Household Molds That Can Lurk Inside Your Home
Mold is unfortunately, pretty much unavoidable in your home as most homes harbor some species of mold in its confines. Out of the 1,000s of mold species, there are some species that are more prone to growth indoors than others, and some that particularly grow inside homes.
There are six main species of mold that are commonly found inside homes, and each contain their own characteristics and potential health hazards.
How To Treat Black Mold Poisoning
Black mold, scientifically referred to as Stachybotrys atra or Stachybotrys chartarum, is typically black or dark green and often linked to serious health problems.
In fact, black mold exposure can lead to poisoning, or stachybotryotoxicosis a condition thats dangerous, particularly for young children and the elderly.
Even though black mold poisoning typically affects horses, cows, and pigs, humans can become infected if they inhale or ingest the spores.
Symptoms of stachybotryotoxicosis include skin rashes , throat and sinus irritation, burning eyes, and a decrease in the production of white blood cells.
How To Tell If There’s Mold In Your House
If the string of hurricanes that recently battered the Atlantic coast seemed like an anomaly, thats because it was: According to the National Hurricane Center, September 2017 was the most active tropical storm month on record, ushering in flooding of homes and buildings from Texas to Puerto Rico.
If your home was damaged by floodwaters, youll need to take quick action to dry out your furniture, carpeting, and walls. Too much moisture and standing water can be a breeding ground for mold, which could trigger breathing problems or contribute to an infection. But even if your home hasnt been damaged in a hurricane or flood, you likely still have mold in your house.
In fact, mold is everywhere. Even in the cleanest of homes, its impossible to eliminate entirely. Every time you open a window or go outside, mold can be ushered in through the air or by attaching itself to your clothing and shoes. Once indoors, it can grow in the walls, carpeting, upholstery, and more. Truth is, mold is good at reproducing anywhere there is moisture mold has existed for millions of years and has picked up a few survival tricks along the way.
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Stale And Musty Odors
Mold, whether it is visible or not, emits an unusual and unpleasant odor. If an area in your home persistently smells musty, there is a good possibility there is mold in the room. You can follow the odor to where it is strongest, find the mold and remove it. However, if the mold is in an unreachable place, like inside walls, you need to call in a professional to help you remove the growth
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.
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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.
The Grout Between Your Shower Tiles Is Dark
Surprise: thats probably mold. The good news is that its likely the harmless type.
However, if there was recently a leak in the bathroom plumbing or flooding in an adjacent room, you might be dealing with a more toxic kind of fungus that should only be removed by professionals. Send a sample off to be tested so you can confirm your shower is safe.
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How To Test For Mold
You probably dont need to do mold testing or buy a mold test kit, especially if the fungus is visible. Because the health effects of mold vary from person to person, the CDC says that if you can see it or smell it, it should be removed, no matter what type of mold is in your home.
While its not possible to completely eliminate mold in your house, you can prevent a build-up by cleaning up any wet or damp spots and fixing any existing water leaks.
Neither the CDC nor the EPA recommends doing routine mold samplingsboth organizations point out that there are no federal limits for mold in buildings, so people cant check their apartment complexs compliance with the law, for example. Plus, the testing can be expensive.
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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Can You Get Sick From Mold In Your House
Yes. Those will allergies, compromised immune systems, asthma, or other such issues are at a higher risk as even minor, non-toxic molds could cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. Mold in your house is rarely life-threatening. However, prolonged exposure is far from ideal for a number of reasons.
Your Seasonal Allergies Never Subside
If you seasonal allergies are dragging on and on, there might be a moldy reason for your endless sniffles.
Symptoms of mold exposure can mimic or even worsen existing seasonal allergies. If your symptoms seem to improve during the day while youre at work before worsening in the evening upon your return home, that might be a clue.
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Products And Tools Youll Need To Test For Mold In Your Home
The only thing you need to test for mold at home is a test kit. In addition to the ones previously mentioned, there are several options available:
- Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit: This kit includes three tests. Your sample can be tested for an additional $40 fee, with results delivered by e-mail or via the companys app.
- MoldCheck Multi-Test Kit: This kit includes supplies to perform ten tests, which is great for an entire home or monitoring an ongoing infestation. However, there is no lab testing option, so you will need to find your own if you need identification.
- ImmunoLytics Mold Screening Test Kit: Perform eight tests with this kit. Each plate can be tested for $33 each.
