As a homeowner, acute problems are top of mind: a leaky roof, the broken window, your flooding basement, or the presence of mold. Quiet, chronic problems sneak up on homeowners. We’re often distracted by bigger, more obvious challenges, right? Naturally, we don’t consider ongoing situations with the same urgency we give acute problems.
But with mold issues, choosing to focus on acute “black” mold while ignoring chronic “white” mold poses real problems.
First, the situation is nobody’s fault. We’re often conditioned to allow chronic “white” mold issues to go unchecked while we focus on abating acute “black” mold issues. Many insurance companies cover black mold remediation, while specifically excluding white mold issues. Payouts for black mold abatement may run from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars per case. Obviously, this system places a greater value on black mold issues.
Of course, we need mold remediation firms. They provide a valuable service. Plus, good home insurance makes it possible to afford mold remediation when we need it. But so long as white mold issues are not the primary focus, we will continue to be plagued by chronic problems.
In home prevention and maintenance circles, black mold dominates. Check out insurance companies, mold remediation firms, mold-related advertising, real estate inspections, tenant-landlord disputes, lawsuits, plumbers, HVAC contractors, home builders, mold guidelines and standards, mold training and certifications, allergists, naturopaths, wellness coaches, mold testing, and mold products. You’ll get the idea.
How do acute mold and chronic mold issues differ?
Acute “black” mold issues generally occur in water-wetted situations. Out-of-bounds water wets materials in our home. Then, mold grows and spreads on these wet materials. We easily see when sheetrock or flooring is wet, just as we can easily see the resulting dark-colored “black” mold. Since the homeowner easily sees the acute issue, they typically leap into action and work to fix the problem right away.
On the other hand, chronic “white” mold issues generally occur when high humidity keeps an area just damp enough to enable mold to colonize certain materials in that zone of the house. That area stays humid during the same seasons year after year. Small spots of “white” mold spread and merge to create a mold “forest.” In this situation, it’s more difficult to see when an area is damp. The lighter-colored “white” molds don’t register visually, either. Unnoticed and unaddressed, this chronic issue adversely affects house and health.
Unfortunately, chronic humidity-driven issues prove difficult for homeowners to address. I recently visited a home utility space. The family clothes dryer vented into a utility area for decades. With only light use, the dryer fed lint, humidity, and “human-borne” fungi into the utility area for years. Then, the homeowner called me to perform a healthy home inspection. That’s when we found that the vented air from the dryer kept the walls in this area damp enough to allow a population of “white” mold to establish on almost every surface in that zone.
Why don’t homeowners notice chronic mold before it becomes a problem? Often, humans simply cannot see white mold without the use of ultraviolet light. That characteristic alone means the issue may be both ignored and denied for an extended time. This circumstance offers white molds the opportunity to continue to spread and intensify.
If you think you have a problem with must, mold, or mildew, then you may need a plan to move forward. Let’s talk.