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Black Mold - An Unwelcome House Guest

By Edited Nov 14, 2013 1 1

Black Mold is a toxic fungi that forms in our homes usually as a result of a moisture problem. In fact the two things this fungi needs to form and grow are a food source and a moisture source. Our homes are full of food sources, they include wood, paper on drywall board, food, carpet and other organic sources. The good news is that with the removal of one of these two elements, black mold will not start to grow. Obviously the food source is contained in almost all of the building materials of our homes, so the moisture source is the element that requires attention. In this article I will give you some tips as to where to look for problem areas in your home.

Although most mold growth in the home is referred to a black mold you can have several different mold species growing in and around your home. Most of the common molds are: Aspergillus, Sachyborys, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Penicillium and Mycotoxins. Although differing species of molds can pose different health issues, any mold found in the home should be removed and prevented, regardless of the species. Excessive mold growth can lead to lung problems, allergies and even affect the structural aspects of our homes.


Things You Will Need

Flashlight
Ladder
Drywall Saw
A Good Nose

Step 1

Humidifier
First, determine what the average relative humidity is in your area of the country. If you have a high relative humidity, constantly be on the lookout for toxic black mold. A good rule of thumb would be that if you consistently exceed 55% relative humidity, you could find black mold growing in your home. Follow the tips listed within this article to determine if more action is required to solve moisture problems and complete a black mold cleanup.

Step 2

Look for Leaking Pipes
Another common moisture problem can be from leaking plumbing pipes either exposed or within wall and ceiling/floor cavities. Exposed plumbing problems can be spotted easily, but the buried piping is more of a problem. You can detect plumbing problems by some investigation. Sometimes you can hear a leak because of the dripping when it hits a horizontal surface. Also, look for bulging drywall or drywall that is cracked or has peeling drywall tape or paper. Other items to check: Additional plumbing problems can be leaky toilets, leaking sinks, bathtub plumbing trim and dripping showers.

Step 3

Ice Dams Bring Water Into Your Home
If you have ice dams forming on your roof during the winter months as evidenced by ice cycles forming on the roof edge, water could be backing up, penetrating your roof surface and saturating your roof framing and running down the cavity space of your exterior walls. This can become a tremendous amount of water and it will constantly saturate your wood during periods of below-freezing weather.

Step 4

Always check for black mold growth in basements and crawl spaces. Often leaky basement walls can contribute to formation of mold. High water tables, which keeps constant moisture in contact with walls can raise the humidity level in your home. If your crawl spaces have only earth and no finished concrete floor, this can be a likely place to look for mold. Also if you have leaky pipes or ice dam problems listed above, quite often this moisture winds up in your basement or crawl space, so check the outside wall/floor intersections very carefully. Check out How to Cure A Damp Basement.

Step 5

Check in closed cabinets, especially in wet rooms like laundry, kitchen and bathrooms. Black mold loves these dark, unventilated space. Also you can check behind baseboards if you suspect a certain area. Often times you will see black mold growing out from behind wood baseboards if it is severe enough. Check all other trims in your house where ceilings/wall intersect at exterior walls and around doors and windows that are in exterior walls.

Step 6

Black Mold on Drywall
If any drywall becomes discolored with greyish, pinkish or blackish hue, this can be a sure sign of mold buildup. Also, because carpets can hold moisture and dust for mold to feed on, check carpeted areas very carefully for discolored spots or area that look "suspicious". Also if you clean your carpet spots and the spots reappear, this could be a sign of black mold growth.

Step 7

You Nose Knows Best!
One of the best tools for finding mold growth in your home is your nose. If you notice a musty odor anywhere in your home, especially in basements, crawl spaces, kitchens or baths, chances are you could have a mold issue. There are other tools for detecting mold consisting of air and surface tests. Some of these tests can be performed by the home owner, but if you suspect you have a problem, it may be best to call in an expert to make sure the results are accurate.
Although most mold growth is referred to a black mold, you can have several different mold species growing in and around your home. Most of the common molds are: Aspergillus, Sachyborys, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Penicillium and Mycotoxins. Although differing species of molds can pose different health issues, any mold found in the home should be removed, regardless of the species. Excessive mold growth can lead to lung problems, allergies and even affect the structural aspects of your home.

Tips & Warnings

Be on the lookout for musty, mildew odor in any area of your home.
Any staining of drywall or carpeting areas would be suspect.
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Comments

Jul 10, 2009 1:56pm
hhenvironmental
Great post. Another cause of mold growth is from flooding. If you live in the Northeast, this season has been extremely rainy and is causing greater than normal mold growth.
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