How mold can be beneficial
Mold is both a necessity and an issue. In the natural world, mold is beneficial in the way it helps decompose things such as dead leaf’s and other organic material and redeposit it back into the ecosystem. It’s also necessary to make life saving medicine such as penicillin and other antibiotics. Even some foods we eat everyday are a species of mold, such as mushrooms.
Mold is a major problem within the home
However, while mold is beneficial in many ways in the natural world, it can also be the cause of major issues within our homes. In fact, mold can be extremely damaging to a home very rapidly. On average it costs the United States more than 400 Million dollars to remove mold and repair the damage it has caused. Once mold takes up residence, it’s growth rate can be alarming, damaging walls, HVAC systems, appliances, furniture, and virtually everything it comes in contact with.
Mold is not only bad because of the damage it can do to your property, but also because of the damage it can do to your health. Each year thousands of people end up in the ER or hospital for mold related issues. It can cause respiratory issues in regular adults and can be lethal for people with asthma, young children, and older adults. There are some molds that produce highly toxic mycotoxins, which can result in medical issues such as headaches, coughing, and wheezing. Sometimes there are also neurological symptoms, including shortened attention span, difficulty concentrating, dizziness and even memory loss.
What is mold?
Mold is simply tiny spores that travel through the air. When these tiny spores come in contact with moisture the growth and spreading phase begins. Mold spores are everywhere, it is virtually impossible to prevent them from traveling through the air. However, the key factor is that mold cannot grow without moisture. This means controlling the amount of moisture in your home is the best way to prevent and control mold.
Causes of mold and how to detect it
With moisture being the largest culprit for causing mold, it is sometimes hard to identify mold in your home when it is in an area that is not easily seen. Here are some examples of situations and places where mold can thrive and hide.
Water and moisture are the key ingredients to mold. Anytime water is left stagnant on a surface it is a recipe for mold. Flooding from anything such as kitchens, bathrooms, hot water heaters, etc can be the start of mold. Even such benign places such as the back splash of the kitchen sink, bathtubs, laundry areas, and porches can be a breeding ground for mold to grow.
Symptoms of allergies at home and not any place else, such as the office or grocery store, may be a telltale sign of mold lurking in the home.
Smell is a large factor in finding mold. Mold has a very unique smell that can be easily identified.
Condensation. Molds thrive under warm, moist conditions. If you see beads of condensation on windows or metal pipes it indicates a high level of indoor moisture. That’s a sign there could be a mold problem where condensation accumulates.
Visible signs of mold. It’s easy to overlook small amounts of mold or mistake them for dirt or soot. Even if the affected area is slight, it’s advisable to take remedial measures immediately. Tiny patches of mold can quickly spread, and the mere presence of mold means conditions are conducive for mold to continue to grow, flourish, and spread.