With so much in the news about mold, it is understandable that we worry about mold. Mold is actually very beneficial to us in many ways. Mold has been around since the beginning of time and is even mentioned in the Bible, Leviticus 14.
Benefits of mold
- Mold is used to make our bread, wine and cheese.
- Mold breaks down the leaves in our yard and fungi gets food from our trash and makes it into soil.
- In 1928 Alexander Fleming discovered the antibiotic effects of mold. He was able to extract the chemicals the mold creates that attacks bacteria. This lead to the creation of penicillin.
- Mold is responsible for the decomposition of dead plant and animal matter.
Health effects: According to the EPA, symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Some people may experience cold or hay fever symptoms when exposed to mold.
Prevent your exposure to mold and protect your family from possible symptoms.
- Wear a N95 face mask when raking leaves, dusting or entering an area that may contain mold.
- Stay out of areas affected by mold until professionals can restore it.
Something many of us do not think about is that our homes are being built more air tight. More efficient, well built homes with lower air exchange rates means less moisture is leaving the home. The typical home produces moisture on a regular basis with laundry, steam from showers, dishes and occupant respiration. We generate 2-3 gallons of moisture a day. You only need one gallon of water to raise an 1800 sq.ft. area at 35% relative humidity at 70 degrees to 100% RH.
How do we prevent mold growth?
- If a water spill occurs, act quickly. Clean up within 24-48 hours.
- Clean and repair roof gutters regularly. Ice can back up and melt into your home. This can create many issues, such as water and mold damage.
- Make sure the ground slopes away from a building or foundation, otherwise water can pour into basements and into the home.
- Keep air conditioning pans clean. These pans can act as literal petri dishes for bacteria and mold.
- Keep indoor humidity low. A great example of too much humidity in your home is condensation on your windows. To keep the humidity in check simply run fans or run your air conditioning unit.
- Use a dehumidifier and sump pump in basements to remove excess water.
How do I get rid of mold?
It is impossible to get rid of mold entirely. Mold is found in dust particles, floating through the air and comes in on your clothes and shoes. What we can do is keep it in check. If you follow the tips on how to prevent mold growth, then you are removing what the mold needs to grow…. moisture.
When should I call in a professional?
If the area is smaller than 10 square feet, you can probably deal with it yourself. If it is over 10 square feet, you should hire a professional. Water can travel within walls and under floors, so having a professional check for excess moisture will provide you with peace of mind that the issue has been properly taken care of. A quality professional will be able to tell you what needs to be done, how it will be done and what testing needs to be performed.
Why not just use bleach?
- Bleach doesn’t kill mold, it simply lightens the appearance of it.
- Certain molds react to the chlorine in bleach and produce an off gas and can damage your lungs.
What can I use to clean small areas with mold?
IE: Small area in a bathroom.
In bathroom situations, it is typically improper ventilation and installation of a new system is needed.
Clean the area with simple soap and water solution. Spray the affected area directly with vinegar. DO NOT RINSE. The vinegar creates an acid base that prevents the mold from growing back. Keep in mind though, if you have not taken care of the extra moisture in the area, the issue will return. Remember,we bring mold spores in on our clothing and shoes every day.
Mold or mildew?
Mold and mildew are both terms used to describe growths of fungi. They vary slightly in shape, consistency and color.
NOTE: Speak with your local insurance agent about your homeowners insurance policy. Not all policies include coverage for mold or they have a capped limit of coverage.