One decison you will have during your home inspection period having a house under contract is if you want to do Mold Testing. This would be an added cost and varies in prices and should be asked of the Home Inspector you hired.
What are Molds?
Molds are types of fungi. They grow in the natural environment. Tiny particles of molds are found everywhere in indoor and outdoor air. In nature, molds help break down dead materials, and can be found growing on soil, foods, plants and other items. Molds are also very common in buildings and homes. Mold needs moisture to grow. Indoors, mold growth can be found where humidity levels are high, like basements and showers. Molds produce microscopic cells called “spores” that are spread easily through the air. Spores can also be spread by water and insects. Live spores act like seeds, forming new mold colonies when they find the right conditions.
How can I be exposed to mold?
Mold is virtually everywhere, floating in the air and on all surfaces. People are exposed to molds 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. Exposures increase when indoor moldy materials becomes dried, damaged or disturbed, causing spores and other mold cells to be released into the air and then inhaled. Elevated exposure can also occur if people directly handle moldy materials or accidentally eat mold.
How can I tell if there is mold in my home, or should I test my home for mold?
Indoor mold growth can usually be seen or smelled. In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is not needed. There are no health or exposure-based standards that you can use to evaluate a mold sampling result. The Florida Department of Health does not recommend mold testing or sampling to see if you have a mold problem, or to see what kind of mold might be growing. Sampling for mold in the air can be expensive and, if done, should only be done by experienced professionals. Investigate a mold problem; don’t test.
- Look for visible mold growth (it may look cottony, velvety, rough, or leathery and have different colors like white, gray, brown, black, yellow, or green). Mold often appears as a staining or fuzzy growth on furniture or building materials (walls, ceilings, or anything made of wood or paper). Look for signs of moisture or water damage (water leaks, standing water, water stains, condensation, etc.).
- Check around air handling units (air conditioners, furnaces) for standing water. Routinely inspect the evaporator coils, liner surfaces, drain pans and drain lines.
- Search areas where you notice mold odors. If you can smell an earthy or musty odor, you may have a mold problem.
- If mold-allergic people have some of the symptoms listed above when in your home, you may have a mold problem.
Should you have concerns about Molds:
Yes and no. On the one hand, there will always be mold in your home in the form of spores and pieces of mold cells. The presence of mold in the air is normal. On the other hand, one should not let mold grow and multiply indoors. When this happens, your level of exposure can increase, thereby increasing the risk of potential health problems. Building materials, household goods and furnishings may also be damaged. Mold needs to eat to survive, and it’s perfectly happy eating your home if you allow it.
What makes mold grow?
Mold only needs a few things to grow and multiply:
- Nutrients (food)
- A suitable place to grow
Many building materials (such as wood, sheetrock, etc.) provide food that can support mold growth. Even dust that has settled on these materials or furniture can be a food source for molds. Molds can grow almost anywhere there is enough moisture or high humidity. Controlling moisture is the key to stopping indoor mold growth, because all molds require water to grow. Moisture can come from:
- Flooding from the outside (storm water, overflowing lakes, streams, storm surge, etc.)
- Flooding from the indoor (overflow from sinks, tubs, toilets, air conditioner drain pans or sewerage systems)
- Condensation (caused by indoor humidity that is too high or surfaces that are too cold)
- Water leaks from outside the building (roof, walls, floors)
- Indoor plumbing leaks or broken water pipes
- Outdoor sprinkler spray hitting the walls, or indoor fire sprinklers
- Poor venting of kitchen and bathroom moisture (steam from shower or cooking)
- Humidifier use
- Drying wet clothes indoors, or not venting clothes dryers outdoors (including electric dryers)
- House plants (over watering, etc.)
- Moisture from our bodies (sweat, wet hair on pillows, breath)
- Warm, moist air from outdoors
- Liquid spills
For more information regarding the illness and cures for mold, and more please seek these answer where the above information is taking from off the Florida Health Site: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/community/indoor-air/mold.htm#ShouldIbeworriedaboutmoldinmyhome? This information is good for anywhere, not only Florida.
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Ron Wolchesky (alias Realtor Ron W)
Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource Certified Realtor®
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