Friday, May 24, 2024

How To Find The Source Of Mold In Your Home

Areas In The House To Starting Detecting Mold

Home Inspection – Mold in attic
  • Bathrooms: In or under cabinets, in the shower on grout lines, flooring area, on baseboards, behind toilets, the edge of bathtubs, and behind wallpaper.
  • Kitchens: In or under cabinets, behind the fridge, behind dishwashers, under garbage disposal, around drain and water supply lines.
  • HVAC Closets: Found on the walls in the HVAC closet, condensate disposal drain lines, on air filters, flooring, and duct board/liners in the return air plenum.
  • Laundry Rooms: behind the washing machine and on the flooring.
  • In basement areas: Mold growth is found frequently in home basements on walls and floors when flooding or water intrusion has occurred.

What Are Some Mold Remediation Actions

There are some basic actions you can take in stopping mold before it gets away. Some suggested steps are:

Most forms of mold are relatively harmless to humans unless youve had prolonged exposure or have a sensitivity like mold allergies. The exception is a black, toxic mold called Stachybotrys chartarum that can be lethal under some circumstances. Stachybotrys appears as a dark green to jet black mass of dots. If your mold colony looks like that, make sure you take personal precautions in handling this pathogen.

Recommended personal protective equipment for handling all moldy products should include:

Protective clothing like disposable coveralls or old clothes that can be discarded

Dust mask or for black mold, wear an N-95 rated respirator

Gloves like rubber or surgical, disposable types

Goggles that fit tightly around the eyes to guard against splash

Identifying and cleaning up after experiencing a mold problem is not a pleasant experience. Despite the possible health hazards, mold remediation can be time-consuming, not to mention extremely expensive. Some mold infestations are so severe, occupants are forced to move out and then struggle with insurance companies to compensate them for repairs to the damage.

Reader Question: I Have A Hidden Mold Problem But None Of My Mold Inspectors Has Been Able To Find It How Should I Proceed

I am convinced I have a “hidden mold” problem in one of my bathrooms, and have had this problem for quite some time. At times I have smelled a moldy odor, and almost always when I enter the room I IMMEDIATELY experience allergy symptoms.

I have made a visual inspection of the surfaces in the room, and see no mold deposits. I also had a chance to look at the under flooring a couple of years ago, including the area right adjacent to the toilet bowl, when I had the old tile removed and new tile installed. There didn’t appear to be any significant mold signs there.

I also had a handyman cut out two 24″ square panels of drywall directly underneath the pipes of both sinks in this room, and although we couldn’t see much further than the immediate areas, there were no signs of mold on the inside of the drywall or surrounding areas.

I am affected seriously in terms of health by this problem, and am very concerned about finally finding some way to pinpoint this problem, so I can have it resolved. .

I have had two or three so-called “mold inspectors” out over the last few years, and none was effective. They tried to sell me “mold testing,” but to me, this will do no good because

I already KNOW I have mold…the problem is, to FIND it, so I can have it removed. Any suggestions, and any local referrals you can make for services in my area , will be much appreciated. – M.R.

Profile the Building’s Leak or Moisture History to Track Down Hidden Mold

If you haven’t seen it take a look

Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Mold On The Bathroom Ceiling

Dont Want To Use Chemicals Heres How To Test For Mold In Your Home Naturally

If youre concerned about the effects of harmful chemicals when testing for mold in the house, worry not. Testing for mold doesnt use any chemicals, and kits are non-toxic.

In fact, the main thing you should be worried about when testing for mold is the mold itself. If you are collecting direct samples of mold using the swab technique, wear gloves and a mask to reduce your exposure to the mold.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Having Mold In Your House

Selling A House With Mold in Houston

Whether youre selling a home, preparing to buy one for the first time, or just performing regular maintenance, the issue of mold may worry you particularly if your home is in a damp environment.

In most cases, a typical home inspection wont include mold inspections and testing. You will need to hire a professional mold inspector to check your home for issues like black mold.

So, to help you understand whether or not you may need a home inspection for mold, weve put together this comprehensive guide that will help you understand the signs and symptoms of mold, know what next steps to take if you think you have mold issues, and provide you with other helpful information and tips that will help you deal with a potential mold problem.

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You Notice A Bit Of A Musty Or Damp Smell

If you notice that your home has a bit of a moldy or musty smell to it, that might also indicate that there may be a mold issue.

“Many different mold species have different odors, so it is difficult to pinpoint the exact smell, however, if it is an odor that isn’t common in your home or building, then it should be investigated,” George Hernandez, the vice president of operations at PuroClean, told INSIDER.

Clean Your Home Clear Your Mind

As you’re hunting for musty smells, it’s a good time to clear out clutter. Open spaces promote better air flow. Those cluttered, forgotten corners are prime turf for dust and mildew buildup.

If you need some ideas to help you get started, check out Spring Cleaning 6 Steps to a Clean and Organized Kitchen. 6 Ways to Get the Musty Smell Out of Clothes and Towels includes tips for dealing with musty closets.

Several studies have shown that folks who have too much clutter also tend to suffer from higher rates of depression. I don’t know if this is because they’re too depressed to clean, or the mess makes them depressed. Either way, I figure it’s a win-win to clean up your space. Less odors, and more room to tackle the next project.

