Mold: four letters, one syllable, a world of anxiety and stress. It’s such a simple word with the potential to cause so many problems. Why is mold so troubling and what should you do if you find mold in your house or discover it while you’re house hunting?
There are five facts that you should know about mold:
Mold grows quickly: It only takes 24 to 48 hours for mold to grow and spread in wet, warm conditions.
Mold is undetectable: Excessive moisture behind walls, under floors or in cabinets or closets are perfect breeding grounds for mold. This is mold that you often can’t see or smell but it can make you and your family very sick.
Mold issues are expensive: Mold damage can cost as much as $10,000, and most insurance carriers will not cover the cost of mold removal.
Know the symptoms of mold exposure: They include severe body aches, joint pain, nausea and chronic, sometimes serious respiratory issues. These symptoms can develop quickly or over time.
Know the people at risk: The very young, the very old and people with compromised immune systems are most likely to be affected by mold. Mold can even be deadly among these groups of people.
How do you know if mold is present in your home? Mold usually has a green or black color and it smells musty or earthy. While you might be able to fix small mold spots, it is best to have mold remediated by a professional. When you come across mold in a home, it should be understood that you have a moisture issue first and a mold issue second. You need to address the problem and not just a symptom of the problem. Scrubbing surface mold with mold killer will not be effective if you do not address the moisture issue.
Mold can be tricky and dangerous. More often than not, the mold is either from a small plumbing leak or from a roof leak, so that issue needs to be fixed first. If the mold is located under a bathroom or kitchen sink where there could be a plumbing leak, call a plumber to investigate. Similarly, have a roofer inspect and seal any gaps in the roof if you see that’s the cause of the mold. Even if there has been no water damage to a property, mold can come from something as simple as a leaky window because moisture and mold go hand-in-hand.
If you are planning to go house hunting, you should know where to look for mold. Check dark, damp places for mold, like under cabinets and in basements, crawl spaces and attics. If you didn’t find mold, but your home inspector sees that mold is present during your inspection contingency period, this issue should be addressed prior to closing. If mold is discovered within this time period, mold removal can either be negotiated or you can cancel the contract and walk away from the home.