Mold growth occurs when fungal spores come inside your home from outdoors and land on areas of moisture. Fungal spores may enter your home on your shoes, through open windows or on your pets. Once mold begins to grow, it spreads and breaks down the material it is growing on. Mold growth is common in areas prone to flooding, where water is leaking inside your home and on wet carpet. Mold growth in your air conditioning ducts can cause an earthy or woody smell inside your home. Some types of mold produces a noticeable foul stench, especially after rainfall.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mold growth can cause serious health problems. Exposure to mold spores is known to cause upper respiratory problems such as wheezing, coughing and nasal congestion. Mold growth can cause people with asthma to have an increase in asthma attack frequency. Your home may become damaged from mold growth, making repairs necessary.
If you have a woody or earthy smell inside your home, you have a mold problem that must be addressed. You can remove mold from hard surfaces such as wood, tile or concrete with liquid dish detergent and water. Scrub away the mold, rinse and dry. Porous materials such as carpet must be removed and replaced if mold growth is present. If you smell mold while your air conditioner is running, it may be necessary to have your air ducts cleaned. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends air duct cleaning if mold growth is visible, you smell mold or if anyone living in your home has unexplained upper respiratory symptoms.
You can prevent mold growth by keeping indoor humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent. Installing exhaust fans in your bathrooms and kitchens will help reduce humidity. Repair all leaks in your roof, plumbing pipes before mold has a chance to grow. If your home floods, promptly clean it up and dry it out to keep mold from germinating. Molds can begin to grow in as little as 24 hours after a flood. Have your air ducts inspected on a regular basis and have them cleaned if mold is present.