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Mold Testing in Toronto & the GTA

Owning a home comes with a lot of responsibility, with many small things that need regular repair or maintenance to keep them running efficiently. But there are other problems that can plague homes, and one of the unseen problems that can affect homes across the GTA is mold growth, making mold testing in Toronto an important tool in detecting mold before it gets out of control. As one of the sneakiest home problems, it can grow unseen and undetected while having a huge effect on you and your family’s health and safety. Having mold testing in Toronto can identify problems areas in your home and protect you from mold growth. With almost fifteen years of experience performing mold removal and remediation in Toronto, our highly trained technicians can help you locate even the smallest mold growth and offer solutions for remediating the area.

Why does Mold Grow?

For mold to grow, moisture is required. While other materials are required to actually “feed” the mold, the key ingredient is moisture. Moisture, whether in the air or as water, will perpetuate mold growth.

Humidity

Humid weather, particularly if prolonged, can cause mold to grow on various surfaces. If your home is overly humid, the air moisture can provide a living environment for mold. More than that, if your home is not well ventilated, then air moisture will accumulate and allow mold to develop. In some homes, where a humidifier provides added air moisture, humidity levels should be kept at less than 50%.

Leaking Pipes

Slow water leaks from plumbing pipes are quite a common cause of mold growth. Worst case, when a slow leak goes undetected, it can create a mold problem inside a wall or above a ceiling. Because these areas are hidden from view, they are harder to detect. The problem with this type of infestation is that mold has plenty of time to grow and spread, without being noticed. The cleanup can be substantial.

Roof Leaks

If your roof is leaking, your attic is a good candidate for mold growth. Here again, the mold might not be detected until it has spread, and sometimes the area can be widespread. Regular attic inspections can check for roof leaks, while keeping an eye on breakouts of mold. In addition, you can check the ceiling area below your attic for any signs of water damage or pockets of previous water leakage.

Condensation

Cold surfaces, particularly in the winter, can create condensation when exposed to warm indoor air. It is not unusual for condensation to collect on cold metal pipes or cold concrete floors. In some homes, even cold exterior walls can create a condition for condensation to accumulate. When left unattended, these types of condensation collections allow for a perfect moisture environment for mold to grow.

Poor Ventilation

If your home is not properly ventilated, indoor air is not properly circulating, and stagnant moist air will provide a good growing environment for mold to grow. If kitchen steam or washroom steam is not properly ventilated, indoor humidity levels can create undesirable air moisture. Poor ventilation also prevents wet surfaces from drying out quickly. Well-functioning ventilation is key to preventing mold.

How Fast can Mold Grow?

If mold is present, it means that the indoor environment is moisture laden. Mold thrives in moisture, warmth, dim lighting, and little air circulation. Mold can start growing almost immediately after spores have landed on a surface. An initial mold outgrowth can easily establish itself within 24 to 48 hours.

Often, mold has already established itself before it has been discovered. Because spores are resilient, a mold outbreak could sometimes occur even after the mold source has been eradicated. That’s why effective permanent remediation is so important – both the mold and mold spores must be addressed.

What is the Process for Mold Growth?

With the right conditions, mold can grow quite quickly. Left untreated, it can result in serious damage and the potential for health issues. What’s most important is to take action on the first signs of mold. With professional attention, your mold issue can be identified and assessed, based on the progress.

Hyphal Growth

At this stage of mold growth, enzymes are produced that absorb nutrients from the surrounding environment – nutrients like cellulose, wood, and carbon-containing materials. When nutrition is obtained, mold can further develop, and the main living portion of the mold fungus is more visible.

Spore Formation

Once firmly entrenched, mold starts to produce spores that will eventually be dispersed. This allows the mold to spread and further develop. Like the mold itself, spore formation will depend on different factors in the environment – like oxygen levels, light exposure, temperature, and available nutrients.

Spore Dispersal

When the spores have been created, they are released into the air and transported to other locales. This allows the spores to germinate and continue with the growth process of the mold. Mold spores are durable and resilient – they can be in a dormant state for many years in hot and dry surroundings.

Spore Germination

When mold spores have been dispersed, and under the right environmental conditions, a new mold outbreak can survive. The right conditions would include available moisture and available nutrients. Spore germination will continue, mold growth will perpetuate, and the living cycle will continue.

How do I Spot Mold Growth?

Mold is growing all around us - it’s a necessary part of the natural world, and contributes to important ecological functions, and it’s not inherently bad for you or the environment. The trouble comes when mold is growing in your home - even those types that are non-toxic can cause allergies and health effects. Mold can also eat away at wooden studs and drywall, destroy soft furnishing and other organic materials, and in severe situations, even cause serious illness. Having mold testing in Toronto performed can help you identify if and what kind of mold may be growing in your home.

