Mold and Air Quality at Home

Mold and Air Quality at Home

Mold can be a persistent and stomach-turning event in the home, leaving most of us cringing and doing their best to remove it. Mold and air quality are interconnected, meaning that mold can contribute to indoor air pollution, leading to multiple health issues. If you are facing a black mold problem, keep on reading and learn how to recognize if you have mold in your house, the main causes of mold forming and how to fight and prevent it.

What is Mold?

Mold is a type of fungus, present almost everywhere, including the air. Molds are ubiquitous in the biosphere, and mold spores are a common component of household and workplace dust. Most mold types are not hazardous to humans, and reaction to molds can vary between individuals, with relatively minor allergic reactions being the most common. However, excessive exposure to mold-contaminated materials can cause adverse health effects in susceptible persons regardless of the type of mold or the extent of the contamination.

How to Tell if You Have Mold?

If you are having a problem with allergies, then there’s a good chance there could be mold growing somewhere in your home. Common allergic reactions to mold include sneezing, sore eyes and a runny nose or nasal congestion. Do you notice your allergic reactions are worse when you’re at home, but you feel better when you go out? If so then it’s especially likely you could have mold. If you find that your allergies are worse in some other building, like your workplace, then there could be mold growing there instead.

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FAQ: Why does my bathroom smell like mold?

If you sense a moldy odor, you may have mold issues. Bathrooms are a highly-moist environment, so improve the air circulation and inspect for even the slightest sign of mold.

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Mold Smell

When you have mold growing hidden away in your house, often a moldy smell might be the only clue that it’s there. Don’t ignore mold odors if you can’t see any mold. You should thoroughly inspect your home before any mold problems get worse.

Visible Mold Growth

Visible mold growth might seem like an obvious sign of mold. However, many people don’t notice small amounts of mold growth or they think it’s just soot or dirt.  If you can see mold growth, even if it’s only small, you should act immediately. Small mold patches can spread and the fact that there is any mold shows that the conditions in your home are right for mold to grow.

Is Mold Dangerous?

When mold spores are present in abnormally high quantities, they can present hazardous health risks to humans after prolonged exposure, including allergic reactions or poisoning by mycotoxins, or causing fungal infection (mycosis). Mold and air quality are highly connected, so removing the mold from your home will drastically improve the indoor air quality.

What Causes Mold?

Water Problems

If you have had any long-term moisture problems in your house, it’s usually inevitable they will lead to mold beginning to grow. Some signs that you have a moisture problem include water stains or discoloration on walls, floors or ceilings in your house. Seeing these could be a clue that there is mold growing within or behind the material. Another sign of a moisture problem is surface abnormalities like peeling, bubbling or cracking of the paint or wallpaper. If your walls are bowed, bulging or warped it probably means moisture has gotten into them.

Water Leaks

The above signs of water problems in homes are usually created by leaks. However, if you already know that you have had a pipe leak then this is a good sign that you might have mold growing in your house around the area where the leak was. Mold growth from leaks can often be hidden. If the leak was behind a wall or other surface, then any mold will probably be hidden behind the surface too.

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Past Flooding

If your house has been flooded in the past, then it’s likely that mold would’ve started to grow. Any mold would probably be growing in places where flood water remained the longest such as in the basement. Floods can often create mold growing out of view behind walls or under floors.

Condensation

If you see a lot of condensation in your home, then it’s a sign that you have a high amount of moisture – a sign that you could have a mold problem. Condensation will occur on surfaces such as glass windows or metal pipes. Mold could be growing where the condensation builds up and collects. Rusting indoor pipes are a sign that you could have a lot of condensation in your house. Condensation can also be a sign that you have a humidity problem in your home – high humidity levels can feed mold.

FAQ: Is mold life-threatening?

Thankfully, mold is not life-threatening however, it can induce allergies, respiratory problems, and general wellbeing discomfort.

Mold Health Symptoms

If you suffer from symptoms such as headaches, trouble concentrating, shortened attention span, memory loss and dizziness it could be a sign that there is toxic mold growing somewhere in your house. Mycotoxins from toxic molds such as Stachybotrys chartarum can have a mental effect on people much more severe than the allergic symptoms caused by other non-toxic molds.

Like with allergies, if toxic symptoms increase when you are in your home or in a certain building then it’s very likely that mold is growing there. Symptoms of mold exposure can include:

  • Nasal and sinus congestion, runny nose
  • Respiratory problems, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing, chest tightness
  • Cough
  • Throat irritation
  • Sneezing

FAQ: How can I remove mold from my bathroom tiles?

Today there are many mold-fighting cleaning products available in stores, so get one with such properties and follow the bottle instructions. It is best to use bleach-based ones for the best results.

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How to Remove Mold?

  • If the mold appears as fuzzy and black, it may be much worse than just unsightly. Grab your safety glasses and respiratory protection and open the area to check for structural damage. Allow the area to dry out thoroughly before making any repairs.
  • To clean porous surfaces like wood and drywall, detergent should be added to a bleach and water solution to help it adhere. Mix one-part dishwashing detergent, 10 parts bleach, and 20 parts water. Apply with a sponge or mop, trying not to over-saturate the surfaces. Allow the solution to air dry.
  • Carpet with mold or a musty smell should be removed completely. Mist the materials and underflooring with water to prevent the spread of airborne mold spores and use a wet/dry vacuum to thoroughly clean the area and allow to air dry for several days before re-carpeting.

How to Prevent Mold from Forming?

Identify and fix affected areas

Preventing mold from growing or spreading might be as simple as ripping up carpet in a damp basement, installing mold-resistant products, or repairing damaged gutters.

Dry wet areas immediately

Mold can’t grow without moisture, so tackle wet areas right away. Seepage into the basement after heavy rainfall, accumulation from a leaky pipe, even a spill on the carpet should be dried within 24 to 48 hours.

Prevent moisture with proper ventilation

Make sure an activity as simple as cooking dinner, taking a shower, or doing a load of laundry doesn’t invite mold by providing proper ventilation in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and any other high-moisture area.

Use mold-resistant products

Mold-resistant drywall or mold-resistant Sheetrock and mold inhibitors for paints can go a long way. Moisture-resistant drywall is perfect for areas prone to wetness, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, and kitchens.

Monitor indoor humidity

Recommended indoor humidity is between 30-60%. You can measure humidity with a moisture meter purchased from your local hardware store. Telltale signs of excessive humidity include condensation on windows, pipes, and walls.

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Direct water away from your home

If the ground around your home isn’t sufficiently sloped away from the foundation, water may collect there and seep into your crawlspace or basement.

Clean/repair roof gutters

Clean roof gutters regularly and inspect them for damage. Repair them as necessary and keep an eye out for water stains after storms.

Improve the airflow in your home

Without good airflow in your home, that excess moisture may appear on your walls, windows, and floors. To increase circulation, open the doors between rooms, move furniture away from walls, and open doors to closets that may be colder than the rooms they’re in. Mold and air quality are directly affecting your health, so keep the fresh air circulating.

Keep mold off household plants

The moist soil in indoor plants is a perfect breeding ground for mold, which may then spread to other areas of your house. Instead of getting rid of your plants, try adding a bit of Taheebo tea to the water you give to your houseplants.

Final Word

Mold is nasty to look at and can cause issues around the house. Mold and air quality are directly connected to your and your family’s wellbeing, so don’t let it become a problem. We have shown you how to get rid of black mold and how to prevent it from forming in your home, so organize your weekend to fight this cringe-inducing and air-polluting perpetrator.

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