DETECTING FISH ODORS IN YOUR HOME ???

Occasionally people smell mysterious fish odors in their homes. Often such problems go undiagnosed for several weeks or months before the source of the odor is uncovered. People who are trying to be helpful may suggest that these smells are from dead fish in the yard, or dead rodents in the walls, others may suggest they are the result of sewer gas backing out of your plumbing system, or mold odors resulting from wet building materials. Being a former health inspector, and a current mold inspector and indoor air quality consultant I know that

mold, rodents, and sewer gas do not smell like rotten fish at all. Being lead down the wrong path can be disastrous if the source of fish odor in your home is actually from plastic electrical components heating up in your walls. The following is the summary page from an inspection that was conducted on 7-30-07 at a trailer home in Barefoot Bay Florida North of Vero Beach Florida. Fish odor in the property was from an overheating electrical component. Though the component was only at 130F and not likely to catch fire anytime soon, such conditions should be addressed by a licenses electrical as soon as possible.   The client complained of a odor that comes and goes, the odor appeared to be centered near water damage and decay in the trailer wall of the front bedroom. This damage was investigated and was found to not be producing fish smells, nor excessive mold odors. The client reported that this mystery odor comes and goes and in fact the inspector observed the odor to be very weak at the start of the investigation and it changed in strength a few times. Though odors coming and going sounds strange, but it is common and easily explained. When the sun heats a wall the air in that wall expands and pushes air and any unusual odors that may be present out of the wall, and when the wind blows it creates pressure differentials in the wall that also may force odors out of the wall, in addition an AC unit turning on can pull air out of the wall via it’s AC return. When the inspector smelled around the breaker panel in this room the inspector smelled a mild to strong odor that seemed exactly like dead fish. The client reported that the odor filled the entire room in the past and appeared stronger when the AC unit was turned on.

The inspector inspected around the breaker panel and found the odors to be strongest near the breaker panel.

The breaker panel is a typical 150 Amp breaker panel with copper 120 volt wires and breaded aluminum main service cables and some braided aluminum 240 volt wires with antioxidant paste was observed. No rust, or burnt wires, or other unusual conditions were noted in or around the panel.

When the inspector removed the breaker panel cover the strong fish odor rose out of the panel and upward along with warm air rising from behind the panel. Warm air rising out of a panel is not typical. The identity of the compound creating this odor is unknown but it may be the result of the breakdown of some man made plastic like substance in the breaker panel that is breaking down because of the heat.

Some of the breakers are warmer than normal thus the breakers are overheating and causing the panel to be warm. The hottest breaker was the dining room breaker at 130F this breaker appeared to be the source of heat when tested with a laser thermometer.

This condition should be checked by an electrician as soon as possible. This may indicate loose connections in the panel. Warning overheating electrical components can cause house fire. If the odor is not originating in the panel it may be originating from deeper in the plastic conduit that brings the wires to your panel. Have any and all required repairs made soon. The client was warned during the inspection that she should contact an electrician because of the overheating breaker that may be a fire hazard and contact him because of the odor it produces. The client reported to this inspector repeatedly that she would have her electrician check the condition the next day.Additional sampling for volatile organic compounds will probably help this inspector identify the fumes you are breathing such can be done if desired, but getting this condition repaired by an electrician is more important than identification. You may need to have an electrician change the overheating dining room breaker or the entire panel, have this condition corrected properly and soon for safety.

The following is some information that the inspector found on the Internet regarding this condition. It confirms the inspectors findings that overheating electrical components can cause fish odors in homes.

Hello all – My parents are having an issue with a somewhat fishy odor that comes & goes in one area of the house.

We kept smelling a fishy smell and it turned out to be an electrical outlet that was melting inside the wall. The circuit was overloaded (we did not know that). It took the outlet smoking before we figured it out. Since then we smelled that fishy smell again and found another outlet to replace.

  • Posted by logic (My Page ) on

    Mon, Jul 17, 06 at 16:39

    On another thread, a “fishy” smell turned out to be melting plastic light covers….the bulbs were too high wattage. I would check everything plastic in the area.

