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The mold problem in homes is one of the most difficult to deal with. When it arises, we seem helpless in the face of this scourge. However, those that form in homes are undesirable. They are unsightly and can be the cause of certain lung diseases.
If you have mold problems in your home and are looking for ways to get rid of it, you’ve come to the right place. In this article we will explain the nature of mold, how it grows, the health problems it causes, how to clean it, and how to prevent its occurrence.
Health Canada recommends: to control humidity and diligently repair any water damage in residences to prevent mould growth; and. to clean thoroughly any visible or concealed mould growing in residential buildings.
Suspect you may have mold in your residential or commercial property? An air quality test or mold test must be conducted on non-visible mold to determine Health Canada and The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clarifies that air quality may be 6-10 times worse and surprisingly more contaminated
Obviously, when you have the humidity at home, the maximum risk is to get sick due to molds, mites or due to excess humidity or contamination.
When we notice a musty smell in our home or business premises, we have a mold problem. We have live mushrooms at home.
Condensation humidity, generated by poor interior air renewal, excess tightness, thermal bridges, or air infiltrations, etc., ends up causing a decrease in interior health if it causes mold to appear.
Using adequate systems of forced mechanical ventilation due to over pressure solves the problem of fungi in the house.
INDOOR AIR QUALITY & MOLD – RELATION
Renewing the stale air content, with excess moisture and mold spores, should be a priority for all homes.
Do you breathe poison at home ?
In many cases, the air at home is much worse than that on the street.
However, we are not so clear about this need to protect ourselves from the exterior and interior pollutants until the problems of the smell of humidity and the presence of visible molds on walls, furniture or clothes in the closets appear at home.
Having mold in the house, fungus in the house is what worries and scares those who realize the undesirable presence of these microscopic beings.
The fear of getting sick, the problems with the tenant, the bad smell and the unpleasant sensation when arriving home, is what distresses the most those who suffer from mold at home.
Excess ambient humidity or surface condensation are the main causes of this problem.
We can remedy it. There are solutions and they are very effective.
What are molds?
Mold is, however, part of everyday life. They are microscopic fungi, some forms of which cause leaf decomposition or are used in cheese making.
Mold is a type of microscopic fungus invisible to the naked eye that thrives on moist materials and food. They can be white, black, or another color, and they often look like a stain or mark.
Mold releases spores into the air that can be breathed in. As these spores (and their byproducts) contain allergens and irritants, inhaling them can cause health problems (more on this later).
Inside homes, mold can grow on the kitchen, basement, laundry room and bathroom walls, on windows, on ceiling tiles, in systems heating, cooling, or humidification, and in many other humid places.
Also Read – How To Find Best Mold Removal Company in Toronto
Causes of Mold Development In Toronto
Mold spores are ubiquitous in the air and as soon as they are provided with the moisture and nutrients they need, mold begins to spread. When you see signs of mold, it is important to do a careful inspection to find the cause. High humidity can be the result of water infiltration from the outside (at the roof, walls or floor) or a plumbing leak.
Poor ventilation in the home is also a factor that contributes to mold growth. Another possible reason is the daily activity of the inhabitants of the house: washing, cooking and bathing.
Poor Indoor Air Quality
Molds and fungi are natural parts of the environment and play an essential role in the decomposition of leaves, trees and plant debris. These microorganisms can enter a building directly or enter it in the form of airborne spores. In a home or building in Canada, mold and fungus will usually lodge on walls, drywall such as gypsum board or plaster and furniture, fabrics, wallpaper, draperies, wall tiles, etc. The major cause of mold in Canada is its excess humidity in indoor air.
Moisture is the lifeblood of fungus and mold growth. This is why they are so often found in the basement, in the kitchen and in the washroom.
In modern buildings, the presence of mold can be caused by various factors, including:
- A flood.
- Leaks from the roof, the basement, or the piping.
- The waterproofing of the building preventing the evacuation of accumulated humidity.
