How to know if you have a mold problem
Molds reproduce by forming spores, which travel through the air, settle on other plant or animal organic material and grow into new clusters. Covering large distances, and often outnumbering pollen, mold makes life difficult for those sensitive to spores and their roaming ways. The sad truth is mold exists everywhere. There are no indoor spaces without it. That said, mold needs moisture to grow. If you limit the moisture, you limit the mold. A musty odor, moisture on hard surfaces and water stains that signify leaks or condensation are all symptoms of mold.
Symptoms of mold exposure
If you are allergic to mold, exposure to it can trigger allergic reactions and asthma symptoms. Researchers are currently investigating whether damp indoor environments and mold may actually cause upper and lower respiratory problems. Even without allergies, airborne mold particles can cause irritation in your eyes, skin, nose, throat and lungs.
Mold and your health
Dampness and mold are not the same thing, but they do tend to come as a package deal. Dampness is more related to moisture you can see like leaks or high humidity conditions. Living or working in a damp home or building means being in an environment where mold spores thrive. In addition to mold, damp conditions welcome other indoor pollutants like dust mites, cockroaches, bacteria and viruses to grow.
Mold has been linked to:
- Worsening of asthma
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
A somewhat uncommon disease known as hypersensitivity pneumonitis has been associated with exposure to indoor mold in people who have weakened immune systems. People who suffer from this disease experience flu-like symptoms.
Conditions for the common mold
Water that leads to damp indoor environments can come from many sources. Since some are impossible to avoid it’s important to keep all indoor spaces well ventilated. Problems usually start when materials are wet long enough for mold to grow. If you do discover a water problem, fix it quickly, before mold can take hold.
How moisture builds
- Flooding or leaks that allow rainwater indoors
- Poorly connected plumbing and leaky pipes
- Continually damp carpet (may occur if carpet is installed on poorly ventilated floor)
- Inadequate exhaust of bathrooms and kitchens
- Outdoor humidity
- Condensation or moisture build-up in humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air conditioners and drip pans under refrigerator cooling coils
Get rid of mold in your home naturally
The best way to keep dampness and indoor mold under control is to control moisture sources. Some of the biggest causes are air conditioning units; basements, attics and crawl spaces; bathrooms; humidifiers and dehumidifiers; and refrigerators. Again, it’s important to fix all leaks and maintain a well-ventilated environment. Running your exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen will help reduce moisture. Regularly and thoroughly clean places where molds are likely to grow. Mold prevention also includes keeping indoor humidity levels below 50 percent.
HEPA filters, air purifiers and how to get rid of mold
During the cleaning process to remove mold from your environment, mold spores become airborne. To get rid of mold spores from indoor air, an air purifier with HEPA filter, or High Efficiency Particulate Air filter should be used.