Mold FAQ

Why are we qualified to answer mold FAQ’s?
We have over 23 years experience in conducting mold inspections, and we are a recognized contributor to the development of mold assessment and remediation protocols for authoritative agencies such as the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Our mold inspectors are among the most highly qualified and experienced. For more information, see Our Team

What is mold?
Mold is a fungus and it’s definitely among us. It’s outside, inside, and can be found year-round in almost every location on Earth. Not all mold is bad, some is harmless, and some is even helpful: You can thank mold for life-saving penicillin (made from Penicillium mold) and flavorful blue cheese.

What causes mold? How does mold grow?
Mold thrives in moist, warm, and humid areas. This creates a breeding ground – literally – for mold spores. Mold spores are tough and can withstand dry, cold, and so-called “clean” conditions. The tricky thing about mold, is that it often “hides” in high-moisture zones you may not know exist in your home or building. That means inside walls, where pipes produce condensation or may be leaking, and beneath finished wood flooring in areas where plumbing/air conditioning/radiator leaks/flooding or rainwater infiltration have occurred. Finished basements are also especially vulnerable to mold growth because of the potential for flooding and for water infiltration through foundation walls. Wherever mold is growing, mold spores find a way to get into the air you’re breathing.

Mold growth always requires 2 ingredients: something to eat (organic material) and something to drink (moisture). Organic building materials that commonly support mold growth include sheetrock, wood and plywood, paint, pipe insulation, and surfaces inside A/C systems and ducts.

What does mold smell like?
Musty. Earthy. Dank. Fecal. Dead animal-like. Those are some words used to describe mold odors. However, not all mold produces a noticeable odor and some people become desensitized to the smell of mold.

What does mold look like?


How to test for mold?
Only a professional mold inspection can give you the answers. Mold test kits are not reliable. Also, be aware of scams for black mold kits that are not science-based. Mold is always caused by a moisture problem, and a good mold inspection means finding the moisture source so it can be repaired or removed.

What are the symptoms of mold allergy?
Many people are allergic to mold. Mold symptoms primarily impact the respiratory system. You may sneeze, wheeze, and cough. You may develop allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, even asthma. If your immune system is compromised, mold can lead to serious health problems including chronic fatigue, COPD, and other lung diseases. Learn more about respiratory and environmental diseases that could be caused by your indoor environment.


What is black mold? What is toxic mold?

When the media uses the term “black mold” they’re referring to a toxin-producing species of fungi (mold) called Stachybotrys chartarum (aka Stachybotrys atra). The Greek root for fungi is “myco,”and the potent mycotoxin produced by Stachybotrys is satratoxin H, which in veterinary medicine literature is known to cause damage to immunological and epithelial tissue in animals exposed through ingestion of moldy grains. While the association between mycotoxin exposure in humans by inhalation and adverse health effects (including chronic fatigue) has not been well studied, some evidence suggests there is an association.

How bad is black mold? Is black mold dangerous?
The term “ black mold” has been sensationalized by the media, and any adverse health effects associated with exposure to black mold have not been proven. However, we believe further studies are warranted due to two cases. The first is the original (1993) NYC Department of Health advisory in response to a cluster of unusual health problems by employees of the New Museum in Soho entitled Guidelines for the Assessment and Remediation of Stachybotrys atra. Also, CDC scientists had originally found that the probable cause of a cluster of infant deaths in Cleveland, OH in 1993 from pulmonary hemosiderosis was due to exposure to Stachybotrys atra mold growth found in the homes of the infants.

What does black mold look like?


What are the symptoms of mold exposure? Can you tell me some common mold allergy symptoms?
Mold symptoms range from stuffy nose, itchy throat, coughing, eye irritation, and even skin irritation to serious complications such as asthma as well as chronic lung diseases and infections. Explore more symptoms and health problems related to your indoor environment, here.

What are black mold symptoms?
The same as mold allergy symptoms, which can range from respiratory irritation to serious diseases like COPD and asthma, but many people often report other symptoms including chronic fatigue and brain fog.

How can I know for sure if I have a mold allergy?
If you’re having symptoms of a mold allergy, you should see your primary care physician who may perform an allergy test or refer you to an allergist or immunologist. Beware of physicians that are outside the mainstream medical community – stay with physicians who are affiliated with major hospitals. Many times, physicians recommend that patients with mold-related symptoms undergo a mold inspection of their home or office.


Help! Tell me how to get rid of mold.
You missed a step! You need to first identify the moisture source(s) causing the mold growth, otherwise you will be putting a bandage on a bigger problem. Many people think an air purifier or cleaning with bleach will eliminate their mold problem – it won’t. What’s going on in your indoor environment that’s inviting mold to take residence? Is there a hidden source of mold in your home? What’s the moisture source? Only a properly conducted mold inspection can give you the answers you deserve

Does bleach kill mold? What’s the best mold killer?
Beach kills mold but only on a handful of non-porous surfaces like glass and treated countertop. Bleach will not kill mold that has seeped into porous materials – wood, drywall, upholstery, and even some tiles. Not to mention, you will damage porous surfaces with bleach, and irritate your skin and eyes. The best way to remove mold is with professional assistance, contact us and we’ll refer you to licensed, certified mold remediation companies.

What about using a mildew remover, mold remover, or mold cleaner…are those strong enough?
It depends. Because mold spores are so resilient, you are likely to be removing the surface mold while the spore-producing cells are still thriving. You may not see or smell any mold, but it will soon reappear. The best bet is to have a professional identify – and tell you how to eliminate – sources of mold growth.

Do you know how to remove mold from walls, ceilings, and floors?
We recommend mold removal and mold remediation be performed by a licensed and certified professional. Before you start that process, you should first undergo a mold inspection or water damage inspection to zero in on the source of the problem. Our mold and water damage inspections include a very specific scope of work and recommendations for remediation. We can also connect you with trusted mold remediators – just ask us!