7 Steps for Detecting the Growth of Mold in Your Home

Detect Mold Growth

If your home has been standing for a number of years and has withstood inclement weather, there’s a good chance that you may have mold growing somewhere. The key to getting rid of mold is finding it before it really takes hold, causing damage and affecting the health of your home’s occupants. Fortunately, detecting mold isn’t difficult, but it can be a little time-consuming. Here are 7 ways to locate mold in your home.

1. Use your vision

Often there are visible signs of mold growth, mostly on ceilings and in corners – but look everywhere. Do a search on the internet for images of mold and print them out if you’re not familiar with how mold appears. Molds have a blossom-like appearance, like tiny balls of cotton. The colors range from grey to white to black to green (various shades of each). Black mold is especially dangerous to health, so be sure to identify any signs of it. Pay particular attention to any yellowing or fuzzy-looking growth on fabrics, Sheetrock, or any surface that may have been exposed to moisture.

2. Use your sense of smell

Besides using your sense of sight, your sense of smell is often your first alert to the presence of mold. We’ve all smelled mold odor before, often from something long-stored that had become saturated with moisture. Obviously mold has an unpleasant musty smell that you certainly don’t want lingering in your home. Once you begin smelling the odor, you must begin the visual inspection immediately (if you haven’t done this already). Remember, however, that even if you do not smell mold this doesn’t mean that mold does not exist in your home. Some molds actually have no smell at all, but are still quite toxic.

3. Is your basement frequently flooded?

If the answer to that query is “yes”, then there is a likely probability that your home has some serious mold growth going on down there. This should be the first location in your house that you inspect, since basements are often flooded during heavy rainstorms. Follow the suggestions in #1 and #2, searching visual indications of mold growth, as well as sniffing around for that distinctive musty smell. If you see any water discolorations on walls and ceilings, mold is likely responsible for that. Moisture build-up is the primary culprit of mold growth.

4. Misty windows in winter = mold growth

Winter weather means inclement weather, particularly rain and cold. Because of this, there is often a constant build-up of excess moisture, mostly around your windows. This amount of excess humidity in the environment around your home is the perfect condition for the breeding and proliferation of fungal growth. Mold loves moisture, so keep watch on those foggy windows – especially during the winter.

5. Use home mold test kits

Yes, there are DIY mold test kits available at most hardware stores and online. These tests are used to locate specific mold growth areas. The majority of these test kits are user-friendly and often provide reliable results. But don’t depend solely on these test kits. While these DIY kits are quite effective, there is still no substitute for visual and olfactory searches for mold growth. These kits are merely additional tools to add to your overall mold growth inspection.

6. The mold that you can’t see is the most dangerous

It’s generally agreed among mold remediation specialists that the most dangerous mold is the mold that you can’t see. These unseen molds are often found in air conditioning units, duct-work, or within walls. When in this environment, these molds can swell and grow rapidly so long as they continue to go undetected. If you do detect a slight musty odor and are frequently clearing your throat, there may be unseen mold lurking somewhere. Once the mold has been located and dealt with, proper care and maintenance of your air conditioning system will often prevent any new growth in that area of your home.

7. Contact a Certified Mold Inspector

While it’s important to perform all of the inspections noted above, to be absolutely sure of every occurrence of mold growth, it’s important to contact a licensed mold inspector and mold remediation specialist. They have access to equipment and testing devices and methods that will locate all infestations in your home. They will then recommend mold remediation to eliminate the fungal threat from your home. You can help the inspectors by showing them what you’ve discovered and they can go from there. Mold growth isn’t something homeowners like to think about, but it’s very important to be aware of the possible threat. It doesn’t matter how old or how new your home is, it is still vulnerable to fungal infestations when excess moisture is around. You must keep watch for any signs of mold, dealing with it immediately once it’s been detected. Early prevention is the key, and if you keep to a routine of periodic inspections, the threat can be greatly reduced. (619) 376-6838