It’s on the news, being talked about as the “invisible killer”. Mold has become the latest indoor environmental scare. There are stories linking mold to headaches, allergies, neurological disorders and even death. Remember in science class when you learned about a new illness? Then came home thinking you had come down with it? With the infiltration of negative news about mold it’s easy to understand why anyone would get concerned about mold in the home. As a home owner it is important to take the proper course of action in reacting to mold growth in your home.
Mold exists naturally in our surroundings with the distinct purpose of breaking down organic materials. Without it, our ecosystem would not survive. Sometimes you see it between the shower tiles or on bread. This is not the type of mold that the news is concerned about.
Most mold species are allergens. Allergic reactions include; respiratory, congestion, sore throat cough, or skin irritation. There are a few that are toxic or pathogenic that cause nervous system problems, memory loss, and fever. The most well known of these is stachybotrys. But, exposure to mold does not always cause health problems. Mold comes in thousands of species and colors. Reactions to mold occur at varying concentration levels.
Prevention is key. Moisture and a porous surface is all that is needed for mold to grow. Suppose you have a leaky faucet — inevitably a mold spore will land where the water is dripping and reproduce on the wood cabinet or the drywall. You may want to look for and repair any leaks around your home. Not all leaks can be seen easily. It is a good idea to check under sinks, around toilets, and in basements and attics on a regular basis. A telltale sign of mold growth besides what is visible is a ‘musty’ smell.
If preventative measures have not been taken or water penetration has gone unnoticed, chances are, mold has already started to grow. The first thing you will want to do is find the water source and stop it the leak.
At what point do you decide to have mold tested in your home? Really, it is a personal decision. If you are feeling any unexplained allergy type symptoms or you are seeing more than 3 square feet of mold growth in your home then it may be a good time to have it tested. Testing will help you determine what type of mold is growing and which course of action you will need to take.
If the mold is in a small area you can clean the area with a 90% water 10% bleach solution. Always use gloves and wear a mask to prevent mold spores from being inhaled. If there is a large amount of mold or any toxic mold present, you may want to call a professional to have it removed.
The ability to prevent mold growth is key to not having to worry about this new scare. If you do have mold don’t over react. Just determine how large the area and if you want to get it tested. Chances are… the mold is not as bad as you might think.