WHAT IS MOLD?
You’ve likely seen mold whether growing inside of your home, or garage, or growing in the natural elements. Mold is actually a fungus. Though it’s not something you want to see inside your home, this fungus does actually serve a purpose in its natural home. Mold can actually help to breakdown what is no longer a nutrient to the Earth be it the soil, plants, food matter and more. Did you know that mold produces a series of microscopic cells called spores? These spores are generally invisible to the naked eye but can spread through the air and landing where new mold will grow.
WHY DOES MOLD GROW?
If the ingredients for mold spores are present, and are not watched, mold will not only grow, but spread. Moisture, a surface to grow on, and nutrients are the perfect grounds for new mold spores.
SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT MOLD GROWING IN MY HOME?
It’s very important to take the effort and measurements necessary to keep your home free of mold. Keeping it dry is key as mold cannot grow without moisture.
WILL MOLD MAKE ME SICK?
If mold does begin to grow in your home, the spores can spread and new mold will grow. As the spores spread, the fungus will also travel through the air. Breathing the mold spores in, coming in contact with it on the skin, or even swallowing the spores can have an adverse effect on health. Researchers have found it difficult to determine the extent of the health risks associated with the exposure because different variable play a role such as location, person and length of exposure. mold
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF MOLD EXPOSURE?
Generally, as the body is exposed to mold spores, it will react much in the same way that it would if you were experiencing a bad case of allergies. You can expect sinus congestion, itchy watery eyes, possible wheezing or difficulty breathing, coughing, sore throat and possible sinus or respiratory infections. As with most respiratory symptoms, certain people will experience a more extreme case. Infants and children, elderly, those with existing respiratory conditions, and those with weakened immune systems can be affected greater than others. In addition, some mold types can produce what is called mycotoxins, or chemical compounds. These toxins might cause health issues, although it’s important that note that any mold that is growing indoors can carry health risks.
INSIDE THE HOME DOES MY HOME HAVE A MOLD PROBLEM?
First, thing first – check your home for any signs of mold growth. You will want to look for the green color (though this can vary-see below), weakened spaces, and smell for the odor. Mold tends to have a musty smell and most people can pick up in it quickly.
Colors can vary from the typical green or yellow, to white, gray or brown. The mold will likely look almost leathery or velvety if it has been living for an extended period of time.
Mold will make itself known. Check for discoloration on the surfaces of your home including the walls, ceilings and floors.
Search in spaces of your home that are typically wet or damp including around sinks, faucets, plumbing pipes, hoses, etc.
If you find evidence of mold, get it tested by a professional!
Once you have gone through mold testing with a professional, the next step is to remove the mold from the home. The below six steps are key to efficiently do so:
1. Identify and Fix the Moisture Problem –Common indoor moisture sources include:
Roof & Plumbing Leaks
Firewood Kept Indoors
Humidifiers Lack of Proper Ventilation
To make sure your home is adequately dry, aim to keep the humidity of your home between 20 and 40% in the winter months and less than 60% in other seasons.
2. Dry Wet Materials
3. Remove All Mold Contaminated Items –When doing so be sure to use proper protection including goggles, glovers and an outer layer of clothing that you will later disinfect or throw away.
4. Clean & Disinfect Surfaces – Using a stiff brush, hot water, detergent and scrub all affected surfaces. Rinse well.
5. Disinfect Surfaces – Carefully using a bleach mixture of ¼ cup bleach per gallon of water, continue to disinfect all affected surfaces. Rinse well. Always use caution when cleaning with bleach and ventilate properly and avoid contact with skin and eyes. In instances where the pipes might have been contaminated, contact a professional to clean up.
6. Check for Mold Recurrences – Continually check your home with concentration on the previously affected areas to be certain mold has not begun to re-grow. Be sure to keep these areas as dry as possible. You cannot begin to repair or refinish these areas until it is 100% dry and mold free.