A Qualified Environmental Lab Took Samples Of The Mold In My Home And Gave Me The Results Can Cdc Interpret These Results
Standards for judging what is an acceptable, tolerable or normal quantity of mold have not been established. Sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable quantity of mold have not been set. The best practice is to remove the mold and work to prevent future growth. If you do decide to pay for environmental sampling for molds, before the work starts, you should ask the consultants who will do the work to establish criteria for interpreting the test results. They should tell you in advance what they will do or what recommendations they will make based on the sampling results. The results of samples taken in your unique situation cannot be interpreted without physical inspection of the contaminated area or without considering the buildings characteristics and the factors that led to the present condition.
Cleaning Your Home Room By Room For Best Mold Prevention
Whether you are starting with the bathroom or bedroom, there are some tasks you should do in every single room of your home, from dusting your ceiling to vacuuming the floors. With each step you take, thoroughly examine your home for possible signs of mold. If it is light-colored, it is probably mildew, and only mildew can be treated with home products. If you are not sure if it is mold or mildew, let professionals test it for you!
The Bottom Line On Testing For Mold
The cleanup procedures for treating mold are the same, whether it is black mold or another type, so it isnt always necessary to test for mold if you can see or smell it. But if you have a specific reason for identifying types of mold in your home or suspect you have mold but cant find the source, a do-it-yourself mold test is extremely easy to conduct.
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Getting To The Root Of The Problem
Mold can affect your health in different ways some people have severe reactions while others dont experience any.
Common health effects of mold include hay fever-like symptoms such as a runny nose and red eyes. If you have allergies or asthma, youll likely experience more severe reactions such as asthma attacks or skin rashes.
Mold spreads and reproduces through spores in the air. You can buy DIY home test kits to help determine whether or not theres mold present in your home. Yet, as popular as these tests are, you shouldnt rely on them entirely. Always follow up with a professional inspection and treatment.
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Top Tips For Controlling Mold
It’s impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores in your home, but because mold spores can’t grow without moisture, reducing moisture in your home is the best way to prevent or eliminate mold growth. If there is already mold growing in your home, it’s important to clean up the mold and fix the problem causing dampness. If you clean up the mold but don’t fix the problem, the mold will most likely return.
Following is some advice for reducing moisture throughout the home with specific tips for the areas most prone to dampness and mold growth:
Around the house:
In the kitchen:
- Use exhaust fans to move moisture outside whenever you are cooking, washing dishes, or cleaning.
- Turn off certain appliances if you notice moisture on windows and other surfaces.
- Check for leaks around the kitchen sink, refrigerator ice makers, and other sources of water. Repair if necessary.
- Empty and clean refrigerator drip pans if necessary.
In basements and crawl spaces:
In the laundry room:
- Vent your clothes dryer to the outside.
- Make sure the vent is clear of obstructions, such as lint, and that there are no holes that leak air. If the vent duct is damaged, replace it with a metal duct. Have the duct cleaned at least once a year.
- Avoid leaving damp clothes in the laundry basket or dryer. Wash and dry them promptly.
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In Severe Cases Symptoms Caused By Inhaling Black Mold Can Lead To The Following Health Troubles:
- Respiratory complications
Sometimes mold invades spaces that are hard to see and reach. It spreads fast, burrowing into walls and ceilings and hiding in cupboards and under carpets. Quite often, people are exposed to black mold without even knowing it. If you or anyone in your home is experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms without knowing why, you may be exposed to mold.
Black mold should be approached with extreme caution. Tackling black mold without proper knowledge and equipment is unsafe. The suspected contamination should always be examined and removed by professionals.
A professional black mold removal service will tackle the contamination with advanced equipment and technology. For instance, protective masks and gear should be worn at all times, to ensure maximum safety.
Should I Be Concerned About Mold In My Home
Yes, if the contamination is extensive. When airborne mold spores are present in large numbers, they can cause allergic reactions, asthma episodes, infections, and other respiratory problems for people. Exposure to high spore levels can cause the development of an allergy to the mold. Mold can also cause structural damage to your home. Similarly, when wood goes through a period of wetting, then drying, it can eventually warp and cause walls to crack or become structurally weak.
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Check The Humidity Level Regularly
The ideal humidity level in the house should be between 30% and 50%. A high level of humidity leads to excess moisture, which creates the perfect conditions for mold to develop. You can check the humidity level by yourself or you can ask professionals to check it for you.
In case your humidity level is high, professionals can immediately check for mold spores and even mold signs. In addition, mold removal experts will advise you on proper dehumidifiers and any additional steps needed to remove mold from your home.
