When you have health symptoms that you suspect could be caused by mold, gravity plate mold testing is an affordable first step. However, this air-based sampling can sometimes miss mold that’s lingering beneath the surface. In this article I’d like to share with you a recent situation where I was helping someone who was in this scenario.
Hidden mold in a rental property
I walked into the property and as soon as I did I could smell a very musty odor. The client couldn’t smell it, which happens a lot for clients because they get used to it. She did an ImmunoLytics gravity plate mold test and it showed high Candida and Cladosporium. Candida (yeast) might or might not be a problem, however, Cladosporium is a type of mold that generally is just a spore contaminant, a nontoxic mold. However, her doctor did a mycotoxins urine analysis and she had extremely high levels of Chaetomium – literally off the charts.
Looking at her environment, she has a crawlspace that had lots of moisture and visible mold growth. The Chaetomium source is actually under there too but it doesn’t show up on air testing. There are a couple of reasons why it doesn’t show up on the air testing. First, mold works like a dandelion out in the yard. As soon as you disturb it, it blows spores and regenerates somewhere else. Secondly, because it’s a wet environment, mold is producing mycotoxins and MVOCS, even though it’s not sending mold spores in the air.
How to resolve mold in the crawlspace
To solve this situation you need to fix the crawlspace. When the HVAC system comes on, it’s going to bring so much negative air pressure inside of that property, it’s going to pull air from those crevices and cracks that aren’t sealed in that crawl space and bring it up into her breathable air.
Regardless of the type of mold problem you have, here is what you should do.
1. Find moisture intrusion and stop it – if not, mold is just going to come back. In this case, she had water underneath her crawlspace. Several reasons why – one, there are no gutters, drainage toward the foundation, and no gutter extensions. The condensate line is draining back into the crawl space. She has a spigot that’s dripping water. So all that water sitting is the foundation and going up underneath the house.
Here are the steps I reccomended she take:
- Put in a vapor barrier to completely seal that soil
- Vent the crawlspace properly to the outside
- Seal all the holes, gaps, and pipes underneath the tub.
2. Identify the small damaged materials – make sure they are removed or proper corrections are made. I can’t remove a crawl space, but I can make proper corrections to it.
3. Treat the air to get those excessive mold spores back under control – clean the air. Get excessive mold spores under control.
4. Detox the body – We suggest consulting your doctor. You can do clay charcoal binders, glutathione, and saunas. There’s a list of things doctors can put you on to help provoke and get the mycotoxins out of your system.
Anyone that has a mold problem needs to “find and fix the elephant,” (that is what’s causing the mold) or “flee from the elephant.” In her situation, she’s renting a home so she decided to “flee.”
Health concerns? A mold inspector can find hidden mold.
If you’re having a health concern that matches symptoms of mold, even if you’ve done preliminary testing, it’s always good to have a mold inspector come in and look at that property to find anything in that house.
If there’s a musty odor – it’s more than likely mold.
Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there, you can smell it.
Just because you don’t see mold doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Everyone is looking for the black hairy stuff on the wall, just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. If there’s a moisture source that’s been there for at least a month or more, like small leak behind a washer, water behind your master shower, crawlspace, and swamp cooler – you likely have mold.
When you have health concerns that you suspect could be caused by mold, seek help. We’ll be happy to help you or we can point you to someone who can.