You may also find these useful:

Recommended Reading: Cleaning Mildew Off Ceiling

I Need Help Finding Source Of And Removing Mold From Walls

  • on Apr 21, 2016I had this in my master bathroom. The entire room had to be gutted, including the wood studs. Be careful of this situation as breathing in the fumes from the mold could potentially cause human damage. I think you should look into the possibility of having the mold removed from a professional.
  • Anita Elaine on Apr 21, 2016IF the problem is the drain tiles around the exterior of the home, then fixing the walls may not be of help in the long run. Check to see how the water drains in the property. Is everything going TOWARD that corner of the house? Are drain tiles missing or broken? And remember to be very careful in disposal of mold. Black mold can cause epileptic seizures, especially in small children.
  • Anna Schultz on Apr 21, 2016@Anita Elaine, thank you so much for responding, Thank you Lord we don’t have any babies in the house, just us, however he is elderly and I worry about his lungs. I had no idea that it was so dangerous. I was just concerned because visually it is nasty and of course that side of the house has a “damp” odor. I have cleaned the walls with bleach and it looks great for about a month, but then it comes back. I’m not sure there is anything I can do. He built this home when he was young and didn’t give much thought to the crawl space. I have no idea if there is water standing under the house or not. I guess I was just hoping that I could fix it with lots of manual labor and not as much money.
  • Common Places For Mold To Grow

    TOXIC MOLD GROWING BEHIND WALL!! Can we find the source??

    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:

    • Basements
    • 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.

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    Mold Inspectors And Testing

    Hiring a mold inspector is like a crap shoot. There is such a wide variance of quality when it comes to inspectors. Inspectors have different levels of education and experience ranging from a weekend internet course to professionally trained building biologists, engineers, HVAC/IAQ professionals. You can read about the challenges of finding the right inspector and remediators HERE.

    When you ask a mold remediator whether they will be able to remove ALL of the mold, every true professional will admit that it is impossible to make that claim! This is because homes regularly experience water or moisture issues as part of their yearly wear and tear. In many cases, a small leak or water issue may grow mold and simply dry out over a few days. In these cases, the mold dries and becomes dormant. It can reactivate when faced with moisture in the future.

    Does that mean that the mold is dangerous if it is in drywall or within walls? Sometimes it remains harmless. However, in order to fully remove all mold, virtually all drywall would have to be removed and all framing and flooring would have to be treated or remediated. A remediator would have to drill every 2 feet and at multiple heights to reach all areas between the 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 wooden wall studs. It is often adequate to use a moisture meter to identify moisture issues and repair where the active mold is reproducing.

    How To Test For Mold In 6 Steps

    Mold infestations can usually be seen or smelled, but they can also remain hidden behind walls or under carpets. Testing isnt necessary if you can see or smell mold that is confirmation enough to call a professional and begin the remediation process. Testing for mold in the house may be necessary if requested by a health professional or needed for legal purposes, such as a lawsuit with a landlord. Another reason to consider testing is if you arent able to see or smell mold in your home but are having unexplained symptoms associated with mold. Always follow the instructions provided with a test kit , but this is generally what to expect:

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    Closets Bedroom Corners & Wall Mold

    Closets, bedroom corners and wallswill support mold growth. Mold is commonly found along exterior walls in closets.

    Exterior walls are always cooler than interior walls. Uninsulated walls are worse. When there is limited airflow and of course the accumulation of dust or dirt, expect to find mold.

    Similar areas where ventilation does not exist, or where cleaning can be difficult include behind furniture, curtains, upper ceiling/wall corners. Mold on the surface of these areas is usually due to high humidity.

    Resolving indoor humidity issues is a huge step to preventing indoor mold, so it is critical to use the bathroom & kitchen fans, keep laundry in the dryer rather than drying your clothing indoors and using a dehumidifier if you experience excess humidity.

    Can Mold Cause Health Problems

    How To Find Mold In Your House

    Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens , irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances . Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash .

    Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.

    This provides a brief overview it does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure. For more detailed information consult a health professional. You may also wish to consult your state or local health department.

    Also Check: Get Mold Off 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.

    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.

    Recommended Reading: Best Mold Remover For Bathroom Ceiling

    How To Test For Mold

    You probably dont need to do mold testing or buy a mold test kit, especially if the fungus is visible. Because the health effects of mold vary from person to person, the CDC says that if you can see it or smell it, it should be removed, no matter what type of mold is in your home.

    While its not possible to completely eliminate mold in your house, you can prevent a build-up by cleaning up any wet or damp spots and fixing any existing water leaks.

    Neither the CDC nor the EPA recommends doing routine mold samplingsboth organizations point out that there are no federal limits for mold in buildings, so people cant check their apartment complexs compliance with the law, for example. Plus, the testing can be expensive.

    Getting Rid Of Mold In Areas You Cannot Reach

    How To Test For TOXIC Mold In Your Home – Best Mold Test Kit to Use – Twin Plumbing

    I used a home mold test kit to see if I had mold in my basement . Turns out a little bit of mold is growing in the petri dish. The mold looks to be greenish in color, almost a green-white. It also looks a bit fuzzy. I looked around and cannot find any source of it, so I figured I would clean all of the wood beams, insulation, and walls as well as run a dehumidifier and air purifier to get rid of and prevent the mold. The biggest issue is that there is one part of the ceiling that is drywalled, and a part that isnt

    I was considering just spraying some vinegar behind the drywalled section because I cannot reach behind there to scrub, nor can I see all that well to target specific sections should I see mold. I figured the vinegar would kill the mold even without scrubbing, and the dehumidifier would prevent the spores from spawning new colonies.

    Is this an effective plan? Or will the vinegar add moisture to the drywall/wood studs and actually feed the mold? Is there a more effective way to treat the mold and prevent it in the room?

    PS: the room as only a small basement window and cannot be opened, so air flow is poor, so I am trying to avoid bleach/ammonia. Plus I heard they cannot penetrate porous surfaces anyway

    • You need to keep the moisture in the air down or nothing you do to kill mold will be effective. On the other side, if there is low humidity, mold will not grow, even if there are mold spores. I suggest you focus on lowering humidity rather than disinfecting.

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