One of the primary things I look for when doing a mold inspection is hidden moisture. First, let me define mold: In California Mold is defined as ‘microorganisms or fungi’ as stated in Senate Bill 655 that went into effect 1/1/2016. There is a good reason for that since moisture is the primary item that causes mold and dangerous bacteria to grow and both start out microscopic. That is also why the bill also says that landlords have ‘to maintain their properties free from dampness and mold’ since dampness (or hidden moisture we can say) causes growth.
I mention the above since whether you are a renter or home owner you need to keep an eye out for possible moisture/water intrusion or leaks. Many may think that is a given. However, I have seen many people find out there was a leak and have it repaired but not think much about it after that.
When a leak has occurred, you need to have someone like myself use the proper equipment to inspect the surrounding areas to see how far the water went getting other materials wet. Much of the time you cannot tell how far the water went and what is wet or not just by touching it or looking at it. A dark looking area can be obviously wet. But you don’t always get that easy visual to identify wetness. The point is that any wet areas need to be addressed usually by using equipment like dehumidifiers to help accelerate the drying of the area and stop mold and bacteria from growing along with likely removal of some materials like drywall and
even flooring. But this must be done as soon as the leak or moisture is discovered otherwise mold and bacteria will grow; mold in 1-2 days and bacteria in 3-5 days. The longer it is wet the more will grow and expose you and your family to this which can affect your health.
Another example is when some people have seen a mushroom growing inside the home somewhere, remove it and not think much about it. When that happens that is a sure indication there is a high level of moisture present in order for that quick growth to occur. Of course, you will know that a mushroom is a type of fungi or mold which means you will have other mold types along with dangerous bacteria growing that you do not see necessarily. The point? Be vigilant and react quickly in these situations to protect your health and property.
Steve Mullins (i.e. Mold Detector)
CMC, Certified Microbial Consultant
Moisture and Mold Detection, Inc.