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Fight Black Mold Before It Becomes A Problem

Обращение гражданРубрика: ЖалобаFight Black Mold Before It Becomes A Problem
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Leslee MacKillop спросил 3 месяца назад

When it comes to mold and mold damage, there are five facts to understanding mold that everyone should know. These facts include: 1) Mold needs moisture to grow; 2) Mold can be harmful or helpful depending on where it grows; 3) Mold does not grow on dry materials; 4) Mold growing inside a home can affect the residents; and 5) Homeowners and property residents can learn to recognize mold.

Before one can fight mold, we must learn about what mold is. Molds are microscopic fungi, a group of organisms which also includes mushrooms and yeasts. Fungi are highly adapted to grow and reproduce rapidly, producing spores and mycelia in the process.

Mold is encountered every day. Foods spoil because of mold. Leaves decay and pieces of wood lying on the ground rot due to mold. That fuzzy black growth on wet window sills is mold. Paper or fabrics stored in a damp place get a musty smell that is due to the action of molds.

While molds are often considered to be harmful, certain molds can be useful to people. The drug penicillin is obtained from a specific type of mold. Some foods and beverages are made by the actions of molds. The key to beneficial kinds of molds is that they are selected and grown in a controlled fashion.

Molds are undesirable when they grow where we don’t want them, such as in homes. Molds that grow inside may be different from the ones found outdoors. According to USA Today, there are at least 100,000 types of mold, but only a few dozen are toxic and can cause health problems. These toxic molds produce chemicals called mycotoxins that can cause rashes, seizures, unusual bleeding, headaches, respiratory problems and severe fatigue in some people. According to the Mayo Clinic, sinus problems are almost always the result of toxic mold.

What Makes Molds Grow?
Molds will grow if we provide them with moisture and nutrients. If we keep things dry, molds do not grow.

High moisture levels can be the result of water coming in from the outside, through the floor, walls or roof; or from plumbing leaks; or moisture produced by the people living in the home, through daily activities like bathing, washing clothes or cooking. Water enters the building when there is a weakness or failure in the structure. Moisture accumulates within the home when there is not enough ventilation to expel that moisture.

Different kinds of molds grow on different materials. Certain kinds of molds like an extremely wet environment. Other kinds of molds may be growing even if no water can be seen. Dampness inside the material can be enough to allow them to grow for example, dampness within drywall.

Why Is There Concern Over Mold?
Mold can create several concerns, especially when it comes to toxic molds such as black mold. Damage to materials is one concern. Materials get stained or discolored, and over time they are ruined. Moldy paper and cardboard disintegrate over time. Fabrics are damaged. Continued mold growth can be indicative of moisture conditions favorable for growth of fungi that cause wood rot and structural damage.

When molds are growing inside the home, there may be health concerns. Molds release chemicals and spores. Health experts indicate that, depending on the type of mold present in a home, the amount and degree of exposure, and the health condition of the occupant, the health effects of mold can range from being insignificant to causing allergic reactions and mold induced illness. Pregnant women, infants, the elderly and those with health problems, such as respiratory disease or a weakened immune system, are more at risk when exposed to mold. Consult your family physician if you believe there is someone who may be at risk.

Do You Have A Mold Problem?
Molds are always found in the air outside and in all buildings. They come into the home in many ways through open windows or doors, on clothing, pets, food or furniture. The problem starts when mold grows inside the home.

Some mold growing, for example on the window sill but not elsewhere, may not be a huge cause of concern. If it is a small amount, you may be able to clean the mold yourself. However, if the mold is growing on the wall as well, your mold problem might be running deeper. Also, you need to look at factors like «Is there a bed right beside the moldy window?» Certainly, laying one’s head beside a moldy window for several hours a night will not be good. Regardless of the amount of mold found within a home, the presence of mold is a sign that there is too much moisture in your home a situation which must be corrected.

As soon as you notice any mold in your home, continue to inspect the remainder of the home to find the extent of the mold.

How Can One Tell If They Have Mold Growing?

Discoloration is a sign of mold. However, all discoloration is not due to mold. Carpeting near baseboards, for example, can be stained by outdoor pollution entering the home. Stains or soot may also be caused by the smoke from burning candles or cigarettes.

Mold may be any color: black, white, red, orange, yellow, blue or violet. Dab a drop of household bleach onto a suspected spot. If the stain loses its color or disappears, it may be mold. If there is no change, it probably isn’t mold.

