Mold is as dangerous and insidious as it is gross. It may not appear like a problem requiring immediate attention and oversight of a professional at its onset, but its continued growth can pose a considerable health hazard. It can make its way into any area of a home, threatening the property and the health and wellness of its residents. If you're wondering, can mold affect my pets, the answer is yes.
As the saying goes, knowledge is power. The more you know about mold, the easier it will be for you to successfully clean up, if not prevent, the growth of this fungal species in your house. If you want to learn more, continue reading.
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Can health problems be caused by mold?
Most of the time, mold isn’t a concern indoors unless its spores touch down on damp or wet spots and start growing. Most mold types can potentially cause various health-related problems because they produce irritants, allergens, and in certain cases, toxic substances or mycotoxins. Touching or inhaling mold could lead to an allergic reaction, especially for sensitive individuals, and the symptoms may include sneezing, skin rashes, red eyes, or a runny nose.
It’s not unusual to have adverse reactions after contact with mold, which can either be delayed or immediate. Apart from the symptoms mentioned above, this fungus may also result in asthma attacks for those who have asthma. If you want to know detailed information about all of the potential effects mold can have on your health, be sure to consult with your doctor or your local or state health department.
What causes the growth of mold?
Mold is a natural part of our environment. Outdoors, the purpose of these microscopic fungi is to break down expired organic matter, such as dead trees and fallen leaves. However, indoors, they must be avoided at all costs. They reproduce via spores that float in the air and are only visible through the use of equipment like a microscope. They usually grow when their spores settle on wet surfaces. While there are various mold types, most won’t be able to survive without moisture.
Certain factors will determine whether or not you can shoulder the responsibility of cleaning the mold yourself. One factor you should consider is the dimensions of the affected area where the mold buildup is. If it’s ten square feet or less, you’ll likely be able to handle the job. However, if the mold growth and water damage cover a more significant space or your HVAC unit is compromised, it’s good to leave the task to a professional.
If you decide to secure the services of a specialist to perform the cleanup, always make sure that the chosen contractor has the experience and expertise to do the work. Before you commit to any service provider, request references and read up on online reviews by past and existing clients. Like any business, it isn't uncommon for them to be economical regarding their services. Hence, by checking customer feedback, you'll be able to make a more informed decision.
Mold removal tips
In this section, we'll cover some tips that should guide you in cleaning up any mold problems you might have. Keep in mind that you can always hire professional remediators and cleaners. It's also worth noting that mold can potentially cause cosmetic damage, and cleaning it may not necessarily restore the item's original appearance.
- Ensure that all water problems like plumbing leaks are addressed. Dry everything completely because mold grows in damp places.
- Scrub off mold from hard surfaces using water and detergent. Don’t forget to dry it after.
- Porous or absorbent materials like carpets and ceiling tiles should be thrown out if mold starts to grow on them.
- Keep mold exposure at a minimum.
- Call in a professional if you’re unsure about how to clean certain items. Specialists in the restoration, cleaning, and repair of art pieces, furniture, and rugs can help get them back looking like new.
Mold control and prevention
Contrary to popular belief, the prevention of mold is neither a tricky nor complicated affair. In reality, it’s relatively simple to do. The key lies in moisture control. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Whenever water spills or leaks occur indoors, act quickly and get it cleaned up. If damp or wet areas and materials aren't dried within 24 hours, there's a good chance that mold will grow.
- Regularly repair and clean your roof gutters.
- Ensure that the ground always slopes from the foundation of the property so that water won’t collect within or around it.
- Keep the drain lines and drip pans of your air conditioning unit unobstructed so it can flow as intended.
- If moisture or condensation collects on your windows, pipes, or walls, make sure you dry the surface and find a way to mitigate it.
Hiring professional mold remediators
There's no denying that the removal of mold can be daunting. In some cases, it takes the experience and expertise of a trained professional to do. For this reason, many choose to hire professionals in mold remediation. However, because their overhead costs can be on the high side — thanks in no small part to their workers' comp and general liability insurance — you must explore all your options first before making any financial commitments.
Additionally, you'll need to consider their level of experience. Obviously, those who have been in the business longer will understand how best to tackle certain situations. They're also more likely to produce much better results than those who have only begun. Look into feedback from customers, too — it will make a difference.
Mold growth may not be uncommon, but it's a mistake to take this problem for granted. Apart from compromising properties and damaging items, they can also have an impact on your health. Thus, you must do everything you can in your power to prevent them from growing indoors. Hire professionals to do some cleanup if the job is too big for you to handle.