What To Do If You Find Black Mold In Your House
Finding black mold in your home is a stressful event. The discovery often occurs after a water or fire loss.
As black mold thrives on moist materials, it can be found on everything from tile to carpet to insulation and beyond.
When you suspect black mold is growing in your home, it is recommended that you reach out to professional mold remediation and mitigation services, like HRS Restoration Services in Phoenix and Denver.
Professional mold remediation specialists are able to assess the source of the mold growth, dry and clean the affected space, and return your home to its pre-damaged condition.
Who Is At Risk Of Mold
According to the WHO, 15 percent of houses in cold climates show signs of dampness, and about 5 percent have signs of mold problems. In warm climates, however, it is estimated that 20 percent of houses have dampness, and 25 percent have mold. Dampness is most likely to occur in overcrowded houses or those that lack appropriate ventilation, heating and insulation. Because symptoms of mold infection are similar to other respiratory ailments, they are often misdiagnosed.
Conventional Treatment Of Black Mold
Typically, you can see or smell large black mold infestations. Smaller infestations can be harder to find. Wondering how black mold is conventionally treated?
According to the CDC, In most cases mold can be removed from hard surfaces by a thorough cleaning with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Absorbent or porous materials like ceiling tiles, drywall, and carpet may have to be thrown away if they become moldy. If you have an extensive amount of mold and you do not think you can manage the cleanup on your own, you may want to contact a professional who has experience in cleaning mold in buildings and homes. It is important to properly clean and dry the area as you can still have an allergic reaction to parts of the dead mold and mold contamination may recur if there is still a source of moisture.
Are you wondering how to test for mold? One option is to hire a professional mold tester to collect and analyze mold samples. A cheaper option is to order a black mold test kit, which you can use to collect mold samples yourself. You then send the samples to a professional mold testing laboratory.
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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.
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Healthy Home Myths Debunked
Common areas to test for black mold are basements, crawlspaces, bathrooms and kitchens where moisture and condensation may gather regularly. A water source is the first requirement for mold growth, so any damp, humid areas of the home are often susceptible.
Sight and smell may give you a good indication of whether or not you have a black mold problem black mold tends to have a strong, musty smell, and of course it displays a trademark black color. If you believe you have black mold growth in an area of your home after these initial inspections, you have two options: professional mold testing or do-it-yourself testing.
Professional mold testing companies will take samples of the air and any areas of mold growth, identify precisely what type of mold is present, and recommend next steps for remediation.
If you go the DIY route while testing for black mold, you will need to purchase a mold testing kit from a hardware or home repair store, take samples of the air and affected areas yourself, and then send these in to a testing facility, which will report back as to which type of mold is present.
Black mold can be an expensive and potentially unhealthy problem for homeowners, but by testing for black mold, you can know for sure if you’ll need to take steps to eradicate black mold from your home.
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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Can Black Mold Spores Travel In The Air
Yes. Mold spores are airborne and can attach themselves to peoples skin, clothing, shoes, shopping bags, furniture, carpets, and even pets. Once spores enter your home, they can settle onto any surface and start to multiply. They can also enter your house through open doorways, open windows, and HVAC systems.
Mold spores are microscopic and are virtually found everywhere. They are naturally found in the air we breathe, both indoors and outdoors. Since spores are tiny and lightweight, they become airborne easily, every time we vacuum or walk on the carpets or even sit on our couch.
Cleaning Up Black Mold
The processof cleaning up black mold is much more complex than most people think. If youtry to clean it up yourself, your symptoms of black mold exposure may worsen. Additionally, if you are not careful thecleanup process may cause black mold spores to become airborne and crosscontaminate other parts of your home.
Instead ofputting your health at risk, we recommend that you meet with a mold removalspecialist. Most mold removal specialists will give a free home inspection andevaluation, so even if you are thinking of doing the cleanup yourself you canstill get some free advice. They will inspect your home, help you find hiddenmold, discuss the best techniques for removing the mold in your particularcase, recommend prevention strategies to make sure the mold does not return,and give you a price quote. For a list of mold removal specialists offeringfree home inspections in your area, just follow the link
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Getting Rid Of The Symptoms
If you are having serious health problems, you may consider taking the initiative to have your home tested for the presence of mold in order to determine if mold spores are contributing to your poor health.
Once a mold problem has been identified, you should take immediate action to get rid of the mold from your home. Remember that the symptoms will continue as long as mold exposure is occurring, so the only way to reduce the health symptoms is by getting rid of the mold problem.
Be careful in the cleanup process, because there are specific cleaning techniques and equipment that should be used in order to prevent additional mold exposure. Some people make the mistake of trying to remove the mold without understanding the proper techniques, and they end up causing additional health problems for themselves and their family.
In fact, if you want to protect your health and stop the symptoms of black mold exposure as soon as possible, your best option is to talk with a mold professional about the problems in your home. A mold specialist will be able to identify exactly which areas of the house have been affected by the mold, and they will be able to advise you on the best cleanup techniques in order to completely get rid of the mold. They can also give you advice to prevent future mold problems in your home.
