Q: I have two windows that had a black substance on them. I treated them with a water/bleach mixture, then sanded, re-stained and re-varnished. A year later both windows have more mold on them. How do I find a reputable company to test and clean this for me?
— Teresa Kozma, Tallmadge
A: First of all, not all black mold is highly toxic, and it’s unlikely the mold around your windows is. Unless someone in your household is sensitive to mold, professional remediation might not be required.
Second, I urge you to investigate why mold is growing on those windows in the first place. Most likely the windows aren’t sealed properly, causing condensation to form on the glass in winter. Water from the condensation can promote growth of mold on the wood.
If you have storm windows, their weep holes may be clogged and can’t let moisture drain away.
It’s also possible your house isn’t ventilated well enough or the humidity is too high. But if either of those were the case, you’d probably have problems with all your windows, not just two of them.
Before you call in a mold expert, I urge you to have an energy audit done on the house to pinpoint air leaks and other energy-wasting issues. Dominion East Ohio and Ohio Edison offer discounted audits to their customers for $50 and $100, respectively. Information on Dominion’s audits is at http://tinyurl.com/dominionaudit, or call 877-287-3416. Information on Ohio Edison’s audits is at http://energysaveohio.com, and you can schedule one at 888-243-6808.
If you still want to pursue mold removal, you can find professionals in the Yellow Pages under “mold remediation” or “mold testing & consulting.” Jeffrey May, a noted mold-investigation specialist from Cambridge, Mass., recommends looking for a remediator who’s certified by ACGIH Professional Learning Center in Cincinnati; the Indoor Air Quality Association in Rockville, Md.; MidAtlantic Environmental Hygiene Resource Center in Cherry Hill, N.J.; or Restoration Consultants in Sacramento, Calif.
Have a question about home maintenance, decorating or gardening? Akron Beacon Journal home writer Mary Beth Breckenridge will find answers for the queries that are chosen to appear in the paper. To submit a question, call her at 330-996-3756, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your full name, your town and your phone number or email address.