Weather Information >>


Mold the sneak attacl

Henry Staggs, RRO

May 3, 2020

Mold the sneak attack

What can be worse than finding out you have mold growing in your walls? Being asthmatic my self, and having once rented a house with mold the land had been ignoring. I know first hand what it can do to you. I was always having trouble breathing, my wife and daughter were also sick, and no matter what we could never get the musty smell out of the house. One day I was moving something and noticed a wet wall at the base.  The washing machine was just on the other side, and the drain pipe was cracked. The landlord was notified. He came over looked at it and as he was pouring some bleach on it he said: "I don't see no mold". Hopefully, you take mold more seriously that that guy did. Oh, yes we moved out of that house right away, even though the landlord was threatening to sue us for breaking our lease. 

You might get sued

If you are a contractor be careful. Mold is a big deal in the courts. Billions of dollars in judgments and settlements have been paid out over the years. In 2009 and landlord in Arizona was ordered to pay a tenant $3.3 million dollars. The landlord ignored a leak, mold grew, the occupants got sick and sued the landlord. Very similar to my own experience, but in my case, I just moved and didn't sue the guy. The point is, mold can hurt people's physical and financial health. Google "sue for mold" and see for yourself how many lawyers there are ready to take on a mold case. Its easy money right, the mold is there or it's not. When I did a searching I got About 1,640,000 results.

Design matters

A well planned roof design can help prevent moisture and mold problems. This is certainly one of the challenges that roof consultants face every day. Remember a  roofing contractor's job is to install the roof system. Very few are in the business of designing a roof, at least to the same level as a roof consultant. The roof consultant is a professionally trained roof designer, they do not install roofs. The first step in preventing moisture and mold problems is a good roof design. 

Tiny little monsters

Mold is a microorganism a living thing. Belonging to the Fungi kingdom. There may be 100,000 to 200,000 different types of mold. Mold reproduces by making spores, which can float around dormant in the air for years. Just waiting for a damp spot to land on and germanate. Once in place, mold will start sucking the nutrients our of the material it landed on. Then it starts growing very fast. It produces more spores that start floating around in the air looking for a new place to land and grow. It is very important that make sure the roof is not contributing to any moisture problem that would give those little monsters a place to land and grow.

How to grow mold

Mold is a living thing, and it needs certain things to grow. Not much different than what we need to grow; it needs a food source. Sometimes that is the food we forget about at the back of the counter or refrigerator. It needs a comfortable temperature, between 40 and 100 F on average. And, yes you guessed it, it needs moisture. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to keep the water out, and how important the roof design is to that goal. 

Friend or foe

Is mold friend or foe, yes it is both. Mold spores are everywhere all of the time, they are part of the natural order of things. And not all of them are trying to kill us, some of them are good. For example, the first antibiotic was discovered in a mold.  Mold is used to make foods like cheese and soy sauce. Mold also eats up stuff like dead vegetation and the food trash we though out. It can help us when we are sick. It can help us clean up our mess. I can help us make foods that we love.

But it can also do us great harm. When mold gets on our homes, or on our food we want to eat, or in our bodies by breathing it or spores landing on our nose, eyes, and mouths. It can do us harm.  Especially if you already have an allergy and or respiratory problems,  I have both. What molds are bad?

"It is not necessary to determine what type of mold you may have growing in your home or other building. All molds should be treated the same with respect to potential health risks and removal." Center for Disease Control CDC

Mold is not a problem

Wait! Mold is not a problem? Not exactly always, the problem isn't the mold itself, but rather the spores it produces. Remember those little monsters floating around the air looking for a place to land and grow? Those little monsters are the cause of the problems to our health. 

Mold spores can hitch a ride on animal dander, dust mites, bacteria, and even on a virus. And in 2020 viruses are on all of our minds. The best way we can prevent mold from producing spores is to make sure it's not growing in the first place. That means keeping the moisture out places it does not belong.