Signs You Have Mold In Your House and What You Can Do About It
It’s stinky, comes in a variety of colors and can wreak complete havoc on your health and your home if you don’t get it under control- FAST!
Mold plays an important role in our natural environment. It helps break down dead organic matter like trees, and leaves, but even if it’s useful for transforming decayed matter into rich compost that we can grow with, you don’t want it inside your home.
The problem is that it’s impossible to get rid of or prevent completely.
Mold spores are constantly floating through the air. These mold spores are like “seeds” of mold. Once they make contact with water or moisture, then you’ll have a mold outbreak that can cause some pretty expensive damage to your home.
But that’s the least of your worries.
If you don’t catch it early on, it can be harmful or even hazardous to you and your family’s health.
How Mold Forms
Mold spores are constantly floating through the air and are invisible to the naked eye.
Usually, they’ll keep moving and won’t cause problems unless they’ve come into contact with some moisture like a damp windowsill or the moist environment of your bathroom.
After they’ve been watered and fed, they start to grow in patches that are barely noticeable at first but can become a much more serious problem if not taken care of early enough.
Some Possible Signs You’ve Been Exposed To Mold
Unless you’ve found the source of mold or know that you have an active growing mold problem, identifying the symptoms that mold can trigger can be tricky since many of the symptoms mimic that of your regular allergy symptoms.
In other words: Mold produces allergens that can trigger the same allergic reactions or even allergy-like symptoms. The same ones you’d experience during the summer or spring with pollen and cotton flying through the air.
One of the best ways to tell you have a mold problem in your home is having allergy symptoms as soon as you step foot in your home, but otherwise being normal or fine when outside.
Other symptoms that can occur include frequent headaches, difficulty concentrating, memory loss and dizziness.
The Myotoxins that some forms of toxic molds can release cause all of these symptoms.
If you notice one or more of these symptoms only when you’re in your home, chances are you have a mold problem that needs to be addressed.
Mold has an unmistakable smell. It’s not pleasant to the nose and chances are if you’ve ever forgotten about some leftovers in your fridge, you’re already familiar with that earthy smell.
The problem is that not all mold is visible and may require a pro for help finding and treating the source.
Especially if you’ve looked all over for the source and can’t find it.
Other Signs of Mold Exposure
To the untrained eye, it’s commonly mistaken for soot or dirt. People often ignore it because they don’t know it’s actually mold.
Adding to the confusion, mold comes in a rainbow of colors and patterns. Gray, brown, grayish green, white, black, orange, pink, or purple.
If you smell mold in your kitchen, bathroom or laundry room, look for water stains or discoloration on the walls, floors or even the ceiling.
Even if you can’t see it, mold can be just below the surface and you may need to call in a pro.
Bulging of the walls, peeling or cracking of the paint and wallpaper are also common telltale signs of mold.
What Causes It?
If you’ve always had a moisture problem, chances are you’ll never completely eliminate the mold problem.
Other common causes are:
-leaks from pipes or a ceiling.
-a sewage backup that occurred in the past.
-leaks that are hidden from your view
-past flooding, if you’ve actually let your sink or tub overflow, or if there was flooding from a weather accident, chances are mold has started to grow.
– condensation can occur when there’s a high amount of moisture in your home and due to poor insulation in your home. Condensation could form on your windows, mirrors, or pipes. If you have metal pipes, rust is a common sign that you have a condensation problem.
The Most Common Hiding Places For Mold In Homes
You may be more familiar with finding mold in your shower or fridge, but that’s not the only place you can find mold. Other common hiding places are:
-underneath bathroom and kitchen sinks
-laundry rooms or mudrooms
-air conditioning systems
-refrigerator door seals and drain pans
What You Can Do About It
Small mold patches should be taken care of right away and can usually be taken care of by yourself. If you’re dealing with a patch bigger than 3ft by 3ft though, you might want to consider hiring a pro.
What starts out small could become an even bigger problem which can be expensive to treat
But even small patches of mold can be a sign that there’s an even bigger problem with mold underneath the surface.
If you’re still not sure if you have a mold problem, you can test for it in three ways:
Most of these tests require a professional who’s had years of experience, and you should definitely consider hiring a pro if someone in your home has allergies, asthma, or another serious respiratory condition.
Things the pro may or may not tell you are that you must take care of the moisture problem and THEN the mold problem, otherwise the problem will just keep reoccurring.
Before You Start The Mold Cleanup Process
Before beginning, talk to your doctor to make sure your symptoms or health problems won’t be aggravated by the mold cleanup process.
If you’re cleaning it yourself, remember to fix the moisture problem first otherwise it will keep reoccurring.
Gear up with the appropriate tools. You’ll need:
– An N-95 Respirator mask. Make sure it fits otherwise you could be exposing yourself to toxic Mycotoxins.
-Gloves that are either nitrile, rubber, or latex work the best. Forearm length or up to the shoulder is best.
-Goggles without ventilation holes.
-A cleaning detergent with a source of water and a scrub brush.
Scrub the mold off the hard surfaces with a detergent and water and then dry the surface completely.
Porous or absorbent materials will more than likely have to be disposed of. Mold likes these surfaces because they’re absorbent and easy to grow in.
Do not try to paint over a mold patch, the paint will just peel away sooner or later.
If you’re not sure how to clean or fix item of sentimental value or of high value, contact a professional who can help.
Unless you’ve seen or found the source of mold, mold exposure symptoms can mimic common allergy symptoms.
If you and your family have started to experience allergy symptoms in your home, the cause may not be from the dander or hair of your family pet.
Mold usually appears in close proximity of damp or wet surfaces, but not always.
If you think you’ve found the source of mold and cleaned it all but keep continuing experience exposure symptoms, you may want to consider hiring a professional who can help find and take care of the problem for you.