Mold Guide 101 – Different Areas, Health Issues, & Inspections
Mold can grow in the most discreet of places throughout your house as it thrives in areas that are moist and may not always be obvious to a homeowner.
At MD Mold Testing, we provide thorough mold and home inspection services in Washington D.C., Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. Learn more about where mold hides in different areas of your home or office, professional mold inspections from our certified and licensed inspectors, and serious health issues that may occur due to mold.
6 Common Areas For Mold Contamination In Your Home
Mold, one of the most prolific organisms in the world, loves to hide in your home, taking up residence, and growing easier. The worst part is, mold – the collective name given to thousands of different types of fungi, can be harmful and even when you have a mold problem it may not be evident at first. Mold spores live everywhere, inside and out, microscopic organisms that enter your home in a variety of ways – floating in the air through opened windows and doors, pushing in through HVAC systems, and hitching a ride on people and pets who enter.
When mold spores get into your home, they go into hiding in the moist damp spaces where they easily thrive. Mold growth begins quickly, becoming mold colonies in as little as 48 hours. Even before you see it, your first clue that mold is in residence is often evidenced by the musty smell it produces. Once the odor is emitted, so begins the production of allergens and other irritants causing health concerns for the members of your family. Here are the most common places mold can hide in your home.
Where Mold Might Be Hiding Around Your House
1. The Kitchen
Mold growth around your food is the last thing that you want, but the kitchen is a very popular location for mold growth. Make sure to check for leaks under the kitchen sink, and around the refrigerator and dishwasher, and to clean the refrigerator drip pans when necessary.
Mold loves dark, moist, and warm spaces making your sinks (bathrooms and kitchen) the perfect place to take up residence. You can help prevent mold under your sinks by checking for leaks and condensation as well as cleaning the interior of the cabinetry surrounding your sinks consistently. Hiring a licensed professional will prevent mold from spreading.
2. The Bathroom
Leaks from the bathtub or shower can cause mold to grown underneath the flooring, causing mold and structural damage. Damp rugs and abandoned towels can also foster good conditions for mold.
Decorative glass and ceramic toothbrush holders make the ideal environment for mold to grow. Water drips from the toothbrush and collects in the holder. Keep mold away by rinsing and drying your toothbrush holder often. Another popular spot for mold in the bathroom is the soap dish. When the soap is put back in place, water collects, which also makes a great habitat for mold growth. Be sure to rinse and dry beneath the soap dish when you rinse and dry your toothbrush holder.
Poor ventilation in your bathroom will inevitably lead to mold and moisture-related problems that can be costly to repair. Additionally, too much mold can be hazardous to the health of the household members. So opting for a bathroom ventilator is a no-brainer and figuring out the correct setup can be achieved by considering the following points:
- Vent Outdoors: A lot of homes have been built where ventilation forces the air into the attic, but that’s not the best option because it transfers the mold problem to another part of the house. By selecting a fan setup where air is forced outdoors you’ll immediately be removing the moisture.
- Bath Or Remote Fan: The bath fan is fitted in the bathroom and via a duct will remove the moisture into the outdoors. The remote fan sucks up air via vents into the attic and then discharges it outdoors. The bath fan setup is a simpler one, but the advantage of the remote fan is that it makes less noise and is compatible with multiple/larger bathrooms.
- Fan Must Match Size Of The Bathroom: Proper ventilation can only occur if the effectiveness of the fan is inline with the size of the bathroom. Look at the specifications of the fan before buying to assess their compatibility in your home.
3. The Basement Or Crawl Space
Mold loves cool and damp environments, which means the basement is a prime spot for it to grow. Because the basement usually isn’t connected to the HVAC system, it doesn’t get the humidity removal the rest of your home gets. Any leaks that occur in the basement will create a prime spot for mold. You might have to take a flashlight down there to find evidence of mold growth in the corners.
Underground areas are known for being dark and damp. To help prevent mold generation, make sure that the space is well ventilated and that gutters are directing water away from the house rather than toward the house. This could cause major damage if there are leaks in the walls or floor, so repairing any gutters problems and leaks is vital in mold prevention.
4. Inside Your HVAC System
Because of the heat exchange process that your HVAC coils create, condensation is a natural part of your HVAC system’s interior. Unfortunately, if your drain pan gets clogged or overflows, mold might start to grow within the system. Any extra moisture in there is a bad idea, but you’ll need to hire an HVAC technician to assess any leak problems.
