How Does Mold Growth Affect Your Home?
Mold growth is a common occurrence in flood-damaged homes and damp environments. Mold could become a problem in your home if there is enough moisture to allow mold to thrive and multiply. Dampness in basements, walls, carpets, and wood provides an environment for mold to flourish. Mold is made up of simple microscopic organisms that are found virtually everywhere.
How do I know it's mold?
Mold is often seen in the form of discoloration in whites, oranges, greens, browns, and blacks. It also gives off a musty or earthy smell.
Exposure to mold can cause health problems. Infants, children, immune-compromised patients, pregnant women, individuals with existing respiratory conditions--such as asthma, allergies, and multi-chemical sensitivity-- and the elderly appear to be at higher risk for adverse health effects from mold. Health symptoms known to be associated with exposure to mold include nose and throat irritation, wheezing, coughing, asthma attacks (in those who have asthma already), and lower respiratory tract infections (in children). People with pre-existing respiratory conditions also may be susceptible to more serious lung infections.
Stop the Water
Fix leaks in pipes and clean up any damp areas around tubs and sinks, so mold spores don't have a growing environment.
Rebuild or retrofit the flooded area with water-resistant building materials such as tile, stone, deep-sealed concrete, galvanized or stainless steel hardware, indoor/outdoor carpeting, waterproof wallboard, water-resistant glues, and so on. Prevent water seepage from outdoors into the house!It's important to have rainwater from gutters or the roof drain away from the house. The ground around your house needs to slope away to keep the basement and crawl spaces dry.
Can I be exposed to mold?
When molds are disturbed, they release spores into the air. You can be exposed to mold by breathing air containing these spores. You can also be exposed when touching moldy food or accidental hand-to-mouth contact.
How do molds affect my health?
Most molds do not harm healthy people. People with allergies or asthma, however, may be more sensitive to molds. Sensitive people may experience skin rash, running nose, eye irritation, and a cough. Symptoms can worsen nasal congestion, asthma attacks, and other difficulties breathing. People with immune suppression or underlying lung diseases may be at risk for infections from molds.
A small number of molds produce toxins called mycotoxins. When people are exposed to high levels of mycotoxins, they may suffer toxic effects including fatigue, nausea, headaches, and irritation of the lungs and eyes.
If you or your family members have health problems that you suspect are caused by exposure to mold, you should consult with your physician, and then give us a call.
Don't paint over mold!
Painting over mold never works. Check out what happens when you paint over mold above!
Can I control mold growth in my home?
Yes, you can! Dry out your home, and fix any outside moisture problems in your home. Stop water leaks, repair leaky roofs and plumbing. Keep water away from concrete slabs and basement walls. Open your windows and doors to increase the air flow in your home, especially along the inside of exterior walls.
Is it safe to paint over the mold?
No, don't paint or caulk over mold. The mold will grow under the paint which will cause the paint to peel. Covering the problem doesn't cure the problem.
Resources: Ohio Department of Health and the Washington State Department of Health