Sometimes molds are hidden and cannot be seen. A musty or earthy smell often indicates the presence of molds. But a smell may not be present for all molds. Even when you don’t notice a smell, wet spots, dampness or evidence of a water leak are indications of moisture problems and mold may follow.

How Much Mold Is Growing?
One way to know how much mold is growing is to estimate the area of the mold.

Mold is considered to cover a «small area» if the patch is no larger than approximately 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch). There should be no more than three patches, each patch smaller than a square meter. While professional mold cleaning is always the best solution, in most cases, you can clean up small areas yourself using a detergent solution; household rubber gloves and a dust mask (3M 8210 or equivalent) for protection. Infants, children, pets and other family members with asthma, allergies or Ecopro other health problems should not be in the work area or adjacent room during the cleaning. On washable surfaces (i.e. glass), scrub with an unscented detergent solution; then sponge with a clean, wet rag and dry quickly. Using an unscented detergent will make it easier for you to detect residual moldy odors. To clean mold off drywall, clean the surface with a damp rag using baking soda or a bit of detergent. Do not allow the drywall to get too wet. Mold that comes back after cleaning is usually an indication that a source of moisture has not been removed. Seek professional help.

Small moldy areas in homes may become larger over time, if ignored, so it’s important to cleanup and remove even small patches of mold. However, if the mold accompanies an area that has been affected by a lot of water damage, it is best to consult a professional mold remediation company. Always check references and ensure the company is certified by a certification firm such as the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration.

The mold area is considered «moderate» if there are more than three patches, each patch smaller than 10 square feet or there is one or more isolated patches larger than a square meter but smaller than the size of a 4 x 8 foot sheet of plywood. Assessment by a professional is recommended.

A mold area is considered «extensive» if a single patch of mold is larger in area than a sheet of plywood. Being exposed to this much mold is not a good idea. Do not attempt to clean up large areas of mold yourself. You need professional help to determine why the mold is there in the first place and how to clean it up.

When Should You Seek Professional Help?
You may need professional help when any of the following factors apply:

There is a lot of mold (more than a small area)
You don’t feel comfortable cleaning a small area of mold

The home is very damp and moist
Mold comes back after repeated cleaning

A family member suffers from asthma or respiratory problems or other health problems that appear to be aggravated inside the home such as headaches that appear mid-sleep or upon waking

How Do You Get Professional Help?
Contact the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration’s website at http://www.certifiedcleaners.org/ for a list of individuals/firms who are IICRC-Certified Firms/Professionals. To qualify for IICRC-Certified Firm status, businesses must demonstrate proof of insurance, maintain a written customer complaint policy with documented follow-up and provide ongoing education and training leading to certification for all technicians. IICRC Certified Firms are also required to abide by the IICRC Code of Ethics. Services provided by IICRCCertified professionals range from flooring inspection and cleaning to mold remediation to water and fire damage restoration.

Mold remediation firms will send out a mold inspector to identify the problems, find the sources of the mold growth and suggests solutions in a written report. Mold inspectors will provide recommendations along with a proposed action plan that consists of various options to improve the indoor air quality in your home.

Fight Black Mold Before It Becomes a Problem
When it comes to preventing mold within the home, especially black mold, it is important to know what steps to take. Keep your home dry and frequently check your home for signs of moisture and molds. Find and fix any water leaks promptly. Discard clutter and excess stored materials. Molds grow on fabrics, paper, wood and practically anything that collects dust and holds moisture. Reduce the amount of stored materials, especially items that are no longer used. Clean and maintain the home regularly. Measure how much moisture is in the air. To find the relative humidity in your home, you’ll need a hygrometer. You can buy one at a hardware store or electronics store. A hygrometer costs from $10 to $60. Relative humidity in the home should be under 55% in the summer and 45% in the winter (or lower to avoid condensation on windows). If necessary, use a dehumidifier to lower the relative humidity. Finally, encourage lifestyle practices that reduce moisture. Think of the different ways moisture is produced inside the home (for example, cooking, bathing, plant jungle). Remove the moisture as it is produced by using exhaust fans. In the absence of fans, open windows for a short time, but note that the wind can push the moisture to other parts of the home.

Even with excellent prevention techniques in place, one may encounter undesirable mold growth within the home. If you encounter a mold growth problem, consider seeking professional help from a certified mold investigator to identify appropriate remediation steps inside the home.

Eco Pro Restoration
3315 Midfield Rd
Pikesville, MD 21208
(410) 645-0274

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