If you think you see any mold, have someone come to test it. Keeping your house at the right humidity levels, cleaning regularly, and addressing any condensation issues will help prevent mold from growing. Be especially diligent when checking these common mold spots
5. On the Components of Appliances
While this may be the last place you’d expect mold to be found, the drip pans, coils, and seals of your appliances are the perfect breeding ground for mold. Because these appliance components hold moisture and are hidden from view (dark areas), mold can easily start a colony on and around them. Make sure you add these components to your cleaning list to prevent mold from growing there.
6. On Your Plumbing and Ductwork
The idea of mold on plumbing probably is no surprise, but on the ductwork may be news to you. It’s true, especially in humid regions, mold on ductwork is just as common as on plumbing. With the help of a licensed professional, the mold on plumbing and ductwork can easily be reached and removed.
Common Causes Of Mold In Your Attic
When there is mold growth in your attic space, it can be difficult to determine the exact reason for the growth. However, there are a few common causes that may be the source of the problem.
Inadequate Roof Ventilation
Proper roof ventilation is important in any home. A lack of ventilation can cause humid air to remain inside the attic, creating elevated moisture levels. During colder months, this humid air can condense and create water pockets on roof framing and sheathing. If not taken care of, this constant moisture can create mildew and mold.
Water damage and mold can occur when your roof is inadequately sealed or maintained. Having your roof regularly inspected and repaired can prevent roof leaks, reducing the opportunity for mold growth to occur.
Missing Attic Insulation
Attic insulation helps keep hot and cold air from escaping your home, saving you energy and money. Additionally, insulation helps reduce the likelihood of mold in your attic. Make sure that your attic is properly equipped with insulation and maintain so that future problems with mold growth can be avoided.
3 Tips for Preventing Mold in Your Maryland Home
Mold is a fungus that can be beneficial, but in your home, is terrifying. While some types of mold make penicillin, the mold caused by excess moisture is scary and unhealthy when it invades your Maryland home. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent it before it happens. By following a few simple tips, you can say goodbye to mold forever. Here’s how to do it.
1. Dry Wet Areas Immediately
Mold grows best in damp areas such as the kitchen or the bathroom, so when there’s excess moisture, you need to dry it immediately. Take a towel and mop up the water when you’re done taking a shower or preparing a meal. In addition, you should look in your basement after heavy rains, as rain may cause some excessive moisture in the walls which can lead to heavy mold growth. Anywhere there’s water, there’s a chance for mold. Plan accordingly.
2. Control Your Humidity
Even if you clean up every spill and monitor high-moisture areas, it’s not always enough to completely eliminate mold. Instead, a proactive approach is necessary. To control mold, you need to control your humidity. The ideal indoor relative humidity hovers between 30 percent and 50 percent depending on the outdoor weather. If your air conditioner isn’t enough to achieve this rate, consider a whole-home dehumidifier to keep your home mold-free.
3. Improve Air Flow
When temperatures drop, the air holds far less moisture. When that happens, the moisture starts to appear on walls, windows, and other surfaces in your home. This creates a situation that’s conducive to mold growth. To combat this situation, open doors and windows and turn on ceiling fans to get some air flow. This prevents mold growth and makes your home far more comfortable.
Even if you follow these tips, mold may still sneak its way into your home. That’s when you need to enlist the help of professionals. If you notice mold in your home, make sure to call MD Mold Testing for all your mold testing and eradication needs.
5 Signs You Need to a Mold Inspection Done on Your Home
Some people think that mold only happens to homes damaged by floodwaters. But the truth is, even the cleanest homes could have trouble eliminating mold.
That’s because it’s everywhere. It’s there when you open a window or go outside your home.
You see, mold can attach to your clothes and shoes. And once it’s inside your home, it can show up in your walls, carpeting, basement, etc. As long as there is moisture, it can reproduce and cause a host of health problems.
The good news is there are ways to fight mold. And it all starts with mold inspection. Now, you may be wondering, when’s the best time to have a professional come in and inspect for mold.
Well, wonder no more. Here are 5 signs your home is due for a mold inspection.
1. Something Smells Off
Have you ever googled ‘how to detect mold in walls?’
As we’ve said earlier, mold has a tendency to show up in walls. But it doesn’t mean you’re always going to find it there. When you enter a room, and it has that unpleasant, musty smell, it could be a sign of mold infestation.
And if your mold inspector doesn’t find anything at first glance, he or she will go deeper. That means checking your tiles, plastering, and even removing your wallpaper to unearth mold hidden from plain sight.
2. There Are Dark Rings or Spots on the Ceilings
These dark spots could also be on your walls. And yes, while these spots may not be mold, they point to water damage.
Keep in mind that water damage or water pooling promotes mold growth. You’ll want to clean those dark spots as soon as possible. Of course, an inspector can help in that area, especially if it’s somewhere that’s hard for you to access.
