It's Not Just On Your Bread...It Could Be Growing in Your House
It’s Not Just On Your Bread…It Could Be Growing in Your House!
Take a close look at your walls, floors and vents or inside closets. Especially in basements or areas that are out of the way and more prone to moisture exposure. See some streaks, spots or unusual coloration? Could be yellow, green, brown or black in color? If so, there just may be a fungus among us…mold.
Most of us know that old food can get moldy. And we’ve all seen what mold can do to an old pair of sneakers. But not everyone knows that these freaky fungi can get into and take root inside your home. And the results of mold infestation can be devastating.
Mold is certainly unsightly. It can even smell bad. Aww…let face it: mold is downright gross! But more importantly, mold is bad for your health. When mold grows excessively inside your home, it can seriously affect air quality. Airborne mold spores float through your home and are inhaled. This can lead to a variety of respiratory illnesses like bronchitis and persistent cough, as well as chronic conditions like allergies and asthma. The more mold you have in your home, the more likely it is that you or someone in your family will develop one of these health issues.
Mold Growth is Widespread
There are hundreds of different mold varieties, and these can be found virtually anywhere. Even if your home is spotless, mold could be growing in unseen places like behind walls, under floors, inside insulation, in ductwork, or along window sills. In these cases, you may not know about the mold for months, or even years. This allows growth to steadily increase over time; once you are aware of the problem it could mean thousands of dollars in cleaning and repairs.
Obviously, widespread mold growth is a problem that should be handled as soon as possible. However, even small amounts of mold can lead to breathing problems and illnesses for everyone in your home—pets, too.
Mold thrives in warm, moist, dark environments. Old or faulty HVAC systems can produce an environment where mold can grow. So can leaky pipes, poor drainage or any problem that allows water and moisture to accumulate.
Why Mold is So Harmful
- Volatile Organic Compounds: All types of mold produce substances called volatile organic compounds (VOC). These are naturally-occurring chemicals that are found in a variety of things used in the home. Some of the most common volatile organic compounds are generated by paints, household cleaners, and adhesives. The VOCin mold creates that distinct, musty odor that we usually associate with mold or mildew growth. The smell alone can decrease the quality of air inside your home and will gradually worsen if the problem is not eliminated. Research has shown that humans who are exposed to a high concentration of indoor mold growth experience a wide range of symptoms, from allergic reactions to issues with the central nervous system including nausea, headaches, and diminished mental capacity.
- Allergens: Every type of mold also produces allergens. Mold grows in tiny clusters called spores. These spores release invisible toxins that travel through the air inside your home and can trigger allergic reactions when they are inhaled. These reactions are the same as you might experience with any other environmental allergy: itchy, watery eyes; sneezing; coughing; nasal congestion and sinus pressure; and even skin rashes.
Prevent Mold Growth
For visible mold, clean the area with an antibacterial cleaner or a common bleach and water solution. This will get rid of existing mold and will prevent new growth. Remember that mold and mildew thrive in warm, moist places so be sure that your bathrooms are vented properly, open windows whenever possible to allow fresh air into your home, and never leave damp clothing or linens lying around.
If you suspect mold is growing in unseen areas of your home, hire a professional to perform a thorough assessment. You may need to contract with a professional cleaning service or make some repairs if the problem is serious.