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How to prevent mold with air purifiers

Preventing Mold with Air Purifiers

Air purifiers are handy equipment especially for those with mold allergies. They help by ridding the atmosphere off allergens, mold spores included, which cause allergic reactions. They also make an ideal prevention measure for mold growth.

Factors to consider when acquiring an air purifier –

  • Speed i.e. volume of air it can clean per hour
  • Filter replacement
  • Power consumption
  • Noise level
  • Air Purifiers

There are different types of air purifiers in the market. The main ones include:

  • HEPA
  • Ozone Generators
  • Activated Carbon (activated carbon is often included as a pre-filter in HEPA air purifiers)
  • UV (ultraviolet light)
  • Ionizers

Which Air Purifier is Ideal for Mold

Because mold has micro sized spores that float in the air especially during remediation, the HEPA filtered purifier is the best option. It works by filtering up to 99.97% of small micro particles from the air. It does filter 0.3micron particles. Mold spores range between 1 and 20 microns so they are easily captured by the HEPA filter.

Another ideal purifier is the Activated Carbon which is usually integrated in the HEPA air purifier as a pre-filter. The pre-filter’s function is to absorb mold odor because it absorbs VOCs and MVOCs from mold well enough.

Removing mold spores with air purifiers

Any mold challenge in the home is first addressed by removal. It will be noteworthy to mention that air purifiers only remove mold spores in the air and not mold growing on surfaces. Mold is removed using different means.

Mold spores can be present in the air anytime, particularly after mold removal since mold will have been disturbed enough to release some particles in the air. Sometimes mold spores will be blown in from the outside air while some spores will be remain in the air because you cannot possibly clear all particles from the air.

While it is impossible to remove all spores from the air, it is possible to manage them to a minimum harmless level. Air purifiers are designed to run throughout to maintain clean air at all times. These purifiers generally consume less power and are quiet, and you can expect them to purify your air literally, within a short time after being turned on.

Air Purifiers for Mold Prevention

Mold spores not only cause allergic reactions but also contribute to the growth of mold in your house. By getting rid of mold spores in the air, you will have prevented them from landing on wet surfaces and potentially growing into mold. Air purifiers are therefore a long-term mold prevention solution.
Air Purifiers for Pollen, Dust, Pet Dander, Bacteria, and Other Allergens

Alongside mold spores, air purifiers also remove pollen, dust, dust mite feces, pet dander, bacteria, smoke, VOCs, and other allergens found in your air space. Some even remove viruses from the air.

Therefore, if you are asthmatic, air purifiers are an asset. In addition, it saves you the trouble of having to dust or vacuum every other time.

Things to consider when buying an Air Purifier

1. Room Size

The size of room you intend to use the air purifier in will greatly determine the purifier you will buy. When buying a purifier, look out for room size information on it. It will be practical to acquire one whose capability equals or is greater than the size of your room.

Usually room size factor goes hand in hand with a purifier’s recommended speed. A good purifier will do two rounds of air purification in an hour. Other faster ones will do six air changes in the same hour. Simply put, the more air changes per hour (ACH) a purifier can handle the better it is.

You will notice that an air purifier will indicate the volume of air it has cleaned at different speeds in cubic feet per hour (cu ft/hr) or cubic feet per minute (cu ft/min).

2. Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR)

Clean Air Delivery Rate refers to the volume of a specific particle that an air purifier will clean in a minute. It is arrived at by multiplying the volume (in cubic feet per m) of air flown out of the purifier and the percentage of particles removed.

For instance, a good purifier will deliver between 10 and 400 CADR for dust particles, 25 and 450 CADR for pollen and 10 and 450 CADR for tobacco smoke. 350 CADR and above is excellent performance while that below 100 is poor.

3. Power Consumption

How much electricity an equipment consumes is an important factor as it is pegged on cost. However, faster air purifiers generally consumer more power compared to the average ones and these provide the best option for large rooms.

On the other hand, it is possible to find a more efficient air purifier that will consume less power compared to others of the same capacity.
There is no cause for worry, purifiers are affordable in terms of power cost. this is because most of them will consume 10watts or less.

4. Filter Replacement

Filter replacement is a recurrent or operating cost that you should expect if you are planning to buy an air purifier. What informs this cost is how frequently you replace your filters and at how much.
In the case of removing mold spores, HEPA filters are ideal. Usually they will last you six months to five years depending on how you use them. Again, you can go for the washable ones, as they will give you longer service.

5. Noise Levels

How much noise an air purifier will produce depends partly on the speed at which it is operating. If on low speed, you can expect minimum noise levels and vice versa. However, most purifiers are generally quiet and shouldn’t produce disturbing noise even when operating on high speed.
Most air purifiers will have the amount of noise in decibels (Db) indicated on them.

TYPES OF AIR PURIFIERS

1. HEPA Air Purifier

HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. These paper-like filters are made of mat randomly arranged fibers that filter 99.97% of 0.3 or larger micron size particles from the air. They are also lined with an antimicrobial layer. HEPA filters are ideal for removing mold spores since these spores range between 1 and 20 microns in size. In this way, you will be preventing the growth or spread of molds.

HEPA Air Purifier

HEPA Air Purifier

Apart from mold spores, HEPA filters will remove other allergens such as dust mites, pollen, and pet dander from the air thereby guaranteeing you clean quality indoor air.
Knowing how to identify a genuine HEPA filter is important, as there are filters in the market that resemble but are not HEPA filters. HEPA filters have a rating for example H10. A higher rating means better filtering.

Furthermore, HEPA filters are safe for the environment since they do not emit harmful by products like ozone. Therefore, running your purifier throughout will not be harmful to your health.
Like other filters, HEPA filters need replacement when they are worn-out. Your purifier should have information about how long the filter will last. While some will take you six months, others will take you years.

2. Activated Carbon Air Purifiers

Activated carbon absorbs gas molecules like odor, chemical, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from the air. It is common to find carbon filters integrated as pre filters in air purifiers. Most HEPA purifiers come with activated carbon pre filters.

3. Ionizer Air Purifiers

Ionizer air purifiers release negative ions in the air which then attach to allergens causing allergens to drop on surfaces. Negative ions usually remain in this state for 30seconds. Other ionizers come with charged collector plates that attract allergens. Both of these processes are known as active air purification because purification takes place outside the air purifier. In HEPA purifiers, purification takes place inside the purifier and this is known as passive purification.

A good offering of the ionizer air purifier is that they need no filters and consume relatively low power keeping your cost low. However, they are not as good as HEPA filters when it comes to removing mold spores from the air. Ionizers will remove mold spores from the air nut not from the room. Unless mold spores are removed from the room, they are still likely to cause allergic reactions.

Considering room size, ionizer purifiers are again not better than HEPA as they do not have the capacity to clean large rooms unless they come with ionizer fans. The downside of using a purifier with an ionizer fan is that much as it is faster, it consumes more power and is a bit noisier.

