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Mold Growth Can Take a Toll on Indoor Air Quality — What You Need to Know

Mold growth not only compromises indoor air quality, it can also affect the health of your family and cause damage to your household structure. Unfortunately, winter weather conditions often provide an ideal environment for mold growth in the home. Luckily, it's not that hard to affect household conditions in a way that prevents mold growth. But first, you have to understand a little bit about mold and how it occurs.

What Is Mold?

Mold is a natural fungal growth in the environment that facilitates decomposition of organic materials, like dead trees and leaves. Although it performs this essential function in nature, inside your home mold works to break down the surface of any area on which in grows, and to eventually destroy the surface. Mold also presents potentially serious hazards to your family's health.

How and Why Does Mold Develop?

There are a number of reasons for mold growth in the home. Molds multiply by developing spores too small to be visible without magnification. The spores drift through the air in and around your home. Mold can emerge indoors whenever spores settle on wet surfaces. There are numerous kinds of mold, all of which require moisture to grow. Leaking roofs, faulty drainage and plumbing leaks or condensation are common causes of mold growth in the home. Mold also requires some organic nutrient. Wood surfaces, paper, some paints, various plant and animal matter, even shed skin particulates can serve as nutrition for mold.

Where Is Mold Found?

Mold can occur in any area where moisture and organic matter is present. During winter months, varying temperatures can cause condensation in areas around windows and exterior doors, making these very typical areas for mold growth in the home. Kitchen sink areas and other kitchen areas where moisture is generated, and may be left unnoticed and unattended, are attractive to mold. Steamy bathroom areas, like shower walls and floors and the undersides of toilet tanks, are also areas of typical mold growth. In winter months, conditions in attics can promote mold when uninsulated ceiling areas form condensation due to warm roofs meeting with cold outside temperatures. So, it's recommended to avoid heating attics that are not insulated sufficiently to prevent such condensation.

What Are the Health Consequences of Mold Exposure?

Mold growth in the home can be the cause a variety of health issues, and those with already compromised immune systems are usually hit hardest. Molds generate irritants,  allergens and sometimes toxic substances. Skin contact with, or inhalation of, mold or the mold spores can trigger symptoms including the following.

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Red eyes
  • Skin rash
  • Asthma attack
  • Exacerbation of COPD symptoms
  • Irritation to throat and lungs

What Can You Do About Mold?

Of course, there is no way to completely and permanently eliminate mold or mold spores from the insides of buildings. The key to preventing mold from growing and spreading is to diligently ensure that moisture is not available to cultivate its growth. To prevent mold, moisture inside the home must be managed effectively and consistently.

Existing problems on hard surfaces, such as glass or metal, can sometimes be resolved by cleaning the area where mold is present with disinfectant or biocidal products. Material with porous surfaces cannot be cleaned effectively to eliminate mold, and these items should be removed from the home and appropriately disposed of. More extensive mold growth, on any type of surface, requires professional mold removal in order to solve the problem in a manner that can inhibit rapid recurrence.

Please contact us at Comfort24-7 for more information on how to address mold growth and improve indoor air quality. We serve residential and commercial customers throughout the expansive Chicagoland metro area and surrounding suburbs.

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