mold

What Are Mould Mites?

What Are Mould Mites?

Mould is a fungus that’s found growing naturally outside, where there’s damp and rotting plant material. It propagates itself by releasing tiny seeds called spores that are light enough to travel through the air, enter a home through an open door or window, and colonize any space that’s either damp or humid.

Mould mites in Toronto home

Everything has its purpose in life, and that goes for mould too. In this instance, its part of the food chain of a tiny creature called the Tyrophagus Putrescentiae, or mould mite. A scientist first noted the tiny, hairy small white insect in Austria in 1781. Since then, it’s spread world-wide, and is found crawling inside homes all over Toronto.

Must I Move Out?

No, that’s not necessary. In fact, Tyrophagus Putrescentiae doesn’t even bite (although it does shed its long hairs – and these can cause irritating allergic reactions when inadvertently inhaled). However it is also an indicator of a far more serious problem. Somewhere in your home you’ve got damp, and that can cause permanent damage to your largest investment by far.

Can I Get Rid of Them?

It’s not always practical to spray mould mites, because they share your favourite spaces like your vegetable rack, computer keyboard and even television. However, if you get rid of the things they live off, they’ll likely vacate your space without even giving notice. By all means, wipe the ones you see away with a damp cloth. For a more permanent solution, consider doing the following:

  • Get rid of any plant matter that’s not completely fresh. This could be a tired flower arrangement, or fresh broccoli left out overnight in the kitchen. Chances are that both are harbouring spreading mould.

 

  • Ventilate your home on a daily basis to get rid of accumulating humidity. Inspect your attic, living space and basement for any signs of damp. Appoint a damp-proofing specialist to address any problems that you notice.

 

  • Eliminate all mould by wiping it away with a solution of one cup of household bleach to a five gallon bucket of water, remembering to use a facemask and waterproof gloves just to be sure.
damp and mould mites in home

In the Long Run

It’s a fact of life that once you’ve got mould in your home, it can be difficult  to get rid of it completely – and that means that from time-to-time you’re going to find mould mites too. This does not mean you cannot manage the situation though. You just need to ventilate your home, eliminate mould when you see it, and arrange a for a certified mould inspector or contractor to conduct a proper inspection, to prevent deep-seated problems from developing undetected.

 

Is Black Mold Dangerous in My House?

That’s actually a leading question, because “dangerous” is a term more often used to describe a life-threatening situation, or something that can cause serious bodily harm. Black Mold is actually neither of these (despite claims in the sensational media to the contrary). However it is not good for us either – especially for people with hyper-sensitivity to it. Mold is a living substance that can rapidly grow throughout the house if left untreated, so it’s therefore best removed immediately when found.

black mold in Toronto bathroom

How Black Mold Develops

Black Mold (also known as stachybotrys chartarum and stachybotrys atra) is a dark green fungus that grows under damp conditions on anything that’s low on nitrogen and high on cellulose. This means it just loves common household materials like gypsum ceiling board, fibre board, dust, paper and even lint.  Here in Toronto, the change in seasons and sometimes wild weather swings can contribute to mold problems.

You’ll find it on these materials wherever they are exposed to high humidity, water leaks, condensation and even flooding. When you spot Black Mold in your house you’ll know three things for certain:

  • You have a moisture problem
  • You have a potential health problem
  • Your household cleaning routine could be improved

Black Mold is unhealthy, but usually not an immediate medical concern – unless, that is, you have a serious upper respiratory-tract condition like asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis or a constant, wheezing cough. You don’t need to pull the sheets over your head or vacate your home. You just need to get rid of the Black Mold and tweak your lifestyle.

When You Know It’s There

Besides its characteristic musty smell, mold causes symptoms that affect the general health of residents. Constant sniffles, hacking coughs and allergic attacks are all signs that there are mold spores in their lungs, and that’s not something that’s worth continuing with. However it’s pointless trying to get rid of mold while it continues to regenerate itself. You need a two-pronged solution for the problem.

lack mould growing in bedroom wall of Toronto home

Prevention

Mold grows everywhere in the natural environment. It propagates itself by giving off microscopic seeds called “spores” that are so lightweight that they travel through the air. When they come to rest on a hospitable surface that’s also moist, they take root and begin to multiply.

