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:
White Mold On Walls/drywall
White mold grows on your walls or drywall in the presence of moisture and low lights that breed its food. It can develop anywhere on your building walls, including the basement, bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, and other poorly ventilated rooms. Surprisingly, you can also find white mold growing on your tiled walls.
You can see visible growth of this mold on your damp painted or wallpapered walls that are peeling. Accompany signs include stale smells, moist cracked paints, and dusty or swollen walls.
White mold growth on your drywall can be dangerous to the health of those with allergy symptoms. Its spores can spread from the walls to humans and cause health risks. So, before it strikes, act fast to strike it first.
To Prevent Mold Growth In Your Home
- Keep humidity levels in your home as low as you canno higher than 50%all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. You can buy a meter to check your homes humidity at a home improvement store. Humidity levels change over the course of a day so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
- Be sure the air in your home flows freely. Use exhaust fans that vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
- Fix any leaks in your homes roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
- Clean up and dry out your home fully and quickly after a flood.
- Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting. You can buy mold inhibitors at paint and home improvement stores.
- Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
- Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried right away. Think about not using carpet in places like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.
- To learn more about preventing mold in your home, see the Environmental Protection Agencys book A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home at .
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What To Do About Mold In Your Home
For areas that have already fallen victim to mold, there is hope. We cannot stress this enough – your first action should either be a mold test kit, or a call to a professional service. Do not simply attack mold with bleach and expect it to disappear, because you’re likely fixing the symptom and not the root cause. When you know what you’re dealing with, you can then take appropriate action.
In some instances, common household ingredients can rescue you home. Mix a cup of bleach with a gallon of water and scrub the mold off your walls, carpet or ceiling. This will kill the mold, and allow you to repair or repaint the impacted area . This is usually fine for areas where you haven’t been allowing enough ventilation – simply remove the mold, repaint with a moisture or mold repellant paint, and remember to open doors and windows to prevent the area from getting stale.
If you have a windowless bathroom, mold will likely grow here. Having an air extraction fan fitted is relatively inexpensive, and can prevent moisture from staying within the room. Failing that, keep the door open as much as possible.
Leaky Or Sweating Ducts
Central HVAC units have ductwork to distribute air throughout the home.
When it gets more humid in the attic space during those summer months, and the colder air that is being distributed is the perfect recipe for condensation.
This is normal to a certain extent. There may be condensation dripping in the attic from time to time, but if your HVAC system is working properly, it shouldn’t be excessive and you should have insulation in place to absorb the minor drops of water.
If there is excessive water dripping from the ducts.
You are in trouble!
You can see the ductwork is excessively sweating.
While the insulation can take some punishment, it’s not waterproof.
Eventually, that ceiling it is covering will start to get wet and mold can start to grow.
Take a look at the back of the ceiling underneath this leaking ductwork:
Unfortunately, without infrared technology, there was no visual way to tell there was water damage, but you can sure as heck smell it!
For some reason or another, no staining appeared on the ceilings from the living space.
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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
Identify Areas Known To Harbor Mold
When you believe you smell mold, go on the hunt to find it. Look near water supply pipes, around water drainage lines and sewage pipes, anywhere near dryer vents and in laundry rooms, under sinks, in the ceiling above a finished basement, near bathroom exhaust vents, around sump pumps, and inside wall cavities.
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You Visibly See Mold Spores
Of course one of the most obvious ways to determine that you have mold in your house is if you can see it. The downside? If you see a ton of visible mold, it can be an indicator that you have a big problem on your hands.
“Once you see it, you’ve got a big mold problem because what you’re seeing is literally just the tip of the iceberg,” Kelly Hayes-Raitt, a housesitter and the former director of the HomeSafe Campaign in California, told INSIDER.
Simply scrubbing the visible mold with soap and a sponge won’t actually get rid of the mold. So if you see visible mold, you need to reach out to a mold remediation company or another expert to help you get things under control, including any leaks that may have caused the issue in the first place.
The First Step To Getting Rid Of Mold Is Identifying It In Your Home Here Are 5 Tips To Help You Figure Out Identifying Mold In The Attic
Its not uncommon for people to only go into their attic a handful of times each year. Unfortunately, this can allow mold to cultivate and spread.
While it may seem that this isnt an immediate issue because its confined to the attic, the mold can spread through air ducts and cause health problems for your family.
It can also lower the value of your home.
Need to figure out if youve got mold but arent sure what to look for? Dont worry, weve got you covered.
Check out these five tips for identifying mold in your attic.
