Many of my clients arrange an inspection with Bay Area Mold Pros, and then tell me that there was a leak, “…several weeks ago.” Mold spores are a part of our environment, and they are present in almost all of our homes. But these mold spores can’t grow until they are exposed to either water or excess humidity. Once exposed to water, mold spores can begin to germinate within 24 to 48 hours.
And there’s the problem for people who may be prone to procrastination. If there is a water intrusion event in your home (plumbing leak, roof leak, ground water leak), you must deal with it immediately! That’s why remediation companies usually have phone lines that are answered 24 / 7. Their crews will not only try to respond within hours, they will generally have their machines (fans, dehumidifiers, negative air pressure machines) set up and working within hours of arriving.
The photo below depicts the condition of the wall drywall in the basement of an old San Francisco apartment building. A plumbing leak occurred in one of the commercial street-level office spaces and the water made its way into the below-grade basement that became flooded. The water was allowed to evaporate, which took several days. But by the time the water had evaporated from the concrete slab, the wall drywall had been saturated for several days.
Mold spores are looking for organic matter to grow on, and they absolutely love the paper face of drywall. The air samples taken next to the drywall in the photo were found by the lab to contain not only the standard species, but a fair amount of the dreaded Stachybotrys, which is referred to in many internet articles as “toxic black mold.”
The lesson here…if you have a water intrusion…don’t wait! You need to dry out the area immediately, and you may need professional assistance. Don’t procrastinate, unless you don’t mind sharing your home with some moldy roommates!