This part of the problem is relatively simple. Get rid of accumulated dust around the house and call in a waterproofing contractor to eliminate any damp. Wipe down all surfaces to get rid of spores. Keep at it, and your black mold infestation will slow down and may even stop spreading.

Removal

Now that you have the source of renewed mold under control, it’s time to get rid of the historic evidence. Here’s what to do (provided you are not suffering from, or susceptible to upper respiratory tract problems):Clear the house of people and pets just to be sure

  •  Open up all the doors and windows
  •  Put on non-porous gloves and protective eye-wear
  •  Make up a solution of one cup of bleach to a gallon of water in the garden
  •  Go inside, and wipe everything with the solution
  •  Be prepared to throw ruined fabrics away
  • Leave the house to air for as long as you can

Is this a Job for a Mold Specialist?

It depends, provided the Black Mold is not too widespread, such as a leak around a bathroom pipe or under your sink.  If you have more serious mold and water problems, such as in your attic or in a damp basement, you may want to call in a mold removal specialist as there may be several areas in the house where it has spread.  You’ll also have to determine and fix the source of the water leak or else your mold problems will just return.  If you have questions about mold or water leaks in your house, feel free to contact us here and we’ll be happy to offer some advice.

 

Do You Have Mould In Your Attic?

Here at Nusite Group Contractors, we get dozens of calls every month in Toronto and the surrounding GTA for mould removal in the attic.  The homeowner usually notices a leak or musty smell in the attic and discovers, to their horror, an entire eco-system of mould that has been growing and spreading throughout their attic.  There are several reasons you may have mould growing in your attic, here are a few reasons it may be growing in yours.

What’s Mould Doing in the Attic?

Mould is a fungus that populates our basements, homes and attics by releasing spores into the air. Because it’s a living creature like all other animals and plants, it can’t survive for long without moisture. When you discover black mold in your attic it’s a sure sign that dampness is coming in from somewhere. But why is this happening? When you have the answer to that question, you’re halfway through getting rid of that nasty mould.

attic leak in Toronto attic

The Biggest Single Cause

The number one reason for your problem is inadequate roof space ventilation. By this, we mean the space above your ceiling beneath the roof itself. This causes moist air to accumulate in motionless air pockets. When this happens, the humidity condenses, and falls like light rain onto the ceiling below.

There are a variety of different ways to improve air circulation in roof space, ranging from passive roof vents to extraction fans. Installing these is hardly a job for an amateur. At best you may not solve the problem. At worst, you could cause a severe leak. Consider finding a roofing expert to help you solve the problem instead.

How Moisture Enters Attics

If the moisture’s entering from outside, you’ll know about it soon enough when you start noticing ceiling stains. It’s far more likely to be filtering up from the rooms below. Moist hot air rises and ceilings are seldom airtight. All you need is the dishwasher, washing machine or dryer running while the central heating’s on, and nature will do the rest.

To fix the problem you need to do two things. Sit in the attic at night with all the lights switched on below, and look for chinks of light. These will mostly be around the lights, unless some coving has worked loose too. When you’ve identified the problem area, you can seal it off with paintable caulking from below.

mould growing around ducts in attic

More Tips

If closing any gaps does not solve the problem, then your ceiling material is permeable and letting moisture through. This can be solved with attic floor insulation acting as a moisture barrier. Just make sure you don’t leave the slightest gap, or your efforts may be for nothing.

Because mould loves warmth as well as damp, an inadequately insulated hot water heater can encourage mould to take hold too (especially if ceiling is not properly insulated either). When walking around and investigating areas like this, be sure to take a face mask with you, and watch your step.