MoldTech’s specialized experience with mold removal and remediation means that we are the best at mold testing in Toronto. In some homes, mold can be quite easy to spot, appearing as a discolouration, or a stain. A room with mold growth may smell musty or cause sneezing or headaches and other physical symptoms. However, mold growth may not be visible to the naked eye, and could be lurking underneath or inside a part of your home. Performing mold testing in Toronto is the only way to ensure that you have no serious mold growth problem in your home, and this testing can be of huge value to concerned families. Mold wants to grow and spread, and it doesn’t discriminate, so it’s important to catch it early before it causes a lot of damage.

Can Mold Exist if You can’t See it?

Because mold can grow in complete isolation, it can hide well in wall cavities, above ceilings, and between floors. In many cases, hidden mold cannot be seen and can’t be smelled. This is why many homeowners will discover a mold infiltration long after it has established itself and spread widely.

Is all mold harmful?

While there are countless mold species, the worst kind of mold is probably Stachybotrys. It’s greenish-black in colour and often referred to as “black mold”. This species is only found on cellulose material like paper or wood - it does not thrive or grow on substrates like concrete, linoleum, or tile.

Stachybotrys can easily grow on wet drywall or wooden studs. Not to forget, this mold species can thrive in enclosed spaces before even being noticed. It can permeate drywall and quickly infiltrate the entire house. Depending on the extent of an infiltration, health problems can develop in humans.

Health symptoms from mold exposure are wide-ranging:  respiratory problems; skin inflammation; mucous membrane irritation; even mental confusion. In very extreme cases, the Stachybotrys strain has been linked to life-threatening conditions – particularly with very young children and seniors.

Other species of dangerous mold belong to the Aspergillus family. These too can pose serious health threats depending on the individual. The toxins produced by this mold species can cause various digestive problems, and in worse-case situations there may be an association with different cancers.

Aspergillus Fumigatus is an especially dangerous mold fungus and could be more threatening for those who have an immunodeficiency situation. Exposure to this species is not uncommon and the mold infection has actually spread worldwide. A professional inspection can accurately assess the species.

Mold’s Toxic Health Affects

While mold may eat up a portion of drywall or ruin that old couch in the basement, the good thing is that those things are replaceable - but your health isn’t. Mold spreads itself and replicates by small, airborne particles called spores. These spores float around and settle on new places to colonize, but once airborne they can also be breathed in. For the young, old, or ill, these spores can cause serious health problems and reactions. But even if you’re healthy, mold spores can still cause you chronic health problems like a runny nose, itchy eyes, and headaches. Symptoms most often disappear once an affected person leaves a contaminated room, which is a good warning sign that something might be amiss. These concerns are why MoldTech recommends mold testing in Toronto when you have a concern about mold growth and report these symptoms or signs of mold growth.

Locating Mold Growth

Mold is a clever invader, knowing where it is best to hide to evade detection. To survive in your home, however, mold needs three elements to be present so it can survive: moisture, temperature, and a food source. At MoldTech, we often start mold testing in Toronto homes in the basement or attic, spaces that have less traffic and are often damp, warm, and full of lots of organic material for mold to eat. A leaky roof or dripping pipe in the basement can go unnoticed for weeks, and mold only needs 48 hours before it starts to grow, which is why MoldTech’s mold testing in Toronto pays close attention to these problem areas to ensure that any problems are dealt with.

Can You Test Mold in the Air?

Professional air testing evaluates the concentration of mold spores in the air. Air samples are taken throughout the home and are later examined under a microscope by an expert. Air testing can tell you if mold exists, even when you can’t see it. Importantly, high tech equipment must be employed.

Removal and Remediation

The hardest part of mold in your home is getting rid of it! Normal household cleaners, bleaches, or hardware store remedies are not enough - mold is resistant to many of these cleaners, and even a minute section that is missed can cause complete regrowth in a short period of time. Having mold testing in Toronto is just the first step: remediation and removal is the second.

At MoldTech, our mold removal technicians prioritize safety first. We isolate our workspaces and use negative pressure to ensure that any particles raised into the air during removal are caught by industrial grade air filtration and don’t travel to other rooms in your home. All contaminated materials are safely bagged and removed before we begin cleaning. This is truly the most important step, and it’s not one we skimp on - at MoldTech we pride ourselves on performing a better cleaning than is required by industry standards, because we want to ensure that any mold growth is removed for good. Our goal is to leave your home clean and mold free, and we take a great deal of pride in the high quality of our workmanship.

How do You Know if it’s Black Mold?

If you spot mold growing in your home, it’s important to quickly and efficiently remove it as soon as possible. Mold can come in many different colours and textures, but the most infamous type of mold, black mold, is one of the most recognizable. There are four easy signs that will help you to identify black mold:

A Musty Odour

Mold is generally accompanied by a musty, earthy smell. Even if you can’t visibly see mold growing in your home, that doesn’t mean it’s not growing hidden behind the walls or underneath a rug. Because mold prefers certain kinds of environments, the closed spaces behind wallpaper, tiles, or in ceilings can be ideal places for it to grow. Having a professional mold inspection can help you identify areas of mold growth in your home that can be smelled but not seen.