Dry Wet Walls Immediately
Mold needs moisture to grow and the best way to prevent this from happening is to cut the liquid source from them. As soon as a pipe or roof leaks, wet materials, especially drywall which is high in cellulose, should be removed and replaced. If the leak is small and has access to fresh air , you can let it dry out on its own by simply leaving the window open.
On the other hand, if you have problems with basement walls or with a lot of liquid , the smartest move is to quickly before they become home to mold. Timing is essential thus, it is important to act as soon as the problem occurs.
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Extent Of Mould Growth
It is important to determine the extent of the mould problem in your home to help you decide on the clean-up procedure. An area of mould is considered small if it covers one square metre or less. There should be no more than three patches of mould, with the total area staying within one square metre. Many small patches of mould in one area or throughout your home are a sign of moisture problems that need to be investigated and corrected right away.
If ignored, small mould areas may become larger over time, so it is important to clean them up before the problem gets bigger. A small amount of mould may be cleaned up using proper procedures and protective equipment.
The area of mould is considered medium if there are more than three patches of mould , but the total area is less than three square metres. In this case, assessment by a qualified professional is recommended but in most cases a medium amount of mould may be cleaned up using proper procedures and protective equipment .
An area of mould is considered large if a single patch of mould is larger than three square metres. Health Canada does not recommend that an unqualified person clean up large areas of mould. You may need a professional assessment to determine why the mould is there in the first place and how to clean it up.
Mold Reactions: Who’s At Risk
For people sensitive to mold, inhaling or touching mold spores can cause allergic reactions, including sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. People with serious mold allergies may have more severe reactions, including shortness of breath. In people with asthma who are allergic to mold, breathing in spores can also cause asthma attacks.
In addition to people with allergies and asthma, others who may be more sensitive to the effects of mold include:
- Infants and children
- People with chronic lung disease
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Most Common Places To Check For Mold In Your Home
If you have allergies or a chronic lung disease like asthma, youre probably very aware of the effect mold can have on your health. But even if you have a healthy immune system and no allergies, mold can cause a variety of health problems coughing, wheezing, and throat, skin, and eye irritation, to name a few. Mold is everywhere and, though you cant fully control your exposure to it outdoors or in public spaces, you can check for mold in common places around your home and take measures to prevent and remove it.
Mold Poisoning Symptoms In Humans
Mold poisoning can cause a number of different symptoms, depending on the age of the affected individual, the strength of their immune system, and whether or not they have a pre-existing mold allergy. Here are a few of the most common signs and symptoms of mold poisoning in humans.
- A stuffy or runny nose
- Sinus issues or infections
- Worsening or development of asthma
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Skin itchiness, redness, or discomfort
- Fever and shortness of breath
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You Visibly See Mold Spores
Of course one of the most obvious ways to determine that you have mold in your house is if you can see it. The downside? If you see a ton of visible mold, it can be an indicator that you have a big problem on your hands.
“Once you see it, you’ve got a big mold problem because what you’re seeing is literally just the tip of the iceberg,” Kelly Hayes-Raitt, a housesitter and the former director of the HomeSafe Campaign in California, told INSIDER.
Simply scrubbing the visible mold with soap and a sponge won’t actually get rid of the mold. So if you see visible mold, you need to reach out to a mold remediation company or another expert to help you get things under control, including any leaks that may have caused the issue in the first place.
Vacuum The Carpets And Wipe The Floors
Although carpets and rugs look beautiful, unfortunately, we often overlook the potential danger of mold growth on them. Since we can blame it on dirt and moisture, in order to prevent mold, all you have to do is clean the carpets and floors thoroughly at least once during spring cleaning.
The old rules mandate that you roll up the rugs, then vacuum and clean the floors in every single room. Move your furniture so that you can reach every corner of your room to ensure there are no dirty or moldy places.
If you can, leave the carpets out of your home and invest in renewing your floors and making them look shiny again. If you have vinyl or linoleum floors, you can clean them with a floor polish designed for these surfaces. Most stone and tile floors can be easily treated with a special paste or liquid wax.
In case you have to keep your carpets, inspect them thoroughly and deep clean them before you bring them back in to ensure there is no mold on them. In addition, you need to dry them well because dirt is not the only food source for mold.
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Common Mold Hiding Places
All mold needs to grow is moisture, darkness and warmth, but where exactly should you look when you suspect a mold problem? Here are a few common places around the house where mold is likely to grow :
- Behind appliances such as a refrigerator or dishwasher.