Ionizer purifiers will produce ozone below the safety standard levels so they are safe but not safer than HEPA purifiers. Ozone is a toxic and reactive molecule that affects the lungs when released in the air at a high level.

Ionizer air purifiers will also cause ‘black walls’ or dark spots where the ionizer runs.

4. Ultraviolet Light Air Purifiers

UV light when shone on mold long enough kills mold spores. The downside of it is that you cannot reach tight corners and therefore will not kill all mold spores in the room. Again, it is time consuming as it takes minutes of shining it on mold for mold spores to be destroyed.

UV light is best used in combination with other filters inside purifiers. This way, microorganisms like mold spores get destroyed after being filtered from the air.

5. Ozone Generator Air Purifiers

An ozone generator operates by producing very reactive molecules known as ozone, which destroys biological organisms such as bacteria and mold. One should be careful when using this method to remove mold spores because high levels of ozone in the room will not only destroy mold spores but also affect lungs.

Ozone purifiers have been limited to use by commercial companies who use them to treat shock. During treatment, it is recommended that you and your family leave the house for hours to allow ozone molecules to clear from the air.

What are the common places where mold grows

Common Places Where Mold Grows

Mold can potentially grow in many areas in the house. Ideally, where ever it can find the right surface, moisture and warmth. Some of the most common indoor places include –

  • Walls
  • Ceiling
  • Floor
  • Air ducts
  • Windows
  • Insulation
  • Clothes
  • Furniture
  • Basement

In a previous article we have already discussed, how to remove mold from a variety of different surfaces.

How to Remove Mold on Drywall, Wood, Carpet, and Tiles

This article gives insight on the signs and causes of mold in these areas as well as how to remove mold.

Mold on ordinary Walls

Mold grows differently on different types of walls. Removing mold from non-porous walls is easier than removing mold from porous walls. For non-porous walls, a quick wipe with a damp cloth is enough to remove mold. Mold killing solution like vinegar, bleach, borax etc. would be good but it’s optional.
On the other hand, porous walls like unpainted drywall require more involvement. You may have to cut out and replace the section attacked by mold because mold does not only grow on the surface but penetrates it.

Mold on Drywalls

Drywalls are made of substances that have a high quantity of cellulose in them. This causes molds to grow on them more commonly than on other surfaces. Because drywalls are porous, you may have to cut out the area affected by mold rather than clean it.

Mold behind Walls

Sometimes mold grows secretly behind walls and in wall cavities. These places are characterized by darkness, humidity, and moistness which are conditions favorable for the growth of mold.

For wall papers, molds typically grow behind where glue holds the paper onto the surfaces. Wall paper glue sometimes carries organic debris that is a source of food for the molds.

Molds behind walls are usually not noticeable unless invasive and mold testing methods are used to detect them. Such processes are best left for specialists to carry out.

Signs that Mold is growing on your Wall

Common undeniable signs of the presence of moisture in your wall include peeling paint, bulging, and discoloring. This might just as well be the start of the growth of mold or even an already existing mold behind your wall therefore keep a keen eye on walls showing this signs.

Smaller spots of mold on the wall are also another clear sign of a larger mold that could be growing on your wall from behind. Since mold penetrates porous walls, it is not unusual for mold to penetrate and show on the outer side of the wall.

Other signs of the presence of mold on your wall could be moldy odor and frequent allergic reactions like sneezing and rashes.

What Causes Mold to Grow on Walls

There are many causes of mold growth on walls but the most common are high humidity levels, condensation and concealed water leaks.

Condensation is the process of water vapor in the air converting to liquid and settling on surfaces in the form of tiny water droplets. Walls forming the perimeter of the house are more susceptible to condensation because they are exposed to cool air from outside particularly during the cold seasons or at night.

Condensation also occurs when damp clothes dry indoors or when steam is generated from hot water thereby releasing more humidity in the air. If the home stays in this state for a while, mold will begin to grow. Proper ventilation helps keep a balanced level of humidity in the home. You can open doors and windows and let your home get some ventilation.

Leaking pipes are usually not easy to be discovered yet they are another major cause of mold on walls. As pipes are fitted inside of or in between walls, when they leak and this goes unnoticed, the wall nearby is affected by wetness and eventually mold. Regular check and maintenance of the plumbing system of the house helps prevent this situation.

Mold on Ceiling and how to handle it

Mold on your ceiling may be a sign of high moisture levels or condensation or a possible leaking pipe or roof above the ceiling.

Most but not all ceiling are made of porous materials and this is a great challenge as far as mold removal is concerned. Non-porous ceilings are simply wiped with a damp cloth to remove mold. Porous ceiling on the other hand is more involving and will need the affected section to be cut out and replaced, as mold will have penetrated it.

Mold above the Ceiling

Mold that grows above the ceiling often goes unnoticed. It is usually caused by leaking roofs or pipes. Small patches of mold or mold stain on the outer side of the ceiling is a clear indication of the possibility of a larger mold colony growing on the inside.
Check out for water leaks, pipe or roof damage above the ceiling and fix the problem to prevent mold from growing or spreading.

Mold on Floor

Mold grows under the floor just the same way as it grows above the ceiling. Dirt and dust sometimes collects under the floor and these coupled with moisture create conditions favorable for growth of mold.

Tiles and carpets are usually associated with dust and dust. Carpets especially have the ability to store dust and moisture. In case of floods and water leaks, carpets take a long time to dry and this is the main reason mold grows under them.

Air Ducts and HVAC

Vents, ducts, air condition and heating systems may not only have mold growing on them but also conceal mold within them. A regular check and clean of these systems will keep mold off them.

Windows and Window Frames

Windows and window frames are usually caught between the air inside and the air outside. Therefore, it is quite common to find condensation on these surfaces. The hot air from outside hits the cool windows and frames to converts into water droplets. Now, windows are made of glass and mold usually will not grow on glass unless the glass is covered with dirt and dust.
Window frames too can have mold as a result of moisture on the glass running down the frames. For the same reasons, window seals too can have mold on them.

Insulation

Insulations attract mold especially if there has been water leaks or if the surfaces have had mold grow on them before. Clean insulation can be deceiving. A closer look will inform your decision of whether or not to treat it for mold.
Unfortunately, insulation will have to be replaced if attacked by mold as it is porous and mold will certainly penetrate it.

Clothes

Clothes need to remain dry and aerated at all time whether clean or dirty. This is because damp clothes sitting on a pile either waiting to be washed or after being washed, attract mold rather fast. It takes a day for mold to start growing on wet clothes.

Mold on Furniture

Furniture is commonly made from wood and fabric and both of these are organic material. Furniture in houses with high levels of moisture usually ends up having mold if moisture problem is not addressed.
Furniture are best placed away from the walls as this reduces air flow around them, also making them exposed to condensation. A regular check on your furniture including the lower parts will help you identify and deal with mold problems and causes.

Mold in Basement

Basements are typically dark, moisture loaded, wet, and on the lowest side compared with other rooms in the homes. Furthermore, they are the least used and poorly ventilated rooms in the home. Leaks from damaged pipes and roofs somehow often end up flowing to the basement. Also in case of floods in the area, the basement gets wet from water flowing towards it. This is why mold is more common on basements than in any other room.

