Mold. Just the word gives me the chills. No one wants to live in a house with mold. However, the cooler the temperatures get the more likely you are to trap mold spores into your home. Mold grows wherever there is a concentration of dead matter (such as a pile of leaves or compost) and gets into your home through the air on people, animals and objects that are brought inside. Most people are aware of the health effects of mold – increased sensitivities and allergies being the most common responses – but were you aware that if mold grows in your house it could cause structural damage to your home? It’s important to contain a mold problem before it causes any serious health or property problems.
How do you know if there is mold in your home? Use your senses. Look for signs of mold growth. It often begins as a discoloration, staining or fuzzy growth on the surface of building materials or furnishings. Investigate any areas with an earthy or musty smell. Find any condensation spots or water leaks in the home – taking care to search behind and underneath carpet, wallpaper and insulation.
If you do find mold, you can usually take care of it yourself in a few simple steps:
* Identify and fix the moisture problem. Try to keep indoor surfaces as dry and well ventilated as possible.
* Begin drying any wet areas as soon as possible in order to avoid future mold growth
* Remove and dispose of any materials that have mold growing on them. Materials like insulation, plaster, carpet, ceiling tiles should all be replaced. Take precautions in order to prevent mold from spreading when moved. Wear protective materials and try to minimize the amount of dust generated from your work.
* Thoroughly clean any surfaces that you will not be disposing of, such as: hard plastic, concrete, glass, metal and solid wood. Scrub all contaminated surfaces with hot water and a non-ammonia soap/detergent, rinse area and dispose of your cleaning materials.
* Disinfect surfaces in order to kill mold missed by the cleaning.
* After the mold has been removed, continue looking for signs of moisture problems or any return of mold growth. If mold returns, repeat cleaning and consider using a stronger solution.
No one likes to talk or think about mold in a household, but for some homeowners it’s a reality that cannot be ignored. If you have mold in your home, there is no need to panic. Simply take action on the situation and your house will be as good as new in no time.