- Sources of moisture such as showers, cooking appliances and the like.
- Excessive humidity.
Health consequences related to Residential mold
Health Canada considers the growth of mold indoors to be a significant health risk. The term mold is commonly used to refer to fungi that can grow on construction materials in homes and other buildings. Damp conditions and mold growth in homes increase the risk of respiratory allergic symptoms and worsen asthma in people susceptible to mold.
People living in homes where mold and excessive humidity are present are more likely to develop the following symptoms:
- irritation of the eyes, nose and throat;
- a cough and a buildup of phlegm;
- wheezing and shortness of breath; and
- worsening of asthma symptoms.
The level of concern relates to the extent of the mold, the duration of its presence in the building, the sensitivity and the general state of health of the occupants. Some people are more sensitive than others. For example, infants, children, the elderly, and those with health problems (eg, respiratory problems) are more vulnerable to mold and excessive moisture.
Any respiratory health problem should be discussed with a doctor if there is reason to believe that it could be related to poor indoor air quality. Your doctor is best able to determine whether certain environmental factors or other underlying causes are causing your symptoms.
How do you get rid of mold?
Before you start cleaning, it is important to identify the source of the problem. If it cannot be found quickly enough, it is still better to proceed with decontamination. Choosing the best cleaning strategy involves evaluating the surface area of the affected areas. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation classifies the amount of mold into three categories:
- Small area – if there are no more than three plates each covering an area of less than 1 square meter, or 10 square feet (a window sill, for example).
- Medium area – if there are more than three plates or if the plates each have an area of more than 1 square meter, but less than 3 square meters (32 square feet).
- Large area – if the plate has an area of more than 3 square meters.
If it is a small or medium area of mold, decontamination can be done by a non-professional. In cases where the affected area is large, or the house is very humid, or if the mold returns after several cleanings, it is necessary to call a professional.
To avoid exposure to mold during cleaning, it is important to wear protective clothing: a long-sleeved shirt, a disposable dust mask, safety glasses or goggles, and rubber gloves. Decontamination should be avoided in the presence of other people in the room, especially if they are at risk.
The area to be cleaned can be isolated by attaching plastic sheeting to the walls and ceiling to prevent dust and mold particles from spreading. Then the surface can be vacuumed using a HEPA filter machine before and after cleaning. Pour unscented dish detergent into a bucket of water and fill another bucket with clean water (if cleaning the plaster walls, you can replace the dish detergent with baking soda). The use of bleach is not recommended because its fumes are harmful. We wash the surface of the affected area with a cloth dipped in soapy water, then with a clean damp cloth, we wipe and dry quickly.
You can clean a stain on the paint with baking soda, but if the drywall is damaged, it should be changed. If the mold does not wash off with the detergent, trisodium phosphate (TSP) can be used, especially on concrete. Applying paint to a mildew stain only masks the problem.
It is good to get rid of moldy or damaged items.
The following steps can be taken to prevent mold from growing:
- At least once a year, inspect the exterior of the house and, more specifically, the roof, siding, attic, gutters, sealants, drainage, etc. You should also look for damp areas in the house and make sure everything is in good condition: windowsills, basements, cupboards, around the sink, tub, and pipes.
- Repair leaks and water damage as quickly as possible. Cleanse and completely dry the affected area within 24 to 48 hours.
- Use fans or open windows when possible to balance the air inside and out.
- Use ventilation hoods in kitchens and bathrooms, and make sure dryer, stovetop, kitchen, and bathroom fans exhaust air to the outdoors.
- Get rid of items stored in the basement such as old clothes and cardboard boxes.
- Caulk the sink and tub to make sure they are waterproof.
- Reduce the humidity rate: keep humidity at 50% in summer and 30% in winter. One can use a humidifier or air conditioner to reduce the humidity level.
- Perform regular housekeeping of the house, for example, vacuuming regularly.
- Clean and disinfect air conditioners, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and any device that uses water.