The presence of mold in your home not only looks icky, but it can also cause a variety of health problems. Whether you rent or own, it’s crucial for you to learn how to know if you have mold in your house.
When you spot mold, it might not be something to panic about. On the other hand, getting rid of mold should be a priority no matter how mild it might look at first glance.
This helpful guide explores how you can recognize the signs of mold along with some effective ways to treat and get rid of it once and for all.
Mold grows and spreads as a result of being exposed to moisture, which causes it to release a funky or musty smell. If you start to notice an unpleasant odor in your home, there could be a possibility that mold is lurking.
For most homeowners, mold is found in wet areas of the home such as the bathroom, kitchen, or basement. Do a sniff test and see if you notice any unusual odors in these areas.
There’s really not one defining smell that mold has, so the best description most people give is that it puts off a “musty” scent. If you notice this scent, try to follow the odor to where it’s the strongest.
The source of mold is typically where the unusual smell is the most prevalent. Once you see it with your own eyes, you can pinpoint where it started and hopefully, where it’s coming from.
In some cases, mold might be located inside your walls. If you smell a musty odor but you can’t see any mold, it could be lurking in the wall or ceiling.
Moisture and Condensation Issues
Mold and mildew feed on moisture, so you need to try and keep your home as dry as possible. If you see excess moisture or condensation on your windows, there may be too much inside the home. Moisture is one surefire way to learn how to know if you have mold in your house.
Look at all pipes to see if you notice any condensation there too. If there has been water dripping for some time, your house is likely a prime breeding ground for mold to reproduce and spread.
In fact, too much moisture inside your home could mean that mold is already there. You can try a dehumidifier to reduce the amount of moisture and condensation in the air and set it to a level that will keep humidity low.
Signs of Past Water Damage
Even water damage or problems from the past can come back to haunt you when it comes to mold. If a toilet or sink overflowed at one point, these areas could be at risk for mold growth. Look under kitchen and bathroom cabinets and behind the toilet to make sure these areas are dry and that no mold is present.
If the home has ever flooded in the past, mold may be growing under your flooring or behind your walls. One way to spot it is to look for discolored walls and ceilings as well as the floors.
Any unusual discoloration means that there could be entire colonies of mold slowly growing behind these areas. You should also be on the lookout for bubbles and cracks in paint and wallpaper. Warped and bulging walls are other red flags of water damage that was never fully corrected.
Make sure your home has been repaired properly after any flooding or water damage. If the home experienced water issues in the past before you moved in, it might be a good idea to call in an expert who can verify that everything is up to par.
How to Know if You Have Mold in Your House Through Physical Symptoms
Not everyone will react to mold, which can make it difficult to detect. However, many people deal with some pretty serious health symptoms if they breathe in mold or mildew.
For those who are allergic or have asthma, breathing in mold can make these symptoms worse. If you or a family member suddenly notice that they’re having trouble breathing, there could be mold present somewhere in the home.
If you suddenly get an intense cold and it doesn’t go away, that could be because you are breathing in tiny mold spores. Other symptoms include feelings similar to the flu that just don’t seem to get any better over time.
One common sign of a mold problem is if you have trouble breathing at home but feel fine when you are outside of the home. For example, you may experience frequent headaches at home but then have none while you’re at work. This is a serious indication that the air in your home is affected by mold.
Respiratory infections and illnesses are the most common signs of a mold problem. Some people may even become nauseous and lightheaded if they breathe mold in.
If you have small children or elderly living in your home, it’s crucial to find the mold and get it treated as soon as possible. People with breathing issues and respiratory conditions should stay away from the affected area until it’s completely removed.
Even symptoms like sudden and frequent nosebleeds can be a side effect of breathing in the mold. While not all of these physical symptoms mean that mold is present, it’s worth looking into if you suspect there is mold in the home. A runny nose and watery eyes are other common signs that you could have a mold problem.
You Can Actually See the Mold
Of course, physically seeing mold is the most obvious way you can tell that there’s mold in your home. If mold is present, you will see unusual discoloration in shades of green, brown, or black.