Practical Limitations

Over and above the danger of inhaling mold spores and setting of chronic bronchial infections or even an asthma attack, being in an attic is potentially dangerous because it’s a long way down if you trip and fall. Moisture-proofing roof space is also quite a complex task, because you have to get into inaccessible corners.

It can take a deal of time to establish the root causes of your problem. While some smaller problems can be fixed yourself, be aware that if you do see mould, it is likely growing in other areas also. If you have a busy schedule and there are other things that you’d prefer to do, it could make more sense to find a certified mould removal specialist to do the job.  Have questions?  Contact us here!

mould in Toronto attic

 

Areas Where Household Mould Forms and How to Prevent It

Mould can become both a problem and a menace in your home. When mould forms, it can affect your health and make you sick. Since mould spores are largely invisible to the naked eye, you might not realize you have a problem until its presence begins to affect how you feel.

Some people such as the elderly, young children, pregnant women, and people who suffer from allergies and respiratory disorders such as asthma are more susceptible to the affects of mould. Health symptoms that might be an indication you have a mould infestation include flue like symptoms, running nose, coughing, runny eyes and skin irritation.

There are many places where mould can form in your home and for a variety of reasons. Mould can be visible to the naked eye or can be hidden in places where it’s not so visible and apparent such as underneath carpets, behind floorboards, underneath vinyl floors, or behind walls. Asides from mould which is obviously visible to the naked eye, another indicator that you have mould is a musty smell.

The presence of mould should not be taken lightly. Learn how to recognize the conditions that cause the formation of mould. Ttake positive steps to eliminate the cause of mould before it becomes a problem.

Common Areas the Home Where Mould Can be Found

 The first thing to know is to understand where and what conditions cause mould to form and grow. Mould likes any material that is organic. It especially loves to grown on soil, paper, and wood.

Mould also loves moisture, and that is one of the biggest causes for the formation of mould in your home. Moisture in your hour home can come from a variety of sources. Wet areas that provide a medium for the formation of mould include any form of condensation, leaks, and flooding. One of the biggest reasons for the accumulation of moisture in a home is due to a lack of ventilation that is required to remove and dry the moisture.

Mould also forms where the humidity is greater than 70%. Mould can form on damp clothing. So the biggest thing you can do is always eliminate the presence of moisture in your home as soon as possible.

Mould is typically common in your basement, attic, and bathroom, under the kitchen sink, wooden window sills, around drains and underneath pipes. These are the main areas where excess moisture and humidity can occur and cause formation to occur.

Mould can enter your home in a variety of ways. Mould spores can enter through open windows, off your pets, and can even be on your clothes. If your home is dry, these mould spores won’t be a problem as they require the right conditions to grow and thrive.

 

How to Prevent Mould in your Home

The first thing you want to do is to give your home a very thorough inspection. You want to pinpoint all the areas which are experiencing moisture problems. This inspection also gives you the opportunity to locate any areas in the home which may already be infected with mould.

Your main objectives to eliminate mould include:

 

  • Ensure that all areas of your home are dry and have adequate ventilation.
  • Locate and repair any leaky or broken pipes.
  • Eliminate any storage material that can hide mould and located in damp areas.  Ensure any organic like material such as boxes and clothing are kept away from moist areas or removed elsewhere.
  • Make sure that you thoroughly clean your home regularly, and get in those nooks and crannies such as window sills, under the sinks and vanity.

 

Areas for mould growth in Toronto home

Mould Prevention by Area

Let’s take you through your home room by room, and step by step to give you proactive steps to eliminate moisture.

 

Basement

Your basement or crawlspace is the on of the most crucial areas to eliminate moisture. The first step is to remove or reduce as much as possible any organic material where mould likes to grow. At least make sure these types of items are not sitting under pipes that has condensation, or rests on bare concrete.

When it’s warm and humid outside, using a de-humidifier can greatly reduce the moisture content. Try to eliminate any standing water, and ensure any pipes which are leaking are immediately repaired. Make sure you keep your sump pump pits covered, and if you’re going to use plywood for this purpose, you should wrap the plywood in plastic.

