the results.

 Q: Will an InstaScope mold assessment be disruptive to my family?

A: Not at all. InstaScope can scan a 2,000-square-foot home and deliver a report in just one brief visit.

 Q: How long does it take to scan my home?

A: InstaScope can scan a typical home and deliver a report in just one visit.

 Q: Is InstaScope mold detection expensive?

A: A mold assessment is more reasonable than you might expect. It’s often no more than the cost of professional carpet cleaning or a home inspection. Contact your local ServiceMaster Restore professional for an estimate today.

 ServiceMaster Restore services provided by independently owned and operated franchises and may vary depending on location.

©2014 ServiceMaster Residential/Commercial Services L.P. All rights reserved.