How To Detect Mold In Your Basement Or Home
You won’t always know if there is mold in a house you’re considering buying, but you can take a few easy steps to try and find out.
Be on the lookout for mold. When you’re thinking about buying a home, look for the elements above to figure out if there are any obvious signs of mold or the potential for mold. Keep your eyes peeled for standing water in the basement, water marks on walls , or musty smells .
If you’re looking at a newer home, find out whether it is built with “synthetic stucco,” also called the Exterior Insulation and Finish System . This airtight barrier is supposed to improve insulation but, if improperly installed, may allow water penetration and mold growth on the inside of walls.
Ask your home inspector. If you have the home professionally inspected before you buy it, your home inspector may see obvious signs of mold or water damage. While it’s not the inspector’s job to look for mold, most home inspectors will mention obvious signs of water damage and the possible presence of mold. And, because the inspector will poke around in spaces you might not, he or she may see things you wouldn’t. For more information, see the Nolo article, “Getting a Home Inspection.”
In states where mold disclosure is not required, you can still ask for such disclosure. In addition, ask questions about things that could lead to mold growth, such as “Have any pipes ever burst?” or “Have any of the windows ever leaked?”
Indications Of Water Issues
If your home has ever had any issues with moisture, condensation or some other water problems, you can almost be certain that somewhere, mold has started to grow. Therefore, if you know you presently have water issues, or had them in the past, you probably have mold and should probably hire professional mold inspectors to make sure your home is safe.. Strong indications that you have mold due to water issues include discolored walls, ceilings, or floors along with any water stains. Visually seeing any of these signs means there are colonies of mold growing either behind or within these materials.
Other indicators of moisture issues are bubbling, cracking, or peeling wallpaper or paint. If you notice that your walls are warped, bulging, or bowed, it likely means that moisture has penetrated the surface. When hiring professional mold inspectors look for those who will give you realistic advice on how to prevent mold in trouble areas. Sometimes its as easy as buying a dehumidifier to get rid of extra moisture. A good inspector can give further advice.
Your Attic Insulation Is Lumpy
Wave off the spider webs and take a closer look at the insulation in your attic. Attic insulation that is very lumpy and uneven-looking may mean a bigger problem, says John Bodrozic, Co-Founder of HomeZada. The insulation could be in bad shape due to unforeseen roof leaks, which could also mean potential mold issues. If your attic has poor circulation or improper ventilation, it could create ideal conditions for mold growth.
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Extent Of Mould Growth
It is important to determine the extent of the mould problem in your home to help you decide on the clean-up procedure. An area of mould is considered small if it covers one square metre or less. There should be no more than three patches of mould, with the total area staying within one square metre. Many small patches of mould in one area or throughout your home are a sign of moisture problems that need to be investigated and corrected right away.
If ignored, small mould areas may become larger over time, so it is important to clean them up before the problem gets bigger. A small amount of mould may be cleaned up using proper procedures and protective equipment.
The area of mould is considered medium if there are more than three patches of mould , but the total area is less than three square metres. In this case, assessment by a qualified professional is recommended but in most cases a medium amount of mould may be cleaned up using proper procedures and protective equipment .
An area of mould is considered large if a single patch of mould is larger than three square metres. Health Canada does not recommend that an unqualified person clean up large areas of mould. You may need a professional assessment to determine why the mould is there in the first place and how to clean it up.
Signs Of Mold In An Apartment
Watch out for these signs of mold in an apartment:
- An off smell: If you notice a musty smell in your unit, it could very well come from mold. Check for further signs. Even if you dont immediately see anything obvious, a moldy odor means youll want to investigate more.
- Dirty spots: Mold is not always visible, but people can mistake it for stains like soot or dirt when it is. Remember that mold can come in various colors, sizes, and shapes, so dont just assume youre in the clear if that strange spot isnt black. A small mold spot could mean you have more mold lurking behind your walls or in other areas.
- Leaks: Because mold needs moisture, a leak in your unit may lead to mold. Mold often exists around pipes in front of and behind walls. If you have a leak, get it fixed right away, and check for mold signs after. The top causes of mold include leaks from another unit, clogged PTAC units, and broken washing machine hoses.
- Condensation: Again, lots of moisture creates the right conditions for mold. Condensation collects when a lot of moisture exists in the air. High humidity can make condensation even worse, and by extension, the conditions for mold growth even better.
- Flooding: Likewise, flooding often leads to mold. Even if the flood occurred a while ago, you might have mold that grew undetected and is just now showing itself.
If any of these issues exist in your apartment, you should start addressing them with your landlord right away.
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Why Does Subfloor Mold Develop
Subfloor mold usually develops due to an undetected moisture intrusion between the different layers of flooring, especially when the finish flooring is sheet vinyl, laminate flooring, or ceramic tile. I say especially only because if your flooring is carpet, the moisture is much more apparent and quickly and easily discovered.
Unwanted moisture can originate from many different sources such as a slow supply line leak on a faucet or toilet. Another common, and usually harder to determine source of excess subfloor moisture, is a faulty wax ring seal under a toilet that allows water to escape from drainpipes and affect the subflooring. Anytime you have warm temperatures , a source of water, and organic food materials like plywood or OSB, it is possible for mold to develop.
How Do You Treat Mold Toxicity Symptoms
Right now, youll see a lot of experts recommending handfuls of supplements and strict diets but the reality is, we just dont know for sure if these are the right treatment approach, says McElroy. Instead, she recommends the steps below. You might be surprised to see that killing the mold is only one out of five. Thats no coincidence! As McElroy explains, I often dont focus on killing mold since most symptoms are due to the immune response, not the mold itself. Instead, she starts with simple lifestyle steps and utilizes non-pill practices to achieve a state of better immune health, including:
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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.
Stale And Musty Odors
Mold, whether it is visible or not, emits an unusual and unpleasant odor. If an area in your home persistently smells musty, there is a good possibility there is mold in the room. You can follow the odor to where it is strongest, find the mold and remove it. However, if the mold is in an unreachable place, like inside walls, you need to call in a professional to help you remove the growth
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Visible Growths And Odd Colors
You may be able to visibly see a black mold growth in your home. While most black mold is indeed black, it can have a wide range of variations. For instance, you may notice a dark, furry growth or what appears to be a black stain, or there could be white, orange, brown, and even green specks.
A good rule of thumb is no matter what the color, get it treated to avoid damage to your health.
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.
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Why Are Mold Issues Difficult To Diagnose
Conventional medicine recognizes that mold can cause allergies but does not recognize that mycotoxins emitted by some species of indoor mold can cause a problem, says McElroy. This means that doctors unfamiliar with mold and mold treatment may miss one of the main types of mold reactionsthe chemical and inflammatory reaction. This is for a few reasons:
- There is no gold standard in testing for mold
- There is no standardized treatment protocol or drug for mold toxicity
- There are very limited human-based studies looking at the connection between mycotoxins and human health
- The presentation of mold issues is very different among patients
- Not everyone exposed to mold mycotoxins will have a reaction to them
Its no wonder mold illness can be hard to diagnose. Fortunately, holistic medicine providers consider environmental factors that affect health when evaluating patients and may have additional advanced training in treating mold toxicity.
According to McElroy, one of the biggest challenges with mold is that mycotoxins can cause only some people to launch an inflammatory response. This unpredictable response can go on for years after a long-term exposure in a susceptible individual, she explains.
Warning Signs You Have A Mold Problem
- Date: 05-2017
Molds are types of fungi that may grow indoors or outdoors, usually in damp, warm, and humid environments. The most common types of household molds might be found around bathrooms, basements, drywall, ceiling tiles, carpet, wallpaper, under sinks, and around plumbing pipes.
Mold in the home can pose serious health risks, but unfortunately many dont realize they have a mold problem because they dont know what to look for. Here you will read a little about mold warning signs, first as it relates to your health, and secondly as it relates to the structure and history of your home.
Mold Warning Signs: Allergies and Other Health Issues
When someone has mold in their home, they usually show allergy-related symptoms. If youre not sure whether your allergy-like symptoms are caused by mold in your home, then consider this question: do your symptoms get better once you go outdoors or leave your home? If so, then there is good chance that mold is the culprit.
Symptoms of mold allergies include:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Irritated, itchy skin
Some forms of household mold are toxic, causing serious, life-threatening illness. These highly-dangerous molds might cause symptoms such as bleeding, internal organ damage, mental impairment, cancer, and even death.
Mold Warning Signs in Your Home
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Mold Can Be Very Bad For Your Home As Well As Your Health Read More To Learn About The Top Five Signs Mold May Be Growing Inside Your House
Every homeowner has fears when it comes to repairs and problems associated with the responsibility of owning a home. But, when the problem is mold, things start to look a little bit more complicated.
First, it can be difficult to even detect mold in your home if you cant directly see or smell it. Second, it can be even more difficult to get rid of, especially if its in a large or blocked off area. Whats worse, if you have mold in your house, you could be at risk for health problems.
If you suspect a your house may have a mold problem, or if youre wondering how to detect it, youre in the right place. In this article, we discuss some of the most pertinent signs of mold in your house and how to eradicate it! Keep reading to learn more.
The Paint Is Bubbling On Your Walls
Have you noticed that the paint is bubbling on the walls of your bathroom or near a window? One of the most common reasons paint begins to bubble is moisture. And where theres moisture, theres probably mold. You wont be able to cover up the problem with a fresh coat of paint you have to find the source of the moisture. It could be a leaky windowsill, too much humidity, or leaky plumbing. Once you fix the moisture issue, then you can repaint. Just make sure to scrape, patch, clean, and thoroughly dry the walls before rolling on the first coat. Watch out for these sneaky everyday objects you touch every day that can be toxic.
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Persistent Cough Or Cold
Have you been fighting a cough that just wont seem to go away? Prolonged exposure to mold mayexacerbate respiratory illnesses, like persistent or recurring bronchitis and pneumonia. The first line of defense is to consult with your doctor for treatment and to rule out any other underlying illnesses. If there are other indications of a mold problem in your home, this must also be treated by professionals promptly and comprehensively.
Are you suffering from a pesky cough or cold that just doesn’t seem to go away? Mold in your home may be to blame. To treat the problem promptly and comprehensively, call the experts at ProClean Pensacola at 484-8500. #MoldRemoval#MoldRemediation#PersistentCough
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.”
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Is All Mold Toxic
In terms of toxicity, mold varies widely.
The most common toxic mold is known as Stachybotry Chartarum and is black or dark green in color. When inhaled for extended periods, it may cause harm to your respiratory system.
Unfortunately, Stachybotry Chartarum is not the only black mold out there, so it isnt always easy to identify.
Random Leaks Throughout The House
The next step should be to walk around your house and check for signs of random leaks, even small ones. A leaky faucet, AC unit, or something else can cause mold to grow over time. Be sure to check every area of the home where plumbing exists.
If you find a leak, repair it and then check its surroundings for signs of mold. If any damage was caused due to the leak, such as water damage to wood or other materials, then have these materials replaced.
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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.