Respiratory Problems

If you can smell mold, that means it’s in an active growing stage and it’s producing spores, which is how mold grows and multiplies. Spores are tiny and can float around from room to room, or be transferred on clothes, furniture, and even pets. They’re so small that they are easily breathed into our lungs, where they can get stuck and actively cause respiratory irritation. Other symptoms caused by black mold include itchiness, sneezing, skin irritation, and headache.

Water Damage

The key ingredient in any mold infestation is usually a leak, flood, or other unexpected water damage. If you notice rings of water, persistent dampness, or have had a flood, it’s a good idea to thoroughly dry the area and investigate what’s going on. Cleaning up and remediating any potential mold growth as soon as possible is key to a positive outcome.

Discolouration

Finally, the easiest sign to help you identify black mold is visible mold growth. However, while a lot of mold is black, other types look more brown, green, blue, and even red. Some are fuzzy, but others may be slick or crusty - whatever the colour or texture, it’s a good idea to have a professional mold technician assess any strange discolouration or growths in your home to quickly determine what’s going on.

What does Black Mold Look Like?

While mold can come in a rainbow of colours, textures, shapes, and sizes, black mold is one of the most easily recognizable types that is found growing in our homes. It’s name gives you the most obvious hint as to why - ranging from a dark green/black to greyish tones, black mold stands out on light coloured walls, floors, and ceilings, making it easy to spot. Like all types of mold, black mold relies on moisture to thrive, and may appear slimy or wet. Black mold tends to grow in clusters, and is frequently found around windows, baseboard, and ceilings.

What does Black Mold Smell Like?

Mold has a highly distinctive odour that, once you know it, is easily and quickly recognizable. The smell of black mold is similar to mildew and is particularly musty. It often lingers in a space - we’ve even heard people describe it as a ‘heavy’ smell. Mold’s link to water and moisture means that dark, damp places like basement laundry rooms will often have mold problems, but it can grow anywhere in your home. The smell of black mold is an important indicator that you have a problem - sometimes mold may grow behind drywall or underneath flooring, and without any visual indicators, the smell may be the only clue that there’s a problem.

Why Should You Test for Mold in Your Home?

Because mold has such a dangerous long and short term effect on your health, wellness, indoor comfort and safety, having a mold test performed in your home as soon as you suspect mold growth is one of the best ways to ensure that you and your family have a healthy home.

As awareness of the effect of mold grows, more and more research money is being put into developing sensitive tests and better strategies for testing, remediation, and rehabilitation in homes affected by mold.

While there are many things that may look like mold, the only way to truly know that you have mold growing in your home is to test for it. Things like dirt, soil, paint, and marks from insects or other pests can all look LIKE mold but may not actually BE mold.

At MoldTech, a mold test looks at a number of things in and around your home. We first visually inspect the exterior to see if there are any geographic or structural reasons that there may be mold growth indoors. Next, we inspect your home top to bottom to look for the obvious signs of mold growth, like growth patches, leaks, or damage. If there’s an odour or if your family is experiencing symptoms of mold growth, we can also take samples from the surface or air. These samples are sent away to a third-party testing facility and can help identify how many mold spores are present and what type.

It’s only after thorough testing like this that we’re able to make a plan to address the unique needs of your home. Testing helps to assess any present risks to your home and family, and also helps you to provide impartial evidence for insurance claims or litigation, should you need it.

Use a Professional for Your Mold Inspection

Having your mold testing in Toronto performed by a professional at MoldTech means that you can feel confident in our results and work. Each of our team members has extensive experience, training, and works to local and industry code and standards. Our state of the art tools to detect mold helps to reveal unseen colonies behind walls or inside structures, mitigating the need to make messy, invasive holes to peek inside small cavities. When needed, we use non-invasive radio frequency gauges, thermal infrared charting, and fibre optics to help aid our diagnoses.

Every mold testing in Toronto with MoldTech means that you also gain our experience in locating the source of mold growth. The ‘why’ behind mold is the key to preventing it from happening in the future, and our experts can offer practical solutions to helping you prevent future problems.

Why Choose MoldTech?

We know that concerned homeowners have a great deal of options on the market when it comes to mold removal and remediation and that making decisions on who to trust your home with can be difficult. We know all of this because we’ve been at a forefront of mold removal and remediation for over a decade - as one of the first companies in Ontario offering remediation services, MoldTech has been helping families reduce their risk and live in healthier, safer homes.

This depth of experience has lead to us to be industry leaders when it comes to safe remediation. We were the first company to use a non-toxic biological agent to remove mold, and hold memberships at third-party, non-profit associations like The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration, which provide us with up-to-date research and information on best practices and industry standards. Memberships with associations like these also provide us with codes of conduct and opportunities to upgrade our training and certifications.

The employees at MoldTech have been working with us for years, and we pride ourselves on being friendly, courteous and respectful when we’re in your home. For more information on how we can help you clean up your home, get in touch with us online at https://www.moldtech.ca/services/mold-removal or by phone at 1-866-684-7684.

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