For basements, mold will grow on walls, wood, frames, posts, and literally any other part. If mold goes unnoticed for some time, it can eat up and weaken frames causing more damage.

If you sense dampness, heavy moisture and are experiencing allergic reactions, then there is a possibility that mold is growing in your basement. Plan for a regular check up and maintenance of your basement as well as proper ventilation and lighting, this way you will have dealt with the mold problem.

How to prevent mold from growing inside your house

Preventing mold growth inside house

For mold to grow in a place there needs to be organic matter for them to feed on and moisture to sustain their growth. Organic matter includes drywall, wood and other materials used for construction.

As it is possible to control moisture levels in the house, maintaining low moisture will certainly prevent mold from growing.

Preventing Mold by Keeping Moisture Low

It takes one to two days for mold to start growing. If the conditions are favorable, for instance if your wooden surface remains wet beyond one day, then there is a risk of mold growing.

Preventing Mold by Repairing Leaks

Leaking roofs, pipes, and walls are known causes for the growth of mold in homes. Leaks, particularly those that go undiscovered for a while will dampen the moisture and surfaces around, causing mold to grow.

Leaks are best fixed immediately. In addition, a regular check and maintenance routine around the house will help discover leaks sooner than later.

Preventing Mold by Managing Condensation

Condensation usually takes place when water vapor in the moisture converts into liquid and then settles on cold surfaces in the form of water drops. Metal pipes, water tanks, windows, and concrete walls are common surfaces on which you’ll find condensed liquid.
Condensation does not take place in warm temperatures therefore keeping your rooms warm is a sure way of preventing condensation. Firstly, insulate your rooms and surfaces. Secondly, keep humidity levels in your home low. This way, you will be keeping temperatures warm and dry.

Preventing Mold by Maintaining Low Humidity Level

Humidity alone is enough for several types of mold to start growing. 55% of humidity and above, is what it takes for some molds to start growing. Proper ventilation in the home is a natural way of keeping humidity levels low. Keeping your windows open during the hot season and closed during rainy and cold seasons help balance humidity in the house.
Rooms with utilities that constantly generate steam and moisture like the bathroom and kitchen need to be thoroughly ventilated. Invest in an exhaust fan to keep humidity levels low when cooking and washing.
People have also invested in air cons and dehumidifiers to maintain low levels of humidity in the home and this is acceptable.

Preventing Mold by Aerating Wet Clothes

Wet clothes are a common cause of mold in the house that is why mold allergies are common in homes where clothes are hang indoor yet these rooms lack proper ventilation. Clothes should be left to dry out in the open immediately after being washed. In addition, damp clothes need to be aerated even before they are washed rather than be left in a pile.
If possible, dry clothes out in the open. Drying clothes indoor is good for the clothes but not to the atmosphere. Moisture from drying clothes usually is released and retained in the atmosphere and this increases moisture levels. Clothes’ dryers too need to release air out in the open to keep the room dry. Bottom-line, ventilation is important for any room.

How to Remove Mold

When you notice mold growing in your home or even signs of mold, just addressing moisture problems in the house is not the ultimate solution.

Mold has the ability to lie dormant for a long while after moisture has been taken out of it. Therefore, ensure that after you tackle moisture problems, also take steps to remove the mold.

Identify sources of food for mold and Clean Up to Prevent Mold

Organic matter like cotton and wood are great sources of food for mold. Mold doesn’t grow on non-porous surfaces like metal except these surfaces are lined with grease or organic matter on which mold can feed.

Porous materials that create a favorable condition for mold to grow and feed include carpet, wood, fabrics, food, ceiling tiles, dust, inside of air conditioners, paper, plasterboard, leather, and other organic materials.

A simple regular cleaning of dirt can prevent mold from growing. Dusting and vacuuming should be a part of your regular cleaning program. HEPA Vacuuming is recommended as it gets rid of the micro particles floating in the atmosphere. With a surprising 80% of mold growing on dust, HEPA Vacuuming is necessary.

Preventing Mold by Reducing Mold Spores

Mold spores are a common phenomenon in the air space, the home air not excluded. They are everywhere, in buildings and out in the open and it is not really possible to get rid of all mold spores in the air.

Nevertheless, an increased number of mold spores inside the home poses health dangers. First, by being allergenic hence causing allergic reactions and secondly, by causing mold to grow in the home. Ideally, concentration of mold spores inside should be lower than concentration outside.

Mold spores get into the homes through different means. They get in through openings such as windows, air ducts, and doors or through media such as the human skin, pets, hair, and clothing.
Practically speaking, it is impossible to eliminate all mold from the air in your home but it is possible to reduce these spores to a harmless level. By harmless we mean they will neither cause mold to grow nor cause mold related health hazard.

Regular cleaning and dusting will help keep mold spores to the minimum. Since these spores are micro particles, HEPA vacuuming is a suitable way of getting rid of them.

Preventing Mold Naturally with Sunlight

Mold thrives in dark space particularly indoor. To prevent mold from growing, allow maximum sunlight into your home during the day by drawing open your curtains.

Preventing Mold with Warmth

For mold to grow, a warm humid environment is necessary. Ideally, a temperature of 70°F (20°c) or more in a damp area is what it takes most molds to grow.
That is why air conditioners are important in the home as they regulate temperatures and as well prevent the growth of mold.

What are the main causes of mold growing in your house

Factors that cause mold to grow

The following conditions will create a conducive environment for the growth of mold in your home.

  • Moisture
  • Mold spores
  • Darkness (UV light destroys mold)
  • Source of their food like drywall, wood, and cotton
  • Warmth (mold can’t grow under hot or freezing conditions)

The main factor that causes mold to grow in the home is moisture. While the other factors will contribute, they are normal home conditions. The presence of moisture combined with these factors is what causes mold to grow in your home.

If you are looking for ways to remove and clean mold from your house check these previous articles –

Mold removal guide - Removing mold with common household cleaners
How to Remove Mold on Drywall, Wood, Carpet, and Tiles

Humidity and moisture is a major cause of mold

Mold is common in homes during rainy and humid weather. Such weather makes the air wet and this creates a favorable environment for mold to grow on surfaces.

In places like the coastal strips and highlands where humidity levels are naturally high, mold growth in homes becomes a common and recurring challenge.

Homes lacking proper ventilation also face a recurring mold challenge due to moisture evaporating within the house rather than out in the open air. Such houses will always retain humidity within their air.

Other people have gotten in the habit of hanging wet clothes indoors. Such homes have hanging lines and stands within the house and this too causes mold challenges. Household HVAC systems are also known to generate humidity while heating or cooling the air.

Humidifiers have been used in homes as a remedy to the humidity challenge. However, these are only effective where humidity is below 55%. Levels higher than this will not be remedied by humidifiers.

