Mold generally grows in damp places. Those growing inside homes can cause symptoms of mold sickness to the occupants, as many of them are toxic molds. Homeowners should be very vigilant and look out for signs of toxic mold growth and take remedial actions immediately.
Not all toxic molds growing inside the house are easy to spot, especially when they are in hidden places. However, careful observation can reveal certain telltale signs of mold growth.
Signs of mold growth
- Discoloration of walls, roofs and floors ? The most toxic mold Stachybotrys, which causes severe symptoms of mold toxicity, is called black mold after its characteristic color. Brown, pink or grayish green discolorations also are signs of different types of mold.
- Musty odor ? The volatile organic compounds released by molds have certain odors people typically associate with molds. All of them may not be offensive odors, but that doesn?t mean the mold growth is harmless.
- Illnesses with unknown reason ? If one or several members of the household fall ill frequently check out the usual symptoms of toxic black mold.
- Swelling of floorboards ? Any unevenness of floorboards should be investigated. Water damage is the most common reason for buckling, as the boards swell up absorbing water, creating the ideal condition for toxic mold growth.
- Bathroom carpets ? They trap moisture and mold spores along with a host of other undesirable materials such as cockroach droppings and mites acting as a reservoir of toxic mold.
Reasons of Mold growth
- Leaks and water seepage – Leaks from the roof, plumbing, imperfectly sealed windows, bathroom and kitchen fixtures etc., can be the starting point of a potential toxic mold growth. Groundwater seeping up through concrete basement can cause dampness.
- Lack of proper ventilation ? While making the homes highly energy efficient, ventilation has suffered. The steam from bathtubs sinks and cloth dryers get trapped inside the home.
- High humidity ? More than 55% relative humidity encourages mold growth. The black mold Stachybotrys needs very high humidity initially, nevertheless, it can survive in less humid conditions once established. Monsoon, hurricanes and high water table are environmental factors that increase humidity.
- Flooding events ? hurricane, flooding during the rains, fire fighting, faulty drainage and sewage back-up are major causes of wide-spread water damage encouraging toxic mold growth.
- Lumber ? As lumber for building construction is mainly obtained from rain forests; many species of fungi are brought along with it. They are not treated properly, leading to the proliferation of toxic molds. Afterwards too, storing them in the open, as well as construction during cold and wet months, encourages lumberyard mold growth.
Measures to prevent mold growth
Make sure that the house has a well-ventilated crawl space. The Bathtubs and kitchen sinks should be fitted with overflow spouts connected to good drainage. Any clogging in the lines should be cleared immediately to prevent sewage back up that can flood the floors and promote toxic mold growth. After steam cleaning of carpets, and post-fire water damage, ensure that the carpets and the floor are completely dry. Regular maintenance of heating and air-conditioning systems is also necessary. It is also a good idea to have a new home built during the summer months. These homes have less risk of lumberyard mold spreading during the construction stage.