Look at the ceilings and walls of every room and pay close attention to floorboards. Wherever water is present, the possibility of mold growth also exists.
Pay special attention to the corners of the rooms in your home, since some forms of mold tend to start in hidden areas where you normally wouldn’t look. If you can actually see the mold in your home, it means that it’s been growing for some time.
In some cases, the mold will be hidden behind walls or under floorboards. The only way to know for sure if you have mold is if you notice the musty odor or you open the area up and find it hiding.
For visible mold that you can easily see, you’ll need to call in a remediation specialist as soon as possible. The damage has already been done and will require a lot of labor to get it completely removed.
Treating and Removing Mold From Your Home
Once you’ve verified that there is mold in the home, it’s time to take steps to get it removed. A professional mold remediation company can ensure that every single bit of mold gets taken out of the house.
These companies have special treatment tools and chemicals that can remove mold-infested areas and kill off any remaining spores. They also have safety equipment and clothing that allows workers to remove the mold safely.
If the mold in your home appears to be overwhelming, it’s not a good idea to try and remove or treat it yourself. Exposure to mold spores can be dangerous to your health. You also don’t know exactly how to get rid of all of it in a way that will keep it from returning.
Thankfully, there are some things you can do to treat mold problems in your home. Some simple steps will eliminate the worry about mold and can help you get rid of less extensive mold issues.
Removing Mold From Items in Your Home
To treat any problems with mold in your home, start by taking anything made of fabric outside. Brush the fabric to remove any mold that might be on the surface.
If the fabrics are washable, run them through the washing machine on the hot water cycle. You can soak the fabric items in bleach for about eight hours before you run them through the washer. For anything labeled as dry clean only, it’s best to bring them to a professional mold remediation service.
Sometimes, mold can get onto other items inside your home such as furniture, shoes, and coats. Take a cloth and soak it in white vinegar to wipe down surfaces. You can also use special leather soap if you have a leather sofa.
Make sure everything you treat for mold is completely dried before bringing it back inside. Every object must be totally dry or else the mold may return.
As for your carpets, walls, and ceiling, you’ll need to take a more aggressive approach to treat mold. First, mix a cup of bleach with a gallon of water and then scrub your walls, carpet, or ceiling as needed.
Bleach can kill most strains of mold and should get the job done if your mold issue is fairly mild. However, if the mold seems to have spread extensively or it’s located in places you can’t get to, it’s time to call the experts for help.
Drywall tends to soak water up like a sponge, which makes it a prime breeding ground for mold. You might have issues with mold on the drywall if any part of your home has flooded or underwent any sort of water damage.
In order to get rid of the mold, you’ll need to remove the drywall itself. Start by using a utility knife to cut out any sections of the drywall that are affected.
Once you’ve removed anywhere that mold was found, you’ll need to cut out a new section of drywall. This new section will replace the old drywall, so use a tape measure and make sure you cut it in the correct shape and size.
After the new piece of drywall is securely in place, use drywall screws and attach it to the wooden framing or beams. Apply a joint compound and let it completely dry. After 24 hours, you can sand the joint compound until it’s smooth.
Paint over the new drywall to make the room look new again. You can also use special mold-resistant paint that will keep it from returning and give you peace of mind.
This process can be done for walls and ceilings. Just make sure that you know how to install new drywall, or call a home improvement contractor who can help.
If there’s mold on drywall that has already been painted, you might be able to simply remove the layer of paint and apply a new coat. Most paint can prevent mold from penetrating into the drywall underneath. After you remove the paint, check to see if there’s any mold on the surface below.
Just Say No to Mold
Once you’re aware of how to know if you have mold in your house, you can spot the warning signs more easily. Whether it’s the obvious signs of black or green mold on walls or an unusual musty odor, mold will make itself known eventually if it’s in your home.
After you discover the presence of mold, you need to know what steps to take to remove it. Aside from bleaching walls and washing fabrics in hot water, you should consider calling in the professionals.
If you’re concerned about mold in your North Carolina home, visit our website today and contact us for a free quote.