Molds are a common problem in many indoor environments. This is because these microscopic fungi thrive at room temperatures, in humid, dark spots, and many areas in our homes provide such conditions. Once molds establish, it can be very difficult to get rid of them and control their spread. Getting indoor air quality testing or a mold inspection is the safest way to determine whether there is a mold threat in your Toronto home. Molds are very adaptable, persistent, and patient creatures – their spores can remain dormant for quite a while, waiting for favourable conditions to germinate.
Molds need moisture and cellulose to grow and develop successfully. Considering cellulose is abundant in our homes, the main factor that triggers mold development indoors is moisture. Considering there are many sources of excess moisture, it is not a surprise that almost every homeowner encounters mold problems at some point. Mold problems don’t go away on their own, and ignoring them only makes everything worse. Musty, unpleasant smells and unsightly stains on walls are only a part of the issue.
Why is Mold Dangerous?
Although molds might seem like a nuisance to most people, these microscopic creatures are not completely harmless. Aside from spoiling food and causing unpleasant smells, molds can also deplete the structural integrity of building materials with their hyphae and negatively affect human health.
Healthy adults usually don’t display mould exposure symptoms even when the concentration of spores in the air is high. However, sensitive people are not so lucky, and even short-term exposure can trigger a reaction. They can also develop serious health complications if long-term exposure is the case. For example, children that grow up in moldy environments often get allergies and respiratory problems later in life. The elderly, people with allergies, and patients with compromised immune systems, serious respiratory diseases and similar health problems also display high sensitivity to mold spores.
Considering the persistence of molds and their negative effects on human health and the structural integrity of building materials, prevention is the best way to deal with them. Indoor air quality testing is a very significant part of mold prevention, as it allows early detection.
If there is a risk of molds, the optimal way to prevent their establishment is to make the environment unfavourable for their development. However, this can get quite difficult, considering there are so many sources of moisture in modern homes. Many everyday activities include the use of water and thus increase indoor air humidity.
What activities cause mold growth?
Showering – Long, hot showers have a very relaxing effect on nerves and muscles, but they also provide an abundance of moisture for mold development. A portion of the generated steam ends up in the walls and creates a very favourable environment for molds. Taking steamy showers regularly creates a constant source of moisture necessary for molds to thrive. Showering with lukewarm water doesn’t increase air humidity as much and makes the conditions less favourable for mold development.
However, even with lukewarm and colder showers, some amount of water will always remain on tiles and towels. This water eventually evaporates and increases air humidity, especially if the bathroom is badly ventilated. Good air circulation speeds up evaporation while also reducing air humidity, which is why proper ventilation is so important for mold prevention in the bathroom.
Drying laundry indoors – A batch of freshly washed laundry contains a significant amount of water, eventually evaporating as the clothes are drying. However, if the laundry is dried inside, and the ventilation in the room is poor, all this evaporated water will remain in the room and increase air humidity. A portion of the humid air will get into walls, materials, furniture and other nearby items, creating a favourable environment for mold development.
It is best to dry laundry outside. If that’s not possible, making sure that the drying room is well-ventilated or using a dehumidifier also works.
Kitchen activities – Cooking meals, washing dishes and similar kitchen activities increase indoor air humidity. Considering that kitchens are also abundant in food and organic matter, the increased air humidity in this area creates highly favourable conditions for mold growth. Another common place you can find molds in the kitchen is under the sink. Leaky pipes and excess water from washing dishes cause wet stains on walls that these microscopic organisms are soon colonized.
Wearing shoes around the house – Although common, this practice is not very favourable in terms of hygiene. When we walk outside, we collect various particles on the soles of our shoes – dirt, different chemicals, viruses, bacteria, and of course, mold spores. Introducing this variety of potential biohazards to different areas in your home will significantly reduce the level of hygiene and increase the possibility of a mold infestation.
How to Remove Mold?
Once molds establish, they can be very difficult to get rid of. There is a couple of reasons for that. First, their mycelium can get quite deep into the building material, so removing just the visible spots will often be ineffective. The remaining growth will reemerge at some point and form a colony again. Second, their growth can remain hidden for a long time, especially in hard-to-reach spots and rooms that are not used constantly (attic, basement). Often Toronto homeowners don’t even know they have mold problems, so getting a mold inspection is strongly advised.
Last but not least, molds are difficult to remove because the process requires safety equipment, various tools, and quite a bit of knowledge to be effective. The infested area needs to be adequately isolated and all affected materials removed; otherwise, the molds will reemerge and spread onto other areas in the home. The best way to ensure that your home is mold-free is to hire a professional, experienced inspector. If you are looking for a trusted mold inspection company in Toronto, reach out to Inch by Inch Inspections. The certified staff of Inch by Inch is ready to help you make your home a healthy, mold-free environment.