    • Posted by gaffari (My Page ) on

      Tue, Sept 26, 06 at 13:30

      Found the source of the smell. Thanks to the posting by LOGIC – I saw that the plastic fixtures (supplied by the builder) were melting. We took them down and they smelled like fish!!!! Thanks for the all the help.

       

      http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/disaster/msg0511092410993.html

    My apartment has a constant smell of fish in the kitchen but despite cleaning it with every product known to mankind the smell won’t go away.

    This can be an electrical problem. I had an undeniable fish smell in my house. Apparently some wiring (especially in old homes) will give off this smell when it overheats- check your lights and other electrical devices. or better yet call an electrician.

    http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ny/020706/good-questions/good-questions-fish-smell-mystery-006324

    A few weeks back, I wrote into AAC about a fishy odor that was coming from my dining room. This wasn’t a constant smell.

    Well we finally found out what the smell was. One night, around midnight, I was going to bed and turned off the light in the dining room. I could smell that fishy odor again, this time it was not as strong, but I could smell it.

    I went over to the dining room window where the smell was much stronger. I kept smelling around the window until I came to an electrical outlet. As I got closer to the electrical outlet the smell was stronger. I touched the outlet and it was extremely hot. The smell was coming out of the holes.

    We are very fortunate to have had this warning (smell) as you hear families perish from faulty wiring or electrical fires.

    http://ask-a-chick.com/forum/questions_display1.php?question_id=43663

    We discovered the smell in my daughter’s room!It is coming from the ceiling light. We were burning a 100W bulb in a max 75W socket and we think it was making the socket smell (must have been plastic getting too hot). Anyway, we left her bedroom light off for 10 days just to be sure….and no more smell.

    from some thread online?

    Thanks a million to those of you who helped us figure out what was causing the fishy smell in our bedroom (we had 100 watt bulbs in 40 watt sockets — whoops).

    http://www.askmehelpdesk.com/other-home-garden/bad-smell-house-comes-goes-49917-2.html

    The clients 2nd concern was possible mold at the dining room ceiling. She reported moisture damage and possible mold at the dining room ceiling, the moisture came from a past roof leak in the area. The client inspected what the client thought was mold and the inspector identified it as insect body parts. No mold or mold odors were found in this area. The attic directly above this area was clean and free of mold odors and visible mold and appeared unlikely to harbor unusual mold conditions. In the photo section the first photo is of the property, the 2nd is of the damaged dining room ceiling covered in plastic, and the 3rd is of the damage in the front guest bedroom. 

    ADDITIONAL OBSERVATIONS AND CONCLUSIONSThe inspector detected an extremely slight musty odor in the master bathroom. The inspector inspected under the floor of this bathroom in the crawl space two times and found no evidence of mold or moisture problems just slight musty odors. It appears that slight musty odors were from the moist soil under the trailer and were entering the bathroom through the hole in the bathroom floor where the toilets water supply pipe passes through the floor from the crawl space into the bathroom. Seal the opening where the toilet water supply pipes passes through the floor. 

    This inspector cannot inspect for hidden mold deep inside walls or hidden behind vapor barriers or insulation, the crawl space was not fully accessible as it was very small and ducts were in the way. Hidden mold may exist under the bathroom or in the bathroom walls but none was seen. A sample was taken from under the trailer in this odor and no unusual spore levels were found, it is likely that natural molds in the soils are releasing odors and these odors only and not the spores themselves were bypassing the vapor barrier where the sample was taken and then entering the bathroom. Destructive testing involving removal of walls and ducts and vapor barriers that were in the way and obstructing some view can be done if so desired, requested, and paid for.The trailers air was dusty as made evident when viewing the air samples and the indoor air was full of outdoor spores as was made evident when the samples were analyzed.

    The filter at the property is a inexpensive boars hair like filter and the client should use a pleated filter or a electrostatic filter to reduce indoor dust. Excessive outdoor spores in the house indicates to much outdoor air infiltrating the house, the house / trailer may be energy inefficient.

    Client should contact an exterminator because of lots of live fire ants in the side wall and under the carpet near the front windows.

