While one tends to be more serious than the other, both mold and mildew can cause problems in your home. Besides being unsightly and generating a musty odor, mold and mildew can cause serious health problems for you and your family, not to mention doing serious structural damage to your home. That’s why it’s so important to be on guard against letting mold and mildew grow in your home.
In order to protect your family and your home against mold and mildew, you need to understand what they are, because each type of fungal growth requires a different approach. Know where mold and mildew are most likely to grow, so you can monitor your home for their appearance. Know how to deal with mold and mildew yourself, and when it’s time to call in the professionals.
Mold vs. Mildew: What’s the Difference?
When it comes to identifying mildew vs. mold, you need to understand the characteristics of each type of fungal growth. Mildew is typically considered an early stage mold, and is therefore less serious and easier to treat. Both mold and mildew require moisture, high levels of oxygen, warmth, and darkness in order to flourish. Mildew likes to grow on flat, damp surfaces, and can most often be found in bathrooms and on window sills. It can also be found on paper, fabrics, and organic materials in your home.
Mildew may appear either powdery or fluffy, and is usually yellow, gray, or white in color. It can turn brown or black with time. Its growth appears flat, and it can cause a musty smell.
Mold, on the other hand, looks fuzzy, and may be white, black, blue, gray, green, brown, or even red. It can appear as irregular spots on any surfaces in your home where a damp, warm, dark environment is present. It, too, can create a musty odor. Though thousands of mold fungi appear in nature, mold inside the home is typically caused by one of five fungi:
- Alternaria, which is gray, black, or brown, and has a downy or wooly texture;
- Cladosporium, which is black or olive-green and can grow in cool conditions;
- Aspergillus, which is white, yellow, green, grey, black, or brown;
- Penicillium, which is green or blue, spreads easily, and causes a strong musty smell; and
- Stachybotrys chartarum, a toxic form of black mold that can cause serious illness.
Unsure whether you have mildew or mold? An easy way to tell the difference is to spray some bleach on the affected area. If it lightens, you have mildew. If it stays dark, you’ve got mold.
How Mold and Mildew Affect Your Home and Your Health
While mildew usually only causes cosmetic damage, if any at all, mold can cause serious structural damage to your home. That’s because mold and mildew fungal growths actually eat the surfaces they’re growing on. In nature, this allows fungi to break down and decompose dead plants and animals, but in your home, it’s bad news. A serious mold infestation can drastically compromise your home’s structural integrity, and even minor infestations can require completely replacing the affected materials.
Mold and mildew can also cause health problems. About ten percent of people are allergic to mold and mildew spores, and can experience allergy symptoms including:
- Itchy, dry skin
- Sneezing or coughing
- Runny nose
- Irritation of the eyes, throat, and nose
- Tightness in the chest
- Shortness of breath
Symptoms can be mild to severe, depending on factors such as age and whether or not you have asthma. Stachybotrys chartarum, or toxic black mold, can cause severe symptoms even in people who are not allergic, which can range from respiratory problems, to fatigue, chronic sinus infections or asthma attacks, and depression.
Dealing with Mold and Mildew
If you have mildew, you can get rid of it with bleach cleansing spray and some elbow grease. Clean surrounding areas well to ensure that you’ve removed all of the fungal growth. Wear a face mask and gloves while cleaning, especially if you are allergic. Prevent the recurrence of mildew by eliminating sources of moisture, or, if that’s not possible, clean the mildew regularly.
If you have mold, you should call a professional remediation company. Not only will your home probably require extensive repair to eliminate the mold and prevent its return, but dealing with a mold infestation yourself can cause severe health problems if you don’t use proper safety equipment. It’s best to let the professionals deal with a mold problem.
Mold and mildew can be smelly, unsightly, and even dangerous. Don’t let fungal growth get out of hand in your home. Take steps as soon as you suspect a mold or mildew infestation, to keep your home and family safe and healthy for years to come.
For thousands of Americans, the amount spent on home improvement projects ranges anywhere between $5,000 – $18,000. However, if you plan to Do-It-Yourself, you can transform your home into a mini paradise with just a fraction of the cost to hire an interior designer. Whether you have just moved into a new home or are looking to spice up the aged design, check out these 3 DIY solutions to upgrading your home on a budget.
Create the illusion of a bigger room
Paint is one of the most important aspects of interior design. The color scheme of your walls could be the difference between boring and exciting. In addition, paint is rather cheap and currently, there are hundreds of colors to choose from. For smaller rooms, it is advised that one should use softer and lighter colors. You can also experiment with different colors on different walls in a room.
