If you have, or think you might have, a mold problem in your home, you need to check for hidden mold. While some mold may be easy to spot, it can be hard to find mold in places like heating, ventilation and air conditioning ducts or inside walls. If you’ve got a household mold problem, though, it’s important to make sure you find and remove all mold, otherwise the problem will just continue to get worse. You’re wasting your time and money if you only remove the visible mold but allow the unseen mold to continue to grow and spread.
Most strains of mold spread easily throughout a home. If you see mold in one area, there is a good chance you have mold in other places, too. For instance, if you see mold on a wall, there is a good chance there is also mold inside the wall. If you see mold on carpet, there is a good chance there is also mold under the carpet and possibly even under the floorboards. That’s why we recommend inspecting the entire home thoroughly for mold if you discover mold anywhere.
We also recommend inspecting your home for mold if you notice a musty odor. Many strains of mold emit chemical vapors, known as microbial volatile organic compounds, which have a characteristic musty odor.
Places where mold often grows unseen include:
As you might imagine, it can be hard to find mold in places like these. To look inside walls for mold, you need to use a saw to cut holes every few feet, remove any insulation, then use a flashlight and mirror to look inside. To look under floorboards for mold, you need to pull up carpet and any padding under the carpet, cut holes every few feet, then use a flashlight and mirror to look underneath the floor. If there is mold on the outside of the wall, or on the carpeting, you need to do this very carefully to avoid scattering mold spores in the process, which could make you sick if you inhale them and which can land on other surfaces and cause more mold to grow if you don’t.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of searching for mold in all these hard-to-reach places, that’s understandable. We recommend an ebook written by mold remediation expert Brian Turner, A Homeowner’s Complete Guide to Performing Mold Remediation. You need some basic skills and basic tools in order to perform a thorough mold inspection, but this book walks you through the process with easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions. Follow the link for more information about this book.
If you’re not positive you’ve located all the mold in your home, we recommend calling in a professional that can test your home for mold. Most certified mold testers (certified by organizations like the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors, the Professional Mold Inspection Institute, or the Mold Inspection Consulting and Remediation Organization) are professional engineers and they are trained to locate mold that’s hard to find. Not only can they locate all the mold in your home, they can tell you what kind of mold you’re dealing with and let you know about any known health risks associated with that strain of mold. For a list of certified mold testers near you, just follow the link provided.