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How to determine if mold is present in your home

Mold is a small organism found almost everywhere. It can be black, white, orange, green, or purple. Outdoors, molds play an important role in nature, breaking down dead leaves, plants, and trees. Molds thrive on moisture and reproduce by means of tiny, lightweight spores that travel through the air. You’re exposed to mold every day. There are many clues to the presence of mold in your home, using your five senses can be some of the best tools to identify a mold problem.

Sight: Whether it’s the slimy black spots on your shower curtain, the fuzzy white patches on your basement floor, or the slick orange film that forms on your kitchen drain, household mold is more than unsightly. In small amounts, mold spores are usually harmless, but when they land on a damp spot in your home, they can start to grow. When mold growth in a home occurs on a surface, spores can be released into the air where they can be easily inhaled. If you’re sensitive to mold and inhale a large number of spores, you could experience health problems, especially if you have allergies or asthma.

Observe your walls, floors, appliances, carpet, or furniture – they can all provide the food mold needs to grow. But the thing all molds need most is moisture, so you’re most likely to see mold in damp places such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements, and crawl spaces. A hidden leak is one of the easiest ways for mold growth to begin.

Hearing: Listen to your body and your family members. If you are hearing coughing, labored breathing, sneezing, these may be the sounds of a mold allergy. Whether or not you’re allergic to mold, mold exposure can irritate your eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs. For people sensitive to mold, inhaling or touching mold spores can cause allergic reactions, including sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. People with serious mold allergies may have more severe reactions, including shortness of breath. In people with asthma who are allergic to mold, breathing in spores can also cause asthma attacks.

Touch: Feeling excessive moisture in the air of your home, stagnant air, humidity, feeling surfaces that are moist or damp, are all cues that it is time to take steps to reduce the moisture in your home. Mold needs moisture to grow and requires little more to thrive.

Taste/Smell: Mold can cause a range of smells in the air of your home, and dank/musty smell to a sour smell can be indications of home mold growth. The taste of the air may also be a cue. If you notice a lingering taste or smell in your home, be sure to check for sources of moisture or dampness that may be leading to mold growth in your home.

For more information on molds and what can be done to prevent or repair damage caused by mold growth call USA Water and Fire Restoration Service LLC today: 1 (800) 501-3046.

Additional resources:
Tips for fighting home mold growth
What should I do after a flood?
The mold story - how mold affects homes
Determining the cost of mold remediation
Removing attic mold
Getting rid of home mold
Basement mold removal
Do you have black mold?