In the early 2000’s a Texas couple made headlines when a jury awarded them $32 million in damages because their insurance company repeatedly delayed fully addressing a water damage claim in their home. The couple & their young son experienced a staggering list of abominable symptoms including: memory loss, scarred lungs, asthma, diarrhea and the vomiting of blood. The mold that grew as a result of the water damage to the home was not immediately evident and by the time it was identified, the home could not be salvaged. While not every mold contamination is as catastrophic as this, it’s vital to understand signals that suggest the presence of mold, so that it can be identified and remediated.
The Environment that Fosters Mold Growth: In order for mold to grow, water, oxygen, a surface for it to grow on, elevated humidity and a temperature between 40 and 100 degrees is necessary. If these conditions are present, mold growth can commence in one to two days.
Signs Your Home Has a Mold Problem: A musty smell can signal that mold is present within your home, as can small patches of discoloration on walls, flooring, shower walls, etc. Humans react differently in the presence of mold and any of the following on-going health symptoms can also signal that mold is present in your home in high concentrations: itchy eyes or skin, congestion, coughing, asthma or a sore throat.
Ways to Curtail Mold Growth in Your Home:
- Keep your gutters in good working condition and free of clogs
- Maintain a humidity level in your home of 30% – 50%
- Take care to ventilate attics, crawlspaces & basements
- Deter water from collecting near your foundation by verifying the ground is properly sloped away from your home
- Utilize exhaust fans that vent outdoors when showering or cooking
DIY Surface Mold Clean-Up: A mixture of bleach, water and detergent can be used to remove mold that has grown in areas such as your shower and on grout lines. It’s wise to wear protective gloves and goggles during this process. Be advised that this trick will not work on areas such as walls, because it does not address mold growth that is not visible because it is located behind the wall. In these scenarios, the drywall will need to be removed.
When Professional Remediation is Necessary: A major signal that you require professional assistance is if the odor of mold has become so pungent that you are experiencing continuous headaches. Likewise, if the mold has made your home’s drywall so fragile that it can be indented by simply touching it, a professional should be brought in for the remediation process.