Symptoms of Exposure
- Most mold varieties, even when present in large numbers, will cause only minor problems in most people. Those most likely to suffer severe problems are asthmatics, those with emphysema or individuals with a compromised immune system. Allergy-like symptoms, primarily itching and sneezing, are among the most common side effects of a mold problem. Rashes, headache and sore throat may become a problem, while insomnia, memory loss and respiratory problems are occasionally reported. Most forms of mold are fairly benign, but should still be cleaned up carefully, with close attention paid to protecting the respiratory tract.
Prevalent Mold Spores
- In order for mold to grow, mold spores must be present and certain conditions will allow them to thrive. Mold is present in all homes, and eliminating them completely is not realistic. The more mold spores that are present, the faster they reproduce and the faster they become a problem. Thorough cleaning and removal of moisture will keep mold spores in check. Bathrooms, basements and kitchens are especially prone to promoting mold growth. The water and moisture in these rooms, as well as damp, darkness in basements, provide excellent conditions for spores to grow.
- Moisture is a primary source of mold growth inside and outside of the home. The amount of moisture required to promote growth varies depending on the specific mold type. Leaky pipes or roofs, improperly sealed faucets or too much humidity are all common sources of mold in the home. These sources must be eliminated to avoid mold problems. To take care of the problem, rooms with too much humidity should be corrected with dehumidifiers, while leaks should be repaired and proper ventilation added where necessary. Mold-resistant paint is a fairly easy and inexpensive way to prohibit growth. The sight or smell of mold is usually a sign of long-term growth and careful cleaning with a bleach and water solution, complete with respiratory protection should be done. Humidity should be kept between 30 percent and 50 percent -- anything more than that can provide enough moisture to aid mold growth.
- Molds grow in several temperature ranges, but most of them prefer the same temperatures favored by humans. Mold grows year-round, and will be present in cold areas like the refrigerator, and warm areas like the dryer. Temperature control is not an effective way of controlling growth. Instead, ensuring proper air movement in poorly ventilated rooms, and reducing humidity are much more effective.
Removing Infested Products
- If moisture, proper temperature and mold spores are available, a mold problem is most likely close behind. Any home product or substance that is carbon-based will provide enough nutrition to support a mold colony. Wood and paper products, textiles and food are all common areas to find mold. Mold is often associated with an earthy or musty smell, and might be a way to track down hidden colonies. If the home has flooded, it is essential to remove and replace these products before it is safe to move back in.