This is a guest post by Austin Werner, President of Real Seal LLC.
For many homeowners, the idea of dealing with a wet basement, or any structural breach that allows water to drip, seep, leak or flood into the home, is nothing short of an absolute nightmare. And that is completely understandable! Water damage can be very expensive to repair. But many homeowners don’t realize that a small amount of water or moisture in a house, even when it’s from condensation or high humidity, can create the conditions for mold to colonize and grow.
The effects of mold on air quality can be worse than other contaminants due to the nature of how it’s spread. While the mold itself can harbor in a dark, damp corner, it releases thousands of mold spores over time. These spores then become airborne and can easily become inhaled or ingested, bringing a slew of negative health effects along with them.
Mold isn’t just a financial issue — it’s a health hazard.
Mold Is More Common Than You Think
According to pollutionissues.com, somewhere between 50 and 100 different types of mold can be found inside buildings that have sustained water damage. Mold can grow on and within a variety of household surfaces, including carpeting and carpet padding, drywall, ceiling tiles, and linoleum, with the presence of very little water.
“Even with one inch of water, there’s enough humidity inside that mold spores can attach to surfaces and begin to grow. Drywall, carpeting, almost anything indoors can have mold growing on it ...The very small mold spores move through cracks, behind baseboards — areas like that,” Cristina Schulingkamp, director of the indoor air quality program at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Philadelphia office, explained to the Washington Post.
Facts about Mold and Indoor Air Quality
As previously mentioned, mold is more than just a pricey cleanup issue. It’s a health hazard! Consider these facts about how mold affects indoor air quality and can impact the health of the people who breathe the contaminated air:
- According to a recent consumer survey, 76% of people who lived in a home with a wet basement feared that they and their families were being harmed by mold. Of that group, 30% said they or someone in their household experienced symptoms of poor air quality associated with mold. These symptoms include coughing, headaches, loss of energy and general fatigue, skin issues, shortness of breath, and watery eyes.
- According to the American Lung Association, there are likely thousands of different types of airborne germs, including viruses, fungi, and bacteria. When these germs are combined with mold spores, they can cause a number of respiratory illnesses. These can be as mild as a common cold or as severe as pneumonia and other respiratory infections.
- Airborne mold spores can exacerbate allergies, asthma and other respiratory diseases. In fact, it’s not uncommon for allergy-sufferers to experience full blown allergy attacks when exposed to even trace amounts of mold spores. Over time, these attacks can significantly deteriorate and weaken the lungs.
You are Not Immune
No house is immune from mold. You cannot keep all water and moisture out of your house. What you can do is:
- Immediately make repairs to any area that is chronically damp, where water is seeping in to your home. Thoroughly clean and dry any areas that have sustained water damage. Mold colonies, can start to grow on a damp surface within 24 to 48 hours.
- Remove as much visible dust as possible because mold spores can thrive on household dust. Use an air purifier to clear dust, pollen and other airborne particles and to minimize the number of mold spores in the air.
- Make sure you have ventilation fans in your kitchen and bathroom that are in good working order and effectively remove the damp air that tends to accumulate in those rooms.
No matter how vigilant you are in keeping your home clean and dry, your home is never entirely mold-free. An air purifier is one of the best and most cost effective things you can use to continuously filter the pollutants from the air inside your home.
Austin Werner is the President of Real Seal LLC, a basement waterproofing company based in Schaumburg, IL. Real Seal is committed to personalized and expedited service and, of course, dry basements!