Having a mold problem is like having a roommate overrunning and wreaking havoc on your home. No one likes mold, and unfortunately, it can sometimes even be hard to detect. It’s important that you know where to look, how to prevent the growth, and when to call a professional so that you can kick this conniving fungi out for good.
What is mold
First, it’s important to know exactly what you’re up against. Mold is a type of fungi, which often is attracted to damp environments, producing spores that travel airborne. Inhaling these spores can negatively impact your health, as they can cause respiratory problems. In 2004, the Institute of Medicine found that there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough and wheezing in otherwise healthy people.
How to tell if you have mold
Mold is the ‘Where’s Waldo?’ of fungi, because it can often be hard to identify. It’s not always as simple as relying on sight alone. It’s important to trust our sense of smell, as mold is usually accompanied by a poignant, musty scent. Check around the areas listed in the orange box and if you can see signs of discolored dark spots, you’ve found your culprit. If you have a common mold problem, you can easily clean the mold yourself by using gloves, and a cleaning concoction of 1:9 ratio of bleach-to-water. While you might have cleaned the mold, it’s also necessary to fix any water damage or ventilation issue that might have started the growth to begin with.
When to call in a professional
There’s no shame in asking for help, especially if the severity of your mold problem is more than a one-person job. The Environmental Protection Agency says that if there has been a lot of water damage and the mold growth covers more than 10 square feet, it would be beneficial to hire a contractor or professional service provider who is experienced in mold clean-up. If you have a mold problem, it’s important to act quickly, so that the mold doesn’t cause further damage. The EPA also recommends that if you are hesitant about cleaning an item that has sentimental value, it’s important to contact a professional skilled in restoration and conservation, as mold can cause more damage the longer it goes untreated.
Where to look
Mold flourishes in damp environments, which is why it’s important to look in places that suffer from poor ventilation. Inspect your bathroom, as mold tends to love the humidity from hot showers as much as you do. If the grout of your bathroom tile contains a blackish coating, it most likely is a sign of mold. Your kitchen may become a mold breeding ground as well, due to possible ruminants of spoiled food and humidity from cooking. Mold is a frequent hitchhiker and can enter our homes by simply clinging itself to clothing, so even if your house is thoroughly cleaned, mold can still find a way to enter our premises. Here are a few other common places mold loves to grow:
- Air conditioning
- Heating vents
- Refrigerator drip pans
- Front-loading washing machines
- Ventilation ducts
- Under carpet that has undergone carpet cleaning
- Behind drywall that has been effected by flooding
- Around leaks in your roof
- Hot water heaters
- Sump pumps
- Any area that contains standing water