Mold is a four-letter word to many – hearing you have it inside your home can create instant fear and panic. But despite what the home renovation cable shows would have you believe, mold isn’t always a five-alarm emergency. Here are a few myths you may hear about mold – along with the facts.
Myth: Mold isn’t normal.
“Mold is everywhere because it’s naturally occurring,” explains Brent Werner, an operations manager with a decade of experience in the restoration business. “Most homes have it.” Mold doesn’t just grow on walls. There are thousands of types of mold in the world, including spores in the air we breathe. Consider penicillin, mushrooms and cheese – these are types of mold that we consume willingly. Mold happens in areas that are wet, warm and stagnant. So you’ll be most likely to find it in areas like attics, basements, kitchens and bathrooms. On the other hand, mold simply cannot grow on surfaces without moisture.
Myth: You can tell if mold is “bad” by looking at it.
A major issue with mold is the allergic reaction it can cause when found in larger quantities. And just like other allergies – dust, pollen, or pets, for example – different people react differently to different levels of mold exposure. Those who are highly sensitive to mold may develop symptoms – itchy and watery eyes, difficulty breathing and more. And those with compromised immune symptoms are also at a greater risk.
Myth: Mold is always dangerous.
Bringing in an expert is the key to getting the real story about mold in your home. In truth, of the thousands of known types of mold, only a few are known to be potentially harmful. Since it’s true that you can’t tell if mold is dangerous by looking at it, it’s better to rely on air quality tests. The key is to work with experts who use a third party for testing. “These tests will tell you the level of contaminants inside the home,” explains Brent. “We work with outside companies to get a reading before and after mitigation.”
Myth: Getting rid of mold is as simple as using bleach.
Companies like Werner are specially trained in mold removal – and this includes testing, containment, treatment and repair. Not only does this process take a great deal of knowledge and training, it also takes a great deal of specialized equipment and supplies. Bleach also isn’t recommended for mold cleanup – not only is it often ineffective, it also poses its own health risks.
Myth: There’s no way to stop mold from forming.
There are actually quite a few things you can do as a homeowner to prevent mold from forming.While none will guarantee that you won’t have mold in your home (remember myth #1), they can help reduce the risk.
- Keep humidity low in your home.
- When leaks or condensation are discovered, dry out the mess quickly.
- Use the exhaust fan in bathroom to remove moisture from the room.
- Insulate cold water pipes.
- Check plumbing regularly for water and leaks.
- Increase ventilation in your home by opening windows and using fans.
The bottom line
Finding mold isn’t necessarily cause for alarm, since it’s found everywhere.
Learn more about how to prevent mold and repair mold damage.