Keep you your furnace filters well maintained and ensure they cleaned and inspected annually.

 

Bathroom Areas

Carpets and bathrooms don’t really mix well as they are an ideal source for mould formation. You also want to ensure that the ceiling fan is working and that it is venting the moisture to the outside of the home. If you take a shower, leave the fan running, crack a window or leave the door open so the bathroom can dry adequately and quickly. Also, clean up any excess moisture so it doesn’t sit for any lengthy period of time.

 

Kitchen

Make sure you keep your drains in good shape and remember to always give the area around and behind the taps a regular cleaning. Use storage containers to hold your household items under the sink. They are easier to remove that way so you can clean and disinfect underneath the sink regularly. If you’re boiling something, crack a window for ventilation and drying.

 

Laundry Room

The main thing is not to hang wet clothes in a small enclose space as they won’t dry properly and allow the formation of mould and mildew especially in summer when it can be very humid. You should also dry your sinks and washing tub every time you use it and ensure your lint traps are always cleaned either before or after use.

 

Other Tips

Clean your drains regularly by adding a small handful of baking soda and then add some vinegar. Plug the drain and let it stand for about 15 or so minutes and then rinse. Don’t store wet or damp clothes in your clothes closet. Try to eliminate some of your potted plants if possible as moist soil is a great medium for mould to grow.

Always perform a visual inspection of your home looking for possible areas where moisture might be leaking into your home such as foundation cracks, caulking around windows, and the flashing. Also make sure to clean the eaves trough on a regular basis.

 

Summary

Moisture and mould problems must be addressed immediately as the situation can only worsen and possibly begin to infect your health. Although small areas of mould can be cleaned up by yourself, often what you can see is only a small portion of the real mould damage. If the situation appears more serious and larger areas of the home are infected then you need to call in specialists who specialize in the elimination of mould, also know as mould remediation.

 

 

Mould Removal in Toronto

Mould removal in Toronto homes is something that you should be aware of. People who live in older homes, or who have experienced water damage of any kind can be very susceptible to mould.

Mould is a potentially dangerous health problem. The main problem with mould is that it can be easily disturbed and can spread throughout the house.

Mould in basement

Mould produces spores which are invisible to the naked eye. These spores may be inhaled, and can cause anything from as a mild allergy to a more toxic reaction such as chronic respiratory problems.

Learning to recognize if you have a mould problem can be simple as mould can be recognized with the naked eye. However, mould can also be invisible as there are many places in a home that can conceal mould colonies such as behind drywall for example.

What is Mould?

Mould is a fungus. It grows on damp materials. Mould can be invisible when dormant, and can appear in a variety of colours as there are over 1000 species of mould in North America.

Mould grows as colonies and can spread when disturbed through microscopic spores. It can be spread by the slightest of breezes such as simply walking by it, or from briefly opening a window. Mould spores can also be disturbed when you are trying to remove it.

Mould can appear in a variety of colours such as black, green, orange, red and white. When inactive, mould can appear as dry and crumbly and may appear as harmless. Do not be fooled because mould is very difficult to eliminate.

Types of Mould Typically Found in a House

Mould can be found anywhere in the house which is exposed to persistent or long periods of exposure to moisture, water accumulation and dampness.

mould on basement ceiling

Some common species of mould found in homes which require mould remediation in Toronto include:

Aspergillus – This is a common mold that is found in many Toronto homes and buildings. This form of mould needs substrate which is rich in carbon and a moist humid environment. The existence of Aspergillus can cause such health problems as respiratory difficulty, shortness of breath, coughing, fever and headaches, and even chest pains.

Alternaria – Alternia generally can be found in carpets, curtains and window frames which are often damp. This form of mould may be considered toxic mold but may not necessarily cause severe health issues.

Penicillium – Although Penicillium is known for its medical benefits, it also is a common variety of mould which can be found in wallpaper, carpets, paint and decaying vegetation. Penicillium mould is not generally known as being responsible for causing significant health problems.

