NOT JUST ANOTHER FOUR LETTER WORD
There are many species of mold, but they can be categorized into what we like to call ordinary mold and extraordinary mold. The latter can pose a significant health threat to people in addition to harming the structural integrity of a building.
Building occupants will often first notice congestion, headaches, and other signs of illness when exposed to mold. The building will start to show signs of growth, usually around air ducts. Many think cleaning, or in some cases, repainting the surfaces will solve the problem. While that might be a temporary fix, the real culprit is moisture intrusion. Fact: Mold cannot grow without excess moisture.
IS MOISTURE A POLLUTANT?
Well, yes and no. While a certain level of moisture in the air is healthy, anything in excess can lead to problems–including moisture. Think of an enclosed space, such as a building, as a mini-ecosystem. While nature takes care of the equilibrium of air quality outdoors, indoors we have to make sure we don’t create an environment that encourages water droplets to form on the ceiling. In the Gulf South, this is more common, however, this situation can present itself in Alaska given the right conditions.
SO WHAT SHOULD I DO?
First of all, if your building is ‘sweating,’ that is probably not a good sign. The best thing you can do in an existing building is get a grip on the indoor humidity. This can be costly at first, but in the long run you will save money. Have you replaced sagging ceiling tile? Have you repainted parts of the building to get rid of mold and the odors that come with it? Are your occupants complaining about feeling ill? If you can remove the mold and control the moisture, those problems will disappear. Don’t seek short-term solutions. Solve the problem from the source–moisture. If you’ve tried and failed at the bandaid solution, it’s time to get real.