To Prevent Mold Growth In Your Home
- Keep humidity levels in your home as low as you canno higher than 50%all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. You can buy a meter to check your homes humidity at a home improvement store. Humidity levels change over the course of a day so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
- Be sure the air in your home flows freely. Use exhaust fans that vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
- Fix any leaks in your homes roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
- Clean up and dry out your home fully and quickly after a flood.
- Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting. You can buy mold inhibitors at paint and home improvement stores.
- Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
- Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried right away. Think about not using carpet in places like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.
- To learn more about preventing mold in your home, see the Environmental Protection Agencys book A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home at .
Know Where It Spreads
Have you ever smelled a musty aroma in a damp room? Mold is a type of fungus, and it can grow on just about anything. It thrives in humidity and warmth, making the bathroom and kitchen ideal environments for growth. Potential hotspots are the bathroom, the kitchen, and even the bedroom.
A common myth is that it can only grow on certain materials. Spores can spread on fabric, glass, paper, wood, and plastic in your home. They can even start to digest the material that they grow on.
Each mold type has preferences for where they like to grow:
- Aspergillus tends to grow on powdery substances. This includes food, dust, and drywall.
- Alternaria shows up where its damp. This could be a leak, a shower or bath, or under the sink.
- Cladosporium ends up on fabric and wood in cool or warm climates.
- Penicillium shows up in water damage with a blueish greenish hue.
Fungi like this can be of various colors, textures, and forms, so dont rule something out as safe just because it doesnt look like what youre used to.
Know How to Spot It
Its important to realize that mold is not always visible. This fungus can be detectable by smell, and symptoms, as well as appearance. It can smell musty and stale and cause respiratory symptoms and flare-ups like triggering asthma attacks. Sometimes, these symptoms may be the first sign to you that you could have mold.
How Do I Get Rid Of Mold
It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean up the mold, but don’t fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back.
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Spotting And Fur On Your Walls
There are so many varieties of mold that you can’t really identify the type based on specific shape, size or color. It can appear as a furry, dark growth, as a black stain, or as black, white, orange, green or brown specks. Rather than look for out-of-the-ordinary, multi-colored flakes in every inch of your home, identify areas that are moist and then look for possible signs of mold. The fungus thrives in cool, damp areas, and it will be much easier to find it by limiting your search to areas that are affected by excess moisture. Yes, paint and wallpaper gets stained and marked from every day living, but if you see a pattern to the stains, or they appear in the corners of a room, this is usually a good indicator that mold is present.
How Mold Affects Your Health
Mold produces irritants and allergens that can cause various reactions when inhaled or touched. Reactions to mold are often allergic symptoms such as sneezing, red eyes, runny nose and skin rashes.
Sensitive individuals may experience immediate reactions when in contact with mold. Others, on the other hand, might have delayed symptoms .
Individuals with asthma may have an especially hard time when in a room with mold. Mold can trigger asthma attacks while irritating the throat, lungs, nose and eyes.
People who dont suffer from allergies or asthma may also experience irritation in the eyes, nose, lungs and throat.
One mold species, in particular, can be more hazardous than others Stachybotrys chartarum. This species is generally referred to as black mold or toxic mold. Despite the name, this mold is actually more greenish in color and is gooier in texture compared to other species.
Black mold can grow on surfaces high in cellulose and low in nitrogen. These include fiberboards, paper, dust and lint. This mold requires constant moisture in order to grow, so its commonly found near water damage, leaks and after floods.
While mold, in general, isnt toxic or poisonous, some species such as black mold can produce toxic byproducts. One of these is called mycotoxins. However, little research is available as to how it affects peoples health .
