Mold is pervasive in homes, growing anywhere where moisture is present. Whether from a natural disaster or a burst pipe, when a home experiences any sort of water damage, mold is likely to appear and spread. It loves ceiling tiles, wood, cardboard, and paper products, but it doesn’t stop there. It also attaches itself to paints, insulation, drywall, furniture, carpeting, and upholstery.
Basic Facts About Mold
The three most common indoor molds are Penicillium, Cladosporium, and Aspergillus. Mold is also found outdoors and often enters homes through open windows, vents, doorways, and HVAC systems. It frequently makes its way inside when it attaches itself to shoes, clothing, and pets. Molds follow a fairly typical path of growth:
- Mold spores drop on places with excessive moisture, such as where a roof or pipe leaks, or where there’s been flooding.
- Wet building materials like cellulose and wood are particularly attractive to mold.
- To reproduce, molds release spores, which can spread through the air, water, and/or on animals.
When a significant mold infestation occurs in a home, it can usually be seen or smelled, but it can often hide in places you never dreamed of.
How Does Mold Spread in the House?
Most mold spores are inactive until humidity levels surpass 70 percent. You may not notice mold in your Central Florida home until you see it or smell a musty odor. If you deal with asthma or allergies, you might notice them slowly getting worse when you’re indoors. Miniscule mold spores tend to look like dirt or soot, so many people ignore them. If you suspect you have a mold problem, no matter how small, a mold removal specialist can determine its extent. They can help you prevent and treat it so you can keep your home mold-free and safe.
Basements and crawl spaces are familiar places for mold to reproduce. As mold spores rise into your home, they create what’s known as a “stack effect” as warm air carries them upwards toward the attic and through the main living space. Mold infestations typically colonize with one to 14 days.
How Mold Affects People
Some people are highly sensitive to molds; others have no reaction. Exposure to moldy environments can cause a variety of health effects or none at all. For people who react to mold, it can lead to symptoms like:
- A stuffy nose
- Red and/or itchy eyes
- Skin conditions
People with asthma or an allergy to mold frequently have more intense reactions, including shortness of breath, rashes, and fever. It’s been more than a decade since the World Health Organization issued guidance on mold, dampness, and indoor air quality. Other studies suggest potential links of early mold exposure to childhood asthma. Research continues on mold’s connection to other adverse health effects, such as memory loss, fatigue, and acute childhood conditions. To date, there are no clinically proven tests that can pinpoint where or when a particular mold exposure took place.
As to who’s most at risk for mold-related health problems, it’s thought people with allergies may be more sensitive to molds. And those with underlying lung conditions or immune suppression can be more susceptible to fungal infections. People with asthma and other respiratory diseases or conditions report experiencing difficulty breathing. If you or anyone in your family has any of these conditions, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor or a qualified allergist about diagnosis and treatment.
How to Keep Mold Out of Your Central Florida Home
Inside the home, you can control mold growth by taking some fairly simple steps:
- Control humidity levels – Keep humidity levels as low as possible. Somewhere between 30 to 50 percent all day long is recommended. The humidity level in your home changes multiple times over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature. Air conditioners and dehumidifiers, especially during humid months, help keep levels lower and consistent.
- Promptly fix leaks – roof, window, and pipe leaks should be fixed promptly so mold does not have moisture to grow.
- Thoroughly clean and dry your home after flooding. A water damage restoration company has the industrial strength equipment needed to get the job done right.
- Adequately ventilate kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry areas. Use exhaust fans that vent outside your home, not into the attic. Clothes dryer vents should also exit the house, not into the garage or laundry room.
It helps, too, to establish a routine where you look for evidence of water damage or visible mold in your home.
What to Do If Mold is Already Present in Your Home
It’s understandable to want to get rid of the mold as quickly as possible, but it’s just as important, if not more so, to address the moisture or water problem that’s behind the mold growth. Things you can do include:
- Removing moldy items like carpets, ceiling tiles, and insulation from living areas.
- Properly cleaning and drying the area, as there’s still the risk of an allergic reaction to the dead mold. Plus, mold contamination can recur if there’s still an underlying moisture or water source.
- Removing or replacing upholstery and carpets that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly.
After any type of flooding, it’s essential to clean up and dry out your home within 24 to 48 hours. As most homeowners aren’t prepared with the necessary tools or knowledge on how to perform these tasks, a professional water and mold removal company can be the quickest solution to getting your home back to normal within this time frame.
