Believe it or not, mold is critical to protecting our environment, and serves an important role in decomposition of organic materials. That said, it doesn’t belong in your home. Mold can cause mild to serious health concerns for your family and you if it gets out of control.
Mold (mildew in the early stages) is a fungi that thrives anywhere there is moisture. Mold begins as microscopic spores in the air that cling to moist surfaces and grow. Mold is likely to be found in places with high humidity or water damage. In your home, it grows near showers, drains, garages and in basements or cellars (although granted, we don’t have many basements or cellars in North Texas). In fact, any damp surface such as wood, tiles, carpet, ceilings, walls, insulation, fabric, plants, soil and food can grow mold within 24 - 48 hours of exposure to water.
Mold can come in many forms. Dangerous black mold (or Stachybotrys Chartarum) is a common variety of mold that you may come in contact with in your home. Black mold requires constant moisture to grow. Check for areas in your home where there could be high humidity or water damage.
Mold doesn’t affect everyone the same way. It doesn’t hurt some people at all. However infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and individuals with existing respiratory conditions, allergies, or immune system issues are more susceptible to health problems when exposed to mold. Allergic reactions caused by mold exposure range and may include the following symptoms:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Cough and postnasal drip
- Itchy eyes, nose and throat
- Watery eyes
- Respiratory problems: wheezing, shortness of breath, Asthma
- Skin irritation
Mold isn’t something that goes away on its own. The following are some tips to prevent mold from growing in your home and affecting your indoor air quality:
- Keep your bathrooms clean. The bathroom is usually exposed to more moisture and humidity than other rooms in your home. Keep your bathroom well- ventilated and wiped down after daily shower use. Remove any standing water and spread towels out after use so they can dry faster. Quick drying shower curtains can also help stop mold from growing.
- Fix plumbing issues. If you have a leaky faucet, fix it as soon as possible. Keep an eye out for leaks that can develop in hard-to-reach places such as behind the wall.
- Check ceilings, roof, and gutters. Do what you can to prevent rainwater from seeping into your home. Rainwater should drain away from your home. However if your gutters or downspouts are clogged, it can cause water to run down the side of your house and cause hidden mold growth behind the walls. If you have any water stains on the walls or ceiling, it may mean that you have a leak.
- Check humidity in your home. Use dehumidifiers, fans, and open windows to help circulate air and reduce the moisture in your home. Be especially attentive during hot, humid spring and summer months when the humidity level in your home can get high. Installing a whole-house dehumidifier in your home can help keep the humidity levels where they need to be to prevent mold.
- Maintain your HVAC system. Regular heating and air conditioning inspections can ensure that mold doesn’t grow in your HVAC system. Leaky air conditioning duct joints can create a moist environment for mildew to grow. Preventing mold from growing in your HVAC system can help prevent mold spores from circulating throughout your home via ductwork and vents.
If you are worried that you may have mold growing in your HVAC system, or for more information on how to reduce mold growth in your home and improve indoor air quality, please contact A#1 Air today.