Could You Have Mold Damage in Your Home? What To Look For and What To Do
When water has come in to your home, caused by any number of things – from what may seem like a small problem with persistent moisture from a slow leak or excessive condensation to broken pipes, toilet overflows, appliance failure such as the washer, dishwasher, or water heater, roof leaks, or flood waters from a natural disaster— mold can begin growing in as little as 48-72 hours.
How do you know if you have a mold problem? What do you do if mold is found? Are there precautions one should take? Read on as we answer your mold questions.
Mold: What is it?
Mold is a naturally occurring organism that is found anywhere there is oxygen. It is a type of fungus and thrives in moist environments. In nature, molds play an important role in helping break down organic material like leaves, fallen trees, and the like. How many different species of mold there are is actually unknown, but experts estimate there are between tens of thousands to more than three hundred thousand. Cladosporium, penicillium, alternaria, and aspergillus are the most commonly found mold species in indoor mold situations.
Mold reproduces by releasing spores. Mold spores are microscopic particles, unable to bee seen without a microscope. Many types of mold spores are easily blown around, travelling through the air, settling and stirring with the wind. Other types are “sticky” and find their way by contact, sticking to a surface and transferring off somewhere else.
Spores can withstand extreme drought, extreme heat, and cold; they can survive in the spore state for years. These mold spores come into our homes through windows and doors, heating or air conditioning systems, and even traveling in on your clothing, shoes, or pets’ fur.
Like pollen and dust, when these spores are still “dry”, they for the most part they get vacuumed up or washed away when you clean house (make no mistake,they are still present, however in small, natural amounts.). They become problematic when they meet moisture indoors for an extended period of time.
Mold thrives in moist conditions and will begin growing when it comes in contact with moisture, and when in your home, it will begin “digesting” whatever it is that is wet that it has landed on – drywall, carpet, wood, even fabric.
What to do – and not do if you suspect mold damage
When you have water damage, if it hasn’t been dried out quickly and thoroughly by a professional, or if the source of the water hasn’t been found and repaired, it is very likely that you will develop mold, and subsequent mold damage.
Mold can cause damage to your property and pose potential health risks if not taken care of thoroughly and professionally. SERVPRO of Percy Priest/Hickory Hollow offers mold remediation services, and has professionals on staff with the proper training and equipment to safely and effectively handle mold issues. Until a mold remediation expert arrives, some safety precautions should be taken. Here are some basic “do’s and don’ts” for suspected mold issues:
- DO be aware of “smells” after a water damage event. Any “musty” “old” “like dirt” or “like rot.” smells can mean mold is present.
- DO keep the humidity inside your home at about 45% for your comfort (too dry can be uncomfortable) and inhibiting mold growth (too wet, over 50%, makes conditions ideal for mold growth.)
- DO keep clear of the mold affected area. Depending on the severity, it may be wise to stay somewhere else until remediation is complete – especially if you have children, elderly, immune compromised, or folks with respiratory trouble.
- DO shut down your air conditioner, heater, and any ventilation fans.
- DO close the space off from the rest of your dwelling, if at all possible.
- DO call SERVPRO of Percy Priest/Hickory Hollow as soon as you suspect a problem.
- DON’T attempt to dry out an area affected by mold on your own.
- DON’T disturb the mold affected area or move any furniture/items that are in the area.
- DON’T attempt to clean the mold affected area yourself.
If you think you have a potential mold problem in your home, call the experts right away. SERVPRO of Percy Priest/Hickory Hollow have experts at the ready to help with any of your mold remediation needs.