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Removing Mold and Mildew From Siding

There's growth on my painted wood siding.  I'm pretty sure it's either mold or mildew.  What is the best way to remove this? I heard there is a product i can spray on the siding and thats all I have to do, but I have a hard time believing it could be that easy!

Our Answer

Rest easy: Mold and mildew on siding are common, and nothing to be terribly concerned about.  But it does need to be managed.  What you want to use is a mildewcide.  There are a great numbers of commercial  and DIY options available, from mixing bleach and water to using professional products but we like Spray and Forget the best simply apply and let them sit, and they prevent further mold.  The other treatments can have a detrimental effect or grass, plants, and other growth.  Now, you mentioned your siding is painted.  If you're ever getting ready to repaint it, it's really important you thoroughly remove that mold and mildew first. 

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Will UV Lights Kill Mold?

I had mold last two times they came to service airconditioning unit. We bought and installed an UV light to stop mold. Is this a legitimate remedy or a scam. Have to replace light once year.

Our Answer

UV lights MAY help kill mold spores and other contaminants.  It depends on the intensity, reflectivity and installation, which should be near the evaporator coil.

When I hear "they found mold" I'm also leery --- too many contractors yell mold when in fact it can just commonly be algae, or even dirt.  Mold should be tested by an independent lab before any corrective action is taken, other than simple cleaning of small amounts.

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Mold Growth Due to Air Conditioning System

If your System is over sized the air is colder. system runs a Quicker or cooling the air too fast not removing Humidity. Higher Humidity turns to Mold. The Air conditioner units cool the home and set the humidity level never turn off a vent in a room if your not in it. This make the Out Door heat and humidity enter the room. If you have return Air Vent in this room your pulling in hot air making system run longer.(I CAN BEVEIVE MONEY PIT SAID TURN OFF VENT IN ROOM'S YOU DO NOT USED)this IS INFO FROM 1970'S. And is not true. I keep my temp at 74-75 all the time if your not home the system runs shorter time due to no one opening doors. Now if a system is over charged this make evap., coil to cold too making mold in duct work. To Large system and under sized return in 99% of home's.

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Best Product to Clean and Prevent Indoor Mold

1. What types of health effects have been experienced by inhabitants of a home where high concentrations of mold exist?

2. If cleanup of mold is needed, can a combination of wiping with a bleach solution and then applying Microban be as effective as using a biocide, which may be toxic?

Our Answer

According to the CDC website, exposure to mold indoors has been linked to upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough and wheeze in otherwise healthy adults and children, and asthma symptoms in people with asthma. It has also been linked to hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that condition. For indoor mold cleanup, we would recommend a product called Concrobium. There are lots of benefits to Concrobium. It's safe for any surface, including fabric. It leaves a protective barrier when it dries. Bleach doesn't do that, and bleach is also not fabric-safe. Bleach will kill mold spores on application, but unlike Concrobium, it doesn't offer any ongoing protection.

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Removing Mold, Mildew, Algae

Some programs back, a product was mentioned that could be sprayed on siding and would remove/kill mold/mildew and protect against renewed invasion. Could you please help me with this product name and where to obtain it? Thank you. Barry

Our Answer

The product is called "Wet and Forget" and you can find it here:  http://www.wetandforget.com.  I like it because it is non-toxic and safe for all surfaces and keep mold, moss and algea from coming back. 

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Mold in A/C Unit

After undergoing an annual air conditioning inspection, my repairman told me I had mold on the inside of the unit which is in my closet in the house.  Is this type of mold toxic or dangerous to our health or nothing to worry about?

Our Answer

Mold, fed by moisture and trapped dust, can grow inside air conditioning units. However, you should be aware that not all substances inside A/C systems are in fact mold.  Here's what the EPA has to say about wether yyu should have the system cleaned or not:

According to the EPA, you should consider having the air ducts cleaned if:

There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system.

There are several important points to understand concerning mold detection in heating and cooling systems:

Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection, so ask the service provider to show you any mold they say exists.

You should be aware that although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination of whether it is mold or not can be made only by an expert and may require laboratory analysis for final confirmation. For about $50, some microbiology laboratories can tell you whether a sample sent to them on a clear strip of sticky household tape is mold or simply a substance that resembles it.

