Finding mold in a house is always alarming. But there are ways to correct it and prevent the mold from returning. Here are some things
Mold – What is it?
We’ve probably all seen mold at some time in our life. It can be a light, fuzzy white, gray or black matter on the walls or furnishing in our homes. Mold grows in the woods, is in the environment all around us and exists throughout most parts of the US.
Molds can be both good and bad. We benefit from good mold that is used to create the penicillin, yeast that makes our bread rise and help our wines to ferment. Examples of bad molds are those that ruin our bread, cheese and some of our crops.
There are over 100,000 species of mold and can come in many different colors. Most molds live off decaying or dead organic matter which serves a very good purpose by being responsible for the natural decay of dead plant and animal life.
Some molds require extremely wet environments while others only need a damp environment for it to grow and spread.
How does mold in a house become a problem inside?
Mold is practically everywhere and reproduces by releasing spores into the atmosphere. Small spores ranging in size from 1 to 20 microns can be easily carried into the house by air currents every time we open windows or doors. It can also be carried inside on your clothes and shoes. Mold growth becomes a problem in our homes when the right conditions for growth are present. Moisture from active water penetration or simply elevated moisture levels in the air are enough for mold to grow.
Elevated moisture levels can occur anywhere in the house but commonly occur in attics and basements. Window leaks, active basement leaks through the walls, overflowing gutters, plumbing leaks, water infiltration through the attic or through walls, and flooding from groundwater are all sources that contribute to elevated moisture levels.
How do we prevent mold growth in a house?
Walk through your home and make sure you have no obvious signs of water penetration. Your gutters and downspouts should be clear of debris and water flowing away from the foundation discharging at least 4 to 6 feet away. The ground should slope away from the foundation at a minimum slope of ¼ inch per foot and not pool near the foundation. Vegetation should be kept 2 to 3 feet away from the house. Check the attic for any active leaks. Make sure the seals around vent pipes are secure. Missing siding or flashing should be replaced or repaired. Commonly overlooked sources of moisture are bathroom exhaust fans and dryer vents pumping warm moist air directly into the attic. Make sure your dryer and bathroom fans are properly venting to the exterior.
What do I do if I suspect mold in my house?
Mold can cause respiratory problems. If you suspect mold in your home, you should act immediately.
At Highland Home Inspections, we are clear to label any suspected growth as a “mold-like substance” until it is tested by a qualified lab. We are available to perform both a swab test and air quality tests to determine what kind of mold may be present. Once verification is received, we highly recommend several steps be taken. Our ASHI-trained inspectors investigate to locate the source or cause of elevated moisture and will make recommendations for repair and remediation. Learn more about our mold testing service.
If you suspect that you have a mold problem, please contact Highland Home Inspections.