Having mold in the home is something that many people live with and that can cause many problems both for their property and for their health. It’s a serious complaint that is worse for some people than others, but that needs to be addressed as soon as possible in all cases. Fortunately there are some measures you can take to stop the mold being a problem, but first you need to know how it got there in the first place. Here we will look at how to spot mold and what the symptoms are.
House Mold Symptoms
The Appearance of Mold
Firstly we’ll look at the mold itself – of course seeing mold is the biggest indicator that you must have mold in the home. Mold is essentially a growth that is mildly furry but that in most cases doesn’t necessarily look it from a distance. Usually it will appear rather as just black spots, or dark green of blue spots, and these will collect around areas of damp on your walls and ceiling and particularly in the corners and darker crevices – such as behind wardrobes and cupboards.
Mold is a result of dampness, and at the same time it promotes the smell that you often associate with damp buildings. If your home smells damp, and if you spot damp patches on the wall and ceiling, then chances are that you might have mold – so start looking around for it. Other signs of dampness that you can look out for are condensation on the windows and on the glass around the rest of your home, flaking paint and tiles from the walls which no longer can attach as securely, dehumidifiers working on overtime and collecting a lot of water, steam and a damp taste in your mouth. If you try and hang clothes out to dry in your property then you will further notice that they take a long time to dry and even that they end up smelling damp long after they have dried. In extreme circumstances your bed may actually feel damp to touch when you lie on it.
Mildew is the term for mold that appears in places other than your walls. This will likely appear on your curtains, your furniture and other similar places and again it’s particularly likely if you have ‘pockets’ for it to collect in – for instance if you have a sofa facing the wall or curtains which by their nature create air pockets.
Many different conditions are caused by mold and this is a big part of the reason that it’s so important to eradicate it when you suspect you have a problem. Among these problems are eczema, which is caused by the moisture getting into the air and then into your skin thus aggravating it. If you have eczema then this will worsen the problem, but if you don’t then you will potentially develop it or other skin problems. This then is another warning sign that you might have a mold problem.
If you have mold then you will likely find that you also breathe in a lot of the mold spores and this isn’t particularly good for your health – much like the dampness. Your body will have to fight to keep your body at the correct temperature and to prevent the mold spores from causing any damage and that will mean that your immune system is busier and tired. As a result you might find that you’re more likely to become ill with colds and a range of other ailments.
Having your immune system fighting to prevent disease is going to tire out your body and understandably it will leave you susceptible. At the same time you will also be less likely to get a good night’s sleep as you will be breathing in mold spores and as you will be lying in a wet bed. This too will of course mean that you are more tired throughout the day.
If you are very cold in your home then this can also be as a result of mold and dampness. This is because the mold and damp will sap the heat energy from your walls which has a big impact on the overall temperature of your home. The problem is that as cold walls attract condensation, this then means that you will be more likely to attract further mold and thus the vicious cycle begins. The other bad news for people with damp homes then is that it’s going to cost them in their heating bills too – and it’s bad for the environment!
Like eczema, asthma can be exacerbated but also even caused by mold. If you notice yourself coughing a lot or having general breathing difficulties, then this can be a sign that you have a mold problem. If you already have asthma it also makes it even more important to address the issue as it will otherwise increase your likelihood of getting having an attack or of it simply getting worse.
There are a vast range of pests that enjoy a damp environment and most particularly creepy crawlies. These include cockroaches, silverbacks, centipedes, ladybirds and more – and this will partly depend on your location. If you are currently having a problem with an infestation then very possibly this is a result of mold that is attracting them – certainly it won’t help you and will stand in your way of getting rid of them.
If you have mold then the mold can affect this too – as tiny mold spores are in the air they can get into anything. If they come into contact with your bread or your fruit then you’ll simply notice that these food items go off a lot more quickly and start to mold.
What Causes Mold?
The question is of course – where did these mold spores come from? Well the answer is that coldness and dampness will have attracted them. Mold is a form of bacteria that spreads in the air and that attaches to moist areas. While the mold enjoys warmth, it’s the cold that often causes the problem because it causes condensation which then creates the dampness in those places where mold is then going to form. Your job then is to of course avoid letting the property become cold and wet in order to avoid the problem arising.
How to Avoid Mold
There are many ways you can do this and there are countless things that can increase the moisture levels in your home – such as leaving water standing in the kettle, drying out your clothes on the radiator or just in the home, letting water stand in the bath, not opening any windows when you take a hot bath or shower etc. By simply avoiding creating any condensation through these means you can quickly reduce your risk of mold. If you see any mold then you need to scrub it off and you can use this using bleach or a product designed specifically for killing mold.
Most importantly though if you want to avoid mold being a severe problem then you need to make sure to heat your house properly. Its cold walls and roofs that attract the mold spores and the bacteria and so you need to prevent the property itself from ever getting to this point. To do this you need to start using your heating before it gets to cold – start turning it on in September or October in the latest. The idea here is to prevent the house ever getting cold rather than to try and warm it up after it has become cold.
There is a simple reason for this – and that’s that it takes an awful lot of energy in order to heat your walls up once they’ve become cold enough to attract mold. This is called the ‘dew point temperature’ and it’s at that critical point that mold will form, and at which it’s going to take a lot of energy in order to reheat your walls again.