Seeing green and it isn’t shamrocks? watch out for mold
The Most Common Denominator
Numerous kinds of mold can appear in your home – and none of them is necessarily good. Mildew is the most common type and doesn’t represent as serious a problem as some other kinds. Mildew grows in damp, warm places like your bathroom, damp basements storing books or fabrics, or carpet padding. It begins as a white or grayish powder, but will eventually turn black or brown, and often looks like an accumulation of soil. While mildew is certainly unattractive and can discolor and eventually harm surfaces, there are much more dangerous types of mold to be aware of.
The More Serious Stuff
Green mold, a general term that includes several types of mold, can cause illnesses like pneumonia and lung inflammation. Exposure to black mold usually also causes respiratory reactions, as well as chronic coughing and sneezing, irritation in the eyes, nose, or throat, rashes, chronic fatigue, and persistent headaches.
A musty odor anywhere in your home is a sign of a large amount of mold, and that means it’s time to pay attention and address the problem. Black or green mold appears fuzzy or slimy; if the drywall underneath is soft or crumbles easily, this is a sign of serious structural damage. When this happens, there is likely rot, and all affected surfaces will have to be removed immediately.
Because black or green mold can cause serious respiratory problems, you should use exercise extreme caution. When dealing with mold, you’ll need to wear safety glasses and respiratory protection and make sure all materials are bagged in heavy plastic and disposed of properly.
When to Call a Professional
A good rule of thumb is, if the mold covers more than 10 square feet, call a professional to remove it. It’s best to leave it to a professional because of the exposure to harsh chemicals involved in the process. In addition, there may be large quantities of drywall and other building materials requiring disposal – a task that may be difficult for you, but simple for them. Given the hazards of dealing with mold, it might be a good idea to let a professional handle it, regardless of how much there is.
What You Might Be Missing
We know mold commonly hangs out in places like basements, attics, and bathrooms. However, t’s a good idea to be aware of the less obvious places where mold takes up residence – like inside your walls and in your home’s ductwork. Mold will gather and multiply anywhere there is moisture. So if you have a leaky roof, a pipe that is dripping behind your drywall, or humidity in your home that condenses in your ductwork, chances are good you’re at risk for or already have it in these places.
Be Vigilant about Mold
Make sure your roof is in good condition – watch for loose or missing shingles or loose flashing around your chimney. Keep an eye on your plumbing and your water bills – sudden increases can be a sign of hidden leaks that need to be addressed. And have your ducts professionally cleaned at least once a year. In addition to duct cleaning, there are solutions like duct sealing to help keep contaminants out of your home’s airflow.