What is mold?
Fungi, or molds, are a form of fungus. They thrive in a natural setting. Mold spores can be found in the air both indoors and outdoors. Molds are seen growing on soil, foods, plants, and other items in nature, and they aid in the decomposition of dead materials. Mold can be found in both buildings and residences. Moisture is required for mold to grow. Mold can grow inside in places with high humidity, such as basements and showers. Molds develop microscopic cells known as “spores,” which can easily spread through the air. Water and insects can also disperse spores. When live spores locate the correct conditions, they function like seeds, creating new mold colonies.
What causes mold to form?
To grow and proliferate, mold simply requires a few things:
- Nutrients (food)
- Appropriate growing environment
Mold can develop on a variety of building materials, including wood, sheetrock, and other porous materials. Molds can feed on even dust that has settled on these materials or furniture. Mold may grow practically anywhere that has sufficient moisture or high humidity. Because all molds require water to develop, controlling moisture is crucial to preventing indoor mold growth.
Moisture can come from a variety of sources, including:
- Flooding from the outside (storm surge, overflowing lakes, streams, etc.)
- Indoor flooding (sinks, baths, toilets, air conditioner drain pans, or sewage systems overflow)
- Condensation (produced by excessively high indoor humidity or cold surfaces)
- Water is leaking into the structure from the outside (roof, walls, floors)
- Leaks in the home’s plumbing system or burst water pipes
- Indoor fire sprinklers or outside sprinklers striking the walls
- Kitchen and bathroom moisture (steam from the shower or cooking) is poorly vented.
- Use of a humidifier
- Wet clothes being dried indoors or clothes dryers not being vented outside (including electric dryers)
- Plants for the home (over watering, etc.)
- Moisture emitted by our bodies (sweat, wet hair on pillows, breath)
- Outside air is warm and damp.
- Spills of liquid
How can I detect whether my house has mold, or should I conduct a mold test?
Mold development in the home can generally be seen or smelled. If apparent mold growth is present, sampling is usually unnecessary. There are no health or exposure-based standards that can be used to assess the results of a mold sampling. Mold testing or sampling to determine if you have a mold problem or to determine what type of mold is growing is not recommended by the Florida Department of Health. Mold sampling in the air can be costly, and it should only be done by qualified personnel. Do not test a mold problem; instead, investigate it.
- Check for obvious mold growth (which can appear cottony, velvety, rough, or leathery and come in a variety of hues such as white, gray, brown, black, yellow, or green). Mold commonly manifests itself as a staining or fuzzy growth on furniture or building materials (walls, ceilings, or anything made of wood or paper). Water leaks, standing water, water stains, condensation, and other symptoms of moisture or water damage should all be looked for.
- Look for standing water near air handling units (air conditioners, furnaces). Inspect the evaporator coils, liner surfaces, drain pans, and drain lines on a regular basis.
- Look for mold odors in areas where you’ve noticed them. You may have a mold problem if you detect an earthy or musty stench.
- You may have a mold problem if mold-allergic persons experience some of the symptoms listed above while in your house.
Should I be concerned about mold in my home?
Both yes and no. On the one hand, mold in the form of spores and mold cells will always be present in your home. Mold in the air is a common occurrence. Indoors, on the other hand, mold should not be allowed to develop and propagate. As a result, your amount of exposure may rise, raising your risk of developing health problems. Damage to building materials, home products, and furnishings is also a possibility. Mold needs to eat to survive, and if you let it, it will happily eat your house.
What health problems can mold cause?
Mold exposure causes four different types of health problems:
- allergic effects
- irritating effects
- toxic effects
Symptoms such as nasal and sinus irritation or congestion, dry hacking cough, wheezing, skin rashes, or stinging, watery, or inflamed eyes may occur in mold-sensitive people. People with severe mold allergies may experience more severe symptoms, such as hay fever or shortness of breath. Certain molds, viruses, and bacteria may be more likely to infect persons who have chronic illnesses or immune system disorders.
Molds can also cause asthma episodes in people who already have it. Mold complaints can cause headaches, memory issues, mood changes, nosebleeds, and bodily aches and pains, but the sources of these physical symptoms are unknown. The harmful consequences of certain molds are poorly understood, and they are currently a contentious topic among medical and scientific experts.
Eating foods containing mold toxins has been shown to have distinct long-term harmful effects. Unfortunately, little is known about the actual health dangers of inhaling mold toxins or coming into touch with them through the skin. Allergic illness is currently thought to be the most common health condition associated with mold exposure. Mold exposure is still being researched for its potential health implications.
What can I do to keep mold from growing?
The key is water. Mold cannot begin to develop, much less proliferate and spread, without it. Controlling moisture is the simplest approach to prevent mold from taking hold. Maintain a clean and dry environment in your home. Mold can grow in water that has been left standing for simply 24 hours. Keeping humidity levels below 60% and releasing moisture from showers and cooking to the outdoors are two strategies to avoid mold formation. Among the other options are:
- Spills must be cleaned and dried within 24 hours.
- Within 24 hours, dry wet building materials and carpets.
- Reduce interior humidity levels below 60% by using an air conditioner or a dehumidifier. If you have a central air conditioning system and require a dehumidifier to lower relative humidity below 60%, you should have the system inspected for faults.
- Bathrooms and basements should not be carpeted.
- While most experts recommend a relative humidity of less than 60%, keeping it below 50% is the best way to keep mold and dust mites at bay. Dust mites, like spiders, ticks, and other mites, are minute organisms.
- Dust mites eat mold and dead human or animal skin scales (flakes) and leave allergenic proteins. At these lower humidity levels, dust mites diminish allergen production.
What Is the Best Way to Get Rid of Mold?
Mold should be removed as soon as possible. Mold-cleaning personnel should be free of symptoms and allergies. Cleaning small spots of mold using detergent/soapy water or a commercial mildew or mold cleaner is recommended.
During cleaning, gloves and goggles should be worn. After that, the cleaned area should be completely dried. Any sponges or rags used to clear mold should be discarded.
If the mold returns or expands quickly, it could indicate an underlying issue, such as a water leak. When dealing with mold issues, any water leaks must be addressed first.
Your Public Adjustors in Greater Phoenix, AZ
A licensed public adjuster can help you recover more money on your insurance claim regardless of the sort of damage you have encountered in your home or commercial property.
Even if your insurance claim has been refused, an AdjustPro Adjuster can assist you in reopening your claim with your insurance provider.
If your insurance company resolved your claim and handed you a check that did not fully cover your damages, you have a legal right to a free consultation to see if your claim may be reopened and a fair settlement for your property damage claim can be obtained.
Call us today to schedule an appointment with our public adjustors in Phoenix, AZ!