How do you come in contact with mold?
Mold spores are found in all homes and offices, and grow rapidly from excess humidity.
The following are some sources of indoor moisture that may cause mold problems in a home or office:
- Roof leaks
- Improperly maintained humidifiers
- Damp/humid basements or crawl spaces
- Ground water entering basements
- Plumbing leaks
- Improperly vented and insulated attics
- Condensation or standing water in HVAC systems
- Excessive Shower/bath vapor
- Spilled liquids on carpeted surfaces
- Improperly vented clothes dryers
What can mold do to you?
Exposure to mold is not healthy for anyone especially the following individuals that are at a higher risk for adverse health effects: infants, children, elderly, immune compromised patients, pregnant women, and individuals with existing respiratory conditions.
When inhaled, even in small amounts, mold can cause a wide range of health problems including respiratory problems (wheezing), nasal and sinus congestion, watery and red eyes, nose and throat irritation, skin irritation, aches and pains, fevers, and in some cases even death.
Causes of indoor mold growth
High moisture is the major contributor to indoor microbiological activity (mold growth). This is due to nutrients for spore germination and growth being readily available in most households constituents. These household constituents can be dirt, dust, wood, paper, adhesives, acoustical fiber, paint textiles, stored material, carpets, floors, and much more.
Why test for mold?
Mold spores are just about everywhere, and they are part of our normal ecology. But when conditions are right, mold spores can colonize and grow inside our houses and other indoor spaces, causing damage to structures and health effects for us. Left unchecked, mold can literally destroy buildings.
Early detection is critical to prevent a small problem from becoming a large one. All houses and buildings need to be monitored for mold growth as part of normal maintenance procedures. When any mold or mildew colonies are present, more will come unless the source is corrected.
Inspecting for mold
Allergies and sickness due to indoor air quality issues are increasing dramatically. More than 5% of all construction lumber manufactured each year in the United States is used to replace wood that has decayed in service. Allergies and sickness due to indoor air quality, damage to wood-frame buildings by mildew, mold, staining fungi, and decay fungi is entirely preventable. The first step in prevention is routinely inspecting your home, at least annually, for water leaks or mold growth.
Mold is here to stay
Mold is a competitive species for real estate, molds live and prosper in the same environment as we do. The houses we live in are wonderful environments for mold. All houses need regular inspections for mold along with other periodic preventive maintenance inspections.
Before fungi can colonize, four requirements must be met: air, livable temperature, moisture, and food. Humidity and water leaks are the cause of most mold infestations. Leaks are the most obvious first indications that mold may be present, but it’s good practice to check your basements and attics for any unusual staining or discolorations in plywood, framing or sheetrock. Always be aware of any “moldy” smell that you notice anywhere in your house. That’s a major indicator that you have a mold growth issue somewhere, and it could be affecting your health and your house.