Tuesday, June 18, 2024

What Causes Mold And Mildew In Your Home

Different Types Of Mold

How to Prevent Mold in your Home

Molds come in many different forms in fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are probably tens of thousands of types of molds, if not more. Molds play an important role in breaking down leaves, plants and trees. While many molds are harmless, harmful types in enclosed places can lead to respiratory distress, manifesting itself in symptoms that include stuffy noses and wheezing. The effects will be more intense for those who are allergic to that mold or have asthma. Molds responsible for breaking down natural materials, like wood and leaves, can damage the structure of your home. Everyone has an aversion to that.

Lets take a look at a few different types of mold that you might commonly encounter in various areas of your home.

What Can Cause Mold In A Mobile Home

Causes of Mold In Mobile Homes

  • Condensation Encourage circulation and/or ventilation of indoor air by using exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms to reduce humidity levels during cooking, washing, and bathing.
  • Lack of Insulation Most mobile homes are not insulated as heavily as conventional homes.

Moisture In Your Basement

If you have a full, in-ground basement, youve got a good breeding place for mold. Most basements are dark, fairly warm, poorly ventilated and quite humid. They also have food sources and abundant oxygen.

Basements also contain plumbing parts like pressurized hot and cold supply lines, drain pipes, floor drains, sumps and sometimes wells. Consider these basement sources of moisture:

Flooding from natural or plumbing causes

Clogged or faulty perimeter drains

Poor or lack of exterior damp-proofing

Sump pump failure

Improper drainage of exterior water from bad grading

Cracks in foundation walls

Dirt and dust accumulations over time

Broken or leaky gutters and downspouts

Poor air circulation

Drain lines from high-efficiency furnaces

Hot water tank overflows

Water condensation on cold surfaces

Rain or melting snow on windows causing ingress or condensation

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How Mold And Mildew Affect Your Home

Mold needs to consume something to survive, and its perfectly happy eating your house if you let it. Some molds and mildews are fond of the cellulose in the paper backing on drywall, insulation and wallpaper. Others have a ravenous appetite for the glues used to bond carpet to its backing. Left unchecked, mold eventually destroys the parts of the drywall, wallpaper and carpet it attacks.

But many molds just like to feast on the every day dust and dirt that gather in the perpetually moist regions of your house. They wont destroy your house, but they can sure make it look, feel and smell bad. Mold can mar your walls with white spider weblike growths or clusters of small black specks. It creates the smell we often refer to as musty. This white mold in a basement can be slippery and dangerous when it grows on damp basement stairs. Molds rarely go so far as to rot wood or do structural damagetheyll leave that to their fungal cousinsbut they can wreak plenty of havoc. We cant overemphasize that mold needs moisture to get established, grow and reproduce. Mold problems and longstanding moisture or high humidity conditions go hand in hand. To conquer mold, you must also conquer moisture problems. Fig. B shows common hangouts for mold and some steps you can take to minimize its growth and the damage it inflicts.

Keep Healthy Humidity Levels

Remove Mold and Mildew From Your Home

Mold and mildew thrive in a humid environment, so it is important to keep your humidity levels down. In areas that are prone to excessive moisture, make sure you ventilate. When using the kitchen, bathroom or basement, turn on the vent fans. If there are no vent fans in these rooms, have them repaired or installed by an electrician. Also, consider installing whole-home humidification or plug-in dehumidifiers.

Attics fans can also help manage moisture and provide ventilation in the home. Ask your HVAC professional if attic fans are right for your home.

You can also take measures to control the humidity levels in your home with your HVAC system, which may or may not have a humidification system built in. Regardless, running the air conditioner will help dry and circulate the air. A closed up home in the summer without air conditioning and little air movement will create the humid, warm and dark conditions necessary for mold growth.

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Other Places In The Kitchen

Wooden cutting boards, trash cans, behind the stove and windows and window sills in the kitchen are like heaven for mold spores. They feed off of these places, so keeping them clean and dry is critical for keeping mold at bay.

