What To Do If You Find Black Mold In Your Home
Experts weigh-in on removal and safety tips.
Mold isn’t always a bad thingbut it’s still not an organism you want growing unchecked in your home. “Some molds are very benign,” says Leslie Andersen, vice president of training and launch at restoration company Paul Davis. “And some are really good: Think about bleu cheese, or penicillin, or mushrooms, or beerall of those have molds in them.” But if you find a musty smell in your basement or see a patch of fungal growth in a water-prone area of your home, that indicates a mold you’ll want to removeespecially if it’s hazardous black mold.
“When people use the term black mold, they’re often identifying a type of mold called stachybotrys,” says Andersen. While many types of mold grow in circular patterns and boast a shiny finish, black mold differs in a few key ways: It grows in a patchier shape and has a much lighter tone. “It’s a dull, kind of chalky mold, reminiscent of if you looked inside your fireplacethat kind of a sooty look,” says Andersen. When disturbed, it releases mycotoxins which can cause irritation in the nose, eyes, and lungs. “People wipe it or they touch it, and they start sneezing, they cough, they get runny eyesit’s because the mold spores are off-gassing to make you stop bothering it,” Andersen says. “What makes it more dangerous to humans is how it affects our respiratory system. We breathe it in, it goes into our lungs, and folks get very, very serious lung conditions from that type of mold spore.”
When Should I Call A Mold Removal Specialist
Housecleaning can be fun if youre just dealing with dust and grime. With household cleaners, towels, a broom, a mop, and a vacuum cleaner, you might have a clean house by the end of the day and feel amazing.
Housecleaning with mold, however, is an entirely different story. No amount of mopping or vacuuming will help you get rid of mold.
If the mold growth covers an area of more than 10 square feet , you should consider calling a mold specialist. Cleaning large areas of mold can be tricky. Mold spores are airborne and very hard to keep contained.
For cleaning small amounts , we recommend Tilex mold and mildew cleaning product.
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.
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Why You Should Remove Black Mold Immediately
Your kitchen, bathroom, and basement are at the highest risk for bacteria and mold growth. Its because they are the main areas in your home with the most moisture. Staying in a mold-infested home is not a good idea.
Black mold is more harmful than other types of mold because it may even release dangerous elements. It ruins the structure of your home by weakening drywalls and wood. These materials are rich in cellulose. Spores will grow fast if the material gets wet.
If you begin experiencing wood rotting, discoloration on materials in your house, experiencing increased allergies, then you will more likely to get black mold growth.
Black mold spores rarely pose a risk to healthy individuals with a strong immune system unless they inhale huge quantities of spores. However, as per 2017 research, there is no proof that black mold exposure can result in particular health conditions.
It can affect individuals in different ways and typically cause no symptoms at all. However, its possible to experience the following signs if you are exposed to black mold:
- Nose bleeding
- Itchiness in throat, nose, and eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Scaly and dry skin
An individual may get respiratory issues after inhaling spores. In case of long exposure to mold, you can get asthma, lung infections, or consistent allergic reactions.
Reasons To Report And Actions The Health Department Will Take
A landlord is responsible for keeping a rental property in habitable condition, that is, fit to be lived in. If there are health or safety issues at the property that are breaching the warranty of habitability, the tenant can contact a local agency regarding the problem. Learn how to report a landlord to the health department.
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Who Is Most At Risk For Health Problems Associated With Exposure To Mold
People with allergies may be more sensitive to molds. People with immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections. Individuals with chronic respiratory disease may experience difficulty breathing. Individuals with immune suppression are at increased risk for infection from molds. If you or your family members have these conditions, a qualified medical clinician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment.
I See Mold Do I Really Need A Mold Professional
If you have amold problem, youre probably asking yourself two questions:
Read on to find out.
