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Allow Me to Introduce You to the Fungus Family

What exactly is mold? There are over 100,000 different kinds of mold in the world so it is literally everywhere. Molds are organisms and are members of the fungus family. Mushrooms, mildew and yeast are also part of this lucky family. They have been given the job in nature of decomposing dead plant material such as leaves, bark, wood etc. If we didn't have mold we would be finding ourselves totally covered by a pile of leaves. We also wouldn't enjoy eating cheese or using penicillin because they wouldn't exist if it wasn't for mold. However, as with some family members, we love them when they aren't visiting our house. We enjoy talking on the phone or sending e-mails, but they need to stay at their place. When mold starts digesting organic material in the home, that's where the problems occur.

Mold spores settle in a house, but they need moisture and humidity to grow and digest what they have settled on. There are literally spores everywhere from attic to basement and on everything in between. If mold spores are released into the air you can be exposed simply by breathing. You can also make direct contact with them by picking up moldy material outside when raking the leaves, or by eating moldy food. When excess moisture comes in through a leaky roof, or it's too humid in the basement, or when kids take off their sweat socks and stuff them in the drawer, you have ideal conditions for growing mold. Since it is impossible to rid the home of the spores, the only thing you can do to control the growth of mold is to control the moisture. If you see little thread like clusters of black stuff in a bathroom or basement wall, you are looking at mold. You may also be able to smell a musty closet and this also tell you there is a problem. Don't rely on just sight and smell. Molds have a tendency to hide behind walls and up in ceiling tiles as well. The most common places you will find mold is where you have the most usage of water. This would be the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room and basement. If you have plumbing leaks or a flooding problem, mold can't wait to move in. If you want to control the problem at the source, go to where the water is.

? All leaks must be repaired. Get the water away from your house outdoors also. Standing water can seep inside.

? Install exhaust fans in the room with the most water usage

? Be sure to get air circulation going with clean air from outside. Warm air also inhibits growth.

? Ensure roper ventilation in the attic.

? Remove or replace damaged furniture and carpets, or at least clean them well.

? Vacuum and clean the house regularly.

? Get dehumidifiers in the house in more than just the basement if necessary.

Mold and mildew can really affect your health which is why you should be so careful when it comes to controlling the moisture in your home. If you are a relatively healthy person that doesn't have sensitivity to allergies or asthma, you may not have adverse affects of the mold. However, if you do have sensitivity and allergies, you may experience skin rash, itchy eyes and runny nose, cough, fatigue, nausea, congestion and more. If you also have lung problems, heavy smoker, or your immune system is suppressed, you may have problems also.

If you are considering buying a new home or just want to be healthy in your present one, check all of the areas thoroughly that are normally exposed to water, and then check the places that aren't. You may be surprised what you find because the Fungus Family may have moved in without you knowing about it.

Mae Marshall is a successful freelance writer offering guidance and suggestions for consumers buying ceiling fans, portable air conditioners, air filters and more. Her many articles can be found at She gives information and tips at to help you save money and make informed buying decisions.

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