According to this interior design firm in Orange County, CA the mirror should not reflect anything unpleasant or another mirror as this could make them totally spoil the design of your home. Decorative mirrors are also great for smaller rooms. Their reflection makes the room look much more spacious. This has been proven to create the illusion of a bigger room.
One of the greatest mistakes that most people make is having too many things in one room or in a small space. Clutter is the main reason that most houses seem poorly designed. That does not mean that you have to go minimalist and ditch half of your belongings. You can use well-designed shelves to store away things that are not complementary to the general design of the house.
One smart idea that is gaining traction is the using of old items for unique creations. You can hang old cutlery from the ceiling to create a beautiful art scheme. What about repainting and remodeling your old furniture? The most important thing to remember is that you should not overdo the design. Small changes can make huge differences.
With everything going green, why not do the same to your home? Besides the already well known environmental and possibly health benefits plants have, they can also transform your home’s interior design. What is more is that plants come in different colors. You can get some green plants or yellow and orange flowers. The options are unlimited.
Plants are known to add color and texture to the design of the room. In addition, plants give you the option of playing around with vases of different colors, shapes and sizes giving your home that edgy look.
With the tips mentioned, you can cost-effectively transform your house into a masterpiece. Find a design you like and use it to meet your taste. The rule of the thumb is to never overdo a design but also never limit your creativity.
The average expense for multiple room renovations in the US ranges from $17,000 – $63,000, and homeowners are spending more and more each year. It’s the harsh reality that, before you’ve even begun your home improvements, you may find out that you’ve not quite got the funds; and on top of that there are hidden expenses of remodeling that haven’t even been budgeted for in the initial planning. Whether your project involves a complete redecoration to bring your house back to the 21st century, or just installing a new bathroom, funding always seems to come up as a barrier to realizing your ideal remodeling project. But, no matter the scale, there are funding solutions that can keep your plans on track and on budget without having to sacrifice your vision for the perfect home remodeling.
Secure your finances early with mortgages or loans
Most homeowners need to consider whether to go with mortgage or loan solutions when renovating their property. A home equity loan is one of the more common solutions to funding your home improvements as it offers a lower interest rate and larger available funds than a personal loan; however, it does involve a fixed payment plan. Some consider refinancing their mortgage instead if they know they will be able to pay it back over time and might get a lower interest rate in the process. However, a reverse-mortgage should also be considered if you are over the age of 62. These are based on just a percentage of the equity of your property and aren’t required to be repaid until the property is sold of you have moved out; making reverse-mortgages the most secure finance solution for remodeling your home.
Use cash assets and do-it-yourself for smaller aspects of the project
As cash doesn’t involve interest rates, it is best to pay with cash for the much smaller aspects of your home improvements such as buying the odd piece of material from the DIY store. And of course, where possible, do-it-yourself! DIY is all part of the fun and will save you on labor when it comes to smaller tasks such as painting walls, nailing in the skirting boards, and putting up shelves or small units. Save where possible, get stuck in when you can, and the positive effects on your budget will really show.
When it comes to remodeling your home, you don’t have to let your finances get on top of you. Early planning and secure budgeting solutions such as taking out a reverse-mortgage and knowing which aspects of the renovations can have cash assets spent on them will make all the difference. Then, you will be well on your way to realizing your dream home remodeling project, no matter the scale or budget.
Our house is our castle, but after a few years even the most amazing castle becomes redundant in appearance. Looking at the same painted walls, carpet or furniture may feel tired…and boring. Every home needs a facelift eventually, but sprucing up your sanctuary doesn’t have to be budget ending.
Remodeling means different things to every homeowner. While a remodel may be as drastic as adding on a new wing to a home, the renovation process may be as subtle as a new coat of paint. No matter how extreme or conservative your plan, the choice to remodel is one that every homeowner considers during their residency. Taking the big leap doesn’t have to be scary, though, because you can take baby steps toward that final vision of home perfection.
Ready to give your castle a facelift? Check out these home remodeling ideas that can take a boring blah space into a modern masterpiece!
A Sweep of Color
If a room’s walls have been the same color for years—or maybe decades—it’s time to consider a new look or hue. You don’t have to go crazy with color palettes, but adventure is good…in the realm of color. The beauty of paint is that it can be changed if the color doesn’t flatter the room or your end design. Of course, you should swatch a color first and see if that hue is the one that screams décor perfection. However, if a room is small, don’t pick a dark shade…otherwise you will make the room look even smaller. You also can add interest to walls by using different textures of paint.
