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How to Maintain Safe Humidity to Reduce Mold in Your Home

How to Maintain Safe Humidity to Reduce Mold in Your Home

Maintaining humidity in your home is a careful balance. Low humidity can be uncomfortable, while too much humidity can lead to mold and result in damage to your home and a host of health problems for you and your family.

How to Maintain Safe Humidity to Reduce Mold in Your Home

Problems Caused by Humidity

High levels of moisture in the air cause a variety of problems in your home. Increased dampness can cause paint and wallpaper to bubble and peel. High humidity can create a hospitable environment for insects, like cockroaches and termites, as well as mold. When mold grows in a home it can result in unsightly staining on walls and other surfaces as well as health issues.

Health Concerns Over Mold

Mold is a fungus that thrives in damp conditions. Mold can cause health problems, like nasal congestion and a scratchy throat, as well as difficulty breathing. In some cases mold exposure can lead to respiratory infections and life-threatening conditions.

Causes of High Humidity

Certain rooms in a home, like bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and basements, are prone to mold growth. Steamy showers, boiling water and unfinished concrete walls can contribute to high humidity. Newer energy-efficient homes create ideal conditions for mold growth. Homes which are sealed up to conserve energy and keep cooling or heating inside, also work to prevent excess moisture from escaping. This moisture buildup can lead to mold. Unheated and uncooled rooms easily grow mold as well.

How to Measure Humidity

When you see mold growing, it is evident you have a problem, but it also is possible for mold to grow and remain unseen. In this instance, you or your family may experience symptoms of mold exposure without realizing the cause. The ideal humidity level in your home should around 45 percent. You can determine the humidity using a hygrometer, which is a device that measures the amount of moisture in the air. Many hardware and home-good stores sell hygrometers. By identifying the amount of moisture in your home you can create a plan to adjust it accordingly.

How to Lower Humidity

One of the most effective ways to lower the humidity in your home is through exhaust fans. Placing exhaust fans in key areas, like bathrooms and above a range or cooktop in the kitchen can whisk excess moisture out of the home. In new homes automatic exhaust fans or ventilation systems can decrease humidity. In basements and other damp areas, a dehumidifier can bring the humidity levels down to a safe and comfortable level. When making renovations or building new construction, opt for mold-resistant drywall and paint in rooms that are likely to experience high levels of humidity.

Mold Remediation

Preventative measures can stop the problem before it sets in, but if your home already has mold it is pivotal to quickly and thoroughly remove the fungus to prevent further exposure. Learn how to undo mold damage in your home and keep your family safe.

Black Mold - How to Determine if it’s Toxic Black Mold

Black Mold – How to Determine if it’s Toxic Black Mold

Black mold, or any mold for that matter, is a scary thing to have to deal with. But the good news is that not all molds that are black in color are the infamous toxic black mold. There are literally a thousand different types of mold found in the United States, and many of them are black.

Molds are found both indoors and outdoors, but the molds found outdoors are an important part of nature’s process. Indoor mold serves no such positive function, as it breaks down the material it’s growing on, your home or business, and causes health issues ranging from allergic to potentially fatal in cause and severity. Knowing what kind of mold you have is important to help you have it addressed as quickly as possible. A less-serious allergy-causing mold can sometimes be cleaned by the property owner while a more serious one needs immediate, professional assistance.

How to Determine if it’s Toxic Black Mold

Where the Black Mold Grows

Any building can develop mold around leaky plumbing or in bathrooms and kitchens that are not perfectly ventilated and humidity controlled. Buildings with areas of humid air(are damp and of warmer temperatures), also tend to foster mold growth anywhere these conditions exist. Any place that has suffered water damage can also grow mold, such as from flooding, a plumbing leak, or a roof leak.

Look for mold in kitchens and bathrooms first, particularly dark corners, behind fixtures, and in cabinets. Then examine any place where there has been a leak or water damage and any place in the building that is humid. Often you can just follow the smell. Don’t rule out an area of the building because it’s not the most likely place. Any place can grow mold if moist and dark conditions are present.

Health Symptoms

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure to areas with mold can cause mild to severe health conditions, depending on the type of mold and amount of it. Mold that is more difficult to find, like inside walls, can grow without being noticed to alarming amounts and cause various irritating and sometimes life-threatening symptoms.

Many molds cause allergic symptoms in certain individuals, such as sneezing, coughing, sore throat, etc. Neurological symptoms such as dizziness, depression, headaches, memory loss, and concentration problems are symptoms of toxic mold exposure.

