Some experts have put the estimation of homes with mold as high as 50%.
This doesn’t necessarily mean large stains growing all over the wall, but it does indicate that there can be issues that arise in future if the situation gets out of control.
Having mold in your home can also cause a number of health issues, especially in smaller children.
At the lower end of the scale, coughs and sneezing may occur. But for those who are more susceptible, the problems can be anywhere from allergic reactions and asthma attacks to issues with the lungs which may last a lifetime.
With these risks, knowing how to do a mold check is essential for any prospective homes that you come across. Read on to learn exactly what you should be on the lookout for.
Where Mold is Likely to Grow
The most essential ingredient for mold to flourish is moisture. This can be anything from condensation to water vapor and humidity. As long as it is able to find a damp location, it can grow.
While homes in hot and humid climates like Florida are most at risk, it also means that damp can grow in a home in a dry, desert climate like Nevada provided it finds a cool, damp spot.
Unfortunately, while some molds are easy to spot and even smell, there are many locations they can grow that cannot be easily detected. For example, if any moisture got in between the walls or ceiling of a home or underneath parts of the floor, then mold could have begun growing there.
Basements and attics are also areas of risk because they can be affected by flooding and tend to have a lot of piping running beneath or around them which provides ample opportunities for moisture to escape.
Windows are also a common area for mold to occur as condensation builds up and goes unchecked. It’s always advised to open your windows, not only to let fresh air in but also prevent moisture becoming trapped inside the home.
Houses near the ocean, for example, have a lot of moisture in the air. Because of this, they tend to have issues in the winter as people keep their windows closed to prevent heat from escaping.
Hopefully, by knowing this you will not immediately assume that the home you are looking at is clear. Ultimately, you want to check literally any part of the home that has water-soaked materials and signs of damp.
Doing a Mold Check Yourself
As you go through a house, you need to ensure that you look beyond the aesthetics and potential for what it could be.
If you see any areas where water is collecting such as under a sink then that’s an immediate red flag. Look for marks on the walls and nearby cabinets. It’s easy to clean away mold that has become noticeable without fixing the root cause that could be.
Also, remember that pretty much every home that’s on the market is cleaned before people come to view it to help it sell. Therefore, if you walk into a room and think it still has a musty smell, then there’s a chance that mold could be growing there.
This is particularly true for any room with plumbing like a bathroom or laundry room.
Get a Professional Opinion
Of course, there’s so much to look out for when viewing a home that you don’t always have the time or the trained eye of a professional to catch every sign.
That’s why home inspectors can be necessary. They are trained to meticulously inspect every aspect of the home including places you won’t be able or are willing to go during a home inspection.
From their reports, you can glean a lot of information that will either tell you that there is mold or at least give you a strong indication of its potential.
Often, these reports will cite any areas of water damage and or places where mold was found. The reports themselves, however, are official documentation and may not give the entire scope.
If possible, you should always speak to the home inspector directly to hear their opinion on the home first-hand. They may be able to tell you things that aren’t necessarily in the report but serve as useful information to consider.
Speak with the Seller, Appraiser, and Agent
You may be thinking that no-one would willingly admit there is mold in the home they are trying to sell you. Often, this is the case.
However, there are states which have created laws that legally oblige those selling their home to disclose information relating to mold. These laws do not, however, insist that homeowners conduct a thorough check for mold before trying to sell their home.
This is because mold inspections are expensive and would be an unreasonable cost to force on everyone.
But even if someone may not reveal or know about any mold, you can find out if there are any possibilities by asking certain questions.
For example, you can inquire about plumbing to see if any were replaced in the past.
Some people may be happy to tell you that the pipes have been updated without realizing it indicates that something may have been wrong with them. Though the pipes were replaced, it does not mean the moisture from a leak or burst was fully removed which would allow mold to grow.
Asking about condensation on the windows is another way to find out if mold has potentially been in the home.
Remembering what causes mold and what areas are the most at risk as stated above will give you plenty of questions to ask to find the information you need.
When looking around a home it can be a challenge to remember everything you should be doing (like a mold check) while still enjoying the tour and imagining living there.
However, the cost of fixing places where mold is growing and other house issues can range into the thousands so it’s worth being extra vigilant.
If you want peace of mind that a thorough check has been done, then schedule an inspection with us.