Mold, Moisture and Your Home
Believe it or not molds are an important part of our natural environment. Outdoors, they’re important role consists of breaking down dead organic materials such as dead trees and leaves. However, indoors, mold should not be growing in large numbers. Mold produces spores so tiny they are invisible to the naked eye. They float from outdoors to our indoor air. This is not much of a problem if your indoor air is controlled properly. If your indoor air is humid or there are wet areas in your home, the mold spores will begin to feed and spread. There are currently over 100,000 types of mold that have been identified so you can never know what mold is growing in your home until it is tested properly.
Molds can be found all around the world. However, hot and humid areas like Atlanta, GA are more likely to see elevated mold conditions. Mold testing in Atlanta is a common practice because of this.
Will mold cause health problems?
Molds become a health problem to us when they land on damp or wet spots and begin feeding and growing. Most molds have the potential to cause health problems; however, some are more severe than others. Most molds will only produce allergens that can cause allergic reactions of touched or inhaled in high quantities. Some people are more sensitive than others to mold. Allergic reactions can include sneezing, itchy watery eyes, hay fever, runny nose, skin rashes, red eyes and more. These types of reactions are the most common types of allergic reactions known. They can start immediately or over a short period of time. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in those who are prone to breathing problems. Mold exposure and mold toxicity are the more severe complications from mold that can affect your health in a very different way. Mold is so complex that research on it is still ongoing.
How to get rid of mold
Contrary to what we want to believe, we cannot get rid of all molds in our homes or offices. It floats all around us. Mold will not be able to grow if there are not excessive amounts of moisture present. You can help prevent the growth of mold in your home by keeping your home as cool and dry as possible. If you have the mold professionally remediated you must maintain a dry, cool climate so the mold will not return.
Tips to prevent moisture and mold
- Act quickly to cleanup any leaks or water spills. If you have a large indoor flood, you should have it dried properly by a professional mitigation company. If you can get it cleaned up and dried within 24 hours, mold will not grow.
- Keep your gutters cleaned and repaired regularly.
- Keep condensation from air conditioning drip pans clean and drain lines unobstructed.
- Make sure the ground around your home slopes away from the home and not toward it to prevent water collecting around the foundation.
- Keep your indoor relative humidity below 60%. You can achieve this by keeping your air conditioning around 74 or lower.
How to reduce humidity naturally
- Vent appliances that naturally produce moisture like clothes dryers and other types of heat sources.
- Use de-humidifiers and air conditioners when needed, especially if you live in a humid state.
- Use bathroom fan or open a window in small bathrooms when showering. This will help pull the excess moisture out.
Testing for Mold
If you have visible mold growth, you still need to have your property tested for mold by a professional. An air quality test is the only type of test that will let you know if the mold is airborne and causing you health problems. Since there is no EPA or other federal limitations on mold, it is impossible for a novice to know exactly what is going on. A professional mold tester has been trained and knows what the industry standards are for acceptable mold levels. Mold testing should always be done by a professional and mold remediation should also always be done by a professional so you don’t spread the problem. A mold testing professional will send your sample to an independent laboratory for analysis for the most accurate testing available.
If you need mold testing in the Metro Atlanta area, call Morris Environmental Inc. at 770-546-3998.