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What Are The Moisture Sources In Homes
The causes of mold are quite clear. From a scientific perspective, mold is a living organism from the fungi family that thrives in moist areas where it has water and food supply. It also prefers to be relatively warm, stay out of bright light and have an ample air supply.
Preventing mold damage in your home depends on identifying the prime places where these optimum conditions occur and then taking steps to mitigate or eradicate them. Killing mold cultures can be done with many chemical or biological treatments, but the best line of defense is removing the climates where mold begins to grow.
So what are the moisture sources in homes? In every area of your house, theres an opportunity for mold to form. Mold spores will flourish wherever they get a chance. Reducing their odds of cultivating can come from anything like preventing or fixing a plumbing problem to making sure you have adequate ventilation.
Uncontrolled moisture is what gives optimum conditions for mold to start growing indoors. Thats usually where its out of sight and out of mind. Here are some of the most likely places where youll give mold its lucky break.
How Common Is Mold In Buildings
Molds are very common in buildings and homes. Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.
The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus. We do not have precise information about how often different molds are found in buildings and homes.
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Treating The Affected Areas
How To Remove Toxic Mold And Smell In Drain Pipes
Anywhere there is moisture that sits for a prolonged time period and a food source, you are most likely going to find mold. That is why a favorite hiding and breeding place for molds is in and on the drains of your property.
Your drains serve as the delivery mechanism of all the dirty water and food wastes that your property produces and delivers it to the city sewer pipes. Over time, these wastes such as human hair, dead skin, and old food deposits start to build up.
This build up is the perfect food for various molds and bacteria that will start to grow on the inside of the pipes if you do not clean and maintain them properly.
As these microorganisms start to thrive, they reproduce more offspring as millions die to then become food for the new generation of microbes. Before you know it, your drains will be covered in a thick pathogenic and toxic bio slime that will create a foul smell. Worse yet, this thick mold sludge may also lead to clogged pipes and extensive water damage. That is the last thing you want to happen!
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Getting Rid Of The Musty Smell In The Bathroom
Check for mold or mildew in places that water could be. Like the back of the toilet, under the sink, or in the corners of your shower.
Water that isnt properly drained and is left to sit can become stagnant. Standing water such as this provides the perfect environment for mold and mildew growth to begin.
Mildew is easy enough to deal with. There are dozens of different products that you can purchase for removing mildew or mold. These cleaners will specify that they fight against mildew and mold, so finding one shouldnt be too hard.
If you prefer a more natural method, you can also use household products like white vinegar and baking soda to tackle mildew. Proper ventilation is also key and keeping surfaces dry, like drying your shower after each use.
How To Detect Mold In Walls
Figuring out if you have mold inside your wall and even what wall might have a mold problem is no easy task. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of accurate DIY options. The closest you can get to finding mold behind your walls is checking for moisture. More in depth exploration is better left to a professional mold inspector.
What Mold Looks Like
Molds are a type of fungus and can look like their fungal cousins, mushrooms and yeasts. Outdoors, molds can be seen gobbling up the dead organic matter on decomposing surfaces like fallen leaves and rotting logs indoors, house mold thrives in wet, humid environments like bathrooms and basements or anywhere that has recently flooded. There are thousands of types of mold, and their appearance can vary depending on the type of mold and where its growing.
The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum , is also sometimes found in homes and other buildings. This greenish-black growth can grow on fiberboard, paper, dust, and lint, particularly in areas that may have recently flooded or suffered other types of water damage. While black mold can certainly look scary, the CDC says that Stachybotrys chartarum isnt any more harmful than other types of mold.
Are Mold And Mildew Dangerous
Temperature can have a huge effect on mold. Mold flourishes in warm, humid environments with limited or no air circulation.
If you arent already aware of the danger that mold poses, heres a refresher. Reactions to mold exposure can vary from person to person, depending on the amount of exposure.
People who are sensitive to mold can have reactions like an allergy flare-up. Mold exposure can cause itchy or red eyes and skin. Other symptoms can be wheezing, a stuffy nose, fever, and shortness of breath.
People with allergies are the most susceptible to complications caused by mold. Having a suppressed immune system or chronic lung condition can also put you at higher risk. A bad reaction to mold can be scary, and cleaning it is beneficial for both your home and your health.
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If You Use Bleach To Clean Up Mold
- Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce a poisonous gas.
- Always follow the manufacturers instructions when you use bleach or any other cleaning product.
- Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
- Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles during cleanup of affected areas.
- If you need to clean more than 10 square feet, check the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guide titled Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, which gives advice on all building types. You can get it by going to the EPA web site at .