Most know that mold is all around us – outside in the decaying leaves as well as inside where moisture accumulates – and we know that where there is mold, there is the possibility for health issues, but what exactly is it? And what can you do to make your home mold free and indoor air quality fresh?
We’re here to answer some frequently asked questions about mold, to put your mind at ease, give you the tools you need to keep your home and family healthy, and be a helping hand when remediation becomes necessary.
What is Mold?
We covered Mold 101 (check it out for more facts & fixes), but here are a few key concerns we hear the most:
What exactly are molds?
According to the CDC, molds are – in fact – everywhere. There isn’t an exact count on how many types of molds there are, but they estimates range anywhere from tens of thousands to upwards of three hundred thousands.
Where do molds come from?
Unfortunately, mold can grow wherever there is moisture. This means anywhere that is warm, humid and damp – conditions under which molds can grow, spread and reproduce.
What are the most common types of mold?
Why does mold smell and what does it mean?
Mold has a very distinct smell, and most of us have experienced it in basements, attics, crawl spaces, etc.. It’s musty and can be overwhelming. If you smell mold, there’s a likely chance that you’re inhaling spores that could potentially be toxic.
- Mold produces both odorless and odorful gasses as a result of microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC). If you notice a must in your home, but can’t see it – you may need to call a pro.
- The only way to control mold odor is to get rid of the source.
Mold, Home & Health
Where does mold grow?
As stated earlier, mold can be found in nearly every environment and during every season – inside and outside. Encouraged by warm humid conditions, mold grows and reproduces by producing spores.
Outdoors, mold can be found in damp shady areas or areas where vegetation, like fallen leaves, are decomposing.
Indoors, mold can be found where moisture and humidity levels are high, for example:
More exposure areas include:
How does mold affect my health and that of my children?
The presence of mold may or may not show health symptoms. For people sensitive to molds, symptoms include stuffy nose, red or itchy eyes, itchy skin or wheezing. Because mold may affect indoor air quality, people with allergies or asthma may experience more severe symptoms.
If you feel that you or someone in your family is suffering from symptoms of mold, see your physician and immediately remediate the mold problem.
Is it safe for my family to remain in the home if mold is present?
The CDC advises that you do not stay in your home if it has mold. It is best to immediately remediate the problem – the question is, is it safe for your family to stay in the home while the mold is being removed? Our experts will evaluate the extent of the mold problem and advise on the safest option for your home and family.
Can i safely remove the mold myself?
It is always recommended to consult a professional, but most mold issues can be resolved with household items, like 1 part bleach to 1 gallon of water.
According to the EPA, it’s time to contact us if:
- The mold affected area is more than 10 square feet
- You suspect the mold is in your HVAC system
- You suspect a leak or broken pipe
- Mold or water damage was caused by contaminated or sewer water
- If you have any health concerns that may attributed to mold
*Remember to never mix cleaning products as they can produce dangerous toxins
Should I have the mold tested?
It is not necessary to identify the exact species of mold. If you know there is mold in your home, it should be removed regardless of its type.
How can I decrease mold exposure?
Those who are sensitive to molds or have allergies should stay clear of likely to incubate mold, such as compost piles and wooded areas.
Indoors, mold growth can be easily managed by controlling humidity and moisture levels to prevent growth and spread. If there is mold growth in your home, the source should be fixed (like a water leak) and the mold cleaned up.
- Keep humidity levels around 50% throughout the day. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will lower the levels.
- Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier during humid months
- Ensure your home has adequate ventilation and exhaust fans where needed
- Painting? Be sure to add mold removers to paint before application
- Use mold killing and preventing products in the bathroom
- Do not use carpeting in bathrooms, basements or anywhere damp
- Throw away anything that has been soaked through and remained undried
Worried you may already have a mold issue? Don’t risk it, contact us today!