 We Service The Following South Florida Counties And Cities:Miami Dade County Florida Mold Inspectors: Aventura, Bal Harbour, Bay Harbor Islands, Biscayne Park, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Cutler Ridge, Doral, El Portal, Florida City, Golden Isles, Goulds, Hialeah, Hieleah Gardens, Homestead, Indian Village, Islandia, Kendall, Key Biscayne, Leisure City, Medley, Miami Beach, Miami Gardens, Miami Lakes, Miami Shores Village, Miami Springs, North Bay Village, North Miami, North Miami Beach mold testing inspector, Opa-Locka, Princeton, Richmond Heights, South Miami, South Beach, Star Island, Fischer Island, Sunny Isles Beach, Surfside, Sweetwater, Virginia Gardens, West Miami house mold removal advice, Westchester, Westwood Lake Broward County Florida Mold Inspection, Deerfield, Ft Lauderdale, Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderhill, Hallandale, Pembroke Park, Oakland Park, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Davie, Plantation, Weston, Fort. Lauderdale, Sunrise, Tamarac, Margate, Cooper City, Coral Springs, Parkland, Pompano toxic mold inspections, Lighthouse Point, Palm Beach County Florida Mold Testing,  West Palm Beach mold testing, Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Lantana, Lake Worth, Boynton Beach, Wellington, West Palm Beach, Royal Palm Beach, Haverhill, Green Acres, Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter, Juno Beach, Tequesta, North Palm Beach, Riviera Beach, Singer Island, Loxahatchee, Manalapan, Lake Clark Shores mold inspector, Mangonia Park, Belle Glade, Pahokee, Okeechobee, Indiantown, St Lucie County Mold Inspector, Ft. Pierce, Martin County commercial and residential building investigation help, Stuart, Hobe Sound, Port St Lucie, Jensen Beach Back mold removal help, Palm City, Port Salerno, Hutchinson Island. Monroe County Certified Florida Mold Inspector, Florida keys, Upper Keys, Lower Keys, Middle Keys, Key Largo, Islamorada, Key West.

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A lot of people ask us how long it takes mold to grow after a recent water
incident; this is the most common question that arises in a persons mind
after a leak.

I am preparing this information for home owners, realtors, and future potential clients
who are looking for a mold specialist to answer such questions.

If you have the water extracted and the moisture properly dried out by
professional remediators or carpet drying specialists in the first 24 to
48 hours after a leak you may likely be ok. It takes mold a 24 to 48
hours to start to grow under ideal conditions. As you know carpets get
moldy very quick, many older carpets with dirt as a food source start
smelling moldy after being wet just a short time. The above refers to small amounts of mold growth, and the mold may only be at the microscopic levels after a few days. It may be a week or two
before it grows to the extent that it is visible to the naked eye as spots
on drywall or carpet pads. Of course, mold being a living organism with it’s own agenda
is not going to follow what I say in this bolg and thus their will be exceptions.

Proper drying is important.
What is most important is how fast and how well the flooded areas are
dried. Many times a person will think that moisture was removed when in
fact enough moisture was left behind to allow mold to start growing.
If a minor amount of moisture is lingering inside the wall cavities, behind the baseboards, in
the carpet, or under the carpet padding it will likely be weeks before it
all dries up, by that time the mold starts forming as visible sports on your walls.
Many mold remediators and carpet cleaning companies will focus efforts on drying the room that flooded and neglect nearby rooms where water flowed hidden inside wall cavities and under carpet or even tile.
Before you realize that dry out was not done properly you may have white, green, or black mold spots showing
up; you may also detect mold odors and  you will likely have mold
capable of causing allergy or asthma reactions in persons who are prone to
such reactions.

