MOLD! Just hearing that word invokes fear into home owners. The greatest fear is health concerns for the family. That fear is closely followed with the fear of how much it will cost to remove it.

Mold can cause not only health issues, but it can also damage the structure of the house.

Not all mold is black mold. There are many varieties of mold. Analysis by a certified lab is required to detect the type of mold.

In a University of Arizona study conducted in 2003, 100% of the homes tested contained some degree of mold. Mold exists literally in every house. In the Houston area, that is especially true.

DON’T PANIC. Most mold can be prevented through good home maintenance and most mold can be treated relatively cheaply by homeowners.

Treatable Mold on Wall

Above picture is mold on inside wall that could be treated by homeowner.

Health Symptoms

Mold is often hidden and invisible. Health symptoms is often the first indication that there is a serious mold problem in the house.

Symptoms include stomach illness, skin rash, eye irritation, sinus congestion, sore throat, nose bleeds, fatigue, weakness, headaches, light sensitivity, poor memory, difficult word finding, morning stiffness, join pain, tingling, numbness, shortness of breath, chronic cough.

Having any one or a combination of these symptoms is not sufficient to indicate there is a mold problem. There are other medical conditions that can cause these symptoms. If these symptoms continue and don’t improve with medical treatment, then mold could be the cause.

Mold Damage from Flood

Above picture is mold found in a house that flooded.

Detection and Prevention

You don’t want to wait to have health issues to discover there is a mold problem. Most mold can be detected and treated by the homeowner through regular home maintenance and cleaning. This will entail inspecting the roof, gutters, attic, ceilings, walls, floors, crawl spaces, and sink cabinets.

We recommend that homeowners do a thorough inspection and cleaning at least twice a year.

John Bodrozic, co-founder of HomeZada.com recommends the following actions be taken by the homeowner:

  1. Inspect and caulk around water fixtures and around windows.
  2. Clean out rain gutters.
  3. Inspect and repair roof leaks.
  4. If the house has a crawl space, make sure there is a vapor barrier installed at the top of the crawl space and plenty of air ventilation.

Mold can be hidden behind the walls, ceiling, and floors. A visible inspection will not detect this mold.

Mold test kits are available on the internet and are relatively inexpensive. Some test for 3 types of mold. Others test for all mold. Do your research. Most kits require the homeowner to take samples and mail them to a lab for analysis.

Moisture meters and infrared cameras can also detect moisture behind walls. These tools can be costly and require training to use properly.

Most mold remediation can be done by the home owner.

In Houston, many contractors begin installing sheetrock before the structure has had time to adequately dry. As a result, mold can start growing behind the walls within 6 months. If this happens, the cost of removal and repair can be very expensive because all the sheetrock and the external sheathing that siding and brick attachment must be removed, treated, and reinstalled.

If you have a house that flooded or if you are considering purchasing a house that flooded, we recommend mold assessment by a certified mold assessment company.

Remediation

Most mold remediation can be done by the home owner.

A good rule of thumb is that if the mold is smaller than 10 square feet (roughly 3.2 ft x 3.2 ft), then remediation can be done by the home owner. If the mold is larger than 10 square feet, a mold remediation company should be used.

Remediation requires a) removing the cause of the mold, and b) removing the mold itself.

Mold develops as a result of excess moisture. Removing the cause of the mold is done by removing the source of moisture. Check for water leaks in piping, leaking faucets, roof leaks. Water may travel and begin to pool several feet from the leak causing mold to occur. Be sure to find the true source of the leak.

RemoveMoldGuide.com recommends using a solution of 15:1 of water and chlorine bleach. A similar mixture of hydrogen peroxide is even better. Use one large bottle of hydrogen peroxide to a 2 gallon spray container.

Sources:

www.emsl.com

www.viamedex.com

https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/08/27/what-to-do-if-your-house-has-mold-or-you-think-it-does

www.homezada.com

www.jillcarnahan.com/2015/02/08/toxic-mold-exposure-cause-symptoms/

www.RemoveMoldGuide.com