The simplest way to tell if you have hidden mold in your home or property is to look for signs of water damage and mold smells.
Mold often grows on damp surfaces and environments, like walls, floors, bathrooms, kitchens, under sinks, basements, crawl spaces, and attics.
These areas in a home are often off the radar for most people and I have a saying, “If it is not inspected, it becomes neglected.”
If you do not see mold anywhere but you smell mold or are having allergies and or other weird health symptoms, you or a professional will need to inspect both inside and outside your home for signs of leaks, water damage, and discoloring.
If you decide to do this yourself, you will be performing your own DIY mold inspection. By thinking like an inspector and keeping things simple, you can find hidden mold in your property.
What are you looking for?
Areas of moisture intrusion, water damage, mold growth, areas conducive to mold growth, and or musty odors.
Here are 5 tips to inspect your home today.
1. Is there a musty smell in the property?
If you smell mold, that most likely means there is mold in the building. The smell is actually from volatile compounds (VOCs) that fungi/molds create through primary or secondary metabolism that then becomes airborne.
Use your nose like a hound. The stronger the smell gets in certain areas, the more likely mold will be hidden in these same areas.
Try to pinpoint if there is plumbing in these rooms with stronger smells. If not, the following tips will help you along the inspection process.
2. Has the building ever suffered a plumbing leak or are there visible signs of water damage anywhere?
Think back to recall if you had any plumbing issues, water leaks, pipe bursts, roof leaks, or water spills.
Search these areas and every inch of your home. Do this even if you do not remember any water damage events.
Inspect the entire property for water stains, discoloration, and mold growing on the walls, floor, ceiling, under sinks, cabinets etc.
Maybe the mold is hiding behind a wall, under a sink, or in the HVAC system.
Look for signs of moisture, discoloration, or mold growing in windows and around door frames. Examine window frames, sills and the bottom of doors, including sliding glass doors for areas that are wet, discolored or rusting.
Check other damp areas, like crawl spaces or basements.
Inspect your carpet, padding and tack strips for signs of water damage or mold.
3. Has the property ever suffered a roof leak?
If you have a previous leak or do not know, you will need to inspect the attic to see if there are water stains and mold growing. Do not leave this to chance.
4. Does the property sit at the bottom of a hill or a slope?
Buildings that sit at the bottom of any kind of slope without proper retaining walls and water diversion systems will experience flooding and water damage at some point, and most often, multiple times in the life of the structure.
If you are on a slope, or you have exterior flowerbeds or concrete that is higher than your weep screen, check for water that may be coming inside from the outside going underneath your flooring.
5. Is the building old, lack of maintenance and dilapidated?
Normally, a poorly taken care of property most likely means that if they had a leak in the past, they did not take care of it properly or at all.
Poor maintenance such as lack of painting and lack of caulking, means the exterior shell is not properly sealed from the weather. This will result in water intrusion through the siding and your windows.
Old roofs that need repair or replaced will lead to water leaks in the attic and home, resulting in hidden mold growth.
OCCUPANT HEALTH INFORMATION
If any family members, residents or occupants have experienced any of the following adverse health effects, it may indicate that mold is present in their environment.
All these areas need to be examined or you should hire a professional mold inspection firm.
Once hidden mold has been discovered, it is important to act fast. Mold can cause serious health problems and financial losses if not removed quickly.
Use an air purifier to help remove spores from the air inside your home or building until you perform mold remediation.
If possible, get testing samples from various areas of your home or property and send them to a laboratory for analysis or have a professional mold inspection company do it for you.
If you need an inspection or mold removal, please call us at (760) 818-6830 or contact us online.
Moe Bedard is the founder of Mold Safe Inspections and manager at Mold Safe Solutions. A full-service Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) company specializing in property water damage, mold inspections, consultations, and mold remediation.
If you need help with a project, please call 760-818-6830.