How to properly dry out a property.
Proper drying often involves discarding wet carpets and carpet pads
because
they trap moisture and hamper drying. If
the flood was extensive, it may be helpful to remove the baseboards
because these baseboards can trap water and prevent proper drying; in more
extreme case a few holes can be cut in the walls to allow wet air to
escape and dry air to enter the wall cavities.
The use of wet vacs to remove standing water, fans to move air, and
dehumidifiers to dry the air are helpful. Without dehumidifiers to dry the air you are
simply moving wet air with fans
and this is of little or no benefit. If you can dry your air with
dehumidifiers and maintain humidity levels between 30%RH and 50%RH it will
help everything else in the area dry faster. Please be advised that I am not a remediator, we at A Accredited Mold Inspection Service, Inc. provide inspections and written reports on mold and moisture problems for you, your attorney, your buyer, or your insurance adjuster. For more info on proper drying consult with a specialist in remediation or carpet drying etc.

About mold inspections.
It is best to have a mold inspection done by a mold specialist prior to
doing any work like removing moldy drywall. A mold
specialist can try and determine the extent of possible mold spread and
what needs to be done prior to remediation. If more that a very small problem exists it is recommended that a mold removal specialist be called.
We have no conflict of interest and inspect only. We do not do mold
removal nor do we provide drying services. The fee is $300.00 to $1000.00
for a mold inspection in the Miami Ft Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach areas. Prices are likely similar in other areas of the nation. An inspection will also include moisture testing, and a detailed
inspection and written report. In cases where mold may be hidden behind walls it is almost always very
important to have some samples taken from inside walls to determine if
hidden mold is in your walls.  If an inspector tells you they will take
one or two indoor samples from the center of a few rooms your best course
of action may be to keep calling inspectors until you find one who knows
to take samples from inside walls when hidden mold from water intrusion is suspected.

Daryl Watters is president of A Accredited Mold Inspection Service, Inc. He provides home, mold, and indoor air quality investigations in South Florida. He is also the creator of MIR forms designed to aid inspectors in the production of computer generated indoor air quality and mold inspection reports.

If the indoor humidity in a building is above 60%RH this may be a concern. If not corrected high humidity can contribute to mold, dust mites, and also condensation problems.

Maintain humidity between 30%RH and 60%RH.

In hot humid climates around the world the reason for humidity problems is not always, but is often related to improper AC use or improper AC design.

1) Holes in the AC closet walls, AC return walls, ceiling, or floors, are extremely common and are often ignored. AC closet holes are often made during construction or AC instillation to provide openings where AC plenums, AC refrigerant lines, condensation drain lines, and wires and wire conduits can pass through. In some climates holes may allow the AC to suck hot humid air in from the attic, crawlspace, or outdoors. When AC units pull in unwanted air we call this entrainment. Any holes in AC closet walls, ceilings, or floors, should be sealed.

2) Thermostats set to the on setting can cause a problem because the on setting causes the AC units blower fan to pull humidity in and distribute it constantly, even when the evaporator coils are not cooling and drying the air brought in by the constantly running AC fan. This is even more of a problem in commercial buildings because most commercial building AC systems are designed to intentionally pull air in from outdoors. In homes where the AC is in the garage, attic, or in an outdoor closet this is also a possible problem because the AC will pull air in through loose panels. The on setting is ok in some areas but in hot humid regions if the fan runs constantly because the thermostat is set to the on setting the amount of humidity drawn in by the AC can be more that the AC is designed to dry.

3) A buildings AC system should not provide more cooling capacity than the building was designed to have. In other words if you have to many AC units or your AC unit is to large for your home or building it can create a problem. Buildings in general should have roughly only one ton of cooling capacity provided by the AC system for each 600 square foot of conditioned area. To much cooling will cool the building and shut down the compressors long before the buildings air has had a chance to dry, thus contributing the the buildings humidity problem.

When humidity is a problem condensation often forms on the AC registers. One of the first places for mold to show up following humidity problems is in the AC ducts, and on the air handler’s blower fan, and insulation. In addition humidity related mold very often grows as small dusty white or green spots of pen asp mold only visible on black clothes and shoes in the closet.

Daryl Watters is president of A Accredited Mold Inspection Service, Inc. He provides home, mold, and indoor air quality investigations in South Florida. He is also the creator of MIR forms designed to aid inspectors in the production of computer generated indoor air quality and mold inspection reports.

