Molds are a diverse species of fungi like helpful penicillin, cholesterol-lowering Lovastatin, delicious Roquefort cheese, and also a few opportunistic pathogens. Molds come in all colors. They're everywhere, year round, and usually no big deal.
However, large quantities or prolonged exposure to some forms of mold can be harmful to humans, potentially causing allergic reactions and respiratory problems. Many varieties are happy in the cold, so we high-country dwellers are not exempt. They thrive anywhere there is moisture.
Mold has become a more common problem for homeowners since energy efficient construction and remodels have plugged the holes where heat escaped. Moisture is no longer escaping with it and may create a more hospitable environment for mold.
How could mold get into my Summit County property?
Most fungi, including molds, produce microscopic cells called spores that spread easily in the air. Live spores act like seeds, forming new mold growths with the right conditions. All of us here in the mountains are exposed to fungal spores daily in the air we breathe.
Most of the mold found indoors comes from outdoors. Because it needs moisture to grow, mold only becomes a problem only when there is water damage, high humidity, or dampness. Common sources of indoor moisture that cause mold problems include flooding, roof and plumbing leaks, damp basements or crawl spaces, or any moisture condensation on cold surfaces. Bathroom showers and steam from cooking can also create problems if they are not well ventilated.
What should I do if I suspect mold in my Summit County home?
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment does not recommend testing your Breckenridge home as a first step to determine if you have a mold problem. Reliable air sampling for mold can be expensive and requires expertise.
Mold inspection and cleanup is usually considered a housekeeping task that is the responsibility of homeowners or property managers in the form of roof and plumbing repairs, house cleaning and yard maintenance. Another reason the health department does not recommend testing for mold contamination is that there are few available standards for judging what is an acceptable quantity of mold.
How to prevent indoor mold problems in my Summit County home:
- Inspect your Summit County home regularly for the indications and sources of indoor moisture and mold.
- Take steps to eliminate sources of leaking water as quickly as possible.
- Remove excess water with mops or wet vacuum.
- Whenever possible, move the wet items to a dry and well-ventilated area or outside to expedite drying.
- Remove rugs and pull up areas of wet carpet as soon as possible.
- Open closet and cabinet doors and move furniture away from walls to increase circulation.
- Run portable fans to increase air circulation.
- Do NOT turn up the heat or use heaters in confined areas, as higher temperatures increase the rate of mold growth.
- If water has soaked inside the walls it may be necessary to open wall cavities, remove baseboards, and/or pry open wall paneling.
For additional information in Colorado contact:
Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment
The EPA Guide To Molds