Mold And Mildew Can Make You Sick Too
Besides damaging your house, mold can cause severe health problems. One consultant we interviewed confessed he crawls around in moldy places day after day, month in and month out, and never suffers ill effects. Otherssome estimate about 10 percent of the populationare severely allergic to mold. Its primarily the dinky reproductive spores that people react to. Twenty of them sitting side by side could fit across the period at the end of this sentence. That means theyre hard to filter out. The spores also have an incredible hang time theyre able to stay suspended in midair for hours on end. That means theyre easily inhaled.
Tightly sealed newer houses may be better at holding in heat, but theyre also more likely to trap moisture and spores. Mechanical ventilation, like an air-to-air heat exchanger, is critical for healthy air quality in tightly sealed new homes.
In truth, most of us fall somewhere between the two extremes of invincibility and super-sensitivity. But even normal folks will react to unusually high concentrations of mold and spores. And the time youre most likely to stir up spores and inhale and ingest them is the very time youre trying to get rid of the stuff. Thats when you need to be the most careful.
What Are Sings Of Mold In Air Conditioners
There are a few signs to watch for if you suspect mold in your air conditioner:
- Musty smell. Mold spores give off a distinct musty smell. If you have a central AC unit, you might notice a musty smell throughout the house with no discernable source or visible signs of mold. If you have one or more window air conditioners, you might notice this smell in the room where the unit is located. A musty smell coming from an air vent when the AC is running is a clear sign of mold in your air conditioner.
- Health symptoms when AC goes on. Mold can cause a variety of negative reactions, including allergic reactions and various respiratory problems. If you or someone in your family starts showing these symptoms only when the AC is running, mold may be the culprit.
- Visible signs. Of course, depending on the location of your AC unit, you may be able to give it a visual inspection, along with the air vents if you have central air conditioning. Look for the familiar patchy spots of mold, sometimes fuzzy and often black or green-black. But keep in mind that mold spores are microscopic and the source of them may be hidden from view. So even if you cant see any mold, it may still be lurking out of sight.
- Professional inspection. If you suspect mold in your air conditioner, the best way to be certain is to bring in a professional mold inspector. They will be able to determine if there is mold in your AC unit, in the ventilation system, and other parts of your home.
How To Remove Mold From Tile And Grout
Bathroom humidity and body soil on surfaces create the perfect environment for mold growth. There are plenty of commercial cleaners that you can buy, but chlorine bleach and water are just as effective and much less expensive. While cleaning your bathroom’s tile and grout, check above to see if there’s a need to remove mold on the bathroom ceiling, especially in the shower stall area.
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Condensation On Windows Window Frames And Sills
- Promptly repair any leaks.
- Lower the indoor moisture levels.
- Use exhaust bathroom fans and a kitchen range hood.
- Keep window coverings open to move the warm air over the windows .
- Keep baseboards or heating vents clear of furniture to make sure the heat flows.
- Dry your window frames and sills daily to keep water from dripping and causing mould to grow.
- Leave interior doors open for good air and heat flow.
- Unplug and remove humidifiers.
Where Does Humidity Come From
Humidity is a common form of moisture in homes and it refers to the amount of water vapor in the air. That being said, it is important to maintain proper humidity levels in your home to keep a healthy and mold-free environment.
Since mold loves moisture, high humidity environments provide one of the three main elements for mold to grow. Since low humidity environment can impact your health , it is important to keep the level of humidity between 30-50%.
The level of humidity can be tested in two ways either you will do it on your own with a hygrometer or you will .
Once you have a good understanding of the humidity levels in your home, you are ready to take further steps to lower it down to the optimal level and keep it that way to prevent mold from growing.
Do not forget, both high and low level of humidity are harmful to your health. By controlling high level of humidity, you will control mold. In addition, by controlling low level, you will control your health.
Humidity can be caused by:
Before you start wondering which daily activities you should or shouldnt be doing, you should know that mold prevention is not about radical moves , but about activities you should do to improve air circulation in your home.
Did you know?
87% of homes we tested have mold?! Find out more exciting mold stats and facts inside our mold statistics page.
