Have a Mold Problem? Know the Signs

Identifying a Mold Problem

mold problem

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 microbial growth somewhere. The key to getting rid of various types of mold is detecting mold growth before the mold spores begin to spread, causing damage to spread, impacting air quality, and affecting the health of your home’s occupants. Fortunately, detecting mold growth isn’t difficult, but it can be a little time-consuming.

In this article, we will cover signs of mold and 7 ways for detecting mold growth in your home. Whether your home is new or old, it’s still vulnerable to the growth of mold. All it takes is a small leak somewhere in your plumbing, or moisture building up within your walls. You may be living with mold problems and not even know it. Know the warning signs of mold proliferation, and perform your own inspection before it gets worse. If you need mold damage repair in San Diego, give us a call today! (619) 376-6838

Section 1: Know The Signs of a Mold Problem

The most obvious sign is an unusual odor. Mold has a pungent, stale smell – it’s unmistakable. It’s easiest to detect mold odor when it’s confined to one area of your home. This makes it easy to compare the smell to another unaffected room. Mold is most commonly found living within walls and beneath wallpaper – give those areas a good sniff. A pervasive, unpleasant odor is sure to be caused by a mold problem in your home.

Unusual Odor: It is easy to remember the pungent, stale smell associated with mold. If you have smelled it before, you won’t need to smell it again. Check around your home to compare rooms. If one room smells musty and the others do not, this is a sign there could be mold nearby. Detecting moisture is part of the visual detection process too, but when there is moisture in the air your nose can detect it as well.

Visual Signs: Look around the kitchen and restrooms for moisture, mildew, or swelling of drywall paint. Mold can be brown, gray, or near a rusty brown water damage stain, this water damage stain can help to uncover the mold.

Health Implications: Your health while in your home can also be an indication of the presence of mold– especially if you cannot immediately see it. The existence of mold will cause allergy-like symptoms: feeling listless and tired; congestion and respiratory problems; watering eyes – all while you are in your home. Should these various symptoms disappear whenever you’re at work or shopping, you definitely have a mold issue somewhere within your abode. The existence of mold in your home will make those symptoms reappear once you step across the threshold of your front door.

Hidden Mold: Can be like an iceberg when you find what has made it to the surface after water damage. When the signs of mold are there but you can not seem to find any physical evidence, it is likely that the mold has taken hold inside a wall, crawlspace, or in the attic space. Getting a professional involved to find the mold with testing or with moisture detection tools can save you time and damages. Procrastination on a mold because you cannot see it allows it to spread!

Recognizing a Mold Problem

The appearance of mold is usually pretty obvious, particularly when inspecting a shower stall or bathtub. Mold has distinctive coloring, making it fairly easy to distinguish from normal soap scum. If you have a basement or cellar you’ll have to poke around a bit further to locate the mold. Mold, of course, is fond of damp areas. Look for areas where dampness collects – this is a perfect breeding ground for growing mold. You may need to search around for the water damage source, you can read more about the early signs of water damage in our recent blog.

If you suspect a mold problem, you need to find the water damage source, it could be water from above.

If you suspect a mold problem, you need to find the water damage source, it could be water from above.

Section 2: 7 Steps for Detecting Mold Growth

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 gray 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.

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 are detecting mold growth! Now, 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.

Basement Inspection: Is your basement regularly 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 for detecting mold growth, 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.

Misty Windows in Winter: 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 when detecting mold growth keep watch on those foggy windows – especially during the winter.

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.

The Danger of Unseen Mold: 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.

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.

Mold Problem Signs

Sometimes the mold outbreak is just hidden. In this case, the mold was hidden in a closet, but we found it and performed full mold remediation and mold restoration. See the after photo on the right.

Beyond These 7 Tips

As your home weathers the years, the risk of microbial growth, particularly mold, becomes a pressing concern. Detecting mold growth early is crucial to prevent its spread, safeguard air quality, and protect the health of occupants. Explore these essential methods for detecting mold growth in your home:

Unmasking Mold Manifestations: Often, mold growth leaves visible signs, especially on ceilings and in corners. Familiarize yourself with mold appearances through online images. Be vigilant for blossom-like structures in various colors, ranging from gray to white, black, or green. Pay special attention to yellowing or fuzzy growth on fabrics, Sheetrock, or surfaces exposed to moisture. When you see or smell it, take action, do not procrastinate, call for help if needed.

