By Nancee Mosley
No area is free of the risk of mold damage, and Minnesota is no exception. When colonies of mold proliferate, they threaten to damage the structure and contents of your home or business, and individuals with sensitivity or allergy to spores may experience unpleasant symptoms. Remediating mold is a precise and multi-step process best completed by experts.
The life cycle of mold is simple and straightforward. Spores constantly float in the air and gather on surfaces. Their presence is primarily benign as long as moisture is unavailable. When water mixes with mold spores, they undergo a germination-type process and begin dividing and multiplying. The groups of mold, called colonies, cling to a source of nourishment and quickly spread. Any carbon-based material is accessible to mold for food.
Common food sources for mold are made of cellulose, including wood floors, furnishings, floors, framing, and other building materials. Papers and pictures also provide nourishment. Additional sources include foods and beverages for human consumption and a varied range of substances like soap and sloughed off skin cells that attach to non-organic surfaces such as glass and tile. Even in a thin layer this organic debris offers mold fuel and explains why it grows well in bathrooms and kitchens.
Mold needs no light to proliferate and, although many strains prefer the relative warmth of room temperatures, there are molds that grow in cool or even freezing conditions. As mold colonies grow, they cause deterioration to the materials they inhabit, threatening the integrity of your building’s structure.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prescribes a four-step procedure to remediate mold. First, the moldy material must be contained to prevent further spread. Professional remediators use negative pressure air scrubbers and physical barriers to limit the movement of spores and other particulates. Second, the mold and any porous material it infiltrates is removed and disposed of per local hazardous waste rules. Third, antimicrobial treatments sanitize affected areas.
Finally, the water source that activated the spores initially must be found and eliminated or the cycle resumes. In Minnesota that source can be roof and gutter leaks or ice dams, plumbing fails, spills, or appliance malfunctions. Hot, humid summers are not uncommon, at least in parts of Minnesota, and even an ambient humidity of more than 60 percent has been linked to mold growth.
Mold damage remediation in Minnesota is a procedure best left to professional technicians. Specialized equipment and a solid grasp of the way mold grows is available through restoration companies that invest in the knowledge and tools to limit microbial growth.
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