4 Telltale Signs of Mold in Your Home
Mold isn’t always easy to pinpoint; its source can be hard to locate, and even more difficult to remove. What’s more, the presence of mold in a home is also linked to various health effects. Mold can be especially dangerous to children and adults alike. prolonged exposure can lead to short and long-term health effects. Dampness and mold together reduce air quality — especially indoors — and can damage the structural integrity of a home.
What Is Mold?
Mold is a fungal species that forms in damp or moist areas of a home, especially if a room or area has little natural light. Depending on your home, areas like ceiling tiles, basements, underneath sinks, wooden beams, and pipes can all carry mold species. Mold is typically noticeable by its fuzzy appearance — and often an unpleasant odor — spread by the dissemination of mold spores as the fungus matures.
Mold will spread simply by breaking down plant and animal materials in your home. It can be first introduced to a residential environment on shoes, clothing, family pets, or when the home contains a damp setting conducive for mold growth.
Types of mold
Certain types of mold are generally more likely to be found in homes. Consult the below information for some of the most common mold types, potentially affecting your house:
- Aspergillus mold is fairly common around the home, found most frequently in homes, on foods, and in air ventilation systems. Typically black on top with white or yellow hues underneath, this type of mold is rarely an issue for individuals with healthy immune systems.
- Cladosporium mold generally appears black or green — with a “pepper-like” texture — that can grow on toilets and other bathroom surfaces.
- Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly referred to as “black mold,” is toxic and can cause more serious effects. Recognizable by its dark green or blackish color, black mold can form in areas that maintain a damp or wet state for more extended periods. This often includes basements, window wells, flooded rooms, and dated wood.
- Trichoderma mold is identifiable by its white body and green patches and can grow quickly on wet surfaces like carpet, wallpaper, or neglected countertops. Over time, Trichoderma can break down even large-scale building materials and can yield more serious health effects.
Many types are mild and can be easily removed with common cleaning supplies. However, individuals who identify black mold in the home should take steps to immediately remove it before more serious health effects arise.
Warning Signs of Mold in Your House
Residents can identify several different types of mold around the house. While some types of mold are instantly visible and recognizable, others may require a review of your house’s history — and perhaps an assessment of how the mold has affected your physical health — before a professional can help identify it.
1. Smelling a Mold Odor
Often, mold’s presence in the home is identifiable by its distinct odor. If residents begin to identify a smell of decay — often described as “musty” or “meaty” — it’s a good indication that mold is nearby. In cases where a mold odor is more prevalent, professional odor removal and deodorization services can help you identify and eradicate the source of the smell.
2. Visible Mold Growth
Evident mold growth is also an obvious sign that there is an issue worth addressing. Keep in mind that mold won’t typically grow in well-lit areas of the home, where airflow and regular cleaning could limit its growth. Instead, mold is likely to grow in darker areas, like the regions behind or underneath furniture or stairs perfect for damp air. Even if you only identify slight mold growth, visible mold should be removed before the situation escalates further.
3. Water Issues
Water issues can also work to compound the mold situation you’re facing. Whether it’s signs of a past or present water concern — like a leak or active bubbling — water may mean that the growth of mold is not far behind.
From slight water stains, discoloration, or cracking, to fully flooded homes without sufficient aeration, water issues can yield mold far after leaks are addressed and floodwaters recede. Even if there are only trace signs of water present, homes without regular mold removal services can serve as a perfect breeding ground for mold to thrive in.
Homes subjected to flooding without subsequent water damage repair and restoration are also at risk for mold growth. To limit mold and other damage after residential flooding, remove vulnerable items from floors after mopping up excess water, and leave utilities and other electronics off until emergency help arrives to facilitate the water damage restoration process.
4. Mold Exposure
Mold exposure can lead to a wide variety of potential health effects. Many are mild, though certain mold types — or extended exposure to mold in the home — can yield more serious health effects.
How You Can Get Rid of Mold in Your House
Adopting a proactive approach to mold removal in your home can help limit the damage that mold has both to your house and to your health. Mold can be difficult to remove; leaving only a little mold in an isolated corner or behind a toilet can allow it to quickly grow back and resume its damage.
Residents should take steps to protect health during the mold removal process. Don’t disturb or blow on the mold, to prevent spores from spreading. If you have identified the growth of mild mold types in your home, they can usually be safely removed by applying a combination of water and one-quarter tablespoon of baking soda. Lemons — a natural antiseptic — can also be juiced and poured over the moldy area. After five minutes, aggressive scrubbing can remove both the lemon juice and the mold.
Especially for larger mold growths — and in cases of black mold — removal is often better left to the professionals. Don’t ignore the mold; instead, seek professional mold removal help for complete home restoration without any risk to your health, or the well-being of your family.
Tips for Preventing Mold
It’s not enough to successfully remove mold from your home; residents should take steps to actively prevent mold growth in the house, especially in potentially dark or damp locations where mold is most likely to grow.
Keeping mold from returning to your home is easier with the following tips:
- Ventilate the home properly, especially in rooms where mold is likely to grow.
- Keep spaces dry, and mop up thoroughly after cleaning surfaces with wet sanitation supplies.
- Periodically hire mold removal and remediation services for a full-scale home inspection that protects your house from mold invasion.
- Clean shower curtains and other areas where water gathers.
- Heat your home to prevent condensation from collecting on walls, doors, windows, counters, or other surfaces.
Allocating even a few minutes a day toward proactive mold prevention can help prevent serious future mold growth while protecting the health of all residents in the house.