How to Manage Mold in Your House
SIGNS OF MOLD IN THE HOUSE
Mold in the home is a major cause of illness and is not often identified because of the difficulties surrounding mold testing. However, there are some simple steps you can take that can help you find out if you have a mold problem in your home.
Look for discoloration of grout lines in between tiles in the bathroom. Bathrooms are wet and humid, two conditions promoting mold growth. So it is not uncommon to see green, brown, black or even pink mold growing on the grout.
Look under sinks, where there could have been a leaky pipe. Water that drips from leaky pipes can collect on the inside of wood cabinetry and cause mold to grow. Typically you will see a blackening of the wood.
Look in the basement, especially if there has been even the slightest amount of water damage. Basements are notorious for flooding but even without a major event like that, basements are damp and are a breeding ground for mold growth.
Look at the ceilings for signs of water damage.
Look at your heating and air conditioning system. When was the last time you had your HVAC system cleaned? When was the last time the filters were changed? Mold grows easing in HVAC systems because of the moisture within them. It is best to have a professional take a look inside at the coils and the duct system, where mold is most often found.
Examine any household plants for signs of mold on leaves and on the soil. Generally, it usually looks white.
Use your sense of smell. Mold can have a musty smell at times but some molds do not have any scent.
SOLUTIONS FOR MOLD CLEAN UP/REMEDIATION
If you've determined that you could have a mold problem, it is best to have a certified mold inspector come to the home to help identify the extent of the issue. Testing might need to be performed if there is a question regarding areas that are not clear-cut. Once the inspection and testing is complete, they can help outline the steps necessary for remediation. Mold and the toxins that they produce, also known as mycotoxins, can spread very easily so proper care and procedures should be followed during remediation. Many people feel that they can take care of this issue on their own. They will Google "do-it-yourself mold removal" and try some of the remedies suggested online. This is dangerous and can potentially make the situation worse. These remedies often include the use of bleach, which is toxic, doesn't kill mold on porous surfaces and can actually cause more mold growth. And the exposure to the mold itself during the clean up phase can make you sick. Remediation companies have professionals that are trained in the proper procedures for mold removal. They know the precautions they need to take to protect themselves as well as you and your family. They know how to isolate the areas being worked on, so there is no spreading of mold or mycotoxins. They also know the proper solutions to use to kill mold. Sometimes the drywall, insulation, and other building materials need to be removed in order to eliminate the mold. It will also need to be determined if certain furniture, upholstery, clothing and any porous items should be thrown out or cleaned. Remediation can be an overwhelming situation, but with the right team in place, it will make things easier.
PREVENTION STEPS TO TAKE NOW
Prevention is key to controlling the mold epidemic.
Have your HVAC system cleaned yearly.
Purchase a dehumidifier for the basement to decrease humidity and prevent mold growth.
Clean up any water leaks quickly. Mold can grow within 24-48 hours in the presence of water.
Don't leave wet clothes sitting in the washing machine or wet towels or clothes lying around the house.
Assure proper ventilation in areas of the house prone to more moisture, like the bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen. For example, use the exhaust fan when taking a shower.
Circulating fresh air from the outside into the home can prevent the growth of mold.
Thyme oil, an essential oil with natural anti-fungal properties, can be sprayed in areas that are moisture prone, like the kitchen and bathroom, as a way of controlling the development of mold.
MOLD MASTER CLASS
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Mold and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome with Dr. Tania Dempsey- Mold Masterclass with Brian Karr