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. Basement and crawl spaces are prone to moisture issues that could be behind your mold problem and health issues.
Continue reading about the common causes of mold in the home or contact us today to schedule an on-site evaluation and repair estimate in Ohio.
The science behind house mold
Allergens come from mold spores in the basement and crawl space, and house mold loves to grow on drywall
- A typical mold spore will be about 10 microns (0.0002 inches) in size and 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
- 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.
- When mold reproduces it sends 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.
How mold spreads throughout your home
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”. The stack effect is what causes warm air to rise in the home and exit through the upper levels and attic. As this happens, 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 mites, and odors – will be drawn into the main area of the home, which obviously is 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, 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.
How indoor mold affects your health
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, causing 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
Prevent mold from affecting your home’s health
The easiest way to prevent household mold, is to reduce indoor humidity within the home to below 60%. Other important steps include removing all sources of water leakage within the home, sealing penetrations in walls and floors, checking for moldy odors, and removing all sources of freestanding water.
Ohio Basement Systems offers solutions to help eliminate basement mold and moisture. From sump pumps, drainage systems to vapor barriers and dehumidifiers, we can install the basement or crawl space solutions you need to keep humidity levels under control.
Additionally, our 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 dehumidifier 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!
Contact Ohio Basement Systems today to get a free estimate on waterproofing and mold solutions for your home in Cleveland, Akron, Strongsville or the surrounding area in Ohio.