Mold can quickly wreak havoc on a home. Knowing where and what to look for are just a few of the important things to know about this type of water damage.
Where It Comes From
- Molds are a form of fungus. There are many species found indoors and outdoors. Molds produce spores that are very tiny and light, allowing them to become airborne or to be inhaled easily. These spores are extremely hardy and are present in almost all indoor and outdoor conditions.
- Mold spores are quite literally, everywhere. However, for mold to start actively growing, the spores must come in contact with moisture. Places that are humid, wet, or warm create perfect breeding grounds. Common culprits include leaky roofs, windows, or pipes and any type of flooding. Mold can be seen in plain sight or caught hiding behind walls or under carpets. It can grow on lots of different surfaces including paper, carpet, insulation, drywall, fabric, upholstery, and wood.
What You’ll Smell
- You often smell mold before you see it, so don’t ignore it. Mold will often take on a musty or damp odor. If the smell is stronger in one particular area or room, then that may be the source of the water damage. If you do suspect mold, you should have your home thoroughly inspected before things get worse.
What You’ll See
- Mildew is a grayish-white or brownish substance growing in wet areas. It is a fungus just like mold, but it is not nearly as invasive or troublesome. It is typically easy to clean with simple home cleaning solutions because it only lives on the surface of materials.
- Mold can grow on almost any surface including ceilings, wallpaper, flooring, wood, and insulation. It is typically easy to spot. You may see it as a stain on walls, or ceilings.
- Once mold starts growing, it doesn’t take long to notice. It can appear as white, black, yellow, green or blue. It is often fuzzy in texture and produces a musty odor.
- Humid areas and areas with high water use are the most common places for mold. Be observant of bathrooms, laundry rooms, refrigerators with ice machines, kitchens, basements, and around water heaters.
- Even small spots of mold should not be ignored. Visible mold growth can be a sign that there may be a larger problem lurking behind a wall or ceiling. It can easily spread, and it shows that conditions are present that are encouraging the growth. These types of problems should be addressed immediately.
- When it comes to mold, everyone is at risk, even the healthy. However, not everyone exposed to mold will have a reaction or develop an illness. Some people are more sensitive to mold. There are also those who are more susceptible and at risk. They include the elderly, infants and children, those with respiratory issues like asthma, those with compromised immune systems, and those with chronic lung disease.
- Mold can trigger allergic reactions and flu-like symptoms including headaches, sore throat, nasal stuffiness, wheezing or coughing, throat irritation, eye irritation, asthma attack or asthma-like symptoms, lung infection, sinus infection, rash or hives, fatigue, depression, and, a weakened immune system causing constant sickness.
- Often people are unaware mold is present and go on experiencing conditions for a long period of time. If you have experienced recent water damage or flooding and are experiencing these symptoms, mold could very likely be the cause.
- Diagnosis and treatment from a doctor may be needed if you have mold in your home and are experiencing any of these symptoms of mold-related illness. However, symptoms will likely continue even with treatment until all of the mold is removed from your home.
What To Do About It
- Mold does not grow without moisture. When mold is found, the source of the moisture must also be addressed, or the mold will return. If you have found mold near a window, on a ceiling, or under flooring due to a leak, then you will want to consider calling in the professionals to do the cleanup. Professionals will know how to handle the water damage properly and ensure that there is no further mold exposure.
- Never deal with contaminated water on your own. If water or mold damage was caused by water left by sewage or washing, then professionals should be called.
- If you think you may have a mold issue in your A/C Unit, Heating, or HVAC system then you will want to take precautions. Do not run the HVAC system as it may spread mold further. Consult a professional and use the EPA guide to help you.
Mold is a common type of water damage. Knowing some basic things about this fungus can help you protect your home from the costly damage it can cause.
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