How Do I Know If I Have Mold in My Home?

Mold can cause serious health problems, and since it grows quickly and can be hard to find, it’s also difficult to get rid of. Many people think you can just wipe it away with bleach, but this won’t eliminate the mold — it will grow back unless properly and completely removed. Not only that, but mold can be dangerous if you’re exposed to it. Hiring a professional to handle mold abatement is the safest way to go.

How to check for mold

Mold can be found anywhere there is moisture — on wood, paper, carpet, and foods. Mold spores are all around us, but they don’t begin to grow unless they find damp areas. That’s why it’s important to treat leaks in your home immediately, before mold has a chance to grow.

picture of mold growing on wood

But mold can also grow within and behind surfaces (like a wall), so watch for signs:

  • If you notice a mold smell, chances are you have mold.
  • Don’t ignore wet spots or water stains anywhere in your home.
  • A leak can cause your paint to buckle and peel.
  • You can even see mold on furniture and clothing.
  • Check for leaking pipes under sinks.
paint that is peeling from mold

How to test for mold

If you notice signs of mold, such as a smell of mold or mold symptoms (like condensation or leaks), you’ll want to test to get an accurate picture of where the mold is and how dangerous it is.

If you suspect you have mold, it’s best to hire a professional mold tester for the most accurate results. However, if you choose to do it yourself, you can purchase a mold test kit, in which you collect samples and send them to a lab for analysis.

How does mold grow?

High humidity indoors causes mold to grow and become a problem in your home. Many molds can grow in just a few days, and oftentimes it’s difficult to detect the growth as it can happen behind surfaces. Taking care of water leaks and water damage immediately will help prevent the buildup of mold.

What is black mold ?

Black mold grows in houses and is extremely dangerous to humans. You’ll know it by its appearance as a greenish-black gelatinous mold with a slimy surface. It can also appear dry and powdery if its water source has run out. If you see something that looks like black mold, it’s crucial to have it tested immediately.

picture of black mold growing on a wall

How toxic is black mold?

Black mold can cause respiratory problems, skin inflammation, hemorrhaging, damage to internal organs, nausea, mental impairments, immune system suppression, tiredness, and irritation of the mucous membranes. Some of these impairments can be permanent, and in extreme cases, black mold has even led to death.

Because it is so dangerous, you should never try to remove black mold on your own. Any disturbance during removal could release the spores into the home. In fact, the best action is to move out for a few days while a professional eliminates the black mold in your home.

Other types of mold

  • Aspergillus is another type of mold that is commonly found on foods and in air conditioning systems.
  • Cladosporium is a type of mold that grows on the backs of toilets, fiberglass air ducts, and painted surfaces. It’s nontoxic to humans, but can trigger common allergy symptoms.
  • Orange and red molds are found outdoors on decaying plants and moist wood, and are not harmful to humans.

What health problems can mold cause?

Any type of mold in the home can cause allergic reactions, respiratory infections, asthma, inflammations, joint pain, migraines, and extreme fatigue. People with weakened immune systems, such as children or the elderly, are especially at risk.

What is mold abatement?

Mold abatement is the process of removing mold from an area. It’s best to hire a professional, but if the mold is less than 10 square feet and is not toxic, you can remove it yourself. However, it’s absolutely crucial to wear protective clothing and equipment, including a dust filter mask or respirator, hefty gloves and disposable coveralls to prevent any of the disturbed mold spores from landing on you.

Below is a short video from New Life Restoration’s General Manager Deborah Lamberton on how to find mold.

Get Help

Seeing a spot of mold in your home can cause great alarm for any homeowner. Work hard to keep it out of your home by keeping moisture to a minimum, and if you do see mold, talk to a professional about what type you’re dealing with and what you should do.

Serving California’s Central Coast

New Life Restoration offers professional mold removal and free mold and moisture tests. We proudly serve Santa Maria, Nipomo, Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo, Orcutt, Pismo Beach, Santa Barbara and other cities and towns on California’s Central Coast. Call today at (805) 925-1600.

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