Tuesday, September 20, 2022

How Can I Find Mold In My House

Worth The Cost Of Testing

How to search for hidden mold in your home

Mold can be a tricky problem to deal with. The first step in tackling your potential mold problem is to have a certified inspector visit your home to assess the mold damage or to bring a sample of your mold growth to an accredited lab for testing. At JSE, we specialize in laboratory and in-home testing to provide you with an accurate analysis of your mold growth.

Our mold lab offers quick turn-around times and has hygienists on staff to answer your questions. In-house lab services include mold spore analysis by direct exam for both bulk and air samples. Mold can be a pesky problem in any household. If you suspect you have mold growth in your home, contact JSE online or at to get your sample tested.

Differences Between Mold And Mildew

While mold and mildew are both fungi that need water, oxygen, and food in order to live and survive, they differ in a number of ways. Mold tends to have a higher profile and can even become fuzzy, while mildew is usually flat. Mold exhibits darker colors such as deep green and black mildew may begin as white, then turn brown or gray.

What Are The Laws Regarding Mold Remediation And Who’s Responsible To Pay For It

New York state requires that all mold assessment and removal professionals be licensed, and details a framework for how the jobs are to be planned and carried out.

If a consumer believes a mold assessor/remediator hasn’t followed the law while on the job, he/she can fill out a state mold contractor complaint form.

Neither federal nor state law addresses a landlord’s responsibility when it comes a mold outbreak in a rented space, other than broad standards that require them to keep living spaces in a safe and sanitary condition.

Landlords of multi-family units like apartments can have their own property managers handle mold, and are exempt from state licensure laws, said Nardozzi.

“People fight about this every day,” he said. “It is a constant battle in our world.”

His tip for both tenants and landlords for a relatively small fee, you can get a professional into the space in question to assess whether a problem exists and how severe it is.

If a tenant feels a landlord has ignored a repair issue to the point that it has become a health concern, he or she can bring the matter to court and consider rent withholding or “repair and deduct,” during which the tenant repairs the issue and reduces his or her rent.

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In On And Under The Kitchen Sink

A lot happens in your kitchen sink. Dirty dishes pile up , food goes through the garbage disposal, wet sponges sit in the sink or in caddies and collect bacteria, and faucets run. All of these things contribute to the potential for mold growth, so check in these areas often if you want to prevent mold. Oh, and dont forget to check underneath the sink leaky pipes are a big problem for mold.

How Can I Tell If I Have A Mold Problem

how do i detect mold in my a house

Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing.

Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.

It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean up the mold, but don’t fix the water problem, most likely, the mold problem will come back.

For more information on mold:

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Mold And Mildew Health Concerns

The health of both humans and pets may be affected by the presence of mold and mildew in the home. While some people may not be affected at all, others who are especially sensitive may experience symptoms such as itchy eyes, wheezing, or a runny nose. People with asthma or allergies will feel the most severe reactions to mold and mildew.

Taking Care Of Your Mold Problem

1. If you have been suffering anyillnesses that wouldnt go away like allergies, itchy eyes, sore throat,headaches, fatigue, etc., go see your doctor and explain to him that you havemold in your home. Knowledge about the mold will help him to correctly treatyou. Here is more on the symptoms of mold exposure.

2. Have your home tested by a trainedmold tester. Many people make the mistake of cleaning up the mold withouttesting. It is important to know the type of mold your dealing with, and howbad the problem is. Most mold testers are engineers so they can give your homea thorough inspection to find all the mold. If its a small problem they mayrecommend cleaning it yourself, and will give you advice on removing it. If itslarge job and a removal service needs to be hired, they will oversee the cleanup and supervise the removal process.When the cleanup is done, they will come back and test again to make sure theremoval was properly done. Make sure if you hire a removal company that youdont pay them until the final testing comes back showing the home is clean.For a list of licensed mold testers in your area, follow the link.

4. Contact your insurance company andfind out if mold removal is covered in your policy. In many cases it is,depending on the cause of the mold. This article on homeowners insurance andmold explains it well.

10. Be proactive in the future aboutmold prevention. Here is more information on preventing mold.

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Cleaning Up Small And Medium Mould Problems

Bleach is not necessary to clean up mould.

