Buying Real Estate?! Don’t forget your Mold inspection
Purchasing a home takes a lot of research and resources to ensure you’re making a good investment. The housing market can be risky because you can never be 100% aware of all the problems that may be in store for the future. It’s a fact of homeownership that some repairs will be needed over time and ongoing maintenance is a must, however, most people minimize the element of surprise at the time of purchase by making sure they employ a home inspector to evaluate the home.
While a home inspection is vital and sometimes required in order to receive funding from your lender, it may not be enough to ensure you are making a good purchase. The home inspector doesn’t usually address any mold issues or the possibility of mold growth in the future when conducting his inspection. In fact, many home inspectors exclude mold explicitly in their contracts to protect themselves from future liability. This means that it’s possible your dream home could turn into a nightmare if mold or moisture issues aren’t addressed or remain hidden throughout the buying process.
Consider Hiring a Mold Expert
It’s unlikely that mold in and of itself will cause serious structural damage to a home although the conditions present for mold to develop can lead to other obvious structural issues like wood rot. Sometimes, this means surface mold growth can be easily covered up. It’s hard to believe that anyone would hide a known problem, but it is something that happens. A seller’s disclosure should include any known mold problems, but proving that a seller knows about mold in their home and that it was a health problem can be challenging and very expensive once the deal is done. Getting a Mold Specialists opinion on your potential home before you make a purchase may be a good choice, especially if you have known health problems or allergies that make you more susceptible to mold.
Whether a home is new or old, mold can be a potential problem. Older homes have years of use that often includes water damage events like the bathtub overflowing or sump pumps failing. Newly built homes often have moisture control issues during construction that can lead to mold growth on structural framing or other materials. A mold expert is best equipped to identify areas of concern and let you know how much, if any, visible mold damage is present. All homes have some mold in them, determining what is normal or acceptable can be a challenging task, one that often requires a bit more experience and knowledge than the average home inspector, realtor or friend has to offer.
Things to look for yourself.
While a mold inspection for your soon to be home is something you may decide to do before closing the deal, you can rule out many problems and even a few homes yourself by using the following tips.
- Avoid homes with musty odors. Mold produces VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that your nose interprets as a “musty” smell. If a home smells musty or “mildewy” there’s likely a mold source somewhere causing the odor. The stronger the musty smell, the more likely that the mold problem is either large or active.
- Look for evidence of poor cleaning habits. Mold needs three things to really thrive: moisture, a food source, and warmth. All of these ingredients are often present in homes, even if things are kept reasonably dry. When dust and grime are allowed to build up on interior surfaces and contents mold is more likely to become a widespread problem throughout the home. Observe window casings, under the refrigerator and behind heavy furniture. If there is a lot of accumulated debris or dust, it’s more likely that mold and other allergens will be present.
- Check for evidence of past water problems. Run the faucet and open the cabinet where the facet runs to see what you find. Don’t be shy this may be your home one day. Look for swollen baseboards, water spots and stains, or bowed and buckling floors. Water damage rarely happens without evidence. Past water problems are not always an indication of a mold problem, but they could be a clue.
- Be suspicious of homes that smell too clean or have heavy fragrances present. Sometimes homeowners will make simple and quick touch-ups changes to increase the value of their home. If a basement smells strongly of bleach or there is a strong floral scent in the air, it could be that the seller is simply putting their best foot forward or it could mean that they are trying to hide an odor problem.
- Look past the new finishes. Prepping a home for sale often involves renovations. If every wall is freshly painted and there is new flooring throughout, look deeper and see if there are underlying problems or if the workmanship is questionable. Look in corners, inside closets, under cabinets or any other hard to reach areas. Legitimate renovators won’t leave problems unfixed knowingly, but it’s often easy to spot a home where corners were cut and the chances of a hidden problem are higher.
While these tips shouldn’t replace a normal home inspection or a mold expert from inspecting the home you are purchasing, they do come in handy on your journey to narrowing down your prospects. As always, Indiana Mold Remediation is here to help if you have any questions or would like to schedule and inspection for your prospective new home.
Household Appliances and Mold: Cleaning Tips
Caring for our household appliances happens less than it should. Many of us use household appliances daily to help maintain the cleanliness of our homes but we often take them for granted. It isn’t often we stop to maintain or clean these appliances unless something is wrong and musty odors or discoloration are indications that something isn’t right.
Household appliances like dishwashers, washing machines and refrigerators are prime targets for mold accumulation. Mold thrives in damp environments leaving our bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms vulnerable to mold growth. Being mold free isn’t really possible, but a realistic approach to mold is control mold growth with regularly scheduled cleaning. Here are a few cleaning tips for your everyday appliances.
