El Nino Watch Increases the Risk of Mold Damage to Houston Properties

Clubs and Organizations

September 12, 2014


Houston, TX - Heavy rainfall this winter may cause dangerous levels of mold to develop in houses vulnerable to water damage. Getting a residential mold inspection performed by a certified professional lets Houston residents take care of mold formation before it develops into a serious problem.

An El Nino occurs when an upwelling of cold water off the coast of South America pushes warmer water into the western basin of the Pacific Ocean. These warm waters cause a shift in the weather pattern that brings heavy precipitation to parts of North America. The National Weather Service reports that there is a 65 percent chance that El Nino weather will dominate this winter, bringing more rain and potential flood conditions to Houston and the surrounding areas.

While the Panhandle and parts of West and Central Texas hope for much-needed rain to break a record drought, Houston faces a less desirable consequence of heavy rainfall - mold exposure.

Wet weather, particularly prolonged or repeated rainfall, can seep into parts of a home that are routinely exposed to the elements or that don't have adequate vapor barriers in place, such as basements, outside walls, or attic crawl spaces. The force of heavy rain can cause damage to roofing materials, and persistent rain after the spell of "abnormal dryness" Houston has experienced may lead to foundation settlement and allow water another point of entry to the structure of the home. When an area is exposed to moisture and high humidity over time, the growth of mold typically follows.

Christopher Felan, the president of Mold Inspections of Houston, explains that mold testing and proper assessment can identify whether there is a problem requiring removal or remediation services. A 3-phased approach by a certified mold inspector that includes visual inspection, air sampling, and surface sampling removes any doubt as to whether there is a threat of mold infiltration due to a leaking roof, damaged siding, or foundation settlement.

Heavy rains also lead to flooding, one of the leading causes of water damage in the Houston area. Floods leave homes particularly susceptible to the development of mold, as flood waters can seep under baseboards and penetrate drywall, creating an unseen habitat for mold spores.

Felan observes that mold can form in as little as 1-2 days. Even if homeowners feel that they have remedied the problem by removing water damaged objects and performing a thorough cleaning of exposed surfaces, he says, "A professional mold inspector can identify any areas where mold may still be growing after the restoration process."

Unfortunately, without mold testing, the accelerated growth of mold due to El Nino conditions is bound to put some Houston residents' health at risk. How much risk? According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), indoor exposure to mold causes upper respiratory symptoms in otherwise healthy people and aggravates allergies and asthma in people with these conditions. Of particular concern is the effect of mold on children, who may develop respiratory conditions just from being exposed to mold at an early age. Serious complications due to mold exposure, although rare, can be life-threatening.

According to Felan, using one of those cheap, do-it-yourself mold test kits "won't get the job done." Mold Inspections of Houston uses licensed mold inspectors who have a graduate degree in Environmental Toxicology and several years of field experience. This experience allows the mold inspector to be able to identify problem areas that the average homeowner might overlook. Using the latest technology, they are able to pinpoint the scope of the problem with a great degree of accuracy.

Although water infiltration over time is a cause for concern, not every mold inspection Houston residents request will end with the discovery of a problem. Mold Inspections of Houston is neither a remediation nor removal service, so unlike other service providers, Felan notes, the company has no incentive to give a false diagnosis. When a homeowner suspects that water damage has caused the development of mold, Mold Inspections of Houston is able to give an unbiased and accurate assessment of the situation.

If a trained mold inspector does find mold, the company provides trusted referrals to service providers who can perform immediate mold removal and remediation. Once people begin experiencing the symptoms of mold exposure - coughing, wheezing, headaches, and watery eyes - it is best to act fast and remove the source as soon as possible.

As the saying goes, "Into every life, a little rain must fall." Across the state of Texas, cities and towns are hoping for an El Nino winter that brings continuous downpours. The professionals at Mold Inspections of Houston will be on the job to make sure that a cause of relief for many doesn't end up leading to property damage and health problems for the unlucky few.

For more information call Christopher Felan, 713-466-9737.