Mold symptoms depend largely on the amount of mold you’re being exposed to and how long you’ve been exposed to it. If you have unexplained neurological symptoms or they fluctuate depending on whether you are at the location or where you are in the building, leave if possible and seek immediate help as neurological symptoms indicate a serious level of toxic mold exposure. Don’t necessarily assume that you don’t have toxic mold because you don’t have those symptoms yet.

How to Identify Toxic Black Mold

With so many types of molds in existence, and with many of them looking very similar, it may be difficult to properly identify what type of mold you have. Stachybotrys, or toxic black mold, is slimy when wet and powdery when dry and can be black or green in color.  It prefers paper, wood, and similar cellulose materials. Since it requires constant moisture to grow, you’ll usually find it in places with long term water damage or after a leak or flood that was not properly addressed.

What to Do if You Find Mold In Your Home

All molds need to be cleaned up right away. There is no acceptable amount of mold that can be present in a home and no type of mold that is not at least a threat to people with allergies or those with a weakened immune system.

Only attempt to clean up mold if you are 100% sure it’s a non-toxic mold and it is in a location that is easy to thoroughly clean, i.e. there are no joints, cracks, and crevices that it could have traveled into.

Call a mold removal expert for large areas of mold growth, for situations when water damage is present and/or the mold may have grown into areas you can’t reach, for any mold you are not 100% of it’s toxicity, or if you just don’t want to worry about what kind of mold it is or how to clean it.

RCS damage cleanup specialists will help you determine every location mold is present in your home or business, extract any water, repair water damage, remove all of the mold, and give you tips to prevent mold from recurring.

Understanding and Identifying Types of Mold In Your Home

Understanding and Identifying Types of Mold In Your Home

There are many kinds of molds that can grow in a home, and all kinds need to be removed. You can clean some mold infestations yourself, but before you attempt to clean it up, you should determine what kind of mold you have. Some are too dangerous for an unskilled person to tackle. 

Understanding and Identifying Different Types of Mold In Your Home

Molds can range from ones that are likely to cause allergies, including asthma attacks, to ones that can cause illness, and to ones that are so toxic they can cause life-threatening and fatal health conditions.

Some Types of Molds That Can Grow In Your Home

Acremonium

Acremonium grows predominantly inside manmade household systems and appliances such as air conditioning units and humidifiers, though it can be in places like carpet and on wallpaper. It is light-colored and can either be a contained, moist mold or a powdery form.

If you encounter this type of mold, do not attempt to clean it yourself. It causes allergies in most but can cause several serious conditions in others.

Alternaria

Alternaria is one of the most common molds you’ll likely find in your home. It likes moist environments in kitchens and bathrooms, such as showers, bathtubs, around toilets, and under and around sinks and can grow with just humidity. Alternaria is a soft mold that is either brown or dark green with little hair-like structures. This type of mold spreads really fast in your home as it releases a lot of spores into the air, so it’s important to tackle it quickly and effectively.

Thankfully, Alternaria is one of the less serious types of mold, causing allergic reactions, but its rapid growth and high spore count make it highly allergenic.

Aureobasidium

Aureobasidium grows under wallpaper, on wood furniture, and on window sills and it typically comes in pink, black, or brown. It can cause eye, skin, and nail infections and one should use gloves when cleaning it.

Chaetomium

Chaetomium grows where there is water damage. It is a soft, texture-y mold that starts out light colored and gradually turns darker, becoming black over time. It also has a musty smell to it.

It’s not usually too dangerous, causing skin and nail infections, but it can sometimes cause illness in people with compromised immune systems. Cleaning Chaetomium will only be effective if you fix the source of the water damage. Because it grows as a result of water damage, it often coexists with Stachybotrys.

Stachybotrys

Stachybotrys, or “black mold”, is both allergenic and highly toxic. Dark green or black and usually slimy, but if the area becomes dry, the mold can become powdery.  It likes damp wood, paper, and other similar materials. It can cause mild allergic symptoms, serious mental and physical symptoms, and neurological symptoms. Even if exposure to black mold is not fatal, it can cause permanent damage. The longer you are exposed to it, the more dangerous it is.

Ulocladium

Ulocladium often springs up in homes with severe water damage. It’s dark and velvety, and prefers the typical mold-loving areas like showers and basements, but it can grow just about anywhere there is sufficient water.