Dishwashers fill up with warm water whenever we run a cycle. Damp food is commonly left behind from previous cycles and can get stuck in the filters, utensil baskets, interior panels, or other nooks and crannies. Keep an eye out for puddles or flooring damage in front of the dishwasher. Common leaks occur where the water enters the dishwasher at the base of the machine. Because the water leaks can be small or only occur during the discharge cycle, they can go unnoticed for quite some time if your not looking for them.
Tip: Clear your dishwasher of excess food particles left behind after every wash cycle and allow it to air out from time to time by leaving the front door open. Run an empty cycle monthly with a special dishwasher cleaner, vinegar or lemon juice to give the appliance a thorough flush out and remove hard water and soap deposits. If your dishwasher has a “self-cleaning” or sanitizing option this can help to keep the inside clean, but Don’t forget to clean the seals of the door on occasion with a household cleaner.
Clothes washing machines may not run daily, but are frequently used to wash our clothing and other items. Water and humidity from laundry room appliances can create a breeding ground for mold if the area is not well ventilated. Regularly check to make sure that the fittings are not leaking on the back of the machine and that the drain line is securely fastened to the discharge point. Two common types of washing machines are the front load and top load models.
Front load washing machines are designed to use less water and provide a superior wash to clothing and other textiles. The door is in the front of the machine rather than on top like the traditional washing machine and because the door sits vertical to the machine, it is prone for it to trap moisture within the door’s seals at the bottom of the opening. The detergent drawers can also hold water and moisture providing another location for mold to grow.
Tip: As soon as the cycle is complete remove your load and leave the door & detergent drawer open allowing them to air out any excess water left behind. Run a “clean washer” cycle at least once a month if not twice. If you don’t have that option run a hot water cycle with bleach or a specialty cleaning product. Make sure the loader is empty and clean the seals separately with a household cleaner on occasion.
A top load washing machine is the standard washing machine we are used to seeing. While they may not appeal to the modern eye, they do seem less prone to mold or odors than their younger cousins. The horizontal door doesn’t require the job of holding water in, so no door seals are necessary and the appliance naturally evaporates excess moisture into the air.
TIP: Leave the door open after cycles and allow the inside of the drum to air out. Run “clean washer cycle” monthly or a Hot water cycle with bleach. Clean the top of the drum, the fabric softener cup and the bleach cup on a regular basis with household cleaners. Do regular inspections around the machine to ensure no mold is growing elsewhere.
Refrigerators are meant to stay closed and preserve food from going bad (or get moldy). They generate a lot of heat trying to keep our foods and beverages cold. A condensate pan under the appliance can retain water and, while interacting with the heat produced, can lead to mold problems under and behind the appliance. Move the refrigerator at least once a year and clean under and behind it. Like the dishwasher, small leaks under or behind the appliance can go on for a long time unnoticed if you’re not paying attention. Be mindful of any discoloration, warping or change in the floor in front of the refrigerator.
Tip: Once a month before a big grocery shopping trip unplug the refrigerator and clean it out from top to bottom. Go through every food jar and container making sure nothing has gone moldy. If any food is expired or is unlikely to be eaten, throw it out. Take out all the food and clean the drawers and shelves. If any pieces are removable, soak them in the sink as needed to get them clean.
While it is impractical for you to aim for mold-free home, periodic cleaning is a great way to limit mold in your home as much as possible. If you need advice or have a question, contact a mold removal specialist at Indiana Mold Remediation. Visit us online or call us today!
3 Tips to a Mold Resistant Home
Household chores can be a drag. After a long work week, the last thing most of us want to do is more work by cleaning on our days off. However, cleanliness and organization is part of mold prevention. While cleaning may seem as basic as a mop and a bucket full of soapy water, it can go a long way to preventing a serious mold problem in your home.
Keeping a consistent cleaning schedule will help eliminate excess time spent and minimize mold growth. A schedule allows you to take your time cleaning and avoid stress without wasting a whole day of cleaning your whole home. Check out the following 3 tips that not only help keep your house clean but aid in mold prevention.
Alter Your Cleaning Chores
High-use areas like kitchens and bathrooms need to be cleaned weekly or, in some cases even daily. Washing dishes and putting away the toothpaste are daily chores that just can’t be avoided but you can rotate lower use areas or surfaces on a monthly or annual schedule. Cleaning your home all at once can be overwhelming, especially when you include hard to reach or access areas like baseboards and high windows. Identify tasks that need to be completed daily like picking up clothes throwing away trash; weekly, like vacuuming carpets and doing laundry; and less frequently like wiping down baseboards and cleaning behind the dresser. Choose one room to focus on that month and get all the hard to reach areas or difficult to do tasks completed for that one area.
