It is estimated that there are more than 200 different types of fungi in the environment around us. Out of these, mold, especially black mold can prove to be a major health hazard. Any fungus that grows indoors is commonly referred to as mold.
Mold is cottony in appearance and can be found in various colors such as green, black, yellow, and white. By and large, mold lives off dead organic matter. But in the presence of enough moisture, mold can live off different materials found in homes such as cellulose and wood in drywalls.
Causes of Mold
- Excessive dampness promotes the growth of mold. This can be caused by various sources such as groundwater or surfaces leaks resulting from clogged rain gutters or improperly designed footing drains, rainwater leakage on the roof and wall joints, stagnant water in condensing coils, drip pans in HVAC systems or in refrigerator drip pans and dishwashers.
- Other sources which contribute to dampness are poor insulation on indoor chilled surfaces, uneven indoor temperatures, contact of humid, unconditioned air with cooled interior surfaces, entry of soil into basements, and poor air circulation.
- Places, where humidity is almost constant, are vulnerable to mold indoors. This is because mold thrives in environments that have a certain degree of moisture, whether on ceilings, walls, rarely used cabinets, and places near water sources. In addition to this, places situated near a body of water, more specifically, sea, may also experience the presence of mold in portions of the houses that are not well ventilated or are not frequently utilized.
- Moisture can enter indoors whenever the roofs are not regularly inspected and repaired. In most cases, broken shingles and cracks in underlayments and beams are passageways for snow or rainwater to seep through. If left unattended, over a period of time, moisture can enter and transform into a kind of backlog in and through ceilings and walls. And this slow process must eventually make the places vulnerable to mold infestation.
- In the unfortunate event of flooding, the aftermath of it may instigate the likelihood of mold or mold clusters not only in places affected by the flood but its surroundings as well.
Effects of Mold
- Mold can have an adverse impact on our health. Certain mold cause allergic reactions and conditions like asthma.
- They are also capable of causing infectious diseases like pneumonitis, cough, histoplasmosis, and upper respiratory tract symptoms.
- Mold is also known to affect the lungs, resulting in pulmonary diseases. Cases of “Black Mold” infections have become increasingly prevalent in recent years. “Black Mold” refers to the toxin-producing mold, Stachybotrys chartarum.
- Molds cause asthma by producing allergenic compounds and mycotoxins that induce immune reactions. They also produce mycotoxins that can cause health hazards on inhalation, ingestion, or dermal contact. Fungi that thrive on wet structures such as Penicillium aiaurantiorisen, S.chartarum, Fusarium verticillioides, and Aspergillus Versicolor can be dangerous. Toxin-producing mold is subject to severe water damage since it has a higher water prerequisite.
Some of the ways of reducing the risk that mold poses are:
- Identification and elimination of the sources of dampness
- Periodic checking, cleaning, and drying drip pans in refrigerators and air conditioners
- Periodic maintenance of heating, ventilating, and cooling (HVAC) systems
- Ensuring that downspouts and gutters are in working condition and that they divert the flow of water away from the building
- Maintaining relative humidity levels of 40% to 60% in the home
- Disposing off materials with severe mold growth
- Clean surfaces that are likely to encourage mold growth – check counters and fixtures in the bathrooms and laundry room for the signs of mold
- Dehumidify your home – use vent fans during and after showering. Keep windows open for as long as possible to promote airflow and dry out moisture
- Squeegee glass and tiled showers to remove excess water. Clean your tub and shower regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold spores
Whatever the size of your home, mold is an ever-present danger. At Atlantic Building Inspections, we provide a thorough check and solutions to mold-related issues. Our mold testing and inspection services leverage extensive knowledge of mold and conditions conducive to mold growth as well as building construction, building materials, air flows, air-conditioning systems, and heating ventilation.
Contact us and rest easy!