Mold Testing & Inspection in Houston, TX

Preventing Mold Growth – Water Sources Inside the Home or Building

In order to prevent mold growth, we must address potential water sources that may cause mold growth.  When completing a mold inspection, Robert J Reda & Associates LLC will inspect and focus on the area of concern identified by the homeowner.   Inside the home there may be several areas where water sources are present which should be considered and inspected.  We will ask the homeowner several questions regarding a history of water events within the home.  This will help focus an inspection to possibly a particular problem area. 

Potential water sources inside the home can be from the following:

  1. Plumbing leaks in the attic, under sinks, garbage disposal leak, at the toilet, at the hot water heater system, at a bar;
  2. Roof leaks can cause issues inside the home and attic areas;
  3. Washer leak due to mechanical failure, a failure in the water supply hoses (springs a leak), or even a back-up and overflow of the washing machine;
  4. Back up of a sewer system drain line (black water) at a toilet, shower, or sink can cause issues;
  5. An AC condensate primary drain line back up, which overwhelms the AC system unit and overflows into the secondary pan which can easily clog/the secondary pan rusts out then overflows onto the sheetrock ceiling/wall areas;
  6. AC condensation issues at ductwork;
  7. High relative humidity issues greater than 60% relative humidity - typically caused by oversizing a unit (short cycling), not enough make up air at a return air plenum (starving a system - which can cause short cycling), make-up air being brought in from the outside not properly tempered, and construction defects within the home itself;
  8. An ice maker leak at the refrigerator or icemaker;
  9. Window leaks/condensation;
  10. Dryer hose issues causing high humidity levels inside the home;
  11. Water exposure issues during the construction phase of the home or building;
  12. A stove vent hood/bathroom vent hood that are not properly sealed and plumbed or not installed at all can cause high relative humidity issues;
  13. Shower overspray;
  14. Water from cracks in the slab or water from flooding and
  15. Leaks from stored chemicals under a sink.

Periodically inspecting these areas will assist in prevention of mold growth due to the quick corrective reaction to a water issue.  Keep in mind that mold growth can occur as quickly as 48 hours after a water event. 

These are a few sources that can be issues inside a residence.  The inspection process tries to eliminate these one by one.  Scientific data from testing the indoor air, collecting wall cavity samples, carpet dust samples, swab samples and many more types of sampling assists the inspector to fully assess what is going on inside the home or building.  

Collecting moisture readings is an important part of the process to determine what is presently happening within the home or building.  Readings can be obtained of sheetrock walls/ceiling, concrete floors/walls, and any wood product such as wood floors, cabinets, and shelves.  This information can tell the extent of the water event.

Collecting relative humidity levels can assist if high relative humidity is the cause and origin of the potential issue.  Recommendations by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 55-2010 indicate that relative humidity indoors should be maintained between 30 to 60 percent.  Relative humidity above 60 percent will promote the growth of mold. 

Keep in mind, mold spores are everywhere.  They are in the outside air and they are inside your home or workplace.  There are hundreds of thousands of types of mold spores.  Mold spores grow best in warm, damp, wet, and humid conditions.   

At the present time, there are no governmental or Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) permissible exposure limits (PELs) or American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) established for mold growth.  Due to the absence of these exposure limits, it is common industry practice, as supported by ACGIH, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to compare inside air quality sampling for mold to outside air quality sampling for mold.  Generally speaking, the inside air quality for mold should be quantitatively lower than, but qualitatively similar (genus or species) to that of the outside air quality.  Whenever we open a door or window in our homes, we let fresh air into the home from the outside.  Mold spores come into the home when this occurs.  The reasons we typically do not have high mold spores within our homes is because we are typically dry inside, we control relative humidity levels, we filter our air (quite often with a high efficiency particulate arresting filter or HEPA filter), we clean (wet mop and wipe down counters with an all-purpose cleaner) and we vacuum our home or office area (quite often with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter).  Generally speaking, dry, clean homes have less mold spores than homes that are dirty, have water issues and homes that are not maintained. 

The key with dealing with mold exposure in your home or workplace is to control moisture.  By controlling moisture, you can control mold growth.  Without a water source, mold growth cannot occur. 

If you have further questions or would like to set up an inspection or testing, please contact Robert J Reda & Associates LLC. 

Robert J Reda CIH, CSP, MAC
President
Robert J Reda & Associates LLC
Providing professional consulting services in Safety, Industrial Hygiene, and Environmental

Texas Department of Health Services Licensed Mold Assessment Consultant