The Environmental Protection Agency, better known as the EPA, has deemed September as Mold Awareness Month.
As with other awareness campaigns, this is a time to educate the public about the issue and make sure people know dangers of long-term mold exposure.
With that said, we’re trying to do our part as well, so in the following sections, you’ll learn the warning signs of household mold, its effects on your health, and how to keep it out of your home.
Signs of Mold in a Home
Mold can be inside any home, whether new or old, clean or dirty. The main factor that leads to mold is moisture, and moisture can come from any sources. Therefore, just looking at a home will not tell you if it has mold or not.
Instead, you’ll need to look for these signs if you suspect that there is mold in your home:
- Musty odor – Some people describe it as an earthy smell, but it is unmistakable.
- Dark spots or stains – Mold can be any color, including pink or orange (common in bathrooms), or black, green or purple (more common in other rooms, including the garage, attic and basement).
- Weak boards or soft walls – Mold feeds on organic matter, so it will destroy wood, drywall paper and upholstery over time.
- Condensation, spills or high humidity – Any amount of moisture puts your home at risk of mold. If any of these situations have occurred in your home, there is a risk of mold growth in that area.
Why Mold is Bad for Your Health & Home
Mold spores are microscopic. They can be trapped by air filters that are specially designed for smaller particles, but an air filter won’t catch every spore. The rest are floating in the air and can be inhaled by humans and animals.
Mold is an allergen. Even people who do not have mold allergies can have a reaction if there is enough mold preset in their home.
Reactions to mold include general allergy symptoms like stuffy nose, coughing, eye irritation, and skin rashes, but it can also cause surprising symptoms like loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, concentration issues, and fatigue.
Humans and pets are susceptible to mold allergies. A doctor can diagnose a mold-related reaction and prescribe medications to alleviate the symptoms, but the allergy will not go away with treatment. It will only be managed until the source — the household mold — is removed.
Asthma sufferers and anyone with a compromised respiratory system can experience severe reactions to mold, including pneumonia.
Babies and the elderly are especially at risk for respiratory complications after mold exposure and can experience more severe reactions that can land them in the hospital much quicker than a healthy teen or adult.
Studies show that children who are exposed to mold at a young age are more likely to have life-long respiratory issues.
Preventing Household Mold
September is a great time to ensure that your home is guarded against mold. The weather in September is not extreme in most parts of the country, making it easy for homeowners to take the following actions:
- Lower the humidity in your home – Mold prefers warm, humid climates. By adjusting your thermostat to keep it a little cooler in your home, you disturb these perfect mold-growing conditions. Adding a dehumidifier may also help you attain the optimal level of room air humidity (between 25-60%).
- Increase the ventilation – Change the filters in your HVAC system so air flows freely through them. This will also increase the amount of mold spores the filter is able to catch. Using your bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans is a must to prevent mold in these areas. You can also open windows on low humidity days to freshen the indoor air and restore humidity levels inside.
- Repair leaks and drips right away – A small faucet drip can add a surprising amount of humidity to a room. If there is a leaky faucet or under-cabinet pipe in your home, have it fixed immediately. This can also save money on your water bill and prevent water damage to the floor or under appliances.
- Prevent condensation – Keep the temperature in your home consistent to prevent condensation on your interior windows and other surfaces. This condensation builds up and leads to mold in window sills and grout, just to name a couple of places.
- Ensure proper drainage around your home – The ground around your home should be sloped gently so that water runs away from your home. This may not have been done correctly to begin with, or the ground could shift over time, creating areas of pooling around your foundation. Water can then seep into the basement or crawl space, leading to mold that is very hard to get rid of.
Professional Mold Testing & Removal in St. Louis
As a fully licensed and certified mold removal team, Pure Maintenance of St. Louis the ability to remove mold within your home.
This begins with mold testing. We test for mold using the most advanced equipment and procedures to give customers the most accurate results.
If mold is found, we offer demo-free mold remediation using dry fog technology. Remediation is a process that restores normal mold levels by filtering the indoor air. Post-testing is done to ensure airborne mold levels are safe. The longer your family is exposed to mold, the more chance there is for it to cause illnesses like the ones mentioned above.
Some mold in a home is expected, since it is impossible to completely seal off your home. Remediation is a service that reduces the amount of mold in the air so it is less likely that mold colonies will form in the future.