Mold exposure can trigger a variety of health symptoms. People with allergies and other respiratory conditions can be susceptible to the presence of molds in their homes. A qualified professional will conduct a visual inspection and use moisture meters to check for moisture problems that can lead to mold growth. The inspector may also take air and surface samples.
Molds grow on moist building materials like wood, drywall, and paper. When disturbed, they release spores into the air that can spread throughout your home and cause further contamination. It’s best to prevent mold by keeping indoor humidity below 60 percent and drying out wet surfaces as soon as they occur. This includes running your air conditioner in recirculation mode when outdoor humidity is high and avoiding opening windows when it’s raining outside.
For instance, mold experts in Staten Island can help you control the moisture in your home by conducting a visual examination and using tools such as moisture meters and thermal imaging cameras to locate hidden areas where water may be hiding. Once the problem is identified, a certified mold inspector can recommend surface and air sampling to assess the presence of mold spores.
Mold spores are found almost everywhere in the environment, and unless you live in a desert or an ice cave, there’s no way to prevent them from entering your home and causing problems. However, it’s important to take action if you notice signs of mold growth or musty odors in your home. Mold spores can trigger allergies, asthma, and other respiratory illnesses in people who are sensitive to them. It’s also possible for them to contaminate food and make it inedible, as well as damage the walls and floors of a home or commercial property.
Molds need four things to thrive: mold spores, nutrients, temperatures between 40 and 100 F, and moisture. If you have one or more of these in your home, there may be a problem. Mold can damage drywall, insulation, wood, and wallpaper. It also affects your family’s health. Some people are more sensitive to mold than others. Untreated mold exposure can lead to rashes, itchy eyes and nose, coughing, wheezing, asthma exacerbation, and respiratory difficulties.
Look for clues like water stains, bubbling wallpaper or paint, and damp areas in your home. These could indicate a leak or other source of moisture that is fueling mold growth. A musty odor is another indication of potential problems. Surface testing options include instant swab tests (rubbing a cotton swab across the surface, then placing it in a container for testing) and microbial culture and DNA testing. Culture tests provide information on the type of mold present. Species-level testing allows identification of the exact organism but can be more expensive and take longer. Typically, the best way to assess your health risks is to combine surface testing with air sampling tools. Many do-it-yourself test kits are available.
Mold spores can cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to them. These allergies can result in sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and other respiratory problems. Some varieties of mold can also contain mycotoxins, which can be dangerous for anyone exposed to them. The exact effects that mycotoxins have on humans are not fully understood. However, they are known to weaken the immune system and can make existing health conditions worse.
Testing can help to determine the presence of toxic mold in your home. It can also provide valuable information about the type of mold present and how much it is causing health issues in your family. A qualified home inspector will use various testing methods to assess the situation, including visual inspections and moisture metering.
During a visual inspection, the inspector will look for signs of mold, such as musty odors and discolored surfaces. They will also look for the source of the problem, such as water stains on pipes or walls and other visible evidence of excess moisture. They may also use a moisture meter to find hidden areas of mold growth, such as behind walls or inside wood framing.
They will also check the air quality by measuring the concentration of mold spores in the air. The spores can be measured with a bulk sample, tape lift, or swab sample. Bulk samples are the best, as they allow them to test for the specific genus of the suspect mold.
If you have a large mold area, a qualified inspector can determine the best approach to removal. They can also recommend ways to prevent future growth, such as conducting home repairs, improving ventilation, and sealing areas where moisture is likely to enter.
Mold spores can trigger respiratory problems in people allergic to them or with certain pre-existing conditions like asthma or emphysema. Young infants and elderly adults may be especially sensitive to mold spores.
To protect your family, wear masks and eye protection when working with chemicals or cleaning a moldy surface. If you want a DIY approach, start with a clean surface and a nontoxic cleaner, such as a diluted dish detergent and water (avoid bleach, which can etch porous surfaces).
It’s essential to find and fix the source of moisture that led to the mold. Then, clean, disinfect, and dry the infected area. If the mold is widespread, it’s best to hire a professional mold remediation company. The cost to remove mold varies, depending on the size of the affected area and the severity.