What Is Mold?
Mold is a non-scientific term for many types of fungi. They are very small and come in a range of colors including green, gray, black, and white. Unfortunately, molds create a number of health implications for many people.
Where Does Mold Come From?
Although mold and its spores are literally everywhere, active mold growth requires moisture. It spreads through spores (cells) that float through the air both inside and outside the home. The slightest breeze can carry mold spores very long distances.
In the home, molds often live in air conditioners and humidifiers. Other common places include trash cans, carpets, and mattresses. They multiply easily and pose a health hazard for many.
How Does Mold Affect Air Quality?
When inhaled, molds can cause allergic reactions (and on rare occasions, infections). Ongoing research indicates that exposure to mold can lead to breathing difficulties. These include coughing, wheezing, and headaches. People who are particularly sensitive to mold may experience a stuffy nose, irritated eyes, or skin problems.
Additionally, many molds make "mycotoxins", a small toxic by-product. These toxins can slowly wear down the immune system and lead to allergic or respiratory problems.
How to Protect Your Home Against Mold
If moisture if present, mold can grow there. The best way to protect your home against mold is to control humidity levels. To accomplish this, prevention measures include:
- Control humidity levels with air conditioners and dehumidifiers
- Use exhaust fans when cooking, running the dishwasher, or using the washing machine
- Ensure that building ventilation, heating systems, and HVAC systems are in good repair
- Insulate cold surfaces to prevent condensation on piping, windows, and exterior walls
- Vent showers and other areas prone to moisture
- Clean any spills as soon as possible