Without water we, and all life as we know it cannot survive. Water sustains us, hydrates us, and can create beautiful landscapes. Unfortunately, water can also damage buildings, destroy homes, and even kill us.
When someone thinks of water damage, they generally think of floods caused by heavy rain, or pipes that have burst with an uncontrollable torrent of water. There is, however, a more insidious and subtle killer that can be caused by small continuous leaks; mold.
Mold comes in many different varieties and strains. The most common molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria. Most people recognize some of the names, especially Penicillium the beneficial fungus in which we extract penicillin. In great quantities, these molds can produce spores that cause coughing, hay fever, and general malaise. While these molds are dangerous to immunocompromised individuals, and those who allergic, they represent a low threat to the rest of the population.
Stachybotrys Chartarum, on the other hand, does is dangerous. Commonly called Black Mold, Stachybotrys can cause all sorts of nasty effects in humans and animals. These include but are not limited to; nausea, vomiting, and giddiness followed by drowsiness, severe malaise, twitching, convulsions, and paralysis.
Black Mold is commonly found in heavily damped areas and is especially attracted to wet gypsum, aka drywall. So it comes as no surprise to learn that Black Mold is almost entirely preventable. The first thing to know is that mold can be killed with UV light and a score of household chemicals.
UV light destroys mold by breaking up the fungi's DNA. The most effective source of UV light is the sun, so open those curtains, and let the light in. If you, like me, have a bathroom with no window, then you can always get a UV wand or bulb and use it to kill the pesky fungi.
Bleach, ammonia, white vinegar, and baking soda can all kill black mold. It's important to not, never mix cleaning agents. Combining bleach and ammonia produces chlorine gas which can be lethal. The same for a slew of other household goods. Remember, it does take a little bit of elbow grease when using any cleaner to get rid of the mold base.
The best defense against Black Mold is not letting it root in the first place. An ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure. Keep your house dry and leak free. If you smell mold, find out where the standing water is coming from, and fix it. If you can't find it, you can always call a Leak Professional, and they'll be able to spot it in no time.