Precautions to take during the winter months in Toronto!
Indoor mold is a concern for many homeowners. Mold has no smell, and a large colony must form before it’s visible to the human eye. As such, you might not realize if your house is contaminated. This can lead to a series of problems, one of which concerns your overall health. With the health risks related to mold, in addition to the ongoing pandemic and flu season, it’s important to take precautions to ensure you and your family are safe. Here a comprehensive guide you can use if indoor mold is a concern.
What is Indoor Fungi Mold Growth?
Normally, people think of moldy food, which is a result of leaving it out too long. While you can easily discard your moldy fruits and vegetables, the mold that grows on your floorboards, drywall, and carpets is far more tedious to handle.
Mold is a type of fungi. Mold spores can exist in any environment, but it will only grow in places that have the appropriate growth factors. This includes the right temperatures, moisture, oxygen, and food. When the environment has met the criteria, the mold spores begin to grow onto the surface and multiply. As they multiply, they form a mycelium.
How does indoor Fungi Mold grow?
Indoor mold can ruin the structure of your home and lead to poor health conditions for you and your family. 4 factors allow mold to grow and spread.
Temperature: Generally, humid conditions allow for mold to grow at faster rates. Any temperature above 4 Celsius, allows for mold to grow.
Moisture: Damp and wet areas allow mold to spread and multiply. This is why water damages present a grave concern for homeowners.
Oxygen: Mold can rely on limited oxygen to grow and thrive.
Organic surfaces: Mold thrives on surfaces they can digest such as wood, cotton, etc. Since any organic surface makes for a suitable environment, mold can exist on many areas.
How does Water Damage lead to Mold Growth?
Since moisture is an important factor in mold growth, water-damaged surfaces in your home make for a suitable environment. Water damage can be a result of leaking pipes or flooding. Additionally, if exhausts and ventilators do not work properly during showers or cooking, this can lead to mold growth as well. Furthermore, when mold begins to grow it eats away at the surface leading to brittle and damaged floorboards, beams, and more.
If water damage is not contained, mold can begin to form in 1-2 days. This is why it’s important to deal with these damages quickly. Furthermore, it’s best to remove all appliances or furniture that were affected. Since mold can grow on so many surfaces, it’s important to remove these damp items from your home.
What are the Health Risks with Fungi Mold Growth?
There are numerous health risks when there is mold exposure in your house. It ranges from mild to serious symptoms and diseases. The inhalation of mold heavily impacts individuals with pre-existing health conditions, the elderly, and children.
Many people are sensitive to mold. An allergic reaction can occur which leads to watery eyes, excessive sneezing, etc. Additionally, damp conditions as a result of water damage can lead to fevers, bronchitis, skin irritation, headaches, and more. Many of these reactions could be happening without awareness that there is mold growing in your household. As such, it’s important to continually examine your home for signs of water damage.
One of the most serious lifelong effects of mold exposure is the potential to develop asthma. Asthma results in a lack of airflow to the lungs due to excessive mucus in the air pathway or a swelling of the pathway. This respiratory disease has been heavily linked to mold found within homes. Research has shown that of all 21.6 million cases of asthma in America, 21% of those cases (4.6 million people) were not genetically related. As such, 4.6 million people developed asthma, due to mold exposure within their homes. That’s nearly double Toronto’s population. Asthma can result in serious complications with children and they must live with it throughout adulthood.
Mold Fungi Exposure and COVID-19
It’s important to remember that there is an on-going pandemic due to COVID-19. This virus can be deadly and leave lasting health effects on individuals with pre-existing health conditions. With a second wave arriving, it’s important to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
This on -going virus in combination with possible mold growth in your home can lead to devastating health problems. Both are linked to respiratory health effects and can weaken your immune system. These factors added together will place you at a higher risk for life-threatening health conditions. Making sure your office disinfecting your surfaces and paying attention to water damage is crucial. As such, while we all must wait for a viable solution to come along for COVID-19, at least you can prevent mold exposure in your homes.
In order to prevent the growth of mold, you must ensure you don’t create a suitable habitat for mold to survive. Here are some general tips you may consider:
Ensure the humidity in your home is less than 60%. This makes sure that mold cannot grow on surfaces in your house. Using a hygrometer will indicate what level your household’s humidity is.
Turn on the exhaust fan during showers to avoid moisture build-up.
Fix leak pipes as soon as you can before turning them into water damage.
Wipe down all wet surfaces in your home to lessen the chances of mold growth; this includes floors, countertops, walls, etc.
How to Stop Fungi Mold Growth Exposure?
If mold has already grown in your home or you notice water damage in certain places, no need to panic. Handling these situations quickly will ensure mold stops growing or prevent it from growing.
If the mold growth is small or medium, you may be able to handle it quickly by yourself. Make sure you wear disposable masks and safety materials such as goggles to avoid direct exposure. Generally, this involves:
Scrub washable surfaces that contain mold with unscented soap and dry
Vacuum areas that are not washable with a central vacuum system
Removing all moldy wet areas. Even if the drywall is wet or water damage, you must remove it to avoid mold coming back
If you’re unexperienced with mold control, the best option is to seek a professional. Do what you can to help stop the spread before a profession arrives. 24-hour service is also offered by some professionals. These professionals are trained in safety precautions and techniques to properly remove water or mold damaged areas.
When to Call a Professional Plumber? Handling water damage or mold is often a big task. You may not know where to begin and lack to equipment to do the job properly. As such, health agencies often recommend that you call a professional if you notice any water damages or mold growth. For large molded areas, a professional is capable of cleaning the area promptly and efficiently. They’ll help prevent the chances of mold growing in that area again by removing all affected areas, ensuring the safety of your family.
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