If you have insulated air ducts and the insulation gets wet or moldy it cannot be effectively cleaned and should be removed and replaced.

If the conditions causing the mold growth in the first place are not corrected, mold growth will recur.

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Mold and Basement Leaks: Remove materials that harbor moisture and mold

We have a family room in our basement, and just discovered that the air conditioning unit there has been leaking into the carpet. I've been dehumidifying the space, but it still smells musty. What do you recommend?

Our Answer

First of all, if anyone in your family has allergies or asthma, we recommend that you avoid living in a house with a finished basement, which is particularly prone to mold growth. If you want to keep this finished basement family room, it is best to hire a professional to remove the carpeting (under mold containment conditions) and then having a ceramic, laminate or a resilient tile floor installed, with area rugs on top if you want to have a softer floor covering.
According to The Money Pit's indoor air quality expert, Jeff May, all carpet, as well as anything fleecy or cushioned (and that includes upholstered furniture) that has remained damp for more than 24-48 hours should, be discarded as it likely contains mold.

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Mold and Humidifiers

We just added a humidifier to our hot-air heating system because the air in the house was so dry. Now I am noticing mold in the attic for the first time. Could the humidifier be causing mold to grow?

Our Answer

Mold can grow inside of humidifers that are not properly cleaned.  However, this may or may not be the cuase of the mold you are seeing in your attic area.  Mold on the underside of attic sheathing is more likely being cause by a lack of proper attic ventitaltion.
If there are any supply ducts in the attic, check to see if they're leaking, which can lead to condensation and mold growth. According to The Money Pit's indoor air quality expert, Jeff May, you also should be sure that there is adequate ventilation in the attic space, and that there are no openings through which house air can leak into the attic. However, the mold may have already been growing there, due to excess moisture from other sources: a bathroom venting up into the attic, or moist airflows entering the attic around recessed light fixtures in the ceilings below.
If you already have ridge and soffit vents, do all you can to reduce or eliminate the sources of house airflows into the attic. As for the mold growth itself, small areas can be HEPA vacuumed (a HEPA vacuum cleaner has filtration that prevents the release of particulates in the exhaust and should, in my opinion, always be used for even everyday cleaning) and spray-painted to contain allergenic and irritating dust. Always wear at least a NIOSH-rated N95 mask or respirator when cleaning mold. For more information, see www.health.state.ny.us/environmental.

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Mold on Clothing: When Mold Spores Attach

We stayed for a few days in a relative's house, and when we came back, our clothes smelled moldy. Can mold be carried from place to place on clothing?

Our Answer

Mold odors can be pervasive, even though the mold growth may be limited in scope.  According to The Money Pit's indoor air quality expert, Jeff May, despite the strong odor,  there may not be any mold spores on your clothing. If, on the other hand, the mold growth in the house was disturbed (if you sat on a moldy couch or rug), your clothing may be carrying spores and even mold-eating mites.
This isn't that different from getting pollen or pet dander on your clothing, and you can wash or dry-clean your clothing to remove them. Figuring out the source of the moldy smell in your relative's house is another matter!

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Toxic Black Mold: Mold species that are harmful to human health

What exactly is that dreaded "toxic black mold" that seems to be in the news a lot?

Our Answer

Toxic black mold is a name given to a type of black mold technically known as Stachybotrys chartarum.  According to The Money Pit's indoor air quality expert, Jeff May, this type of mold is often referred to as "toxic black mold" because it's black, and under certain conditions, this type of microfungus, along with others, such as species of Aspergillus and Fusarium molds, can produce mycotoxins which have an impact on human health.
Other kinds of molds can be black, too, including Cladosporium mold, the most common mold, and "toxic black molds" produce mycotoxins only under certain conditions, and not all the time.
Stachybotrys chartarum is not as much as a concerns and another species of Aspergillus mold, for several reasons. Stachybotrys chartarum requires wet conditions (steady leaks or a floor flood) in order to thrive, and thus is not as common as Aspergillus molds, which can grow in conditions of elevated relative humidity. And Aspergillus spores are smaller than Stachybotrys spores, and thus can remain airborne longer and easier to breath.
Worrying excessively about toxic black mold also takes the focus away from what is considered a greater threat: mold allergens that, in general, can affect those who are sensitized.