- Behind drywalls where plumbing pipes are located.
- Underneath cardboard or old newspapers.
- Beneath sinks.
- Under carpets, particularly in the padding.
Signs You Might Have Toxic Mold In Your Home
Seeing mold growing on an old piece of bread is creepy enough, but mold in the home is something next level. It might not be a problem you think about regularly, but if you feel like you have some weird health issues, you might be exhibiting some signs that you have toxic mold in your home. Since mold isn’t always visible or easy to spot, it’s important to know what to look out for so you can take care of any issues if you have some â you don’t want your health to suffer just because your house looks clean enough.
“Although toxic mold can bring on the most serious health problems, all mold and mildew can cause health issues â especially for those who suffer from allergies,” says Robert Weitz, a certified microbial investigator and principal of RTK Environmental Group, over email. “An important thing to consider: Do you feel bad at home or at work, but feel better when you leave? Itâs very likely a mold or indoor air quality issue.”
If you suspect you have mold in your home, look out for these seven telltale signs. These signs can help you identify a potential problem, but if you feel that mold has made its way in, schedule a test. An independent testing company will provide you with an unbiased assessment of the situation, determine what type of mold is growing in your home, and determine the proper course of action to remove it.
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Moisture: Investigating And Solving Problems
Mould will grow indoors if moisture is present. Moisture problems in homes may result from:
- daily activities such as showering or bathing, washing clothes or cooking, if exhaust fans are not working properly or are not used
- infiltration of water from the outside when there are cracks or leaks in the foundation, floor, walls or roof
- plumbing leaks
- moisture condensation on cold surfaces
- flooding due to weather conditions
- inadequate ventilation.
Moisture indoors accumulates when it cannot be vented outside and becomes a problem when building materials become damp or wet.
Moisture problems are preventable.
Unless the cause of the moisture problem has been identified and solved, mould will reappear. Once the moisture problem and its causes have been identified, they must be fixed. To prevent future problems, measures should be put in place to control sources of moisture in your home, for example:
- Ensure rain, irrigation water and snowmelt drain away from the house by sloping the grade away from the building.
- Keep eavestroughs and downspouts clean of debris and ensure that the outflow runs away from the house and not into neighbouring foundations.
- Repair plumbing leaks promptly.
- Use exhaust fans, ventilation and air conditioning systems to vent moisture outdoors.
- Use moisture tolerant materials in areas likely to get wet .
Run a dehumidifier in damp areas such as basements or if you observe that moisture is condensing on cold surfaces such as window panes.
I Have Black Mould On My Ceiling So It Must Be The Toxic Kind
Its important to note that colour has nothing to do with potency or toxicity. Chaetomium, for example, is considered by some scientists to be even more toxic than Stachybotrys, and yet it grows white or peach when cultured.Many mould species are toxic. Actually most moulds have the potential to be toxic, and the majority of molds are allergenic, so it has no place in an indoor environment, but just because mould is black, it does not mean that it is producing toxins or that it will cause symptoms. Therefore, mould species cannot be identified based on colour or by visual inspection a microscope is needed to discern each species.
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How To Find Hidden Black Mold In Your Home
Do you suspect you have mold hidden in your home? Whether you can visibly see mold growing or can smell an unpleasant earthy odor, mold is a common problem in houses with water damage or leaks. If you see signs of mold in your home, a black mold test can be performed on a sample to determine if it is indeed mold, what toxic variety it is, and what should be done about it.
The Trouble With Mold In The Home
Mold is a fungus that comes in various colors and shapes. While some molds are visible and even odorous, mold can also grow between walls, under floors and ceilings, or in less accessible spots, such as basements and attics. Mold does best in water-soaked materials , but can survive in almost any damp location. Mold can grow in houses situated in the desert, and it can grow in homes in hot and humid climes.
Here are some common places in a home where mold is likely to take hold:
- around leaking pipes, windows, or roofs
- basements or other places that have flooded and haven’t been thoroughly dried
- tightly sealed buildings , which trap excess moisture inside, and
- homes with poor ventilation, numerous over-watered houseplants, and housekeeping habits that ignore obvious dampness and don’t include airing the place out.
Besides presenting an ugly appearance and, sometimes, an unpleasant odor, mold can cause health problems. In the worst cases, a few types of molds produce mycotoxins, which can cause rashes, seizures, unusual bleeding, respiratory problems, and severe fatigue in some people. Fortunately, most molds are of the non-toxic variety.
For more on the hazards of mold, see the article on this site: Toxic Mold Health Risks and the resources listed below.
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