How many times have you joked about the mold in someone’s refrigerator. (Not yours, of course.) It’s green, fuzzy, and growing into a monster. Stand back when you open the door!
But mold in a home is a monster of a different sort, and you can’t get rid of it as easily as you can when you throw out old cheese. One thing is for sure. You don’t want it around. It’s bad news when you live with it constantly.
Mold can cause serious health issues, such as respiratory problems including wheezing, difficulty breathing; dry hacking coughs, and nose and throat irritation. Children and the elderly are most susceptible.
Believe it or not, mold can affect the integrity of your home’s walls and foundation. It’s a fungus that grows in moist places and produces spores that settle in damp spots. You’ll often find mold growing on wood, walls, ceilings, attics, basements, and other moist environments.
Because mold thrives on moisture, it likes leaky plumbing, unventilated areas, and wherever you find condensation in heating and air conditioning systems and ducts. Expect it anywhere there’s a structural defect caused by leaking water from the roof, leaks inside walls, and badly installed windows with substandard flashing.
If you want to check your home yourself for the mold monster, look in obvious places such as around windows, sinks, and water lines. You may be able to smell mold, too. Of course, a little mold on bathroom tiles is common, and you can control it with a bleach and water solution.
But when it comes time to sell your home or buy one, you need the services of a trained, professional home inspector to uncover the mold monster. It’s a home inspector’s job to find it in places you might not know to look.
Your home inspector is the one who knows best what laws and regulations about mold apply where you live because laws vary from state to state concerning what has to be disclosed about the presence of mold. Also, many home owners insurance policies have limited coverage when it comes to mold damage. Therefore, when you’re selling a home, you want to minimize mold damage as much as possible.
See why mold is such a monster? But a professional home inspector knows where to look and how to spot it. They are your best defense against knowing whether mold is present in the home you are buying.
When you’re selling a home, not only should you get rid of mold, but you have to get rid of the source of moisture that’s causing the mold, too. That’s because the mold monster comes back where there are ongoing water problems, like siding leaks, broken water lines, or storm damage. Other problem areas to watch for are where water enters in through the foundation or concrete floors, or if part of the house has constant high humidity.
The mold monster can even sneak into your home on pets or on the bottoms of your own shoes. The Asian custom of taking shoes off before entering a home is actually quite useful for preventing the intrusion of mold and other things.
There’s a good chance the mold monster is lurking in the home you want to sell or in the one you’re looking to buy. There’s no way you can know how big and bad it is until you’ve hired a qualified, professional home inspector to find it. Your home inspector’s report will tell you if the inspector has found mold or signs that mold may be present.