Cleaning Time is a Visual Inspection
While you are cleaning various areas of your home, pay attention to the details. Take into account any wear and tear or visibly damaged items and perform or schedule repairs as needed. If you notice leaks or excessive water build-up, follow the trail back to the source if you can. If you find any visible mold growth Don’t Panic, Indiana Mold Remediation is here to help. If there isn’t any visible mold, seal or fix wherever the water source is and provide the area with proper ventilation to dry. If your uncertain as to the source of water, we can probably help you to identify it.
Keep Organized and Limit Clutter
Mold needs a food source to grow and lots of items in our home meet that requirement. Keeping your home as clutter free and organized is essential to home mold prevention. Everything in your home should have a home of its own. Try to eliminate unneeded items through selling, donation or disposal. If you choose to keep books, old magazines, newspapers, and other paper products make sure they are in a dry area to prevent mold damage. Go through dry foods in the pantry and cabinets and get rid of anything with an expired date or that looks moldy or smells musty.
While these tips may seem basic, cleaning is not everyone’s strong suit. If you find mold check out our Do-It-Yourself mold cleaning guide. Indiana Mold Remediation has expert mold remediation specialists, who are ready to help. Contact us online or call us today for your free visual mold inspection.
Carpets and Mold: What you Need to Know
While many of us love carpet for the soft, warm comfort it provides, it can become an issue if it gets wet or isn’t properly maintained. Mold can grow in unseen areas such as underneath carpets when exposed to excess moisture, and, because the problem is hidden, it can often go unnoticed until it’s not easily corrected. Knowing prevention tips and signs of mold can help save you time and money on mold removal and remediation services. So, here is what you need to know.
Where NOT to Install Carpet- Mold thrives in damp or humid places. This means carpet should not be installed in areas like the bathroom, kitchen or basement of your home. Instead, consider hard floor options like tile or vinyl in these areas and use basic throw mats or rugs that can be easily washed and dried after being exposed to moisture.
Don’t Go Organic– While eating organic is popular in today’s time, synthetic carpets made from nylon, polyester or olefin are better options to help prevent mold growth. Natural fibers like wool, jute and cotton are more prone to mold growth when they get wet. If your going to install natural rugs in areas, consider how easily they can be cleaned and try to do so on a regular basis.
The type of Padding Matters- Installing high-quality padding with anti-microbial properties may be more expensive upfront but will save you money in the long run. If your household is prone to spills or pet accidents, padding with a heavy vapor barrier may be a better choice to avoid areas that stay wet a long time. Keep in mind, while padding may help prevent water from getting into it, they can be harder to dry out if they do get wet. Considering where the carpeting is being installed and what the chances of it getting wet are can really help in the padding selection for any particular situation.
Clean up Accidents – Liquid spills or pet accidents should be cleaned up immediately! Waiting until a time that is more convenient may be too late. Make sure you remove any soiling or liquids and dry the area quickly no matter how small. If your not sure how to clean a certain type of spill or any spot, let us know, IMR has a lot of experience and can help with almost any carpet soiling problem.
Take off the Shoes! – The cheapest way to clean your carpets is to keep them from getting dirty in the first place. Removing shoes, and politely asking guests to do so too, can dramatically reduce the amount of soiling and wear that a carpet accumulates over time. If you prefer to wear shoes in the house, take a hint from Mr. Rogers and go purchase a pair of house shoes or slippers to change into when you get home. Wiping off paws from the smallest family members can also help prevent soiling. While you may not want to do this all the time, when it’s wet and muddy outside, it’s a must!
Perform Regular Cleaning – Regularly cleaning your carpet is a must. Like moisture, dirt, which is made up of all kinds of cellulosic sources, is also a leading cause of mold growth in carpeting. Regular vacuuming is the best way to remove dirt and other debris that may promote mold growth. At a minimum, try to vacuum those high traffic areas once a week and the harder to reach areas a few times a year. Professional cleaning should be done on a regular basis to keep carpets there cleanest. Make sure that the professional you choose guarantees reasonable dry times (not more than 24 hours) and that they don’t use dirt attracting soaps in their cleaning processes.
Signs of a Problem
Carpet Odors- Musty smells in rooms where carpet is installed can be a sign that mold is present in or under the carpeting. Often this will follow some type of water damage. Wet carpeting can develop mold growth on the tape joints that hold the padding together as well as in the layers that bond the carpeting together. If the carpet smells musty, it is probably time to replace it and identify any moisture sources.
