Does My Home Have a Mold Problem?

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Mold is a problem that occurs in many homes and buildings, and if treated properly and professionally, is relatively easy to solve. The important thing to remember about mold is its ability to spread rapidly. The sooner you deal with it, or circumstances that can lead to it, the more likely you are to avoid serious problems. The presence of mold creates poor air quality and can lead to breathing problems, allergies, and severe health problems. The spores act as allergens and irritants, and left untreated, they produce mycotoxins and bacteria endotoxins.

Health Issues

If left untreated, mold can cause a variety of health problems, aside from creating an unclean, musty environment. Most people react to mold with allergies, exhibiting symptoms like respiratory problems. Mold can lead to infections, especially in those undergoing chemotherapy or with compromised immune systems. Infection typically affects eyes, skin, and lungs. The volatile compounds produced by mold growth can lead to headaches, attention deficit, and dizziness. Some believe that exposure over time may lead to an inability to smell mold, making it difficult to recognize the presence if it is not visible.

Certain types of mold are toxic, and are believed to have severe affects. Reactions to exposure may include damaged skin, lungs, or intestines. Exposure sometimes causes diarrhea, nausea, headaches, depression, and tremors. There may be an increased susceptibility to cancer. Some blame mold exposure for a host of severe symptoms that, in some cases, are fatal. This is why it is important for professionals to treat a mold problem. It is difficult for a homeowner to distinguish regular mold from the toxic varieties and disturbing the spores may create further damage.

Recognizing visible mold is relatively easy. Active mold is usually fuzzy or slimy in texture and often appears black, green, orange or purple in color. Another obvious indicator of mold is the smell. If an area is moist or damp, and smells musty or earthy, chances are you are developing a mold problem.

The cause of mold is excess moisture. Mold spores are often present in the air. But in order to grow, they need moisture and a food source. This is why it is important to keep interior spaces dry and cool. Mold spores that have entered the interior through windows, doors, on people or pets, attach to materials like carpet, insulation, and paper. If moisture occurs, the spores feed on these materials and spread. In a short time, a small area of mold can cover a large surface, if left untreated.

It is important to remember that mold removal should be taken care of by professionals. Battling a mold problem on your own could lead to worse problems, and may create health problems in your environment. Homeowners should choose a restoration company that offers a team of mold removal experts. Homeowners seldom want a restoration company to do it and will prefer to do it on their own. It's a serious situation, that can cause serious problems in a house. An industrial hygienist must do air sampling. This is very important, even for small jobs."

Taking a culture of the air is not going to reveal a true mold reading. Usually companies offer the expertise of professionals that test the air in real time. These industrial hygienists, prepare a report containing recommendations for removing the mold and preventing further problems. This protects everyone involved and ensures the homeowner will know the mold has been removed, as opposed to simply slowing the growth.

Many companies offer professional mold recovery services that assist you from beginning to end with a thorough job. They assemble a team of professionals that will identify the problem, solve the problem, and prevent future problems. Members of their team will measure the humidity levels in the air and the moisture load in the building materials. Once the source is identified, an industrial hygienist quantifies and identifies the type of mold and recommends appropriate clean up measures. This solves the microbial problem in the right way.

The area is dehumidified and dried, and the spores are removed from the structure, contents, and duct system. This is important because hidden mold will lead to further problems in the future. They then test the area again, giving final clearance of safety before considering the problem solved. Once clearance is given, their restoration team goes to work and returns your environment to its previous state. Painting, carpeting, and redecorating will leave you feeling confident the problem is solved and feeling as if your home was never damaged.

The information in the article is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.

Gary Trevano is a writer for Yodle, a business directory and online advertising company. Find Your Guide to Dealing With Home Emergencies or more Home Care articles at the Yodle Consumer Guide, The Yodler. Also check out Does My Home Have a Mold Problem?

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