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Carefully Control Water And Air Circulation In Your Greenhouse
The leaves of your plants are one potential breeding groundfor mold, so it is important to water them properly and keep the foliage dry,if possible.
Keep Your Plant Leaves Dry
Wet plant leaves give mold the perfect place to grow. After mold is established on a plant, it caneasily spread to nearby plants, causing an all-out mold infestation.
One of the most important steps in preventing mold growth inyour greenhouse is to keep plant leaves dry. This sounds easy, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, avoid misting your plants with a hose attachment,watering from overhead, or using foliar sprays. All of these will wet the foliage and invite the growth of mold.
Instead, water your plants close to the soil, to avoidgetting the leaves wet. Considerside-dressing the plants with any nutrients they may need by working it intonearby soil and watering it in.
Also, be careful of where you put your plants. Avoid putting them underneath places wherecondensation drips down from the plastic or glass ceiling of thegreenhouse. Otherwise, the leaves willget wet, which will lead to mold growth as described above.
Finally, water your plants in the early morning, not at night. Watering in the morning, when the air iscooler, gives the water time to soak into the soil and get to the roots ofplants.
If you water later in the day, the heat and sun will cause moreof the water to evaporate. This leads tohigh humidity levels in the greenhouse, which invites mold growth.
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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What Causes Mold Growth
Molds reproduce through spores that are naturally occurring and can be found floating in the air around us. These spores are microscopic and harmless when they are present in small quantities. However, a large number of spores in the home can lead to allergies or mold symptoms, especially in children and sensitive people. Prolonged exposure to mold in non-sensitive people can also result in adverse health effects.
Mold growth is primarily caused by moisture, oxygen, and a source of food . Molds feed on their host material, thereby causing structural damage to your property.
The best way to prevent mold from growing in your house or workplace is to control moisture.
When the spores land on a warm, damp spot, they begin to reproduce and develop into active mold.
Although mold is an important part of our ecosystem that helps break down organic matter, when it grows in unwanted places like your living room or office, it can pose a threat to your health and that of other occupants.
What Is Black Mold
Stachybotrys chartarum, more commonly known as black mold, appears as a colony with a dark green or black slimy surface. It is most often found in areas inside a home that have been exposed to excessive amounts of water and humidity for an extended period of time.
While not always readily visible, black mold can develop behind sheetrock walls and ceilings on wood infrastructure. S. chartarum produces mycotoxins, or potentially poisonous chemicals. Exposure from skin contact, inhalation, or ingestion may be dangerous to humans and animals.
Because so many molds look similar and emit a musty odor, the only way to be certain that your home is infested with black mold is through professional testing. However, almost all types of mold that are growing in large colonies in a home have the potential to be harmful to your respiratory system and should be removed, with measures taken to prevent regrowth.
Science Picture Co./ Getty Images Plus
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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.
Some Precautionary Measures To Prevent Mold Growth
Mold and mildew is found both indoors and outdoors, from the doors, walls, ceiling, cupboards, to the backyard and garden shedit is everywhere! You can adopt these preventive measures to reduce mold growth:
- Open the doors and windows, let the sunlight stream in
- Cover your nose and mouth properly before you begin the cleaning spree.
- Fix the leaking roofs, windows and pipes to prevent mold on walls
- Fix the ventilation issues, add exhaust fans and ventilators in bathroom and kitchen
- Clean the corners thoroughly, especially after floods
- Take steps to control the humidity levels, keep the house warm and dry,
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A Mold Grows In Everything
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , mold is everywhereit grows year-round and can be found both indoors and outdoors. Mold is a living organism and, as such, it grows and spreads when it has the right conditionsand it likes the damp.
Outdoor molds are commonly found in shady, damp areas and in soil. Indoors, mold can be found where humidity and moisture levels are high, such as in basements, kitchens, bathrooms and on ceilings and wall interiors where water from leaky pipes, roofs or windows can accumulate.
Indoor mold can be ruinous to surfaces and to your belongings. While most molds pose no threat to humans, the CDC warns that certain molds can produce hay fever-like allergic symptoms
Work With A Mold Removal Professional
While you can prevent mold by following all the measures mentioned above, there are still many places mold can grow that you may be unable to reach.