Humidity creates a favorable environment for mold to grow. In addition, because of humidity, water puddles and damp materials will dry rather slowly yet these wet surfaces in themselves also encourage the growth of mold.

Leaking pipes also cause mold

Leaking pipes, especially the undetected ones are another cause of mold in the home. The reason why some leaks go undetected is that pipes are hidden inside walls. These are more dangerous because the more time it takes the leaks to be discovered the faster mold grows.

Mold from Leaking Roofs

Leaking pipes and leaking roofs are more or less the same when it comes to causing the growth of mold. Leaking roofs particularly at the attic will dampen the air and surfaces around hence causing the growth of mold.

Roofs and leaks are best maintained by a regular check up. Water stains on the ceiling are an obvious sign of a leaking roof

Mold growth due to Condensation

Condensation is the process where vapor is converted into liquid. This is evidenced by beads of water collecting on a surface that is exposed to humid air.

It is common to see such beads or water on cold metal pipes, concrete floors, and walls. Such surfaces are likely to have mold growing on them.

Poor Ventilation yet another factor

Poorly ventilated homes often have humidity problems therefore attracting mold. Poor ventilation will cause permanent dampness in the air.

When steam and evaporated water are released into the air, ideally they are supposed to be fanned out to balance moisture levels. In the event there is no outlet, these two will be retained in the air within the house causing high levels of humidity.
Ventilation, especially in ever wet areas like the bathroom, laundry, and kitchen where you are likely to find steam, should strictly be observed.

Mold on Damp Clothes

Clothes, if left wet for a long time, will most likely attract mold on them and on the nearby surfaces. Again, wet clothes dampen the air in your home.

Dryers used for drying clothes in the home should be vented outside the house otherwise, they will release a lot of moisture in the air. It is recommended that people dry their damp clothes out in the open air. Some homes have indoor clothe lines and racks. Hanging clothes on such increases moisture in the home except the room is properly ventilated.

Flood causes mold

Floods have a lasting impact in the home. This is because after a flooding incident, it takes quite some time for the home to dry up completely. Since it only takes 24hrs of a favorable condition for mold to grow, it is possible that mold will grow in your house during this time.

During this time, you might find toxic molds growing in your home as these require environments that remain wet for a long time for them to grow. An example of a common toxic mold is stachybotrys chartarum.

Mold from a Damp Basement

Generally, basements are more susceptible to high moisture levels compared to other rooms in the home. Usually, they are colder and not properly ventilated. In addition, in case of water leaking or flooding in the house, the basement will always be on the receiving end due to its low position. Mold will grow and spread fast on basements because they are the most overlooked places in any home.

Mold Caused by Water from the Foundation of the House

It is common for water to collect in your yard and around the basement particularly if the ground slants towards the house. If this is not dealt with, you are likely to experience some serious mold challenges. To prevent water from collecting around your basement, dig trenches that will direct flowing water away or invest in some landscaping to level the land.

Mold can cause hair loss

Mold Allergens and Hair Loss

Loss of hair could be a result of human’s allergic reaction to mould. Studies have shown that people living in homes patched with mold are more likely to suffer hair loss. Hair loss affects all people, women and children included.

How does Mold Allergy cause Hair Loss

Blood circulation in the human body is responsible for the growth and normal functioning of body organs and tissues. Hair is one of them. Hair grows from a follicle on the head and this growth is sustained by a constant supply of blood through the capillaries. An interference with the blood supply means normal growth of hair is disrupted.

For hair to start falling off during an allergic reaction, one will have inhaled mold allergens. Since allergens are foreign to the body, your immune system automatically triggers the production of histamine which in turns causes dilation of capillaries. When this happens, normal flow of blood is affected. Once there is not enough supply of blood to the hair follicles, your hair begins to thin or even fall off and usually without any particular pattern but all over the head commonly referred to as diffused pattern.
If you notice mold in certain areas of your house, have them removed as a preventative and curative measure for mold allergies.

Hair Loss can be caused by other Allergies too

Apart from molds, other indoor allergens too are likely to cause hair loss. A long period of exposure to such allergens without getting rid of them and treating yourself may result in hair loss.
Common indoor allergens include pet dander, chemicals and biological enzymes present in laundry detergents, and dust mites.

How to treat hair loss caused by Mold

After you are certain that mold is what is causing your hair loss, wisdom dictates that you address the cause first, as a preventative measure, rather than the symptoms. Therefore, get rid of the mold in your home as best as you can. A mold test is a sure way of inspecting your home for molds.

After removal of mold, the next step will be to ensure that you don’t have more mold problems by consistently HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) Vacuuming your home to reduce the presence of mold spores. This type of vacuum, unlike the normal vacuums, filters up to 99.97% of airborne particles, mold spores included.

Thirdly, consult an allergy specialist or a doctor for anti-fungal treatment. He may prescribe a nasal spray, oral tablets, or creams for application on the affected area.

What are the Chances of Hair Growing Back

A successful treatment of hair loss is possible. However, it may take some time for hair to grow to normal and this will be determined by whether a person is still exposed to mold or not.

A permanent removal of mold from your house and immediately seeking the doctor’s attention for mold allergy treatment will most certainly increase your chances of having your hair back. Mold causes hair follicles to be either dormant or dead. After treatment, dormant hair follicles are reactivated for hair to grow back but the same case will not apply where follicles were already dead.

Fungal infection and Hair Loss

Fungal infection that results in hair loss is usually caused by dermatophytes, a parasitic fungus that attacks the epidermis. An example of such mold-like fungi is the ringworm, scientifically known as Tinea Capitis

While hair loss caused by mold allergy occurs in a diffused pattern, that caused by fungal infection is patchy. Usually, these patches start of as a tiny pimple and end up as red, itching peeling patches with hair falling of the affected area.

Clear signs of a fungal infection causing hair loss are an inflamed scalp, tender and peeling skin. For others you might notice rashes appearing. Fungal infections are communicable and easily affect people with weak immunity. These infections are also common among children.

Treating Fungal Infection

The best remedy is to speak to a specialist who will give an anti-fungal prescription. Some effective anti-fungal creams include terbinafine and miconazole. Anti-fungal nasal sprays and oral tablets are also used for treatment. In many cases, hair will grow back after successful treatment.

Mold Testing – How to test for mold in house

The problem of hidden and invisible mold

Mold that has grown into colonies is easily visible and is detected on time. However, there can be mold present in your house that is totally invisible and resides in air and leaves no visible traces anywhere. And still it would affect your health.

Mold Testing

Mold testing a process of analyzing the air quality in a particular area of your house, like a bedroom or bathroom. Specific chemical tests are able to test and detect mold spores that are present and thrive in just the air around without giving any signs of presence other than health problems to the occupants.

The test can tell if there is hidden mold in the place, the level of air quality and also identify the species of molds present.

Professional Mold Testing

Mold testing can be done by a proper mold testing agency or service provider. They will collect samples and send it for analysis to labs and get accurate reports on the mold samples. Hiring professionals gets you highly detailed and accurate reporting on the mold.

mold testing

Mold Testing

To find a suitable mold testing service in your locality search on google or some local classifieds site.