How To Test For Mold In 6 Steps
Mold infestations can usually be seen or smelled, but they can also remain hidden behind walls or under carpets. Testing isnt necessary if you can see or smell mold that is confirmation enough to call a professional and begin the remediation process. Testing for mold in the house may be necessary if requested by a health professional or needed for legal purposes, such as a lawsuit with a landlord. Another reason to consider testing is if you arent able to see or smell mold in your home but are having unexplained symptoms associated with mold. Always follow the instructions provided with a test kit , but this is generally what to expect:
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Our products are very safe to use in home and work environments. The EPA has classified many of our products as hospital grade disinfectants. This classification makes them one of the safest antifungal antimicrobials available on the market today. BioCide Labs products are safely used in schools, daycares, food manufacturers, hospitals, and homes across the country. We pride ourselves on helping keep our clients homes and work a clean and healthy place to be.
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How To Test For Black Mold
Do you keep getting a whiff of something musty in your bathroom or basement? Afraid it might be mold? Learn about three of the most popular kits to test for mold at home.
Its no secret that damp areas of the home provide the perfect conditions for mold and mildew to grow. Whether your nose knows, or your eyes spy dark spots in strategic locations, you want to make sure.
Mold doesnt just eat away at your wood, wallpaper, or grout. Its spores get airborne and cause all kinds of health problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says enough evidence exists to link mold to upper respiratory tract symptoms like itchy eyes and runny nose to cough and wheeze in otherwise healthy people.
Mold Inspectors And Testing
Hiring a mold inspector is like a crap shoot. There is such a wide variance of quality when it comes to inspectors. Inspectors have different levels of education and experience ranging from a weekend internet course to professionally trained building biologists, engineers, HVAC/IAQ professionals. You can read about the challenges of finding the right inspector and remediators HERE.
When you ask a mold remediator whether they will be able to remove ALL of the mold, every true professional will admit that it is impossible to make that claim! This is because homes regularly experience water or moisture issues as part of their yearly wear and tear. In many cases, a small leak or water issue may grow mold and simply dry out over a few days. In these cases, the mold dries and becomes dormant. It can reactivate when faced with moisture in the future.
Does that mean that the mold is dangerous if it is in drywall or within walls? Sometimes it remains harmless. However, in order to fully remove all mold, virtually all drywall would have to be removed and all framing and flooring would have to be treated or remediated. A remediator would have to drill every 2 feet and at multiple heights to reach all areas between the 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 wooden wall studs. It is often adequate to use a moisture meter to identify moisture issues and repair where the active mold is reproducing.
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Your Bathroom Exhaust Fan Is On The Fritz
Mold is a particularly common problem in bathrooms with inadequate ventilation, says Yoel Piotraut, a managing partner at MyHome Design + Remodeling. A bathroom exhaust fan is an essential tool to keep toxic mold at baybut it wont work if its clogged or not running well. In fact, if its still steamy five to ten minutes after you get out of the shower, your fan isnt circulating enough air. It may need to be cleaned or replaced with a unit that meets the square footage of your bathroom. Piotraut also suggests cleaning the walls regularly with a bleach solution or other mold-killing product. These are the household items you use that could be poisoning your air.
How Can I Check For Mold
Its best to hire a professional to help you identify and remove mold, especially if youre allergic or vulnerable to it.
You should also consider hiring help if the mold covers more than 10 square feet or if its hidden behind wallpaper, ceiling tiles, or other areas.
Here are some steps for identifying and removing mold.
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For Detecting And Tackling Mold Spores
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Mold can grow anywhere it finds moisture and organic nutrients, like wood or paper, to feed on. You may find it in a corner of your bathroom, laundry room, or basement, or any space that doesn’t have quality ventilation. If you come across mold, it’s imperative to remove it quickly and safely, as mold can be detrimental to your familys health. However, it can be a little difficult to know if mold exists in your home , which is where at-home mold testing comes in.
Mold testing kits help you detect and even identify growing spores in your home, through samples collected via the air or from the surface in question. Some give you results right away, while others ask you to package the samples and send them back to a lab for professional examination. With the resulting information, you can get the peace-of-mind that you’re looking for while making all of the necessary arrangements to remove the harmful fungi, or know your cleaning efforts were effective.
Here, the best at-home mold tests, that are both easy to use and effective.