Toxic Odor: Air quality is becoming more and more of a threat to home health. Mold emits a distinct musty odor, serving as an early warning. If you detect this smell, initiate a visual inspection immediately. However, note that some molds are odorless but still toxic. Use your olfactory senses in conjunction with visual cues for a comprehensive evaluation.

What to do next

If you do suspect that you have a mold problem, you’ll need to identify where it’s lurking. The best place to begin the search is any moist areas. To be absolutely sure to locate all sources of mold and then eliminate it, you should contact a professional. They will have all of the equipment necessary to find out where mold is growing, and they’ll know how to get rid of it.

Depending on the amount of mold present, it might be best to stay in a hotel (or other housing arrangement) while the mold problem is being dealt with. If there is a lot of mold throughout your home, protecting your health, and the health of your family, is very important since prolonged exposure to mold can cause some serious health problems. If you have a respiratory condition, particularly asthma, you should temporarily relocate. However, for many people a small amount of mold will not cause serious health problems. Just know what you can tolerate.

Mold growth and other signs of water damage. Sometimes detecting mold growth will be easy to spot.

Sometimes detecting mold growth will be easy to spot. Here is an obvious example of Mold growth, one of many signs of water damage. The after photo shows full mold remediation.

Importance of Certified Mold Remediation

Discovering mold in your home necessitates professional intervention for effective and lasting remediation. DIY efforts may inadvertently worsen the situation, leading to incomplete removal or unintentional mold spread. Engaging a certified mold remediator ensures a thorough resolution:

Handling Mold with Precision: A professional mold remediator possesses the expertise to handle mold issues with precision. Their experience enables them to determine the extent of mold growth, ensuring a comprehensive remediation strategy without compromising structural integrity.

Avoiding DIY Pitfalls: DIY mold removal may prompt you to tear down drywall or disrupt mold, causing spores to spread. Professionals navigate potential obstacles, ensuring that mold removal is efficient and does not inadvertently exacerbate the issue.

Confidence in Removal: Professionals bring confidence to mold removal, addressing the problem head-on. With a trusted remediator, you can be certain that mold is thoroughly eliminated, preventing its recurrence and ensuring a safe living environment.

Routine Inspections: Early Prevention for Ongoing Protection: Beyond remediation, professionals offer routine inspections to proactively address potential mold threats. Regular checks contribute to early prevention, reducing the likelihood of mold resurgence and maintaining a healthy living space.

Often a mold source will be found above the hardwood mold damage and you will want to find the root source of the water or moisture and all the mold to fully restore your home and family's health. Detecting mold growth at home or at your business can be difficult.

Often a mold source will be found above the hardwood mold damage and you will want to find the root source of the water or moisture and all the mold to fully restore your home and family’s health.

Call a Professional Mold Remediation & Restoration Company

Now that you have discovered mold, you will need to properly remove it! Doing it yourself can lead you to a barrier to the growth that would need you to tear down drywall or remove the obstacles to see more. This is why getting a pro involved in your mold problem is a good idea. While you may have discovered your mold problems source, you may disturb the mold and cause it to spore or spread to other parts of your home.

Getting on the problem’s solution squarely fixed in your crosshairs is best, and without a professional mold remediator on the project, you can never determine if you actually fully removed the mold. Don’t do work you cannot finish with the confidence of a professional. While you can opt to do mold testing on your own remediation work, the chances are that you are much better off having a professional do the work and also determine what the test results indicate.

Orange Restoration Wrap Up

It’s very important to locate any mold in the home and deal with it quickly. Not only can mold affect your health, but it can also damage the structure of your home, leading to costly reconstruction in some cases. Early detection and a plan for mold remediation will go a long way towards keeping your family safe and preserving the structural integrity of your home. Again, if you need mold remediation or damage repair in San Diego, give us a call today! (619) 376-6838