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Technical Reviewers & References
Most Common Places To Check For Mold In Your Home
If you have allergies or a chronic lung disease like asthma, youre probably very aware of the effect mold can have on your health. But even if you have a healthy immune system and no allergies, mold can cause a variety of health problems coughing, wheezing, and throat, skin, and eye irritation, to name a few. Mold is everywhere and, though you cant fully control your exposure to it outdoors or in public spaces, you can check for mold in common places around your home and take measures to prevent and remove it.
How Can I Tell If I Have A Mold Problem
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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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.
Healthy Home Myths Debunked
Common areas to test for black mold are basements, crawlspaces, bathrooms and kitchens where moisture and condensation may gather regularly. A water source is the first requirement for mold growth, so any damp, humid areas of the home are often susceptible.
Sight and smell may give you a good indication of whether or not you have a black mold problem black mold tends to have a strong, musty smell, and of course it displays a trademark black color. If you believe you have black mold growth in an area of your home after these initial inspections, you have two options: professional mold testing or do-it-yourself testing.
Professional mold testing companies will take samples of the air and any areas of mold growth, identify precisely what type of mold is present, and recommend next steps for remediation.
If you go the DIY route while testing for black mold, you will need to purchase a mold testing kit from a hardware or home repair store, take samples of the air and affected areas yourself, and then send these in to a testing facility, which will report back as to which type of mold is present.
Black mold can be an expensive and potentially unhealthy problem for homeowners, but by testing for black mold, you can know for sure if you’ll need to take steps to eradicate black mold from your home.
Also Check: Mold Shower Grout
Final Word On Black Mold: Best Avoidedbut Not Deadly
As for black molds toxic reputation, those with immune suppression, asthma, or other respiratory problems are most at risk of feeling ill.
Its not likely that youll die from black mold poisoning because its just not that toxic. That said, you should act quickly if you find it in your home. The good news is its treatable, removable, and preventable.
How To Find Hidden Black Mold In Your Home
Do you suspect you have mold hidden in your home? Whether you can visibly see mold growing or can smell an unpleasant earthy odor, mold is a common problem in houses with water damage or leaks. If you see signs of mold in your home, a black mold test can be performed on a sample to determine if it is indeed mold, what toxic variety it is, and what should be done about it.
Also Check: Remove Mold From Carpeting
Condensation On Windows Window Frames And Sills
- Promptly repair any leaks.
- Lower the indoor moisture levels.
- Use exhaust bathroom fans and a kitchen range hood.
- Keep window coverings open to move the warm air over the windows .
- Keep baseboards or heating vents clear of furniture to make sure the heat flows.
- Dry your window frames and sills daily to keep water from dripping and causing mould to grow.
- Leave interior doors open for good air and heat flow.
- Unplug and remove humidifiers.
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.
Recommended Reading: Remove Mold From Leather Couch
How To Prevent Mold
Whether you just got rid of the mold or you dont ever want to see it in your house you need to know the mold prevention rules. To prevent mold from appearing in your house:
Small investments in prevention can go long waysand keep a lot of cash in your pocket!
How To Test For Black Mold
Do you keep getting a whiff of something musty in your bathroom or basement? Afraid it might be mold? Learn about three of the most popular kits to test for mold at home.
Its no secret that damp areas of the home provide the perfect conditions for mold and mildew to grow. Whether your nose knows, or your eyes spy dark spots in strategic locations, you want to make sure.
Mold doesnt just eat away at your wood, wallpaper, or grout. Its spores get airborne and cause all kinds of health problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says enough evidence exists to link mold to upper respiratory tract symptoms like itchy eyes and runny nose to cough and wheeze in otherwise healthy people.
Read Also: How To Clean Mould On Ceiling
In Buildings Insulation Mold And Other Hidden Mold Reservoirs In Buildings
This document describes how to find mold and test for mold in buildings, including how and where to collect mold samples using adhesive tape – an easy, inexpensive, low-tech but very effective mold testing method.
We discuss the problem of hidden mold reservoirs and steps to take to find such problems in buildings. The mold contamination show at left is described in more detail
This procedure helps identify the presence of or locate the probable sources of mold reservoirs in buildings, and helps decide which of these need more invasive, exhaustive inspection and testing.
In the photo at page top we see the results of a wall cut through drywall to expose wet moldy insulation, mold on the cavity side of drywall, and surprise! a leak in a pipe that the owner did not know was in her basement wall.
However there was good evidence in the form of stains on the exposed side of this drywall. Look at the tan stain which is in the photo in the half-round shape directly above the wall cutout.
Watch out: just a light touch is needed.
Don’t try to investigate a building by dashing about with an axe cutting holes willy-nilly.
Air Conditioning And Heating Vents
You probably prefer your bedroom to be at the optimal temperature for you to get a good nights rest. While using the AC and heating unit are fine , its possible for mold to grow in the vents.
