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RESTOREDRY wanted to share some insight on the growing concern of mold growth in homes. Here is a helpful publication by NY State Department of Health about mold.
South Florida is known for its high moisture and high humidity levels. Minimize your moisture exposure with some of these steps:
- Seal your windows with proper structural and architectural caulk
- Seal your exterior stucco cracks, holes and openings with water proofing materials
- Perform a plumbing leak detection to make sure your pipes are not leaking
- Check your appliances for any signs of leaks
- Replace your toilet wax rings and seal it with proper caulk/silicon
- Turn on a dehumidifier occasionally but be sure to purge it
- Keep your home with cool dry air
- Maintain your HVAC air handler and install a kill switch and drip pan
- Address water damage or leaks immediately with water mitigation services (see our blog about DIY water damage restoration coming soon)
ARTICLE ABOUT MOLD:
What are molds?
Molds are microscopic organisms that live on plant or animal matter. They aid in break down of dead material and recycle nutrients in environments. Present virtually everywhere, Mold is found growing on organic materials including soil, foods, and plant matter. Molds produce spores, which spread through air, water, or by insects. These spores act like seeds and can form new mold growth when conditions are right such as high humidity levels.
Why do molds grow?
Mold will grow and multiply under the right conditions, needing only sufficient moisture (e.g., very high humidity, condensation, or water from a leaking pipe, etc.), and organic material (e.g., ceiling tile, drywall, paper, or natural fiber carpet padding).
Can mold become a problem in my home?
Mold growth may occur in homes that have sufficient moisture, especially after water damage, because mold spores are everywhere. Be on the lookout for these common sources of moisture:
- Roof leaks
- Plumbing leaks, drainage problems
- Damp basements and crawl spaces
- Steam from the bathroom or kitchen
- Condensation resulting from poor or improper insulation or ventilation
- Wet clothes drying inside the home or a clothes dryer venting indoors
- Poor or improper ventilation of combustion appliances
Indications of a moisture problem may include discoloration of the ceiling or walls, warping of the floor, or condensation on the walls or windows. The key to preventing mold growth is to control all moisture problems. Water Restoration Companies use specific tools and equipment to reduce the moisture levels from property.
Should I be concerned about mold in my home?
Mold can be a concern, be controlled and should not be allowed to grow. Extensive mold contamination may cause health problems as well as damage to the home.
Can mold make my family sick?
Mold exposure may cause health effects in some people such as those under the age of 2, over the age of 60 and those with weak immune systems. The most common effects are allergic responses from breathing mold spores. These allergic responses include hay fever or asthma and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat or lungs. We usually cannot say how much mold is too much as our reactions to allergens can vary greatly depending on individual sensitivity. Allergic responses can come from exposure to dead and living mold spores. Therefore, killing mold with bleach and or other disinfectants may not prevent allergic responses. Mold remediation companies use special equipment, tools and antimicrobials to remove and prevent mold growth.
Less common effects of mold exposure include infections and toxic effects. Serious infections from living molds are relatively rare and occur mainly in people with severely suppressed immune systems. Many types of molds may produce toxins but only under certain growth conditions. Toxic effects have been reported from eating moldy grain, but evidence is weak that breathing mold spores in buildings causes toxic effects.
What are common symptoms of mold exposure?
Allergy and irritation are the most common symptoms of mold exposure. Although symptoms will vary, the most common symptoms seen in people exposed to mold indoors include:
- Nasal and sinus congestion
- Eye irritation, such as itchy, red, watery eyes
- Respiratory problems, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing
- Throat irritation
- Skin irritation, such as a rash
Who is most at risk for health problems from mold exposure?
Exposure to high amounts of mold is not healthy for anyone, so obvious mold growth in homes should be cleaned up. However, some individuals may be more susceptible to health problems from mold exposure. These include:
- Individuals with current respiratory sensitivities (e.g., allergies, asthma, or emphysema)
- Individuals with a compromised immune system (e.g., HIV/AIDS infection, organ transplant patients, or chemotherapy patients)
Are some molds more harmful than others?
Any extensive indoor mold growth should be treated as a potential health concern and removed as soon as practical no matter what species of mold is present. Identify and correct the source of moisture so that mold will not grow back.
How do I know if I have a mold problem?
A mold problem can usually be seen or smelled. Mold growth may often appear as slightly furry, discolored, or slimy patches that increase in size as they grow. Molds also produce a musty odor that may be the first indication of a problem. The best way to find mold is to examine areas for visible signs of mold growth, water staining, or follow your nose to the source of the odor. If you can see or smell mold, you can assume you have a mold problem. Other clues include excess moisture and water damage. It may be necessary to look behind and underneath surfaces, such as carpets, wallpaper, cabinets, and walls. Moisture meters are a great tool to use for measuring moisture counts in contents. There are some areas of the home that are always susceptible to mold growth and should be part of routine cleaning to keep them under control. They are seldom the cause of significant health effects. These are:
- The seal on the refrigerator door
- Shower curtains
- Window moldings
- Shower stalls and bathroom tiles
- Surfaces on and around air conditioners
Should I have my home tested for mold?
Sampling can be expensive. The results are also difficult to interpret partially because we have very limited information about what level of mold exposure is associated with health effects. In some cases, knowing the type of mold that is present can be helpful, but for most cases, sampling is unnecessary. Overall, the best practice regardless of the type or amount of mold is to promptly clean up any mold growth in your home and to correct the water problem that caused it.
RESTOREDRY comment: There are also mold dogs that have been trained to detect mold presence.
Cleaning Up Mold: How to get rid of it
- The first step to mold cleanup is to control the moisture problem. The source of the water must be identified and corrected.
- Porous materials with extensive mold growth should be discarded (e.g., drywall, carpeting, paper, and ceiling tiles).
- All wet materials must be thoroughly dried. If that is not possible, they should be discarded.
- Mold growing on hard surfaces (e.g. wood and concrete) can be cleaned. Small areas can be scrubbed with a cleaning rag wetted with diluted detergent. Rubber gloves and a dust mask are recommended for jobs other than routine cleaning. For a large mold problem or if you are highly sensitive to mold, an experienced professional should do the work. RESTOREDRY Comment: Be careful performing DIY mold remediation. If not training in this area and not remediated properly, mold spores can be spread throughout your home and ventilation system causing great damage. Be sure to shut your air-conditioning unit off, place an air scrubber nearby to pull negative air and properly clean and remediate the affected areas. This is not a full protocol for mold remediation. For more detail on mold clean up and remediation, feel free to contact RESTOREDRY.
- In areas where it is impractical to eliminate the moisture source, a 10% bleach solution can be used to keep mold growth under control. In areas that can be kept dry, bleach is not necessary, as mold cannot grow in the absence of moisture. When using bleach, ensure that enough fresh air is available because bleach may cause eye, nose, or throat irritation.
- Continue to monitor the area for new mold growth and signs of moisture. This may indicate the need for further repairs or material removal.
Additional clean up guidance available at:
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Indoor Air – Mold
- New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Bureau of Environmental & Occupational Disease: Epidemiology Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments
- Center for Disease Control – National Center for Environmental Health: Mold Website
- California Department of Health Services: Mold in My Home–What do I do?
- New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene – Bureau of Environmental & Occupational Disease Epidemiology:Facts about Mold
This article has been taken from NY State Department of Health
If you experience a sudden pipe burst, appliance leak, HVAC leak, roof leak or any other water damage cause, give us a call at 786-877-1337 immediately to avoid greater damage. We will guide you step by step to recover and even bill your insurance directly so you are not out of pocket.
RESTOREDRY, LLC 786-877-1337