Hidden Mold: The Importance of Mold Inspections for Schools and Public Buildings
Mold is a common problem within public buildings as much as homes and it is important to routinely check for mold especially in areas with high moisture or humidity. However, just because there is no visible mold that does not mean your building is clear. Mold growth can occur in a number of hidden places such as behind walls and ceilings, in closets and storage areas, and even behind wood trim or paneling along the walls. It is important to have your building inspected thoroughly for mold, especially in hard to see places, and contact a mold remediation expert to remove it as soon as it is discovered.
Looking for Hidden Mold
In one particular project, the technicians of ServiceMaster NCR discovered significant mold growth along a wall behind some wood paneling. At first glance, there does not appear to be any mold growth along this wall but as you can see in the second picture, there is heavy mold growth behind the wood paneling that would not have been discovered without a professional inspection.
Our technicians use InstaScope, which is a new mold assessment system that measures airborne mold levels, to help us determine if there is a hidden active mold source in a room without removing paneling or drywall. We start by recording a baseline level of airborne mold outside the building and then test the mold levels of each room and compare them to the baseline reading. If the airborne mold level in a room is higher than the natural level, we will recalibrate the equipment to find the mold source. It is important to have a thorough professional inspection done of your building because hidden mold growth can cause extensive damage if it is ignored as well as increase certain health risks.
Risks of Mold Growth
Mold is a fungus that only requires the right temperature and level of moisture to grow and it tends to form on surfaces that include drywall, plaster, ceiling tiles, and wood. If the mold is removed quickly enough, these surfaces can usually be salvaged but severe mold growth may require these surfaces to be replaced.
In addition to destruction of property, mold growth can also cause an array of health problems to those that are exposed. People who are prone to allergies or respiratory infections are more likely to exhibit symptoms associated with mold such as stuffy or runny nose, eye or skin irritation, coughing, and wheezing among others. Prolonged exposure can lead to more serious problems such as asthma or respiratory problems. If you run a public building or are responsible for the upkeep of a school where hundreds of people spend their days, it is important to make sure that the indoor air of your building has a mold level that is equal to or less than the natural airborne mold level found in outdoor air.
The best method of mold control is prevention and because mold is typically a symptom of water damage or excess moisture, the most effective way to prevent mold is to mitigate and restore water damage within 24 hours of its occurrence. ServiceMaster NCR provides water damage restoration services to help mitigate and restore water damage before it spreads or leads to mold growth. Taking quick action in response to water damage is the most effective way to prevent mold from forming in the first place.
ServiceMaster NCR provides mold remediation services for homes and businesses in the Alexandria, VA, Ft. Washington, MD, and Washington DC metro areas which includes InstaScope testing for accurate mold assessment. It is especially important to make sure that businesses and schools are completely free of mold including hidden mold for the safety of those that work in the building. The visual test for mold is not enough, contact ServiceMaster NCR for accurate testing and mold remediation for complete removal.