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Kill Black Mold In Airconditioning Vents Using A Ozone Machine
If you are using an ozone machine to kill mold, you will also want to plan on leaving the home since the ozone can cause respiratory distress. Removing the mold from the vents is important, however, since the long term effects of mold exposure can be dangerous, especially for infants, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
Question: Chronic Cough And Post Nasal Drip
I have been bothered by chronic cough and post nasal drip for several years, and I am suspicious that the building in which I work is the cause. I know that I am allergic mainly to molds â eight different kinds. So, I tried a test kit that I ordered online.
It was not conclusive. Not sure if it was any good either. Can you recommend reliable test kits? – K.H., Wilmington DE
Reply: Mold test kits have a useful role to play, but you may need a competent building inspection first
A competent onsite inspection by an expert usually finds additional clues that help accurately diagnose a problem, such as a source of irritating dust that you didn’t recognize, a leak or moisture problem, or a hidden mold reservoir. That said, here are some things to consider:
While there is a use for testing as part of an expert building inspection, using any test kit to screen a building for mold is not reliable.
See MOLD TESTING METHOD VALIDITY if you want a detailed exposition.
In particular, a “negative” result used without an expert inspection is unreliable in that there is a significant risk of missing an existing mold problem.
Even a “positive” mold test kit result does not necessarily identify the actual mold problem in the building as opposed to the mold the kit happened to catch. For example, most molds won’t grow in culture, so using a culture to screen for mold is a unreliable.
and see Mold Culture Plate Test Errors.
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How Much Vinegar Do You Need To Kill Mold
The amount of white vinegar you require to kill mold relies on the surface area you are cleaning. We advise you to purchase distilled white vinegar .
Its because its much stronger than standard vinegar. Acetic acid also can disturb the growth of a wide range of fungi and other micro-organisms. It means it will kill mold of any type in several hours.
Are The Risks Greater For Some People
There is wide variability in how different people are affected by indoor mold. However, the long term presence of indoor mold growth may eventually become unhealthy for anyone. The following types of people may be affected more severely and sooner than others:
- Infants and children
- Elderly people
- Individuals with respiratory conditions or sensitivities such as allergies and asthma
- Persons having weakened immune systems
Those with special health concerns should consult a medical professional if they feel their health is affected by indoor mold.
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How Do You Kill Black Mold In Your House
Black mold is dark grey or black in color. It typically smells musty and wet. It creates havoc in your home and takes a toll on your health. So, its removal is essential. Although black mold removal requires the help of an expert, you can also cope with the problem with the right equipment.
There are several types of strongest black mold killers that are intended to kill mold. They include white vinegar, baking soda, etc. In this post, we will show you how do you kill black mold in your house using them.
How Is Black Mold Exposure Diagnosed
Illness caused by mold exposure often leads people to seek medical care.
Once at the doctors office, a blood test can determine black mold exposure. Called the radioallergosorbent test, this blood test can measure your immune systems response to black mold.
Other symptoms may require X-rays, and doctors can identify black mold exposure in some cases viewing lung damage.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Black Mold Exposure
If you find black mold on your property, theres no need to panic. But black mold presents more health risks to sensitive groups like those with respiratory conditions or immune conditions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control , black mold spores can generate cold- or flu-like symptoms such as:
- Stuffy nose
- Shortness of breath
So while black mold probably wont kill you, it can make you feel sick and should be removed as soon as possible.
Are Some Molds More Hazardous Than Others
Some types of mold can produce chemical compounds although they do not always do so. Molds that are able to produce toxins are common. In some circumstances, the toxins produced by indoor mold may cause health problems. However, all indoor mold growth is potentially harmful and should be removed promptly, no matter what type of mold is present or whether it can produce toxins.
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Sneezing And Nasal Congestion
While many things can trigger sneezing, its also a symptom of mold toxicity that should get your attention. If youve never had allergies or hay fever symptoms and youre positive you dont have a cold, those sneezes could be indicative of mold exposure.
Sneezing is the immune systems standard response to allergens. It could also be a warning sign that your home has a mold problem.