How Do You Test For Mold Spores In The Air
The most common and reliable way to test for mold spores in the air is through non-viable air sampling. This is also called a spore trap analysis.
A trained indoor environmental professional will collect samples of air, using a calibrated air pump. The air will be collected onto non-viable mediums, called cassettes.
The microscopic airborne spores get pulled into these cassettes, which have an adhesively coated glass slide medium. As mold spores enter in, they become impacted into the glass slide medium.
The cassettes are then delivered and microscopically analyzed by a trained environmental microscopist or mycologist at an accredited laboratory.
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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.
How Much Does It Cost To Test Your House For Mold
Getting your home professionally inspected for mold isnt cheap. The average cost for an inspection is around $650. But, it can range between $250 and $1000 depending on the size and location of your house .
Many homeowners are enticed by the affordability of DIY test kits, usually available at around $40 or less. However, its crucial to get the house inspected by professionals if mold is detected or suspected.
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Common Types Of House Mold
Wondering what types of mold are the most common in houses and which ones you should be concerned about? Lets discuss a few of the most common types of household mold now.
- Cladosporium Cladosporium is one of the most common household molds. It usually grows in a greenish-brown colony, but can also be nearly black in color. It is rarely harmful unless you have a mold allergy, but may cause minor issues like toenail or fingernail infections.
- Penicillium Penicillium is sometimes called green mold, as it is usually dark green in color. It tends to grow in large, consistent patches on the walls. As the name suggests, penicillin is derived from some kinds of this mold. However, some kinds of penicillium mold may be toxic to humans and animals.
- Aspergillus This type of mold is usually greenish-white in color, and may be more raised with a more cloudy appearance than other types of mold. It is not harmful, unless you have a weakened immune system, in which case it could infect the lungs or sinuses.
- Alternaria Alternaria mold is usually greenish-white, but can also appear in black patches, so its sometimes confused with black mold. Alternaria can be a factor in exacerbating asthma, particularly for those who may have mold allergies.
Additional Ways To Light The Grill
If this method has not been working, you can also do a charcoal grill start with a chimney starter, as described by Food & Wine. Pack the bottom of the grill with newspaper and place the charcoal right on top of it. Light the bottom and the flames will work their way into the charcoal. Do not put on the charcoal grates until the coals have turned white.
There is a third way to arrange the coals in your grill with three heating zones. Place a double-thick layer on the side farthest from you this will be the hot zone. Rake out the rest in the middle in a single layer to serve as a moderate zone and leave the last third empty as the cool zone. This can allow you to shift around the food as you are cooking. If something cooks faster, you can keep it on one of the other parts.
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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 whose immune systems are compromised due to HIV infection, cancer, liver disease, or chemotherapy
- People with chronic lung disease
You Notice A Bit Of A Musty Or Damp Smell
If you notice that your home has a bit of a moldy or musty smell to it, that might also indicate that there may be a mold issue.
“Many different mold species have different odors, so it is difficult to pinpoint the exact smell, however, if it is an odor that isn’t common in your home or building, then it should be investigated,” George Hernandez, the vice president of operations at PuroClean, told INSIDER.
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Insurance Requires Mold Testing Proof
You will need to prove to the insurance company that your home has mold present in order to cover the damages. To do this, you will first need to hire a professional mold inspection company to conduct tests. The test results will give you the scientific evidence to support your insurance claim including the amount, type, and cause of mold.
The same goes for tenants of rental homes. If you are a renter and have concerns about mold contamination, your landlord should pay for the mold test to prove that mold damage is present.
Fungus In The Furniture
Mildew is attracted to moist leather and wood, and mold particles are more likely to be retained in porous materials like upholstered furniture and foam. Frequently inspect thefibers of your furniturefor any discolored spots, fuzz or spores.
Does your furniture seem a little funky? Mold particles are attracted to porous materials like upholstered furniture and foam. Be sure to inspect the fibers of your couches and chairs for any discolored spots, fuzz or spores.
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