Without wishing to scare anyone if you are reading this article because you have discovered mold within your property, and are seeking inexpensive and easy solutions, then be very careful. Mold can and does cause significant problems, and is one of the most common issues that many households face. Unfortunately, even if you can see the mold, which in many cases you won’t be able to, it is not as simple as scrubbing or washing it away.
You need to have the correct equipment, knowledge and protective clothing to ensure that the task is completed correctly and without exposing yourself or your family to any further health issues. It is also important to treat the cause rather than the symptoms because without solving the underlying problem, the mold will return rapidly and you will have wasted your time and effort.
What Can Cause Mold Within A Property?
There are hundreds of different situations that can cause mold, with some of the most common being poor ventilation, condensation, standing water or general poor maintenance. Molds can grow on virtually any surface, although porous surfaces provide the most favorable conditions; wood, carpet, dry walls and ceilings should all be regularly checked for signs of mold.
Why Is Mold Such A Problem?
Mold is one of the issues which nearly every homeowner has experienced at some point, and yet the vast majority of people have relatively little knowledge about the causes of mold or the problems it can cause.
Mold is a fungi that can prosper rapidly under certain conditions, most of which unfortunately occur naturally within our homes and properties. Although not all types of mold (there are thousands) are dangerous, the vast majority are, and mold is not the type of substance that you want to take chances with. It is imperative that you are proactive in dealing with any outbreak of mold within your property, to prevent either health issues, or severe financial expense further down the line.
Mold is strongly linked to respiratory problems, allergies, rashes, and asthma, amongst other illnesses. In fact due to the various locations within a property where mold can grow and flourish it may well be that the first signs of a mold problem you experience are health-related. As well as consulting a doctor, it would be a good idea to consult a mold removal expert to at least test your property for signs of a mold issue.
What Does A Mold Test Involve?
Perhaps the biggest issue with mold is that it can grow in hard to reach places, many of which the owner of the property will not even have access to, such as under floorboards, or behind dry walls. Subsequently, that is why it is important to employ a professional inspector who has been trained and will have both the experience and the equipment to perform the test. The inspector will look for signs of both current and old growth. In certain circumstances, old growth may highlight an ongoing issue such as a water leak, which can return. Past mold growth could also potentially cause residents to become desensitized to the problems of mold.
Mold inspections should be a thorough examination of all areas within the property, including places where the growth of mold could cause structural damage. An excellent example of this would be in crawl spaces where wood decay could be catastrophic to the structure of the building.
As well as looking for mold an inspector will also try to identify sources of moisture within the property, as without moisture mold is unable to grow. By locating and removing moisture sources, you are stopping the issue at source. Otherwise, you are simply cleaning the surfaces in preparation for the mold to return.
How To Deal With Mold Once It Is Identified
The first thing to say is, don’t panic. If there is a significant outbreak of mold, and you have utilized the services of a professional company, they will deal with the issue quickly and efficiently, but sometimes the situation may not be as severe as you imagine. Although it may sound like an obvious thing to say, the larger an area that is contaminated, the bigger the problem. In this case, it is definitely an issue for the professionals and one that needs to be dealt with urgently. However, if you notice mold in an isolated area such as the bathroom, maybe around the toilet bowl, or behind the toilet tank, then this is something most homeowners can deal with. After all moisture in the bathroom is expected and provided that it is restricted to that area, then you can simply clean it using a mold cleaner or bleach, which can be purchased from a general store.
What Should Happen If The Problem Is More Significant
In the worst case scenario where the problem is not isolated to a small area, the experts will conduct a full evaluation. They will test all areas of the home, and then they should lay out a plan of action which they should explain to you. Although you don’t need to become a mold expert, it is important to have at least a basic understanding of the issues to make a qualified decision. In most cases, the plan should be as follows:
- Health and Safety – Priority one should be to protect all occupants within the property, as well as the workers undertaking the task.
- Ongoing Assessments – Three assessments should be undertaken, before, during and after the work has been completed, as different issues may present themselves during the work, or upon completion.
- Contamination Control – During the work, there is likely to be some upheaval and disturbance. It is critical that any chance of cross-contamination is minimized, to prevent mold spreading to areas of the property where it was not previously present.
- Remove The Mold -Ensure that all traces of the mold are physically removed from the property and disposed of appropriately.
- Moisture Removal – Mold needs moisture to grow, so by removing the source of the moisture, you are removing the problem at source. During any removal work, the cause of the problem should be identified and treated accordingly.
Checking for mold problems within your home should form a regular part of your home maintenance schedule. Locate and identify all of the damp places within your property, such as the edges of the shower tray, or around the toilet bowl and ensure they are not displaying any signs of mold growth. If you notice a strange smell or believe that you might have a mold problem, deal with it immediately. Putting off dealing with the problem will give the mold time to cause significantly more problems moving forward.