Creating a Healthy Household: A Beginner’s Guide to Toxic Mold
As residents of the Puget sound area we hate to admit it, but mold is an ongoing problem here. Mold refers to fungi that requires moisture and, unabated, may lead to air quality issues in the home. We help homeowners remove mold in both the attic and the crawl space.
Certain types of fungi present health hazards — some very dangerous. In an article from Seattle Magazine, the problem of mold and mold spores was characterized as one that is all but impossible to eliminate from a wet environment such as exists in the Pacific Northwest. For those of us not yet familiar with mold and its adverse effects as we should be, the most important aspects to grasp are:
- It’s everywhere, especially here in the Puget Sound area.
- There is an abundance of types of mold, each with its own unique characteristics.
- There are effective ways to reduce it in your home.
Welcome to a Wide World of Mold
It has been estimated that there are as many as 100 or more varieties of mold fungi. While the purpose of this post is not to make you an expert on the topic, here’s a list of a dozen varieties that we need to be aware of.
- Serpula lacrymans
We’re going to take a closer look at five of the types of mold fungi that are most likely to be found in the home here in the Pacific Northwest, but should you wish to learn more about mold check out this resource at environix for more info.
Zeroing in on the Places in the Home Where Mold Is Most Often Found
Chances are your Puget Sound home has either a crawl space, below, or an attic above the main living areas, or both. If you do, know that these are both areas of your home where mold is most often discovered. Left untreated, it can permeate into the rest of the home creating potential health problems that range from promoting allergies to affects much worse. Remember that mold requires moisture. Crawl spaces and attics, especially those that are unfinished or in disrepair, may become havens for accumulated moisture leading to eventual mold colonization. IF you’re a DIY’er use your own mold test kit.
Tracking Down Mold Colonies in Your Home
Unless you’re experienced in this type of investigative inspection work, you’re probably better off with arranging for a professional to conduct it. Should you wish to do it yourself, here are some signs of mold you need to become familiar with.
- Moisture, moisture and more moisture. Living with the rain of the Pacific Northwest as we do, just imagine how easily it can creep into places like crawl spaces and attics. All it takes is the slightest of cracks, holes or spaces in the structure, or a lack of protective barriers adjacent to the ground or sky, to allow moisture to gain a foothold in the house.
- Stains. If you notice green, black or pink stains near baseboards, this is an indication that mold is moving from your crawl space into the main rooms of the home.
- Structural problems. Warped floors and protruding wallpaper are indicative of mold
- Unpleasant smells. Mold has a distinctive odor. Sometimes, even if it can’t be seen, it can be smelled.
- Allergies and illness. Mold spores can play havoc on inhabitants’ respiratory systems — a sure sign that toxic mold is at work in your home.
Most Common Mold Fungi Found in the Home
- Alternaria. Think allergies, as this variety is known for aggravating them. It can manifest in common respiratory problems such as breathing, coughing and wheezing. Though it can be found in outside air, it can also invade and colonize within the home.
- Penicillium. It’s found in the air, the soil and decayed vegetation and, yes, it was a big factor in the creation of the wonder drug that bears its name. But beware: some strands of this fungi are capable of releasing harmful toxins into the air of your home.
- Aspergillus. It’s all around us. In fact, you may at this very moment be breathing it. It’s a very common mold variety, but the good news is that it is pretty much harless for most of us. However, those with an immune system that is already compromised may experience harmful effects from exposure to it.
- Cladosporium. We’re talking serious problems here. It grows outdoors and indoors — even on your clothing and the interior walls of your home. Be aware that severe breathing problems may occur from repeated exposure.
- Stachybotrys. This is the infamous black mold which is capable of producing extremely harmful effects for those who come in repeated contact with it. Don’t delay in seeking to have this mold fungi eliminated should you suspect it is present in the home.
Don’t Despair — There’s a Proven Way to Treat Mold in Your Home
Hopefully, after digesting this information, you’ll do this one thing and make it a priority over all the other things you have to do: Have your crawl space and/or attic inspected by a professional if you even suspect you may have a problem with mold. Even if you don’t suspect such, have it done anyway because mold can begin its invasion into your home without any signs or symptoms apparent for quite some time.
Don’t wait until it’s a major problem: Contact us at once. We’ve been helping Puget Sound residents deal with the adverse effects of mold for over two decades.