Molds can be seen anywhere. It can grow on any substance with moisture present. Outdoors, mold plays a role in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as dead leaves and trees, but it can be a nuisance indoors. Mold releases tiny spores which are invisible to the naked eye and are carried by outdoor and indoor air, forming new mold colonies.
In order to determine if mold is present in your home or place of business, experts often recommend conducting an air quality test. Learn why it is necessary, as discussed by ServiceMaster of Savannah.
What to Know About Mold
Here are the top facts about mold, compiled by the expert mold remediation professionals at ServiceMaster Restore.
- Moisture is a requirement for mold growth. Indoors, mold can often be seen growing in damp places like basements, bathrooms, and other areas which have experienced water damage.
- Mold can grow within 24 to 48 hours after a water damage event.
- Mold and mildew are fungi often found indoors, spreading easily and causing health problems.
- The four most common types of indoor mold are Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, and Penicillium.
- Common molds often appear brownish-green, black, gray, or greenish-gray.
- Mold is propagated by spores.
- Some mold spores can be toxic and cause health concerns for people with mold allergies, pregnant women, asthmatic persons, and those with a compromised immune system.
- “Black mold” or “toxic mold” are terms used to refer to Stachybotrys chartarum. This type of mold can be toxic and must be removed safely by mold remediation professionals.
- Adequate ventilation can help reduce mold development. Open doors and windows when the weather permits and run fans and dehumidifiers to dry areas thoroughly.
- Mold growth can be indicated by a musty, mildew-y smell in the basement or in water-damaged areas. The source of the odor must be located as soon as possible.
- Keep indoor humidity levels below 45 percent to limit mold growth.
- To reduce the likelihood of mold growth, add mold inhibitors to paint before painting.
What is the difference between mold and mildew?
Mildew is a non-penetrative fungus of flat growth, while mold encompasses all microscopic fungi and grows on any organic matter. They both produce a musty odor.
- Can cause or worsen health conditions.
- Is penetrative, making it difficult to remove.
- Cannot be removed with bleach.
- Has a fuzzy or slimy texture.
- Is non-penetrative.
- Grows on surfaces in warm, moist areas.
- Is gray, yellow, or white in appearance.
- Is fluffy or powdery in texture
Health Risks of Mold
The consensus is any long-term exposure to mold spores can make you more susceptible to breathing or ingesting these spores that can potentially lead to health-related issues.
This does not mean anyone coming into contact with mold will develop health issues. However, the elderly, children, and individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as allergies or a weakened immune system will be more at risk of suffering side-effects.
THE MOST COMMON SYMPTOMS INCLUDE:
- Runny nose
- Headaches or migraines
- Sore throat
- Irritated eyes (red, bloodshot, itchy, or watery)
- Skin rashes and itching
Although those with pre-existing allergies or asthma are at greater risks, mold can also cause health effects in otherwise healthy people, so measures to prevent or reduce mold exposure are important to everyone.
If you believe mold is exacerbating your health problems, our recommendation would be to avoid touching or attempting to remove the problem by yourself as this could potentially aggravate your symptoms. Instead, speak to your General Practitioner or seek professional medical help and contact the experts like ServiceMaster of Savannah to inspect your property.
Can mold cause structural damage?
- Mold is often not the direct cause of structural damage but is only a symptom of high moisture buildup.
- Combined with unremoved moisture, mold will gradually degrade the organic material it grows on, such as wood building materials, causing rotting and eventually leading to serious structural damage.
What is air quality?
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refers to air quality as “the air within and around structures, which can be related to the health and comfort of building occupants or members of a household.”
- Indoor air may be polluted by substances that cannot be removed by most air purifiers.
- Contaminated air may seep inside an area and cause mold and mildew development.
- Good ventilation can significantly improve indoor air quality, especially during fall and winter as houses and establishments are sealed up to preserve heat.
Why is air quality testing recommended?
An air quality test may be recommended to determine the type of mold growing in your structure and the degree of infestation. Moreover, whatever the type of mold present, the CDC recommends that mold should be removed immediately to prevent future growth.
If you do decide to pay for environmental sampling for molds, before the work starts, you should ask the consultants who will do the work to establish criteria for interpreting the test results. They should tell you in advance what they will do or what recommendations they will make based on the sampling results. The results of samples taken in your unique situation cannot be interpreted without a physical inspection of the contaminated area or without considering the building’s characteristics and the factors that led to the present condition.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
When is air quality testing necessary?
If you are concerned about the air inside your home, office, or a place where people stay often, you might want to have it checked with indoor air quality testing. Air quality testing is necessary when you see these signs, may it be inside your house or in your office:
- People who are sensitive to mold may have nasal congestion, sore throat, coughing, eye irritation, and asthma attacks. Healthy people can also experience these symptoms if there is enough mold around them.
- Following your nose is the first method to test whether mold is present in the air or not. If you smell that the air is musty, it means that mold is somewhere out there.
- Find the source and do what it takes to remove the problem; this is usually done best by mold remediation professionals.
- Take preventive measures, like using a dehumidifier to improve airflow, fixing any water leaks, or getting mold inspection in Savannah early on.
- It’s disgusting to imagine and think about how many microscopic critters board up your home. Dust mites feed on dead skin cells that are being shed by people constantly. People with an allergy to dust mites are sensitive to them.
- Some of the steps that can minimize these allergy triggers are washing beddings frequently and thorough cleaning and proper sanitation of all surfaces. This can also control moisture to prevent mold and mildew from growing.
- Radon is one of the reasons why air quality testing is necessary. Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that naturally exists in most areas.
- Long-term exposure to radon can lead a person to develop lung cancer. Detection and mitigation of radon is very important for a healthy indoor air quality.
- This is a chemical mostly found in adhesives, and bonding agents for materials like carpets, particle boards, and upholstery. The release of formaldehyde into the air can cause health problems, such as respiratory problems.
Keeping your home neat and clean can maintain good indoor air quality. If you think that your Savannah home’s air quality is being threatened by mold growth, maybe it’s time to get air quality testing and mold remediation services in Savannah. Call ServiceMaster of Savannah at 912-244-6966 or connect with us online.
Our services are available in Brooklet, Clyo, Eden, Ellabell, Fleming, Fort Stewart, Garfield, Guyton, Hinesville, Meldrim, Midway, Pembroke, Pooler, Portal, Register, Riceboro, Richmond Hill, Rincon, Springfield, Statesboro, Tybee Island, and Walthourville, Georgia.