New Jersey is no stranger to stormy weather, and that means homeowners there deal with mold growth all too often. Mold is a silent enemy that invades homes where no one is looking. Water damage, in New Jersey and anywhere else where mold is an issue, is often a huge part of the problem. Learning how to recognize and eliminate mold may be the difference between a healthy family and one that always seems to be sick.
A Little about Mold
By the time a homeowner notices mildew and mold creeping up the joints or drywall, it is too late to avoid much of the damage. It starts with the invisible spores. Once airborne, anyone living in the house will breathe in these potentially toxic spores. The first to be affected are those with chronic respiratory problems such as asthma or allergies.
Some forms of mold common in homes damaged during a storm produce mycotoxins. Black mold, for example, releases toxins into the air capable of making anyone, including pets, sick.
- Runny nose
- Red eyes
- Skin rash
These are all symptoms of exposure to mycotoxins, according to MedicineNet.com. More extreme cases lead to fever and acute respiratory conditions such as pneumonia. Prolonged contact can trigger memory loss and pulmonary hemorrhage, as well.
What Causes Mold Growth?
If you see mold, it can only mean one thing – moisture.
- Leaky plumbing
- Flood damage
- Excess humidity with extreme condensation
These issues all set the perfect environment for mold growth.
Testing for Mold
Once visible, there is no need to run any tests. If you see mold or mildew anywhere in the house, chances are there is extensive growth in the walls or under the home. There are currently no standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for mold testing. Such tests are often inconclusive and unreliable unless there is a pattern. Homes with water damage in New Jersey should have routine testing to inhibit recurrence after cleanup.
The first step of any clean up process is to fix the problem triggering the mold growth. Leaky pipes and other water issues will continue to create a moist environment. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency states scrubbing off minor growth with detergent is adequate after completing repairs.
When mold appears on absorbent materials, homeowners are looking at extensive damage. Drywall, ceiling tiles, insulation, and carpeting – growth there requires remodeling. Mold can live in empty areas such as crawl spaces, as well. It is best to call in a professional if there are mold issues in the foundation or under the home.
Mold emergency is a buzz phrase heard often in the remodeling and construction industries. This indicates extensive growth and damage. People living in the building may be showing signs of exposure to mycotoxins. In some cases, the carbon monoxide detector goes off frequently as a warning.
If a homeowner sees massive mold growth, they should immediately evacuate the affected area and call for assistance. This may include contacting the state health department or just calling in a professional cleaning service.
If you suspect a mold problem but are unable to confirm, hiring a home inspector will give you some answers. They will look in all the places that the average homeowner does not to check for mold.