How Much Mold Exposure Is Too Much?
How does someone know if their home (or place of business) contains too much mold exposure? What are the warning signs of too much mold exposure? Is it possible to stop mold and mildew?
First and foremost, mold simply happens. It is a part of nature and has been around forever.
Mold grows wherever there is moisture. And moisture naturally occurs in many rooms throughout a home. In particular, mold exposure in bathrooms or near water remains high.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), homeowners face many challenges trying to eradicate mold.
"Mold can enter your home through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. Mold in the air outside can also attach itself to clothing, shoes, bags, and pets can and be carried indoors. Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery."
What Are the Warning Signs of Mold Exposure?
Fortunately, mold provides some warning signs. For example, common warning signs and symptoms include allergies and irritation. Although symptoms vary, the most common symptoms from excessive mold exposure include:
- Nasal and sinus congestion.
- Eye irritation, such as itchy, red, watery eyes.
- Wheezing and difficulty breathing.
- Throat irritation.
- Skin irritation, such as a rash.
Additionally, some people experience less common effects of mold exposure, such as infections and illness. Finally, for people with severe health issues and immune system problems, then serious infections make mold much more dangerous.
Is It Possible to Stop Mold and Mildew?
Yes and no.
Although complete mold eradication remains virtually impossible, stopping dangerous levels of mold from accumulating and creating dangers remains possible. As noted, mold requires moisture, so the best way to reduce mold spores from growing is to reduce moisture from your home.
As a result, to help reduce mold and underlying moisture, WebMD provides some great advice for around the house.
- Leverage dehumidifiers and air conditioners (especially in hot, humid climates like Georgia) because they help reduce moisture in the air.
- Ensure air conditioning drip pans remain free of obstructions and flow properly.
- Maintain indoor humidity below 60% (if possible) which can be measured with a (cheap) hygrometer.
- Keep the house warm in cool weather because lower temperatures reduce moisture in the air and condensation occurs on cold surfaces (which encourages mold growth).
- Add insulation to cold surfaces, such as exterior walls, floors, and windows, which reduces condensation.
- Dry wet areas within 24 to 48 hours to help prevent mold growth.
- Fix leaks and seepage to keep water from entering your home.
- Work with an HVAC team and ensure your system properly removes humidity.
- Check duct system for air leaks and proper airflow to each room in your home.
- Open doors between rooms to increase circulation, which carries heat to cold surfaces.
- Increase air circulation by using fans and by moving furniture from wall corners.
If there is already mold growing in your home, then clean up the mold! Additionally, address the underlying problem because the mold will return without fixing the moisture issue.
How Can I Clean up Mold in My Home?
At some point in time, homeowners will experience some mold. However, smart homeowners clean the mold and understand why mold exposure occurred. For example, basically, every bath or shower will show some minor mold spores without routine cleaning. Naturally, moisture accumulates in a bathroom. However, surface mold exposure does not necessarily mean significant mold damage. Simply regularly cleaning your bathroom removes the long-term dangers.
To help, the CDC offers some simple cleaning solutions.
For example, remove mold from hard surfaces with commercial products or soap and water. Also, a simple bleach solution consisting of no more than 1 cup of household laundry bleach in 1 gallon of water. However, if you use bleach:
- Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products produces dangerous, toxic fumes.
- Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
- Wear non-porous gloves and protective eyewear.
Conversely, mold exposure due to water damage does require significant cleaning. Additionally, any water damage likely requires an experienced plumber to address the underlying issue.
Last, but certainly, not least, Snappy Electric, Plumbing, Heating, & Air provides UV light treatment to help the fight against mold. UV light helps kill biological mold, bacteria, and virus growth. Additionally, UV light helps HVAC systems clean and efficient. And a clean HVAC system improves airflow, which reduces moisture buildup (especially in bathrooms). Take advantage of our UV Light special!
For any additional questions, then Snappy Electric, Plumbing, Heating, & Air offers reliable home service solutions to many local areas throughout the greater Atlanta, Georgia community.