Is Your House a Home for Mold?

Not only does mold degrade the integrity of your home’s walls, floors, and ceilings, it can also cause major health problems. Depending on the type of mold in the home extreme measures may need to be taken to eradicate it and restore your possessions. Let’s look more closely at the different types of mold that may pose a threat in your home, and at some ways to check for mold on a regular basis.

Types of Mold to Look Out For

There are four main types of household mold, some being more dangerous than others. It may be difficult to determine which type of mold you are dealing with, so it is always important to have to checked by a professional, such as a . Let’s first look at mold that is a nuisance, but not deadly.

The most common type of mold you’ll find in any home is the type that grows on things that are decaying, such as old food, unclean dishes, dead plants, etc, called Cladosporium. This type of mold is found quite commonly in the kitchen on food that has been left in the fridge too long, or on dishes that have sat in the sink too long. Cladosporium also easily grows on dead plants so even fresh cut flowers can begin to grow this mold around their stems over time. And while Cladosporium can certainly be gross, it’s not likely to cause major damage to your home in the long run.

Another common type of mold is Aspergillus Penicillium. This mold most commonly finds its home in your home’s air conditioning unit and vent system. Because it thrives in cool, dusty environments it can quickly grow in the AC vents and then be spread throughout the air in your home when the unit is running. Aspergillus Penicillium can cause major problems in people with allergies or asthma because it travels through the air.

Black mold is a serious problem in the home because it thrives in damp areas and can quickly grow in drywall and on the wood framing of your home. Toxic black mold is different that regular black mold, and can be deadly. Toxic black mold spreads onto large surfaces and can not only destroy structural components of your home, it can also cause a host of illnesses including cancer, and other chronic illness. If you’re not sure which type is in your home, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Look for Signs of Mold

To look for signs of mold in your home there are several things you can do. In many cases mold becomes visible, growing on drywall or other home structures.

If you see mold in your home, there is likely a lot more you aren’t able to see growing underneath it. If you have recently had a leak, floor, or burst pipe in the home make sure to check frequently for signs of mold, as early detection could save you in the long run.

In addition to physical signs of mold, your own health may alert you that there may be an issue. Do you seem to have worsening allergies? Frequent headaches? Uncontrollable cough for no apparent reason? All of these things can point to a mold problem in your home.

If you have found evidence of mold in your home, or you suspect mold may be behind your unexplained health problems, call a Maryland home inspector today to set up a meeting. At Highland Homes Inspections we can inspect your home and let you know if there is an underlying issue you need to be aware of. Give us a call today to get started!

The Risk of Skipping a Mold Test

Mold is a dangerous, potentially deadly problem that many Americans must deal with in their homes. It’s possible that mold could be growing somewhere in your home without you even knowing it. Mold can be harmless, and mostly unsightly. However, different species can cause serious health issues. Left unchecked, mold can grow to an uncontrollable rate, making it costly and exhausting to fix.

How can you avoid running into a mold infestation? You can have a professional conduct a mold test within your home to ensure you are safe from this dangerous, home-threatening pest.

When DON’T You Need a Mold Test?

The only circumstance in which it is okay to forego a mold test is when the mold is visible within your home. Obviously, you don’t need someone to tell you that you have a problem. When this happens, skip the evaluation and go straight to the solutions. Contact your local home inspection agency in order to conduct a proper mold test.

You should also be made aware that there are multiple types of DIY mold tests that are available in hardware stores. These are a waste of money and time, and such tests should only be conducted by professionals. Why? Well, mold testing kits are inaccurate at best. Every home, to some degree, has mold, and an OTC test will tell you exactly that. However, this doesn’t explain the severity, and doesn’t let you know what you need to do about it. Don’t waste your money–there are some things that just need to be done by professionals!

What Are Signs That You Need a Mold Test?

Mold may be present in your home, so it’s important to have tests done on a regular basis to ensure you aren’t missing anything vitral. However, there are several warning signs to which you should pay attention, as they can mean the difference between early action and an uncontrollable infestation. For example, if you’ve recently experienced a burst pipe or a flooding incident, a mold test is vital. It will show you whether or not the water damage has caused a serious mold issue.

You should also have your home tested for mold when you smell mold, or suspect that something in your home is . If you feel as though you have allergies, but only within your home, it could be a sign of mold. Likewise, your physician may ask you to have your home tested in order to rule out the possibility of mold causing poor health. Health issues like breathing problems can arise from serious mold infestations, even if that mold is invisible to amateur detection.

