Mold Problems and Your Home

Mold Problems and Your Home
  • (view) Type: house mold
  • Opening Intro -

    Mold is a serious problem, one that silently grows inside of your home and sometimes invisibly too.

    Mold can be found anywhere, but it becomes a problem when a food source such as dirt and moisture are both present.

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Worse, as mold grows, it will gradually destroy whatever surface hosts it. Thus, if mold grows on walls, floors and interior panels, you are looking at a potentially catastrophic problem.

Home Conditions

Mold can grow inside and outside of your home, from your attic all the way down to your crawlspace. Signs of mold growth can be observed following a flood or if you have a plumbing leak, a leaky roof, a damp basement or humidifiers present. A sprinkler hitting your home, a backed up sewer line, even steam from cooking can invite mold. You just never know where you will find it!

Some of the telltale signs of mold can be observed if floors warp or walls and ceilings become discolored. Check around your windows too as condensation build up is an indication that mold may be a problem, one created by your HVAC system, not the outside environment. Annual service of your HVAC system can thwart this problem.

Contamination

Small amounts of mold may have no apparent effect on you, but mold may gradually create a health problem. That couch you bought at a garage sale may look and smell clean as do the kitchen cabinets you relocated to your basement. It isn’t just old furniture either as a spilled drink down a new chair can also invite mold.

Looks, however, are not everything. Mold or mildew growth can soon lead to serious allergic reactions as inflammation and infection set in.

People with mold reported in their homes may exhibit several signs of health problems including nasal and sinus congestions, irritated eyes, a dry cough, respiratory problems, throat irritations and skin rashes. In more severe cases mold can lead to mood swings, headaches, memory problems, nose bleeds, body aches and fever. The amount of mold present may set off triggers at different time for different people.

Clean Up Basics

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You have identified areas where mold is present and are ready to begin to clean it up. Not so fast! For some people the clean up process can exacerbate the problem or make things worse for them personally.

When tackling this job, you need to invest in a respirator. No, not a face mask, rather a respirator that can filter particulate material. You will pay at least $25 for one, a sound investment as far as your health is concerned.

You also need to wear protective clothing, what you can easily clean or throw away. Rubber gloves are a must too. And, make sure that family members are not in the area when you begin your work. Clean up day may be a good one to send your family out of the house for the day.

Clean Up Essentials

Plan to throw out porous materials including sheetrock identified as mold infected. You will need to bag these items and let your affected area dry for two or three days. Once dry, you are ready to finish up what you begun.

Some of the solutions you can use on mold include non-ammonia soap, a commercial cleanser, hot water and a stiff brush or cleaning pad. Choose the materials that are best for the surface, scrubbing the entire surface in and around the mold. Avoid mixing bleach with ammonia as this combination is toxic.

Considerations

Light duty mold clean up is something that you can likely handle yourself. However, if you find that you are deeply allergic to mold or the conditions are widespread, a mold cleanup company should be hired to handle the job. Never undertake a large job by yourself — widespread mold is a health hazard and is a problem that cost you a bundle to remedy.

References

California Department of Health Service: Mold In My Home: What Do I Do? http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/eh/docs/housing/brochure/moldhome.pdf

FEMA: Get Rid of Mold — http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2012/11/18/get-rid-mold

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Categories: Home Structure

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".