- My Mold Detective: If you are looking for a more advanced mold monitoring option, the My Mold Detective is a reusable air sampling pump that collects samples in just five minutes. The device comes with four sampling cassettes that can be tested in a lab for $35 each.
- My Mold Detective Additional Samples: The My Mold Detective can be used again and again, so order as many samples as you need to keep tabs on your mold problem.
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.
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Mold Toxicity: The Effects Of Living With Mold
Rapid growth and an overtaking of your environment are a few characteristics that can be used to describe the dreaded but common household issue that we know as mold. Mold is a fungus that can grow on almost anything, with the ability to thrive in many conditions but most specifically in warm temperatures and high moisture environments.
The versatility of mold allows for this fungus to grow in both indoor and outdoor environments, making it an invasive presence in both your outdoor area and most importantly in your indoor areas such as your home. When you are exposed to mold chronically, you can develop mold toxicity symptoms.
Mold has the ability to spread far and wide, as tiny microscopic spores called mycotoxins, are released from the source in an effort to allow additional mold to grow. As mold begins to reproduce, its effect on humans who have been exposed could be significant.
Sensitivities can plague some individuals when contact occurs between mold, with symptoms spurring into overdrive in some cases. The type of mold present can lead to variations of symptoms, with a rough estimate of 1,000 species of mold currently in the United States . The level of hazard existing to human health can significantly reflect based upon on the specific type of mold in the environment and can thus lead to a scary health effect called mold toxicity.
Who Is Most At Risk For Health Problems Associated With Exposure To Mold
People with allergies may be more sensitive to molds. People with immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections. Individuals with chronic respiratory disease may experience difficulty breathing. Individuals with immune suppression are at increased risk for infection from molds. If you or your family members have these conditions, a qualified medical clinician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment.
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Your Asthma Is Acting Up
Mold spores can find their way into the lungs and trigger asthma symptoms. One study found that dampness or mold in houses could account for one in five cases of asthma in the United States. If your asthma seems to be getting worse, you may have undetected mold in your house, according to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America. The group warns that mold can also cause a rare but more serious condition called allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis: This is a dramatic allergic and inflammatory reaction that leads to severe sneezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.
Warning Signs To Look For
The major issue with mold in the house is that it can lead to very problematic health issues for anyone living in the home and can contribute to structural damage. This is why it is so important to pay attention to any signs that mold may be growing in your house. The good news is that mold is often easy to identify, especially when a large growth has formed.
Key mold indicators to be on the lookout for are:
What should you do if you detect mold in your house? You should schedule a professional mold inspection right away. They can do a full sweep of your house to determine just how serious your mold problem is.
It is a good idea to contact a toxic mold lawyer if you discover mold in your home but you are not the property owner. Renters should not have to pay for the cost of removing mold, repairing damages, or medical bills for mold exposure in a property they do not own.
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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.
What Are The Signs Of Mold In Your House
13 sneaky signs there might be mold in your house
- Your air conditioning or heating smells weird. …
- The grout between your shower tiles is dark. …
- Your wallpaper is peeling. …
- You feel like you have a cold that just won’t go away. …
- You find dark or colored spots on your walls. …
- Your asthma mysteriously worsens. …
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Signs That Imply You Have Mold In Your House
A residential or commercial mold infestation is one of the worst things anyone can come across. Mold infestation can easily turn your dream house to a nightmarish dwelling.
Its not just the musty smell or unbearable indoor atmosphere, the fact that commercial or residential mold infestation can easily start affecting the health of the individuals involved is alarming.
This is one of the major reasons why we recommend leaving the task of mold repairs or cleanup to professionals.
What is mold?
Mold is typically a fungus constituting of small organisms. Their ubiquitous presence is a blessing for the outdoors as they play a crucial role in decomposing dead leaves and trees.
However, these fungi thrive indoors fast and alarmingly in damp conditions to release spores. Inhaling mold spores in large numbers can trigger health problems.
This post covers the top 5 hidden signs of mold that imply mold infestation in your house.
You are sick and never better
Even though you are exposed to mold spores on a daily basis, constant exposure, especially while being indoors can trigger some alarming health problems.
Prolonged mold exposure can second the infiltration of these spores to lungs which has been observed as one of the common triggers for asthma symptoms.
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.
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