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Who Should Clean Up Black Mold
When you find mold damage, the first thing youll need to determine is who should clean it up. According to the EPA, if the moldy area is less than 10 square feet, you should be able to tackle the cleanup by yourself. However, if your home has experienced significant water damage or the affected area is much larger than 10 square feet, you may want to consider mold remediation services.
Additionally, if the water damage in your home was caused by sewage or you suspect the HVAC system may be contaminated with mold, you may need professional assistance removing it. Failing to remove all the material that mold has touched as well as remedying the moisture problem will result in fast recolonization.
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Black Mold Symptoms: What Happens When Youre Exposed
Dr. Lauren Tessier is a naturopathic physician practicing in Waterbury, VT, and New York, NY. She specializes in treating mold-related, biotoxin and other complicating illnesses and is CIRS-certified. Learn more about her practice Life After Mold by visiting www.lifeaftermold.com. You can also find her on , and .
Stachybotrys chartarum, more commonly known as black mold, was first identified in Prague in 1837. A Czech mycologist discovered the mold growing on an indoor wall of a home. Despite an early discovery, the term black mold only became part of the normal lexicon of the average homeowner in the 1990s, when the nightly news brought the phrase black mold into homes across America. Though black mold is considered harmful, the details are still in question. This article is meant to help inform those who are worried about being exposed to black mold.
How Will I Know When Ive Been Exposed To Mold
Chances are you may not know right away. Some individuals are so sensitive to mold, they can tell the moment they step into a moldy room. For the rest of us, it can be more difficult to sense. If you, a co-worker, or a family member are experiencing the harmful symptoms of mold exposure, the best thing to do is consult a physician.
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How To Stay Safe When Working Around Black Mold
Although there are ways for homeowners to prevent black mold, many workers who are exposed are not able to do anything beforehand they often walk into a building or maintenance situation where its already present. This is the case when construction workers are on a job, contractors are surveying a site or manufacturers are in a facility. Those helping with mold remediation in any work environment should take safety precautions to limit potential black mold symptoms.
Any time you are working in an environment near black mold, wear personal protective equipment , including a respirator mask, gloves and goggles. The respirator helps reduce airborne exposure and prevent you from breathing in mold spores. OSHA requires fit testing for respirators worn on the job to ensure they are effective. Its also recommended to cover the rest of your body to avoid allergic skin reactions, rashes or other black mold symptoms.
Its vital to follow safety precautions anywhere black mold may be present. This typically includes work in a variety of industries, from construction and manufacturing to energy and engineering. PK Safety, the worker safety specialists, outlines the Department of Healths guidelines and specific mold remediation equipment types here. It covers different respirator mask models, recommend skin protection suits and more.
To Test Or Not To Test
Stachybotrys is usually greenish-black and somewhat slimy or wet, but may also appear grayish with a sooty, powdery texture. Additionally, other molds may look similar. That’s why it is impossible to tell if any given mold is black mold by looks, smell or even location. The only way to determine a mold species is examination under a microscope. Testing is costly, advises the CDC, and isn’t really necessary. Any mold can cause health problems, as they point out. Therefore, you should arrange to have any mold in your home removed, no matter what type it is.
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Black And Toxic Molds
The term “black” mold is misleading at best. First, while the terms “toxic” and “black” mold are commonly used interchangeably, only one is recognized as black mold by most professionals: Stachybotrys chartarum, sometimes called Stachybotrys atra. Other common indoor toxic molds include – but are not limited to – Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria. Furthermore, Stachybotrys isn’t actually black, but a greenish-black color instead. Finally, with more than 100,000 known types of mold, many of them are black. Unless they are Stachybotrys, however, they aren’t “black” mold and may not even be toxic.
How To Prevent Mold
Controlling moisture is the key to preventing mold from growing in your home. The following tips will help stop mold from becoming a problem:
- Keep the humidity in your house below 50%. Using an air conditioner or dehumidifier can help with this.
- Make sure your house is clean, dry, and well-ventilated.
- Fix any water leaks immediately.
- Use ventilation fans in your kitchen and bathrooms.
- Don’t put carpet in rooms that are likely to become wet such as the basement, kitchen, or bathrooms.
- Make sure wet floor mats are dried quickly.
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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.
Why Does Mold Form In Homes
Mold forms in homes because, in many cases, a home is the ideal place for mold to grow particularly in basements and other areas which may be dark and moist, and have a similar temperature all-year-round, due to furnaces and water heaters.
Essentially, there are mold spores in the air at all times and once they find a place thats hospitable to them, theyll start reproducing, causing a visible mold problem.
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How To Get Rid Of Black Mold
Trying to kill or remove toxic black mold yourself is not advisable. If not handled properly, you could end up disturbing the mold and releasing millions of spores and mycotoxins into the air. This could worsen you indoor air quality and cause damage to your home.
Since black mold is toxic, youre better off contacting a professional mold remediation company with experience in cleaning mold in buildings and homes.
Mold removal specialists will be able to accurately determine the extent of the mold infestation and can suggest the right course of action for your home. If you suspect that your home has black moldthat is, if you can see and/or smell it .
A healthy, mold-free home ensures a healthy, happy family.