When you suspect mold, you should always take the necessary safety precautions. This includes wearing personal protective equipment like a Tyvek suit, gloves, goggles without vent holes and a respirator.
Mold thrives in damp locations, so look for signs of moisture damage, such as warped walls. It also has a fuzzy appearance and gives off a musty odor.
1. Look for Spores
As fungi, molds spread by releasing microscopic spores that float in the air until they land on a moist surface. These spores can be found indoors and outdoors, and they are constantly circulating throughout your home. Inhaling these spores can lead to allergies and respiratory issues, especially for individuals with existing conditions like asthma and bronchitis.
Mold spores look similar to stains, and they can appear in a variety of colors and textures. They can be black green, brown, white, or even fuzzy. They can also feel like cotton, velvet or sand paper and have musty or earthy odors. Spores are often found on porous surfaces such as drywall, wood, and foam.
When you have a visible mold problem, it is important to check around the area to see how far the spores have spread. If the spores are isolated to a small area, it may be possible to clean them with household cleaning products or water and soap. If they are spread over a larger area, it is important to have the area professionally inspected and treated.
It is also important to examine any nearby moisture damage for signs of a mold problem. If you find areas where paint is bubbling or wallpaper is wavy, it’s likely due to a leakage and should be fixed immediately. Moisture is the main cause of hidden mold, and finding and fixing the source of the moisture can prevent further problems. For example, if you notice moisture in your basement, it could be a sign of a leaking foundation or window well. If you have a leaking roof or vent, you should replace the flashing to prevent moisture from entering the house.
2. Check for Moisture
Moisture is one of the main reasons that mold grows, and there are several ways to check for moisture problems in a house. A professional home inspector might use an air monitor or moisture meter, but you can do a fairly quick visual inspection yourself. Look for areas that have water damage or discoloration to walls and ceilings. Check behind wallpaper, inside vents and attics for moisture as well.
You can also check for moisture by looking at the ground slope around your house. If the slope is directing water away from your house, that’s good, but if it’s directing water toward your house, that’s bad. You can also check for moisture in crawl spaces by removing a wall covering and looking for damp soil underneath.
If you live in a humid area, moisture can be an issue in any room of the house. A relative humidity below 50% is a good level for homes. If the level is higher than that, it’s important to fix the problem before it leads to mold growth or other issues in your house.
Mold is a dangerous potential health hazard, and can cause a variety of health issues in certain people. It can also damage a house’s structure, and can lead to wood rot and other issues in the house’s foundation. If you have any concerns about the presence of mold in your home, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can help you find the source of the mold and take steps to get it removed. This is the first step to making sure your family stays safe. We also offer mold testing, which can help you know for sure whether or not there is a problem with your home’s air quality.
3. Check for Stains
Mold needs moisture to grow, so if you see dark spots on surfaces, you should look around to see what is causing them. If the area has recently flooded or experienced water damage, then the stains might be caused by mold. You can also tell if an area is contaminated by a musty or earthy smell. Musty odors are a sign of poor ventilation and often originate in places where there is moisture, such as bathrooms, basements, or laundry rooms.
Stains from mold can be quite difficult to spot, and they can look very similar to mildew and dirt. If you are unsure, you can test the spot by dabbing a few drops of household bleach on the surface. If it lightens after a few minutes, then the spot is probably mold.
During a home inspection, a professional will be able to tell you if there is a problem. However, they are not allowed to open up walls and conduct in-depth testing. If the inspector finds an area of concern, such as elevated moisture in a wall, they will flag it and recommend a mold specialist conduct further assessment.
Although there are a few different ways to check for mold in your house, the best way is to use physical cues and air samples. Air sample testers are available for purchase online and can be used to measure the level of mold spores in your home. However, they are not recommended because they do not accurately detect the presence of all species of mold. If you are interested in a particular property, consider adding a mold contingency to your offer so that you can back out of the deal if it is found to be contaminated.
4. Check for Odors
If there is an earthy, musty odor in certain parts of your house, it may be due to a mold problem. This is often the case with living rooms and dining areas, where food and drinks are consumed. This makes these rooms ideal places for mildew and mold to grow, especially when the food is spilled or left out for long periods of time.
When a fungus like mold is present, it releases tiny spores into the air that can cause respiratory issues for people with sensitive lungs or allergies. These spores can also lead to expensive damage to walls, furniture and other building structures in the home. For this reason, it is important to check for mold spores regularly, especially if you have children or elderly family members who may be more affected by the presence of this foul-smelling fungus.
A mold inspection is particularly important if you recently had flooding or a water leak. During the flooding process, many homes are inundated with water and damp conditions that are ideal for mold to grow in. When mold is not promptly found and treated, it can spread quickly. This is why it is important to be aware of the potential for mold when buying a new home, and to ask the seller about any previous flooding or water issues that have been addressed.
It is also a good idea to check for mold in bedrooms, as this can pose serious health risks for adults and children. The best way to check for mold in a bedroom is to look for discoloration on the wall, or moisture spots in corners and under furniture. The room should be well-ventilated to prevent moisture buildup, and a dehumidifier or fan can help keep humidity levels low.
5. Check for Carpet Spots
When mold grows in a carpet, it often leaves small dark spots that are hard to distinguish from dirt. These spots can be a sign that the carpet needs to be professionally cleaned and may also be an indication of hidden mold underneath. Mold in the carpet can lead to respiratory problems and should be addressed as soon as possible.
Look for rust or water stains on the underside of carpeting, as well. These can indicate that the carpeting has been subjected to flooding or water damage. If the rust or stains are in a pattern, they may be caused by previous mold contamination and should be investigated.
If the odor of rotten food is present in the house, it is likely a sign that there is a problem with mold. Mold spores are attracted to spoiled foods and can be found in damp areas of the house.
Mold spores can be hard to detect without the help of a home inspector, especially in the case of a hidden infestation. It is important to have a professional inspect the property before committing to a purchase, especially if the property has been unoccupied for a long time. It is also a good idea to have regular mold inspections after a property has undergone major renovations, as mold can develop in these areas as well.
Although some types of mold are more toxic than others, the EPA states that testing and sampling to identify the species of mold isn’t usually necessary when a property has visible signs of mold. Adding a mold contingency to your offer is one way to make sure that you’re protected in the event of a serious infestation.