Thursday, October 30, 2014
How To End the Lurking Threat of Mold
Unlike most household threats, mold has to be dealt with fast and eliminated with urgency. A rusty pipe or a cracked windowpane can wait a few weeks until the homeowner finds a decent contractor with affordable services, but mold has a direct effect on health, meaning that any delay is a hazard to the wellbeing of anyone living in the home.
Mold is Everywhere
Fungal growths known collectively as mold flourish everywhere in nature. Tens of thousands of varieties grow on trees, on forest floors, and under rocks, spreading quickly when supported by a warm and wet environment. Of course, modern homes carry their own sources of moisture. Pipes are the sealed conduits for household water supplies, and there's a network of drainage outlets and air conditioning ducts threading between walls and under floors. It only takes a tiny leak in one of these systems and a dark, warm space for mold to gain a foothold in a property. Air conditioning ducts become dirty and trap damp air and walls spaces become covered in condensation due to extreme levels of humidity. The conditions that allow mold to prosper are there, behind the walls and under the floorboards in every home.
The Health Impact
Although next to harmless when found under a shady tree or beneath a rock, mold in a home can triggercountless allergic reactions responses and respiratory problems. The spores released by mold are a part of their biological reproduction cycle, a fundamental stage in fungal spread, but those airborne spores are the core of the health hazard. They float through air conditioning vents and become trapped in poorly ventilated rooms. The result is shortness of breath and skin irritation, but sensitive individuals exposed to contact with these spores could suffer from more dramatic and chronic illnesses, with most targeting the lungs. Asthma sufferers in particular run the risk of ending up in hospital due to a respiratory attack.
Tracking Down Mold
If a family member is suffering from a disturbing allergic reaction, even when all of the windows are closed, then there may be mold in the building. Even a runny nose and an itchy throat could be a sign of airborne spores floating through the house. Home protection begins by finding the area of infiltration and determining whether or not mold is the cause. If it's visible, the signs can easily be spotted as a spreading discoloration. It could be black or white, or a more colorful tone seen spreading down a wall or along a ceiling in a bathroom or kitchen. The signs are often less obvious, hidden beneath a sink or even behind a wall space. Any tiny patch could be the tip of a substantially larger colony, spreading and generating spores.
Tips on Decreasing and Eliminating the Spread
Once discovered, it's time to stop the mold growth in its tracks. Cut off the source of the spread by ventilating the room in question and sealing the leak. Stop the dampness and lower the humidity level. Consider calling a qualified air conditioning contractor if necessary to install a dehumidifier, and permanently end the humidity entering the home. These actions will be especially effective if the home is drawing air inside from a humid locale. Check the basement for any buildup of water. Homes located on wet land are prone to flooding and vulnerable to water seepage entering the basement during wet seasons. The solution here is to consider installing a sump pump in the basement, or to give a local building contractor a call to evaluate the property for cracks in the foundation.
Mold is a serious health risk and one that has to be addressed in order to protect household members from breathing difficulties, but there are solutions available. Find the growth, root it out and starve the mold of warmth and moisture.