Blog Articles About Health


Why is Condensation a Problem?

Condensation Problems Can Cause Mold Growth

Condensation - Mold Solutions NWCondensation occurs when warm water vapors, such as steam, turn into small droplets of water as it comes into contact with a surface that is cooler.

It’s never a good thing when a homeowner discovers condensation in their home. A little moisture on your windows or even your walls doesn’t seem like it could be too important, but condensation is a sign of problems, either now or in the near future.

There is even some condensation you may not see, because it can accumulate on fabrics, carpets or even clothing and is absorbed, leaving the item damp.

Why is it a problem?

Because it originates inside your home, it has been called “The enemy from within”.

When condensation forms and is allowed to continue, meaning the reason for its existence isn’t dealt with, it can cause destruction in your home that can be very costly:

  • Structural damage to your roof
  • Warped wood
  • Wood rot
  • Peeling or blistering paint
  • Energy loss
  • Mold growth and damage

Which is the Biggest Problem?

In my opinion, the damage to your home, your belongings and your health caused by mold growth is the biggest problem that condensation can cause.

Mold thrives on warm damp surfaces. As the moisture from condensation, that takes place on a regular basis, remains, organic surfaces absorb the dampness. Mold spores, that are always floating in the air, have the opportunity to take hold and begin growing and reproducing.

You may think that the moisture on your windows won’t effect other parts of your home, but if the moisture is allowed to remain, it is the prelude to mold.

The Key to Condensation Control…

Control your humidity level:

  • Open Window Prevent Condensation - Mold Solutions NWMake sure your attic and crawlspace is ventilated properly
  • Periodically open your fireplace damper and your windows to improve ventilation
  • Keep warm, moist air out of the house by always using ventilation fans in the bathrooms and kitchen.
  • Don’t “air” dry your laundry indoors.
  • Use a dehumidifier

When you realize that even your breath can cause condensation, I would say overall, good ventilation is the key.

 If you have a condensation problem, chances are  you also have a mold problem…


Types of Mold

Are All Types of Mold Dangerous?

Types of Mold - Mold Solutions NWIt’s amazing to note that there are over 100,000 different types of mold that we co-exist with, which makes it all the more understandable to realize that mold is everywhere and is always with us.

And although we shudder when we think about living with mold, many of its species are harmless and serve an important purpose in our environment.

Along with the harmless mold, there is also the toxic type, which can cause health issues, some of which are quite serious. When toxic mold spore levels are low, there is not much risk to your health, but when the levels increase you may experience such symptoms and illnesses as:

  • Headaches
  • Increased asthma symptoms
  • Infections
  • Respiratory problems
  • Rashes

The elderly, the very young, and people who already have pre-existing conditions such as auto-immune deficiencies or respiratory conditions are especially affected.

The 3 Major Mold Groups:

These mold groups are the most common and are the ones that will jeopardize your health.

  • Allergenic mold – Typically this type of mold will not cause severe illness, but rather cause scratchy throats, irritated eyes and nose and skin rashes.
  • Pathogenic mold – This mold can cause infections and more severe health issues especially for people who have HIV, Auto-Immune Disorders or who are currently having chemotherapy treatment.
  • Toxic mold – This type of mold actually produces toxins that are harmful. Luckily they are rare, because they have been linked to cancer and in rare cases, death.

Toxic Molds

Black Mold - Mold Solutions NWThere are 2 types of toxic molds:

  1. Stachybotrys, which is more commonly called black mold. (Just the name sounds ominous!) Because it is difficult to find, which gives it the opportunity to easily grow and reproduce, black mold is extremely dangerous. Unlike other molds whose spores float easily through the air, when black mold spores are damp, they become sticky making them harder to detect with air quality sampling. A lethal toxin, it has been known to be fatal to animals and cause extreme health conditions in human.
  2. Memnoniella, like Stachybotrys, is a contaminant and also thrives on organic, wet materials such as fabrics, wood, and wallboard. Their toxicity and danger are also very similar.

If you are experiencing health issues that you can’t explain, or you think you have toxic mold growing in your home, you should contact a certified mold inspector and remediator to assess your situation.

Because mold is so easily spread, and you’re not trained to locate, recognize and remediate mold, it’s probably not a good idea to tackle the job yourself

 


Sick Building Syndrome

Are You a Victim of Sick Building Syndrome?

Sick Building Syndrome - Mold Solutions NWYou may be wondering if this is a made up term or if it’s real, but believe me, it is very real. Health issues and syndromes may be caused by buildings.

Buildings, such as homes, schools, churches and offices can become toxic, and cause what is called Sick Building Syndrome or SBS. SBS is an environmental illness or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity manifested by a variety of symptoms in people who inhabit these spaces.

Symptoms of SBS

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Irritation in eyes, nose and throat

You can see by the types of symptoms, it can be difficult to diagnose this syndrome, but one thing that can give you a hint into what the problem might be is if after leaving a building, you get relief.

Causes for Building Toxicity:

  1. Chemical contaminants which could be anything from vehicle exhaust to adhesives for upholstery, cleaning agents or pesticides.
  2. Biological contaminants such as pollen, viruses, bacteria or mold.

