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Mold treatment and prevention
Austin Air filters are very effective at filtering mold, mold spores, fungi and mildew. Also, mold uses dust as a food source so having a dust free environment is important .
Mold is a serious problem for many people who are allergic or reactive to it. Mold is a microscopic fungi that is present in the indoor and outdoor environment. Molds thrive in humid, dark, poorly ventilated areas and live parasitically on plant or animal matter. They reproduce through spores that are lightweight and airborne. Some damp climates and areas have much higher mold concentrations. Molds are present year-round in the South and on the West Coast. In the northern United States they begin to grow after the first spring thaw and peak in July through October. In the US common molds include alternaria, cladosporium, penicillium, hormodendrum and aspergillus Indoor mold often appears as black, brown, or reddish. Some molds produce secondary substances called mycotoxins that can cause serious health problems such as Stachybotrys
Living in an environment that has a serious mold problem can cause allergies and sensitivities to develop in previously healthy people. Chronic sinus and lung problems can result. Basement housing can problematic. Living in a moldy space can contaminate all your belongings with mold spores.
When it comes to mold, prevention and early control is key . To control mold you must eliminate the conditions in which they thrive. Mold needs water so humidity levels affect mold growth. Some molds grow at 55 percent humidity but most flourish over 70 percent. To prevent mold formation in your home, keep your humidity levels at or below 50 percent. This is very difficult in some areas, like Florida.
A Dehumidifier will help keep levels down. The heating or air-conditioning system will remove moisture from the air, but only when it is running. Fan only setting will not dehumidify. Humidifiers installed in the central heating unit can be sources of mold contamination. Free standing humidifiers, especially cold air types, must be cleaned regularly to prevent mold growth in the water reservoir. You will notice a slimy surface inside. Free standing dehumidifers will also develop mold in the water reservoir. If you run it occasionally and only empty it when it fills, mold will grow in the standing water.
Air conditioners can be a source of mold. The inside of most ductwork has a porous fiberboard material that can be a reservoir of mold growth, especially if it gets wet and dusty. There is usually a box near the return air that connects to the ductwork and this is frequently contaminated. Mold can use dust as a food source so dirty return air filters should be changed regularly When you initially turn on the heat for the season, warm air will cause the mold to release dormant spores which are then circulated throughout your home. Older buildings in humid climates are especially problematic. Some cases of sick building syndrome are caused by mold contamination in air handling units. In older homes that were built before air conditioning was in use, mold is often found.
Water damage can be a cause of extensive mold growth and must be dried and cleaned immediately to prevent serious problems. Water from flooding should be cleaned within 24-48 hours. Special care must be taken to avoid mold growth in areas that are not visible. Water can saturate the drywall of your home, the carpet pad underneath your carpets, and inside walls.
Indoor sources of mold
Avoiding mold contamination inside your home requires attention. Mold is commonly found in attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Condensation anywhere is favorable to mold growth, basements or leaky areas must be dried. Bathrooms, because of the constant moisture, should never contain carpets. Shower stalls and tubs can grow mold in the grout. Shower curtains often get mold along the bottom and may need to be washed with bleach solution in the washing machine. Replace caulking or grout so moisture does not get into the walls. It is important to dry or ventilate steamy bathrooms using exhaust fans, or opening a window or door. Don’t leave wet towels.
House plants can grow mold in the soil and on wicker baskets.
Furniture, especially antiques, can be musty, which means it is full of mold spores. Keeping moldy items can spread spores to the rest of your house. Check stored items, especially in cardboard. Closets, especially shoes, should be checked regularly. Old pillows and mattresses can harbor mold.
Dust can contain mold spores and the organic matter in dust can be a food source for mold.
Christmas trees, both real and artificial, can be reservoirs for mold. The warm inside air will cause the molds in live trees to release their spores. Firewood stored inside can have mold on it.
Avoiding outdoor mold is impossible but steps can be taken to reduce your exposure. Mold increases after a rain. Mold grows in soil, on leaves and in rotting wood and plants. Dry windy days kick up mold spores that are growing in moist areas and can spread them over large areas. Raking leaves also stirs up mold spores as they thrive in these damp wet piles. Try to keep leaves, clippings, and compost away from the foundation of your house to avoid mold buildup. Keep gutters free of debris. Make sure rain does not run down the side of the house. In Florida, some homes must periodically be pressure washed with a bleach solution to kill mold buildup on the walls, particularly in shady or moist areas. Make sure water runoff does not collect near the foundation of your house.
Getting rid of mold can be very difficult especially if you cannot tolerate bleach. Some environments may be too saturated with mold spores to be completely cleaned. It may be necessary to replace wood, drywall or ductboard that has mold. Bleach kills molds effectively. White vinegar is a mold retardant and can be used in areas like showers for cleaning.
Many cases of sick building syndrom are caused by mold contamination. Older building often have mold problems due to previous leaks and high humidity problems.
Keeping your home or workplace filtered with an Austin Air filter will significantly reduce your overall mold exposure. The Health Mate has 60 square feet of true medical grade HEPA which will trap mold spores.
Reducing mold is important to your health and takes vigilance, especially in humid climates.