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M-O-L-D! What to Do When You Find this Nasty Four-letter Word in Your Home

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M-O-L-D! What to Do When You Find this Nasty Four-letter Word in Your Home

Mold. It is common both indoors and outside, but when mixed with the right amount of moisture or humidity, it can cause potential home and health issues. Experts say that every home has mold in it, so how can you be sure that the always-annoying fungus among us is no more than just a nuisance inside your home?

When it comes to mold in your home, there are three things that you will want to do: identify, eliminate and prevent it.

Identify

While there are nearly 1,000 types of mold that can exist in your home, take comfort in knowing that most types of mold are not toxic; however, they still can affect your health because they produce allergens and other irritants. Some common types of mold that can be found in homes include: Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium and Penicillium. A toxic mold that is green or black in appearance that is found indoors is called Stachybotrys chartarum or Stachybotrys atra.

So, now that you know the fancy names for the mold that may exist in your home, where can you find these not-so-fun fungi? Well, mold needs moisture to thrive and survive, so where there is water, there may be mold. Some common places you can look to find mold include in walls and woodwork and on furniture and, yes, even carpeting. If it seems like mold can exist most anywhere, you’re right.

If you do see or smell mold in your home, a good rule of thumb is just to get rid of it.

Eliminate

So, you’ve identified a potential mold issue inside of your home; it is time to quickly remove it to prevent it from spreading. The good news is that it is possible for you to remove minor amounts of mold on your own; but, for areas that are larger than 3-feet by 3-feet, it may be best to call in a professional. If you are planning to extinguish your mold issue alone, consider buying a N95 respirator mask, gloves and goggles, all of which you can find at a hardware store. Bleach, ammonia, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and some detergents can all be effective at cleaning and eliminating mold in your home.

As we mentioned above, for some people, mold can be an allergen or irritant that can cause an allergic reaction or asthma attack. Even for those people who are not allergic to mold, it can be an eye, nose, throat, lung or skin irritant. So, while removing mold may be the first step to take against it, testing it may be the next step. To test a sample of mold that you find in your home, you can either buy a kit that you send away for testing or hire a professional to determine the type of mold in your home.

Prevent

Again, experts agree that all homes have mold. So, what can you do to prevent mold spores from multiplying, spreading and causing damage to you and your home? Because mold and moisture go hand in hand, keeping an eye out for any plumbing or roof leaks is a great place to start at-home mold prevention.

Steam from cooking or bathing can encourage mold growth, so keeping bathrooms and kitchens well ventilated is a good way to prevent mold. It is also important to check for condensation around your windows and doors. If you do see standing water anywhere in your home, dry it immediately.

Generally, you want to keep good air flowing throughout your home and keep indoor humidity low. Outside, you can help prevent mold-growing conditions from entering your home by grading your landscaping away from your home. That way, water will not run toward and into your home.

The sight and smell of mold are not only gross, but they can be dangerous for you, your family and your finances.  If you find a mold problem in your home, check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if mold removal may be covered.

For most, mold in the home is nothing more than a nasty four-letter nuisance; but, it is one that needs to be addressed. Luckily, for homeowners who are willing to put in a little work, mold problems can quickly by identified, eliminated and prevented.

For more information about what to do if you find mold in your home:

http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/household-safety/tips/how-to-test-for-toxic-mold.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm

http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.html