Mold is everywhere around us, it’s part of our natural environment, but when it takes hold and grows uninhibited in the spaces we “live” in, it can cause many health issues, even more than the ones listed above.

Interesting Facts About Mold

  • Mold has been known to cause over 30 types of health problems.
  • Penicillin is created by purified mold.
  • Health Issues Caused by Mold - Mold Solutions NWMold is the great wood destroyer: It destroys more each year than the combined destruction of fire, termites or floods.
  • Mold can survive and thrive on just about any surface.
  • People who suffer with chronic sinus infections are usually exposed to mold growth.
  • Mold likes dark, damp humid areas for growth.

With the knowledge that approximately 50% of homes in the United States are affected by mold, it stands to reason that many of us could face the possibility of being exposed to mold and the risk of Sick Building Syndrome.

If you or someone you know is experiencing unexplainable symptoms such as the ones mentioned above, you should have your home, or possibly another building where you spend a great deal of your time, inspected.

Contact us for a Free Mold Assessment


What Mold Does to You

What Can Mold Do to You?

Open Door to Mold - Mold Solutions NWBecause mold spores are always in the air, everytime you open a door or a window, you’re inviting mold into your home. It’s unavoidable. Spores can also enter your home through your air conditioning or heating systems and on the bodies of your pets as they come and go.

You wouldn’t think that something so tiny as these microscopic spores could cause the damage they are able to, but because they are the reproductive cells of mold, their reason for existence is to multiply and continue their life cycle.

Food for Mold

Their means of growth is to attach themselves to anything organic in warm, damp, humid conditions:

  • Walls, ceilings
  • Wood  and wood products
  • Drapery, upholstered furniture
  • Paint
  • Carpet
  • Even household dust

Once they have accomplished this task, it only takes between 24-48 for growth to begin. When this happens, mold begins digesting whatever it is attached to, and if left alone will destroy it and whatever else it spreads to. More spores are then created, and the cycle continues.

Mold Destroys More Than Your Home

Mold can destroy your health, especially if you are someone who has respiratory conditions, immune suppressed conditions, if you are elderly or very young. It can cause:

  • Allergy symptoms
  • Congestion
  • Nasal irritation
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Asthma attacks
  • Skin rashes
  • Eye and throat irritation
  • What Mold Does to You - Mold Solutions NWMigraine headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Chills or fever
  • Aching muscles
  • Nausea

As you can see from this list, because mold symptoms can be attributed to any number of  conditions, it is often difficult to diagnose that what you’re experiencing has been caused by toxic mold. For this reason, many people have become very ill from mold exposure.

If you or someone in your home is experiencing chronic symptoms that can’t be attributed to a physical condition or doesn’t respond to treatment, you should consider having your home inspected for mold. Mold is not always visible to you because it can grow in places you don’t necessarily look at frequently, if at all.

Call a professional, trying to handle a mold problem on your own can make the situation worse by inadvertently spreading it. A professional mold remediator will locate the cause of the mold, then safely and thoroughly get rid of it for you.

 


Can Mold Cause Breathing Difficulty in Seattle?

What Could Cause Your Breathing Difficulty?

Difficulty Breathing - Mold Solutions NWRespiratory problems, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing can be caused by any number of things, it could be caused by:

  • Something as simple as a cold
  • Asthma
  • Sinusitis
  • Viruses
  • Emphysema
  • Bronchitis
  • Lung Cancer
  • Tuberculosis
  • Pneumonia
  • Allergies

When the problem is allergies, the symptoms could be caused by pollens, dust or mold. When mold is the culprit, it can increase the intensity and frequency of all of the illnesses or conditions listed above.

Real life example

This is a communication between a client and me in regard to a respiratory problem from a tenant.

Thank you for having me out to your client’s home to figure out what might be causing some of their respiratory issues.

I am not a medical professional, but in the course of my mold investigation I did notice that the level of humidity in their apartment is on the high side, possibly creating an environment conducive to organic growth.

There was some evidence of organic growth under their mattress, but nowhere else was anything visible. There are some other factors too that might be contributing and I have listed them out and thoughts on ways to keep these things in check in the attachment.

I believe that if the tenants give some consideration to the ideas in that attachment as well as you possibly providing them with a dehumidifier to keep moisture content of air down, (between 40 and 50% is what we want to see, higher than that creates conditions for mold growth). There may be some dust issues there as well, which can create allergic reactions for folks and is easily rectified.

Don’t underestimate mold and dust

Mold Free Happy Home - Mold Solutions NWBoth mold and dust can be very detrimental to your ability to breathe…luckily the couple in our story didn’t have a big issue in their home, it was one that could be easily rectified.

Mold Solutions NW’s goal is to help you breathe easier with a complete and thorough inspection. Our client from the above story wrote a great review on Google + that you might enjoy reading.

If you or someone else in your family is experiencing difficulty breathing and it can’t be associated with a medical condition, contact us for a Free Mold Assessment.