How to Identify Mold Growth in Your Home
There are a few things no homeowner ever wants to find in their home. Pests are one, and mold is another. Whereas insects and rodents usually leave behind tell-tale signs of their presence, mold can be more difficult to identify, especially for those who don’t know what they’re looking for. Here are some of the different ways Pawley's Island homeowners can look for mold in their home to keep themselves and everyone in the home safer.
Mold Can Affect Health of People In the Home
Many people suffer from seasonal allergies, especially in the spring and summer. To someone who doesn’t know any better, mold having an affect on the people living in the home can be written off as just seasonal allergies. Common symptoms of sensitivity to mold include:
- Coughing and sneezing
- Sore throat
- Eye irritation (especially dry or watering eyes)
- Skin irritation
If a homeowner is experiencing these symptoms outside of normal allergy seasons, it can be a sign of a mold outbreak in the home. If the mold is left untreated, prolonged exposure to it can lead to the development of deadly diseases and conditions. These include asthma, cancer, liver and kidney failure, neurotoxicity, birth defects, and more.
Smelling Out Mold Before It Becomes Visible
When looking for mold, homeowners can rely on sight and smell to find it. Mold has a distinctive musty scent because of the microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC) it produces. Even if the mold is located in the walls or under a sink, it will likely be possible to smell the mold without directly accessing it. Being able to smell mold means people in the home are inhaling mycotoxins, which can cause the health hazards listed previously.
The Appearance of Different Strains of Mold
Mold can take on many different appearances depending on which variety of mold it is. It can be nearly any color of the rainbow, but the most common colors mold will take on are black, gray, brown, green and white. Like color, mold can also take on many different textures that help disguise it. It’s common to find mold that looks just like dirt, soot, or salt and sugar granules, which can cause homeowners to not even suspect that it’s mold.
Where Mold is Commonly Located
It can be difficult to spot mold in a home because it usually grows in secluded areas that don’t get much traffic. Common areas for mold growth are in basements or under sinks, and mold is especially susceptible to forming around water. In order to help prevent mold, try running a dehumidifier in the home and regularly check the pipes for water leaks.
What Does Mold Mean?
If mold is spotted in a home, it’s a sign of a much bigger problem. Because mold is attracted to reclusive areas like described above, seeing it out in the open can mean that there’s already large mold colonies in the home. If this is the case, there’s a good chance that the homeowner will need to call a professional in order to remove the infestation. It isn’t a good idea to go the DIY route for mold because it can easily grow back if any is left behind, or the homeowner could potentially damage their home if they don’t know what they are doing.
While no one wants to have mold growing in their home, it isn’t the end of the world if there is any. Once mold has been discovered, be sure to call a professional who can find if it’s a small part of a bigger problem, and who will be able to lay out the best course of action for removal in their home. If you're worried about mold in a prospective home when buying, hire a specialized home inspector to look for mold before the sale.