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Home Buying M-Factor

The M-Factor signifies “mold in buildings.” Mold is a symptom which is caused by an organism known as fungus. Mold can be visible with the naked eye and may be of various colors (black, white, green, or gray) and shapes.

Tampa 3/23/2012 4:53:19 AM

Tampa, FL -- According to an estimate by Goldman Sachs, in the United States there are three million distressed (or foreclosed) properties are available without regular occupancy.  By April 2012, this number is going to be increased by 750,000 to 1.7 million on top of the existing figure bringing a total of 4.7 million distressed properties. In the midst of this crisis, many buildings and homes have suffered from deferred maintenance due to non-occupancy. 

Vacant buildings (mainly tightly-sealed buildings designed to conserve energy utilization) can become a safe haven for both a-biological as well as biological contaminants, specifically when these places have been devoid of air-conditioning for a prolonged period of time.  Obviously, the hot and humid conditions help to prosper the undisturbed growth of “mold in buildings.”  Mold in buildings is an influential factor from the health and hygiene point of view.  Hence, this M-factor (mold factor) needs to be properly addressed before the occupancy by the new owner, especially in those cases where these buildings were vacant for long periods.

The M-Factor

The M-Factor signifies “mold in buildings.” Mold is a symptom which is caused by an organism known as fungus. Mold can be visible with the naked eye and may be of various colors (black, white, green, or gray) and shapes. However, mold-causing fungus is mostly microscopic in nature. They can be air-borne, surface-borne and water/liquid-borne. Mold can be reported from walls, between walls, inside of wall cavities, floors, underneath floors, ceilings, in fixtures, in basements, in attics and in other less noticeable areas of a building. It is worthwhile to mention that mold is linked with the health and hygiene of a building. The M-factor is important for ascertaining the purchase of a healthy building.

The Growth Factor

 Some of the biggest contributors to mold growth in buildings are identified as hot and humid conditions, as well as poor ventilation.  The above-mentioned conditions are evident when the building maintenance is deferred, besides non-air-conditioning. Building temperature highly fluctuates in the absence of proper ventilation and non-air-conditioning, which provide a good incubation temperature for mold propagation, especially in the warmer months.  Moisture can enter a building through: leakage of rainwater, moisture from construction work, leakage of or burst pipes, intrusion of groundwater, and by indoor moisture generation, due to breathing and transpiration from the building materials, including indoor plant material, etc. 

The Testing Factor

The management of these biological contaminants (mold) requires their proper evaluation in terms of identification and from causes and abatement strategies. Common home inspection is good for the verification of structural and mechanical integrity of a vacant building’s structure. However; microbiological constituents of a building are among the many challenges to ascertain the building’s health. Environmental sample collection from the building environment is regarded as an essential component for the environmental assessment of a building. It is highly advisable to collect these environmental samples from the representative area, both from air as well as from surfaces. Sometimes a liquid sample, which can be from condensation or from standing water that has been taken from the drain pain of an air-conditioning unit, is important in this type of investigation. A simple Building Health Check is ideal to establish the “source-causation” relationship. A strategy can be designed for the abatement of mold and other associated problems effectively based on such information and it is rather commercially viable too. 

The Managing Factor

Your potential home or office IEQ can be evaluated by using a number of testing methods.  EDLab recommends testing your indoor environment both for the air as well as surface.  These samples can be collected by “do-it-yourself” test kits or by hiring a professional.  All the collected samples should be sent to a qualified laboratory for the analysis.  The results obtained can efficiently be used for managing the concerned environment.

A more comprehensive environmental assessment can also be performed by a specialized, credentialed professional indoor environmental consultant.  Call 800-422-7873, Ext. 802 to discuss your next IAQ project.

About Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab):

Established in 1994, Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab) is the industry leader of indoor environmental laboratory analytics under the direction of Dr. Rajiv Sahay, FAIS, CIAQP.

The parent company, Pure Air Control Services is a international environmental firm performing the following IAQ services: Building Sciences Evaluation; Building Health Check; EDLab an AIHA accredited Environmental Microbiology Laboratory, Environmental Project Management; and Mold Remediation Services, among other indoor environmental services.

The company’s expanding client roster includes: FAA, USACE, General Services Administration (GSA); Allstate Insurance; Carrier Air Conditioning; Naval Air Warfare Center, Orlando; and Naval Air Station - King's Bay, Georgia, Walt Disney World, and many other Fortune 500 companies, school boards, and city, state, and county governments, making Pure Air Control Services the reliable industry leader in IAQ.

For more information on EDLab, Pure Air Control Services, Inc. please contact Dr. Rajiv Sahay or Alan Wozniak at (800) 422-7873, or visit


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