To keep your kitchen mold free, be sure to:

  • Ventilate when cooking and doing dishes by opening a window, using a fan, or both
  • Wash the dishes every day, so they dont pile up in the sink
  • Clean and dry the stove top, microwave, counters, cabinets, and window sills regularly
  • Clean out the inside of your fridge and your fridge drip tray often
  • Take the trash out every day

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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How To Prevent Mold: 9 Tips

  • University of Georgia

Mold. The very word is enough to make a person cringe.

Yes, mold can be good it’s essential in making brie and penicillin, for example, and necessary for the decomposition of organic matter in nature but it can also be very, very bad, especially when it grows undetected in your home.

Some Precautionary Measures To Prevent Mold Growth

Causes and Cure for Mold in Your Home

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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How Common Is Mold In Buildings

Molds are very common in buildings and homes. Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.

The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus. We do not have precise information about how often different molds are found in buildings and homes.

Equip Your Home With Mold

Building a new home or renovating an old one? Use mold-resistant products like mold-resistant drywall or mold-resistant Sheetrock, and mold inhibitors for paints. Traditional drywall is composed of a gypsum plaster core pressed between plies of paper. Mold-resistant drywall is paperless the gypsum core is covered in fiberglass, making the surface highly water-resistant. Moisture-resistant drywall is especially valuable in areas prone to wetness, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, and kitchens. Not only is traditional drywall more susceptible to mold than the paperless kind, but it is also difficult to rid of mold, and removal and replacement can be expensive. Mold-resistant gypsum board is also available the core of the drywall is developed in such a way to prevent moisture absorption, and thus prevent mold growth.

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What Are The Moisture Sources In Homes

The causes of mold are quite clear. From a scientific perspective, mold is a living organism from the fungi family that thrives in moist areas where it has water and food supply. It also prefers to be relatively warm, stay out of bright light and have an ample air supply.

Preventing mold damage in your home depends on identifying the prime places where these optimum conditions occur and then taking steps to mitigate or eradicate them. Killing mold cultures can be done with many chemical or biological treatments, but the best line of defense is removing the climates where mold begins to grow.

So what are the moisture sources in homes? In every area of your house, theres an opportunity for mold to form. Mold spores will flourish wherever they get a chance. Reducing their odds of cultivating can come from anything like preventing or fixing a plumbing problem to making sure you have adequate ventilation.

Uncontrolled moisture is what gives optimum conditions for mold to start growing indoors. Thats usually where its out of sight and out of mind. Here are some of the most likely places where youll give mold its lucky break.

I Heard About Toxic Molds And Black Molds That Grow In Homes And Other Buildings Should I Be Concerned About A Serious Health Risk To Me And My Family

Black Mold vs Mildew: Whatâs The Difference?

There is always a little mold everywhere in the air and on many surfaces.

Certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins . Hazards presented by molds that may produce mycotoxins should be considered the same as other common molds which can grow in your house. Not all fungi produce mycotoxins and even those that do will not do so under all surface or environmental conditions.

Mold growth, which often looks like spots, can be many different colors, and can smell musty. Color is not an indication of how dangerous a mold may be. Any mold should be removed and the moisture source that helped it grow should be removed.

There are very few reports that toxigenic molds found inside homes can cause unique or rare health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss. These case reports are rare, and a causal link between the presence of the toxigenic mold and these conditions has not been proven.

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Removing Mold From Wood

Removing mold from wood is easy if it has not spread far and wide. Before starting, put on your protective wear, especially a mask and gloves. First, vacuum up the area with the mold. This will suck up any loose spores on the surface of the wood. Next, scrub the area with soap and water. On bare, untreated or unpainted wood, you can use bleach. Soak up any cleaner and extra moisture.

If mold is still apparent in the wood, you can try to sand it out. Note that sanding will take off any finish and some of the wood. Since mold can live deep in the pores of wood, you may need to do a lot of sanding to fully remove it.

Symptoms Of Mold In Your Home

Sometimes you can visibly see or smell mold growing, but other times it is more difficult to detect. Tight spaces such as in attics, behind cabinets, and in crawl spaces are not places people are likely to venture.

