A home or business can become infested with mold in a very short period of time. The reality is that mold aggressively can spread throughout a property in as little as 48 hours. This doesn’t mean that visible spaces in your home will be inundated with mold in a couple of says. What it does mean is that mold can grow tremendously fast in out of the way or hidden spaces in your residence.
The growth of mold in your home or business can impair the air quality to the point that usability, livability, and enjoyment can become significantly impacted. Mold infestation in a home or business may cause an array of different types of health issues. In addition, mold growth can harm the structure of a home or business itself. Simply, mold growth can have serious consequences.
These consequences potentially include:
- Health issues
- Structural and other property damage
- Impairment of usability and enjoyment of premises
Potential Health Consequences of Mold Infestation
Research into the connection between mold exposure and health problems has been ongoing for some time. Indeed, there have been hundreds of research studies on the connection between mold exposure and health. As a consequence, some of the conclusions regarding the connection between mold and health is more tentative in some instances and more conclusive in others. Despite the ongoing nature of this research, caution, and care is urged when it comes to exposure to mold because of the potential health issues that may arise as a result of that contact.
If exposure to mold is thought to be the underlying cause of some type of illness or condition, a key element of the comprehensive treatment process is an environmental assessment of the site where a mold infestation is believed to exist. Oftentimes, this necessitates a residential mold inspection. In addition, in order to treat an illness or condition believed to be caused by exposure to mold, the source of that exposure needs to be eliminated. In other words, mold remediation must occur.
Exposure to certain types of mold is said to cause allergic reactions in some individuals. In addition to triggering allergic reactions in some individuals, exposure to mold may also cause an individual to experience worsened asthma symptoms.
Exposure to mold may also result in a variety of infections, particularly in a person’s lungs. These infections include bronchitis. In addition, mold may the culprit in other types of infections, including thrush and athlete’s foot.
Research is ongoing targeted at how exposure to mold can cause more severe health problems. For example, there is evidence to suggest that exposure may cause what has been referred to as toxic mold syndrome. This condition is also sometimes called sick building syndrome.
Early signs of sick building syndrome include:
- Skin irritation
- Eye irritation
- Throat irritation
These symptoms have the potential to not only become chronic but to worsen over time. Toxic mold syndrome is most often thought to be connected to what is known as the black mold.
Potential Structural Damage Caused by Mold
Mold infestation in a home or business can result in physical damage on a number of levels. These include:
- Structural damage to the premises
- Damage to fixtures installed at the premises
- Damage to personal property maintained at the premises
- Damage to HVAC systems
Mold feeds on and breaks down organic material, like wood that typically is a primary component part of a residential or business structure.
Examples of structural items that can be damaged by mold are:
- Paper Backing
Carpeting is a prime example of a residential or commercial fixture or something added to the structure itself, that can be damaged by mold in short speed.
Personal property maintained in home or business is also susceptible to damage as the result of mold infestation. Oftentimes, when an item of personal property becomes contaminated by mold, remediation, and elimination of the infestation can prove to be highly challenging and in some cases impossible.
As noted a moment ago, HVAC systems can be damaged and rendered useless because of mold infestation. If mold establishes itself in an HVAC system, it can grow in a location that is unreachable and cannot be eradicated, even with professional intervention. Equally significant, when mold infests an HVAC system, mold spores will be blown throughout the home or business each time the system activates.
Diminution in Comfort and Enjoyment of Property
In addition to potential health risks and the prospect for property damage, the presence of mold negatively impacts your ability to fully enjoy your home or make comprehensive use of your business. Mold can directly impact the comfort level of a home or business.
For example, the presence of mold can be associated with an unpleasant odor. Constantly being forced to breath foul smelling air can have a profound impact on the overall comfort of your home and your ability to appropriately, fully enjoy your time in your residence.
Signs of Mold Infestation
Mold spores are ubiquitous. In other words, mold spores are in the air, on the surfaces of structures, and on items of personal property in significant numbers. There is a distinction between the presence of mold spores in the air and on surfaces and full-blown mold growth. The fact that there exist mold spores in the air doesn’t automatically translate to mold growth. The environment at a particular location must be conducive to this type of growth. What this generally means is that a particular property must be damp in order to create an ideal environment that supports mold growth.
