If you’re not familiar with it, mold is a type of fungus that loves damp places. It often appears in dark colors such as black, white, green and orange, and can release mycotoxins which can cause health problems. People who are most at risk from the effects of mold are children and the elderly, as well as people with impaired immune systems. To prevent mold growth or remove it when found, it is important to be aware of its presence.
Common types of molds include Aspergillus (found in soil), Cladosporium (common indoors/outdoors), Penicillium (often found on food) and Stachybotrys aka ‘Black Mold’ (toxic and particularly likes damp bathrooms or basements).
Health Risks of Mold Exposure
Inhaling or having skin contact with mold spores can expose people to a range of health risks. The toxins produced by mold, known as mycotoxins, can be toxic to humans and cause long-term health problems. Common symptoms of mold exposure include sneezing, coughing, runny nose and eyes, fatigue, headaches, dizziness and nausea.
Certain populations such as the young, the elderly or pregnant women may be more vulnerable to the harmful effects of mold due to their weaker immune systems or pre-existing respiratory conditions like asthma. To reduce exposure to mold and its associated risks it is important to control the growth of mold in indoor environments as well as eliminate existing sources when possible.
Causes of Mold Growth
Mold growth is caused by an excess of humidity and moisture in a particular area. Often, this is found in damp and humid rooms like bathrooms or basements, or in areas without proper ventilation which can lead to trapped moisture.
Additionally, water damage from floods, leaks, or other issues can cause mold if it is not taken care of right away – spores can start to form within 24-48 hours.
Common Areas for Mold Growth
The areas of a home or building that are most vulnerable to mold growth are the bathrooms and kitchens, basements and crawl spaces, attics and roofs. Bathrooms and kitchens become damp from daily activities such as showering or cooking, making them prime places for mold to grow. Basements and crawl spaces are also susceptible due to poor ventilation, humidity levels, and the potential for water damage from flooding.
Attics and roofs can experience moisture intrusion from leaks, and inadequate ventilation can also contribute to mold growth in these areas. To prevent the spread of mold, it is essential to inspect these common areas regularly for signs of mold and be mindful of any sources of water intrusion or excess moisture.
Mold Inspection and Testing
Mold inspection and testing is the process of analyzing an environment to identify the presence, type, and quantity of mold. Signs of mold growth can include discoloration or staining on walls or floors, peeling paint or wallpaper, visible growth on surfaces, a musty odor, and warping or buckling of structural elements.
There are several types of testing that can be used to analyze for mold – air sampling is used to measure the number of mold spores present in the air; surface sampling identifies the type; bulk sampling takes physical samples from materials suspected of containing mold; ERMI testing is specialized testing which identifies types of mold in dust samples.
Are you in need of mold remediation services? It is important to be informed about the process and to pick a reliable company. Doing your research beforehand can save you from major headaches, so make sure to check the certifications, licenses and read online reviews before deciding on a company.
During the remediation process, professional procedures such as wet vacuuming, damp wiping, HEPA vacuuming and encapsulation may be performed to safely remove mold from the affected area. Be sure to get an estimate in writing and ask questions about the entire process in order to ensure that everything is being done properly.
Preventing Mold Growth
Taking preventive measures can help reduce the chance of mold growth in your house or business. Good ventilation is key, so ensure adequate air circulation by using exhaust fans and keeping windows and doors open. Keeping humidity levels low with a dehumidifier may also be beneficial. Inspect for water damage often, and any issues should be professionally cleaned and dried within 48 hours.
Clean carpets and upholstery regularly, using a HEPA filter to trap mold spores from the air. Using a mold-resistant paint in rooms such as bathrooms and kitchens might further prevent mold growth. Finally, regularly check your establishment for signs of existing mold growth and address it quickly with professional remediation services if necessary.