DIY Mold testing kits

The other way of testing for mold is doing it yourself with mold testing kits that are easily available in the market. You can find a good do-it-yourself mold testing kits on amazon.com.

This particular video shows how a mold testing kit can help you discover invisible mold that resides in the atmosphere without you having any knowledge of it.

Mold testing kits are a less expensive way of testing for presence of mold in your house, but with limitations. These mold kits can be used to detect active mold spores in the atmosphere or on a surface.

However they cannot give you detailed information about the species of the mold, or whether they are toxic or not. For a detailed analysis you better opt for a professional mold testing provider.

Types of Mold Tests

The three main types of mold tests, depending on how the mold samples are collected –

  • Air testing
  • Surface testing
  • Bulk testing

Air Testing for Mold

Air test checks for mold spores present in the air. The samples are collected from a particular room at a time and then the samples undergo examination. These samples under examination reveal if mold is present in the air and in what quantity.

This test helps to detect mold, even if there are no visible signs or symptoms. The test reveals the quality of the air that all the occupants of the house are breathing.

Surface testing for Mold

Surface testing involves collecting samples from somekind of a surface where there might be some signs of mold growing. For example a wooden surface. Samples are collected using cotton swab, tape lifting or other methods. Later on, its send for analysis to the laboratory.

Surface test can detect, if the moldy growth is actually mold or just soot or dirt. If its detected as mold, then you know its time to clean it.

Bulk Testing for Mold

Bulk testing is a more intensive way of carrying out the tests for mold. In the process, actual objects or pieces of affected material are collected from the home and take to the laboratory for examination under the microscope.

Culture Test

In Culture test, the mold sample is kept in a special environment where it can grow into large colonies. Then the colony can be examined to identify the species of the mold.

This method is used in many diy mold testing kits where in, after collecting the sample you have to keep it in a special chemical apparatus where it will grow into colonies in a few day. The culture test works only if there are alive mold spores in the sample that are capable of growing.

However, even dead mold particular can cause health issues. So even if the culture tests show negative signs of mold in the sample, you can go for other tests that can detect even the dead mold spores.

When do you need to test for mold

Like mentioned earlier, the main reason behind mold testing is to detect mold that is invisible or difficult to detect by human eyes.

However, you may want to go for mold test due to any or all of the following reasons –

  • You notice signs of mold and want to do a thorough inspection
  • Identify the mold species and get information of related health issues
  • Find the source and root cause of the mold growth
  • Test the quality of air indoors by measuring the mold spore density
  • To check if mold has been completely removed after treatment

Presence of Mold signs and symptoms

The foremost reason to go for mold testing and inspection is the presence of mold signs in your house. These can be visible mold growing in some part of the house or health problems being faced by some or all members of the house.

If you notice musty smell in any corner of the house, it is a strong indication of mold growing somewhere.

If any member of the house is suffering allergic symptoms, there could be mold present in the air or some surface that is often touched or comes in human contact. Mold in air will cause breathing or respiratory problems like irritation, sneezing etc. Whereas mold on surfaces will cause skin problems.

For more information on the health problems and symptoms caused by mold, check this post –

What are the health symptoms caused by black Mold

Identifying Mold Species

Another important reason to go for mold testing is to identify the mold species. This might sound insignificant. However there are scenarios where the mold the highly toxic and spreads rapidly due to climatic and environmental conditions. In such cases, the residents of the place need to exercise greater caution to be safer.

Some of toxic mold species are Stachybotrys (often called toxic black mold) and Aspergillus.

If there is mold infection somewhere in your house or even outdoors, which are unable to eliminate permanently and you are suffering toxic symptoms due to it, then its extremely necessary to get the mold tested. Such an examination can be done only by professional testing labs.

Finding the root cause of Mold

Sometimes, it could be difficult to identify the exact location where mold is originating in your house. You entire house might feel free of water and moisture problems and yet there might be mold coming in from somewhere.

The test can identify the exact location where the mold is originating from. For example damaged walls that are absorbing moisture from outdoors or wooden structure absorbing moisture from soil. Once you are able to identify the exact place the mold is coming from, treatment becomes easier.

Testing indoor air quality

Mold testing also reveals the level of air quality in places where mold spores appear even after repeated treatments.

Assessing the air quality becomes even more important if there are kids or pets in the house. They are more susceptible to health problems and symptoms and need more care.

Sometimes, there are no visible signs of mold growing anywhere in the house and still the members suffer breathing problems. This can be due to mold spores that are present in the air that might have come from outdoors. In such a situation, its better to get the air quality level checked and proper mold test done.

If the test reveals that there indeed are mold spores present in the air, you can be sure of what treatment needs to be done next.

Mold testing after Mold removal

If there has been a lengthy mold treatment process going on in your house, its a very good idea to do a mold test after the mold removal is done. This is useful to ensure that the mold removal process was successful and that mold was actually removed completely without any left over traces.

All the places affected by mold earlier should be thoroughly tested. Samples should be collected from air and surfaces. If the test shows residual presence of mold anywhere, then you need to carry out the removal process and cleaning again.

Once the tests show that the mold spores have been completely eliminated and that the air quality level is in a safe range, you can be sure that the job is done quite well.

Conclusion

That was some very basic information about mold testing. To learn more about the process you should contact some local mold testing laboratory.

Mold testing is becomes necessary in cases where its difficult to detect the mold by mere visual inspection. It happens when mold spores either originate from deep hidden places or are carried into the house from outdoors by airflow.

If the mold is visible, its easily detected and all you need to do is to prepare for the cleaning and removal process. Then you can just do the usual cleaning and skip the testing unless it seems necessary later on.

References and Resource

https://www.epa.gov/mold/mold-testing-or-sampling – More information about mold testing and sampling at EPA

http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/mold/moldtest.html – Information on Mold Testing at Minnesota Department of Health

Mold Inspection – Detecting mold in your house

Mold Inspection

If you think there is excessive amounts of mold growing in some part of your house that you cannot check all by yourself, a professional mold inspection service can be of great help.

The mold inspection process finds where exactly the mold is growing in your house and also checks for water problems that is causing the mold to appear. So you can not only remove the mold, but also fix the root cause of the trouble.

If you see mold in your house, then there may be more of it somewhere underneath or out of view. This happens often with underground wooden structures or crawling spaces or some wooden roof structures. In these scenarios calling a mold inspection service is quite necessary as they can do a thorough check of the extent to which the mold has spread.

Signs of Mold in house

There are plenty of symptoms that can indicate a mold problem somewhere in your house. For example –

1. You are suffering respiratory problems or skin allergies or both.
2. You notice musty smell in some corner of your house.
3. You have water and damp problems which will potentially cause mold.

To learn more about the signs of mold problems, check this previous post here –

What are the signs of mold in house

Hiring a professional mold inspection service

There are plenty of mold inspection service providers that can make your job easier. They have the experience and equipment to accurately detect and test mold even in the hidden places of the house.

