Contrary to popular belief, mold doesn’t always cause major problems – there are thousands of types of mold and only a few types of spores can be potentially harmful. But that doesn’t mean that mold isn’t ever an issue for homeowners. Mold can cause damage to walls, floors and fixtures. And it can cause health problems – especially within certain people. The EPA acknowledges that mold is a naturally occurring substance in the environment, but the EPA also recommends removing any mold in indoor areas. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to know where to look for mold in your own home. And it could be hidden from plain sight. Here are a few ways to diagnose if you may have a mold problem in your home.
A strange odor.
You may notice a pungent smell in certain areas of your home (bathrooms, basements and attics seem to be typical areas). While you may not see the offending mold, you may be able to smell it – and it could be hiding behind wallpaper or within walls. Trust your nose when you smell that something isn’t right over time. (Tip: Make sure to run your vent fan after every shower or bath. That will help remove moisture in the air and prevent mold.)
Chronically damp areas.
Mold grows in damp places – so if you experience a flood, drain backup, sump pump failure or water leak, it’s important to keep your eyes peeled for mold. It’s also important to get the space clean and dry quickly to prevent mold growth. “Many homeowners will notice a small water leak and ignore it,” says Doug Peterson, a water mitigation project manager with 12 years of experience. “In a few weeks, there’s mold up the wall.” (Tip: Don’t ever ignore water leaks in your home. Get the space dry quickly – or call Werner if you need expert help.)
There are some areas where mold growth is easy to spot and clean – like inside your shower. But in hidden and dark areas of the basement, attic or garage, mold may go unnoticed. And there are so many types of mold that it may be a challenge to identify. Mold can even appear in different colors – white, gray, brown, black or green. (Tip: Just because a mold is black, doesn’t mean it’s toxic. Often, the phrases black mold and toxic mold are used interchangeably. In truth, many types of mold are black and not all cause health issues.)
The biggest sign of a mold problem comes from looking to yourself and your health. Some mold can pose serious health issues – particularly to children, the elderly, those with asthma or weakened immune systems. Symptoms range and may include watery eyes, congestion and even exhaustion – similar to seasonal allergies. The biggest clue that mold is impacting your health is when you only notice these symptoms in certain places. If you feel fine when outside your home but have health issues at home or in certain areas within your home, mold may be to blame. (Tip: If you are battling health issues that seem to be linked to mold, you may need to call in the experts to get a clear idea of the problem and how to fix it. It’s important to use proper safety precautions and the Werner team can remediate in the most safe and effective way.)
The bottom line.
Remember that mold isn’t always dangerous. But if you are concerned about mold in your home, talk with our mold remediation experts. And for more information, check out the three most likely places mold will pop up in your home.