Household Mold Issues
Wisconsin Home Inspections to Detect Mold Growth
The home inspectors at Wall to Wall focus on moisture problems like mold during each inspection we perform in Wisconsin. Mold growth is one of the most telling and unpleasant indicators of moisture problems in homes. Our certified inspectors work hard to identify moisture problems causing mold. With our expert insight, it’s even possible to pinpoint trouble areas before mold growth occurs.
Do I have Mold in my Home?
Yes. Let’s just get this out of the way right now – if you have a house, there’s probably some mold in it. Bathroom cupboards, basement corners, and other overlooked areas are prime centers for this unpleasant home invader. The spores which cause mold can get into your home any time you open a window or door. Unless your house is hermetically sealed, you’ll have some spores floating around. Mold and mildew grow once their spores land on a moist surface.
Gross! Is Household Mold Harmful to My Health?
You may experience some health problems depending on the amount and strain of mold. This is particularly true in people with existing breathing issues like asthma and allergies. Common symptoms are similar to hay fever: sneezing, rashes, red eyes, etc. Mold growth is unpleasant but rarely fatal for homeowners.
HOWEVER, in some cases, molds contain some potentially toxic chemicals called mycotoxins. Usually the concentration of mycotoxin in homes is too low to cause any noticeable health effects in humans. If you have large amounts of mold growth in your house, you need to minimize your exposure and clean the mold.
How to Get Rid of Mold Problems
Mold is really a symptom of a larger issue: moisture problems in your home. You can clean the mold to your heart’s content, but without getting rid of the underlying moisture problem, you’re fighting a losing battle.
- Identify the source of the moisture: Our inspectors check your home to see where moisture is. This could be as minor as a spilled cup of water on the carpet or as systemic as HVAC system contamination. Dampness in basement areas can be particularly problematic. By identifying the moisture problem quickly, you can resolve the situation and prevent future mold growth.
- Remediate the moisture problem: Dry the wet areas, adjust ventilation, clean heating/AC ducts, seal leaky fixtures, fix exhaust fans, and get de-humidifiers. Whatever the source of moisture, remove it. If damp areas are dried within one or two days, mold will be less likely to grow at all.
- Clean the mold: Depending on the size and surface of the mold problem, you may need to contact a professional. The EPA suggests mold patches in excess of 10 square feet should be dealt with by a remediation expert. If you do it yourself:
- Wear gloves, goggles and a N-95 respirator ($12-$25)
- Throw away absorbent materials that have been affected; this includes carpeting, ceiling tiles and furniture
- Vacuum any moldy debris with a wet/dry vac
- Try hydrogen peroxide, vinegar or baking soda for mild infestations on non-porous surfaces
- Contact a professional for persistent mold issues
Common Moisture/Mold Locations
- In the basement: Moisture usually accumulates in basements from excess humidity or poor property drainage. Most sub-grade structures in Wisconsin have some humidity issues, so running a dehumidifier will go a long way to prevent moisture damage. As for drainage, you may have to get your hands dirty. Throw on your raincoat and ensure your gutters are draining properly and directing water away from your home’s foundation.
- In the bathroom: There are whole lines of cleaning products made to remove mold from bathroom surfaces. Bathrooms are often poorly ventilated and regularly exposed to moisture —a perfect environment for mold growth. Regularly cleaning showers, tubs, sinks and toilets is a must. Be sure any exhaust fans are working efficiently.
- In your kitchen: Loose pipes, leaky fixtures, and appliances like dishwashers and refrigerators are all regular culprits of moisture accumulation in kitchens. Compact dehumidifiers can help with excess airborne moisture, and proper exhaust heating and/or ventilation is essential. Condensation on refrigerators and the high humidity of dishwashers can allow mold to grow in hard to reach spots. As always, addressing leaky appliances and plumbing early on will prevent mold and material damage.
- In living spaces: Poorly sealed windows, improper venting, condensation and damaged roofing material are standard causes of moisture damage in bedrooms and living rooms. Humidity can trap moisture behind wallpaper, causing unseen mold growth. Damp clothing in closets are a common breeding ground for mold colonies as well.
Many of these unseen causes are not immediately obvious, so early diagnosis is essential. Early detection of leaks from Wall to Wall Home Inspection will save major headaches later. It is much easier and less expensive to prevent mold problems than repeatedly clean and remediate.