Can I Stay in My House With Black Mold?
Mold is a naturally occurring fungus that grows everywhere. Some reports claim that an estimated 70% of homes contain mold.
If you recently discovered black mold in your home, you probably have many questions. Can I stay in my house with black mold? Is it safe to sleep in a house with mold? Read on to learn what steps you should take if you find this type of mold in your living space.
The Impacts of Black Mold on Your Health
All types of mold can potentially have detrimental effects on your health, and the severity of symptoms will vary depending on your sensitivity, length of exposure, and the mold type. The most common black mold, Stachybotrys Atra, is notorious for its toxicity.
Mold naturally produces toxic substances, mycotoxins. A few common symptoms of mycotoxin exposure include:
- A bloody nose
- Mood swings
- Memory loss
Because mold exposure symptoms overlap with other conditions, it’s crucial to monitor yourself if you think you are exposed.
Additionally, people who suffer from allergies or are more sensitive may have other symptoms from mold exposure. These may include:
- Body rashes
- Sinus blockage
- Runny nose
- A sore throat
If you have asthma or other breathing issues, mold may exacerbate your condition.
Lastly, severe symptoms (though rare) can result in Mycotoxicosis or mold poisoning. These vary from mold-induced asthma to inflammation in the lungs resulting in hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
Symptoms of mold exposure may be immediate or delayed. If you have underlying conditions or an impaired immune system, you’re most at risk for developing severe symptoms or complications.
What to Do if You Find Toxic Black Mold
It’s not uncommon for you to smell black mold before seeing it. Toxic mold has a particularly foul odor. If you detect a musty, earthy smell in your home, you should immediately investigate.
Mold thrives in areas of the home that are damp, warm, or humid. Thus, you’re most likely to find it in places like your basement.
Once you find the problem area in your home, address the root cause. Typically the issue is something that creates humidity, such as broken or defective pipes. It can also be poor ventilation or temperature control.
Once you find the reason mold is growing in your home, eliminate the problem by having new fixtures installed or improving ventilation. You should immediately dispose of anything damaged by mold in the process, including tearing out carpets in a room or replacing fixtures.
You will likely have to throw away bard or paper items that have been in contact with mold. You should also eliminate anything porous. Some things that you can disinfect and keep include solid surface items from materials like glass, plastic, or metal. These include large electronic appliances.
If you’re experiencing physical symptoms of mold exposure, contact your healthcare provider for guidance. Always avoid sleeping in rooms where mold growth is visible.
When you target the area with mold, analyze its size. Though you can clean small surface areas with bleach and vinegar (but be sure to wear proper gear, including a mask and nonporous gloves), you should contact a professional for help. Mold is potentially dangerous, and you should always rely on expert removal for the best results.
Preventing Black Mold
You can take precautions to ensure mold doesn’t come back or form in the first place. You can do several things to prevent mold from growing in your home again.
Because one of the main sources of mold is wetness or dampness, you should be diligent with your plumbing maintenance. If your home has a septic tank, call a septic expert to inspect its design, measurements, and overall functionality. Depending on the type, you should pump your septic tank once every few years.
Temperature control is an essential aspect of every home. Keeping humidity low makes your home more comfortable, but it will also decrease your chances of developing mold issues.
Consider investing in a dehumidifier for damp areas in your home. The humidity level should not exceed 50%. In addition, remember to catch any water from condensation and regularly clean the collection bucket.
An efficient way to keep mold spores away is to use a central air conditioning system with a good filter. The filter should feature a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) design because they help trap mold particles to keep them from circulating in your home. Remember to regularly clean and change out your filters.
Keep Groundwater Away
Water must drain away from the foundation of your home. You can help promote drainage by keeping the area near the foundation tidy and raking leaves regularly. You must also keep your gutters clean to prevent any buildup.
Be Strategic With Carpeting
The flooring you use in rooms like the bathroom and basement can make a big difference. Many older homes place carpets in these areas, but it isn’t advisable. You should avoid carpets in any rooms with heavy moisture.
Throw Away Old Paper Products
It’s common for people to leave old magazines and books in a downstairs area or hidden away in a garage or basement. Unfortunately, these paper products are prone to mold in damp environments.
Place them somewhere away from dampness if you can’t part with old newspapers or magazines. However, if you can, try to recycle any old paper.
Most bathrooms have windows, but house addition projects or older home models may feature windowless bathrooms. In these cases, make sure to install a fan in the room and use it regularly. You should also leave the door partially open when you take long or hot showers.
Change Furnace Filters
Optimizing your furnace efficiency will help keep mold away. If you have a fiberglass furnace filter, change it every two months. If you have a paper furnace filter, replace it every four months.
If you have pets in the home or you live in a humid area, you may want to consider electrostatic furnace filters. These last several years, but you must clean them every four to six weeks.
Can Mold Be Completely Removed from a House?
It’s impossible to get rid of mold completely because everyone is exposed to mold in different environments (including outdoors). However, you can minimize your chances of developing serious issues by ensuring your home is clean, temperature-controlled, and well ventilated.
As soon as you detect mold in your home, take immediate action. When in doubt, call a professional for help. Professional mold remediation has the goal of making your house safe to live in again, but not completely eliminating mold. The process of remediation will restore harmless or safe levels in your home.
If you’re wondering what to expect during the mold removal process, here are some general guidelines.
The first stage in the remediation process is an inspection. An expert will examine your home and assess the mold situation. Determining the severity of the issue will help find the best approach to take.
After finding the source of the mold, a remediation expert will begin isolating contaminated items and areas. Spores can travel through the air and settle in different spots, so this step is crucial. Because of this, the recommendation is that you leave your home during the remediation process.
Depending on where remediation takes place, you may be able to seal off the affected area and use the rest of the house. However, it’s typical for people to leave home to minimize exposure and contamination. Aside from mold exposure risks, reasons to leave during the process include noisy equipment, the use of chemicals, and temporarily removing HVAC functionality.
The next step in the mold remediation process is to clean up the affected area using heavy-duty equipment like HEPA vacuums and air scrubbers, dehumidifiers, and industrial-strength chemicals. The professionals will then safely dispose of porous materials in the contaminated area.
The last step in the remediation process is to sanitize the home and provide you with helpful prevention tips. You should receive instructions from the expert on enjoying your home again safely.
Mold is a part of everyday life, but prolonged exposure can have disastrous consequences. When you suspect your home has mold, you should rely on professional advice before tackling the problem yourself. Though in some cases, you may be able to remain in your home during mold remediation, it’s best to leave until the process is complete.
Finding a trusted professional to guide you through mold remediation is vital. At Mold Remediation, we do the job right the first time, so your family can be free from worrying about mold.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for help to ensure your health and safety aren’t compromised.