Controlling moisture can make your home more energy-efficient, less costly to heat and cool, more comfortable, and prevent mold growth. Properly controlling moisture in your home will improve the effectiveness of your air sealing and insulation efforts, and these efforts in turn will help control moisture.
The best strategies for controlling moisture in your home depend on the environment and how your home is constructed. Proper ventilation should always be a part of your moisture management strategy. Unfortunately, when moisture is not managed in your home it can quickly result in costly issues and challenges and often mold growth.
Why is Mold Growing In My Home?
Mold is part of the natural environment. In the outdoors, mold plays an important part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees. It is an essential part of plants and the cycle of life.
Every home has some level of mold. Mold is especially common in homes built after 1960 because the building materials used are more susceptible to mold growth. Attics are the most popular area we find mold in our customer’s home, but we also find it in crawl spaces, basements, and walls.
Areas that have not been properly air sealed, lack ventilation, and are uninsulated or under-insulated are the most susceptible to mold growth because air leaks carry humidified air (cold or warm) from inside the home or outdoors into the attic where it condenses on the wood roof deck and other materials. With the presence of moisture and without proper ventilation, the roof deck, insulation and other building materials start to grow mold. Water leaks from roof leaks, plumbing issues, and flooding and heavy rains are popular culprits.
Any mold found growing inside your home is a wake up call that something may be wrong. If you discover mold growth in your home, it is important you identify the issue(s) and fix it immediately. Waiting will only cost you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in repair costs and may cause health problems. It only takes 24-48 hours for mold to grow if the conditions are right.
What is Mold?
There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without the proper conditions. Water or moisture are the most likely reasons molds grow in your home. Mold reproduces by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet or moist.
Black mold is considered highly toxic mold and poses terrible health risks. On the other hand, white mold is a powdery, stringy, flakey, or filmy substance that can change color or remain white, making it difficult to identify. Generally speaking, white molds present less health risks than black mold, but all indoor mold growth should be checked out and addressed.
Can Mold Cause Health Problems?
Yes, molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens, substances that can cause allergic reaction, irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances called mycotoxins. Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals especially the young, old, immune compromised, and pregnant woman.
Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. Mold exposure can also irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic individuals. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing. The best defense to mold-related health problems is prevention. Consult a health professional if you have been exposed to mold.
How Do I Get Rid of Mold?
It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; mold spores float through the air from open windows and doors, can be found in house dust, and can be brought in with shoes, clothes and pets, but indoor mold growth areas can be fixed and then prevented, controlled, and managed. If you clean up the mold, but do not fix the air leakage, moisture, or water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back.
If you have or suspect you may have a mold problem, it is best to have a professional like Home Energy Solutions of Wisconsin, check it out. Full-blown mold issues may require remediation by a professional mold remediation company.
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TIP: Fix roof leaks, air leaks, and other plumbing or water problems as soon as possible. Mold and mildew can be signs of uninsulated, under-insulated, air leakage, and ventilation issues.