by Robin Tregenza (an excerpt from our newsletter 'The Current')
It is Wednesday, which means if you are an Island Realty agent, you are beginning your day with a Wednesday morning sales meeting. Every so often we incorporate a speaker. The topics vary but of course, all are relevant to our business…real estate. This morning we welcomed Eric S. Anderson, CEO of Enviro-Clean Inc., to learn the ins and outs of mold. You may think this topic would be boring. Frankly, I didn’t find the idea of an early morning discussion about mold all that thrilling either, but I was soon pleasantly surprised and much more informed.
Eric began the discussion with a brief sermon from Leviticus 14:33-5
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "When you enter the land of Canaan, which I am giving you as your possession, and I put a spreading mildew in a house in that land, the owner of the house must go and tell the priest, 'I have seen something that looks like mildew in my house.' The priest is to order the house to be emptied before he goes in to examine the mildew, so that nothing in the house will be pronounced unclean. After this the priest is to go in and inspect the house. He is to examine the mildew on the walls, and if it has greenish or reddish depressions that appear to be deeper than the surface of the wall, the priest shall go out the doorway of the house and close it up for seven days. On the seventh day the priest shall return to inspect the house. If the mildew has spread on the walls, he is to order that the contaminated stones be torn out and thrown into an unclean place outside the town.”
The Book of Leviticus was written between 1440-1400 B.C. which tells us that mildew has been around for over 3500 years and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. This is actually a good thing as mold plays a vital role in our ecosystem and without it we would fail to exist. What we need to know is how to co-exist.
WHAT IS MOLD?
Mold is present everywhere and can virtually grow on any organic substance as long as moisture and oxygen are present. Excessive moisture in buildings or on building materials will inevitably cause mold growth. Mold spores can grow within 48 hours of water penetration. This information is vital as it not only proves the importance of proper and speedy clean up after penetration but managing the water source to begin with. It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the environment but it is possible to manage by controlling the moisture level indoors.
•YOU SAY TOMATO, I SAY TOMOTTO. Mold and mildew are one in the same.
•FIFTY SHADES OF MOLD. Mold comes in many different shades but the color of mold does not determine its toxicity. The color is determined by many factors including age and food source.
•MANAGE THE MOLD SOURCE. Divert water away from the house by keeping gutters clean, having ground slope away from the house to prevent water from collecting around foundation or entering home and keep drain lines flowing properly.
•KEEP HOUSE WELL VENTILATED & HUMIDITY LEVELS LOW. Use de-humidifiers and air conditioners as needed.
•WHO SHOULD CLEAN UP? This depends on many factors but a good rule of thumb is the size of the mold area. If the area is less than 10 sq. ft. (3’ x 3’ patch) you can take care of the job on your own. Otherwise, contact a licensed professional for recommendations.
•CONTRARY TO WHAT OUR MOTHERS AND GRANDMOTHERS TAUGHT US, DO NOT CLEAN WITH BLEACH. Use soap/detergent and water to wash affected area. Let area dry completely.
What I took away from our Wednesday morning meeting is this, mold is manageable. Your best defense is a good offense. Take action quickly to address any water infiltration, clean properly and call a licensed professional for assistance when needed.