Mold testing services will also collect samples of the mold and send it for testing to collect more information on what mold was growing inside your house. This can help you detect and diagnose health problems of those living inside the house.

With their fine equipments they can not only find mold, but also check for water and damp problems that is causing the mold. If you think there is mold problem in your house that you are not able to treat yourself, its necessary to call in a professional.

Checking for water problems

If you plan to call in a mold inspection service, then make sure to recall all past water problems that happened in the house. This would be water leakage from pipes or even flood. You need to inform the mold inspection team about these past problems so that they can investigate in the right direction.

Even if you are trying to do the mold inspection yourself, you need to be well informed about past water problems so that you have some clue about how and where the problem began in the first place.

Check the house thoroughly for moisture or damp problems. While doing regular cleaning of the house you can easily discover areas like walls and ceilings that are having moisture problem or smelling bad.

Also check places that could have a water leakage problem. Check places where water pipes are installed in your bathroom, kitchen etc and see if there are any signs of water leakage. If you have a water reservoir on the roof then check its pipelines as well. Also check the roof structure for any cracks where rain water could potentially fill in.

Hidden Mold

Mold can grow in places that are completely hidden from view. For example, inside the cracks of a wall, under peeling walls or other areas that are not visible. If you are inspecting such areas in the basement or other crawling spaces, the make sure to carry a bright flashlight to be able to see clearly.

Other ways to detect hidden mold is by the musty odor they emit. If certain areas of the house smell very bad and cause sneezing or eye irritation, surely there is mold over there.

Identifying Mold Properly

Sometimes, what might appear as mold, might just be black dirt spots or soot sticking around for a long time. Look at spots closely but carefully and see if it appears like fungal growth or something organic. If it appears as a uniform dark patch it might just be dirt that you need to clean.

Try not to dust away the mold

If you find large areas of mold during the inspection, be careful not to dust away using some kind of broom stick or wipe. Doing so, can spread the mold in air and also release mycotoxins (toxic chemicals released by mold) in the air which will be harmful to those breathing around.

Do the cleaning after complete inspection using proper cleaning solutions and other necessary preparations. For more information on cleaning mold yourself, check out this previous article here –

Mold removal guide - Removing mold with common household cleaners

Mold treatment

After you have managed to find out the mold in your house, its time to get some remedy to remove it completely. If its small in quantity and size you may want to consider cleaning it yourself.

However, if the mold affected area is very large, like an entire room or a large ceiling or entire wall, then you should definitely consider consulting a professional. Large quantities of mold indicate a more severe underlying problem that will be difficult to fix all by yourself.

Furthermore, if the mold affected area is large, there are chances that a variety of mold species have grown over the place, including some toxic mold. Then it becomes even more important to get the experts to work on it rather than risking your own health and safety. In short, hire a professional or agency.

Mold Testing

Mold testing can identify the species of the mold that has been affecting your house and provides further information about possible health concerns. Many of the mold removal agencies will also provide mold testing services if you opt for it. Of course it will have additional cost.

Mold testing involves collection of mold samples from the affected site and then sending them to a laboratory for testing and analysis. Later on reports would be made available that would contain detailed information about the mold.

Mold Remediation

The final goal of all the effort is to do a permanent remedy to the mold problem so that it does not appear again in the house or at least stays out for a long time.

The first part of the process is to clean all the existing mold by yourself or hiring a professional. Once the whole place is clean, the next thing would be to do permanent treatment to the underlying problems that caused the mold to appear.

Fixing water leakage problems is the most important step towards eliminating moisture and damp problem from the house, which will prevent further mold growth. Depending on the nature of water problem you may have to call in plumbers or similar services to fix it. This will involve repair cost and labor charges depending on the scale of the work. You might have to collect quotes from multiple agencies before selecting one. This again could be a daunting task if you are doing it for the first time.

Conclusion

Mold inspection becomes necessary when it becomes a recurring problem inside the house. Merely wipe out is not the solution. Proper treatment of underlying problems is necessary to prevent mold from growing again and again.

Mold inspection becomes all the more important if the place has seen severe water damage in the past, like a flood. Water damage can cause water to permeate deep into the walls and basement, making it very difficult for the house owner to tackle himself.

Do make sure to call in a professional mold remediation service if you feel it necessary. Removing mold is necessary for your good health and of your family.

What are the signs of mold in house

Sign and symptoms of Mold in House

There are several signs that become visible if there is a mold problem in your house. The major signals are health problem and bad smell. Excessive mold growth can cause allergic symptoms to those staying around.

Allergic Symptoms from Mold

If you are suffering unusual respiratory problems or skin allergies then there might be a mold problem somewhere around. Some of the most common allergic reactions to mold include sneezing, irritation in breathing or nasal congestion. However these symptoms may not necessarily confirm the presence of mold.

For example if there is a damp problem in your bed there are chances that mold could grow somewhere underneath it and start causing health problems like skin allergies or respiratory allergies.

If the environment indoors feels heavy and musty whereas you feel better when outdoors, this could indicate a mold problem inside the house. If the allergies get worse inside the house then this would strongly indicate a mold problem indoors.

To learn more about health symptoms caused by mold check this previous post here –

What are the health symptoms caused by black Mold

Toxic Symptoms from Mold

If you are suffering symptoms like headaches, dizziness when inside the house it could indicate a mold problem.

Certain toxic species of molds like release chemicals called mycotoxins into the air which can have adverse affects on humans and animals both. The symptoms can be more severe than minor allergies. If you suffer any such problems then check for mold immediately.

Mold smell

Apart from health problems and allergies the other sure way of detecting mold is by its musty smell. When mold starts growing in significant quantities somewhere, it will give out chemicals in air that will produce a very foul smell that is difficult to tolerate.

The moment you notice such odors anywhere in your house, take action right away and go for a thorough inspection before it gets worse.

You can either check the whole area yourself or call a professional mold inspection service to do the job better.

Visible Mold

This is the most obvious evidence that you have been hit by mold. Black ugly patches spreading in some corner of the house like bathroom or kitchens are sure signs of mold. Do not make the mistake of thinking it to be dust or soot, and do not ignore it. Its time to clean.

Small mold patches like those in the bathroom, under the wash basin or between the tiles or on a vinyl door are much easier to clean yourself. Follow this previous post to learn more about cleaning mold yourself –

Mold removal guide - Removing mold with common household cleaners

Although small amounts of mold do not pose a direct risk to your health initially, but it can slowly grow larger and larger over time. Therefore in the interest of your own good health, you should take immediate action.

Other species of mold

Sometimes you might come across mold that looks unusual or does not look like mold at all. For example the kind of mold that grows on rotting food items often have a different color like white or pale blue. Such mold appears somewhat like cotton from distance.

There are even more varieties of mold that appear greenish or orange in color. Such molds can be found on ceiling edges that have water leakage problems. These kinds of mold may be difficult to spot if the underlying color of the surface acts as camouflage.

