Owning your own home is a dream for many. It is a place to begin a new life, raise a family and create a lifetime of memories. A home is always a trusted place where people go for comfort and security. What many don’t realize is that their trusted comfort zone for protection and security may be affecting their families’ health. Every home is subject to a silent intruder that sneaks into your home and may cause your family a variety of health issues. The silent intruder is known as mold.
Mold is a kind of fungus that lives on plants, foods and other organic materials. Mold spores can be found almost everywhere in our environment both indoors and out, including our homes. Mold can sneak into our home with our pets, on our shoes and through open windows and doors. Under the proper conditions, mold will grow on our furnishing and homes interior and is something that should not be tolerated. Preventing moisture problems in our home is key for preventing mold.
Mold can find many areas in the home to hide and grow including:
- Shower Stalls
- Around Plumbing
- In Vents
- And many other seemly safe places in our homes.
The presence of mold in a home can cause several health problems including:
- Asthma Attacks
- Skin Irritations
- Difficulty in Breathing
- Sore Throats
- And possibly serious lung infections.
Yes, mold in our homes, especially when present in large amounts can adversely affect our families health and is something we should be concerned about. If you have a home custom built, or if you purchase a newer home the likelihood of discovering large amounts of undetected mold is minimal. However, when acquiring an older, used home in today’s market you need to take steps to insure the house is not infested with mold.
Over the last few years, an increasing number of homes have been lost to foreclosure. Many times these foreclosed homes sit abandoned for months or years before finding a new owner; during this time mold can become a serious health issue for the new owner. There are a record number of individuals purchasing foreclosed homes from banks, real estate investors, house flippers or even from the local government through a county held tax lien or tax deed auction. When purchasing a home in the area where you live you can often check the outside of the home and possibly inspect the inside for mold problems prior to purchasing the property. However, due to the high number of tax delinquent properties, many states are beginning to offer homes for sale at online sales via the internet. Buying homes online can be risky since they are usually purchased site unseen. You will be unable to check the homes condition or inspect the property before the sale. Keep this in mind when buying a home at a price that seems “too good to be true”.
Regardless of whether you have been living in your home for a while or just moved into a new house you’ll want to make sure there isn’t a mold problem. The best way to detect mold in a home is by using your eyes and nose. Look for signs of actively growing mold and use your nose to find the source of suspicious odors. You should assume you have a mold problem if you detect a musty or earthy smell or if you can see mold growing. Other tell tale signs of a mold problem are worsening of allergies or signs of excess moisture.
Ways to Check for Mold in a Home
- Check for growing mold that is visible (it may be white, green, yellow, black or brown and will usually look fuzzy or cottony)
- Search in locations with definite mold odors
- Check for water damage or excess moisture. Check for leaks, stains or standing water. Walls, carpets or ceilings that are discolored are a good sign of trouble.
- Check behind and under sink cabinets or furniture or items stored close to outside walls.
Mold is quite and sneaky and often goes unnoticed; however, it can cause health problems for your entire family. Whether your house is old or new it can quietly creep in and begin causing problems. Help keep your family healthy and periodically inspect your home for mold.