Friday, November 25, 2022

What To Do If There’s Black Mold In Your House

Condensation On Windows Window Frames And Sills

How to search for hidden mold in your home
  • 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.

How Did I Get Mold

Like any other living thing, mold needs food and water to thrive. Mold problems start when a mold spore thats floating in the air lands on a wet piece of organic material , takes root and starts to multiply. Mold spores are everywhere in the air, including in the cleanest of homes.

In fact, every breath you take likely has some mold spores in it at low levels! In the home, mold usually grows wherever there is dampness and moisture, like basements, attics, kitchens and bathrooms, or areas that have experienced flooding.

With over 100,000 species, mold comes in about any size, shape, and color you can think of, making it impossible to tell what type of mold you have without testing by a certified mold inspection professional.

Is There A Test To Determine If I Have Been Exposed To Mold

Some physicians have recommended testing for mold-specific antibodies. Thepresence of antibodies only indicates that you have been exposed to a substanceat some time. It does not tell you when you were exposed, where the exposuretook place, or how much of the mold you were exposed to. Having a positive testfor mold-specific antibodies alone is generally considered insufficient toprove that health effects reported by individuals in moisture-damaged buildingsare caused by exposure to mold.

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Where Black Mold Most Often Grows

Black mold grows in areas that stay consistently wet over long periods of timeso you won’t find it immediately after your toilet overflows, but you might notice it under the bathroom or kitchen sink where a slow drip has gone undetected. Look for it in “utility closets where your water heater is, basements, bathroomsanywhere you have the probability for moisture, or even groundwater seepagebasements are famous for that,” says Andersen. “It doesn’t need dark at all.” It’s also important to note that black mold isn’t the same gunk you might find on grout around an old bathtubthat’s more likely to be mildew, which thrives on residual dampness and dirt in your shower.

Growth Spots Of Varying Colors

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Black mold, as the name implies, is often dark in color. When searching for black mold, look for circular-shaped spots that are black, dark green or dark brown. Some black mold can also take on shades of orange or have flecks of white within it.

Most of the time, black mold has a slightly furry appearance. Larger growths of mold may appear as a black stain that stretches along your wall, floor or ceiling.

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How Can I Remove Black Mold

If youre looking to get rid of the black mold yourself, here are some pointers to do it properly:

  • Clean the area with soap, water, and a diluted bleach formula. Repeat this process for a few days thereafter to get any potentially missed spores in the area
  • Replace appliances, furniture or parts of your house that have been affected
  • Cover any susceptible walls or corners with mold-preventable paint

Be aware that black mold can spread quickly and invisibly. If you do not feel comfortable removing it yourself, or dont feel equipped to do so, consider reaching out to professionals to do it for you.

Cleaning Up Small And Medium Mould Problems

Bleach is not necessary to clean up mould.

You can clean up small areas of mould if you follow the proper procedures and use the right protective equipment. Unless the mould growth is on smooth surfaces such as bathroom tiles, surface cleaning will not eliminate the problem.

In most cases you can clean up medium areas of mould if you follow the proper procedures and use the right protective equipment. Materials damaged by mould must be physically removed and disposed of under safe conditions. However, it is important to seek professional assistance if there is a large mould problem or if mould comes back after cleaning.

Susceptible individuals such as pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly, and occupants with asthma, allergies or other health problems should not be in or near the area where the mould is being cleaned up.

Minimum protective gear needed:

  • a disposable N95 mask and
  • household disposable gloves.

You can purchase an N95 mask from a hardware store. Make sure that the label says “N95”. Other masks are designed to provide limited protection against dust and are not suitable for protecting against mould exposure. Make sure that the mask is properly fitted and you can breathe through the mask.

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Should I Move Out If I Have Black Mold

Ultimately, you should always prioritize your health above all else. If you have black mold in your house that is contained in a small enough area to be sufficiently removed, its likely that this will solve the issue .

Black mold is, however, a fungus that spreads and grows through its microscopic spores that permeate beyond where we can see. One of the trickiest aspects about this problem is that often people dont even realize that its growing inside their home until they start wheezing. And even if you clean it off, no longer seeing it in your home might not be enough to ensure your safety.

If you have a respiratory condition or simply dont feel comfortable regularly occupying a space that could be fostering black mold, either employ a removal expert to get rid of it or ask your landlord/building manager to get it removed. If you cannot get it removed, you may want to consider moving house for the sake of your health.

