Mold spores exist all around us. In warm and moist environments, mold can quickly thrive and spread. There are many species of mold that can be found both outdoors and indoors. Mold growth is extremely harmful to human health and can cause property damage.
If you think you have a mold problem in your home, it’s urgent that you contact a specialist in mold remediation immediately. Here at PuroClean, we have the experience and equipment necessary to safely and effectively remove mold. In this blog, we’ll provide some information from our mold specialists on the causes of mold and how to prevent it from growing.
How Does Mold Grow in Homes?
With the right conditions, mold spores can multiply exponentially. It can grow on walls, in air ducts, on ceiling tiles, and in other areas. There are three factors that cause mold to grow:
- Food: Anything that used to be alive, such as wood, cardboard, paper, wool, silk, and leather.
- Temperature: Mold thrives in the range of 68°F to 86°F, the same range we typically keep our home temperatures.
- Water: Very little is needed. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) says that indoor humidity above 60% is enough to allow mold to develop.
Our homes can be breeding grounds for mold since they contain a lot of potential mold “food,” and we generally keep them warm. When water is introduced to the mix, the environment is all but ready for mold to proliferate. Water is the most likely cause of property damage in the country. It may come from overflowing sinks, plumbing leaks, drain or sewer back-ups, over-ground water from heavy rains or river/coastal flooding, and more.
If the water contains any traces of dirt, mold growth can occur even more rapidly since dirt includes organic material. Mold often appears as “growth” or even discoloration on materials like paper or wood. Colors can range from white to orange and from green to brown and black. It can produce a musty smell.
What Are the Health Effects of Mold?
Exposure to indoor mold can cause various health problems. These can range from minor irritations to allergic reactions and even serious respiratory infections.
According to the Centers for Disease Control(CDC), the Institute of Medicine (IOM) linked indoor mold exposure with upper respiratory tract symptoms, coughing, and wheezing in otherwise healthy people. The IOM also associated indoor mold exposure with respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children. For these reasons, you should always wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) around suspected mold; proper PPE includes goggles/eye protection, rubber gloves, and N-95 masks.
Furthermore, the CDC recommends that all indoor molds be eliminated, although they state, “Generally, it is not necessary to identify the species of mold growing in a residence, and the CDC does not recommend routine sampling for molds.” Since all molds have the potential to cause allergic reactions or allergy-like symptoms in people, especially in sensitive individuals, ensure that you take immediate action and eradicate them as soon as possible.
How to Prevent Mold Growth
Preventing mold in the first place can save you time, money, and stress. There are many ways to help control moisture and prevent mold growth in your home. The foremost rule to remember: If you can see or smell mold, eliminate the excess moisture, then clean and remove the mold. It’s crucial to identify and remove any sources of moisture before health and structural problems arise. Although nothing is guaranteed, follow these tips that can help prevent a mold infestation in your home.
Check Out These Mold Prevention Tips:
- Repair leaks in walls, roof, gutters, and plumbing pipes quickly to reduce moisture problems. Inspect ceilings and walls for water stains that can be telltale signs of hidden leaks.
- Avoid high humidity. Keep indoor humidity at 30-50% by using a dehumidifier, air conditioner, or opening windows and doors. Check the humidity levels daily. Do NOT use fans if mold already exists. A fan will spread the mold spores.
- Prevent condensation in your home by reducing humidity, adjusting the thermostat, and inserting insulation. Keep in mind that some areas of your house might be more susceptible and therefore require more attention, like a damp basement.
- Ventilate appliances that generate moisture (cooking stove, shower, dryer, etc.) using exhaust fans.
- Have your HVAC system inspected annually by a certified technician. Make sure your HVAC drip pans are clean and flow properly.
- After a flood, all wet areas in your home should be cleaned and dried within 48-72 hours by a water damage restoration expert.
- Prevent mold growth on indoor plant soil by adding a small quantity of taheebo tea to the water you give to the plants.
- Use mold-resistant paint, drywall, and sheetrock to prevent moisture absorption in your walls.
- If you rebuild or remodel, use water-resistant building materials, such as tile, stone, deep-sealed concrete, waterproof wallboard, water-resistant glues, etc. In moisture-prone areas, consider easy-to-clean, water-resistant floor coverings, such as vinyl or stone tile.
- Slope the ground surrounding your home away from the house foundation to keep water at bay. Provide drainage to direct water away from your home, such as a French drain or culvert drain.
- Clean your gutters and downspouts. Ensure water flow from downspouts is directed away from the foundation.
- Ventilate any crawl space as much as possible to allow for thorough drying.
What Should You Do If You Notice Mold Growth?
Cleaning and removing mold can be a dangerous task, especially if the mold is hidden and has been growing for some time. If you are not experienced in mold remediation, it is best to leave the cleanup to a professional.
If the mold spans an area smaller than 10 square feet, there are steps you can take to remove the mold yourself. Keep in mind that these are not the same steps a professional would take. Learn more about black mold remediation here. NEVER mix ammonia and bleach products together, as this creates a dangerous toxic gas.
Call PuroClean for Mold Remediation!
Follow these prevention tips to avoid mold growth throughout your property. Should you encounter mold, however, the first step is to find and eliminate the water source, then call a professional mold remediation company, such as PuroClean. Our certified, professional technicians understand and apply industry-standard approaches to remediate mold effectively
Regardless of the circumstances — dealing with mold, water damage, fire/smoke damage, or biohazard remediation — call your local PuroClean office, the “Paramedics of Property Damage®.” For all property damage situations, our professionals are standing by. We will mitigate the loss to prevent further damage and then provide restoration services to return the property to a pre-loss condition as quickly as possible.