3. You Have Symptoms of Mold Sickness
Mold can worsen allergy and asthma symptoms. So if you’ve done your best to eliminate allergy triggers and you’re still experiencing respiratory irritation, mold could be the culprit.
The good thing about a mold inspection is, you’re eliminating the guesswork as to what’s causing your respiratory problems. You can confirm that it’s mold and you can take steps to remove it immediately.
4. You See Surface Abnormalities
Aside from water stains and discolorations on your ceiling, walls, and floors, you can check for surface abnormalities.
What that means is you need to check your paint or wallpaper. If there’s peeling or cracking or bubbling, it’s a sign that moisture has gotten into those areas.
Bowed or warped walls are also surface abnormalities that point to a dampness issue. If you’re seeing these signs, you should have someone check for mold, stat!
5. There’s a Lot of Condensation in Your Home
Condensation equals a high amount of moisture. Now, while this doesn’t mean for sure that you have a mold problem, you should still get a mold inspection.
Again, you need to remember that moisture is a recipe for mold growth. Preventing mold is loads better than treating it. And what better way to prevent it than to get at the root of the problem.
If condensation is building up and collecting on your glass windows or metal pipes, a mold inspector can give you tips on how to prevent mold from growing or spreading before it’s too late.
Now that you know the 5 signs you could have a mold problem in your home, don’t put off mold inspection even if you don’t see these signs. Mold could be lurking in your home and it could make you and your family sick. Err on the side of caution and have someone check out your home. We can do it for you with our same day service.
3 Signs Your Office Has Mold
Mold is a dangerous fungus that can cause a range of health problems, including headaches, allergies, pulmonary hemorrhages, and respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis. Sometimes mold is visible, but this isn’t always the case. If you notice any of the following signs in your office, you might have a mold problem.
A Musty Smell
Often you will smell mold before you see it. Mold tends to cause a musty smell in the environment. The smell is often worse in the places where mold is growing. If the smell intensifies when you switch on your cooling or heating system, the mold may be growing inside your HVAC unit.
Dusty Office Surfaces
You might think a dusty office simply means you must devote more time to cleaning. However, studies show dusty environments are more likely to have mold problems. You might not realize mold can grow on dust. Dust can also transport mold spores around your office, causing a small mold problem to quickly grow into a large one.
Water Leaks and Water Damage
Mold loves a damp environment. If you have water leaks in your office, then there’s a good chance you also have mold. Look for leaky pipes, leaks in your roof, and cracks in your office walls that can let moisture in. Some leaks may be apparent, while others may be hidden in cavities of your walls or roof. These hidden leaks can provide the perfect breeding ground for mold, as the water pools in the cavities and can be undetected for a long time. Look for yellow to brown water damage stains on your ceiling or walls to detect these sneaky leaks.
If you notice any of these signs of mold, make sure you call MD Mold Testing on 301-273-1166. Our experienced mold removalists will eliminate all traces of mold from your office so it can become a healthy working environment once again.
Monstrous Mold: 5 Scary Facts About Home Mold You Should Know About
Everyone knows that having mold in your home is bad for your health. However, few people actually realize the extent of the danger mold puts them into. It’s not just gross. It can be deadly! Read on to find out the 5 scary mold facts everyone should know about.
1. Black Mold is Virtually Indestructible
So, you thought you could just splash some bleach and kill mold? Think again! Some strains of mold are ridiculously resistant to heat and caustic agents.
For example, black mold, scientifically known as Stachybotrys chartarum, can survive up to 500 degrees and is completely unaffected by bleach and acid.
2. Mold can Grow Fungus in Your Lungs
Just the thought of fungus in your lungs is probably enough to outline the danger of mold. Air quality is so much more than just a pleasant atmosphere but your family’s health as well.
Some molds of the Aspergilli family grow abundant in HVAC systems and are known to cause all sorts of allergies. What’s worse is that having a high concentration of Aspergilli in your house will eventually lead to a nasty condition known as Aspergillosis.
Aspergillosis is as terrible as it sounds and involves the accumulation of fungus in your lungs. It’s gross and can even kill you!
3. Invisible Mold
Some strains of mold are virtually invisible to the naked eye unless they appear in very high concentrations. This means that you may have a mold infection brewing and you might not even know it.
In these cases, prevention is the best solution, due to the visibility issue. If you are unsure about mold in your home, you should get tested by a professional.
4. Mold Spores can Contain Toxins
Known as mycotoxins, mold toxins are a byproduct of mold metabolism. Even in tiny concentrations, mycotoxins produce inflammation in the lungs, with higher concentrations causing more serious health conditions.