Black Mold Exposure Symptoms

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Symptoms of exposure to black mold are similar to symptoms that can occur with exposure to many types of mold. Most commonly, these symptoms include coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, and irritated throat and nasal passages. Exposure to black mold has also been reported to cause chronic fatigue, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Those with allergies to mold are of course more likely to be affected by mold exposure.

As is usually the case, children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of experiencing adverse reactions to mold. Black mold exposure may cause asthma in children who live in an infested environment, and can cause pneumonia in older, susceptible individuals. Fungal infections can also occur upon exposure to mold.

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How Do I Detect Black Mold Inside My Walls In The First Place

Peeling wallpaper can also be a symptom of mold. While some scruffiness and discoloration tend to eventually strike your wallpaper, unusual surface or peeling abnormalities such as crackling or bubbling can be a sign of wall moisture. And remember, a reliable precursor to mold is always going to be moisture. Make sure to pay attention to any warped areas that feel damp.

To keep mold from growing in your cooling or heating systems, you can have a specialist check them regularly. Another indication of mold in the house is dark grout between bathroom tiles. Even if this type is most likely the harmless type, there could be flooding in the adjacent room or a leak in bathroom plumbing that could produce a more toxic fungus type that only professionals can remove. A sample sent for testing will let you know whether or not your shower is harmless.

Mold could also be the culprit when you have pre-existent problems with breathing that after long periods at home seem to flare up. Many household species of mold wont affect persons that do not have issues with breathing. However, in individuals suffering from asthma, it could aggravate it. Consider a mold inspection and a doctors appointment if the problems with your breathing seem to get worse with no clear cause.

What Are The Health Risks Associated With Mold In The House

The effect of mold has been studied for more than three decades, and it has been discovered that its a combination of a number of fungi which grow in filaments, and reproduce spores that drift away and are not detectable to the naked eye.

Mold, because of its size is everywhere in homes, outside, and even in our food, and may not be obvious. Homes provide a very viable environment for mold to grow, particularly in a damp basement.

Symptoms of mold in house

The severity of mold symptoms is dependent on the number of spores inhaled and the length of exposure. Some of the symptoms include:

Chronic Sinus Problems

If you have a stuffy nose, it may not be a cold, particularly if you dont have any other symptoms. A study that was conducted suggests that as much as 90 percent of chronic nasal problems can be traced to mold in the house or in the workplace.

Nosebleeds

Mold can also result in a nosebleed in some cases as a result of dryness in your home. You should pay attention to nosebleeds, especially if you dont normally get them. Cleaning your house with bleach-based products and ventilating your home can reduce the risk of having nosebleeds.

Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis

Exposure to toxic molds can lead to Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis although the cases are rare. This is a result of inflammation of the lungs due to breathing impurities.

Mold-Induced Asthma

Skin Infections

Neurological Problems

Other non-specific symptoms have been reported and are listed below:

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Visible Dark Rings And Spots

One of the early signs that mold could be lurking in your home is the appearance of dark rings or spots on the ceilings or walls. Even if these spots arent mold per se, they may be indicative of water damage or pooling water, which is a recipe for mold growth.Dark rings on your ceiling? It might be an early sign of black mold.

If you see anything like this in your home, its best to mop it up as quickly as possible and clean the area using disinfectants. If you cant access the area, get an inspector to do it for you. Be sure to check other areas as well, since there could be more widespread water damage.

What Should I Do If I Suspect Mold In My House

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Youll need to address the cause of the mold such as water damage, excessive condensation, poor ventilation, and so on. The best way to make sure you get rid of mold in your house is to hire a professional mold inspector. They will conduct a thorough examination of your home, and assess the molds that are present.

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Health Effects Of Black Mold

According to the EPA, various types of mold can cause health problems for some people. Those health problems are primarily in the form of allergies such as stuffy head, headache, itchy eyes, trouble breathing, etc. These ailments can be more severe in the young, the old, and those with other health issues. The CDC basically says the same thing that mold can cause health issues in some people, or no issues in other people.

According to the CDC, Stachybotrys black mold is unproven to cause serious medical issues beyond those mentioned above. In other words, symptoms of black mold are only proven to be similar to other molds. The CDC simply states that various types of mold may cause health symptoms, to consult with a doctor if symptoms persist, and that no color or type of mold belongs in a building.

You may be thinking: If all we know for sure is that mold causes allergies in some people, and maybe some serious health problems in a small percentage of other people, then whats the big deal?

Well, our answer to that is to imagine yourself as one of those people who are sensitive to mold. Constant allergies, constantly feeling sick, and miserable in your own home. Theres even a scientific name for it: Sick Building Syndrome . Mold, along with other problems such as radon, Chinese drywall, etc., can cause Sick Building Syndrome. Suffering through Sick Building Syndrome is a terrible way to live, and we wouldnt wish it upon our worst enemy!