How To Clean Mold In Air Ducts
When cleaning and disinfecting ductwork, you will need to have a chemical cleaner. The most budget friendly, and also the most effective, solution to choose is a mixture of chlorine bleach and water. For each gallon of water you use, you will add one cup of bleach. Make sure that you can reach all the duct work or you may not eliminate the spores. It is important to know that you cannot simply remove the mildew using a cloth or mop. All the spores must be killed for the problem to be fully resolved.
In general, do it yourself mold removal in air ducts is a difficult task that may not result in the total eradication of the spores that are present. This is particularly true if you have insulated vents. Any insulated vents that you have will need to be totally replaced in order to kill the mold that is present in the home. You will also need to fully inspect the interior of the furnace or heating system, including the coils, to determine the root cause of the mold contamination.
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Question: Where Can I Find Similar Advice About A Water
Are there any good articles on DIY mold remediation for a water damaged automobile? Both my boyfriend and I have cars with long-term leaks in the trunks AND many symptoms of mold sickness.
Once we fix the leaks, I would like to know how we can clean the carpets/ flooring/ surfaces and ventillation/ heating and A/C system. – Kate
Sure Kate, we’ve written quite a bit about mold and mold smells in cars. Start at CAR MOLD CONTAMINATION. Or take a look at CAR SMELL – Mold DEODORIZING where we discuss tracking down and curing mold in cars, boats, RVs, etc.
Getting Sick From Mould In Apartments: What Can Be Done
WITHIN THE CONTROL OF THE TENANTOUTSIDE OF THE CONTROL OF THE TENANTFORCING A LANDLORD TO DEAL WITH A MOULD PROBLEMGETTING AN ORDER TO FIXfit for habitation20. LANDLORDS RESPONSIBILITY TO REPAIR— A landlord is responsible for providing and maintaining a residential complex, including the rental units in it, in a good state of repair and fit for habitation and for complying with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards. SAME—Subsection applies even if the tenant was aware of a state of non-repair or a contravention of a standard before entering in the tenancy agreement.WHAT A TENANT SHOULD DEMONSTRATE
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Do You Really Need A Mold Inspection Or Testing
We are going to tell you something right away about mold inspections and mold testing that is going to make almost every other mold company and mold inspector squirm. Most other mold companies will not reveal the following, but we have been doing so for years because it is our mission to get good factual information about mold out there to combat all the misinformation and fiction that dominates our industry. Ready?
Black Mold Removal With Baking Soda
Removing dark mold with baking soda is the best green cleaning solution for the home. It is a safe cleaning solution for your children and pets.
Also, it is successful at preventing and absorbing mold and mildew odors. To use it, spray or wipe a small amount of solution consisting of baking soda and water to the region you recently cleaned.
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How To Remove Black Mold From Air Ducts And Vents
Removing mold that has begun growing inside air vents can be a challenge. Some experts recommend using ozone, but the CDC and other agencies have warned that this method of removing mold can be damaging to the respiratory system. Mold can be killed with a mixture of one cup of bleach per gallon of water, but chances are good that you wont be able to reach the mold deep inside the duct work of the home. Instead, you can follow these steps to kill mold in air vents:
Step 1: Have the substance you suspect to be black mold tested to be sure that it is actually this type of fungus. You can avoid a potentially time consuming and costly cleanup with this simple test.
Step 2: Identify the main cause of the mold in your home. Wet wall interiors and damp baseboards can contribute to mold. Identify and treating the main cause of mould will ensure the problem doesnt reoccur.
Step 3: Check the insulation surrounding the ductwork. If the mold in your air vents has extended into the surrounding insulation, you will need to replace this material.
Step 4: Clean the interior of the air vents using a professional cleaner who has been recognized by the NADCA. Since improper removal of mold can be a waste of time, and money, you will want to choose someone who has experience and specialized knowledge in removing fungus.
How Do Molds Affect People
Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath.
In 2004 the Institute of Medicine found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people with asthma symptoms in people with asthma and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition.
In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould pdf iconexternal icon pdf icon. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies.
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