One of the most prevalent concerns on today's home market is the presence of mold in homes and condos. As many of us already know, mold can cause significant damage to a house and also has many negative health aspects. In order to better understand the growing mold problem, let's have a closer look at mold itself. Mold is a naturally occurring fungi that develops in dark and moist areas on organic materials. In regards to a home this is most likely drywall, flooring or support beams and other carbon-based products. Mold usually indicates the presence of some type of moisture leak within the structure of the home, although this is not always the case. Mold reproduces by sending out spores, microscopic in size and nearly undetectable, that thrive on moisture. In fact moisture is just about the only thing that mold needs to survive.
Most commonly, mold can for in certain appliances such as humidifiers or indoor vented dryers, or as the result of flooding or leaks. This can include plumbing leaks, continually damp basements and crawl spaces, and any other area that is moist on an ongoing basis. The question remains, how much of a danger is mold in the home? Stereotypically mold in the home causes a number of allergy-like symptoms like runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing and nasal congestion. However these symptoms can be worsened in those who are extra sensitive to molds such as individuals with a compromised immune system, those with respiratory conditions, the elderly, and infants. There is also a few different forms of mold that can be severely damaging to humans such as Stachybotrys. This mold grows only on cellulose products such as paper or wood and needs time to grow.
Usually in a home the biggest threat of mold comes after a house has flooded. After a flood there are several steps that should be observed to ensure that mold does not begin to grow in your home. First, when cleaning up, try to lower the temperature & humidity of the area. This creates an environment that the mold cannot develop or thrive in. Now, the best step to take is to remove all moldy objects from the area. If possible, it is a good idea to simply throw then all away, if these items are keepsakes or valuables either drying completely or freezing them will kill all of the mold. Disinfecting any surfaces is essential to ensuring that mold does not occur. Once all of these steps are done, then bring in the industrial fans and dryers to clear out any remaining water or dampness.
In order to minimize your contact with mold while doing a cleanup ensure that you utilize a HEPA respirator. This will minimize the amount of spores that you breathe during the process. Also, always position fans so that they exhaust to the exterior of the home. Another good idea is to shut off the heat and/or the air conditioner, this will prevent the spreading of spores throughout the home.
Mold can occur in homes in many different forms, make sure that when considering the purchase of a home, you have a proper inspection done. Ask the inspector to keep a sharp eye out for any signs of mold in the home. If you are selling a home that has flooded in the past, have an inspector come in after your cleanup efforts to ensure that you did not miss anything. This can save you both time and embarrassment during the sale process. Any negative aspects of the home can and will be utilized by a smart buyer as bargaining points to bring down the asking price of your home, so minimizing them is essential. If your home is clean and mold-free, then you chances of receiving your asking price are much greater.