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mold risk

Got Mold? 4 Ways to Assess Your Mold Risk

Mold is a common and necessary part of our world. This type of fungus is useful in decomposing organic material, and is part of nature’s garbage disposal system. It is when mold begins growing in places we do not want it (such as in our homes) that it becomes a serious issue that can negatively impact our health and the longevity and safety of our house. That is why it is important to regularly check and evaluate the mold risk of the place in which we inhabit.

Can You See Mold?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to mold, seeing it is a sure indicator that you have a problem. Visually spotting the mold is the most obvious way to determine if you have mold in your home. If mold is growing on walls, ceilings, in cabinets, etc, you most likely have something going on that is encouraging the mold growth, such as a leak, or a humidity issue. The item that is causing the mold is important to fix, even before you begin to think about how to get rid of the mold, because if you don’t fix the root cause, the mold will inevitably return.

If you have high humidity in your home, you may want to periodically move your furniture to make sure mold isn’t growing on the wall behind it. I have discovered this type of mold issue growing several times when I lived in a very humid and wet climate. Dehumidifiers can be excellent to add to your mold prevention protocol if the issue is high humidity and not a leak.

Can You Smell Mold?

Is there a constant musty smell in your home or in certain areas of your residence? Is there a wall that emanates a scent that just doesn’t seem normal? If so, you may want to test and/or do a little investigation to see if there is some mold hiding somewhere.

When I was pregnant with my third, we were renting an apartment and each day in the summer, when the sun hit our southern wall, which was the wall in the kitchen, a smell that made me feel sicker than my normal morning sickness with the pregnancy began to grow and get stronger as the suns rays heated up that side of our home. I told my husband that there must be mold in that wall (I have had previous experience with mold sickness and was having symptoms again). Finally, he did some investigating behind the dishwasher and found the mold, and a leak from a slice in the plumbing that was continuously pouring in the surrounding wall. Apparently, whomever had been hired to do the plumbing for the apartment had cut the pipe in the wrong spot and then cut in the right spot, but then installed the partially cut pipe that leaked from day one! Always double check your plumbing to make sure there are no leaks that will grow a garden of mold in your home.

Do You Feel Sicker at Home?

Are you constantly feeling sick, and is it worse when you are at home? Do you experience unexplained respiratory issues, headaches, etc? Sick building syndrome is a real issue that many occupants of homes and buildings suffer from. The NCBI characterizes the signs and symptoms of sick building symptoms as: “Headache, dizziness, nausea, eye, nose or throat irritation, dry cough, dry or itching skin, difficulty in concentration, fatigue, sensitivity to odors, hoarseness of voice, allergies, cold, flu-like symptoms, increased incidence of asthma attacks and personality changes.” There can be many factors related to sick building symptom other than mold, and the cause of it is unknown, however, if you constantly feel sicker at home and suspect a possible mold problem, you may want to test your home for that possibility. 

Test Your Home

If you an unsure whether or not your home is infested with mold, or if you are purchasing a home and want to make sure you are not buying a mold headache to deal with, it may be a great idea to test your home for mold. There are many different ways to test your home, whether by hiring a professional to inspect and test, or by performing your own mold test, such as an ERMI dust test. It is a good idea to research which option is the best and most thorough way to test for your budget and situation.

the smell of mold

What Does Mold Smell Like?

What is that smell?

There are numerous aromas our olfactory organs are subjected to each day. Whether it be the smell of food cooking or baking, the distinct aroma of herbs or essential oils, or the unpleasant reek of yesterday’s trash, our nose encounters a host of various scents, both appealing and unappealing. While our sense of smell has many purposes, it is often overlooked as an alarm system. In fact, when it comes to personal safety, our nose is an excellent source for warnings against danger—not just burnt toast. Are there smells that can alert us to potential health hazards or signal that the environment we are in is not safe? Certainly. Aside from the distinct smell of smoke or gas, mold’s pungent odor is a helpful indicator that your health, as well as the health of those living with you, is at risk.

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symptoms of mold

3 Symptoms of Mold in the Home

Signs of an Unhealthy Home

When it comes to mold, the most commonly discussed topics are moisture and the effects of mold on the health of the home’s residents. While moisture and health concerns are vital symptoms of mold that can’t be ignored, it is still important that the homeowner or renter be prepared to recognize the presence of mold long before excessive moisture and bad health set off alarms.
Think of your home like you would your own body. When you’re ill, your body displays symptoms that give clues as to what the root sickness is. Doctors can’t diagnose your illness, disease, syndrome, or disorder until they have considered all the symptoms and ruled out false causes. The same detective work should be done in relation to your home.
There are three symptoms—aside from moisture and health issues—that reveal the presence of mold in the home.
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