July 9, 2020
House mold is the bane of homeowners. A silent, creeping enemy, it isn’t only ugly – it can harm your health. Based on reports from EPA and the Berkeley National Laboratory, about 4.6 million cases of asthma in the US can be attributed to house mold exposure. And now that many of us are spending an unprecedented amount of time at home, mold growth is a more pressing concern than ever.
Mold causes far more problems than just asthma, too. Health concerns arising from exposure to mold include mycotoxicosis, or mold poisoning. In particular, children and the elderly have high sensitivity to mold. Broader house mold symptoms can range widely. The list includes a runny or blocked nose; watery, red eyes; a dry cough; skin rashes; sore throat; sinusitis; wheezing; and increased risk of infection.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that mold can be combated. Step one: start tracking the risk factors for mold, particularly the indoor air conditions for mold growth. Step two: take steps known to help prevent mold proliferation.
Defense is the best form of attack. In the ongoing battle against house mold, the place to start is tracking the airborne evidence that mold could be proliferating.
One of the two things house mold needs to thrive is moisture. Spores, which are essentially mold “seeds”, grow in warmth and damp. High indoor air humidity raises the risk of mold growth.
The other thing that promotes mold growth is cellulose. Cellulose is present in many things, including dust. More dust in your indoor air means a higher chance of mold spores floating around.
Another one of the triggering conditions for mold growth is temperature. House mold thrives in warm temperatures, 77 to 86 °F (25 to 30 °C).
House mold consumes oxygen and releases carbon dioxide (CO2). According to Dr. Paul Armstrong, a researcher with the USDA, “As mold grows, it gives off carbon dioxide. Therefore, if there is a CO2 spike, there is likely an increase of mold activity.”
As mold consumes the nutrients it needs to grow, enzymes and substrates carry out chemical reactions. These reactions produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as a byproduct, meaning that raised VOC levels are a risk factor for mold growth.
Tracking these contributing factors to mold growth – humidity, CO2, VOCs, and dust (PM2.5) – will help you pinpoint the areas that need attention. Awair Element tracks these factors, providing a broad picture of your indoor air quality (IAQ). Element then gives you real-time insight and recommendations to stay healthy, via an easy-to-use smartphone app.
The Awair Home app displays your air quality score, as well as your individual sensor readings and trends. It helps you understand how your indoor activities impact the quality of your indoor air. Moreover, the Awair app easily integrates with smart assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
Important Note: The Awair Element tracks indoor air quality factors that can have a bearing on when and where mold might grow. The Awair Element is not a mold detector, nor is it a device that eliminates mold. In some instances, attempts to directly combat existing mold colonies can be dangerous and should be left at the hands of professionals.
Tracking the mold-growing factors is a great first step. But taking action and maintaining an anti-mold routine further reduces your risk of getting mold in your home. Here are some general handy tips to combat mold growth.
House mold is harmful to you, your family, and your home’s health. Tracking five indoor air factors that contribute to mold growth offers you a powerful layer of foundational protection. Combined with proactive anti-mold practices, you can ensure your house stays mold-free.
Don’t wait to experience house mold symptoms to discover you have a mold problem. Track your air quality with Awair Element now, and prevent conditions conducive to house mold growth. Check out more details about Awair Element below.
Why does it seem significantly more difficult to concentrate on work when it’s hot outside? It has much more to do with our bodies than we may realize. A series of studies have proven that we are unable to concentrate and fully engage with our work if the temperature around us is not within a specific range; if you want to reach a peak level of productivity, you should work in an environment that stays between 68℉ and 76℉.
The recent California fires created a statewide impact that stretched well beyond it's flames. When disasters like fires spread smoke to cities miles away, we typically trust the indoors (such as our homes and workplaces) as a safe haven. Unfortunately, fine particles, smoke and chemicals from the fires easily penetrated businesses and homes across the state. Across California business and homes, Awair sensors saw an over 1800% increase in harmful fine dust (PM2.5)
Crowded classrooms, meetings in closed door conference rooms, working from your makeshift WFH office with poor ventilation - all of these scenarios can cause high CO2 and significant decreases in cognition and productivity.What is carbon dioxide?Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring gas that is measured in parts per million (ppm). A by-product of our metabolic process – we add CO2 into the air every time we exhale – it’s often used as an indicator of adequate building ventilation.