Mold in the Home
With cold temperatures right around the corner, you may be preparing to close your home up for the winter. However, if there is mold in your home, you may find yourself or family members feeling ill whenever they are home. Because your home should be a comfortable place to relax, understanding what causes mold and the symptoms can alert you to a possible mold infestation before it becomes a big deal.
The Causes of Mold Growth
Mold needs moisture to grow. This means that mold can be found almost anywhere where moisture can accumulate. It is almost always present in bathrooms that are not properly ventilated. For example, mold can sometimes be found in the grout around the bathtub. This small amount of mold is nothing to worry about and can be taken care of with a little soap and water.
However, mold can be a huge problem when it grows as a result of major water leaks. These leaks can occur anywhere there is running water. If a pipe springs a leak under the kitchen sink and it goes unnoticed, the wall behind the sink is at risk for growing mold. The mold can actually get into the drywall and the studs.
Another area that is often at risk for mold growth is the attic. Roof leaks often go unnoticed until water comes in through the ceiling. Part of the problem is that few homeowners take the time to go into the attic to look around. By the time the leak makes itself known, so much damage has already occurred that the mold may not be the worst of it.
Mold Symptoms and Signs
The only time mold is a problem indoors is when mold spores find a damp spot in the home and begin to grow. However, if you or a family member are allergic to mold, simply inhaling or touching the spores can cause an immediate or delayed allergic reaction. Additional symptoms can include:
- Eye, nose and mouth irritations
- Asthma attacks
- Skin rashes
Even if mold does not cause a reaction or illness, it does often have a unique odor. Even if the mold cannot be seen, there is a chance that could be toxic. Do not ignore strange smells as they could indicate something is growing where you don’t want it to be.
How to Get Rid of Mold
If you have small areas of visible mold, you can clean them yourself with a bleach and water solution. Automatic dishwasher detergent can be used on concrete that has been contaminated with mold. Dehumidifiers should be set out to dry the area in case any mold was left behind. It is recommended to leave the dehumidifiers for three days; if the mold smell is still there, the area can be cleaned with the bleach solution a second time or a mold remediation specialist can be called.
Prevent Mold from Growing
The best way to prevent mold from growing is to control the amount of moisture in the home. If areas of the home consistently become moist, getting your hands on a dehumidifier can help reduce your moisture levels. If you find leaky plumbing, have a plumber come in to fix the problem as soon as possible. You can then wash the area around the wet areas with detergent and allow to dry.
Finally, you should be checking your attic every so often to check for leaks. If you catch leaks early, you can have a roofer fix the problem before mold has the ability to take hold and send spores throughout your home.