Alban inspectors combine home inspection skills that focus on moisture infiltration into a home with mold specific education and certification programs to develop the skills to be sensitive to mold issues and to both inspect and advise our clients about mold in the properties we inspect.
Most of us know that mold can be bad for our homes and our health, but how much else do you know about this common household plague? Education is key to reducing both your level of worry and the risks associated with living in a home with mold, so here are a few things you should know:
What is Mold
Mold is a fungus that is crucial in nature for the decomposition of dead matter — it’s just bad luck (water infiltration or high humidity levels) that permit molds to take up residence in our homes. Molds reproduce by the spread of spores through the air, which are invisible to the naked eye and cause many of the respiratory problems that are associated with living in a home with mold.
Moisture is key
Essentially, in order to get a foothold in your home, mold needs a dank, warm, moist place to grow. To prevent these from forming, you should make sure that your house is well-ventilated and that the air humidity level is kept between 30 and 50 percent. If you live in a particularly humid area, a dehumidifier will help you to keep the moisture level in your home unappealing to mold.
Molds can grow anywhere.
Don’t rule out the possibility of mold taking root on basically any surface in your home. Molds have been found living on wood, paper, fabric, other synthetic home surfaces, and of course on food.
Once you can see mold growth, it's a problem
If you see even a few visible splotches of mold on your walls, chances are there’s a larger problem going on underneath the surface. Consult with a professional as soon as you notice any visible mold in your home.
If you think your home might have mold, schedule a home inspection with Alban Inspections today.
Why is Mold a Housing Problem?
Construction practices produced tighter energy efficient houses and outside air does not flow through. If a leak occurs, wet areas cannot dry out and this moisture supports mold growth. Occurrences like clogged gutters, plumbing leaks or any type of water intrusion can begin the process. Mold will cause damage to the housing structure if left untreated because it will continue to grow and spread, eating building materials like wood and drywall.
Is Mold Dangerous?
Mold spores can cause health problems such as:
- Burning, watery, red eyes
- Nervous system problems
- Sore throat and dry cough
- Respiratory problems
- Asthma and allergic reactions
- Skin irritation
Red flags Indicating the Need for Testing
- Family member with allergies or other illness
- Visible mold growth
- Musty odor anywhere in home
- Evidence of present or past water infiltration
- Evidence of a condition that could lead to water infiltration
- Construction defects
- Poorly maintained or dirty HVAC
- Plumbing defects in kitchen, baths or laundry area
- Cracks in bath tile, missing caulk or failed toilet seals
- Leaking drains
- Carpet in direct contact with concrete
Finding and Testing for Mold
Alban inspectors are trained to perform mold investigations and tests. Our experience with moisture intrusion problems permits our inspectors to assist home buyers and owners with mold concerns. We can sample visible mold for laboratory analysis to determine the type of mold present in the house. Visible molds occur anywhere moisture is found.
as evidence of water infiltration or construction defects, but no mold is observed, air sampling can be performed. A client with allergies is another red flag for mold Should one or more of the red flags suggesting a potential for mold infestation be observed, such testing.
Can it be Fixed?
In most cases mold problems can be fixed. Water problems should be corrected. The damaged materials should be replaced and remaining affected areas cleaned. If test results show toxic mold spores are present; you should NOT begin any type of remediation and a specialist should be employed.
How to Prevent Mold Growth
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, molds can be found in virtually any environment, indoor and outdoor, year round. Although not all molds are toxic, many can have adverse effects on your health, causing upper respiratory issues and aggravating the symptoms of those who are already sick. Prevent mold growth in your home with the following three tips.
First, be aware of any changes in the home. If you smell a musty, damp odor, it could be mold. In addition, suffering from asthma or allergy-like symptoms can be a sign as well.
Keep humidity levels as low as possible, and use an air conditioner or dehumidifier during the steamier months. As the temperature fluctuates throughout the day, be sure to check the home routinely for any changes in condensation buildup.
Second, clean areas of the home that get wet regularly, such as the bathroom and laundry room. In addition, immediately remove or replace any furniture or carpets that become wet.
Finally, if mold is found in your home, take action quickly. Be sure to check back here for more tips this summer.