What Is The Difference Between Mold And Mildew
MildewmoldIf your Total Body Burden is high, or you are genetically predisposed to recycling toxins, regular exposure to mold can cause allergy symptoms, such as:
In The Walls And On The Floor
From top to bottom, mold growth is likely in a bathroom. In addition to the places mentioned above, pay attention to any water leaks coming from the walls or floors these leaks can cause mold to grow quickly. Bathroom rugs are also known to harbor mold, and are usually not washed as often as they should be.
Some tips to keep your bathroom free of mold
- Use a ventilation fan during your bath or shower, and keep it on for at least 30 minutes after
- Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to keep humidity levels down throughout your home
- Keep all surfaces, including counters and floors, clean and dry
- Check for leaky faucets and pipes
What Is Mold Where Did It Come From
Before we talk about the symptoms of mold, lets think about what mold is and how it ends up in your home.
From the arctic to equator and all the places in between, mold lives literally everywhere. Molds are fungi, and grow from microscopic spores that are everywhere in the air. Molds are important for recycling organic matter . The recycling process they perform returns nutrients to the soil, and is important for plants to grow.
In order to grow, molds need four things to grow: oxygen, moisture, a food source, and the right temperature range . It is difficult to impossible to control the temperature and amount of oxygen in the unconditioned spaces in your home . So, lets think about the things you can control when it comes to mold.
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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.
Preventing Mold In Your Home
The best way to keep your family safe from black mold is to prevent it from growing. Since mold grows in damp, dark places, you should aim to improve ventilation and reduce humidity in areas that are prone to mold.
In your bathrooms, for example, you can use a shower squeegee to remove excess water from shower walls and bathroom mirrors. You can also install a vent fan or open a window when showering to allow humidity to leave the room. These steps help reduce the moisture in your bathroom and make it more difficult for black mold to grow.
Make searching for black mold or potential growth areas a part of your spring cleaning routine. The sooner you catch a mold growth, the better chance you have to get rid of it before it causes health problems.
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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.
Perform A Visual Inspection
If you suspect you have mold, the first step is to perform a thorough visual inspection of your home. You will recognize mold as spots that can appear in many different colors. Mold thrives on moisture, so pay particular attention to roofs, windows, pipes, basements, laundry areas, bathrooms, previously flooded spaces, and so on. Mold commonly appears on fibrous surfaces like drywall, upholstery, wallpaper, fabrics, and cardboard. If you see any signs of mold, call a professional.
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Know When To Clean And When To Call
Its not hard to take care of mold as a homeowner, but its a good idea to know when to call in the pros. If you smell a musty odor in your home you cant identify, or have health problems associated with mold, its time to call in the professionals. If an area of mold covers more than around 10 square feet, there is a good chance the mold problem is more than an isolated issue, and its time to call the professionals.
Especially if you dont live in our service area, check out our post: How to Choose the Best Black Mold Removal Company. We help you know all the questions to ask and give you all the correct answers.
The company you choose should know all the answers to the questions in our article. Dont get scammed! Get smart! Always ask a lot of questions before hiring anyone to work on your home.
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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How To Get Rid Of Mold In Your House
Identifying the source of where the mold is coming from is the first step. While you may consider using a homemade, non-toxic cleaner to remove the mold, I would unquestionably advise you to hire a company who are experts at mold, and mold remediation.
Consider doing a search for mold cleaning services in google to find a reputable company with experience in removing mold. While you may want to save a few bucks, the expertise of a professional company in being able to help solve the root cause of the mold growth, prevent it from coming back, as well as reduce your exposure to the mold during the cleaning process will likely be completely worth it.
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What Mold Smells Like
Mold has a damp, musty scentsimilar to what youd smell after opening an old book. In general, smell is not a good way to determine if there is a mold problem, says Laureen Burton, a staff chemist and toxicologist for the Environmental Protection Agency . The smell of indoor molds can differ depending on the type of mold, the surface on which its growing, and its source of moisture. Plus, she says, some people dont notice a smell at all.
The mold smell is caused by microbial volatile organic compounds , which are substances that are naturally produced by molds as they grow. The health effects of inhaling mVOCs are largely unknown, says Burton, although exposure to some mVOCs has been linked to symptoms such as headaches, nasal irritation, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.
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What Mold Looks Like
Molds are a type of fungus and can look like their fungal cousins, mushrooms and yeasts. Outdoors, molds can be seen gobbling up the dead organic matter on decomposing surfaces like fallen leaves and rotting logs indoors, house mold thrives in wet, humid environments like bathrooms and basements or anywhere that has recently flooded. There are thousands of types of mold, and their appearance can vary depending on the type of mold and where its growing.
The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum , is also sometimes found in homes and other buildings. This greenish-black growth can grow on fiberboard, paper, dust, and lint, particularly in areas that may have recently flooded or suffered other types of water damage. While black mold can certainly look scary, the CDC says that Stachybotrys chartarum isnt any more harmful than other types of mold.
Get A Professional Mold Inspection
Mold is a difficult thing to find. Step 1 should be a comprehensive mold and indoor air quality inspection. The company you choose for the inspection should offer a comprehensive mold inspection that you pay for, not hand over a price without truly investigating the problem. Your inspector should define the extent of the necessary work and what may or may not need to be done. The inspector should talk you through all your options and tailor a plan that fits your needs and your budget.