What’s worse is that the full extent of breathing in mycotoxins is not yet completely understood by science. So they might be even worse than we know!
5. You will Always have Mold if Your House is Humid
Mold spores are everywhere. By themselves, they are completely harmless, but given a damn environment, these spores grow exponentially, filling your house with mold. The ONLY viable solution is to keep your air dry and inspect your house regularly for mold accumulation.
Here at MD Mold Testing, we offer dependable home inspection services, so you can rest assured that the property you are buying is mold-free and safe for you and your loved ones.
We perform a wide range of tests, from air quality and mold protocols, to radon and heavy metal testing, to make sure you are safe in your environment. Contact us for a home or commercial inspection.
How Different Types of Mold Can Affect Your Health
There are different types of mold and understanding what they are can help you avoid them. Mold is a common problem in many homes that flourishes in moist, humid and warm environments. Here are the main types of mold you should know about:
- Penicillium: its appearance is green or blue and most typically located on damaged materials.
- Cladosporium: you’ll find this one on wood and fabrics. It has the ability to grow in warm and cold environments.
- Aspergillus: this type is found indoors in building materials, powdery food products, and dust.
- Alternaria: this one can be found under sinks, showers, and other damp indoor locations.
How mold affects our health
Mold comes in all colors and varieties. It can be small black spots, large white, fuzzy patches and can be orange or purple or green. It looks unsightly no matter what form it comes in, and it can cause much more harm to you than just looking gross. If not properly dealt with, you can become seriously ill from the contamination.
Children and the elderly are extremely sensitive to exposure, as are individuals with lowered immune systems and lung or breathing issues..
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that “Mold exposure does not always present a health problem indoors”. However, you must keep in mind that certain people are more sensitive to mold than others. Here are the different ways that mold can negatively impact the health of an individual:
- Watery eyes
- Itchy throat
- Itchy nose
- Runny/blocked nose
Furthermore, those with asthma are at an increased risk of an allergic reaction. An environment that is high in mold can trigger different asthma symptoms. The type of negative health effects an individual suffers will depend on the type of mold that is present. Some types can cause lung scarring and infection. For example, aspergillus can result in bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, which leads to breathing problems. Those who are most at risk will have weak respiratory and immune systems as a result of chronic conditions.
What You Should Know About Mold Inspections Before Buying a House
Aside from looking disgusting, mold can have severe effects on your health and the integrity of your home’s structure.
If you’re browsing the real estate market, you should never make a decision before you test a house for mold. Since mold grows in damp places, it’s easy for it to be out of sight.
Buying a House with Mold Is Normal in Some Cases
In nature, there are over 100,000 different types of mold. Unless a home is brand new, chances are high that there will be some mold growth. The best thing you can do for a home mold inspection is to hire a professional who can distinguish between harmless and harmful molds.
Home Mold Detection Needs to Be Thorough
The average homeowner doesn’t have the tools or experience to conduct a thorough mold inspection. In order to get the most accurate readings, you need to look in hard-to-reach places such as within the walls.
At-home tests are expensive and inaccurate. The best way to get the job done is to hire a professional who can do a full, thorough sweep of your home. They’ll be able to kill mold growths and help you prevent future problems. This saves you time, money, and frustration down the road.
Mold Growth Can Point Out Other Issues with the Home
All homeowners know how many things can go wrong. Sometimes owning a home can feel like a never-ending chore.
When you buy a house, you don’t want to start with heaps of problems, unless you know it’s a fixer-upper. Mold inspections are not only important for your health, but also for your home’s structural integrity.
For example, if a professional finds mold in the ceiling, you could have a leaky roof. Wherever mold grows, there’s a good reason to explain why it’s there. In order to fix the problem, you need to address the cause.
Buying new roofing or any other major fixes are expensive. One mold detection can let you know ahead of time if you’ll need to invest a lot of money into fixing the home in the future.
Mold Inspections Can Save Your Life
Saving to buy a house can be exhausting and scary. Taking on a huge mortgage makes everyone worry about having the funds to pay it off.
If you’re clever, you may be trying to find unique ways to cut your expenses. However, when it comes to a house mold inspection, you should never try to do it yourself or neglect it altogether.
Because mold can affect indoor air quality, you could potentially suffer from respiratory issues like difficulty breathing or cold-like symptoms. Your skin and eyes are also susceptible to chronic irritation.
When it comes to your health, it’s always worth using your resources to ensure you and your family stay safe.
Contact MD Mold Testing for Mold Inspection Services
MD Mold Testing provides comprehensive and affordable mold inspections for residential properties. Our mold inspection services can provide peace of mind for property owners through mold testing. For more information or to request same-day service, Call Us At 301-273-1166 Today!