Mold is a common problem in many homes, and the appearance of mold could mean many things. By recognizing mold right away, it will be easier to reduce the risk of dangers mold can cause and clean it up safely and effectively.
Common Types of House Mold
There are many types of mold that can appear in a house, depending on the house’s age, condition, moisture levels, surface areas, and local climate. Common molds found in many homes include:
Identifying the exact type of mold in your home can be difficult. Many molds can look similar, particularly when an infestation is not severe, and different molds can also have different appearances depending on where they appear, what they are feeding on, and how they interact with household surfaces or environmental conditions. Expert analysis may be necessary to identify exactly which mold you may have in your home, but fortunately, the treatment and cleanup options for most household molds are very similar and exact identification isn’t always essential for minor mold problems.
Where Mold Can Appear
It is a persistent but incorrect belief that mold only appears in older, rundown houses. In fact, mold can be present in homes of any age and any condition. Most often, mold is found in attics and basements where moisture levels are typically higher, but mold can also appear anywhere moisture collects, including standing water in sinks, shower or tub drains, or near pipes that have moisture condensation. Other spots that often show mold include:
- Inside ventilation systems and on air returns and vents
- On wood furniture or any wood surface
- Inside walls or under floorboards
- In dark areas, including closets and cupboards
- Along the edges of windows
- On carpeting, upholstery, or any fabric surface
Mold spores are tiny and can be carried by shoes, purses, backpacks, clothing, or even hair or skin. Because of that, mold can enter a home by many different vectors, and it isn’t always due to water damage, uncontrolled humidity, or undetected leaks.
Problems With Mold
Most household mold will not cause severe problems, but if left untreated, the risks of mold will grow just as the spores multiply. Eventually, a bad mold infestation can not only damage property by staining surfaces and weakening structures, but it can also lead to breathing and other respiration problems, inflamed allergies, or sinus infections. Individuals with asthma are particularly at risk for health-related mold sensitivities, and mold can also cause irritation to the skin and eyes.
While mold is natural and nearly every homeowner will have to deal with mold at some point, severe mold infestations can indicate more concerning issues. Repetitive mold problems may indicate leaks in plumbing or seal failures around bathroom fixtures, kitchen appliances, water heaters, or washing machines, or mold might indicate a weakness in a house’s foundation or poor landscape drainage. Musty odors and mold could show breaches in a ventilation system, or could indicate even roof leaks. If left untended, these problems can quickly grow into major headaches and could require extensive repairs and remediation.
Cleaning Up Household Mold
Fortunately, most household mold can be easy to clean up if it is attended to right away. First, identify the source of the mold if possible, whether it is a slow leak, standing water, or regular condensation. Taking steps to prevent that water from returning is essential to ridding the area of mold and keeping it from coming back. To clean up the mold…
- Protect your eyes, nose, mouth, and skin with appropriate goggles and masks to avoid breathing in any spores or becoming contaminated with mold, especially if you have breathing difficulties.
- Remove and discard any heavily contaminated or hard-to-clean surfaces, such as drywall that has already softened or rugs with a heavy musty odor or mold staining.
- Use a strong bleach solution to wipe down all surfaces where mold has been seen, and clean adjacent surfaces as well to catch any stray spores that could recontaminate the area.
- Allow the area to dry thoroughly, using extra fans to provide adequate ventilation to ensure surfaces are completely dry.
- Use mold and mildew prevention sprays regularly to prevent additional mold from taking hold in the same area.
If the mold infestation is extensive or beyond your ability to safely clean, contact a mold remediation company for professional assistance to alleviate the problem and keep the mold from recurring.
Preventing mold can be much easier than removing it. While mold is natural and can be found anywhere, taking certain easy steps can minimize the risk of having a severe mold infestation in your home.
- Remove indoor sources of standing water by fixing all leaky faucets and drips, and ensuring showers and tubs drain quickly and efficiently.
- Install stronger, more efficient vent fans in kitchens and bathrooms, and use them frequently to keep moisture from accumulating.
- Consider using a home dehumidifier to control high humidity levels, or use ceiling fans or the automatic fan on central air conditioning to keep air circulating.
- Use good quality filters for a furnace or air conditioner, and clean or replace the filters regularly so they can scrub the air more efficiently.
- Regularly clean your air conditioner’s drip pan with a strong bleach solution to keep any mold from taking hold on the surface.
- Ensure the attic, basement, and any crawlspaces have adequate ventilation to promote good air circulation.
- Clean the air duct system in your home and keep vents clear from obstructions. Clean vent covers whenever necessary.
- Dust and vacuum regularly to remove the dirt and debris that feeds mold, including dusting upholstery, drapes, and other fabric surfaces.
- Consider mold-inhibiting paint in rooms with high humidity or where mold is likely to be present, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms.
Household mold doesn’t have to be scary, and while severe mold infestations can be challenging, there are steps every homeowner can take to remove and prevent mold with ease.