Are you concerned about whether or not you have a mold issue in your home? Highland Home Inspections is here to help. We’re professionals, and we know exactly how to search for mold in a way that will help protect your family. We use our combined knowledge in the field to track down the source of the problem. Call today to set up your home inspection!

5 Tips for a Smoother Home Sale

Are you ready to start the process of selling your home? That’s great news! Keeping a clear head and following proper procedure is going to get you the best sale possible. Part of this procedure is knowing what kind of tips and tricks will help you sell your home faster, easier, and smoother. Not every real estate agent is going to give you the nitpicky details on what will make your home sell, so keeping these little tips in mind can help greatly.

Before you start to sell your home, and before you start to conduct open houses, read on to learn a few tips and tricks that will make this process easier for you!

Have Your Home Inspected

A pre-sale home inspection is the best way to tell whether or not your home is ready to go on the market. You may think everything in your home is functioning properly, but you might not be able to see some of the smaller details a home inspector will pick up on. Also, a home inspector will be able to provide you with information regarding your home value, and whether or not you need to improve it. And even slightly improving your home’s value can make a big difference.

Keep it Impersonal

During an open house, the goal is to help the prospective buyer see themselves in your home. This means remove most things personal to you. Photos of your family, very unique objects which make the home yours, pet supplies, and religious imagery. They all add a layer of personality to your home buy can also quickly alienate someone who doesn’t align with the image. With blank spaces and more general objects the buyer will be able to envision their own belongings in your home, which will encourage them to buy.

Keep the Price Low

While it may seem tempting to jack up the price for the sale, it’s best to be realistic. You want your price to reflect other prices in the neighborhood. Your competition is going to be based around the housing market, and your own home should be able to stand within a close price range. This doesn’t mean undervalue your home, it means work with your Realtor and use their experience in the industry to set an appropriate price for the current market.

Avoid Over-Improving

While some home improvements and renovations may be necessary, don’t go overboard. Additions should not be something you consider, and neither will incredibly elaborate kitchen and bathroom renovations—unless your neighborhood has similar aspects across the board. You’ll want to save your money and keep it simple to avoid over-improving and losing money after the cost of your improvements.

Discuss Price Changes

Changing your price may be necessary, but the longer your home sits on the market, the less value it’s going to have. You can discuss with your real estate agent about a timeline which will make it easy to keep track of any potential price changes. There should be exact dates that will be saved for changing price, instead of waiting for the right moment.

Do you need a home inspection before you sell your home? Highland Home Inspections is here to help! We offer sensible pre-sale inspections which make a world of difference, and will point out any problems that could cause issues when selling. Call today!

Water Smells Like Rotten Eggs?

Sometimes during a home inspection the water will smell like rotten eggs and that is an unpleasant situation.  It can also be unnerving to a prospective buyer.  This issue is most common in well systems; not so much in public water in this part of the country.  The smell is hydrogen sulfide gas which is produced by anaerobic bacteria in the water and it normally originates in the water heater.  An easy way to check is to run just cold water and then just hot and see when the water smells.

In water heaters there is something called a sacrificial anode that is made of magnesium or aluminum and that is what the water reacts with to make the hydrogen sulfide.  Its purpose is to reduce the risk of corrosion in the water heater, so you can’t just remove it altogether.  But sometimes replacing the sacrificial anode will eliminate (or reduce) the problem.  Another possible solution is to remove the anode rod and pour a quart of peroxide or chlorine bleach into the water heater (peroxide is safer).

It’s one thing to find smelly water during a home inspection, but this problem became personal when my hot water started smelling bad.  I have a 16 year old high efficiency gas water heater and I know better than to try replacing the anode rod on something that old.  Fortunately, I couldn’t even find the anode rod so that possibility was eliminated.  So, I tried the simplest solution.  My hot water temperature was about 125 degrees F; that’s good to prevent scalding and plenty hot for a shower, but it is not high enough to kill the bacteria.  So, I simply turned up the temperature to about 145 degrees which is high enough to kill the bacteria.  It worked!  Of course, the risk of scalding is higher now but I can always install a tempering valve which mixes a little cold water with the hot to knock the temperature back down.  It’s nice when something simple and free works.

 

That’s all for now from the Helpful Home Inspector! Happy home-owning.