There are a lot of mixed perceptions on mold floating around out there. To some, mold is nothing to worry over; and to others, just the mere mention of mold will have them running for the hills. There is a lot of misinformation out there about mold. Indoor mold growth does not necessarily mean flee the premises immediately, but letting mold go unchecked is not a good option either. Here is part 3 of our Mold Fact VS Mold Myth Series to help you differentiate between what is true and untrue when it comes to mold.
Mold is harmless.
Truth: While mold is a natural entity in the environment, elevated indoor mold growth can cause various health problems and leave you with serious property damage.
It is impossible to remove all mold from your home. Mold naturally exists everywhere. However, you should not allow excess mold to continue to grow in your home unchecked. Elevated fungal activity in your home can lead to various health effects. Health effects depend a great deal on the individual, their immune system, the type of mold, length of exposure and various other factors.
While health symptoms for mold exposure are not finite, there is no doubt about the kind of property damage that mold growth can lead to. Even if you are not particularly affected by the presence of mold in terms of health effects, your property will be. Mold and the underlying moisture problem can leave you with major property damage and a costly repair bill.
I only need to be concerned about black mold.
Truth: Above normal levels of mold growth, no matter the color or type, needs to be assessed and properly addressed.
The dangers of “black mold” have really been sensationalized. The truth of the matter is, the color of the mold growth does not matter. While the popular “black mold” or stachybotrys is known to produce mycotoxins that can lead health implications, there are numerous other molds that also produce mycotoxins that come in various colors.
Ultimately, the effects of mold depend a great deal on the individual, their immune system, the type of mold, length of exposure and various other factors.
If it is just mildew, I do not have to worry.
Truth: There are differences between mold and mildew. However, no matter the difference, you do not want either in your home.
We hear this a lot during the initial phone call from clients, “if it’s just mildew, it is not a big deal right?” If you check a hundred different sources, you will get a hundred differences between mold and mildew. But at the very root of it all, both mold and mildew are types of fungi that thrive in moisture. While some levels of either in your home is relatively normal, excess growth of either mold or mildew should be assessed and properly addressed.
Ultimately, above normal mold or mildew presence means an underlying moisture problem that needs to be corrected to avoid further property damage. Unaddressed or poorly addressed mold and/or mildew development can spread and become a much bigger issue further down the line.
Dehumidifiers kill mold.
Truth: Dehumidifiers do NOT kill mold, but they do prevent mold growth by reducing humidity.
While dehumidifiers do not kill mold, there are a lot benefits with indoor dehumidifiers. Dehumidifiers pull moisture from the air to reduce dampness of a space. Even “dead” mold spores can become viable in the presence of moisture. Elevated indoor humidity in a space can promote mold development, and this can spread into a major problem over time. The key to mold prevention is moisture control. Indoor humidity levels should stay somewhere between 30% – 55%.
If you discover a mold problem caused by humidity issues, placing a dehumidifier may be an appropriate first step to prevent additional mold growth. Once the moisture problem has been resolved, you still need to properly address the existing mold problem.
If I do not see mold, it is not there.
Truth: More often than not, mold growth can be hidden and go unnoticed for extended periods of time.
Mold spores love to settle in wall voids, under carpet, above ceiling tiles and all kinds of hidden areas. The main reason being that when moisture gets trapped in these areas, it tends to get overlooked. Furthermore, mold is like the tip of an iceberg. What you see isn’t always all that you get. Even if you spot a seemingly small area of mold, there could be so much more going on beneath the surface and hidden in adjacent areas.
The best thing you can do as a property owner is to learn how to spot the signs of hidden water damage and the signs of hidden indoor mold development. When it comes to mold, early detection can save you from serious health risks, extensive property damage and a costly repair bill.