Mold: What You Need to Know
The idea of mold strikes fear into the hearts of many homeowners. There’s good reason to be cautious. Mold can release spores that are bad for your health and potentially deadly. Part of the problem is that it can grow extremely fast, but it often starts in places you wouldn’t normally access.
Regular mold inspections and some proactive measures are your best chance at defending your family from this menace. Once the mold gains a firm foothold, mold remediation or mold removal starts to become a lot more difficult. In this post, we’ll teach you how to recognize the signs and eradicate it.
How do you know if you have mold?
A Musty Odor
This is one of the big warning signs. If you notice a distinctive musty smell that doesn’t seem to dissipate, or that grows stronger over time, you’ll need to do a thorough inspection.
It’s a pretty distinctive smell so it may come as a surprise that a lot of people don’t actually pick it up. This is more to do with where the mold is likely to live, though. Mold loves damp areas where there is plenty of moisture, very little foot traffic and a nice dark environment to grow in.
It’s common for people to be allergic to the spores. This could present headaches, a runny nose, problems with breathing and a scratchy feeling in the eyes and throat. These symptoms tend to seem minor at first and get worse as the infestation gets worse.
You could also end up with serious respiratory illnesses and more common occurrences of asthma attacks.
So, your family’s health could be an important gauge. If they suddenly develop allergy symptoms or start developing more colds and sinus problems, it could be a sign that there is a problem in the home itself.
How do you know it’s not a normal illness? Unlike normal ailments, these won’t go away quickly. Expect to see a resurgence of symptoms over and over again.
This is one of those things that goes without saying, but let’s include it anyway. The stains can look powdery and white, more like lichen growing on a tree, or be slimy and black. It might initially look like damp rising so if you see any signs of moisture damage, do a check for mold as soon as possible.
How To Remove Mold
This will depend on the type found, and how bad the infestation is. Dealing with an infestation at any level should be left to the professionals. They have the tools and experience to deal with any sort of spores. They can take samples and have them tested to establish the toxicity levels.
But, at the end of the day, what makes them even more essential is that they have the right safety equipment to deal with the situation safely. No matter what the actual species is, most companies will follow the same basic steps:
- A thorough inspection to assess the full extent of the damage
- Steps are taken to contain the mold
- The filtration of the air to remove spores that may be present
- Removal of items that are moldy
- Cleaning of such items where possible
- Repairing the damage caused
Mold Prevention in Your Home
What steps can you take today to minimize your risks? Let’s have a look.
Get Rid of Any Standing Water
Mold requires a lot of moisture to flourish. As a result, that leaking pipe that you haven’t gotten around to fixing could create the ideal environment for an infestation. Take the time to check out your home from top to bottom.
Close off every source of water possible. Clean up puddles of standing water but don’t stop there. Those towels that have been lying damp in the laundry basket can be another source of water.
If you do find water lying around, or are concerned that there is still some damp in the room, leave a fan running to help dry things out faster.
Check your cooling system and make sure that there are no clogs in the air ducts. Clogs mean that the system works at less than optimal efficiency. This, in turn, means that it is not as effective as removing humidity, which means that there is more dampness in the home.
You will need to have a good look at the air filters in your home as well. You’ll need to clean them out and replace as per the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure that they work at maximum efficiency.
Also, check the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value to see how effective the filter is. The highest score is 20, but those are the type used in hospitals and the like. Your typical home system won’t be able to handle this so stick to a rating of around 10 or 11 instead.
Another thing to check is that your air ducts remove the stale air from the home instead of just shifting around inside. If you aren’t sure, get a pro in to check this for you.
These areas should be checked often, irrespective of whether or not they smell musty. There is a good chance of condensation building up in the attic if there is a leak in the roof.
Your best approach is to keep these areas clean and make sure that any dampness is cleared up as soon as possible. You might also consider running a fan in these areas from time to time to ensure that they are able to dry out properly.
Mold is not anything you want to mess with! If you believe you have any of the warning signs mentioned above, contact a specialist today! If you aren’t sure who to call, contact Accurate Home Services and we will help you find the right company for you.