Mold in the Home

Mold in the home or office is a major health concern and can contribute to asthma, allergies, and irritated eyes, skin, or airways. Those with suppressed immune systems are particularly susceptible to more severe health problems from mold, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and even mold growth in the lungs, nose, or ears. Preventing mold growth in the home is crucial to overall health. 1. Mold thrives in damp, humid areasĀ 
  • Ensure your home is set at the right humidity level. Optimal humidity level in the home is 30-40%. If the humidity is too high, the home can become a breeding ground for mold, mildew, bacteria, and dust mites.
  • If your home or basement floods, enlist the help of a professional to test for mold in the walls. Professional water restoration technicians have special meters that can test the moisture level deep inside the walls, and also have tools to test for mold that is not visible to the naked eye.
2. Common types of mold found in homes
  • Black mold (Aspergillus) is common in air conditioning systems. It is a large cause of allergies, and continued exposure over time can cause headaches, fever, rashes, and chronic coughing.
  • Cladosporium is a large family of molds, and in the home its most common form is black or green and looks like pepper. It is commonly found on the back or inside of toilets, painted walls, and air ducts. It is not particularly dangerous, but can trigger allergies.
3. What can cause mold to grow in your home
  • Condensation: where cold air meets warm air, such as warm air causing condensation on the cold toilet
  • Freezing or bursting pipes
  • High humidity (older homes without humidity gauges are more prone to this, as well as homes in humid climates)
  • Leaks in the roof
  • Poor ventilation--this allows humid air to sit instead of being removed from the home, and also allows any wet surface to stay wet instead of drying properly
  • Improperly ventilated bathroom--steam from the shower can cause mold to grow in the walls or ceiling
4. What to do if you suspect mold in your home
  • Check behind any peeling paint or wallpaper for visible mold (It will most likely be black, green, brown, or yellow).
  • Check broken or cracked baseboards or window panes for mold.
  • Check for any "earthy" or "musty" odor. This is a strong indicator of mold presence.
  • Contact a professional in your area to test for mold--do not do it yourself. Mold clean up is hazardous and requires the proper safety precautions.
  • A simple google search for "mold clean up, [your state, city, or zip code] should lead you to a certified professional.