The mere thought of having mold is enough to scare any homeowner. This common air contaminant loves moist environments, which is why your kitchen and bathroom are at more risk of harboring mold.
So, when you should be worried about mold? When you first see a patch of mold, it is easy to panic and think that you will have to do extensive repair. To know if you can deal with the problem by yourself, it is essential to know just how dangerous mold can be.
In general, mold can be risky if:
- It covers an area of 3 square feet or more. A small blotch of mold is something that can efficiently be dealt with. You can either clean it or throw the material away. If the mold has extended to a bigger area, however, you will need to consult a mold remediation specialist.
- The mold is close to your HVAC system. When mold occurs in less-used areas like attics and basements, it may not inconvenience you or prompt urgent redress. If the mold spores get to your HVAC system, however, they can quickly spread to other areas of the building. The mold that is close to duct joints and vents should be removed keenly to prevent contaminating the system.
- When there is a musty smell. You might clean all the mold you can see, but you can still detect a moldy smell. In this case, there is likely mold growing inside your walls, floor, or ceiling. To determine the extent of the problem, rip out the areas that had mold, and check behind them.
- If someone in the household feels sick. Some individuals are allergic to mold or the chemical byproducts released by the growing mold. These symptoms include eye irritation, sneezing, fever, runny nose, to severe respiratory problems. People with asthma can additionally experience more frequent attacks.
Mold And Human Health
Most people quickly associate mold exposure to poor health. Most molds are not toxic molds, and the sensitivity to them differs from person to person. It is, however, almost impossible to determine the kind of mold you are dealing with, and only a professional can test it to know exactly which kind it is.
Mold spores are tiny enough to inhale into your lungs, and if you are sensitive to it, your immune system may trigger an attack of hay-fever symptoms. Even if you do not have a respiratory issue or allergies, mold spores can still irritate your lungs and trigger a cough. If you wheeze or cough, then your airways can be compromised by mold.
Mold exposure can especially be risky for people with a weakened immune system. Mold inhalation can trigger airway inflammation and leave an individual susceptible to other infections. Having mold in your lungs can open you up to developing a lung infection. Among these infections is aspergillosis, which can be invasive enough to spread to other organs.
Mold exposure can trigger the development of asthma, which affects breathing or worsens asthma conditions in those already with it.
Mold And Home Damage
Household mold can be undesirable for your health, and it can also spell doom to your home. Dealing with a mold problem at the onset will save you from serious damage as well as expensive repair costs.
Such damage includes:
Household Materials and Structures
Mold thrives on such organic materials like paper and wood, and fabrics. It will eat away at these elements until they ultimately rot and fall.
Other structures that can be targeted by mold include carpets, wallpapers, drywall, floorboards, and ceiling tiles. If not addressed, this damage can be so bad that walls fall, ceilings collapse and floorboards can cave in.
It takes a while for your ceilings and walls to collapse, but your materials can get destroyed beyond repair. Mold has the potential to damage a home ultimately, so it is best to deal with it early enough.
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Systems
Molds in areas like attics, basements, kitchens, and bathrooms are to be expected, but it can sometimes sneak in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. This situation is undesirable because the mold spores can readily spread to other regions of the house, and it is difficult to retrieve the mold from inside ductwork.
You can turn off the HVAC system if you suspect the presence of mold, and have it inspected and cleaned. You can get a professional to clean the ducts so that the job is done effectively and efficiently.
Cleaning and Preventing Mold
Mold impacts people differently. For some, mold exposure only leads to mild symptoms like coughing, itchy eyes, and coughing. Other people will, however, deal with lung problems and asthma attacks.
Is mold dangerous? The answer is quite subjective, given the variable reactions from different people. Mold is a plant, and it is easy to think that you are safe if you do not touch it. The mold spores are easily breathable, however, and that is where the problem lies.
Most homeowners can deal with a mold problem on their own, but getting a professional may be a better idea in the case of extensive mold.
If you clean the mold but do not address the moisture problem, the mold will regrow. Reducing indoor humidity and moisture is, therefore, the first step to take. Fix any water leaks in windows, walls, and roofs.
You can make use of an exhaust fan when cooking or during showers and after. In the case where you do not have an exhaust fan in your bathroom or kitchen, you can open a window or use a portable fan. Ensure your basement is free of moisture by repairing drainage problems or by sealing cracks in the foundation.
If the space impacted by mold is less than 3 square feet, you can clean it by yourself. The only exception is with individuals with a weakened immune system. Water and detergent will suffice when cleaning mold, after which the area should be dried thoroughly.
Mold is potentially detrimental to your health and the integrity of your home. It is easy to inhale mold spores because of how small they are, and once inside, they will cause a host of respiratory systems. Mold also eats away at the materials used to build your home, which is why you should get rid of it promptly.