A couple of warnings if you intend to use bleach to clean up mold yourself:
- Bleach should never be mixed with ammonia or other household cleaners, as it can produce dangerous and toxic fumes.
- Be sure to let in plenty of fresh air by opening windows and doors.
- Non-porous gloves and protective eyewear will protect your skin and eyes.
There are limits to what homeowners can do themselves to eliminate mold. Smaller rooms and areas like showers can often be easily cleaned, but more extensive areas are usually best left to the professionals.
Our customers tend to have a lot of questions about dealing with mold damage issues. For instance, they often ask if they need to leave their home if there’s a mold infestation. That depends on the extent of the problem and whether you or anyone else in the household feels or becomes ill due to mold exposure.
Testing for Mold
If you see or smell mold in your home, it could be a health risk. Performing your own mold test isn’t recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which instead suggests moving forward with having the mold removed. Plus, standards for determining what is or isn’t a normal, acceptable, or tolerable level of mold haven’t been established. And mold sampling is often an expensive process. Your best choice is to have the mold removed and then find ways to prevent its future growth.
How Proper Mold Removal Can Prevent Future Health Issues and Property Damage
Why should you get rid of mold as soon as possible? It’s simple: mold can wreak havoc in no time at all, making you and your house sick.
Professional mold remediation specialists best handle serious mold problems. The mold you see is often an indication of more extensive problems in your home’s drywall, insulation, subflooring, and other hidden areas. A professional mold removal company ensures any mold growth is handled correctly.
Mold removal specialists have the experience and professional equipment needed to eradicate mold and mildew. They know the mistakes to avoid, what not to overlook, and how to permanently solve a mold problem.
To ensure a successful mold remediation process, they:
- Discover all the mold in your Central Florida home, including mold that’s visible, hidden, or present in the form of dormant spores. They’ll also destroy black mold speedily and efficiently.
- Have the proper equipment to remove mold from building materials, clothing, and upholstery.
- Find and eliminate the source of mold, whether it’s from leaks or wet materials.
- Prevent future mold growth by removing any affected materials and applying products that inhibit mold development.
- Repair any mold-related damage and clean contaminated spaces thoroughly.
Done right, professional mold remediation is a quick and efficient process that guarantees your Central Florida home is mold-free and will continue to remain so.
Mold Remediation Services Explained
Professional mold removal services typically include:
- Removal of water-damaged and/or mold-infested materials.
- Replacement of drywall if the damage is severe.
- Cleaning and disinfection of walls, carpets, furniture, and other household items.
- Cleaning and filtration of the premises to remove any remaining mold spores.
Most professional mold removal companies follow industry-recommended processes and procedures to ensure all toxic mold is eliminated from your home and never comes back. This usually includes a mold inspection/assessment, mold containment, mold removal, and filtration as well as repairs.
- A mold inspection or assessment – This determines the severity of your home’s mold problem and the type/types of mold infestation you’re dealing with. If there’s no visible mold but only signs of hidden mold growth, the inspection may include taking air samples to determine your home’s exact situation. Only then are mold cleanup and removal recommendations made, with the specialist suggesting the effective products, equipment, and techniques to best treat the condition.
- Containment – This is sometimes required for more extensive mold remediation and removal. If it’s called for, the affected area or areas are completely closed off for your own, your family’s, and your pets’ safety. Your entire home will be ready to use again only when the mold removal and remediation processes are over and mold spores have been eliminated.
- Proven mold removal products and techniques – These make the complex mold remediation and removal process less complicated. While cleaning surfaces and materials such as glass and metal, it’s relatively easy, porous materials like wood and concrete that mold has already penetrated that are much more challenging. Extreme, severe damage may require the replacement of all affected materials.
- Air filtration – machines with HEPA filters ensure good air quality and the safety of your living spaces.
- Repairs – if needed, they’re made to fix and restore your damaged property.
All mold removal services are essential to keeping your home safe. Still, perhaps the greatest advantage to hiring a professional mold damage restoration company is that it makes sure mold doesn’t reappear in the near future.
The mold removal process differs from home to home, but one thing is true no matter what: maintaining healthful air quality and mitigating mold as quickly as possible makes your home a greener and healthier place to live. For over 25 years, Central Florida Restoration Solutions has expertly and efficiently delivered fast, professional mold removal services to nearly 1,000 homeowners throughout Central Florida.
Don’t let mold invade and destroy your home and personal belongings! Contact CFRS today to learn more about permanently removing mold from your home.