Common household and building molds are an irritating and potentially harmful type of fungi that thrive in moist environments. Indoor mold colonies, if gone unchecked, can cause damage to walls, furniture, carpets, drapery, books, and important paper documents. Molds can also cause allergic reactions such as runny nose, watery eyes, bronchial irritation and asthma attacks. While some forms of mold are actually useful in their role in the production of food, beverages, and antibiotics, the common molds seen in most home or work environments are a nuisance at best and a catastrophe at worst.
Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to help reduce the chances of a mold outbreak happening in your home or business. If you are already experiencing advanced stages of mold growth, you will want to contact a professional mold remediation company.
The most important tool you can have in your arsenal against mold growth is knowledge. What is mold? In what types of environments does mold thrive? How can mold colonies be safely removed? Knowing what you’re up against will make it that much easier to prevent and treat mold colonies.
Molds are kinds of microscopic fungi that grow in humid environments. Unlike plants that require photosynthesis to thrive, molds survive by secreting enzymes onto the organic matter they are inhabiting and then absorbing the degraded remains of that matter. Because molds don’t require a high level of nutrients to survive they can grow on nearly any organic matter, from food products to paper products. The harmful effects of mold are many and varied. Most people will develop allergic reaction to the spores put off by large mold colonies. If a person has had physical contact with the mold colony there is the chance of developing a case of dermatophytes, such as athlete’s foot or jock itch. Ingestion of mycotoxins can cause serious illness in humans and animals. Mycotoxins are liquid or gaseous compounds secreted by most mold colonies and are considered some of the most toxic chemicals on the planet. It is important to treat mold problems immediately in order to lessen the chances of experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms.
The best preventative measure you can take to reduce the risk of developing a mold problem is to lower the humidity levels in your home or office. Mold spores are ubiquitous and can thrive on most any organic matter, but they will not survive in dry climates. Fix any water leaks as soon as you discover them. If you’ve recently experienced a flood, do everything you can to dry the affected areas as soon as possible. With mold, time is of the essence. Every day that goes by in which a mold outbreak is not treated is property lost.
In general, professional mold detection services are not needed in order to establish whether your business or household has a mold problem. Mold spores are quite visible, even in smaller colonies, and often put off a musky, earthy smell. Also, if parts of your building are cool, dark, and humid, you can pretty much assume you have mold growing there.
Do-it-yourself clean-up methods are limited in what they can accomplish. If your mold outbreak isn’t too large just yet, you may want to try removing the mold yourself. Wet vacuum cleaners remove water from floors and carpets, helping to eliminate the chances of a mold outbreak. However, once the affected area has been cleaned you must then clean the vacuum itself, as mold can accumulate inside the tank and hose. Damp removal, such as scrubbing the affected areas with water and detergent, is simple and easy but not as effective. You must make sure to wear protective gear, such as rubber gloves and a facemask, and make sure the cleaned area dries quickly to prevent new mold colonies from developing.
If you are uncomfortable with or unsure how to properly treat a mold problem you should definitely seek out a mold remediation services. Professionals use advanced mold detection and cleaning technologies to determine where the biggest infestations are and safely get rid of the entire colony. Detection tools include moisture meters, humidity gauges, and digital and thermographic cameras. This allows professionals to find mold spores that aren’t visible to the naked eye. Once problem areas are detected, trained personnel are able to use advanced HEPA vacuums, chemical treatments, and other specialized cleaning techniques to fully rid the area of spores. Some remediation services will even offer to install special dehumidifying systems after the clean up is complete.
Most mold problems can be prevented by simply lowering humidity levels in problem areas. If that does not discourage mold growth, or you are experiencing mold problems that go beyond your abilities to handle, contact a professional remediation service. Only by thoroughly getting rid of the mold spores can you assure that this harmful problem won’t come back.
~Ben Anton, 2008