HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE MOLD?
Indications that you may have a mold problem:
If you have a mold problem, you will most likely be able to smell it. Any musty or earthy odor is probably an indication that mold is growing somewhere in the building. Occasionally, you will see discolored smudges and/or blotches that look like mold and sometimes you may see actually mold.
In some cases, indoor mold growth may not be obvious. It is possible that mold may be growing on hidden surfaces, such as the backside of dry wall, wallpaper, or paneling, the top of ceiling tiles, the underside of carpets and pads, etc. Possible locations of hidden mold can include pipe chases and utility tunnels (with leaking or condensing pipes), walls behind furniture (where condensation forms), condensate drain pans inside air handling units, porous thermal or acoustic liners inside ductwork, or roof materials above ceiling tiles (due to roof leaks or insufficient insulation).
Some building materials, such as dry wall with vinyl wallpaper over it or wood paneling, may act as vapor barriers, trapping moisture underneath their surfaces and thereby providing a moist environment where mold can grow. You may suspect hidden mold if a building smells moldy, but you cannot see the source, or if you know there has been water damage and building occupants are reporting health problems. Investigating hidden mold problems may be difficult and will require caution when the investigation involves disturbing potential sites of mold growth.
For example, removal of wallpaper can lead to a massive release of spores from mold growing on the underside of the paper. If you discover hidden mold, you should revise your remediation plan to account for the total area affected by mold growth.
You should be concerned about the growth of mold if your home has had:
– a flood
– a sewer back-up
– an overflowing toilet
– leaking pipes
– a leaking roof
– leaking windows
– condensation on windows
– malfunctioning appliances
any other serious water-related problems.
Some of these situations can result in the growth of bacteria, which also can cause musty odors and health problems.
Once materials become wet, mold can begin to grow within 24 to 48 hours. If your home experiences a water-related problem, clean and dry any wet or damp areas as soon as you find them. If you live in a rental property, immediately report water problems to your landlord.
The earlier you can detect the growth of mold in your home, the better a chance you have to control it. Early detection and treatment are very important. If you smell a musty odor in your house, start looking for the source immediately and remove it as soon as you find it. Prevention and early detection may save you from paying much greater cleanup and repair expenses later on. If you own your home, damage from mold and the cost of removing mold might not be covered by your homeowner insurance. (Read your policy or call your insurance agent to find out.)