Mold growth can be a tricky thing to deal with, requiring professional mold remediation once it has taken hold. It’s not something you should ever try to manage on your own, and given the negative health impact on you and your family, mold growth should never be ignored.
How Mold Growth Impacts Your Health
Mold growth in damp environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, molds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation. People with mold allergies may have more severe reactions. Immune-compromised people and people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may get serious infections in their lungs when they are exposed to mold. These people should stay away from areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas.
In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children.
How Mold Gets Into Your Home
Mold isn’t just an indoor issue. It’s found outside the home as well. Mold spores can get inside through a variety of ways such as:
- Open doorways
- Open or leaking windows
- Sources of flooding
- Carried in on paper, cardboard or wood products
Mold can even enter the home on your clothes, shoes and bags. That’s why it’s important to understand the most common things that cause mold to begin to grow once spores are introduced into the home environment.
Mold Requires a Fuel or Catalyst
On its own, mold spores aren’t able to simply start growing and spreading. Mold needs fairly specific conditions before it can begin to grow.
- There must be a good source; specifically, cellulose. This is in things like wood, drywall, or cotton.
- Mold needs darkness to grow. It cannot grow and thrive under ultraviolet lights
- Conditions must be warm, as mold can’t grow in freezing temperatures
- The area must be moist. This is why mold growth is such a problem in Michigan homes near water sources, or after flooding has occurred.
And lastly, time. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much time for mold to grow. With the right conditions, mold can begin to rapidly grow in less than 48 hours.
Moisture is really the key cause of mold growth since virtually all the other conditions are constantly present in your home. That makes it easy to control the most common causes of mold in Michigan homes.
Michigan gets a fair share of dry weather, but you’re not out of the park. Any level of humidity can quickly become a problem when you don’t have proper ventilation and moisture can begin to gather. The more humid things get, the worse the problem can become.
It’s not just about the weather though. When moisture in your home evaporates, it increases the humidity in your home. This happens every time water is run (shower) or you cook (boiling). If you use humidifiers, you’re actively and dramatically increasing the humidity in your home.
Make sure your home is properly ventilated, especially when introducing additional moisture into the environment.
Winter brings with it some changing landscape, and extreme temperatures. That can cause big problems with plumbing. Water leaks from pipes, sometimes resulting in flooding, are one of the most common causes of mold growth. The worse leaks are the ones that can go undetected, hidden from view inside walls.
Ice damming and aging roof materials can allow water to get inside of your attic space. Since most homeowners don’t frequently use this space, it could be a long time before the problem is discovered – often well after it starts to impact air quality and your health.
Wet clothes left for an extended period can grow mold, and that mold can spread to other surfaces nearby. Especially if left inside of a washing machine, on indoor clotheslines, on hangers, or folding tables.
Basements are fairly common in Michigan homes, especially finished ones. It’s typically for basements to contain a higher level of moisture than the rest of the home due to limited ventilation and lower temperatures. With colder air, it’s easier for condensation to form which leads to dampness and increased humidity.
Since plumbing typically runs along under the floor of homes, any leaks in plumbing or upstairs fixtures are going to drain water down into the basement. Even with a good drain system, you could still see water damage, standing water, and increased humidity in your home.
If you ever suspect mold growth in your home, never hesitate to contact a mold remediation specialist. A reputable disaster cleanup and mold remediation company will provide a free inspection and estimate, showing you were the problem is and how the mold can be removed.