Mold in Your Home

Molds are tiny microscopic organisms that digest organic matter and reproduce by releasing spores. Molds are a type of fungi and there are over 100,000 species. In nature, mold helps decompose or break-down leaves, wood and other plant debris. Molds become a problem when they go where they are not wanted and digest materials such as our homes. Mold enters the home as microscopic airborne spores, from a variety of sources. It is important to know that mold needs moisture to grow. Controlling mold is a matter of controlling the moisture in the home. You generally know you have mold when you smell a musty odor or see small black, darkened, or white specks along a damp bathroom, kitchen or other walls.

Molds do not generally affect healthy individuals however those with allergies or asthma may be more sensitive and develop reactions to mold. Mold-sensitive people (and those with prolonged mold exposure) may experience hay-fever type symptoms including: coughing, skin rash, running nose, red eyes, nasal congestion, and aggravation of asthma or difficulty breathing. Also, individuals with immune system suppression, lung diseases, are at increased risk for infection from molds. Mold can have more profound symptoms in very young or old individuals. San Diego offers the type of atmosphere for several different types of mold growth to flourish!

Mold Inspections

Rarefied Air Environmental provides the most comprehensive, technologically advanced and detailed mold site assessments in Southern California. Water intrusion sources that may cause mold growth can range from:

  • Plumbing/drain lines
  • Roof leaks
  • Concrete slab leaks
  • Faulty window installation
  • Water from exterior/crawlspace soil
  • Bath tub leaks
  • Refrigerator lines
  • Humidity issues
  • Poor ventilation
  • Counter-top issues
  • Steam
  • Poorly sealed block/brick walls

Our experts can identify the source of the intrusion and provide a fully comprehensive report with a scope of work for remediation. You may hand this report to licensed mold remediation professionals who can then remediate the issue and deliver you back a healthy, livable space!

We utilize moisture meters and thermal imaging cameras to find the source of water intrusion or to determine how far water has travelled. We can also collect air and surface samples to identify what types of mold spores may be present in your environment. Several spore types are associated with water intrusion on construction products. Certain mold spore types may indicate whether it has been a long-standing or ongoing problem. We may even be able to tell you if the mold colony is still alive and growing!

Mold Air & Surface Samples

Air sample collection can be a great indicator as to whether there is a mold issue occurring in your dwelling space. An “Air-O-Cell” cassette is placed in a bio-aerosol sampling pump and run for a set duration of time based upon the environment being assessed.

The “Air-O-Cell cassettes are designed to collect a wide variety of airborne particles including but not limited to: fungal spores, pollen, insect parts, skin cell fragments, fibers and other inorganic particles. The “Air-O-Cell” samples are delivered to an independent and accredited laboratory for analysis. The laboratory performs a direct fungal examination of the inner film of the cassette and provides the analytical data.

Rarefied Air Environmental will assess the laboratory results and be able to indicate whether there are any airborne issues based upon the mold spore types present and the quantities as to which they are present! Some of these indicator spores are as follows:

  • Aspergillus/Penicillium
  • Chaetomium
  • Cladosporium (in highly elevated amounts)
  • Basidiospores
  • Stachybotrys
  • Ulocladium
  • and more…

Rarefied Air Environmental can also collect surface swab samples of suspect fungal growth and have them analyzed for the same types of mold growth that is present in the air as well!

Post-Mold-Remediation Site Assessments

You should never trust that a remediation contractor has performed the mold remediation activities fully and completely without third party testing. If mold remediation is typically greater than 10 square feet of removal, the remediation contractor will request that come type of clearance testing be performed. Proper remediation should include isolated work areas behind polyethylene sheeting, HEPA air filtering devices, bagging of waste and use of environmentally safe cleansing products.

Rarefied Air Environmental technicians will assess the work are containment to determine if all of the wet materials have been properly removed and if the materials remaining in place have been properly dried and cleaned. Air samples will be collected as an indicator if mold spores are still present in the environment at acceptable levels. If the levels are acceptable, we will provide a report that is your so to speak, “Bill of Clean Health.” We do not recommend performing reconstruction following mold remediation without performing the Post-Mold-Remediation Site Assessment. This documentation will also assist in full disclosure if you are ever to sell a property.