Do You Have a Mold Problem in Your Home?
If your family seems to be sneezing and wheezing more than they should be, suspect a mold problem in the home. Physical symptoms of a mold infestation mimic those of allergies and the flu, with headaches and asthma as common complaints.
What is Mold?
Molds are micro-organisms that use enzymes to break down and digest dead plants and animals. If conditions are right in your home - a moist environment is ideal - molds can get a toehold and not only make the human occupants of the home ill but destroy housing materials such as drywall, wood, and fiberboard as well.
How Can I Tell If I Have Mold In My House?
Aside from the physical symptoms of exposure to mold, mentioned above, the following are telltale signs of a mold infestation:
- Odor: Mold has a very distinctive odor. If you detect a musty smell, you probably have a mold problem.
- Appearance: Mold grows in many different colors, from black to white and many colors in between. It also appears in different shapes. Some are thread-like while others may appear as clusters of black spots.
- Excess Moisture: If you’ve had any problems with excess moisture in the home the chances are good that you may have mold. Peeling paint or wallpaper, stains on the ceiling and bowed or bulging walls are indications of moisture intrusion.
What to do if you find Mold in your Home
When you find mold, the first step is to find and eliminate the source of the moisture in the home.
Then, remove the mold. Removal from hard surfaces can be accomplished by cleaning them with a solution of 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
If the area to be cleaned is larger than 10 square feet, the CDC recommends consulting their guide Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. Although it focuses on schools, the information can be applied to any building.
Ventilate the home adequately and use an air-conditioner or dehumidifier during humid months to prevent mold from forming in the future.
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