I AM SICK – COULD I HAVE MOLD IN MY HOME

Every home has mold but not every home is a sick home. In fact mold spores are everywhere in our environment. Without mold life on this planet would not be possible. From my limited experience in this area I have discovered two extremes in terms of peoples reaction to mold. On the one hand I have received calls from people that have concerns about mold in their homes because they have been feeling uncharacteristically tired and sick. Often these people hear about the effects of mold on the body and wish to know if this is their problem even though there is absolutely no evidence of mold in terms of smell or visual evidence of mold. If the home is dry and there is no smells or visual apparent mold, you likely don’t have a mold problem. I am not down playing the effects of mold as I have seen first hand how it can ruin a persons health. At the same time it is a stretch to say that your home has mold because you are feeling sick. Of course for some people having an air quality test completed is worth the money so they can have the peace of mind of knowing for sure.

On the other extreme I have been in situations where the smell is so bad that I have to put on my mask or I start sneezing in the first ten minutes. This leads me to an important point about the effects of mold. Some people seem to be able to withstand high mold levels while others get just a sniff and it sets them back a week. I have no idea why this is the case I just know from experience that it is. I suppose it has a lot to do with the immune system. In any case a home that smells musty and has an obvious moisture problem is likely going to have some mold growth that will eventually affect those living there.

The key to preventing mold is to starve it of the moisture it needs to grow.  Most molds require about 20% or more moisture content and a surface that will hold that moisture well. Drywall is a great mold surface if it gets wet and stays wet.  If your home experiences a flood it will be necessary to remove the affected drywall and insulation with in 48 hours.  Once again it is important to do all you can to control the water that is in or outside your home. This is usually done by installing eaves troughs and downspouts and correcting the slope around the home. It is also a good idea to have a sump pump in your basement to catch the water before it gets into the basement.

Finally it is not always necessary to panic about the presence of mold. If you see a small piece of drywall for instance that has a black mold like substance on it you might be able to simply tape a garbage bag over the area and cut out and dispose of the moldy patch. If there is a large area of mold you will require the professionals to do a proper and safe cleanup.  Well there is a lot to say about mold but I will sign off for now and touch on it again another time.

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