Mar 5, 2020 0

The Essential Facts You Need to Know About Mold in Your Home

Molds are fungi that occur in just about every environment on the planet, in both indoor and outdoor locations. They are most commonly found in environments with warm, humid, and damp conditions, and perform a vital function throughout nature as they help to break down dead trees, leaves, and other organic materials. However, when mold takes hold indoors, it’s important to take action to remove it as quickly as possible. Here are the essential facts you need to know about mold in your home, and how to properly deal with any mold infestation.


How Mold Gets into Your Home


Unfortunately, mold is so common that it is all but impossible to prevent it from getting into your home. Since mold can grow in any environment that offers the warm, wet, and humid conditions it craves, even a small amount of moisture can provide the perfect place for mold to take root. The problem is that molds reproduce by releasing spores. Those spores, invisible to the naked eye, travel through the air and land on wet or damp surfaces. There, they begin to grow.

Of course, mold spores end up traveling indoors on a routine basis. When there are no damp, humid conditions for them to use, they’re not a problem. However, even the smallest amount of moisture and warmth can cause those mold spores to make your home their own.


Is Mold Dangerous?


The first question most people have is simple: is mold dangerous? The simple answer is that it depends. While scientists have conducted a great deal of research on molds, the reality is that we do not yet have a complete understanding about its potential impact on human health. What we do know, however, should give us pause.

First, if you discover that there is mold in your home, do not panic. Research suggests that nearly every home has some level of mold. Still, you don’t want to leave mold in your home if you can help it – and that’s especially true if there are damp locations in the house where mold is actively growing. Here’s why:

  •         We know that molds produce allergens. These allergens can negatively affect people who are sensitive to them.
  •         Some allergens can be extremely harmful for some people, even to the extent of being potentially toxic.
  •         People who have breathing problems like asthma can be particularly sensitive to mold.
  •         For some people, contact with mold can produce skin rash, irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, and other irritating symptoms – even if those people have no allergies.

Because of the risk of allergy and irritation, you should always limit your exposure to mold and mold spores. The bad news is that you can never eliminate all mold and mold spores. The good news is that you can take action to deal with mold growths once they’re identified.


What to Do if You Smell Mold


Even if you haven’t smelled mold before, there’s a good chance that you can identify the odor when you encounter it. Mold has a distinctive odor that can serve as an early indicator that your home has an infestation problem. Of course, no home is free of strange smells, including soap scum deposits in showers and bathtubs. Mold has its own unique odor, though, and it’s nearly unmistakable. It’s a musty, stale, but earthy odor that you’re almost certain to recognize when you smell it. But what should you do when you encounter that smell?

  •         First, try to identify the source of the odor. Since we know what mold needs to survive and grow, you should look for spots in the home where those conditions may be present. Basements, cellars, or areas where water damage has occurred are prime locations for mold to take up residence.
  •         Recognize, however, that your home has many areas where mold could be a problem. For example, some attics are susceptible to mold infestations. Damp wall interiors, baseboards, and even ceilings can sometimes provide hospitable environments for mold too.
  •         Once you identify the source of the mold, you will need to decide how to proceed with the cleanup and take steps to prevent mold from recurring.


Should I Clean Up Mold or Call A Professional?


There are basically two steps involved in mold cleanup. One focuses on dealing with any issues that might be contributing to the warm, damp conditions that allowed the mold to grow. That means fixing any broken pipes, leaks, structural defects in basements and cellars, or other problem areas that are creating the moist conditions mold needs to thrive.

The second step is just as urgent and involves cleaning up the mold so that it doesn’t pose a risk to your family’s health. As a general rule, you may be able to clean up small areas of mold infestation on your own. Most experts agree that you should only attempt self-cleanup efforts for mold areas that encompass no more than 10 square feet of the home. Any larger problems should probably be tackled by professional mold remediation experts.


How to Clean Up Mold on Your Own


For smaller mold problems that you want to clean up on your own, always use appropriate safety equipment and take proper precautions. For example, wear some sort of eye protection, gloves, and clothing that minimizes any potential skin contact with the mold. Use an N-95 respirator to avoid any inhalation of airborne mold, they are roughly $20 at any hardware store.

You can clean up mold using a variety of different products available at any hardware store. There are also a number of commercially-available products that you can use to kill molds. The important thing is to be thorough. Scrub hard surfaces where mold has taken root to ensure that the mold is completely eliminated, followed by HEPA vacuuming these areas. Thoroughly dry those areas when you are done to reduce the chances that mold will return.

Some areas are more difficult to clean. Carpets, ceiling tiles, and other similar areas of the home are more porous, and often have to be replaced when mold has become a problem. Some furniture, rugs, paintings, and other expensive items can also be difficult to properly clean. If mold has been found on those items, it may be wise to call a professional for help.

Finally, remember that the job is never complete until the underlying problem has been resolved. Make sure that you fix any pipes, leaks, broken seals, or other issues that are inviting mold into your home. If you simply clean up the mold while ignoring the conditions that caused it, you can expect to experience similar infestations in the future.


Calling a Professional for More Complex Mold Issues


Unfortunately, mold infestations are often too big to handle on your own. For more complex problems, be sure to consult with a mold specialist. These experts can help you address recurring mold infestations, problems involving large areas of the home, or hidden mold behind walls or in air ducts. Many mold specialists are also adept at handling sensitive items to ensure that you limit the physical damage and loss that mold can cause.

Regardless of whether you try to tackle mold on your own or seek expert assistance, the important thing is that you act – and do so quickly. Mold is a serious issue within any home and requires prompt attention to limit its threat to human health and wellbeing. Fortunately, mold infestation is something that can be effectively dealt with you’re armed with the right information.


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