Mold in nature is good as it helps break down organic materials. But mold in your home is not good as it produces allergens and irritants. Mold is easy to detect; clean up is not too difficult. Mold needs moisture to grow so first remove the source of the dampness and then remove the mold.
What is Mold? Molds are fungi. Molds grow throughout the natural and built environment. Tiny particles of mold are present in indoor and outdoor air. In nature, molds help break down dead materials and can be found growing on soil, foods, plant matter, and other items. Molds produce microscopic cells called “spores” which are very tiny and spread easily through the air. Live spores act like seeds, forming new mold growths (colonies) when they find the right conditions.
What does mold need to grow? Mold only needs a few simple things to grow and multiply:
- Suitable place to grow
Of these, controlling excess moisture is the key to preventing and stopping indoor mold growth.
Should I be concerned about mold in my home? Mold should not be permitted to grow and multiply indoors. When this happens, health problems can occur and building materials, goods and furnishings may be damaged.
Can mold make me and my family sick? Mold can affect the health of people who are exposed to it. People are mainly exposed to mold by breathing spores or other tiny fragments. People can also be exposed through skin contact with mold contaminants (for example, by touching moldy surfaces) and by swallowing it.
The type and severity of health effects that mold may produce are usually difficult to predict. The risks can vary greatly from one location to another, over time, and from person to person.
What symptoms might I see? The most common health problems caused by indoor mold are allergy symptoms. Although other and more serious problems can occur, people exposed to mold commonly report problems such as:
- Nasal and sinus congestion
- Wheeze/breathing difficulties
- Sore Throat
- Skin and eye irritation
- Upper respiratory infections (including sinus)
Should I test for mold? We do not recommend testing for mold yourself. Instead, you should simply assume there is a problem whenever you see mold or smell mold odors. Testing should never take the place of visual inspection and it should never use up resources that are needed to correct moisture problems and remove all visible growth.
Sometimes, mold growth is hidden and difficult to locate. In such cases, a combination of air (outdoor and indoor air samples) and bulk (material) samples may help determine the extent of contamination and where cleaning is needed. However, mold testing is rarely useful for trying to answer questions about health concerns.
For more information on mold check out the EPA site, or schedule a mold inspection with Nashville Home Inspection…
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