I hear it all the time: “30 years ago, you never heard of mold remediation or toxic black mold!”…“Mold is just a fad that will be gone in another 5 years.” This sentiment is a very understandable given the explosion of the mold epidemic over the past 20+ years. The question is, if we live in the same type of homes as we did 30 years ago, why all of a sudden is there this toxic monster that preys on the very young and very old? The answer is very simple. We don’t build our homes the same way we used to. It’s a very subtle change, but one that has brought words and phrases such as “indoor air quality,” “toxic black mold” and “Stachybotrys” into the modern lexicon. The energy crisis of the 1970’s caused dozens of changes in the way we think about and use energy, but the most profound change was the idea that energy needed to be conserved. The single biggest energy cost that Americans face is the heating and cooling of our homes. While we could not control the cost of a barrel of oil or the fluctuation in the production of coal-driven electric plants, we could make sure that our homes used these energy sources more efficiently. Realizing that our homes were drafty, energy-wasting monsters, Americans entered the age of high-efficiency heating and cooling units. We began insulating attics, crawlspaces, walls, windows, skylights and ductwork. While this drove down the cost of monthly energy bills, it created a phenomenon that has cost Americans billions of dollars over the past 10 years. According to the Insurance Institute of America, the single largest unexpected cost to the industry of the past 10 years has been mold contamination and remediation. When air gets trapped without filtration or ventilation, any impurities in the air remain in the home. This causes mold to multiply at a very high rate, leading directly to indoor air quality problems and mold contamination. Generally, the top and bottom of the home are the most insulated. Attic mold, basement mold and crawlspace mold are very common because of the general lack of air movement in those spaces. It is essential to properly ventilate and dehumidify attics and crawlspaces. Without these precautions, many homeowners face toxic mold tests and mold remediation in their futures.