Monsters made of black mold, gross and stumbling around, are something straight out of a horror game. What is the reality of this fungus? Thankfully, it is far from the terrors that we might have imagined due to some of the sensationalized appearances it makes in media.
However, that does not mean it is not dangerous. It can cause a lot of health problems if allowed to grow continuously indoors. While we might not think it’s a problem in sunny Tennessee, you should still be conscious of it. If you’re in the Nashville area or even just want to learn more, keep reading!
The Dangers of Mold in a House
We’ll begin by discussing what mold is. It is a fungus that exists in the natural world to help break down decaying organisms, usually in forests. You can find more information on this in this article, if you want to read more.
So – it is something naturally occurring. Why is it bad for us, then? It’s a bit more complex than a simple answer, but what you should keep in mind first and foremost is that if they are allowed to accumulate in large numbers indoors, they can result in serious health problems for the inhabitants.
The spores are not large on their own. When there are a lot of them, people with allergies might experience symptoms. Some of these might be a runny nose or watery eyes, or wheezing. Those with asthma are particularly vulnerable to the latter.
While that mind sound more like an inconvenience than something serious, air quality depletes over time the longer it grows inside. In some cases, depending on the strain of mold, it might even release toxins into the air. These can be quite deadly and lead to chronic respiratory diseases in the worse outcomes.
What Causes it to Grow?
Any sources of moisture buildup can result in mold growing in large numbers. Leaks are a common perpetrator, of course. A faucet that drips too often could result in dampness around the base of the cabinet it is in, or even the walls nearby. Something like this creates an atmosphere ripe for growth.
If your roof is damaged and the elements end up inside, especially rain, it is another warning sign. This could cause buildup in any part of your home, and you might not even realize it. Any pocket of wall that is damp could be a festering ground.
Of course, if you have a basement, you should routinely check it for any spore growth. This is one of the most common places it grows inside a home. If you have dealt with it before, chances are it was downstairs in the dark.
Now for some less expected sources. One such is the simple humidifier. While we might not see it as a risk, it unfortunately is. Some other things are damp clothes left out without being properly dried and stored, or even poor ventilation of your oven or other cooking appliances.
Dealing with the Damage
Water and mold damage can be quite serious for the structure of our homes. If you’re not sure what to do about it, that’s only natural. It can feel rather overwhelming to handle. One of the warning signs to pick up on is a musty smell or the appearance of black dots on the walls or floor.
You might look for a contractor or company to help deal with it. An example is First Southern Restoration of Nashville if you are in Tennessee and dealing with an outbreak on your property. They can help to clean up the spores and sanitize things. There are a few things to keep in mind as you go about the cleaning process.
First, you will want to isolate the cause of the growth. This is probably that moisture that I mentioned above. Ensure that things get dried, otherwise the problem will come back. Anything that had spores on it should probably be disposed of, as well. This includes any drywall or ceiling tiles.
If you have a hard surface like a wall, and it is not rotted by the issue, you can probably clean it. You must sanitize it thoroughly, though. In extreme cases, a biohazard team might need to be brought in. These are for extremely toxic strains.
Normally, though, something like bleach will probably be sufficient. Just handle it with care and don’t expose your eyes, ears, nose, or mouth to these substances. As you might expect, safety should be at the forefront of your mind in every step of this process.
How can we Prevent it?
Now that I have explained all the problems it can cause, you are probably wondering how you can stop this from happening in the first place. While restoration services exist to help you take care of it, you don’t want mold to grow again in a house.
For hot and humid climates, including a place like Nashville, you might want to invest in a dehumidifier. Air conditioning can also help. If you are keeping things cool and dry, you will be less at risk.
Your levels of humidity inside should ideally be under sixty percent. Above this can result in mold growing rapidly, even in your carpets if you aren’t careful. If you have an air conditioning unit with a drip, you will want to clean that often.
Something else you could consider is adding insulation to any of the colder surfaces you have. This can help stop condensation. Some examples of this might be around your windows or doors.
If you notice a leak somewhere, fix it as soon as possible. Don’t let it go, because things will probably get a lot worse if you procrastinate. Trust me on that one.
Finally, you can ventilate your home by leaving doors open. This helps with overall air flow inside, something that can dry out any damp spots. Any methods of increasing air circulation like running a fan can also help. Do your best to prevent it before it spreads!