Updated: Aug 27
A common problem, and one that many are talking about today in the world of real estate, home inspection, and even healthcare, is household mold. Mold is an insidious invader, and it can cause a vast number of problems for homeowners, including lethargy, fatigue, headaches, and irritation of the skin, eyes, nasal passages, throat, and lungs. In cases where toxic black mold, otherwise known as Stachybotrys Chartarum, is present, more serious symptoms involving the brain and nervous system can occur.
What is mold?
Mold is a type of multi-cellular fungus that is found everywhere -- both inside and outside the home. Mold usually presents like a stain and comes in many colors, such as black, white, orange, and blue. It has a musty smell, which usually clues homeowners in to its presence in their homes. It needs moisture in order to thrive and thus is commonly found in homes that have experienced recent flooding or water leaks. Poor ventilation, high humidity levels, and the resulting condensation can also contribute to mold growth in a home.
What types of mold are commonly found in homes?
There are 11 types of household mold that can grow on surfaces inside the home. These include: Alternaria, Aspergillus, Aureobasidium, Chaetomium, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Penicillum, Stachybotrys Chartarum, Serpula Lacrymans, Trichoderma, and Ulocladium. Aside from S. Chartarum, which causes more serious health consequences, all of these molds can cause typical allergic reactions and respiratory issues in those who are sensitive.
What can you do to prevent mold overgrowth in your home?
Some important steps you can take to prevent mold are to use dehumidifiers and air conditioners in basements and other areas of your home that are prone to mold growth, make sure to use exhaust fans in your bathroom(s), and generally do everything you can to avoid any moisture accumulation in your home. It is imperative to promptly fix any leaks that occur anywhere inside or outside of the house and to ensure proper ventilation in crawl spaces. Other helpful tips are to keep household plants outside of bedrooms (mold thrives in moisture-rich soil), to avoid letting wet clothes sit for too long in the washing machine, and to regularly wipe down bathroom tile and shower curtains with disinfecting spray.
How can you find out if you have mold in your home?
The best way to know for sure if your home has any moisture or water issues, such as leaky pipes, is to hire a reputable home inspector to do a whole-house inspection. Most home inspectors can also perform air quality tests in order to get a definitive answer as to whether or not there are mold spores within the home. These tests will generally provide information as to what types of mold are present in the home as well as the scope and severity of the problem. This can provide valuable information for homeowners who are experiencing respiratory or other health issues.
What can you do if an inspector finds mold in your home?
In the event that your air quality test comes back positive for mold spores and/or an inspector sees visible signs of mold in your home, it is probably best to enlist the help of a mold remediation company. While it is possible to get rid of visible household mold yourself using bleach and other mold cleaning products, it is a tricky job and one that is best done by a professional. A mold remediation specialist will take all necessary safety precautions and will ensure that all mold, visible and invisible, is taken care of in the safest and most efficient manner possible.