Hidden Killers: Mold and its dangers in Northbrook, Wheeling, and Glencoe.
Mold is one of the headaches that comes with owning a house. It is common, not always visible and can be very difficult to get rid of. Bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements, and crawlspaces are all common places where mold can take root and it can be very expensive to clean up, not to mention hazardous to your health. Unexplained illnesses can be linked to undiscovered mold problems and make air toxic if untreated which in turn, in extreme cases, can lead to death. There are however ways of attempting to prevent the growth of mold and to clean it up when it has already established itself.
Moisture is the primary contributor to the growth of mold, which is why bathrooms, kitchens and basements are highly susceptible to it. One way of preventing the growth of mold is to ensure that moisture does not get trapped anywhere. In the bathroom, make sure that the ceiling fan is working and keep it running after you shower, also ventilation can help. If you can keep the area dry, then it is unlikely to become infested. Similarly, if you investigate under sinks and other areas where water is common and make sure that no moisture is getting trapped, that should help prevent mold. Cleaning out gutters, having de-humidifiers and making sure to keep an eye on common problem spots for mold will help to prevent its growth and any health consequences. However, being vigilant does not always stop mold from taking root.
Leaky pipes in walls, malfunctioning de-humidifiers, or floods can cause mold without the homeowner realizing. If you suspect that you might have a mold problem (smell is a great indicator of this) but you are not able to find where it is coming from, there are mold testing kits. It can be professionally done for a cost or you can buy a kit for as little as $10. These kits, however, are not considered to be very reliable, so be wary if you choose to use them.
Once you have identified a mold problem there are ways of treating it. If the mold is well contained in a space of less then 10 feet, then you may be able to clean it on your own using 1 part bleach to 15 parts water. Make sure to use goggles and gloves if you attempt to clean the mold on your own. Also make sure that there is good ventilation and that you are careful because bleach can be dangerous. You can gently scrub the mold away, but do not dry the wall. Drywall is porous so the bleach will need to soak into the wall in order to really get to the mold, but this also poses another problem with cleaning it yourself. Mold visible on a porous material like drywall can obscure a larger problem beneath the surface which will be far more difficult to clean. But sometimes bleach is not enough. If the area affected is large, or mold has formed in carpets and ventilation systems, you will need to remove all carpeting and clean out air ducts with caution. It is important to wear a facemask so that you do not breath in any spores. Moreover, you will need to cover unaffected parts of your house in plastic sheets, otherwise spores might spread during the removal and breed in new parts of the house, exacerbating the issue. Cleaning heavily infested spaces can be very dangerous and difficult, especially if you happen to have black mold. You’ll need to identify where the mold resides and how to remove it. This includes floors, drywall, and insulation. We highly suggest hiring professionals in these extreme cases. If you need assistance with the headaches of mold, call the professionals of SERVPRO of Northbrook, Wheeling, and Glencoe!