While mold and fungi are an important part of the food chain, they can cause serious problems for homeowners when houses have a mold infestation. Mold is able to grow on nearly any surface as long as it contains moisture. Mold reproduces by creating spores which are released into the air to be carried by air currents to nearby moist surfaces.
Mold can cause a number of serious health problems. Many of the more common molds cause allergic reactions such as itching eyes, coughing or a runny nose however toxic mold can be cause sickness in a large number of people and even death.
When you suspect you have a mold problem, the first step is to confirm your suspicions. Often a severe mold problem can be spotted visually, often in a damp area such as where a roof or pipe is leaking. In addition to visually seeing the mold, many types of mold have a musty odor and can be smelled. If no traces of mold can be seen or smelled a more scientific approach should be taken with air samples or surface samples being sent to a lab for testing.
Once you confirm that you have a mold problem, you’ll need to remove the mold. Just killing the mold won’t solve your problem as mold may continue to grow in that area, and also dead mold still contains the chemicals harmful to humans. If possible, removal of whatever has mold growing on it is recommended, however with locations such as a concrete basement floor that may prove impossible. In cases like that you’ll want to vacuum up all of the mold possible with a HEPA vacuum to prevent the redistribution of the spores once the vacuum sucks them up. In addition the area should be scrubbed with soap and water to remove any additional mold. Make sure that the area is dried quickly to prevent the reinfection by mold.