Check out our post: Do You Have Mold? How to Choose Between a Paid or Free Mold Inspection to learn about a problem we solved for a homeowner that was NOT mold.
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Check For Colored Spots
One of the easiest ways to figure out if theres mold in your attic is to look for colored spots throughout the area.
It also helps that mold commonly possesses colors that stand out from its surroundings, such as pink, yellow, orange, or white. These are all different species of mold that, while not immediately harmful, can cause complications over time.
Other colors to watch out for are gray and black. These are typically more harmful than other types of mold and tend to spread quickly throughout the attic.
Greenish black, however, is more of a concern. This is the color of the infamous black mold you often hear about being a problem in homes.
Prolonged exposure to black mold can lead to severe health problems, such as lung complications and memory loss.
How To Detect Mold In Walls
If there is an area of your home where you think mold may be present in the walls due to smell, a strange appearance of the wall, or any other factor there are a few ways you can test this.
The simplest way is to probe the area with a screwdriver. If the area is soft or the screwdriver easily pierces the drywall, mold likely has rotted the surface away, and youll be able to see it once a hole has been opened up in the surface. Be careful when doing this and do not do it near any wiring or electrical outlets.
You could also use a fiber optic camera to look around inside after opening a hole in the wall, but at this point, you may as well hire a professional inspector. A professional inspector has the tools required to examine the wall thoroughly, and ensure that its mold free or detect any potential issues.
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How Toxic Is Mold
Any mold that produces mycotoxinsthe myco refers to fungusis toxic, and it can be quite poisonous. One of the more alarming varieties is Stachybotrys chartarum: Dense, black, and usually present where moisture has been a long-term, unresolved issue, like a damp basement or in an abandoned home, this fungus can trigger a suite of health issues, like persistent headaches, diarrhea, breathing trouble, and more. But other types can also cause issues, warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention : All molds should be treated the same with respect to potential health risks and removal. These are the signs of mold that you should be looking out for. Plus, learn the other ways your house could be making you sick.
Removing Red Mold From Grout
To remove red mold on grout, mix one-part water with one-part vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray the grout and allow the solution to sit for about five minutes. Use a toothbrush to scrub the grout. Wipe away residue with warm water.
Or, apply a small amount of baking soda to the vinegar mixture to create a paste. Apply the paste to the grout. Let it sit for five minutes. Scrub with a toothbrush and then rinse with warm water.
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Where Might You Find Hidden Mold
Anyplace you can imagine and probably some you wouldn’t imagine. Mold can grow unseen in all sorts of places, including:
- under vinyl or linoleum flooring
- under floorboards
- above ceilings, like in the picture above
- under wallpaper
- in your home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system
If you’re wondering how to go about finding mold in those places, well, it can be quite a challenge. Looking isn’t always enough. Of course, you can pull up a carpet to check for mold beneath it. It’s more difficult to look inside your walls or inside your homes HVAC system, though. Even if you try to look there, you might miss some mold growing there.
Your Floor Feels Squishy
You know to be concerned about a soft spot in your hardwood floor. If you can access the subfloor through a crawl space or a basement, check for moisture. If thats not possible, youll have to pull up a section of flooring. Its worth it: That moistureand any mold growth will eventually spread. If the wood floor is rotted, then the whole flooring needs to be changed, says Piotraut. If the flooring is still in good condition and only has a small amount of mold, it can be removed with mold remover.
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Air Conditioning And Heating Vents
You probably prefer your bedroom to be at the optimal temperature for you to get a good nights rest. While using the AC and heating unit are fine , its possible for mold to grow in the vents.
To prevent mold from contaminating your bedroom, you should:
- Use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air
- Dry up any condensation you find on the walls and windows
- Invest in a mold-resistant mattress or, at the very least, a waterproof mattress cover
Directions For Removing Mold From A Cement Wall
Before removing black mold from a cement wall, dampen the moldy area well with a rag and plain water, Weitz advises. This will keep the mold spores from disbursing through the air. Next, he says you should try to remove as much of the mold as possible with a scrub brush and non-ammonia soap or detergent.
Weitz believes in the power of bleach and says it will remove any leftover mold and stop future mold growth. He instructs readers to add 1½ cups bleach to 1 gallon of water in a pail. Wet the surface well with this mixture, letting it soak in for about 15 minutes. Then, scrub the area with the scrub brush and rinse well with clean, clear water.
He recommends repeating the bleach steps until all visible mold is gone. Next, use a fan and/or dehumidifier to dry the area well. If any moisture is left, Weitz says your wall is subject to new mold growth.
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Your Planter Of Begonias Is Leaking
Exterior landscaping that is close to the home, as well as planters placed against exterior walls, can also lead to mold issues, especially for stucco homes, says Gregg Cantor, President and CEO of Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remodel. Moisture finds its way inside the walls and can cause mold growth in the drywall and insulation. This type of mold growth can be particularly dangerous because its rarely caught until the mold shows up on the interior of the wall, at which point the growth can be extensive and a danger to your health, says Cantor. Watch out for these other sneaky backyard dangers you need to be aware of.