The Path Of Resistance
Initially, Mikes landlord tried to fix the problem himself, bleaching the moldy walls. We call that spray n’ pray, said Scott Armour of the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, a global industry body for remediators. They, along with the EPA, advise against bleach for a variety of reasons, namely that fumes can be dangerous and its usually ineffective.
Bleach only works for non-porous surfaces. It cant touch the mold that has burrowed into surfaces like wood or drywall . But the most important reason bleach fails is that people dont stop the molds water supply.
First thing I do is check for leaks, in the bathroom or roof or a crack in the foundation, said Greg Bukowski, who runs the Chicago-based remediation company Moldman USA. Theres always a leak. If you dont fix that, dont bother with bleach or vinegar. Then kill and remove the mold with detergent and water, then prevent its return with mold-resistant paint like Kilz .
When bleach didnt work, Mike paid for an indoor airborne mold test, which raised more questions than it answered. We had no idea how to interpret the results. I just couldnt find any information out there that isnt written by remediation guys, he said. They told him he had the dreaded black mold, and needed professional remediation.
Tips For Mold Prevention
Wondering how you can prevent mold from affecting your home? Here are a few tips that may help you prevent mold from forming altogether.
Other Issues Brought On By Mold And Mildew
Allergens, mold and mildew can present various other wellness dangers to at-risk individuals. For example, mold can trigger infections of the skin or mucous membranes. Normally, however, mold and mildew dont create systemic infections except for individuals with impaired body immune systems, such as those who have HIV/AIDS or who are taking immunosuppressant medication.
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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.
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.
Woman Looking At Mold On Wall
Side View Of A Shocked Young Woman Looking At Mold On Wall
If mold is present in your home, you might begin to notice a damp, musty odor in a specific area. Its commonly found in bathrooms, basements and kitchens. If you notice a musty odor, you should check for damp walls, carpet, flooring and any other spaces that may be breeding grounds for mold. The key is to treat a mold problem immediately, before the infestation becomes worse or causes permanent damage.
Learn the most common areas for mold in your house, and take steps to safeguard against mold growth.
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When To Call An Expert
If the moldy area is smallit’s growing in an area smaller than 3 feet by 3 feetyou can probably do a DIY cleanup. The CDC recommends wearing an N-95 respirator and protective eyewear and gloves while handling mold. After you’ve fixed any plumbing leaks and cleaned up the water, you can scrub off the mold with a bleach solution made from no more than 1 cup of laundry bleach in 1 gallon of water.
You could also call in a professional if the water-damaged or moldy area is larger than 3 feet by 3 feet. As there are no federal mold regulations, the CDC recommends finding a specialist who’s affiliated with or certified by the National Environmental Health Association, the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification, or the American Council for Accredited Certification. If you don’t see or smell mold but suspect it’s hiddenyou know there has been water damage behind a wall or beneath a floor, for examplean experienced professional can also help find the source.
Because it can have a negative effect on health, it’s important to address mold if you see it, smell it or sense it in your home. Fortunately, and often with the help of a professional, you can clean it up and create a mold-free, safe home.
Mold Symptoms And 11 Signs That You Have Mold In Your House
Did you know that, according to the EPA, Americans spend 90% of their time at home? The professionals in the MOLDY documentary suggest that over 50% of the US population has mold and mildew problems, and 28% of the population has a genetic predisposition to mold-related health problems.
If your health is a priority, you need to understand the symptoms of mold exposure so you can act quickly to protect yourself and your family members.
In this short article, we will share the typical signs of mold exposure so you can get the better of this nasty fungus.
Most often, when we see mold on items, we simply throw away the damaged item. Some household mold can pose a much greater danger.
Some molds release a compound called mycotoxin that can cause breathing problems, migraines, and permanent neurological damage. Milder symptoms may consist of a runny nose, sneezing, or an obsessive odor.
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Testing For Mold In Your Home
If you hire a professional mold inspector to come to your home, theyll take samples from three areasthe air, the surface, and surrounding dust. They send these samples to a third-party laboratory to find out the concentration and kinds of mold in those particular areas.
However, this procedure takes time and isnt cheap. Fortunately, testing for mold in your home is a relatively easy task that can give you faster results and save you money. If youve done everything you can to prevent mold but still have reason to think the air you breathe is compromised with mold spores, check strategic locations for visible signs of mold.