Health Problems Caused By Black Mold

Black mold in houses can lead to numerous health problems, though some people seem to experience more problems than others. Infants and young children, elderly people, people with chronic respiratory problems like asthma and those with compromised immune systems such as people with HIV often experience more health problems as a result of black mold than others. However, many people that typically enjoy good health begin to suffer health problems after being exposed to black mold on a regular basis.

Some health problems that may be caused by black mold include:

  • Headaches
  • General feeling of malaise
  • Chronic sinus infections

Unfortunately, these symptoms do not usually respond well to medications as long as you continue to be exposed to black mold in your home. The black mold in homes must be removed in order for recovery to begin, and even then it can take some time to feel well again.

This video explains how mold can affect your body.

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What To Do For Black Mold

If you see a patch of what you think might be black mold, don’t touch it remember, says Anderson, that disturbing the mold is what causes the spores to release its toxins. “Don’t attempt to wipe it or spray it or put any chemical on itthat’s just going to make it angry,” she says. “The best thing to do is contain it.” She recommends covering the entire area with plastica bag or dropcloth will worksecured around the outer edge of the mold area . “If you have HVAC running into that room, shut the vents so they’re not pulling anything into the other rooms,” Anderson adds.

How Can You Be Exposed To Black Mold

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You can be exposed to black mold, or any species of mold, by breathing in microscopic mold particles in the air, or through consumption of food that contains it.

Stachybotrys is unique because its spores are sticky and easily adhere to a surface when the mold colony dries. They are not regularly found in the air unless the mold colony has been disturbed. Though its spores are not readily airborne, black mold can produce other harmful contaminants more easily found in the air .

A disruption to a black mold colony can be as simple as slamming a door, opening a window or knocking into contaminated furniture. More force is required for Stachybotrys spores to become airborne, as compared to other commonly found indoor molds .

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Signs There Is Black Mold In Your House And What To Do

Black mold is one of the most toxic indoor molds that mostly grow in dark areas that are damp and humid. Stachybotrys chartarum , is a greenish-black mold in the fungal division Deuteromycota. Black mold is toxic, S. chartarum was reported to induce sensory irritation, inflammatory, and/or pulmonary responses in mice and rats. Recent epidemiologic investigations have suggested there is an association between exposure to S. chartarum and toxic inflammatory effects in infants, in courthouse workers, and in office workers, as well as between S. chartarum and extreme chronic fatigue syndrome in hospital workers.

How Do Doctors Test For Mold Exposure

If you are aware of mold growth in your home and you feel sick let the doctor know that right away. But sometimes you cant see mold, and it is not clear whether its mold exposure thats made you sick or not.

Because mold allergy or mold exposure symptoms can resemble that of other allergies, the doctor will typically start by asking about your medical and family medical history. Additionally, doctors usually run tests for mold exposure which may include one or more of the following:

  • Skin test for reactions to allergens, including mold
  • IgG mold antibodies test to see the immune systems reaction to molds. A positive test means that an individual was or is currently exposed to mold
  • Urine mycotoxins test
  • A fungal culture of the nose sinuses

The type of testing youll receive depends on the doctor you visit, so be sure to ask questions ahead of time so you can feel confident in your diagnosis.

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Best Tips To Deal With Mold

Mold is a very serious environmental hazards causing concern among renters. It can lead to significant health problems such as rashes, chronic fatigue, nausea, cognitive losses, hemorrhaging, and asthma.

If you suspect there is mold in your rental unit, contact the landlord immediately. As per section 32 of the Act, the landlord must provide and maintain residential property in a state of decoration and repair that complies with the health, safety and housing standards required by law. However, the landlord may also say that you have caused the mold, for example, by leaving damp towels around, not keeping the bathroom fan on long enough, etc You, as the tenant, are responsible to maintain reasonable health, cleanliness and sanitary standards throughout the rental unit and residential property.

If youre dealing with mold that you believe is not your fault, take lots of pictures and document everything including conversations with your landlord. If you have questions, call the Residential Tenancy Branch at 1-800-665-8779.

There are very few situations in which a tenant is allowed to withhold the rent. These are:

  • When the landlord agrees in writing
  • When the landlord illegally increases the rent
  • When the landlord does not reimburse the tenant for emergency repairs after receiving the written account and receipts.

If you are planning to withhold the rent, just be certain you are allowed to. Non-payment of rent is cause for eviction.

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