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What is Mold?
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
In order to better understand the risks and hazards of mold, you must have a better understanding of what mold is exactly and how you can recognize it.
What is Mold?
Mold is a type of fungus that grows from spores and is essential for the breakdown of dead plant and animal matter. Usually these spores are inactive, but they develop when the humidity exceeds 70 percent or when temperature is above 65 degrees.
Mold can be found everywhere in our environment, both indoors and outdoors. Usually, mold is found in damp areas, such as the basement or bathroom, as well as in the outdoor environment in grass, leaf piles, hay, and mulch.
Mold is encountered daily by everyone. It causes food to spoil, wood to rot, paper to smell musty, etc.
That fuzzy black growth on wet window sills is mold. Paper or fabrics stored in a damp place get a musty smell that is due to the action of molds.
Active mold growth is slimy or fuzzy and is usually green, black, orange or purple. Inactive mold is dry and powdery and is usually white. In early stages, mold may look like a web and while in full bloom it looks bushy.
Even when mold is unseen, wet spots, dampness or evidence of water damage will indicate a moisture problem and mold will probably follow.
You can perform a simple test to detect if a suspected spot is moldy. Lightly touch the spot with a drop of household bleach. If the stain loses its color or disappears, it may be mold. If there is no change, it is probably not mold.
Another indicator for mold presence is odor. Mold has a musty, earthy smell that can indicate its presence even if it cannot be seen.
"Small" to "Moderate" to "Extensive" Areas of Mold
"Small" Area Mold
Up to three patches of mold, each smaller than 10 square feet, is considered a "small" area mold. However, keep in mind that small moldy areas will become larger over time if neglected, so clean up and remove even small areas of mold.
"Moderate" Area Mold
If there are more than three patches but each patch is smaller than 10 square feet, it is considered moderate area mold. It is also considered moderate area mold if there is one patch larger than 10 square feet but smaller than 32 square feet.
"Extensive" Area Mold
A mold area is considered "extensive" if a single patch of mold is larger than 32 square feet.
How to recognize mold and mold allergies
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