It might surprise you to learn that mold grows frequently all around us. Mold spores are a natural part of the outdoor environment, performing the important task of taking dead material such as leaves, tree limbs, or other living matter and breaking them down into smaller components. Mold can develop rapidly through the production of tiny spores, which spread easily through the air. These spores are so minute they are invisible to the naked eye, and yet so abundant they are present at all times.
Mold tends to develop when you have a buildup of moisture in an area with little air flow. To prevent the growth of mold, it’s essential to manage the air temperature and moisture levels inside your home. Molds often form in places with water damage, water leaks, or other damp conditions. When an indoor surface such as baseboard or the cabinet surrounding a sink becomes wet, the spores that lands on the surface starts to grow. Therefore it is important to clean and dry damp or wet areas to prevent trouble down the road.
Without moisture, mold should not become a problem in your home. However, if a buildup of moisture occurs, mold can begin to form and will spread to other areas. This can be hazardous as mold causes many different health issues. If left untreated mold will begin to excrete a toxic chemical called mycotoxins. These chemicals can cause harmful reactions such as stuffy nose, sneezing, asthma, watery eyes, headache, and other more serious symptoms (i.e. nose bleeds, chronic breathing disorders, even brain damage).
There are different options for consumers to test for mold. A consumer can use a laboratory testing kit, taking a sample, such as a wet or dry sample or an air sample, and send it away to the lab for testing. The results of that test only represent the level of mold at one time and will not account for all mold conditions in the home even at that time. Consumers can also hire professionals to come into the home and perform specialized testing.
Some companies specialize in coming to the home and assessing the extent of mold problems, such as determining if mold levels inside are greater than mold levels outside of the home. If mold remediation is necessary, there are a few methods professionals like to use. Here are some examples:
- Fogging: Typically used in large areas, fogging involves atomizing chemicals into a mist. This method is very thorough and is used often.
- Dry Ice Blasting: Involves spraying dry ice on to surfaces such as wood and cement, in order to kill mold.
- Remove and Replace: Sometimes there are certain items (i.e. insulation) that can not be cleaned, and will need to be replaced.
You should attempt to control the level of humidity in the home and check areas that are prone to water leaks. Also, it is always a good idea to have an efficient circulation of air and adequate sunlight streaming into all areas. This will help reduce humidity levels and reduce your risk of mold. Last, but not least, clean and dry all areas that are exposed to water.