There are a number of signs that your home or business may suffer from mold infestation. The most obvious sign is if you actually see what appear to be mold in the premises. What you need to bear in mind is that if you are able to see mold in your home or business, odds are strong that even more mold is growing in places at your premises that cannot readily be seen. Visible mold is very likely to be only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
A musty odor is also a potential tell-tale sign of mold infestation. Even a faint musty smell can be indicative of what might be a major mold growth problem somewhere at your property.
Moisture or wet spots in your home or business can serve as red flags to the presence of mold growth at the premises. In addition, if you’ve experienced some type of water leakage in your home or business, or if you’re endured flooding at your property, the prospect for mold growth somewhere at the premises is relatively significant.
Do Not Disturb Mold Without Proper Protection
In a moment, specific information is presented about hiring a mold remediation professional. If the mold infestation is particularly small or limited, or in advance of a mold cleanup professional arriving at your home or business, you need to bear some important facts in mind about disturbing a mold growth. In basic terms, you should not ever disturb mold growth without wearing proper personal protective equipment. If you do disturb mold without proper protection, you run the very real risk of inhaling mold and mold spores, which can result in possible health issues.
Personal protective gear used when coming into direct contact with mold includes:
- Smock or Apron
If possible, these items should be of a disposable nature and worn only once.
When their use ends, they should be placed in a tightly sealed bag for disposal.
Eliminating Mold-Friendly Environment
In addition to eradicating fully an existing mold infestation, you need to be certain to take steps to eliminate conditions in your home or business that are conducive to mold growth in the first instance. This includes everything from eliminating leaks that cause water to accumulate in certain places at the premises to lowering the humidity level, including in the bathroom by enhancing the ventilation into the space.
Once a mold-friendly environment is eliminated, you must exercise vigilance going forward into the future to ensure that conditions do not redevelop that are conducive to mold growth. Towards achieving this objective, you will want to conduct regular inspections of problem areas that have existed in your home or business with some frequency. In addition, you will want to undertake comprehensive inspections of the entire premises at set intervals throughout the year.
Professional Mold Inspection and Professional Mold Remediation
If you suspect you have a mold problem in your home (or business), you are best served by reaching out to engage the assistance of a professional mold inspector and professional mold remediation service. Through professional mold inspection, the presence of mold in your home or business can be confirmed in the first instance. In addition, you will be able to obtain a determination of the type of mold at your premises. In the final analysis, it is important to not only confirm whether you truly do have mold at your home or business, but what type of mold has infiltrated the premises.
Professional mold inspection involves a series of tests that are undertaken inside and outside of the premises. These include air sampling as well as surface sampling.
If the presence of mold is established, the next step is to undertake professional mold remediation. As mentioned previously, mold can spread at an extremely fast rate. What was a minor mold growth can magnify into a major problem at what fairly can be called “warp speed.” Health risks and the potential for damage to the premises can magnify in a manifold manner in what really amounts to no time at all if proper, comprehensive professional intervention doesn’t occur promptly.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, has established a suggested protocol as to when you should seek professional mold remediation assistance. According to the EPA, if the area impacted by mold growth is greater than 3 x 3 feet, you should hire a professional. If mold has spread to different places throughout the premises, you should engage a mold cleanup specialist.
In the final analysis, professional mold remediation assistance is vital in order to protect your safety and the health and wellbeing of others in your home or business. Professional mold remediation is also vital to ensure that all of the mold contaminating a residence or business is fully eradicated. If even a small amount of mold is left behind, you face the prospect of another more widespread infestation.
Co-Owner of Eco Bear Biohazard Cleaning Company
Together with her husband, Emily Kil is co-owner of Eco Bear, a leading biohazard remediation company in Southern California. An experienced entrepreneur, Emily assisted in founding Eco Bear as a means of combining her business experience with her desire to provide assistance to people facing challenging circumstances. Emily regularly writes about her first-hand experiences providing services such as biohazard cleanup, suicide cleanup, crime scene cleanup, unattended death cleanup, infectious disease disinfection and other types of difficult remediations in homes and businesses.
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