Common areas of mold growth include:
- Areas around plumbing lines, even behind the drywall
- Below sinks
- Coils of HVAC air handlers or ductwork
- Between the furniture and exterior walls, particularly in basements or concrete block houses
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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How To Prevent Mold
Mold flourishes in warm, moist areas, so the key to mold prevention is controlling moisture buildup in your home. Controlling the humidity in your home and addressing leaks or water intrusions as soon as possible is the primary way to prevent mold, says Ragsdale. If you notice any water leaks, act quickly to fix the leak. If your indoor humidity levels run high, you may want to invest in a dehumidifier or air conditioner to better control the humidity. Ragsdale recommends servicing your HVAC system annually to ensure it is doing its job at controlling humidity buildup. Crawl spaces and basements are common locations for mold growth, says Rasgdale, since they are typically not climate controlled. If you cannot ventilate these areas, you may need to install a dehumidifier. Ragsdale also recommends being mindful of how you store items in these areas. For example, a pile of newspapers or magazines can soak up moisture in humid spaces and make excellent breeding grounds for mold.
Bathrooms are also hotbeds for mold growth, so be sure to run the fan or open a window during showers or baths. In addition, take care to wipe down surfaces in your shower stall to prevent mold growth. Sometimes mold grows in areas of the shower where water becomes trapped or takes a while to dry out, such as gaskets or shower door tracks. In these cases, take extra time to ensure these areas are properly dried out.
How Does Hidden Mold Happen
In this case, there is, or was, a water leak. Maybe it was the roof and it dripped down between the walls, or perhaps a plumbing leak that went unnoticed for a period of time until it was fixed and subsequently painted over, perhaps even before the mold growth was visible.
Unfortunately, sometimes landlords and homeowners will paint-and-pretend, as properly dealing with a potential mold problem can be scary and expensive. Some states also have disclosure laws surrounding mold due to its health effects, which can also encourage owners to sweep it under the rug instead of disclosing it to tenants and homebuyers and raising red flags.
This is unethical behavior, but that is why the Badger encourages MOLD TESTING during all home inspections, as you never know what a previous owner might have intentionally or unwittingly covered up.
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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.
Can I Just Get Into The Wall And Use Bleach To Clean It
It may be tempting to get into the wall and spray everything with bleach by yourself. However, if you have never done this before, it is better to call someone licensed to deal with mold. This is especially true if you have never gone into the wall and dont know how to detect how extensive the mold damage is. Leaving the eradication of mold to professionals will save not only your health but also your sanity. A professional team will have all the protective gear, detection tools and methods necessary to get rid of all the mold in your home.
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How Do You Keep Mold Out Of Buildings And Homes
Inspect buildings for evidence of water damage and visible mold as part of routine building maintenance, Correct conditions causing mold growth to prevent mold growth.
Inside your home you can control mold growth by:
- Controlling humidity levels
- Promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows, and pipes
- Thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding
- Ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas.
Can Mold Cause Health Problems
Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens , irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances . Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash .
Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.
This provides a brief overview it does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure. For more detailed information consult a health professional. You may also wish to consult your state or local health department.
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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.
Water In The Foundation
Look out for a build-up of water around your homes base. This can lead to foundational problems for your home if there is a lot of water. At your homes foundation, gathering rainwater can be prevented by sloping your yard outwards from your foundation. In the same line of thought, damp basements are another culprit. Usually, there is no good ventilation in basements. This is an indication that basements could contain higher humidity or moisture amounts compared to other rooms in the home. Also, basements are often colder which means more condensation occurs which leads to humidity and basement.
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Mold Reactions: Whos 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
In The Shower And Bathtub
Showers and bathtubs are one of the most common places you may find mold. With repeated use, these areas tend to be damp most of the time. If you arent properly ventilating during and after your shower or bath, mold spores will thrive. But mold isnt always visible and obvious be sure to check for mold on your shampoo bottles, washcloths and loofahs, shower curtain, in and around the faucet and shower head, and in the tile grout.
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How Common Is Mold In Buildings
Mold is very common in homes and buildings.
One 2017 study found mold in every public building studied, with an average of about 14 instances of mold per building.
Another involving 31 European countries found mold in 1 in 6 homes. The author noted that the prevalence of mold may vary greatly depending on the regional climate.