How to Detect Mold In the Walls
When your home has suffered water damage, it’s very likely that your home will also experience mold growth. If the water damage is serious, then within 24 hours, mold can begin to grow on your property after water has soaked through to reach the drywall. If you have pipes in your home that are leaking, they can trap moisture in the walls, resulting in water damage and likely mold growth.
Problems Caused by Mold
Mold growth is particularly concerning because the mold will continue to eat away at affected building materials and increase the damage as it spreads. Mold will also compromise the air quality of your home and pose as a health hazard to any and all occupants. Among some of the health concerns that mold presents are eye irritation, coughing, nasal issues, and throat irritation.
Knowing the amount of damage mold can cause, it is important for you to know how to detect mold in your home. However, it can sometimes be difficult to spot mold because it can be hidden. One case of this is mold growth behind your home’s walls.
Here’s what to look for when finding mold behind the walls:
Discoloration and Stains
Because mold growth is often a result of water damage, water stains can be an indicator of the presence of mold. As such, if you spot water stains on your walls, then it is likely that there’s mold growing behind them. Water stains can be yellow or brown in color, so look out for such colors on your wall. If the spots are damp, then that’s an obvious sign of moisture problems as well.
Another indicator of mold growth is discoloration, which can occur even if you have repainted your home’s walls. Discoloration can also happen in the event that damage has been done from within. This is because the mold will still be visible on the wall’s surface.
Mold can appear in many shades, from black to white to brown to gray to green. If your wall has vinyl wallpaper, mold will look pink, orange, or purple in appearance.
Surface Changes and Deterioration
Your walls’ appearance can change significantly if there’s mold growth behind them. In addition to discoloration and stains, your walls may deteriorate. Paint or wallpaper can crack, peel, or bubble because of moisture and mold growth. Furthermore, your walls may become warped or even bow or bulge when there’s a water issue, which often leads to mold growth.
In the event that you are unable to visibly spot any signs of mold growth, you’ll likely still be able to smell the mold. Mold gives off a musty odor. It is similar to an earthy smell that you would find in a damp forest.
If you get down and smell the electrical outlets, then you will be able to more easily sniff out whether there is mold growth behind your walls. It sounds like a silly thing to do, but outlets have good access to the space behind the walls in your home.
What is the most dangerous colour of mold?
Black mold, scientifically known as Stachybotrys, is generally considered to be the most dangerous type, as it can produce mycotoxins – toxic chemical compounds which may cause a wide range of symptoms when exposure occurs, from asthma to neurotoxicity. However, it is worthy of note that black mold will not always release mycotoxins, as well as that there are other types of mold which can produce these toxic substances. Exposure to the following strains of mold may also entail a considerable health risk when mycotoxins are present:
- While the initial color of this type of mold is white, it will become olive, brown or gray when colonies reach maturity. In severe cases, this strain can cause skin lesions, peritonitis, DNA damage, auto-immune disease, deep mycoses, and brain abscess.
- As one of the most common strains of mold, Penicillium has approximately 200 different species and its spores can be found everywhere in the environment. The colors of this mold are blue and green. Some of the most severe health problems exposure to Penicillium can be responsible of are pulmonary emphysema, edema, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis.
- This strain of mold requires a very wet environment to develop and its color can range from cream to orange. Fungal keratitis, a corneal infection, is the most serious disease exposure to Fusarium can trigger. Although it is very rare, people with preexistent eye disease, trauma or infection, as well as those with a compromised immune system, are at higher risk of developing fungal keratitis. Other health issues this type of mold can cause are bone and joint infections, skin and nail infections, and pneumonia.
How to Tell When Household Mold Is Dead
Mold, an organism of the fungi family, is a dangerous byproduct of a damp area or surface. Mold can form within 24 to 48 hours of a flood or a leak in a home or a basement. Mold spores can cause cold-like symptoms and trigger asthma attacks and other health problems, such as allergic reactions. Mold is especially dangerous to young children, whose immune systems are not developed, pregnant women and the elderly. Living or dead, mold can be dangerous and should be taken seriously.
Don a breathing mask and gloves before exposing yourself to mold. This protective gear will create a barrier between you and the mold and lessen your exposure to mold spores. Minimize your proximity to the mold since the closer you are to it, the greater chance you will feel the effects of it.
Study the mold that you think may be dead. It will appear flaky and powdery. Live mold will appear moist and come in various colors such as white, black, gray, green or yellow. The texture of active mold can vary from cotton-like to glossy. It can have hair-like growth on top.
Rub the surface of the mold with something long, such as a broom, so you do not have to get close to it. If it falls off the surface easily and becomes airborne, then it probably is dead mold.
Household Mold Growth
One of the reasons mold grows so easily inside homes is because it’s not that picky.
It needs water, but when it comes to food, there’s an entire smorgasbord on its menu. Mold will munch on anything with cellulose, which happens to be in nearly everything you can think of—carpet, fabrics, curtains, wood, insulation, and more.
This is one of the reasons mold is so prevalent in basements. Not only do most basements have moisture, but it’s also the area where people store items they aren’t currently using such as old clothes, and rugs.
Household mold can even make its way into the tiny cracks and crevices into your walls and foundation. When it begins growing in those spots, it’s out of sight, and we typically don’t realize there’s a problem until after the colonies have spread.
Keep mold out of your home with these simple tips.
Incomplete and improper ventilation may cause mold to grow on walls, furniture or personal property. Mold can be responsible for irritant and allergic reactions. Wet, damp weather, combined with closed windows, causes walls to “sweat,” forming mildew and mold.
Mold is everywhere; it’s an integral part of the natural environment. The key to mold’s growth is moisture. Controlling mold is a matter of controlling moisture. Once the moisture problem is cured, it is very likely that the mold won’t come back.
The following tips will assist with proper ventilation and preventing mildew or mold build-up:
- Ventilate your house for a minimum of 30 minutes daily.
- Cross ventilation is necessary, so interior doors must be opened along with windows on opposing sides.
- Keep your kitchen door closed and the room ventilated while cooking or operating your dishwasher.
- Keep your bathroom door closed during showers and baths. If you have an exhaust fan, it should be turned on. If there is no exhaust fan, the window should be ajar to let moist air out.
- Furniture should not be placed against walls. Move furniture four to six inches away from walls so air flows between them.
- During winter months, rooms on the north side of a home are colder. Make sure those rooms are heated slightly more than rooms facing south.