A hidden danger is lurking in many people’s homes, and I’m not talking about a ghost in the closet. No matter if you believe in the supernatural or not, this is potentially one of the scariest threats to you and your family. Mold can be a menace that can severely impact your health even if you don’t see it.
In fact, you won’t be able to spot it most of the time. That’s because it has a habit of growing in the darkest spots of your house, such as basement corners or inside of the walls. Once it starts spreading on certain surfaces, mold can be very difficult to remove. Combine that with the fact that it can expand pretty wide before getting noticed, and you have a recipe for disaster. This is why it’s important to know what the early warning signs are. In addition, taking steps to take to prevent the problem before it becomes an issue can save you money on maintenance and medical bills.
What is it?
Many of us will be able to identify mold by looking directly at some, but what is it exactly? Put simply, it is a form that certain types of fungus can take. Contrary to popular belief, it can expand on all types of surfaces too. Growth isn’t restricted just to porous materials.
On the other hand, the idea that mold thrives in wet and dark surroundings is completely true. If you have a slow leak dripping moisture somewhere in your home, there’s a good chance that mold will start growing. Once it sets up shop, it’ll expand wherever air will bring the spores.
There are certain things that can alert you to the presence of mold before you even lay eyes on it. Remember, it can expand over quite a large area completely out of view. Relying on your eyes alone could set you up for failure. Perhaps the biggest indicator that something is wrong is a musty smell that lingers no matter how much you clean an area. Part of mold reproduction is the gasses that get released into the air, and that’s the source of its stench. If your nose is sending up this red flag, you may want to get your home tested.
Because mold causes physical changes to its surroundings, you can spot some kinds of damage before seeing the actual mold. These include warped wallpaper, bubbling paint, or surfaces that feel wet and soft when you touch them. If your family is having persistent coughing that never seems to get better, mold could be to blame for that as well.
A Re-appearing Problem
One thing that makes mold so persistent is the fact that a tiny bit will be able to lay dormant before spreading again. That means if you do an inadequate job of scrubbing some away, the problem is going to rear its ugly head again down the line. Mold is adept at laying in wait until favorable conditions occur, like a leak springing up somewhere nearby.
Mold in New Homes
While it’s logical to equate mold to old homes that have developed issues, that doesn’t mean a newly-built property is immune. Improperly protected areas can gather water from rain or even just humid surroundings during construction. Porous materials will hold onto that moisture and become a breeding pool for future problems. If you notice some of the signs mentioned above, don’t brush them off just because your house was recently finished.
Get Rid of Mold ASAP!
Because mold spores are very light, they can spread easily through the air. If left unchecked, it can quickly affect your property and your belongings. The more it disperses, the farther it will be able to reach. At that point, you may have to opt for costly mold remediation. When porous material becomes infected for too long, it often has to be removed entirely to ensure the problem doesn’t just return. That’s why it’s incredibly important to act fast as soon as the warning signs pop up. Even better than that, precautionary steps will provide another layer of defense.
Another reason to take immediate action is your health. If anybody in your family has asthma or other lung-related ailments, mold can be very hazardous to them. Even in perfectly healthy adults, airborne spores can cause a variety of symptoms. These can be mild like itchy eyes or a cough to something more serious, like difficulty breathing or nosebleeds.
Prolonged exposure will greatly exacerbate the effects of mold on your well-being. If you have an undiscovered allergy, you may end up in the emergency room. Instead of risking it, take immediate action upon discovery of any mold.
Can You Clean Mold Yourself?
Smaller outbreaks of mold can be contained by yourself at home, though it’s important to use the right weapons.
• Bleach: Although bleach is very effective at neutralizing many things, mold is not one of them. If the mold has grown on any porous materials, you’ll only keep it from spreading for a short time. Besides, bleach can be harmful to your home when used improperly.
• Household Cleaners: Like with the bleach, cleaners only hide the problem instead of neutralizing it completely. It won’t take long before you are back at square one.
• Mold-resistant Paint: The key phrase here is “mold-resistant.” This kind of paint was designed specifically to prevent mold from growing. It should not be used by itself to cover up mold, because it will still be there even if you can’t see it.
• Mold or Fungicide Sprays: These products are adept at handling surface level mold. It may not be enough for larger jobs, and it definitely doesn’t deal with any hidden spores.
To be on the safe side, hiring a professional is the only surefire way to know all of the mold is gone. It’s also highly recommended to call in someone if:
• The mold is in your air conditioning or heating systems, which means it has now had the chance to spread all over your house.
• The mold is in a hard-to-reach or hard-to-see area.
• The affected area is very large
• You don’t have experience with dealing with mold at all
Why Hire a Professional?
Some of the reasons to hire a professional are they:
• Know how to find all the mold, so nothing is left behind to continue causing problems.
• Have expensive but effective equipment that you won’t have otherwise have access to.
• Are trained to deal with the sources of mold, cutting off the roots of the issue.
• Know how to take steps to prevent mold from being a problem in the future.
• Are much faster and more efficient than you, no matter how many videos you watched in preparation. The sooner you get your home back into proper shape, the quicker you can go back to enjoying your life.
Because the problem area can vary in size, the cost of professional mold removal may range anywhere from $500 to $5000. As for mold remediation, that process can and will cost quite a bit more. If the mold has been growing unchecked for a long time, the repairs to your home as part of remediation can cause the cost to skyrocket. That’s why taking early action has been repeated multiple times in this article.