You can clean up small areas of mould if you follow the proper procedures and use the right protective equipment. Unless the mould growth is on smooth surfaces such as bathroom tiles, surface cleaning will not eliminate the problem.

In most cases you can clean up medium areas of mould if you follow the proper procedures and use the right protective equipment. Materials damaged by mould must be physically removed and disposed of under safe conditions. However, it is important to seek professional assistance if there is a large mould problem or if mould comes back after cleaning.

Susceptible individuals such as pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly, and occupants with asthma, allergies or other health problems should not be in or near the area where the mould is being cleaned up.

Minimum protective gear needed:

  • a disposable N95 mask and
  • household disposable gloves.

You can purchase an N95 mask from a hardware store. Make sure that the label says “N95”. Other masks are designed to provide limited protection against dust and are not suitable for protecting against mould exposure. Make sure that the mask is properly fitted and you can breathe through the mask.

Testing For Mold In The House

How to find hidden mold in your home after Harvey

If you suspect you have mold growth in your house, its important to determine the type of mold and severity of the growth with a mold inspection. In some cases, mold has been suspected of making people sick, causing allergic reactions, and leading to expensive repairs if left untreated.

Also, bear in mind that mold remediation only removes the symptom. Therefore, if you want to have peace of mind about the health of you, your family, and your home, then locate the source of the moisture leaking into your home and make those repairs as you clean up the mold. When testing for mold in the house, professional services are available to help you find hidden mold and moisture problems in your home.

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What Mold Smells Like

Mold has a damp, musty scentsimilar to what youd smell after opening an old book. In general, smell is not a good way to determine if there is a mold problem, says Laureen Burton, a staff chemist and toxicologist for the Environmental Protection Agency . The smell of indoor molds can differ depending on the type of mold, the surface on which its growing, and its source of moisture. Plus, she says, some people dont notice a smell at all.

The mold smell is caused by microbial volatile organic compounds , which are substances that are naturally produced by molds as they grow. The health effects of inhaling mVOCs are largely unknown, says Burton, although exposure to some mVOCs has been linked to symptoms such as headaches, nasal irritation, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.

Track Your Water Bill

The first indicator of a broken water pipe is going to be in your water bill. If your household water usage stays the same, but the bill is increasing, it means youve likely got a leak somewhere.

To catch leaks as early as possible, its best to have a sense of how much water your household normally uses. Then, if your bill is suddenly much higher than normal and you cant explain why then you know youve got to find the leaking water pipe.

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Mistakes To Avoid While Mold Cleanup

When doing mold remediation on your own, make sure to avoid the following mistakes:

  • Choosing the wrong mold cleaner. Again, bleach is not what kills mold. Cleaning mold with bleach is not going to help. The best way to clean mold is by using natural products like the ones mentioned above.
  • Not addressing cross-contamination. Heres one important thing you should know. Once you start scrubbing off the mold from the surface, some of the spores will become airborne. This means that your entire home can be exposed to mold infestation. Thus, it is essential to containing the area. Dispose of all the cleaning materials and clothing you used to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Not eliminating the moisture source. No matter how hard you clean the parts of your home infested by mold, it will just keep coming back until you address the moisture problems. After the cleanup, speak with a mold remediation professional to determine the causes of water problems or leaks in your house.

Is Black Mold Dangerous

8 Signs There

The short answer isnot really. But that doesnt mean you should keep black mold as a pet.

Everyone has different levels of tolerance to allergens like mold spores, but thats all black mold isan allergen.1 Those with asthma, respiratory allergies, or immune suppression will feel the effects of black molds mycotoxins more than most folks.

As one source put it, Previous reports of toxic mold syndrome or toxic black mold have been shown to be no more than media hype and mass hysteria. 2

But whether you feel black mold symptoms or not, its best to get rid of black mold as soon as you find it.

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The Path Of Resistance

Initially, Mikes landlord tried to fix the problem himself, bleaching the moldy walls. We call that spray n’ pray, said Scott Armour of the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, a global industry body for remediators. They, along with the EPA, advise against bleach for a variety of reasons, namely that fumes can be dangerous and its usually ineffective.

Bleach only works for non-porous surfaces. It cant touch the mold that has burrowed into surfaces like wood or drywall . But the most important reason bleach fails is that people dont stop the molds water supply.

