Florida’s climate has always been one of its biggest attractions and the reason a lot of people want to live in the state. In almost every part of “The Sunshine State”, summers are long and hot, while winters are mild or even slightly warm. Most locations in Florida are just a short distance from the ocean, so even with the scorching heat, the sea breeze help to make life in the state more bearable.
However, the combination of warm temperatures and frequent rainfall means Florida homes are likely to have problems with high humidity. Warm temperatures, high levels of moisture in the air, and poor ventilation are perfect conditions for mold. These conditions are easily created in a Florida home. This is why buildings in the state have a higher than average chance of harboring mold.
If you are a homeowner in Florida, you should be careful about possible mold growth in your home. Both the conditions that make mold invasion possible and the mold itself present problems for your property and the people who live in it. Here is what you need to know about mold, the risk it poses, and the actions you can take to prevent mold or remove it from your home.
What is mold?
Mold is a blanket name for a wide variety of fungi. Most of these fungi are found in nature, where they play important roles in the breakdown of decomposing organic materials. They spread primarily through microscopic cells called spores which are released by the millions into the surrounding air. Most molds are harmless and a lot of them are even beneficial.
But some molds are harmful to humans, especially when they grow within the confined spaces of the home. These are toxigenic molds (which will cause illness in people), pathogenic molds (which worsen existing health issues), and allergenic molds (which trigger allergic reactions or aggravate asthma). These types of mold in the home are a huge risk.
Problems associated with mold
Mold will directly or indirectly cause health problems for people who live in close proximity to it. Babies, elderly people, and those with respiratory conditions or existing illnesses are more prone to health difficulties related to mold. Some of these difficulties include:
- Allergic illnesses: Shortness of breath and hay fever like symptoms.
- Irritant effects: Dry coughing, wheezing, nasal/sinus irritation or congestion, skin rashes/burning, and reddened or watery eyes.
- Infections: Increased possibility of viral and bacterial infections in people with chronic illnesses or weakened immune systems.
- Toxic effects: Different types of long and short-term effects from constant inhalation of mold toxins or eating food with mold toxins.
Apart from the adverse health effects of mold, they will also damage the structures of the home and impair the aesthetics and by extension, the value of your property. When mold grows on a surface item, the organism actually feeds on the materials of that item. Over time, mold can destroy the structures and features of your home, if it is not speedily and permanently removed.
What causes mold growth and where does it grow?
As mentioned earlier, mold thrives in environments with high humidity, poor ventilation, stable warm temperature, moderate sunlight exposure, and organic materials. Factors that contribute to mold growth include flooding, indoor plumbing leaks, roof leaks, badly positioned sprinklers, storing clothes while they are damp, and condensation from excessive heat or cold.
Areas of the home where mold is commonly found are those places where the conditions for mold growth converge. The favorite places for mold to grown include attics, closets, basements or crawlspaces, inside the HVAC systems or ductwork, underneath floor, wall or ceiling tiles, inside the walls, in the bathroom, and in or around window sills.
What should you do about mold?
If you have found mold in your home or suspect that there might be mold in your home, you should act immediately. To get rid of the threat, you need mold cleaning and mold remediation.
- Mold cleaning: To clean materials or surfaces that have mold, scrub them with a stiff-bristle brush and mild non-ammonia detergent. When doing this, protect yourself by wearing safety goggles, an N95 respirator, and rubber gloves to avoid inhaling mold spores. Items that cannot be cleaned should be removed and replaced or treated separately.
- Mold remediation: Cleaning mold-infested objects will not deal with the cause of mold which is moisture. It also does not remove mold that has embedded itself into the surface it is growing on. If these are not dealt with, the mold will keep returning. Mold remediation experts use comprehensive methods that address the cause of mold, kill embedded mold roots, and remove mold from unreachable areas like HVAC ducts.
A long-term approach to mold removal is the best way to solve the problem. This is achieved by doing a thorough assessment of the home to identify moisture, water, and ventilation issues that predispose it to mold. This is the only way to completely safeguard your home from future mold problems. A mold remediation expert can inspect your home to help you stop mold permanently.
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