New Fixes for Old Fixtures
If overhead lighting, lamps or other household fixtures in a room look dated and old, switch them out. Choose a bold new chandelier to hang in the middle of a great room or head to an antique shop to discover amazing vintage lamps and other treasures. New fixtures also can transform old bathrooms in an instant. Select fun and funky faucets for a modern update or replace a tired old vanity with a pedestal sink and an antique mirror.
Decorate with Greenery
Plants and flowers infuse oxygen and beauty into a room. Houseplants also provide an instant touch of style and interest without the work of intense remodeling. Before you start adding bouquets of fresh flowers or investing in plants for any room, be sure to figure out how much work each variety requires. Houseplants require upkeep…and some are more finicky than others. Succulents are often fairly low-key and can be used to create modern and inexpensive dish gardens on tabletops. Head to a local nursery for advice about what varieties will work best for your home and lifestyle.
Light it Up
Lighting can transform the room; softer bulbs provide a warm ambience. Don’t forget to use natural lighting to transform a room as well. A large picture window or a wall lined with multiple windows opens up a room. Use roller shades to easily cover and uncover large window spaces to take advantage of the sun’s natural glow. Flameless candles also may be set within an unused fireplace for a décor touch that combines form and function. When decorating with candles, mix up the sizes for a bouquet of candlelight. You also can gather a group of flameless (or real) candles alongside a bathtub for romantic ambience.
Most homeowners will consider remodeling to update their home’s appearance. But remodeling doesn’t necessarily mean major construction and never-ending mess. Giving your home a face lift can be as simple as a new color of paint, fun fixtures or updated lighting. Small changes can make a huge impact on the beauty of your home.
Authored by NYC Writer Maggie Baker
While plumbing emergencies can strike at any time of the year, there are certain types of problems that are especially common during the summer. Many of these issues are due to children being home during the day, which can lead to overuse of certain fixtures. Also, appliances such as washing machines tend to get more of a workout. Here are some examples of typical summertime plumbing problems and what you can do to minimize the chances you’ll have to deal with them.
When the kids are home, naturally, the toilet gets used much more often. In order to reduce the risk of potentially troublesome and expensive clogs, make sure you tell everyone to be careful about the amount of toilet paper they should use. Also, remind your children never to flush anything that should not be flushed, such as small toys or other items. Taking some time now to talk about these things could help prevent serious issues from occurring.
2. Outdoor Faucet Leaks
You may not have used your outdoor faucet for several months, so check your faucet thoroughly when turning it on for the first time. Look closely for any signs of leaks around your home before you use that faucet for washing your car or filling your pool. If you don’t perform this check and you leave that faucet on for several minutes at a time, there is a chance you could do some serious damage.
3. Sewer Lines
If you are in an area that tends to get a lot of summertime thunderstorms, that could result in a backup of your sewer lines. In addition, tree roots can invade those lines and cause a major obstruction. Have a plumber give this part of your plumbing system a thorough once-over to see if there are any signs of problems.
4. The Garbage Disposal
With your children eating at home more during the summer, the garbage disposal will very likely get additional use. Do not let anyone in the home try to put items such as fibrous vegetables, starchy foods, hard fruits, etc. in the disposal. These items can cause clogs or potentially even burn out the motor.
5. Look for Yard Leaks
If you see standing water in your yard, you may simply assume it is from the last time you used your sprinkler system. However, if that pool of water does not go away, that is a sign you could have a leaking sewer line or pipeline. Call a professional at the first sign of trouble so that you can minimize any potential damage to your plumbing system as well as the structural integrity of your home.
Speaking of your sprinkler system, make sure you clear the sprinkler heads of any debris — not only the first time you turn it on but also periodically afterward. This will help reduce the chances that a clog could harm the system. Also, double-check to make sure all of the heads are down before you mow the lawn so you don’t accidentally clip one with the blade.
6. The Washing Machine
Active kids during the summer means additional use of the washing machine due to dirt and grass stains. Before you start putting those extra demands on the appliance, take some time to make sure it is in proper working order. Look for any ruptures or bulges in the hoses so you don’t run the risk of a flooded laundry room.
These are just a few of the ways that you can reduce the risk of having to deal with the stress and expense of plumbing emergencies in the summer. Contact your local plumber to learn more about how to keep your system working hassle-free.
Tom Mascari is the President of Mendel Plumbing & Heating. For 30 years, Mendel has developed a reputation for expert customer service and technical performance. They are a St. Charles, IL based company that provides plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical services to commercial and residential buildings in the Fox Valley area. Mendel also specializes in residential air duct sealing, remodeling and maintenance services.