Signs of Water Problems

Long term moisture and damp problems are the primary causes of mold infestation inside houses. Even if you don’t have any visible mold signs like the ones described above, you still need to be vigilant if there has been water problem in the house in the past.

Mold growing on wall

Mold growing on wall

Sometimes mold could grow in concealed areas within the walls or wooden structures and can be difficult to spot. They will become visible or start smelling only when they have grown massively in size.

Moisture often causes damage to wall surface like peeling and cracking or swelling like bubbles. If any part of a wall is bulging abnormally it indicates moisture problems on the inside.

So if you are dealing with water problems, make sure to go for mold inspection and treatment as well.

Water Leaks

Water leaks are not very uncommon. Faucets, under sink pipes or ordinary taps, anything can leak if the structure becomes weak or gets damaged over time.

If there are such leakage problems in your kitchen or bathroom, the surrounding walls would often get affected by the water. The walls absorb water and provide a favorable place for mold to grow. Such mold is best visible on walls that are painted bright white. Black patches would become visible the very moment they appear.

However, the problem gets complicated if the leakage is somewhere inside the wall or on the other side (exterior) that is not easily reachable. Such places are hidden from view and mold growth can often go un-noticed until it becomes large and visible. Then it becomes very important to do a thorough inspection on all sides of the wall to ensure that no mold goes undetected.

Flood and water damage

If your house has seen floods and large scale water damage in the past then there are strong chances that mold has started infecting your house along with many other kinds of pests. Particular areas of the house like basements might have been badly affected by overflowing water for a very long time causing excessive damp problems.

In such a scenario you would actually need to inspect the entire house basement and even the foundation structure of the house to accurately assess the level of water damage caused. Even if the flood water has drained out, it will potentially leave behind damaged structures with cracks and crevices where moisture and damp can easily fill in. Such places will again breed mold rapidly if left untreated.

To learn more about prevention of health problems in the aftermath of a flood, check the following link –

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5508a1.htm – Mold Prevention Strategies and Possible Health Effects in the Aftermath of Hurricanes and Major Floods

Condensation

High amounts of condensation could result from high humidity in the atmosphere. This happens more during rainy seasons. Condensation causes moisture to accumulate and settle on surfaces like windows, pipes and wooden structures in and around a house.

This could again lead to mold. Such kind of condensation occurs mostly on the exterior sides of the house walls. This is what causes the greenish mold to grow on the outer sides of a building which is very common.

Mold that grows on the exterior parts of a house can eventually start creeping inside. That is why it becomes important to stop it right away.

Tackling such a condensation problem can again require some investment. You need to get your walls painted with water resistant paints so that they stay protected under the effect of high humidity or heavy rain or both.

Conclusion

That was an overview of some of the most basic signs and symptoms of mold being present in your house. We would recommend that you do not ignore mold problems and do proper remedies on time to avoid any health problems to you or your family.

In small quantities you can clean the mold yourself. If the mold infestation is massive or affects at least about 100 square feet of area, then its best advised to call in a professional mold inspection service immediately and get it treated.

Not only should you treat the mold growth, but also the underlying cause that has helped the mold to grow. Water problems, leakage and other moisture and damp related problems should be given a permanent treatment to ensure that the mold does not reappear.

References and Resources

Check the EPA website to learn about mold and how to control it in your house –
https://www.epa.gov/mold

http://www.cdc.gov/mold/

What are the health symptoms caused by black Mold

Mold and related health symptoms

Although most forms of indoor mold is kind of harmless in small quantities, they can cause serious health problems if allowed to spread beyond limit. If you have or had mold in your house and are suffering health problems then you may want to investigate further to check if it has been caused by the mold.

The major health symptoms that mold cause include the following –

  • Allergic and irritant symptoms
  • Toxic symptoms
  • Infections

Allergic Symptoms from Mold Exposure

The most prominent symptoms caused by mold are those affecting the respiratory symptom or breathing. When you breathe in air that is contaminated with mold spores, the immune system responds to it by creating allergic reactions. These reactions are the immune system’s defense against foreign particles that enter the body through the respiratory system.

If the person is sensitive to such allergies, the reaction could be more than just mild allergies. Prolonged exposure to mold spore contaminated air can also increase the allergy levels. This can cause the reactions to reach a severe level requiring medical attention.

Some of the symptoms that are caused by mold allergy include the following –

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Cold or flu like symptoms
  • Blocked nose
  • Itchy nose
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Irritated, itchy throat
  • Sinus congestion
  • Sinus headaches
  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Skin irritation or rashes or hives
  • Watery eyes
  • Red, bloodshot eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Itchy ears
  • Hair loss, baldness
  • Hay fever symptoms

Check the wikipedia page on mold health issues to learn more –
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mold_health_issues

Toxic mold and related health symptoms

There are about 16 mold species that are toxic to humans and animals. The release toxic chemicals call mycotoxins in the air which if inhaled can cause serious health problems. Stachybotrys chartarum is one such black mold that releases toxic chemicals in air.

The health symptoms caused by such toxic molds can be much more severe than minor allergic reactions. Some of these symptoms include bleeding, damage to respiratory organs and system, and in extereme cases even cancer. They can also affect the mental health of a person.

However, such cases are rare given the fact the most individuals are conscious enough to detect theme and take action on time.

Infections caused by Mold

Sometimes mold spores that enter a person’s respiratory system through breathing, might begin to grow or cause infections to the sinus, skin or digestive system.

Mold infections usually don’t occur in young healthy people with a strong immunity system. Elderly people or those having weak immune systems are more prone to such infections. Species of mold that cause infections include Trichoderma, Penicillium marneffei and Aspergillus fumigatus.

Medical examination of mold symptoms

Physical Examination for Mold Symptoms

There are a number of tests available to determine if a patient is suffering mold allergies. Such tests can be performed by yourself or a medical professional.

Doctor’s would conduct a simple physical examination to identify the mold allergies. They will study and discuss the visible physical symptoms and be able to tell if the reactions are caused due to a mold allergy.

Skin tests for mold symptoms

In case of skin complications, there are specific skin tests to tell if its a mold allergy. The test involves applying purified mold allergens to the surface of the skind and observe the reactions. Then the doctor will diagnose if the symptoms have been caused due to mold allergy or not.

Skin tests are believed to be more reliable than blood tests though neither may be very accurate to detect all types of mold allergies.

Blood Tests for Mold Symptoms

Apart from physical examination and skin tests, the other most effective way to diagnose mold allergies is through blood tests. Sample of blood is taken from the patient’s body which is then analyzed.

One such blood test is the MELISA – Memory Lymphocyte Immunostimulation Assay test. The MELISA test can detect allergies to chemicals, toxins, and mold, including toxic molds like Aspergillus and Penicillium.

The MELISA test does not measure the amount of mold’s toxin or allergens present in the patient’s body. It can only tell if the patient is allergic to mold or not.

Besides MELISA, other blood tests that can detect allergies include ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay) and the RAST (radioallergosorbent) test.

