Mold is a word no homeowner ever wants to hear. While we all know that mold is dangerous, many people have no idea what mold actually is or why it is dangerous. In this article, we highlight 7 methods you can use when it comes to identifying potential mold in your home. If any of these yield a potentially moldy situation, take action right away to identify, remove and remedy the situation.
What is Mold?
Mold is an extremely small, dangerous element that belongs to the family of fungi. It can thrive on almost any surface especially cellulose-based objects. Mold reproduces very quickly, and it can take hold in your home in no time. Once mold takes over, your health and your wallet can be impacted. The sooner you identify and remediate, the lesser the impact.
Most people hear the word “mold” and cringe. They don’t realize that molds are a very normal part of our world. Molds are present almost everywhere. Though they may be harmful at times, molds are a big part of the ecological balance in the environment, as they play a major role in breaking down organic substances. In fact, molds are the original recyclers.
It is only when certain types of molds get into our homes that issues arise. Though there are thousands of different mold types, only certain kinds are dangerous for humans. Mold spores easily become airborne and once inhaled, they can have major impacts on our health. Health issues range from recurring allergies to severe reactions ending in death.
Molds require moisture to grow. There are many different types of moisture sources in our homes, and all of them can produce mold if they persist. From floods to roof leaks, moisture can come from almost anywhere. According to some recent studies, approximately 50 percent of homes have unknown moisture problems. And as we all know, molds thrive best in moist places. While we may notice moisture on our walls or in our bathrooms because we frequently visit these areas, mold can often hide in the areas of our homes we don’t frequently visit such as basements, attics, and behind furniture.
To a large extent, all indoor mold growth is potentially harmful and should be removed promptly, no matter what types of mold are present or whether they can produce toxins.
Awareness and sanitation should be observed to prevent the spread of molds in your home. Below are 7 ways you can detect mold in your home.
Here are 7 ways to detect if your home has dangerous molds:
1. Launch a search operation
One of the quickest and easiest ways to detect mold is to simply look for it. Mold leaves lots of visible clues behind. Check whether there are visible signs of mold growth in your home. Molds are characterized by their cotton-like features that may appear in colors such as gray, white, black, or green. Black mold can be especially dangerous, so be sure to watch for any signs of this type of growth.
Check for any yellowing or furry looking growth on fabrics, sheetrock, or anything else that’s potentially been exposed to moisture. Mold that is present behind paint will produce bubbles or other deformities in the paint.
2. Use your sense of smell
Remember that smell you got the time you forgot to unpack wet gym clothes from your bag or locker? Mold typically leaves behind a very distinctive scent that can be identified by most people. Whenever you smell any moldy odors, begin your search immediately. But you also have to remember that even if your home has no moldy smell it doesn’t mean that you’re free from its threat.
Be sharp-eyed because some fragrance-free molds are still toxic.
3. Is basement flooding one of your indoor problems?
Has your basement flooded in the past? If yes, then there is a large probability that your house is filled with some dangerous molds. Look around your basement for indications of extra mustiness or water damage. Even if the water was removed promptly, the walls and other basement fixtures probably retained a lot of moisture which then, in turn, breed mold. Mold can grow deep into the drywall so don’t assume that visible mold is only on the surface.
If you have experienced any type of basement or house flooding, check if there are water discolorations on walls and ceilings. Remember excess amount of moisture is the major culprit for mold exposure.
4. Windows mist over during winter
Winter season is characterized by rain and cold, and generally when it’s cold and rainy, there is an excess in moisture in the environment. This excess amount of humidity in the environment can cause fungal growth which culminates the most in damp areas. Even small amounts of condensation can invite excessive mold growth.
If your windows are foggy during winter, it is best to find out where the extra moisture is coming from, and check the area for any mold contamination. Be sure to fix the moisture source. Otherwise, your mold remediation efforts will be short lived.
5. Use home mold test kits
If you aren’t comfortable with your visual and smell tests, mold home test kits are a great option for an inexpensive second opinion. Mold testing is used to find out any dangerous threats of molds in your home. These do-it-yourself test kits are designed to track down the presence of harmful molds that can trigger serious health problems. Most of these testing devices are user-friendly and can provide reliable results. However, don’t skip a visual inspection of your home because no test is 100% accurate.
There are also mold inspection professionals that you can hire to perform full home mold inspections. These companies are trained and licensed in mold inspection. While it may cost more than a home test kit, you can rest assured that your results are accurate. If mold is detected in your home, the company can also provide guidance on the next steps you need to take to remove and remediate.
6. Molds that are hidden
Most experts agree that the most perilous mold is the one that is unseen, such as in air conditioning units, duct-work, or within walls. These molds can swell up rapidly while undetected. In most cases, hidden molds can be discerned not by eye but by the stale odor or the frequent need to clear your throat. Proper care and maintenance will typically prevent these. Be sure to schedule routine inspections and maintenance of your entire home – taking care to include all areas that may not ever be seen otherwise. Mold is tricky.
7. Ask a Certified Mold Inspector
In instances where you cannot detect if there are molds inside your house, you can ask the assistance of licensed mold inspectors. They have the proper know-how in pinpointing the exact location of undetected mold problems. These mold inspection professionals that you can hire to perform full home mold inspections are trained and licensed in mold inspection. While it may cost more than a home test kit, you can rest assured that your results are accurate. If mold is detected in your home, the company can also provide guidance on the next steps you need to take to remove and remediate.
All in all, the key to total prevention of the threats caused by mold problems is awareness of the problem. Be vigilant with your surroundings for any sign of mold growth. Early prevention is the best solution to all the hazards set off by this microorganism.
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