It’s not too dangerous itself, causing allergies and some more serious symptoms in people with compromised immune systems, but stachybotrys often grows in conjunction with ulocladium, so extreme care should still be taken.

Advice For Removing Molds

There are many more kinds of molds, though these are some of the most common and most concerning of household molds. Do-it-yourselfers can clean some mold infestations, ones that are not toxic and have not damaged a sizable amount of material, but many others cannot. If you cannot guarantee that you have one of the more harmless molds in your home, or simply don’t want to risk it, have an inspection completed and call a mold removal specialist.

Mold and Your Mental Health

Mold and Your Mental Health

If you even think there’s a possibility that you have mold in your home or office, it is important to promptly get a mold inspection. Where mold is suspected, it usually exists, and if you don’t get it removed, it might make you sick—literally.

Mold and Your Health

Mold can grow just about anywhere there’s moisture, and anywhere there’s organic material like food, plants and soil. And it does much more than just look bad on your walls or in your shower. Over time, mold wreaks havoc on your building structure, and even more havoc on your health. As mold grows, it reproduces by releasing spores into the air. These spores can hide in air vents, on walls, in carpets and even on animals.

Over time, the negative effects of living in a damp, moldy house do take their toll. Indeed, the negative health effects caused by mold are well documented in scientific literature. The airborne spores are well-known for triggering lots of respiratory issues like asthma attacks, sore throats, coughing, wheezing, and nasal and sinus congestion. Mold is an irritant, so it can also cause skin or eye irritation.

Mold and Your Mental Health

Mold also has an impact on mental health. Some studies have linked mold to depression. Many people who live in moldy homes have decreased appetite, trouble sleeping, headache, fatigue and other symptoms of depression. In one study that analyzed nearly 6,000 adults, people who lived in moldy homes were 44 percent more likely to suffer from depression.

Molds are toxic to humans, and these toxins can affect the immune system and the nervous system by changing the way the brain functions.

People who have prolonged exposure to mold can develop a chronic inflammatory response to the mold, which causes several alterations in mental health, including not only depression but anxiety, memory issues and irritability. More and more, scientists are realizing the effects that negative environmental exposures can have on human health.

Furthermore, people in the above-mentioned studies reported that they felt even more depressed because they perceived that they would never be able to get rid of the mold in their homes.

Have The Mold Removed

But mold removal is definitely possible! Call Restoration Certified Specialists today. We’ve been in the mold-busting business since 1975, and we’ll have you breathing easier—and healthier—in no time!

Mold In House Sonoma County

Health Risks of Mold in Your Home

When you think of mold, you probably think of things like dank basements, dirty bathrooms, musty smells, and water damage. Mold can wreak havoc on a home, but the mold in your home can also cause you health risks. Here are five health risks that can be caused by toxic molds in your home.

#1 Allergic Reactions

The most common health effect of mold in your home is allergic reactions. Otherwise healthy adults and children may experience symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, runny nose, watery eyes, and skin irritation.

#2 Worsening Asthma Symptoms

Controlling asthma can be a struggle for some people, and if there is mold in your home, it can become even harder to control. Mold in your home can cause your asthma symptoms like chest tightness and shortness of breath to become worse. If you have good control of your asthma symptoms and they start to worsen, you may want to check for mold in your home.

#3 Increased Headaches

You may experience increased or more severe headaches if your are exposed to mold in your home. Allergic reactions, sinus pressure, or a response to mycotoxins that some molds produce can cause your headaches. These headaches have the potential of becoming migraines if the mold isn’t removed.

#4 Fatigue

All of us feel fatigued at one point or another, but when it gets to the point where you need over 12 hours of sleep a night or can’t stand long enough to take a shower, it can become debilitating. Lack of oxygen intake, coughing at night, and illness and infection are all reasons that mold exposure can cause you to feel overly fatigued.

#5 Mental and Neurological Issues

The most well-known toxic mold, black mold, releases neurotoxins that can impair your mental ability by killing neurons in the brain. Some of these impairments include confusion, difficulty paying attention, anxiety, seizures, and memory loss. You may also experience increased irritability due to exposure to black mold. #6 Suppressed Immune System If you are typically a healthy adult, you may find yourself getting sick more often if you are exposed to mold. The toxins in black mold can cause your immune system to be compromised, and you’ll be more susceptible to infections and illness. If you are experiencing unexplained symptoms that could be related to toxic mold exposure, you should take steps immediately to remove the mold from your home. Health issues caused by mold exposure typically subside once the mold is gone.