The Effects of Mold in the House and What You Can Do About It
Mold spores are floating around us all the time. For the most part, they are harmless. However, a few spores able to establish themselves in the right conditions can quickly grow into a serious mold problem.
This article will discuss the effects of mold in the house, how mold outbreaks occur, and, more importantly, what you can do about mold that's invaded your property. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about mold in buildings and what you can do about it.
How Common are Mold Outbreaks?
Mold is very common and grows in locations wherever there are damp conditions. Leaks around plumbing fixtures, condensation on windows, and busted pipes are all good candidates for developing a mold problem. If you've recently experienced a flood in your home, moisture trapped under floorboards, carpet, and plasterboard can also support mold growth.
In short, mold can grow anywhere. A small leak in your roof, a cracked tile in your bathroom, or moisture in carpet, fabric, or upholstery can all increase the amount of mold you have to deal with.
There are thousands of types of mold, but the most common varieties are Aspergillus, Stachybotrys, Penicillium, and Cladosporium. Fortunately, few molds are harmful to humans until they find an ideal environment to feed, reproduce, and spread.
While most mold is harmless unless breathed in or ingested, black mold (stachybotrys chartarum/stachybotrys atra) can be dangerous and is one type of mold outbreak you should always take seriously. Black mold produces harmful mycotoxins that degrade indoor air quality and can cause a serious infection called stachybotryotoxicosis, a condition characterized by nasty hemorrhages and ulcers in the mouth, nose, and throat.
How Do Mold Outbreaks Occur?
Mold is happy to grow indoors and outdoors. There are always a few spores floating around looking for the right conditions, which enter your home through windows, vents, HVAC ducts, and doorways.
You can also track mold indoors that attaches to your clothing and gets stuck to the bottom of your shoes. Dogs and cats can have mold trapped in their fur.
Mold does not become a problem until conditions are right. When spores drop into an area where there is excessive moisture, it can take as little as twenty-four hours for them to start reproducing and spreading.
Most building materials provide a good source of nutrients for mold. A few of their favorite nutrition sources include starch. lignin, and cellulose, which are all compounds used in abundance throughout the home. Paper and cardboard are excellent sources of cellulose. As is damp wood and plasterboard kept moist from even the smallest drip from a busted pipe.
Paints, wallpaper, and insulation materials like fiberglass, carpet, fabric, and drywall are all common building materials that mold can thrive on. As you can see, there aren't many places in your home where mold won't grow when it can take advantage of residual moisture.
Symptoms of Mold Exposure
Mold stains constantly release mold spores into the air, which you then breathe in. Depending on how sensitive you are, the effects of mold in your home can be as subtle as an occasional sneezing fit or as severe as life-threatening respiratory problems.
Other people may experience mold symptoms like wheezing, red itchy eyes, a stuffy nose, and skin irritation. People with asthma may suffer more severe symptoms. Farmers working around wet hay have developed fevers and shortness of breath.
Even healthy people are at risk when exposed to mold. A 2004 report [document download link] found evidence of health effects that linked mold exposure to a range of upper respiratory tract symptoms like coughing and wheezing in otherwise healthy individuals. Mold allergies may also be responsible for hypersensitivity pneumonitis in people who are prone to that health condition.
What Are the Signs of Mold?
Mold can't always be seen, so the easiest way to determine if you have mold in your home is to smell for it. Mold has a distinctive and unpleasant musty odor. It often grows unnoticed in dark, out-of-the-way places, so the odor is often the first sign of a mold issue.
Look for moisture where it shouldn't be. If mold isn't growing there yet, it soon will be. Strange green, black, or brown stains on walls and ceilings are also good indicators of a mold problem.
How to Prevent Mold Growth in the House
Depending on the severity of your outbreak, you may be able to get rid of mold yourself. You will need protective equipment such as eye goggles, rubber gloves, and protective outer clothing (long pants and a long-sleeved shirt at a minimum). An N-95 respirator is highly recommended. Standard masks do not provide adequate filtration against tiny spores.
If mold is because of a burst pipe or a natural disaster like a storm or flooding, your home is at risk of mold growing in places you can't reach or see. Wet plasterboard, carpet, and floorboards may need removing and replacing. You will also need fans and dehumidifiers to quickly dry out the area and prevent mold from reestablishing itself.
Don't carpet a concrete basement floor. Water can seep through concrete, which gets trapped underneath the carpet to create the perfect environment for mold. Consider painting instead and throwing down some rugs you can easily remove and clean.
Recovering from a major flood and mold issue is a big job for homeowners. Consider calling a restoration service to ensure every speck of mold is dealt with and won't come back. The people at Best Option Restoration are trained professionals and know all the tricks that mold can spring on homeowners. Call today for expert advice on how you can create a mold-free home.
Prevent Mold Growth with Best Option Restoration
If you’re experiencing mold growth in Denver, Arvada, Thornton, Broomfield, Boulder, or the surrounding areas, Best Option Restoration can help you. We are aware that mold growth can leave you feeling overwhelmed, and our goal is to instill peace of mind throughout the project and restore your property in the most efficient way possible. We have many years of experience in restoration reconstruction and all our general contractors are licensed and insured. If your property has been damaged due to water, fire, or mold we will give you the personalized service and expert marksmanship needed to get the job done right. To learn more about our services, call us at (720) 620-3272 or contact us online to receive an estimate on your project.