There are 3 ways to tell if you have mold: 1 you might see it, 2 you will probably smell it, but 3 a comprehensive mold inspection by Branch Environmental will definitely find it! The best way to know if you have mold is to get a comprehensive mold inspection performed. Keep reading to learn more about how you can identify the symptoms of mold in your home, and why a professional inspection is so important.

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Does House Wrap Affect Ventilation

House wrap is plastic, so it can prevent the house from breathing, right? This is not true at all, and it should not prevent you from wrapping your house.

House wrap is designed to be impervious to water, but it can let out vapor. This means that at no time will your house not breathe and therefore hold too much moisture. The vapors and gases the house produces are let out through the house wrap to the outdoor air.

Additional Mold Prevention Tips

Causes and Cure for Mold in Your Home

Vacuum with a HEPA Filter HEPA filters help to eliminate mold spore concentrations in carpets and on the floor. You can also use HEPA vacuum cleaners to clean air vents and musty areas in the home that might contribute to mold growth. HEPA air purifiers are also an option in rooms prone to dampness without a fan vent such as the basement and bathroom. Consider your air filtration options here.

Ultraviolet Lights Ultraviolet light can be used to deal with particularly bad mold problems. Homes in high humidity areas can especially benefit from them. Lamps placed in locations of the home where mold and mildew is a problem can help to significantly reduce contamination levels. UV lights placed in HVAC systems have also proven to be very effective in reducing mold. Exposure to sunlight has been a mildew remedy since pre-air conditioning days. Contact an HVAC service professional for more information on your UV germicidal air irradiation options.

  • Avoid stacking organic material such as paper, cardboard, and fabrics in high-moisture areas of the home.
  • Throw out clothing and other items that have a moldy or musty smell and arent salvageable.
  • Locate leaks at your water meter and fix them immediately
  • Avoid certain materials when renovating your home
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance twice a year to prevent mold and mildew from developing
  • Schedule plumbing maintenance once a year to detect plumbing and moisture problems early

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Is It Mandatory To Install House Wrap Behind Vinyl Siding

There are no specific laws or building codes requiring homeowners to install house wrap behind siding. So, in a way, you can get away with not wrapping your house in a protective waterproof barrier. But, the benefits of house wrap far outweigh the downsides.

Some homeowners wrongly believe they can save on costs by skipping house wrap when installing vinyl siding. The average cost of this protective barrier is $0.4-$0.6 per square foot, which would amount to about $1,000 for most homes. This is a negligible cost to pay compared to the immense benefits you get from installing the material.

House wrap is not always mandatory, but it is necessary if you care about your homes structural longevity. Next, let us look at the benefits of installing house wrap and the risks involved if you skip this important part of the vinyl installation process.

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.

In bathrooms:

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Look Out For These Symptoms

You must be familiar with the damp, rusty smell and dirty green and black patches usually associated with fungal growth. Not only is this mold ugly and pesky to look at, it poses serious health threats as well. Mentioned below are some signs to know whether your house is infected by mold and mildew:

  • A damp musty smell would be present all over the house
  • Brown, green or black patches of fungi in the corners, walls etc.
  • White and mouldy fungi accumulation on books, clothes, cardboard, and wooden furniture
  • It even causes allergies, sneezing and irritation

Identify Problem Areas In Your Home And Correct Them

4 Signs Your Home Has Toxic Black Mold &  How to Get Rid of ...

You can’t mold-proof your home, but you can make it mold-resistant. Do an audit of your home: where are the problem areas? Does the basement flood? Do you notice frequent condensation on an upstairs window? Is there a water stain on the ceiling from a persistent leak? Preventing mold from growing or spreading might be as simple as ripping up carpet in a damp basement, installing mold-resistant products, or repairing damaged gutters. Or it may be a matter of major excavation and waterproofing. Whatever the case, address the problem now. It might cost some money up front, but it will surely be more costly down the road if mold continues to grow unchecked.

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