Mold can be found pretty much anywhere as it is common in the air and grows on surfaces quite quickly. Exposure to mold, even if only for a short period of time can lead to several health issues. While some people are more sensitive to mold than others, common health effects include nasal stuffiness, irritation of the throat, coughing and wheezing, itchy eyes, and skin irritation. As mold grows in areas where there is a high concentration of moisture (roofs, windows, pipes, etc.), this means it can grow in your home too. Without treatment and before too long, you can find that you have mold damage in your home.
As mold also grows on drywall, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, and painted wall surfaces, fabric, and upholstery, mold removal can be quite a frustration and can be ineffective if not managed properly. For this reason, homeowners should reach out to an expert to help repair mold damage and prevent future damage.
What is mold?
Mold is a fungus that is comprised of minuscule organisms that can be found everywhere. Mold can be black, white, orange, green, or even purple, though in most cases, people see mold as a white or green. Though mold plays a critical function outdoors in nature, as it breaks down dead leaves, plants, and trees, it thrives on moisture, however, and doesn’t require that much in order to reproduce and then travel through the air.
We are exposed to mold each and every day. Though in most cases mold spores are harmless in small amounts, if they happen to land on a spot in your home that is damp, they can begin to grow quite quickly. When mold grows on a surface, whether it be outside or indoors, spores can be discharged into the air where humans and animals can quickly inhale them. Even without a mold sensitivity or allergy, if you’re sensitive to mold and inhale a large number of spores, you will likely experience adverse effects on your health.
Hire an expert to handle mold damage
Aside from the health risks tied to mold damage removal, when improper mold removal and remediation activities occur, especially if you are not a certified expert in doing so, you could end up with mold that returns. Not only that, but you could find you have to dish out more money than planned to fix the problem, which can be further damaging to your household.
As you consider the best way to remove mold and repair the resulting damage, it’s always best to hire a professional mold damage expert that can be trusted to handle the mold remediation for you. Professional mold remediation is about dependable results that give an overall value that fixes the problems in your home but also prevents them for the long haul.
Check out this list of reasons as to why a professional mold damage specialist can help.
- As with typical household projects and repair work, it is not uncommon to spend far more than you might have planned. A professional mold damage specialist, however, can conduct an assessment to help you better understand the estimated costs to remedy the situation. You should know that a root cause of mold and the negative health impacts comes from the combination of air conditioning and humidity. When these cooling systems rapidly try to make your home or business more comfortable amidst the humidity, air will then condense inside the vents. If this happens in your home, you need to determine why this is happening so that you can solve the root cause and not just fix the resulting damage.
- Once you have identified a remediation specialist that you can count on, you’ll quickly see that experience spring into action. The first step they will take will be in assessing the severity of the moisture problem. Then, they will treat and clean all of the affected areas. In most cases, this will involve sealing off the mold and controlling the humidity while the mold is removed (so that more spores don’t get into the air). This process will end with a full clean-up of all impacted and surrounding areas.
- When mold damage remediation is done correctly, it will also reduce the risk of the mold spreading, which will create future problems. This means that you shouldn’t have to shell out more money for additional work in the near future or for quite some time to come. While the return of mold is always a risk due to many variables that can be difficult to control, a professional remediator will be able to properly educate you so that you can take the proper steps to prevent the problem from recurring.
- The education step mentioned above should not be underestimated. When you hire a mold remediator you will be given several tips and pointers that will help you to prevent the recurrence of mold problems and can help you to secure safe and proper ventilation. Since mold damage requires specialized expertise, you will want to ensure you’re your remediator is transparent and communicates with you throughout the process. Dependability and honesty are essential to the process.
- As mentioned previously, these repairs, just like any do-it-yourself (DIY) type project can get very expensive. Though everyone likes to save money and thus why the idea of DIY is appealing, repairs related to mold are just not those that you want to delay or take on yourself unless absolutely necessary. In general, the longer a homeowner waits to handle a mold-related problem, the more expensive the complication will be when it finally does get fixed. You will likely save money in the long run by hiring a professional, as it is vital that the mold is completely eradicated.
How to prevent mold damage in the future
Though your professional mold-damage remediation specialist will be able to educate you on steps best to take, it is critical to make a note of the following strategies to prevent a recurrence. These strategies will likely be very similar to what you will receive from the cleaning crew.
- Eliminate clutter – Clutter can block the airflow in your home and prevent your HVAC system from circulating the air properly. Furniture and draperies that block the supply grilles from your heating and cooling system can lead to condensation. This moisture then inevitably creates microclimates in your home that are the perfect environment for mold growth.
