First, it's important to know where to look. Mold tends to prefer cold, dark, and moist spaces. You probably won't find it in your living room, but your attic and crawlspace are much more likely hiding spots.
Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.
And that's not all. You might also find it in doorways, windows, heating, and air conditioning systems. It enters your home either through the air or by being attached to other moldy items like old shoes or newspapers. Once it's there, it's difficult to get rid of.
Signs of Mold
The health risks of mold make looking for early signs that it's growing into your home absolutely crucial. If you see even subtle signs, it might be time to call for professional help to take care of the remediation. Some of these signs include:
Irritated lungs and breathing, similar to allergy symptoms.
A musty smell in the home or areas of the house.
Visible mold, both black and with potentially colored spots.
Water leaks, past flooding, or persistent condensation.
Rust and warping of materials due to humidity.
Most of these don't necessarily point directly to mold growth. They just point towards an environment that encourages this growth. That's why simply looking for them doesn't tend to be enough. A more comprehensive inspection is vital to making sure you know about any potential problems.
Can Mold Harm Humans?
The problems with mold are much more than just an inconvenience. Studies have repeatedly shown the many health risks that spores can bring with them. In fact, mold has been linked to anything from chronic coughs to allergic reactions, skin rashes, red eyes, and more. In some cases, it can get worse.
The reason mold removal services tend to be so important is what mold does to the health of some of the most vulnerable people around us. Most are particularly dangerous for those of us with autoimmune disorders, chronic lung disease, strong allergies, or asthma. And of course, it's worse for infants, children, and the elderly, whose immune systems might not be able to fight against it.
The lesson is clear: you don't want and probably can't afford to have mold in your home. Unfortunately, due to its favorite locations, it could also be difficult to find at times. A thorough inspection can help you find it, but looking out for early growth signs is also important.
Mold Prevention Tips
Ideally, you never let it get to a point where removal becomes a necessity. In the interest of your health and your home's value, you want to make sure that you can prevent rather than remediate the mold. A few tips can help you achieve that goal:
Keep the humidity in your home low, preferably under 40%.
Regularly check your home, particularly the potential problem spots mentioned above, for growth and take care of it early when needed.
Don't let wet areas stay wet. Dry them to make sure they don't become a hospitable environment.
During renovations, invest in mold-resistant drywall and sheetrock to create a less preferable environment.
Regularly clean your roof gutters to avoid any potential leaks or water entering the home in hidden spots.
Clean mold problems immediately, rather than letting them grow into a more significant problem.
It pays to be proactive. Still, you can't be expected to know every square inch of your home. In addition to these general tips, it pays to have regular mold inspections, both for your peace of mind and to be able to detect issues before they become major problems.