Mold in Your Home Could Be Making Your Family Sick
Mold. If you look up the definition “a superficial, often woolly growth produced especially on damp or decaying organic matter or on living organisms by a fungus” there’s no doubt you’ll say, “Yuck!” It’s fuzzy. And it’s green or brown or black or pink.
As one example, mold on drywall is very common, and because drywall is porous, it’s probably present on both sides. You can’t take care of this yourself—it requires professional cleanup because it has serious health hazards. Mold on plaster walls can just be wiped off; plaster is non-porous, so what you see is all you have.
Yes, it’s disgusting to look at. And its characteristic smell isn’t something you’d find in a scented candle. But it’s more than that. It’s harmful to you, your family, anyone who visits, and even your pets.
There are a number of causes of mold in a home, some of which require professional cleanup. We’ll outline these and then give you some tips to prevent mold.
Causes of Mold in the Home
Having mold growth in your home isn’t something to hang your head in shame about. The spores are always present in the air, and it naturally occurs wherever it’s damp because moisture is what it needs to grow and thrive. This means you’ll usually find it in bathrooms, kitchens, basements and cabinets and near pipes or ducting areas.
Here are the main causes of mold inside your home:
- You live where it’s almost always humid. If you live in an area where humidity is consistently high, a problem with mold is only natural because of the high moisture content in the air. This type of mold will most likely grow on walls and ceilings, in dark closets, under the kitchen sink, etc. Mold caused by humidity can be worsened by a lack of ventilation.
- You have leaky pipes. Leaking pipes are the most common cause of mold behind drywall and in under-sink cupboards. Leaking pipes can also contribute to ceiling mold.
- Your roof is leaking. A roof that’s partially damaged due to wear and tear or severe weather can quickly lead to mold buildup in your home. Even a slow leak can build a huge backlog of moisture in your ceiling or attic over time. This creates mold that grows on walls and ceiling boards.
- Condensation buildup. In the winter, some homes can experience a buildup of condensation on cold surfaces because of temperature fluctuations. Some of these cold surfaces include metal piping, concrete surfaces, floor tiles, and even brick walls. These condensation pockets are prime real estate for major mold growth.
- Poor ventilation. The stagnant air throughout your home is perfect for the growth of mold and the spread of mold spores. Steam created by appliances, cooking, and bathing increases the humidity in your home and leaves surfaces damp and sticky.
- Wet or damp clothing. You’ve just done a load of wash, taken it out of the washing machine, and set it aside to hang up later. If you forget and that clothing sits, even for a day, it can contribute to any existing mold problem, especially in the warm months.
- Your home floods. Unfortunately, it’s a reality: After you experience the drama of your home flooding you’ll have mold growth. This environment can lead to the growth of a dangerous, toxic mold, Stachybotrys chartarum. In this case, you’ll need to bring in a restoration expert to dry things out and remove the mold properly.
- You have a damp basement. Basements, because they’re below ground level, are exposed to higher levels of moisture. They’re also likely to have a lack of ventilation or poor air circulation. Water leaks from your home above may also accumulate in your basement.
- Your foundation is damp. If the slope of your yard has been landscaped so water fails to drain away from your home, rainwater and garden moisture can slowly trickle and pool around the foundation of your home, which can contribute to the growth of mold on walls.
- Your air-conditioning system is leaking. Most homes in Florida and Alabama have an air-conditioning system, which can bring mold known as mucor if the system is located in the attic. This is mold that can cause allergic reactions. It grows quickly into thick white patches below air-conditioning systems that are leaking or have condensation buildup.
Prevent Mold Growth in Your Home
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that our indoor environment is two to five times more toxic than our outdoor environment and, in some cases, the air measurements indoors have been found to be 100 times more polluted. It further says that molds can have a huge impact on air quality.
About 25% of Americans are allergic to mold and mold spores. And mold can cause serious respiratory health effects that include making asthma worse and coughing, wheezing, and upper respiratory problems even in healthy people. The health effects of mold exposure are dependent on the type and amount of mold present in the home.
So how do you prevent mold growth in your home? Here are some tips:
- Keep humidity levels healthy. Mold thrives in a humid environment. In areas prone to excessive moisture, like the kitchen, bathroom, or basement, make sure you ventilate. If there are no vent fans in these rooms, have them installed. You can also install a whole-house dehumidification system or use plug-in dehumidifiers. And if you have air conditioning and it’s humid, run it.
- Bring in some fresh air. Open windows increase the ventilation in your home. Fresh air also helps dry out damp, musty areas and reduce stuffiness and odors. Open a window every day for five to 15 minutes.
- Get into the habit of cleaning and drying damp surfaces. Dry the surfaces in your bathroom and other moist areas immediately after use. This is a great way to keep your bathroom clean as well as free of mold and mildew.
- Don’t let damp things lie around. Don’t let wet clothing sit around, and avoid piling newspapers, cardboard, and anything else that easily absorbs water.
Call a Mold Remediation Expert
Mold is nothing to mess around with. If you have a mold problem that can’t be cured with a squirt of grocery store mold and mildew remover, you need a professional.
Mold remediation is essential before more issues occur. If you don’t seek professional help, you could be risking your and your family’s health. And you can also risk re-infestation if you attempt to get rid of mold yourself.
Don’t count on over-the-counter mold test kits, either. They’re expensive and don’t actually tell you how serious the problem is or where it’s concentrated.
Count on Complete DKI for Mold Remediation
We have a highly skilled team of mold removal experts with certification in mold remediation by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration.
At Complete DKI, we’re familiar with the vulnerable areas where mold can form and target them. We focus on hygiene and safety and change air filters on our machines so there is no cross-contamination.
Our team starts with determining the extent of mold infiltration and then begin the remediation process. We efficiently treat all types of mold problems caused by water damage, poor ventilation, high moisture, leaking pipes and ceilings.
Mold can contaminate that moist area of your home in just 24 hours, so don’t delay. Contact Complete DKI today.