Mold is not just an eyesore it’s a serious problem that can have serious effects on your health and safety. Mold growth is such a common occurrence indoors, it is also one of the most persistent and destructive problems that can affect a home. Here’s some advice for dealing with mold: detecting, removing and preventing it.
Identify sources of excess moisture to find the root of mold problems
Poorly sealed windows and doors
Pay particularly close attention to your basement, attic, bathroom, crawlspace and cold storage room, as these places are all more likely to experience moisture problems. Make sure that your walls, hardwood floors, carpets and furniture remain dry. This is important because mold feeds off organic matter, which is typically found in drywall, wood, paper and fabrics.
Look for visible signs of mold
Damp, musty or earthy odors
Bubbling paint or wallpaper
Condensation on walls
Water stains and discoloration of walls
Black spots on walls
If you suspect a mold problem, get a mold test
While you can purchase a DIY mold testing kit, professional testing is far more reliable and safe. A visual mold inspection is useful in developing a remediation strategy, however a mold test is the only way to confirm the presence of mold. The mold test can also tell you the species of mold you’re dealing with and the concentration of mold spores in the air.
The test will let you know if you’re being exposed to toxic species like Aspergillus, Alternaria and Stachybotrys (also known as black mold).
Pay attention to any changes in your health.
Eye, nose and throat irritation
Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath
Coughing and wheezing
Dizziness and nausea
Worsening of allergies and asthma.
Unusual or persistent symptoms that have no apparent cause can actually be caused by mold exposure. Not everyone will be equally affected by mold. In fact some people may experience intense and debilitating symptoms while others may have no reaction at all.
To prevent mold from forming or growing back, the most powerful thing you can do is to control moisture.
Remove mold; use baking soda dissolved in water, prevents growth and absorbs moisture
Ensure proper air exchange by opening windows and doors regularly
Use a dehumidifier if the relative humidity inside your home is above 50 percent
Seal foundation cracks
Turn on exhaust fans when showering and cooking
Make sure your gutters are clean and that your downspouts are directing water far enough away from your home
If all else fails, call an experienced mold professional to help.