The insides of walls and the corners behind furniture are hidden places where molds tend to hide. Also, molds are continually evolving and finding new ways to thrive in unusual areas around the home.
As a result, you must seek the help of a professional for both mold remediation and prevention. Our experts at EcoFMR.com do not only inspect your home for mold and offer mold remediation services. They also educate you on all you need to know to keep mold away from your home or office. We will even advise on the differences between mold remediation and mold removal and what you should consider.
This article was originally published in Dec-2020 and was last updated in Apr-2021.
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Prevent Mold With Proper Ventilation
Daily routines such as breathing, cooking, drying clothes and showering result in excess hot air in your home. When combined with cold walls well, you know the result.
It is not expected from you to stop breathing or taking a shower, but what you can do is make sure that proper ventilation is installed in key rooms such as bathroom, laundry room and kitchen. If the weather allows you, open the windows every time you cook, take a shower or wash/dry your clothes. Moreover, you can also dry your clothes outside if the weather permits.
How To Clean Mold & Mildew
If you have a serious mold infestation, you should contact a professional mold remediation specialist immediately. Small amounts of mold, however, are possible to remove with some simple materials, including:
- spray bottle
Although bleach, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide can remove small amounts of mold and mildew, tea tree oil is more natural and effective. Learn how to naturally remove small amounts of mold and mildew from your home here.
Watch this video to learn how to clean up mold.
If you are dealing with a mold problem in your home, it is imperative that you take steps to stop it immediately. Mold will only grow and spread not only causing health problems in your household but also damaging your homes foundation.
If you feel that you might have a mold or airborne toxin problem, Hiller has extensive experience working with an array of waterproofing and indoor air quality systems. Give us a and well help determine which system would be best for your home and household.
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Use Household Exhaust Fans
Almost every home comes equipped with two exhaust fans: one for the kitchen and one for the master bathroom. These arent for show. In fact, theyre intended to help you vent smoke and moisture away. Keep your kitchens exhaust fan running when youre boiling water. Otherwise, youll introduce new water vapor to your home. This can stick to walls in the kitchen, which promotes mold growth and increases indoor humidity. You should also adopt the same practice whenever you use your tub or shower. Without the help of the exhaust fan, the steam will condense on your vanity, walls and ceiling. Dont give it that chance. As a rule of thumb, its also a good idea to wipe down wet shower walls. This can keep your tiles free of mold and scum.
What Type Of Mold Grows In Air Conditioners
There are thousands of types of mold. Of these, the most common types of mold found in air conditioners and ductwork include:
- Aspergillus: a genus of mold fungus prone to triggering allergic reactions and illness in people with weak immune systems.
- Cladosporium: a very common genus of mold with a green to black appearance, often relatively innocuous though it can still trigger allergic reactions and worsen asthma.
- Stachybotrys chartarum: known as black mold or toxic mold, Stachybotrys chartarum is a particularly dangerous species of mold that produces poisonous mycotoxins.
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Effective Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Mold And Mildew In House
With the rains come a whole new set of problems that can affect the overall appearance of your home yes, the slimy sticky and ugly mold and mildew, every homemakers nightmare! From brown to dirty green, mold and mildew come in almost every shade of color and are usually found in the corners or moist areas. A result of excess fungal or bacterial growth, mildew is commonly found in humid and moist corners of the house. Getting rid of mold is no easy feat, dont worry though, mentioned below are some simple and effective home remedies for getting rid of mold and mildew in the house-
So How Do You Get Rid Of Mold In Greenhouse
The most effective way to get rid of mold in greenhouse is to prevent it from spreading. Follow the 6 easy steps below when setting up a greenhouse. However, if the mold is already growing on a surface, to get rid of mold in greenhouse you can use any of these two ways:
Solution 1 pour vinegar into a spray bottle and apply it to the area affected by mold. Leave the vinegar on for a couple of minutes and wipe it off with a clean cloth.
Solution 2 use an organic fungicide like a concentrated hydrogen peroxide solution. Mix one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide with one cup of water. Dip in the cloth and wipe on area affected by mold. Leave the mixture on for at least 10 minutes, scrub the surface to remove mold and stains. Wipe down the area with a clean cloth.
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