As a new homeowner, the last thing on your mind is the potential presence of mold in your home. With more appealing aspects like interior design and move-in plans taking priority, it can be easy to forsake your overall health and safety. Here’s what you need to know about the household hazard and what you can do in the event you discover a mold problem.
What is Mold?
Mold is a type of fungus that grows in moist, dark environments containing some source of organic matter to serve as its food source. It reproduces through the release of spores often spread by air, water, or animals.
Where Can Mold be Found in Your House?
Mold can grow on any surface of your home that can retain moisture. Common areas where you may discover mold include:
- Crawl spaces
- Bathroom tiles
- Shower curtains & bathroom tub
- Water leaks from walls or floors
- Under kitchen sinks
What Problems Can Mold Cause in the Home?
Since mold relies on organic matter as a food source, it can eat away at building materials like drywall, ceiling tiles, carpet, and floorboards. Depending on the severity of the contamination, these materials will either need to be cleaned or completely replaced. The fungus can also wreak havoc on your HVAC systems and even spread to other areas of the house through air ducts.
Signs that You May Have a Mold Problem in Your Home
Household signs and certain physical symptoms you’re experiencing could indicate that mold is somewhere in your home. Consider the following as a sign of the fungus:
- A musty smell in certain areas of the home
- Visible water leaks
- Visible growth of mold
Physical symptoms (likely experienced if you have an allergy):
- Watery eyes
- Sore throat
- Difficulty breathing
These symptoms may also be indicators of other toxins present in your home. Although mold is the likely culprit, be sure to also check for hazards like asbestos or carbon monoxide leaks.
What to Do in the Event You Find Mold
Depending on the severity of the mold, you may be able to successfully clean it up yourself. However, if the mold is larger than a 3’ x 3’ patch, the EPA recommends hiring a professional to take care of it. Follow these tips for proper cleanup if you determine the size is manageable.
In the event that mold covers larger areas of your home, you will need to hire a mold remediation professional to get the job done right. Ask your trusted, local Realtor for recommendations.
Before you select a specific contractor, keep these factors in mind to help you make your decision:
- Make sure they have the proper insurance.
The contractor you hire should be insured for liability and safety reasons in the event an accident occurs in your home. They should also have the proper credentials and expertise.
- Look into customer testimonials.
Third-party reviews are a great way to gauge the quality of the service you’ll receive. Read through customer testimonials on the company’s website or social media pages to see if any provide negative feedback.
- Be wary of a price estimate that is too low.
Mold remediation can vary depending on where it is in your home and how much of it is present. In severe cases, it can cost you upwards of $6,000 so be wary of any contractors that offer you a suspiciously low price. This could be an indication of a poor quality of work.
How Can You Prevent Mold?
The key to preventing mold is to control the moisture in your home. Be mindful of certain rooms that are prone to moist environments such as the bathroom and kitchen. Dry wet spaces immediately and do regular checks of key areas that may be prone to water leaks. Make a point to also increase air circulation within your home. Keep dark areas well-ventilated and open your windows when possible.
By taking preventative measures to halt mold growth in your new home and avoiding common homeowner mistakes, you can save yourself a major headache and a dent in your wallet. If you do face mold troubles in the future, don’t be afraid to rely on expert contractors to help you revamp your family’s quality of living.