 

Some people believe that AC ducts are destined to become moldy. While all AC ducts will likely grow some mold and will become discolored with visible mold or visible dust to some degree, it is not normal or healthy for ducts to become excessively moldy, or to produce a strong mold odor.

Mold spores from AC ducts result in health problems and even mold odors in the absence of spores have been shown to cause health problems. Keeping ducts free of excessive mold is important.

The information in this blog is intended to provide readers with information on:

1) Some reasons why AC ducts become moldy.

2) The importance of proper sizing of AC units.

3) In addition it draws attention to a very common indoor air quality problem called entrainment. Entrainment is when AC units pull contaminated air from inside attics or walls or other undesirable areas.

The following information is taken from a Broward County mold inspection we conducted on 11-17-07 it shows an actual example of how ducts became moldy and gives recommendations at the end.

The property inspected is a one story single family Broward county house built in 1974.

Client reported mold growing on AC vent registers. The mold started a few weeks ago. The client reported that a new larger AC unit was installed about 3 months prior to the mold starting. This inspection is for mold conditions at the AC registers only.

mold humidity and AC instillation

Location: Garage:

In the above referenced area the inspector observed a new air conditioner. The serial number on the unit indicates that it is a 4 ton unit, thus is it rated to cool a 2400 sf house. This AC unit is just a little large for this house.

The inspector also observed a new condenser / compressor unit. The serial number indicates that it is a 3.5 ton unit thus designed to cool a 2100 sf house. This is also slightly large for the house.

You have a newer larger AC unit.

The size of this newer AC unit is a major reason for why you have humidity related cladosporium on your AC registers that were previously not moldy.

The previous AC unit in use about 3 months ago was smaller than this AC system thus would have been more efficient at drying the houses air before cooling the houses air and shutting down. If an AC is to large it shuts off after the air is cooled but before the air is properly dried / dehumidified. Air that is not dehumidified and has a humidity above 60%RH to 65%RH can and often does cause humidity problems in Florida homes.

The above photo is of cladosporium mold growing in your registers.

Another reason why you have mold problems now is because of the two holes in your AC return. These holes in the wall studs allow the AC to pull humidity into the AC each time the AC turns on, this phenomenon is called entrainment and is a common cause of mold and humidity problems.

Yes all metal studs have these holes, but it is not typical for these open holes in the studs to be exposed and in such close proximity to an AC return.

Where does the humidity in your walls come from? it comes room the attic, the attic in turn gets the humidity from outside via the soffit vents like the one in the above photo.

Why did this problem not occur till recently? the older smaller AC was more efficient at drying air as stated above and thus was able to handle the humidity load created by these openings.

AC duct mold air conditioner mold

More photos of mold on and around your AC registers. Note that the tiny black spots on and around AC registers are very typical examples of cladosporium spheasperium, or cladosporium cladosporidies mold. This mold problem is caused by elevated humidity in your ducts.

This is not likely to cause a toxic reaction, but this mold may result in allergic reactions or act as an asthma trigger in sensitive persons. The real concern is if it is growing excessively deep in your ducts then you will have much more mold than you can see on the registers.

Mold growth in the ducts can and often causes health complaints.

Excessive mold was not observed in your AC unit but you are recommended to have your ducts cleaned in accordance with NADCA standards or replaced.

More photos of mold on and around your AC registers. Note that the tiny black spots on and around AC registers are very typical examples of cladosporium spheasperium, or cladosporium cladosporidies mold.

Based on this inspectors observations and conclusions your inspector recommends using good quality foil mastic tape or other methods to seal two openings in your AC return wall studs.

Have a AC company install a humidistat and set it to around 50% to 60%RH always maintain indoor humidity between 30% and 60%RH.

Most people live with a little mold in the ducts and have no problems. Mold spore levels in your air was very low. No mold odors were detected. Much of the mold appeared to be primarily in the ends of the ducts just behind the registers.

Have an AC company clean the mold from the registers and from the ends of the ducts just behind the registers.

Duct removal or good professional cleaning in accordance with NADCA standards is recommended if additional hidden mold is discovered inside the ducts during cleaning.

