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Be on the Lookout for Mold in the Home

How can you tell if there is home mold? asked a Scottsdale home remodeling client.

Home mold comes from a fungus, which thrives in a moist environment and is spread by spores through the air. It is possible to live in a home where mold is growing and not even be aware of it. It is important to do periodic inspections in areas of risk. Common causes for home mold are leaks, condensation, and high humidity.  If left untended, it can cause significant health problems to those sharing its space, so you’ll want to do everything possible to remove the cause and the home mold immediately, if found.

Naturally, the next questions are, how do you know if there is home mold, and what can you do about it? A few signs of home mold presence include:

         An unpleasant or musty odor.

         Seeing evidence of mold growth.  It can be bumpy, cottony, or leather like ranging in shades of faint white, tan, or orange, with the more toxic strain being green or black.

         Evidence of structural water damage providing an optimum environment for mold, e.g. spongy floor at base of toilet or spongy shower walls, discoloration or peeling paint on ceiling or wall.

         Mysterious health symptoms – chronic congestion, fatigue, watery eyes, headache, weakened immune system.

The best way to avoid home mold is to keep your house as dry as possible.  Always use proper ventilation when cooking or bathing to remove moisture added to the air.  A fan’s motor should be sufficient to adequately exchange the air in the space. Also keep the range hood filter clean.  The clothes dryer should vent to the outside.  Your air ducts and dryer ventilation line should be cleaned every few years to get rid of the dust accumulation.  You may want to invest in electronic air purifier/filtration or a dehumidifier.  Do not use a swamp cooler if the humidity is high, instead use the air conditioner which removes excess moisture in the air.  Clean your carpets during the dry and hotter time of the year.

When you clean do a visual inspection of areas where water is dispensed (faucets, washer, etc.), processed mold from leaking sink(under the sinks, garbage disposal, water purifier, water conditioner) or stored (hot water heater) to make sure there is no evidence of a leak at connections. Look for mold where water can collect on exterior window sills, door frames, or evidence of water draining toward the foundation of the house.  Even a slow leak on an outdoor hose bib can eventually seep into the home. When you change your filter at your air handler, check for evidence of condensation leaks from your air conditioner.

Many homes have wood framing, so there will always be some moisture present. The trick is to discourage mold growth by keeping your home clean and well maintained. Make sure you have all leaky plumbing fixed, and dry up any excess water immediately.  Check your attic after a hard or long rain to see if there are any signs of leaks.  Remove and replace wet drywall or insulation which typically can not be thoroughly dried.

If you already have home mold, determine where it is located, how much you have, and why it grew. If there’s only a small amount, then scrub it away with soapy water, rinse and allow it to dry. If it’s on the ceiling, wall or floor, you need to find out where the moisture is coming from. Depending on the source, you may want to contact a professional to assess the situation and determine next steps, or to do the cleaning. In short, determining the source of the mold is just as important as dealing with the mold itself. If you deal with the problem thoroughly, you can help prevent the return of the mold and limit the damage it can do long term.


Healthy  Scottsdale Home Remodeling!

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