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Mold in Air Conditioner: Keep your system clean to prevent mold development

Our air conditioning smells like sweat socks. Could this be mold?

Our Answer

A smell like this usually signals the growth of bacteria or yeast, rather than the growth of mold (though all three microorganisms may be present and producing odor).
If you have hot-air heat and/or central air conditioning (or a heat pump), it's important to keep the system as clean as you can, and have adequate filtration. Use only disposable pleated media filters with a MERV rating of 6 or higher.

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Mold, Allergies and Asthma: Is Your House Making You Sick?

Ever since we moved into our new house, our son has been constantly coughing. Now his doctor tells me he's asthmatic. He was fine before. Could the house be a problem?

Our Answer

You don't mention whether you have a family history of allergies and asthma, and we're not physicians, so continue to discuss this situation with your doctor.
That said, The Money Pit's indoor air quality expert, Jeff May, doesn't recommend that people with mold allergies or sensitivities live in houses with hot-air heat, central air conditioning, and wall-to-wall carpeting. If you do have this type of HVAC system, the least you should do is install a good quality electronic air cleaner to keep the air as clean as possible. 
The presence of mold in your house could greatly impact your son's allergies or asthma. If your son's symptoms improve when he is out of the house for an extended period of time, such as a family vacation, we'd recommend that you have an air quality professional do some air and dust sampling for you, to see if mold is present.
If mold is found, removing the mold alone will not solve this problem. You could spend thousands on remediation and unless the source of moisture is eliminated, the problem will reoccur. Mold testing could help narrow down the cause of the mold. Hiring someone who understands buildings before you do a mold test, such as a home inspector who is trained in mold and a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), can help you find the problem and change the conditions, so the mold won't return. 
 

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Mold and Real Estate: Musty odor is warning sign for mold issues

I am considering buying a house, but every time I visit the property, as soon as I get inside the front door I notice a distinct "moldy" smell. This goes away after a few minutes as I get used to it. Is it possible to fix this problem?

Our Answer

If you or anyone in your family is sensitized to mold, we'd be very cautious about purchasing a house with a musty odor, since you don't know the potential extent of any mold growth present. I'd also be cautious about buying a house in which the owner burns scented candles or has plug-in fragrance emitters, which may be masking a musty smell.
According to The Money Pit's indoor air quality expert, Jeff May, it's possible that the steps you could take to combat the mold would be very simple, but it's also possible that there could be a major concealed mold problem, and that any remediation required would be extensive and costly.
The most prudent thing to do would be to try to determine the source of the mold odor before you purchase the house. This could mean making holes in the walls to investigate possible sources of mold.

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Mold in Basement Storage Space: Tips to avoid damage and spread to more mold throughout household

I live in an apartment building where each tenant has a storage space in the basement, and the space next to mine smells really moldy. Is there anything I can do about this?

Our Answer

There is a strong chance that your neighbor's possessions contain mold growth if he or she has laid cardboard boxes or other biodegradable materials directly on the floor or up against the wall. To prevent mold, personal goods should be stored on plastic or metal shelving, away from the wall and up off the floor. There may also be a leak in that area of the basement that is contributing to the spread of household mold.
This isn't your storage area, but the air you breathe while in the basement is being affected by the mold; in addition, up to a third of the air in a small residential building can come from the basement, due to the stack effect (warm air rises).
In a situation like this where mold is suspected in basement storage, it's best to speak to your neighbor as well as to the building management about this problem, to see if you can get the space cleaned up by a mold remediation professional. Any leaks that are present should be repaired, and the basement should be dehumidified (with the relative humidity less than 50%) in the warmer months to prevent the return of mold.

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Mold or Algae?: How to determine the difference

There's green staining on the outside of my house. Could this be mold? And could it spread indoors?

Our Answer

If it's the color of plant leaves (chlorophyll green), what you describe is most likely algae or moss and not a concern (except cosmetic, perhaps). However, if you have mushrooms growing on the exterior siding of your house, hire a building investigator pronto! The growth will not spread indoors.