Indoor air quality continues to be in the news. Though this goes beyond pandemics and airborne viruses or bacteria. In truth, there are a lot of potential pathogens and airborne contaminants floating around in the air we breathe. While they might not get the same dramatic press as things like COVID-19, influenza, or other airborne diseases, the threat of mold spores and mycotoxins is alarmingly high. It’s even more distressing when you consider the potential harm that mold can have on your health.
How Does Mold Get Indoors?
Mold is everywhere in nature. As a member of the fungi family, it exists veritably everyone outdoors. It can be found on trees, spattered on leaves, nestled into the bark, deep in the layers of the soil, and even sitting on the surface of the prettiest flowers at the botanical gardens. In truth, mold is so pervasive that it can live just about anywhere that it can find sufficient moisture and warmth. Even cold weather doesn’t truly kill a thriving mold colony, it just makes it go dormant.
Mold reproduces by releasing tiny microscopic spores into the air. These spores drift effortlessly on the breeze finding their way into your home, office, or place of business through the screens on open windows or floating right through an open doorway.
Once inside the mold spores continue to move around through the air. When some of them settle on a moist surface and the temperatures are warm, there is the potential for it to germinate into an active colony. In ideal conditions, some strains of mold can go from spores to a colony in as little as 24 to 48 hours.
Different Types Of Mold
It’s also important to note that there are different strains of mold. Thousands exist in the natural world, and most of them are just as happy to infest your home or office. Some strains like Stachybotrys chartarum or so-called “Toxic Black Mold” can be very harmful to your health. Though even more seemingly benign strains of mold that establish an indoor active colony can cause respiratory irritation and other serious symptoms.
Common Signs Of An Indoor Mold Problem
Once a mold colony established a presence in your home or office, it can start to release new mold spores and irritating mycotoxins into the surrounding air. Signs that this has started to happen can include the following:
- A musty or strong earthy odor
- Discolored splotches on woodwork and drywall
- People coughing & sneezing frequently
- People with asthma & respiratory allergies having reactions
- Frequent headaches
- Watery eyes
- Cold-like symptoms
- Unexplainable skin rashes
- Blisters under paint & wallpaper
- Indoor Mold Can Affect Your Health
Even if the type of mold infesting your indoor space isn’t Toxic Black Mold, a seemingly benign strain can still cause significant medical problems. Even for otherwise strong healthy individuals, but especially those with a compromised immune system or existing respiratory health conditions.
Individuals with asthma, allergies, and other respiratory health conditions often experience more frequent attacks or episodes. The severity of these episodes can also be more severe than if they were in a clean air environment.
It’s also worth noting that some individuals are genetically predisposed to chronic inflammatory conditions which can be triggered by the presence of indoor mold. This is especially true for individuals with autoimmune diseases.
While these symptoms are generally stronger and can have long-lasting effects when the mold strain is from Stachybotrys chartarum toxic black mold, even less severe strains can cause significant reactions in sensitive individuals. This is often connected to both the irritation of inhaling airborne mold spores as well as the dangerous mycotoxins that are typically attached to them.
Where Is Indoor Mold Commonly Found?
Indoor mold colonies can germinate anywhere that offers up sufficient moisture and temperatures over 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Though they are more likely to affect certain areas and materials more than others.
Rooms Where Mold Is More Likely To Develop
Mold colonies love moisture and warmth. This makes places like the bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen common places to find indoor mold. Especially if you have an underpowered ventilation system in those rooms, or your family has a bad habit of not using the vent fans when showering and cooking.
Lesser used areas in a home or office can also be prone to indoor mold problems. This includes basement crawlspaces, downstairs storage areas, basements with window or foundation leaks as well as attics where minor roof leaks can go unnoticed.
If your home or commercial property has recently experienced flooding from severe weather, a plumbing problem, or sewer backup, you should be very suspicious of a mold problem developing in the following months.
Can I Clean Up An Indoor Mold Problem Myself?
While you might be able to wipe up a minor mold colony with consumer-quality cleaning products and disposable rags, the effort might prove futile in the long run. A lot of the cleaning products sold at the retail level simply aren’t potent enough to kill mold deep down to its microscopic roots. You might be able to eliminate the surface mold, only to have it redevelop a few weeks or months later.
Not to mention the real risk of severely disturbing the mold colony, causing it to release a plethora of mold spores into the air. Then a few weeks later you find new mold colonies in other rooms or parts of the building.
When you contract a professional cleaning company like Building Services Inc., you get the peace of mind that comes with knowing that highly trained experts are bringing years of experience to bear. This includes access to high-end commercial cleaning products and the equipment capable of eliminating active mold colonies, as well as keeping them from redeveloping.
Our cleaning and mold remediation experts can also help you better understand the strategic things you can do to prevent mold problems in the future. This might include minor repairs that can be done to the building itself, as well as doing things like strategically placing dehumidifiers in key locations during the hot and humid summer months.