Discoloration or Surface Growth – Regular visual inspections should be part of your prevention plan. While vacuuming carpeting, make sure you pay attention to any spots in your carpet. Most spots and stains on carpeting are not mold and can be cleaned with normal household products. However, if you notice discoloration and high humidity or water damage has been an issue, you could be looking at mold. Don’t panic!! Take a couple of pictures of the area and send them to IMR, we can usually determine if your just dealing with some normal soiling or a mold problem.
Symptoms & Health Problems- Mold can cause health issues depending on the level of your exposure to it. Allergies, breathing difficulties, itchy eyes and skin, coughing, sneezing are just a few symptoms that mold can cause. Now, this doesn’t mean if you find mold this will automatically happen but, if you have unexplained current health issues and you’ve noticed problems with your carpets or any other surfaces in your home an Indiana Mold Remediation specialists can probably answer your questions and, if needed, set up a remediation plan right for you. Let us know how we can help!
Can Black Mold Make You Sick? Here’s What You Should Know
Black mold is a subject every home or business owner should research and be aware of. Mold is tricky because it can cause various health issues or none at all. While black mold itself isn’t considered any more dangerous by the CDC or EPA than any other mold, the toxins released from black mold may be more harmful to some individuals than other types of mold. Let’s look at the causes of black mold and the possible dangers to you.
Hidden Truth of Black Mold
The truth is, mold is everywhere. Mold releases spores into the air as part of its life cycle that can literally be found in every environment in the world in almost any weather condition. Wherever you find moisture you may find some sort of mold growing. Mold requires a cellulosic food source, so it likes to grow on cellulosic building materials like paper faced drywall or wooden structural materials, but it can grow on almost any surface. “Black mold” is a term coined by the media that refers to a specific species of mold named Stachybotrys Chartarum. Black mold may be recognized by its distinct greenish-black color, but definitive identification can only be made through microbiological sampling. It is often visible, but it could very well be hiding underneath your floorboards or within walls, if a hidden moisture source is present. Black mold can rapidly spread in a warm, wet environment, and exposure to it can cause health issues or symptoms in some individuals.
Black Mold Exposure
It is possible you will get sick or experience symptoms if exposed to black mold. If you inhale, ingest or have long-term exposure to black mold you are at risk for health issues. Exposure to black mold can cause coughing, wheezing, red eyes, itchy skin or eyes, sore or scratchy throat, and other allergic-type symptoms. Symptoms could be more dramatic for those with a weakened immune system or respiratory issues like asthma. Long-term Black mold exposure could contribute to additional symptoms, as toxins may accumulate in some individuals over time. These more serious symptoms such as nerve issues, memory loss, trouble concentrating, and anxiety among others, have been reported by some people.
What does all this mean
Black mold has the potential to make you sick, leaving you to deal with health issues that may take time to recover from. Keep in mind, various factors weigh in on how severe the health risk is for every individual. However, black mold is definitely something you want to get removed as soon as possible.
Dealing with black mold can be scary and overwhelming. If you are reading this and just discovered you may have mold, Don’t panic by assuming the worst. Indiana Mold Remediation can help restore your peace of mind and restore your home to a healthy place for you and your family. Check us out online today.
What is the Difference Between Black Mold and Mildew? Are They The Same?
For the purposes of health and cleanup, there is no distinction between mildew and mold in how one would address the situation.
Mildew is often a term used to describe the growth found on living plants in horticulture. You would say you have mildew growing on your pumpkin vine for example. These types of mildew are more specifically known as powdery mildew or downy mildew. If you’ve ever noticed a white powdery film on a tree leaf or the yellow blotches midsummer, those are most likely a type of mildew.
Mildew can grow on non-living surfaces in the home, but usually requires a more temperate (warmer) environment than other fungal species due. It is generally white or light in appearance and has a whispy or delicate texture to it. Mildew like this can generally be cleaned from surfaces relatively easily, but it should be managed in much the same way as any other mold growth.
The term “mildew” has been used interchangeably with “mold” for years. When you hear people say they don’t have a “mold” problem, but, rather a “little mildew” was growing, they generally mean to imply that there is not a health risk associated with the growth in their home. Even if the referenced area is technically one of the few mildew species growing in the home, it poses similar health risks to other fungi including mold with regards to allergies. Not only that, but if the conditions are right for mildew to grow, they are also right for other molds to grow and it is very likely already present.
Depending on the level of exposure, mold can cause congestion, coughing and sneezing (respiratory problems); joint pain, fatigue, and headaches (flu-like symptoms); and possibly other more serious health problems in certain individuals. Whether it’s mildew or mold you are dealing with, it may not be a problem you want to solve on your own. You can hire a mold remediation expert to evaluate your home perform any needed cleaning. For further information on hiring a professional check out our Guide to Hiring a Mold Remediations Company.