How Mold Affects Indoor Air Quality

Roughly half the homes in America have mold problems, whether residents know it or not. Some mold contamination problems are more serious — and obvious — than others. This is why many residents with mold and indoor air quality problems may not know they have them to begin with.

One of the biggest problems with mold is that it can dramatically impact your home’s indoor air quality. In some cases, it can make you sick. For people with mold allergies, asthma, the elderly, children, and pregnant women, mold can be especially problematic.

How Does Mold Affect Indoor Air Quality?

Mold can pollute indoor air in several ways. This is most noticeable when it is physically disturbed or exposed to air. This process can release mold spores into the air, which can make it harder to breathe inside. Depending on the type of mold, the results fall somewhere on the spectrum between unpleasant to dangerous. Black mold, for example, can produce toxic substances that are harmful to breathe, even for people with no pre-existing conditions.

Even undisturbed mold, depending on its concentrations and type, can impact the air quality of your home. So, for example, if you have water damage in your bathroom that has created the conditions for mold to grow, it can contaminate the air in your bathroom and eventually the rest of your house.

How Can I Tell if I Have Mold?

The most common and persistent cause of mold at home is water and water damage, so this is one of the most important things you can look for at home to determine if you might have mold and indoor air quality issues. Signs like warping, water stains, cracking or peeling paint are some of the more obvious indicators of water damage. Other home mold signs include:

  • Smell: Often, but not always, mold produces a noticeable smell. This scent is often characterized as ‘musty. If you notice this in your home, especially near the bathroom or kitchen (where water is likely to be), there’s a good chance you have mold issues.
  • Discoloration: Mold can present in many different colors depending on the type of mold and the medium it’s growing in. Commonly, mold appears as black spots or white or grayish hair-like clusters. However it can also be brown, green, orange, or purplish pink.

Indoor Air Quality Tests For Mold

The best way to test your air for mold is through a process known as air sampling.

  • One type of air sampling is called viable air sampling. This process involves taking a sample of the air and incubating it in a Petri dish. Over time you are able to tell if you have mold in your air, and if so, what type of mold it is. This gives you a better idea of how to remove it.
  • The other type of air sampling is non-viable. This involves simply taking the sample from the air and observing it under a microscope. These are much more common for residential air tests and offer much quicker results. The only drawback is that it does not get as specific with the type of mold you have.

How Can I Get Rid of Mold?

Depending on the extent of water damage, and the amount of mold you’re dealing with, you can scrub the affected area with a bleach and water solution. Make sure to dry the area thoroughly.  It’s important to note that any untreated mold or mold spores can create more mold as soon as moisture becomes available again. You may want to consider a professional mold remediation service, especially if you’re not sure of the extent of water damage, had a large or persistent leak, or have mold in places that are not readily accessible (such as behind walls, in the flooring, etc.)

Mold services will be able to effectively clean and dry the entire affected area to ensure mold removal. This way, you won’t run into problems as soon as you turn the bathroom shower or kitchen sink back on.

With mold such a common household problem, it’s no wonder more and more people are turning their attention to it. If you have health issues like asthma, allergies, or young children, it is particularly important. Cleaning and removing the mold is one of the best steps you can take to improve your indoor air quality, and keep your household healthy and happy.

For more information on indoor air quality, mold removal, and air purification, contact us today.

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