Who Ya Gonna Call?
What’s all this talk about mold? Do you have to be aware of it? Do you need to do anything about it? How do you know it’s there? How do you get rid of it? Does it really cause respiratory problems and brain damage? Is there insurance available to cover mold damage?
There has been much written about the unhealthy aspects of having bad molds in your home. But first, let’s talk about the good molds. Good molds do everything in our environment from causing the breakdown of plant matter that turns into good much for your garden and crops, to helping labs make penicillin, to allowing beer and wine makers to ferment their fruits to make alcoholic drinks.
We live with millions of different kinds of mold every day. Some are beneficial to our bodies, some are not. Some you can scrub off the tiles in your shower, and some you throw out with the green fuzzies from your fridge. Most of us will never feel ill effects from molds. Some of us may already know that we are allergic to molds such as tree, leaf and even wine molds.
However, the ones which have the bad reputation are a small percentage of molds which feed on cellulose products such as drywall, wood, carpet backing and some types of insulation. Moisture, cellulose and warmth need to be present for mold to thrive. Reliable sampling for molds in your home can be costly, and there are no standards for evaluating what level of exposure to mold is a problem.
Common sense methods of prevention or minimizing damage from molds in your home:
*Eliminate household water leaks of any kind, inside or out & clean & dry as soon as possible.
*Remove sheet rock/wallboard, carpets and padding that have been flooded in the past.
*Never have carpeting in bathrooms or wherever you have a water source.
*Keep humidity levels in the house below 50%
*Keep watering systems away from house foundation and make sure landscape is graded away from the foundation, so water doesn’t collect near the house & don’t let sprinklers spray stucco or siding.
*Inspect your home often. Some areas to check include anywhere on the roof or parapet wall that collects rain water, any place where there have been holes cut in your roof for ducting, vents, skylights, chimneys, etc, cooler condensate pans, drain lines/couplings, water pipes, sink/toilet leaks, leaks around washers, RO systems, garbage disposals, waste pipes, taps, water softeners, a/c units
*Not all mold is disposed of by the common bleach method. Proper mold removal procedures vary with the mold species. Many molds can be removed by anyone. Others should be left to qualified professionals using special methods. Only laboratory testing of samples can determine the species of mold present. Not all mold is visible: however, if you see any discoloration of any kind on walls, carpet, floors, flaking paint, warping of cupboards, baseboards, trim, you should consult a qualified mold tester or environmental hygienist.
For more information, please see www.hs.state.az.us/edc/oeh/moldfact.pdf
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