It happens, you can buy a new house, and a few weeks after moving into the property, discover it has a mold problem. This is even if you did a home inspection before concluding the purchase of the home. But you may ask, is mold not one of the reasons for doing the home inspection in the first place?
It is the common assumption of many homebuyers that a home inspector’s role includes mold-detection. But this is not correct; while home inspectors may report signs of mold, they will not go looking for it. It is even possible for a home inspection to miss mold altogether, especially if the mold has been intentionally concealed.
The seller of a house with a mold problem may not disclose it to a buyer, but instead, hide the problem by painting over the stained surface. Doing this does not eliminate the problem, but it may prevent a home inspector from seeing the mold. If the buyer goes ahead to buy the home, it will only be a matter of time before the fungus reappears.
But this is not always the reason why mold appears in a newly-bought home. The problem may have been brewing without the previous owner knowing about it. Mold spores could have been present in the home and waiting for the right conditions to start growing. It may just be that the mold found the perfect conditions shortly after you bought the house.
If you have found mold in a house you just bought, what can you do? There is no need to panic; you can remove the fungus. Before we talk about how you need to be sure you actually have mold. Below is a step-by-step method to help you detect and deal with mold.
Signs of mold in a house
Here are signs that indicate the possible presence of mold in your home:
Increase in allergic reactions, respiratory difficulties, and other health issues
Mold spores and gases released by mold may trigger illnesses in people. Symptoms usually include sneezing, headaches, runny nose, itchy eyes, and asthma attacks. If the symptoms go away when they are outside but return when they come indoors suspect mold. The extent of the symptoms will vary with age and the overall health of the home occupants.
The musty smell of mold
Mold emits CO2 and other gases throughout its lifetime. Depending on its growth stage, it will release gas with the musty-choking odor often associated with mold. If you habitually smell a foul odor in your home but can’t pinpoint its source, it could be mold.
Visible signs of mold
Mold varies in its appearance; it can be black, yellow, whitish, grayish-brown, blue, or gray-green. It can grow in clusters or may appear thread-like. Whatever shape or color it takes, mold always has a fuzzy appearance, and the growth is always irregular.
Past or current water problems
If the home was recently subject to flooding, there is a greater possibility of mold growth. If it has a past or ongoing problem with water leakage, mold is likely to grow. And if there is a lot of condensation in the home – usually visible on window-panes and pipes – mold growth is a huge possibility.
Testing for mold
There are two ways to verify that what you have in your home is mold; the DIY method or hiring a professional.
DIY mold testing:
This is the less-expensive method. There are many types of DIY mold testing kits in the market. And the process takes a few days. Further testing by a lab is often required to tell you what kind of mold you have.
Professional mold testing:
Though more expensive, this option will give the most accurate result because it will detect any mold missed by the DIY method. Additionally, the tester will go into parts of the home where the homeowner may not think to look.
What to do if you find mold
After you verify that there is mold in the home, what should you do? What you do will depend on the size, location, type of mold, and the cause of the problem.
Find the cause:
Without solving the problem causing the mold, it will continue to reappear. Mold is commonly caused by excess moisture, low ventilation, and little/no exposure to direct sunlight. An energy-efficient home may also encourage mold growth.
Remove the mold yourself:
Depending on the mold’s size and location, you may remove it safely. You can do this by scrubbing away the mold with non-ammonia soap/detergent and soaking the wall for 15-minutes with a water-bleach solution. Protective gear should be worn for this exercise.
Hire a mold removal company:
For more extensive or inaccessible mold, get a professional. Before you hire a company, get bids from at least two other companies. Make sure the company is licensed and conducts an inspection of your home before giving you an estimate. Finally, find out how long they have been in business and check their reviews.