First thing I do is check for leaks, in the bathroom or roof or a crack in the foundation, said Greg Bukowski, who runs the Chicago-based remediation company Moldman USA. Theres always a leak. If you dont fix that, dont bother with bleach or vinegar. Then kill and remove the mold with detergent and water, then prevent its return with mold-resistant paint like Kilz .

When bleach didnt work, Mike paid for an indoor airborne mold test, which raised more questions than it answered. We had no idea how to interpret the results. I just couldnt find any information out there that isnt written by remediation guys, he said. They told him he had the dreaded black mold, and needed professional remediation.

How Do Molds Affect People

Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath.

In 2004 the Institute of Medicine found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people with asthma symptoms in people with asthma and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition.

In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould pdf iconexternal icon pdf icon. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies.

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Create A Bleach Mixture

If the black mold growth in your home is small enough for you to treat alone, a simple mixture of bleach and water can help. Add one cup of bleach to one gallon of water and apply it to the moldy spots. You can also find commercial black mold removal products.

Soak a paper towel in the cleaner and press it over the mold growth to dampen the area. Then start scrubbing. Avoid spraying moldy areas, since the droplets will collide with the mold spores and launch them throughout the room, making them easier to breathe in and harder to eradicate.

Be sure to dry the area thoroughly when youre done.

Do NOT mix bleach with ammonia. This combination can create toxic fumes that are far more dangerous than any mold youre trying to clean.

Spotting And Fur On Your Walls

My House Has a Mold Problem, What Do I Do?

There are so many varieties of mold that you can’t really identify the type based on specific shape, size or color. It can appear as a furry, dark growth, as a black stain, or as black, white, orange, green or brown specks. Rather than look for out-of-the-ordinary, multi-colored flakes in every inch of your home, identify areas that are moist and then look for possible signs of mold. The fungus thrives in cool, damp areas, and it will be much easier to find it by limiting your search to areas that are affected by excess moisture. Yes, paint and wallpaper gets stained and marked from every day living, but if you see a pattern to the stains, or they appear in the corners of a room, this is usually a good indicator that mold is present.

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Get The Right Cleaning Products

First things first prepare what you need. Basically, you need a reliable product in cleaning mold. Many household owners think that bleach is an effective mold treatment. But contrary to the popular view, it isnt. Bleach is a strong chemical which can harm your health. Also, it does not get rid of the mold. It only changes its color from black to white or grey. After a few weeks of bleaching, there is still a big possibility that the mold will come back.

A DIY mold remediation product that mold specialists usually recommend is borax a white powder which you can purchase from the grocery, at the detergent or laundry section. To clean mold using borax, mix the powder in one gallon of hot water. Apply the solution on the surface affected by mold and scrub the area with a rug or brush until the mold disappears. Theres no need to rinse it off because borax will keep the mold from coming back. However, do not use this cleaner on porous surfaces like drywall. Such materials absorb water easily. This could aggravate the problem because as you know mold loves moist environments.

Some other safe yet effective products you can use to kill mold are baking soda, vinegar, Tea tree oil, hydrogen peroxide, and detergent. If youre using vinegar, simply put it in a spray bottle. No need to add water. Spray the vinegar on the surface and leave it for an hour.

The Trouble With Mold In The Home

Mold is a fungus that comes in various colors and shapes. While some molds are visible and even odorous, mold can also grow between walls, under floors and ceilings, or in less accessible spots, such as basements and attics. Mold does best in water-soaked materials , but can survive in almost any damp location. Mold can grow in houses situated in the desert, and it can grow in homes in hot and humid climes.

Here are some common places in a home where mold is likely to take hold:

  • around leaking pipes, windows, or roofs
  • basements or other places that have flooded and havenât been thoroughly dried
  • tightly sealed buildings , which trap excess moisture inside, and
  • homes with poor ventilation, numerous over-watered houseplants, and housekeeping habits that ignore obvious dampness and donât include airing the place out.

Besides presenting an ugly appearance and, sometimes, an unpleasant odor, mold can cause health problems. In the worst cases, a few types of molds produce mycotoxins, which can cause rashes, seizures, unusual bleeding, respiratory problems, and severe fatigue in some people. Fortunately, most molds are of the non-toxic variety.

For more on the hazards of mold, see the article on this site: Toxic Mold Health Risks and the resources listed below.

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