Mold can wreak havoc in your house if left unchecked. It can cause discoloration, structural damage, and it can even make you and your family sick. You can protect your home and family when you learn more about mold in your home and how to clean up and prevent it.
Mold is a multicellular organism and a member of the Fungi kingdom. Mold is typically unnoticeable to the naked eye, unless a colony grows. A colony of mold is made up of bodies of mycelium making it appear soft and downy in appearance. These colonies allow the mold to more effectively absorb nutrients from its environment.
Mold grows from spores. Spores are everywhere. Most spores are outdoors, where the majority of mold grows. Spores are tiny, lightweight and move easily. They are carried by wind and can remain airborne indefinitely. Spores can also easily attach to clothing, skin, or animal fur. These spores can remain dormant for years until they come into contact with the correct conditions on which they can grow. In turn, actively growing mold produces more spores.
In nature, mold plays a major role in the decomposition of organic materials. This process is vital for our environment as is recycles and redistributes nutrients throughout the ecosystem. However, mold does not discriminate outdoor environments from home environments. If the conditions are right, it will grow. When the spores meet a moist, nutrient-rich environment, it will begin to colonize. Ceiling tiles, wood, wallpaper, insulation, drywall and fabric are just a few places where home mold can thrive.
The best way to prevent mold from growing in your home is to control moisture. If your home suffers from any kind of water damage, make sure to clean it up within 24-48 hours. Address any leaks from pipes, plumbing, roofing, or gutters. Turn on exhaust fans to air out bathrooms to minimize condensation. It is also important to have your HVAC system cleaned regularly to prevent spores from circulating through your home.
Mold is likely to be found in areas where there was water damage. Bathrooms and basements are often most susceptible to water-related problems so check those areas first. Peeling wallpaper or stains are indicative of excess moisture and subsequently mold. If there are no visual signs, you may be able to smell the mold’s musty odor. Mold also can cause allergy like symptoms that worsen in the home.
If left unchecked, mold can cause significant structural damage to a home. Mold can also cause an array of unpleasant physical symptoms like, sneezing, headache, runny nose, and rashes. Although these symptoms are uncomfortable, they are unlikely to cause serious harm. However, if you have a compromised immune system or history of respiratory illness, mold spores continued exposure to mold spores can increase the risk of infection.
You cannot eliminate mold entirely. However, you can remove small surface patches easily with hot water and detergent. Make sure you wear rubber gloves and a N-95 respiratory mask so you do not inhale spores. Throw out any absorbent materials like carpet or ceiling tiles and replace them once the excess moisture is dealt with. For larger areas, call a professional. If the area is not properly cleaned it can exacerbate the situation. The most important thing to remember is to fix the initial moisture problem, or else the mold will return.
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This guest post was written by a representative of Erie Construction. Follow Erie Construction on Twitter for updates on home improvement.