- Control the climate inside your home – Mold is especially challenging during hot and humid summers. The heat and humidity make it common for homeowners to run to their thermostat to adjust the temperature on the air conditioning. However, if you set the thermostat too high, the air conditioner then will not dehumidify the air effectively. And, if you set it too low, you can create cool or cold surfaces where the water vapor can then condense.
- Keep your windows and doors closed when the air conditioning is on – Many homeowners are tempted to keep their primary doors open and then just close their storm door to let in light or to enable a better view outside. However, when you leave these doors open or open your windows, the cool air from the air conditioning escapes. This wastes money due to excessive costs required to further cool your home but also causes that condensation that mold loves. Therefore, it is vital to keep mold away that you keep your doors and windows closed when the air conditioning unit is running. Maintaining your home at about 80 degrees Fahrenheit when you are away from home can save on costs and energy. Avoid bumping that temperature up too much further though, as this will then raise both the temperature (obviously) as well as the humidity level, which again creates an excellent place for mold to grow.
- Make sure that you have the right air conditioner for your home – If your air conditioner is too small, the unit will run continuously but not likely help to manage the temperature. You’ll end up adding to your energy bill with little to no results. If the unit is too big, it will start and repeatedly stop, which is inefficient and will also add to your energy bill. You will also find that it is beneficial to evaluate your air conditioning unit periodically. Many local licensed plumbers and HVAC specialists offer HVAC maintenance programs and will check your system annually. This process will include an inspection of the condensate drain pipe to make sure that it is regularly dripping as it is supposed to. Further, your maintenance plan might protect you from mold buildup and blockage.
- Monitor the humidity level – Invest in an indoor humidity monitoring system so that you can effectively keep track of the moisture levels within your home. Ideally, you should keep your home at 35% – 50%, but on more humid climates (such as in Florida) or during the heart of the summer, you may find that your readings are closer to 55%. If you start seeing a reading of 60% or higher, you will need to investigate the cause of the added moisture as once you reach 70% relative humidity, mold will begin to grow. Thankfully, these indoor humidity monitoring systems are relatively affordable and can start as low as $20 USD. More sophisticated humidity monitoring systems, especially those that can track multiple rooms can be several hundred dollars in cost.
- Be on the lookout for standing water – If you have determined that the air conditioning unit is not the source of your problems, do a visual inspection around your home for standing water. Be on the lookout for puddles or any dampness, especially around sump pumps, hot water tanks, refrigerators, freezers, your basement doors, and your windows. Don’t forget to inspect crawl spaces for dampness or leaks in the foundation.
- Keep the floor of your crawl space covered – If you access your crawl space regularly, use a heavy plastic that will be able to sustain frequency activity and will not rip as easily. If you do not access the space, a thinner plastic vapor barrier such as 6 mil polyethylene (landscapers’ plastic) can work effectively to trap moisture in the ground.
- Add a dehumidifier – If you are still experiencing high relative humidity levels, you will benefit from a dehumidifier. These units are available to lower humidity levels in your entire home and simply attach to your furnace, treating the air throughout your home. These systems connect to a drain so that you do not need to empty the tank manually, and as such, as very convenient for those who live in high-humidity areas. If you are only dealing with occasional bouts of dampness, then you can likely get away with a portable unit. Most portable dehumidifiers come with an auto-shutoff that will prevent the unit from overflowing when the storage tank is full, but you will need to keep an eye on the unit and empty the tank occasionally.
Don’t hesitate to call a professional mold damage specialist
It is a given that homeowners will need to take some steps on their own to prevent the growth of mold in or around their home. But unfortunately, even with the best intentions, occasionally the mold will win. When this happens, calling a professional will help you understand if you were not applying the correct steps for mold prevention. And, they can help you to mitigate the mold damage that you have and can work with you to develop strategies to protect your home in the future.
It will never be possible to prevent the possibility of mold entirely. As long as we live in a world that is controlled by mother nature, mold damage is always a possibility. So, taking the steps now to become more familiar with your home and to understand and correct risky areas will pay off in the long run. Mold comes with so many health risks that are both costly and can be long-lasting. A few steps taken now will be well worth the effort.
If you have mold damage in your home and you need help figuring out what to do next or how to get your insurance company to cover repairs, reach out to a public adjuster like Bulldog Adjusters today! We’ll get you the biggest possible settlement on your mold damage claim!