Daryl Watters is president of A Accredited Mold Inspection Service, Inc. He provides home, mold, and indoor air quality investigations in South Florida. He is also the creator of MIR forms designed to aid inspectors in the production of computer generated indoor air quality and mold inspection reports.

In coastal Florida if your doors and windows are weathered and leak excessive amounts of humid air, a heavenly ocean view can allow for conditions that result in a hellish AC mold problem.

The information in this blog give a text book example of how warm tropical ocean breezes infiltrating into an AC system can result in humidity, condensation, and mold in and around your AC ducts and registers.

This information is from a Broward county Ft Lauderdale mold inspection that took place on 11-8-07.

Client moved in as a renter 7 days prior to this inspection. Client reported that his fiancee moved into the property with him and enjoyed the property, but because of severe allergic reactions that occurred while in the property she moved out after just one day.

Client requested this investigation to help determine if mold or other similar bio-allergen may be at the property that may account for her complaints.

The inspector observed that mold was a problem in the AC unit and in the AC ducts at the property, this mold requires food and moisture to live.

As is almost always the case in moldy AC units the mold in the AC and ducts received it’s moisture from elevated humidity and from condensation in the AC and ducts. It recieves it’s food from dust that bypasses the filter.

Humidity entered the AC and ducts by first entering from outside.

The view outside the unit is excellent, it is this high ocean front vantage point combined with leaky sliding glass doors that provided the moist breezes that allowed this mold problem to occur.

In addition the master bathroom is not vented to the exterior, whenever someone takes a shower that shower steam can enter the AC unit and form condensation as well. Either the non vented bathroom, or the leaky sliding glass doors overlooking the ocean alone would have been enough to cause a problem.

The sliding glass doors did not fit air tight, in fact the inspector could feel a strong ocean breeze blowing through the sliding glass doors from 2 foot away even though the doors were closed as tight as possible. Humidity blowing indoors from outdoors often results in mold and humidity problems, this is sometimes called the paston effect.

Gaps in these old doors allow much moist ocean air in.

Mold requires not just moisture but also food. The mold in the AC system and ducts at this property received it’s food from dust as does most AC mold.

In the above photo you can see a hole where dusty air can bypass the AC filters and enter the AC unit.

Dust can also by pass the filters because they are very low quality and do not fit properly, dust goes around the filters.

AC mold and condinsation problems

During the mold inspection the inspector observed that condensation sometimes forms on the AC registers.

The inspector observed the water stains left behind by condensation dripping off the AC registers. Note that condensation forming on AC registers is not normal, this condition indicates that so much humidity was present in the property that it condensed out on cold metal & glass registers that typically reach around 60F or so when in operation. The natural progression of this condition is for mold and condensation and water damage to form on the drywall around the register if the humidity problem is not corrected.

Elevated humidity and condensation inside ducts and AC units causes mold to grow in ducts and AC units just as it developed on the visible sections of the outside of registers. It is common for homes with mold on registers to have much more mold inside the ducts and AC unit because the interior of the ducts and AC is much colder thus much wetter than the surfaces of the registers, also the interior is duster thus has more food for mold growth.

Because mold in the AC unit has better growth conditions than mold on the registers it exhibits dimorphism. In other words these mold look different in different environments. Most of the mold in the AC unit is the exact same type that formed on the registers but being in a more healthy environment with more food and water inside the AC unit it grows more thick and lush and sometimes takes on a fluffy grey velvety appearance. In each case the mold is cladosporium sphearisperium.

Mold inside AC units does not produce many spores but instead grows and reproduce more vegetatively. This is significant because mold in AC units do not produce many spores but will grow profusely feeding off condensation and dust. AC mold by products are not lots of spores but are Mvoc’s, these Mvoc’s are foul smelling moldy odors that are released by the molds and this is why the clients fiancee got sick.

It is a well accepted fact that Mvoc’s or mold odors produced by AC type molds and other molds can and very often do result in strong allergy like reactions and irritations.

In this inspectors experience AC units that grow mold in the amounts seen at this property very often produce health complaints in building occupants.

