Mold spores can cause property damage, irritate your allergies, and affect indoor air quality. A timely mold inspection can identify the type and severity of mold growth and prevent further damage.
Mold and mildew need two elements to grow: moisture and a food source. It is essential to address these issues early to avoid costly repairs.
What is Mold?
Molds are microscopic, invisible organisms that look like light-colored stains or musty surface odors. In addition, they can potentially harm the structural integrity of residences and edifices, rendering certain objects inoperable.
All types of molds require moisture for growth. They can grow on various materials, including paper, carpet, clothing, food and building materials. Some molds produce mycotoxins, which are poisonous to humans and animals. Exposure to these toxins may result in respiratory problems, skin irritation, and other health concerns.
A key factor in mold growth is a food source, which can be organic or non-organic material. Outside, food sources for molds include decaying vegetation, fallen leaves and logs. Molds also need a water supply, which can be provided by rainwater or plumbing leaks and condensation.
The most common areas for mold to grow are bathrooms, kitchens and basements. Ensuring proper ventilation and adequate insulation is the best way to prevent mold growth. Also, cleaning up any contaminated items and repairing the mold’s source is important.
What Causes Mold?
Mold spores thrive in warm, damp and dark conditions where they can grow and spread. Spores float through the air and can also be transported in contaminated materials.
Mold spores can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive people. The symptoms include watery eyes, a runny or stuffy nose, itching, and wheezing. The sensitivity may increase with repeated exposure, resulting in more severe symptoms. Under certain conditions, some molds can produce mycotoxins that are toxic to humans.
Mold growth is primarily caused by moisture. It is important to keep your home and workplace dry. This means fixing leaks promptly and allowing floors to dry after rain or snow. You should also avoid using carpeting in rooms that often get wet.
Regularly cleaning nonporous surfaces like metals, glass and hard plastics is also good. Porous materials such as drywall, insulation and ceiling tiles may have to be replaced once mold takes hold. Identifying the source of the moisture is key to stopping mold before it becomes a serious problem.
How Do I Know If I Have a Mold Problem?
The most obvious signs of a mold problem are visible discolorations on the wall or other surfaces. These usually appear as stains; many homeowners attempt to clean these with bleach or other cleaning products. Unfortunately, merely killing the mold may not protect your family’s health. Even dead mold can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.
A foul odor is another common indicator of a mold problem. This smell is due to the release of volatile organic compounds by mold spores. The decomposition of moldy materials can also cause the odor.
In the event of a suspected mold infestation, you should immediately seek professional help. Mold spores are present in most environments, but they pose a threat only when the air is moist and a source of food (organic material) is available.
Additionally, you should make sure your home or office is properly ventilated. Keeping humidity at 50 percent or lower will help prevent mold growth. Fixing water leaks and allowing surfaces to dry promptly will avoid moisture problems.
How Do I Get Rid of Mold?
Mold can cause more than just an unsightly appearance. It can also be harmful to your health. Mold spores can be released into the air, inhaled, or on contact surfaces in the home. This can cause symptoms such as wheezing and coughing. It may also worsen asthma, respiratory infections, or allergies. Mold remediation in New Jersey will protect your family’s health and safety.
It is essential to fix the problem that led to mold growth. This includes controlling the humidity, repairing leaks, and cleaning properly. To kill mold, use a commercial product or 1 cup of bleach per gallon of water.
Be sure to wear a mask or respirator when performing any mold remediation work. If you are uncomfortable doing the remediation, consult a professional certified by the National Environmental Health Association, American Industrial Hygiene Association or Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. Also, remember to open windows and doors to allow the space to dry and use a dehumidifier in humid areas.
How Do I Protect Myself?
If you have allergies or immune-compromised health conditions, prolonged exposure to mold and dampness can make you ill. Symptoms of exposure can include red itchy eyes, itchy skin, sore throat and respiratory problems. People with asthma, COPD or immune-compromised systems may have a more severe reaction and should not stay in homes with mold or water damage until they are professionally cleaned.
The first step in any cleanup process is identifying and fixing the moisture problem. Once this is done, you can begin cleaning up the mold. Nonporous surfaces such as metals, glass, hard plastics and wood can be wiped down with commercial products, soap and water or a bleach solution (1 cup of bleach per 1 gallon of water). Follow product instructions carefully to avoid breathing fumes or irritating the skin.
Porous materials such as carpets, insulation and wallboard should be removed and discarded. This is especially important for contaminated areas with significant mold growth and water damage. The mold will recur if the areas are not completely cleaned and sanitized. For this reason, it is recommended that a professional inspector and remediator be used for these types of cleanup situations.