Just about everyone understands that mold is detrimental to their home’s property value, and that it can cost a lot of money to clean and contain if things get out of hand. But most people don’t know exactly why mold is such a nuisance, how it spreads, and it’s many disgusting properties. Let’s take a closer look at this troublesome fungus so you know the threats it poses in your home.
How Mold Grows
Mold likes places that are dark and moist. It needs water and humidity in addition to a food source rich in cellulose – such as wood, pulp, fabric, wallpaper, and other similar types of building materials. Mold does not need photosynthesis, and thus sunlight, to grow and flourish.
Since mold is a fungus, it reproduces by spreading spores through the air. That’s why basement mold can be so dangerous; if a little bit gets into your heater or air conditioner, it could be blown throughout the rest of your house. Furthermore, some people have allergic reactions when mold spores enter their ears, nose, and throat.
Completely Eradicating Mold
It’s almost impossible to completely eradicate all mold spores from your home. However, you can stop them from growing by using a dehumidifier, making sure there’s no stagnate water or water damage, and by ensuring your roof doesn’t leak.
Mold spores release a toxin into the air which are commonly referred to as mycotoxins. These toxins are then either absorbed through skin via direct contact or breathed in. Sometimes these toxins lead to a wide array of negative side effects if toxic exposure is too high.
Not All Mold is Necessarily Airborne
In addition, a special type of mold (black mold or stachybotrys) doesn’t need to become airborne to spread through your house. This is an extremely toxic and dangerous variety of mold, and though it is relatively uncommon, it’s most often found in homes that have recently experienced flood damage or water damage.
Mold is just about everywhere. I don’t intend to frighten hypochondriacs, but everyone comes in contact with mold on a daily basis. It’s just part of the natural circle of life that helps encourage organic matter to decay. So, it isn’t possible to be completely avoided, but air filters can help control the level of spores in the air.
To combat a potential mold outbreak, it’s advised to refrain from carpeting areas where there’s a lot of moisture. Even rugs and mats can collect moisture and encourage mold to form. For example, it’s not a good idea to keep moist fabrics, floor mats, and carpets in areas of your home like a kitchen or shower.
The Potato Famine
Scientists believe that the the cause of the 1840’s Irish Potato Famine was mold. Sadly enough, the famine resulted in the deaths of millions, giving us yet another reason to hate mold (though it is also a blessing for medicines like penicillin).