Mold. The word alone makes most people cringe. Maybe you’ve only encountered mold on old, expired bread. Perhaps you’ve had the unfortunate experience of dealing with a mold problem within your house’s walls.
The not-so-fun fact of the day? About 45 million buildings in the United States are home to an unhealthy amount of mold.
We put together this guide because spring, mold’s favorite season, is right around the corner. The mixture of rainy weather, high humidity, and warm temperatures leads to a high concentration of mold.
We will cover the basics (such as, what is mold? And, how is it different than mildew?), provide some general tips on preventing mold build-up in your home, and then show you why, if you do get mold, having it removed professionally is often the best route to take.
Think you may have found mold at home or work? Contact Alpha Environmental for thorough, effective mold removal in Portland, Oregon.
What is Mold?
A type of fungus, mold comes in different colors (generally, black, white, orange, green, or purple) and can live almost anywhere indoors and outside. Mold needs three things to grow: moisture, air, and an organic surface of some kind (wood, some kinds of metal, etc.)
You probably didn’t know it, but mold is all around us.
The issue is that molds thrive on moisture. So, when mold spores land in a spot of dampness in your home, it can grow and grow and release mold spores that you then breathe in.
Generally speaking, you’re more likely to find mold in one of these places:
Side Effects of Having a Mold Allergy
The side effects of having a mold allergy include but are not limited to sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose, cough, itchy/watery eyes, and dry, scaly skin.
Mold spores can also reach the lungs and exacerbate an existing case of asthma.
If you’re experiencing difficulty breathing or any of the side effects listed above – and if these side effects are worse when at home – you may be experiencing a mold allergy.
What is Black Mold?
It has an ominous name and can look pretty terrifying. The truth is black mold is just. . . mold. It is most likely no worse for you than any other kind of mold that can grow on your walls.
And, yes, mold can cause some significant health issues, but the chances of it happening are pretty rare, as it requires long periods of exposure.
Mold vs. Mildew
We are often asked how to tell if what you have in your home is mold or mildew.
Here is a little cheat sheet for when you spot something questionable in your home:
|White, yellow, or grey appearance||
|Green or black appearance||
|Grows on the surface of moist, warm areas||
|Grows underneath the surface of something wet or damp||
|Fluffy or powdery texture||
|Fuzzy or slimy texture||
Mildew is almost always just on the surface, which makes it easier to clean. If you find mildew, clean it off with a brush and some water mixed with bleach or vinegar. Calling a professional, like Alpha Environmental, to remediate your mildew issue is always your safest option.
Mold Prevention Tips
How to Help Prevent Mold Growth this Spring
- Control moisture in your home. Keep your bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating rooms or appliances vented to the outside. Use air conditioning and dehumidifiers to decrease humidity, and use exhaust fans whenever cooking or washing the dishes.
- Don’t let spills or still water sit. It doesn’t take long for mold to gather. If you notice any water damage, it should be addressed immediately.
- Repair water leaks whenever you see them. Again, the common theme is controlling humidity and water. We recommend you unclog HVAC units drain regularly.
- Improve airflow at home. Spring is a great time to open windows and air out the home.
- Keep an eye on your attic and basement’s ventilation. If you think about it, an attic or basement is the perfect breeding ground for mold. It can be damp and forgotten. Do routine checks to make sure it’s dry (especially after a rainstorm).
- Conduct a mold inspection. Hire a professional, like Alpha Environmental, to take the time to look through your home, through the attic and basement, and through any crawl space, for signs of mold or excess moisture. Professionals use tools like moisture meters and infrared cameras to detect moisture where the human eye cannot. These tools allow the professionals at Alpha Environmental to determine moisture and help determine the proper solution. The earlier you spot the problem, the faster you can fix it and reduce the risk of mold build-up. The longer mold goes undetected, the worse it is on your health and your budget.
Can I Just Clean Up Mold Myself?
There is a big difference between some mold forming on an appliance and your whole house being infested with mold.
The EPA says if the mold is on a) on a hard surface and b) within a concentrated area, of no more than 3 ft x 3ft, then you can most likely handle the mold clean up and removal yourself.
But there are still a few things to consider.
First, you’ll want to be positive that the mold you see isn’t indicative of mold you can’t see. Here’s an example: mold on your walls. If you see mold on your walls, that means there is an issue with dampness and humidity within those walls – so, mold you cannot see. Also, where did the water come from? You would want to find the source of the issue before dealing with what you can see.
Second, not all hard surfaces are created equally. If you find mold on a wood surface, it’s possible, because of wood’s porous nature, that mold has seeped into the wood. In this case, cleaning the mold with a cloth and cleaner won’t do the job completely. The same thing goes with drywall and other “hard” surfaces.
It’s in cases like this that you want to consider. . .
A Professional Mold Removal and Mold Remediation Service
As we covered above, visually detecting mold is pretty straightforward. If you see it, you see it. But given what we know about mold (how it thrives in damp locations, left undisturbed), it reasons that mold can go by undetected for quite some time.
Checking the air for mold spores is a good way to evaluate your home’s risk of harboring mold.
If mold is found, it’s best to call in the professionals. Professional mold remediation services will treat the affected areas, giving attention to what kind of treatment works best for each surface and help prevent it from returning which is often the most difficult step.
Think you may have found mold at home or at work? Contact Alpha Environmental for thorough, effective mold removal in Portland, Oregon.