Treatment for Mold Symptoms

Avoid and get rid of Mold

The best way to eliminate mold related health issues is to completely avoid exposure to mold and mold spores to the best possible extent. At home, you should do a careful inspection and cleanup of all mold affected areas to remove the mold completely.

Mold commonly appears in the wet areas of the house like bathroom, kitchen, and walls that have moisture or damp problems. Clean mold using proper chemical agents and also use vacuum to fully dry the affected place.

If necessary, repeat the cleaning process regularly to ensure that the mold does not come back. Call a professional for proper removal and mold treatment. It will cost money but save on medical expenses in the long run.

Avoid mold on food items

Besides walls and furniture, another place where mold grows is rotten and decaying food items. Though the mold species that grows on food items is different from the one that grows on walls.

Food items catch mold quickly during humid climates like rainy season. Certain food items like bread, cheese catch mold even faster than others. It is very important to take care of your kitchen and the food during the humid and rainy seasons.

Avoid eating anything that is too old or shows the slightest sign of rotting. Rotting food generally smells bad. Do not keep food in open for too long. Keeping food inside the refrigerator can keep them free from mold and germs for a longer time.

Medication

If you have been affected by mold and symptoms are becoming prominent, you might consider taking medications to keep things under control. There are several prescribed drugs and pills for controlling allergies. However you should always consult a doctor first and take medicines only as recommended by the doctor.

However, keep in mind that most medicines and drugs will only counter the allergy symptoms and not the root cause of the problem. Ideally you should work towards improving your immunity as well as the hygiene of the environment.

Conclusion

By now you should have a good idea of what health risks are caused by mold and how you can deal with them to save yourself from any complications.

The best treatment of mold is to clean and remove it. Atleast inside your house, you should take utmost care to make sure that no mold infestation occurs anywhere and treat them at the first sign.

In some places, mold might occur more than usual due to climatic conditions or construction problems. Then you should definitely call a professional to get a proper mold treatment for your house.

If you have any other questions, let us know in the comment box below.

What is Mold

What is Mold

Mold (also called mould) is a fungus (microscopic plants) that grow on various things like damp places, food items etc. Ever noticed those scary looking growth on rotten fruits, vegetables or the black spots in the bathroom. That is mold.

Mold grows in places where there is moisture (or damp), lack of fresh air and moderate temperatures. They cannot grow under direct sunlight. Bright sunlight inhibits the growth of mold.

Mold survives and draws nutrition from the very surface it grows on. It grows most commonly on decaying and rotting organic matter like fruits, vegetables, wood etc. Inside the house mold grows in many more places apart from just organic substances.

Where does mold grow

Mold appears quickly on damp ridden walls, ceilings, wooden structures and all places in the bathroom for example. Where-ever there is water contact or moisture staying for long time, mold finds a conducive environment to thrive.

Apart from walls and wooden structures, mold can even grow on clothes, carpet and similar things. If you leave the carpet wet for long and do not give it a wash once every few days, it would start smelling bad and eventually develop mildew growth.

Mold on walls

Mold on walls

Mold appears even on the outdoors. Just like the inside of the house, wooden and wall structures on the outside of the house also develop mold growth when there is too much damp or water contact persisting for a long time.

What causes mold to grow

Most species of mold need moisture and moderate temperature to grow. You would rarely see mold growing in dry places. Moisture or damp problem is fundamental to mold growth. There are a number of reasons why moisture may become a problem inside your house.

Some of the common reasons include, humidity, water leakage through water pipelines or from faulty roof ceilings.

Some mold species are Xerophilic in nature and can grow in places with little or no moisture by only humidity. For example the mold that grows over bread which has been left to rot. However most of the mold species need accumulation of moisture to be able to grow.

Mold growing on fruit

Mold growing on fruit

Besides moisture, the other key factor that favors mold growth is moderate temperature. Apart from very hot and very cold temperatures, mold can grow under all other temperatures. There are some mold species that can even lie dormant under cold climates and start growing again when the temperature is right. Mold can grow at temperatures as low as 2 degree celcius. However very hot conditions generally inhibits the growth of mold and kills it.

Mold Biology and cellular structure

Mold grows in colonies. A mold colony is considered a single organism. The main body of a mold colony is called mycelium and it is made of a network of multi-cellular filaments called hyphae. It is only when the mold colony becomes large enough, does it become visible to the naked human eye.

The tips of the hyphae release enzymes that breaks down the compounds present in the underlying surface on which the mold is living. The mold then absorbs the nutrients from the underlying surface and continues growth.

Mold spores

Under favorable conditions of temperature, oxygen levels and available nutrients, the mold produce spores at the end of the hyphal cells. These spores act like seeds, and reproduce the mold elsewhere.

The spores are carried away by air flow elsewhere and if they land on a surface that is suitable for growth of mold, the spore will germinate into a new hyphal cell and begin the growth of a mold colony.

If mold starts growing in one corner of the house, the spores originating from it can float to other parts of the house and spread pretty fast. Since they are not visible it can be difficult to clean and remove them completely without proper inspection. More over some of the spores are resilient enough to stay dormant for years before they find suitable environment to grow.

What is Toxic Mold

Now that we have understood the basics of mold, it is now important to learn about it toxicity and what it is dangerous to humans. There are thousands of species of mold and about 16 of the are known as toxic mold which release mycotoxin, a toxic chemical that can cause harm to humans and animals.

Some of the toxic mold species include –

  • Aspergillus
  • Fusarium
  • Paecilomyces
  • Penicillium
  • Stachybotrys
  • Trichoderma

However, not all black mold is toxic. If you suspect that mold somewhere in your house is causing your health problems, then it is advisable to get proper inspection done, to identify the mold species.

Toxic Black Mold Problems and Sick Building Syndrome

Mycotoxins produced from toxic mold is considered to be a major cause of sick building syndrome in places that have unhealthy working conditions. Work places and offices receive less of cleaning attention compared to homes and as a result mold infestations persist for a long time. If you are facing similar problems in your work environment then it might be time to take necessary steps.

The increasing problem of Mold

The problem of mold inside homes is increasing over time. This is partly due to the construction of the buildings and also due to the maintenance done by the home owner. Newer buildings focus more on compact designs and layouts and focus less on ventilation and letting sunlight inside the house.

This causes stagnant air and moisture getting trapped easily inside such constructions leading to favorable conditions for mold growth. Furthermore, home owners are resorting to air conditioners for fresh air instead of their windows. Air conditioners tend to spread the mycotoxins and spores even more indoors and the quality of air is never the same as natural air.

More over the life style of home owners, is becoming busier by the day and people put in lesser time on cleaning their homes.

Conclusion

So the above article should have given you a fair idea about what mold is and how it affects your house and your health. Any kind of organic growth is seen as a symptom of decay and bad energy and should be eliminated from the house at the earliest.

In upcoming articles we shall talk about how to clean and remove mold from your house. If you have any questions or comments, then let us know.

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mold
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycelium
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycotoxin