Monday, June 17, 2024

Is There Mold In My House

You Find Dark Or Colored Spots On Your Walls

How to search for hidden mold in your home

Mold can appear in many shapes, textures, and colors. It can look like anything from green, dripping slime definitely something youd notice to an innocuous-looking grey fuzz. If your walls are coming out in spots, its worth double-checking that there isnt a leak in the pipes or uncontrolled humidity in the room.

If you have a pre-existing breathing problem that seems to flare up after long periods at home, mold could be the culprit.

Most species of household mold wont bother people without breathing issues but can aggravate asthma in individuals who already suffer from the condition. Consider scheduling a doctors appointment and a mold inspection if your breathing problems seem to worsen without a clear cause.

Spotting And Fur On Your Walls

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.

Common Types Of House Mold

Wondering what types of mold are the most common in houses and which ones you should be concerned about? Lets discuss a few of the most common types of household mold now.

  • Cladosporium Cladosporium is one of the most common household molds. It usually grows in a greenish-brown colony, but can also be nearly black in color. It is rarely harmful unless you have a mold allergy, but may cause minor issues like toenail or fingernail infections.
  • Penicillium Penicillium is sometimes called green mold, as it is usually dark green in color. It tends to grow in large, consistent patches on the walls. As the name suggests, penicillin is derived from some kinds of this mold. However, some kinds of penicillium mold may be toxic to humans and animals.
  • Aspergillus This type of mold is usually greenish-white in color, and may be more raised with a more cloudy appearance than other types of mold. It is not harmful, unless you have a weakened immune system, in which case it could infect the lungs or sinuses.
  • Alternaria Alternaria mold is usually greenish-white, but can also appear in black patches, so its sometimes confused with black mold. Alternaria can be a factor in exacerbating asthma, particularly for those who may have mold allergies.

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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.

Your Chimney Smells Weird

How Do I Clean Up Mold Thats Growing Inside My House?

Chimney sweeps dont only remove dangerous creosote buildup they can clean out toxic mold too. Moisture can accumulate in the porous bricks and mortar of a chimney. Rusty chimney caps or flashing that needs repair allow rain and snow to seep in, creating an environment for mold to thrive. That may be the reason you smell something funky on days when the wind is blowing in a certain direction. Fix the cap and flashing and call the chimney sweep to extinguish the mold issues. Watch out for these other scary ways your fireplace could be toxic, too!

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Take Care Of Repairs Removal And Remediation

You want to clean up the mold growth and address its moisture source as soon as possible. Dont put things off while youre trying to negotiate with the seller. Mold growth spreads very quickly, but you can take care of small outbreaks with DIY mold cleanup. If affected areas cover more than 3 square feet or include porous materials like drywall, bring in a mold remediation contractor.

Addressing Moisture And Mould In Your Home

Health Canada considers indoor mould growth to be a significant health hazard. The word mould is a common term referring to fungi that can grow on building materials in homes or other buildings. Damp conditions and mould growth in homes increases the risk of respiratory allergy symptoms and exacerbate asthma in mold-sensitive individuals. It is important to know how to identify, address and prevent moisture and mould in your home.

People living in homes with mould and damp conditions are more likely to have:

  • eye, nose and throat irritation
  • coughing and phlegm build-up
  • wheezing and shortness of breath
  • worsening of asthma symptoms

The level of concern depends on the extent of mould, how long it has been present and the sensitivity and overall health of the residents. Some people are more susceptible than others. For example, infants, children, the elderly and those with health problems such as breathing difficulties are more at risk from mould and dampness.

Any respiratory health concerns should be discussed with a physician if you suspect that these could be caused by poor indoor air quality. Your physician is best suited to determine if your symptoms may be related to environmental factors or some other underlying cause.

Health Canada recommends controlling dampness indoors and cleaning up any mould regardless of the type of mould presentFootnote 1.

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We Help You Feel At Home Again

It can take time to work things out with a seller after youve closed on the house. While most individuals are fair and honest, you may not reach an agreement that satisfies all parties. Still, you need to address unhealthy mold growth immediately. Quick action minimizes property damage and protects your health.

Our teams are ready to help with expert mold removal and remediation. As Chicagos leading restoration contractor, were uniquely positioned to handle all kinds of water damage problems including small plumbing repairs. Give us a call here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba. Let us help you finally feel at home in your new dream house.

Your Floor Feels Squishy

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You know to be concerned about a soft spot in your hardwood floor. If you can access the subfloor through a crawl space or a basement, check for moisture. If thats not possible, youll have to pull up a section of flooring. Its worth it: That moistureand any mold growth will eventually spread. If the wood floor is rotted, then the whole flooring needs to be changed, says Piotraut. If the flooring is still in good condition and only has a small amount of mold, it can be removed with mold remover.

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What Else Can Cause A Musty Odor In The Home


As a mold assessor, the number one culprit that I find is causing musty smells in homes during a mold inspection is:

High humidity

Humidity is how the amount of water vapor measured in the air.


Humidity itself can lead to mold growth on both hard surfaces


Mold generally will only be on the surface of hard surfaces and in most cases but may let off what people describe as a mildew smell.

High humidity for an extended period of time could lead to mold growth on porous items such as couches, beds, clothes, etc.

There are many times however by just controlling the humidity within the home that the smell will vanish. The smell of dampness is mostly related to humidity.

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

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Worth The Cost Of Testing

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.

Your Asthma Is Acting Up

How Do I Know if I have Mold in My Home?

Mold spores can find their way into the lungs and trigger asthma symptoms. One study found that dampness or mold in houses could account for one in five cases of asthma in the United States. If your asthma seems to be getting worse, you may have undetected mold in your house, according to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America. The group warns that mold can also cause a rare but more serious condition called allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis: This is a dramatic allergic and inflammatory reaction that leads to severe sneezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.

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Talk With An Attorney

If you believe the seller was aware of your new homes mold problem, talk to an attorney. Share documentation from the second home inspection report. The Illinois Residential Real Property Disclosure Act doesnt specifically cover mold, but it does cite issues related to recurring leaks and plumbing defects. Still, you may need evidence of intent. For example, if the seller painted over mold, you could have a strong case.

How Toxic Is Mold

Any mold that produces mycotoxinsthe myco refers to fungusis toxic, and it can be quite poisonous. One of the more alarming varieties is Stachybotrys chartarum: Dense, black, and usually present where moisture has been a long-term, unresolved issue, like a damp basement or in an abandoned home, this fungus can trigger a suite of health issues, like persistent headaches, diarrhea, breathing trouble, and more. But other types can also cause issues, warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention : All molds should be treated the same with respect to potential health risks and removal. These are the signs of mold that you should be looking out for. Plus, learn the other ways your house could be making you sick.

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Is It A Mold Smell Or Mildew Smell

Mold smell and mildew smell are generally used interchangeably when referring to “that” smell in the home.

But are they the same thing?

Yes and No.

Mold and mildew are both fungi.

While both from the same family there are many differences.


The main difference is mildew generally grows on surfaces whereas mold will actually penetrate the surfaces.

When the average person is referring to an moldy odor or mildew odor, they generally are referring to the same thing.

Can I Just Get Into The Wall And Use Bleach To Clean It

Mold In My House!

It may be tempting to get into the wall and spray everything with bleach by yourself. However, if you have never done this before, it is better to call someone licensed to deal with mold. This is especially true if you have never gone into the wall and dont know how to detect how extensive the mold damage is. Leaving the eradication of mold to professionals will save not only your health but also your sanity. A professional team will have all the protective gear, detection tools and methods necessary to get rid of all the mold in your home.

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What Is Black Mold

All types of mold can cause allergic reactions at certain levels and possibly be harmful to your health.

We have heard the terms black mold and toxic mold more and more often. Black or harmful mold and mold spores refer to molds that can release mycotoxins or toxins. Health and welfare concerns from Stachybotrys, individual species of Aspergillus, Penicillium, Chaetomium, Trichoderma, Phoma, and Fusarium are of great interest in the classification of harmful or black mold.

Many types of black mold are harmful and produce harmful materials that are especially harmful to people with chronic conditions. High concentrations of mycotoxins can lead to poisoning even in healthy individuals, depending on the concentration, duration of mold exposure, and various other factors.

Other Issues Brought On By Mold And Mildew

Allergens, mold and mildew can present various other wellness dangers to at-risk individuals. For example, mold can trigger infections of the skin or mucous membranes. Normally, however, mold and mildew dont create systemic infections except for individuals with impaired body immune systems, such as those who have HIV/AIDS or who are taking immunosuppressant medication.

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If The Affected Area Is Large:

  • Take precautions to protect your health.
  • Consider hiring a professional to clean it up, especially if there is a large amount of mould or if the mould keeps coming back after you clean it.
  • A large amount of mould is often the result of a larger problem , which you may need a professional help to fix.

Once clean-up is done, be sure to fix the underlying cause to prevent more mould from growing again.

In The Shower And Bathtub

Is There Mold in my Home? How to Detect Mold

Showers and bathtubs are one of the most common places you may find mold. With repeated use, these areas tend to be damp most of the time. If you arent properly ventilating during and after your shower or bath, mold spores will thrive. But mold isnt always visible and obvious be sure to check for mold on your shampoo bottles, washcloths and loofahs, shower curtain, in and around the faucet and shower head, and in the tile grout.

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What Does It Look Like

Molds are a type of fungus and can look like their fungal cousins, mushrooms, and yeasts. There are thousands of types of mold, and their appearance can depend on the type and where it’s growing. 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.

According to the CDC, the most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria. However, black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum , is 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 isn’t any more harmful than other types of mold.

Look For Signs Of Moisture Or Mold

  • Mold can have a cottony, velvety, granular or leathery texture
  • The color of mold can vary from white, gray, brown, black, green or other colors
  • Mold damage may look like discoloration or staining on the surface of building materials or furnishings
  • Noticeable mold odors are described as musty or earthly

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I Found Mold Growing In My Home How Do I Test The Mold

If you can see or smell mold, a health risk may be present. You do not need to know the type of mold growing in your home, and CDC does not recommend or perform routine sampling for molds. No matter what type of mold is present, you should remove it. Since the effect of mold on people can vary greatly, either because of the amount or type of mold, you cannot rely on sampling and culturing to know your health risk.

Clean The Washer’s Door Seal

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

Inspect every nook and cranny of front-load washer door seals to be sure no mold is growing that can leave clothes smelling moldy.

Run a cloth dampened with white vinegar around the door seals and gaskets. You can either disinfect the cloth after use or toss it in case it harbors loosened mold.

Dry the seal and gasket with a dry towel when you are done. Dispose of the paper towels in the garbage.

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How To Prevent Mold

Mold flourishes in warm, moist areas, so the key to mold prevention is controlling moisture buildup in your home. Controlling the humidity in your home and addressing leaks or water intrusions as soon as possible is the primary way to prevent mold, says Ragsdale. If you notice any water leaks, act quickly to fix the leak. If your indoor humidity levels run high, you may want to invest in a dehumidifier or air conditioner to better control the humidity. Ragsdale recommends servicing your HVAC system annually to ensure it is doing its job at controlling humidity buildup. Crawl spaces and basements are common locations for mold growth, says Rasgdale, since they are typically not climate controlled. If you cannot ventilate these areas, you may need to install a dehumidifier. Ragsdale also recommends being mindful of how you store items in these areas. For example, a pile of newspapers or magazines can soak up moisture in humid spaces and make excellent breeding grounds for mold.

Bathrooms are also hotbeds for mold growth, so be sure to run the fan or open a window during showers or baths. In addition, take care to wipe down surfaces in your shower stall to prevent mold growth. Sometimes mold grows in areas of the shower where water becomes trapped or takes a while to dry out, such as gaskets or shower door tracks. In these cases, take extra time to ensure these areas are properly dried out.

Shutterstock/Burdun Iliya

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