Molds are certain microscopic species of fungi. There are thousands of species. Like other fungi, they live and feed off organic matter. Molds reproduce through spores - minute particles which are released and float through the air. These tiny fungal particles are commonly believed to cause allergic reactions and health problems in some people when breathed.
Here at off-grid.info/air-quality we personally know people who have had symptoms that they are convinced have been caused by mold - and, feeling that the mold is "in the house", have moved house due to their quest for improved health.
This was obviouly a very drastic step, and who knows whether the problem could have been more easily solved - or whether it was even the mold that was making them sick? However, it stands to reason that if you have mold in your house, or suspect that you have mold symptoms, you might want to do something.
A few mold prevention tips
Molds love damp conditions as they require moisture - either in the air or on the surface where they are living. Certain air filters may be beneficial in removing mold spores from the air and relieving symptoms, but the primary cause of indoor mold is damp conditions and to alleviate mold it is often recommended to resolve the cause of humidity first. Damp can often be caused by water pipe leaks, flooding, leaking roofs or gutters, leaky washing machines / washing machine pipes, or "rising damp" if a dwelling lacks a "damp course" - usually found in the lower part of the ground floor wall.
A common cause of mold that can often be overlooked is the simple "blocked gutter." This can easily be caused by falling leaves if the house is near trees - and if the gutter is blocked, water can spill down the side of the house instead of flowing down the pipe as it is meant to. Water soaking through the walls of the house can lead to mold. So in this case, the best solution is to make sure the roof gutters are free from debris - especially during or after the fall of leaves. This will generally require that someone goes up a ladder. Note - ladders can be dangerous - here is an article on ladder safety.
Another very common cause of mold is insufficient ventilation in bathrooms / shower rooms. Notice how damp the walls, mirror, windows, ceiling become after you have taken a hot shower? These are the kinds of conditions that molds love. Switch-operated fan ventilation is a common solution for bathrooms - but not all old houses have this fitted. In this case, try to remember to open the window for several minutes after steaming up the bathroom. Even if you do this, the general amount of moisture in the air can lead to a moldy bathroom. That good ole' nasty shower curtain is an infamous mold source - so the first step towards mold removal is to find one that is machine washable.... and don't forget to wash it every so often!
We've given a few examples but there are many possible ways mold could be caused.
From our research, it appears that a good way to approach mold might be first to tackle humidity problems first, clean up the existing mold - and filter existing spores from the air.
However, if your house has serious mold problems, professional assistance may be required. The EPA recommends that any area of mold larger than 3 feet square should be professionally treated.