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Florida news agency investigates homes for mold

The average person spends more time in their home than they do anywhere else, and that can be problematic when your home is contaminated with mold and you aren’t even aware of it.

South Florida’s year-round high temperatures and high humidity levels make it the ideal environment to live in, but it also makes it the perfect environment for a major problem: indoor mold growth. Mold that you can and can’t see. Mold thrives in moist, warm conditions and many Miami-area homeowners are experiencing mold-related problems, as a result.

A researcher in Miami thinks that something every Floridian has in their home can be a potential source of mold growth: air conditioning.

Silvia Quiles, who lives in Miramar, is a self-proclaimed ‘homebody’. While she loves where she lives, when she is home, she always has a box of tissues nearby because she constantly has to blow her nose and rubs her irritated eyes.

“There’s something in the air inside the house,” Quiles said.

In order to feel better, she frequently has to go outside to get fresh air. She has also visited her doctor about her itchy eyes, but she has yet to get any answers. She’s been searching her home for dust, but she hasn’t found anything.

Quiles said that she’s worried about mold, but she hasn’t seen any growing in her Miramar home.

After two years of feeling like she was a victim of the conditions in her own home, Quiles final got the help that she was desperately seeking. Researchers from the University of Miami swabbed her house and tested the air quality in her home. After taking a mold sample, it was determined that mold was growing inside her home. Professor Naresh Kumar, PhD, said that researchers don’t believe that the mold in Quiles’ home isn’t harmful in low levels, but they are trying to figure out where it came from.

According to Professor Kumar, some types of mold – such as black mold – are bad.

He and a group of researchers are testing hundreds of homes, like Quiles, to determine if mold spores are present. He has a theory about the origination of the mold: air conditioning vents.

Kumar said, “The air conditioning systems that we use in Miami, they were not designed for Miami environments.”

The majority of the air conditioning units that are used in South Florida homes aren’t lined with metal; rather, they’re lined with fiberglass. With high humidity and moisture levels, he said that the fiberglass lining can be a breeding ground for mold.

Mike Dexter has seen mold air ducts in air conditioners many times over the years. His business is cleaning those air ducts.

“By the time you see it on your ceiling or vents, it’s already too late,” Dexter said. “It spreads like cancer throughout the system, once it takes root, it’s easier to distribute through the system.”

Mold Inspection & Testing Miami has vast experience performing mold tests in properties throughout the city. We strongly recommend all residents of the city arrange to have regular mold assessments performed to ensure their safety. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 305.999.5131.

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