You need to breathe in order to stay alive. Breathing in clean, fresh air is critical to your physical and mental health. But if the air you’re breathing is full of toxic spores caused by mold or mildew, it could be making you sick.
So how do you know if mold exists in your home or office building? Of course, if you see it growing on walls or other surfaces, it’s obvious. However, most of the toxic mold spores are invisible to the naked eye. They are floating undetected through the air, through the HVAC system, and can seriously affect your health and well-being.
What Is Mold Anyway?
Mold is a fungi, found almost anywhere. When it grows outdoors, it is beneficial to the decomposition of leaves and trees. This type of mold is mostly harmless.
When mold is found indoors, it is usually the result of excess moisture. Left untreated, it will continue to grow and release spores into the air you breathe. Inhaling these spores can negatively impact your health.
How Mold Grows Indoors
Mold can grow within 24-48 hours indoors when certain conditions are present, including:
Porous surface like wood, drywall or cotton
Below freezing temperatures
Moisture is the key component for mold growth. Without moisture, the other conditions will not cause mold to grow, but if moisture is present, these conditions will contribute to mold growth. So basically, the underlying cause of mold growth indoors is moisture that is left untreated.
Causes of Excess Moisture
Moist conditions can occur as a result of several issues.
Excess humidity. If you live in a humid climate like that in St. Louis, you know how hot and sticky some days can get. Mold thrives on this humidity. Running your air conditioner and dehumidifier can reduce the amount of moisture that remains indoors, but the excess humidity may still cause mold to grow. Making sure your HVAC system is working properly is a good precaution. You may also want to avoid drying clothes indoors on lines or racks during periods of high humidity.
Leaky pipes. Water leaking from pipes can cause moisture, even when you don’t notice it. Water pipes are in the ceiling and behind walls, so if it’s a minor leak, you may not be aware of it until it becomes more problematic. This moisture will cause mold to grow undetected as well.
Roof leaks. As with water pipes, if the roof has minor leaks, they may be in the attic, an area you seldom visit. The leaks will eventually make it to the ceilings below the attic, but by that time, you will likely have mold growth. Checking the attic and roof regularly will help prevent this from happening.
Poor ventilation. Certain rooms in the home, like your kitchen and bathroom, should be properly ventilated to rid them of moisture. If the steam caused by cooking and showering isn’t circulated properly to disperse it outdoors, it will remain on surfaces and become a breeding ground for mold. Use exhaust fans to rid these rooms of moisture.
Damp and leaky basements. Basements are underground, darker, colder and not as well ventilated as other levels of your home. These conditions can lead to dampness and humidity, which are key to mold growth. Water leaks from other areas in the home often end up running into the basement as well. You may also want to check your basement for leaks coming from outdoors. Landscaping issues, broken gutters or downspouts can cause rainwater to build up around your foundation, eventually finding its way into the basement.
Flooding. If you’ve experienced a flood for any reason, it’s likely you may have mold problems. Flood waters that enter your home can make for wet conditions for quite some time. During the extended time required to clean up the excess water, it provides a prime environment for mold to grow. Remember, it can begin to grow in as little as 24 hours, so time is of the essence when eliminating excess moisture.
Effects of Mold on Your Health
Mold spores become airborne and are not usually visible to the naked eye. They float through the air and are inhaled by any living being that is present in the building. Mold spores contain toxins and can result in a variety of health problems.
Individuals most affected by mold are the elderly, the very young, people with respiratory issues or autoimmune diseases. However, breathing air containing mold spores and toxins are certainly not healthy for anyone. Even pets can be impacted.
Is It Mold or Allergies?
The presence of mold inside a building can produce symptoms that mimic those of allergic reactions. While seasonal allergies are no walk in the park, exposure to mold can cause more serious health issues.
Here are some of the common symptoms that you can experience from both allergies and mold exposure:
If you have any of these symptoms, and they don’t go away as the seasons change, you may need to check with your doctor to determine if they’re caused by allergies or mold. There are medications that can relieve the symptoms of allergies; however, if mold is causing them, you will need to remediate the situation or you will never improve. In fact, untreated, mold growth will continue to grow, which will exacerbate the effects on individuals who are exposed to it.
Exposure to certain types of mold, especially the type commonly called black mold, or “Stachybotrys Mold” has been linked to serious illnesses and health problems. Besides those side effects shown above, it can lead to asthma, breathing difficulties, respiratory infections like pneumonia and chronic bronchitis, learning disabilities, mental deficiencies, heart problems, cancer, and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis , chronic fatigue, lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and more.
Why You Need a Professional Mold Remediation Expert
What Is Mold Remediation?
The term mold remediation is defined as “the removal, cleaning, sanitizing, demolition, or other treatment, including preventive activities, of mold or mold-contaminated matter that was not purposely grown at that location.”
It’s a complicated process whereby the areas affected by the mold is cleaned to remove the mold and conditioned to prevent regrowth. If not done properly, further exposure can occur. Mold remediation also includes repairing, removing and/or replacing walls, furniture, flooring and other objects affected by the mold.
Is Mold Remediation a DIY Project?
Some surfaces that have mildew or mold may be easier to clean, like sinks and bathtubs. If the infested area is small, you may be able to use some tools from a local hardware store and clean it yourself.
However, mold can grow in more remote and hidden areas. Mold can lurk behind walls, under flooring, inside the ceiling and within the heating and air conditioning ducts. If you don’t have the knowledge or tools needed in order to detect and remediate all of the mold inside the building, the situation will just recur. Dealing with mold cleanup also puts you at risk of mold-related illness if the proper safety gear isn’t used.
Professional Mold Remediation Experts Have the Resources, Tools and Expertise
Unlike the typical layperson, professional mold remediation companies employ trained professionals who are experienced in the process. They have the tools needed to detect all mold, even what you can’t see. They also have the proper materials to clean the impacted areas without further spreading the spores.
Professionals understand the possible safety and health risks of the mold remediation process. That’s why they use the appropriate equipment and wear clothing that protects them from being exposed and breathing in the spores. They also have the commercial-grade cleaning agents that will rid the home of mold for good.
It’s especially important that the professionals understand flooding and water restoration as well. Knowing where to look for water leaks and other sources of moisture is key to eliminating the breeding grounds for mold. If the moisture sources aren’t remediated, you’ll never get rid of the mold problems.
Timing is also important. The longer it takes to remediate the mold growth and its sources, the longer everyone is exposed and affected. If you attempt to remediate it yourself, it can be a considerable effort, spanning many hours, even days.
Hire St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration for Professional Mold Remediation
If you know or suspect you have mold growing in your home or office, don’t risk the health and well-being of its occupants. Hire the professionals at St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration to expertly eliminate the mold and its causes.
We follow strict procedures in our mold remediation process. We will make sure your home is protected from further damage by containing the area in which we are working. We also have a facility large enough to house any contents that need cleaning. Furniture, carpets and other objects will be removed from your home and cleaned at our location.
Don’t run the risk of your family or employees becoming sick because of mold. Trust mold remediation and cleanup to the experts at St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration.