I’ve got mold! Who do I call in?

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If you’ve ever seen the blue-green growths on old bread or the white-grey fuzz on spoiled berries, you’ve seen mold. Mold spores are on the prowl indoors and out. There’s no getting rid of them completely, but you can control them by controlling moisture in your home.

If you see a telltale patch of black dots or spots growing along the baseboard behind your sink or up a wall, you can wash away the mold with a strong detergent and water. But unless you get to the source of the water attracting the mold and giving it the medium to grow in, the problem will just come back.

Keep in mind that being exposed to mold does more than damage your home—possible health effects include allergic reactions, asthma or asthma flares and other respiratory woes.

When to call in a professional.

  • If there has been a lot of water damage and the mold is covering an area larger than 3 feet by 3 feet, consider hiring a contractor or another professional experienced with mold cleanup.
  • If absorbent materials like wall-to-wall carpet and basement ceiling tiles are wet and moldy and can’t be dried out and fully cleaned, chances are you’ll need to get them replaced.
  • If it’s possible that your heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system is contaminated with mold, don’t run the system. Call in a HVAC servicing company.

Now get to the source of your mold situation.

  • If leaky pipes are causing your wet environment, call in a plumber to make repairs.
  • If the mold damage was caused by sewage or some other contaminated water source, call in a home sewage or septic professional experienced in repairs involving contaminated water.
  • If the mold can be traced to high humidity levels (from 30 to 60 percent) in an area of your home, like your basement, find out about venting the bathroom, clothes dryer and any other moisture-generating sources to the outside. Having a de-humidifier installed is another possibility.
  • Look into adding installation to prevent condensation on cold surfaces, like windows, floors and exterior walls.