In conclusion the AC unit’s ducts, registers, blower fan, evaporator coil, condensation pan, wires, and most of all interior fiberglass insulation are infested with more than normal amounts of mold growth, and the grow is extremely consistent with conditions that this inspector has observed to result in both odors and health complaints.

Because the AC unit is extremely contaminated with mold and produces strong foul odors it is recommended that the unit be professionally cleaned in accordance with NADCA standards, or the unit should simply be replaced because cleaning the unit will likely result in damage to the very rusty pan and coils.

Because of the amount of contamination in the ducts it is recommended that the ducts be replaced. Cleaning fiberglass ducts is not recommended they are supposed to be replaced if contaminated. Note that the interior of all sections of the ducts will not be visibly moldy but expect mold contamination to have spread to many different duct sections.

The following photos are of mold on AC registers, in the AC ducts, and in the AC unit at this property. Note that the ducts should all be bright yellow and resemble a tennis ball in color and texture.

AC duct mold

Typical cladosporium mold colonies on an AC register. Nearly all registers at the property were visibly moldy.

black air conditioner mold spots

Close up of cladosporium mold colonies on the AC register.

HVAC mold

Close up of mold in the duct, this duct used to be yellow.

Mold in the AC unit. The white mold is likely pen asp and the grey mold is cladosporium sphearisperium, it is the same type of mold observed as black spots on the register, but it looks different inside the AC because of different environmental conditions inside the AC.

Mold on the AC unit panel insulation.

Fluffy grey cladosporium sphearisperium mold on the blower fan inside the AC, this is very common.

About the Author:
Daryl Watters is a certified indoor environmentalist CIE # 1952 who provides mold testing and IAQ consultation services in South East Florida.


Many mold inspectors use the article titled:
Indoor Mold, Toxigenic Fungi, and Stachybotrys chartarum: Infectious Disease Perspective

and other articles to support the belief that toxic molds poison people in their homes, it looks as if the article is stating that toxic molds are very toxic to homeowners or even deadly.Mold inspectors who hastily review such articles come to such conclusions do so because they do not understand what the scientific article is talking about. This and other similar articles on the topic of toxic mold effects are talking not about what happens when a home owner breathes in mold spores released by Stachybotrys or other toxic molds, the article is talking about the effects of mold toxins / mycotoxins when these toxins are eating in foods contaminated with toxic molds, or the effects of mold toxins when animals in the lab are injected with mold toxins directly into the body or nasal passages. Sometimes such articles site cases where industry workers were made ill by toxic mold exposure after working around clouds of organic dust and mold spores for extended periods of time, such conditions contain millions of spores per cubic meter or air as apposed to the hundreds or thousands of spores encountered in most moldy homes and offices.

This article has been used by mold inspectors to support the view that toxic molds will poison you but in fact the article and many others have been taken out of context and this article and other scientific articles like it support the view that their is no solid evidence that toxic mold will poison you when breathed in at levels found in the home.

It is important to keep in mind that toxic molds and allergenic mold, and in fact any mold in your home at elevated levels can cause many people to become seriously ill from asthma or allergy related conditions as the result of allergens found in nearly all, if not all mold spores. Such conditions can be more serious and more debilitating than many people realize.

Mold can cause flu like symptoms in mold removal workers if they are not wearing proper protective gear.

Mold can cause serious and even deadly infections, but this typically occurs in persons who have a week immune system.

Mold can create foul smelling microbial volatile organic compounds that in turn cause irritation resulting in allergy like symptoms.

Ignoring a mold problem can cause a two thousand dollar mold removal job to become a two hundred thousand dollar mold removal job.

Mold can make your home un inhabitable for your family, and nearly impossible for you to sell. Selling a home with a mold problem that you hid can easily get you and your Realtor sued.

In conclusion though current scientific literature does not support the belief that toxic black mold is a killer mold of any kind in your house given the right environmental conditions it has the potential to become a serious menace.

Heres that link again.

http://cmr.asm.org/cgi/content/full/16/1/144#R40

the article appeared in

Clinical Microbiology Reviews, January 2003, p. 144-172, Vol. 16, No. 1

The above info is provided by A Accredited Mold Inspection Service, Inc. serving Palm Beach County Florida