Mold can grow on any organic material
As wet basements and crawl space moisture becomes an increasingly large problem for homeowners across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, more and more people are having their health affected by crawl space and basement mold. According to the Journal of Property Management, tens of thousands of lawsuits have been filed in recent years against landlords, developers and insurance companies over home mold related issues. In response, most general liability and property insurance companies now exclude mold from their policies. And with few regulations for acceptable levels set by the EPA for mold testing results, it's a legal battleground where homeowners and building managers are often the casualties.
If you suffer from a headache, stuffy nose, or some type of allergic reaction when at home, but is relieved shortly after leaving the building, it's possible that these symptoms are caused or worsened by indoor air pollutants and allergens such as mold spores. As Glenn Fellman, executive director of the Indoor Air Quality Association states, "If you are reacting to a problem because somebody's been sick, you've waited way too long to address indoor air quality". The best way to protect yourself is to prevent the problem before it begins.
A typical mold will be about 10 microns (0.0002 inches) in size, and they can grow anywhere where there is sufficient warmth, food, and humidity in the air to absorb moisture. Any organic material- including dust, fabric, wallpaper, wood, and paint all provide more than enough nourishment to keep mold healthy and growing. As a matter of fact, the Journal of Property Management reports that one square inch of drywall can contain 1 to 10 million spores as small as 1.5 microns in size! There are more than 1.5 million species in existence, and some molds grow only in the home. Mold grows year round in any home - no matter how clean, and according to Human Ecology, fungus consists of an estimated 25% of the Earth's biomass.
As mold matures, it begins to reproduce, sending seed-like spores out into the air. As long as the temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, they can land, grow, and spread. Time magazine reports that there can be hundreds of thousands of mold spores in a single cubic meter of air indoors, and a single person inhales 10 or 12 cubic meters each day.
Unfortunately, even you have mold only in the basement or crawl space, its spores will rise throughout the home. The reason for this is called the "Stack Effect". Because of the stack effect, warm air rises in the home and exits through the upper levels and attic. As it does, a vacuum is created on the lower levels which draws air upwards from the basement and crawl space. Anything in that air- including mold spores, humidity, dust mite feces, and odors, will be drawn into the main area of the home where you breathe.
Cleaning and removing crawl space and basement mold with bleach or biocides is only a temporary solution. Mold remediation of this type can eliminate mold in the short term, but unless the reason that it was there in the first place is not eliminated, there's nothing stopping house mold from returning. To worsen the situation, Human Ecology magazine reports that dead mold can still cause allergic reactions as well, and microscopic mold spores that were not removed can lay dormant for years while they wait for the opportunity to grow. Additionally, while mold resistant coatings may keep mold off the surfaces they contact, mold will still have a surface to grow on unless you can also coat your ventilation ducts and every piece of organic material that enters the house.
Mold will grow anywhere where it can find moisture, warmth and food, and mold will grow on anything organic in the basement
According to Total Health magazine, household mold growth is accelerated by warmth and high humidity- especially in the basement and crawl space. Mold spores can affect a home's inhabitants through inhalation, ingestion, and skin contact. As they do, all the symptoms of allergic rhinitis can occur, including a runny nose, watery eyes, mild allergic reactions, a scratchy throat, fatigue, and general discomfort when breathing. In rare cases, mold can even be toxic! The American Lung Association reports that 88 million people in the United States suffer from some sort of respiratory distress, and 50% of homes have at least one person living inside that has allergies, asthma, or another respiratory ailment.
The Journal of Property Management reports that ignoring a mold problem will not only lead to the compromised health of the occupants, but it can also lead to expensive home damage. Repairs can be lengthy and extensive, and in extreme cases, they may necessitate relocation of all inhabitants while the work is being conducted. Mold can grow anywhere there's moisture, including near plumbing leaks, leaking roofs, and especially in wet and damp crawl spaces and basements. Household mold is a significant problem that has been largely ignored for too long. If there is a water problem within the home, it's extremely important to fix the problem and dry the area within 48 hours. If there's less moisture, there's less mold. With less mold, there's less damage to the home.
An Energy-Star rated basement or crawl space dehumidifier is the best way to remove home mold before it gets out of hand
The easiest way to prevent household mold, and one of the primary methods recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency, is to reduce indoor humidity within the home to below 60%. They also recommend removing all sources of water leakage within the home, sealing penetrations in walls and floors especially below in below-ground areas, checking for moldy odors, and removing all sources of freestanding water.
Basement Systems International Network of top-quality basement waterproofing contractors is dedicated to helping to eliminate basement mold and moisture. Our inorganic products are designed to form vapor barriers on the basement walls and floors to keep humidity from seeping through the porous.
Additionally, our SaniDry Basement Dehumidifier is capable of filtering the air of particles as small as two microns! This means that house mold spores, dust mite waste, pollen, and many other home environment allergens will be safely removed from the air. With its self-draining system, the Energy Star rated SaniDry is able to pull moisture from the air and lower the relative humidity below 55%. These low humidity levels create an environment that is not suitable for house mold and dust mites to thrive. Thus, the area is cleaner, healthier and more sanitary for your entire house!
Looking for a price? Get a no cost, no obligation free estimate.