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As Told by Mold: A journey to home invasion, expansion, and family sickness

When I think about it, I realize how shocking this all must be. I mean, I was once a tiny, lonely, invisible spore. I was transplanted here years ago from a fungus not quite the size I am now growing under a neighbors deck. I am expansive, I cover nearly every inch inside these walls. I produce my own spores, who go on to thrive. It all began with a single spore, patient enough to find the right moment.

I just waited around in the dry dusty crevice here in this wall, waiting for my chance. Anything, a bit of humidity, some water damage from a flooded sink, an old damp rag dropped and forgotten, would have given me the chance I needed to succeed. Luckily for me, disaster struck. It was silent and I was well into the fast track to success by the time they discovered what I was up to. The pipes in the wall upstairs are old and a slow pipe leak started, and with the stress of use, that little leak became a slow steady stream, down through these walls resulting in substantial home water damage. It was just what I, a tiny lonely spore, had waited all this time for. Immediately I was growing, expanding, producing my own spores. Those little spores of mine were planting and growing along with me and soon we covered the inside of these walls, following the sweaty pipes along the inners of this old house. Using the humidity to our advantage, the poor people had no idea we were even there until we started expanding and showing up on the painted surfaces. I guess the smell of mold at home started to blow our cover too. They bleached the walls, and we laughed. They fixed the pipes, and managed to get rid of some of the mold using DIY tactics instead of bringing in a mold remediation company, but not all. Nothing could stop us, as long as there was moisture to be found, and at least one measly spore, we could not be stopped.

What you should know about mold:

Molds are simple, microscopic organisms, found virtually everywhere, indoors and outdoors. Molds can be found on plants, foods, dry leaves, and other organic material. Molds are needed for breaking down dead material. Mold spores are very tiny and lightweight, and this allows them to travel through the air. Mold growth in a home can often be seen in the form of discoloration, ranging from white to orange and from green to brown and black.

For mold to grow, it needs just a few simple necessities, a food source (such as leaves, wood, paper, or dirt), a source of moisture, and a place to grow. Given this combination, and mold will take full advantage. Because of its simplicity, mold grows quickly and aggressively. If you can see mold on walls, or if there is an earthy or musty odor, you can assume you have a home mold problem. Look for previous signs of water damageVisible mold growth is found underneath materials where water has damaged surfaces, or behind walls. Look for discoloration and leaching from plaster.

If there is moisture available to allow mold to thrive and multiply, it could definitely become a fully fledged mold problem in your home quickly. There are several possible sources of indoor moisture that may cause problems, including but not limited to: flooding, backed-up sewers, leaky roofs, humidifiers, mud or ice dams, damp basement or crawl spaces, constant plumbing leaks, house plants (watering can generate large amounts of moisture), steam from cooking, shower/bath steam and leaks, wet clothes on indoor drying lines, clothes dryers vented indoors, and combustion appliances (e.g. stoves) not exhausted to the outdoors.

When molds are present in large quantities, they can cause allergic symptoms similar to those caused by plant pollen, necessitating professional mold remediation. When airborne mold spores are present in large numbers, they can cause allergic reactions, asthma episodes, infections, and other respiratory problems for people. Exposure to high spore levels can cause the development of an allergy to the mold. Home mold issues can also cause structural damage to your home. Similarly, when wood goes through a period of wetting, then drying, it can eventually warp and cause walls to crack or become structurally weak. 

For more information on molds, and what can be done to remediate a mold invasion call USA Water and Fire Restoration Service LLC: 1 (800) 501-3046

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