Cladosporium – This form of mould often grows in damp places such as refrigerators, and can also be found in window frames. It is mostly non-toxic but can cause health problems in people who suffer from asthma or allergies.

Stachybotrys – This form of mould is also often referred to as black or toxic mould. It is often found in damp places such as near a sink, or located close to leaking pipes and air conditioners. This mould is viewed as one the most dangerous indoor moulds. It contains enzyme mycotoxins which can be very toxic. Exposure to mycotoxins has been known to be responsible for a variety of health related problems such as headaches, fatigue, vomiting, and even has been known to cause bleeding in both the nose and lungs.

Health Risks to the Family

The presence of mould should not be treated lightly. Mould removal from your Toronto home should be addressed immediately. Although many types of mould are relatively harmless, some are not. Since there are so many species of mould, its presence should be treated seriously.

mould inside basement wall

Some health effects caused by mould may disappear soon after the person leaves the infected area, or they can be permanent, chronic or severe. Some people may have allergic reactions to even the least dangerous species of mould.

Other types of mould can cause severe respiratory problems especially with the elderly, pregnant women, young children, or those who have existing allergies, respiratory, or immune problems.

Health problems and symptoms from mould exposure can vary. Symptoms can include the following:

Irritation – Mould can act as an irritant to the eyes, nose, and skin. It can cause runny eyes, persistent coughs, headaches, fatigue or even a sore throat.

Allergic Reactions – Allergic reactions can appear as headaches, body aches, nose and throat congestion, irritated eyes, irritation in the nose and throat. People who suffer from either asthma or hay fever can be especially susceptible to mould.

Infection – Mould can also cause infections, but this type of reaction is less common. Infections can occur from minor skin or mouth infections to serious and harmful lung infections.

Toxic Reactions – These are the most serious health reactions to mould exposure. Toxic reactions from mould occur when certain species of mould produce what is called mycotoxins which is a toxin or form of poison. Health effects can be relatively mild such as producing health symptoms which can appear like flu, lesions (appears like wound), bleeding from the nose, laboured breathing, severe lung impairment, and weakening of the immune system which can make you more susceptible to other illnesses or even nerve problems.

Areas of the Home Susceptible to Mould

Mould can exist anywhere in your home which is exposed to dampness, excess humidity, or has been exposed to leaking pipes or flooding.

mould around the basement baseboard

Spotting mould can be difficult. A musty smell can be a good clue that your home might have a mould problem. Mould can be concealed in ducts, under carpets, and can flourish behind drywall and in insulation.

Mould can usually found in basements, attics, cold storage/cantina, bathrooms and kitchens. You can also find it in ceiling tiles, drapery, carpets, air ducts, around air conditioners, filters, furnaces and humidifiers.

How to Get Rid of Mould in your Home

Mould removal from your home can be relatively easy providing you are only dealing with small areas of visible mould.

One of the first things you should be aware is that you have to also eliminate the moisture problem which may have the mould to occur. Otherwise, it will be ongoing problem.

Any areas which have mould must be must be thoroughly cleaned, disinfected and must be able to dry properly.

Once you have determined that you have environmental damage which may result in mould then you should call in a certified professional to assess your issue, and prescribe a work scope to safely and effectively remove the damage.

When to Call in the Pros

Mould remediation in your home may require the use of properly equipped professionals. If you have experienced severe flooding, ongoing plumbing problems or have experience leakage from the roof, or see large areas which are infected with mould, you need to call in professionals.

mould around the drywall

Mould remediation specialists in Toronto can properly test and recognize the types of mould found in your home. They also know to isolate, and remove or remediate mould contaminated items so that it is not a recurring problem.

Mould remediation specialists also know how to properly contain and safely dispose of mould contaminated building materials, and to properly clean infected areas. They also have the proper ventilation and safety equipment to avoid further exposure in your home.

You should never try this on you own, because if you don’t know what you’re dealing with, you can end up causing yourself sever health problems and still not solve your mould problem, and even make the mould problem worse.