To prevent mold from contaminating your bedroom, you should:
- Use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air
- Dry up any condensation you find on the walls and windows
- Invest in a mold-resistant mattress or, at the very least, a waterproof mattress cover
Read Also: How To Get Mold Spots Off Bathroom Ceiling
You Feel Like You Have A Lingering Cold Or Are Battling Flu
“It is pretty tough to detect until it starts coming through the walls because mold, as you know, is a problem with some sort of leak somewhere,” Hayes-Raitt said. “So the problem starts behind the walls. But if you’re getting sick, it might be because of a mold problem.”
If you’re dealing with symptoms that you can’t exactly pinpoint, it could be that you’re stressed, haven’t been taking care of yourself, or wound up with some sort of virus, of course, but it could also potentially be that you’re dealing with mold.
If possible, Hayes-Raitt said that one of the best ways to determine if the sickness you feel is related to the house or not is to leave for a few days and then return home. If you feel those same symptoms coming on again, it might be the result of something more than a cold or virus.
What If The Home Seller Or Builder Did Not Disclose A Known Mold Problem
If the prior owner of a house you bought knew of the presence of mold and was required to disclose this information under state real estate disclosure rules, but did not do so, the owner may be liable to you for failure to disclose. See the Nolo article, “Mold: Who to Sue” for more on the subject. Other useful Nolo articles include “Home Defects: Sue the Seller,” which provides useful advice on determining who’s legally responsible for home defects and how to file suit. For advice on dealing with problems in a new house, see “New-Home Defects: Holding Your Builder Responsible.”
Recommended Reading: Black Mold In Tile Grout
How To Find Hidden Mold In Your House
Whoa! Is it just you or has your home acquired a musty odor what seems like overnight? Additionally, you have started to notice spots forming on the surfaces, such as on the walls, ceilings, and even in your counters near the sink or bathroom in your home. All of these signs cannot be taken lightly, as these can be a clear notice to a homeowner that something is not right in your home which can be tainting the indoor air quality of your home, ruining the surfaces in your home, and even contributing to certain health effects that an occupant may have begun to experience strictly within this indoor space.
The process of detecting and identifying mold inside of a home is never an easy task, and there are many components to consider when looking for mold indoors. Humidity, temperature, moisture, and other conditions within a home can be the underlying culprit behind mold growth in these environments. Also, certain tell-tale signs in your home like musty odors, discoloration on surfaces, exposure symptoms in home occupants, and even moisture intrusions in a home can all give insight into a potential mold infestation in your most sacred space your home.
In this article we are going to learn more about how to find hidden mold in your house, how mold forms in this indoor space, and the best remediation methods to eliminating airborne mold microorganisms from the polluted air of your home.
Where To Look For Hidden Mold On And Under Carpeting And Flooring
Lift carpets to inspect carpet tack strips and carpet padding and carpet underside.
Water stains on carpet tack strips and rusty carpet tacks on those strips are other indicators of the leak history in the area.
Remember that mold may be present on the under-side of the carpet itself or on the top or under-side of carpet padding located below the actual carpeting. Hidden mold may be found on the floor surface below the carpeting, or even between layers of finish flooring and subflooring.
We also find mold quite often on the under-side of subflooring. Look up at subfloors from basements or crawl spaces where a wooden subfloor is installed on furring or “sleepers” placed over a concrete slab, it may be necessary to cut small test openings to explore these hidden cavities.
The best place for a test cut to look for mold over an inaccessible floor or any other building cavity would be where we suspect that water has been most likely to be present, but openings may also be made in unobtrusive spots nearby, such as in a closet or under shelving where the cosmetic damage will be minimized.
See TRAPPED MOLD BETWEEN WOOD SURFACES for a discussion of the question of need to remove mold from mated building surfaces.
Read Also: Cleaning Mildew Off Leather
Common Places For Mold To Grow
If you have had water damage to your home, its important to be on the lookout for possible mold growth. For example, mold in basement walls or floors can occur after flooding or severe water damage. Also chronic or persistent leaking from appliances, sinks, and showers can also lead to mold growth.
To find hidden mold, look for evidence of water intrusion which is often a sure sign that you either have mold in the home now or will be growing it soon. While it can be difficult to detect mold in the walls, its important to look for these signs of mold growth, to identify the problem as quickly as possible. Moisture meters and particle counters can be used by a certified inspector to source the water leak and fungal growth and even help detect if there is mold in your walls.
If you suspect mold growth in your home, here are some of the most common locations to check for mold to grow in the house:
- Air Ducts
- Near Plumbing
Keep in mind that mold is a sign of excessive moisture and water intrusion and can be visible or hidden behind many different surfaces. Whether its from a leaking pipe or previous water damage, mold can lead to costly building repairs and even adverse health effects, which is why it should be handled promptly.
Washing The Mold Off Of Your Clothes Is Crucial
When you finish, he says to take off your work clothes, place them in a plastic bag and transport them to the washing machine. Add ¾ cup white vinegar to your wash water to kill the mold on your clothes.
Keep in mind, you need to ensure that youre addressing the problem and not just a symptom of the problem. When you come across mold in a home, it should be understood that you have a moisture issue first and a mold issue second, says Evan Roberts, a real estate agent with Dependable Homebuyers in Baltimore, MD. He tells us that scrubbing surface mold with mold killer will not be effective if you do not address the moisture issue.
Read Also: Clean Mildew Off Bathroom Ceiling