Spring and early summer are lovely seasons that can bring dirty problems. Mold in homes, especially as it warms outside, starts to grow when you least expect it. Not only is it unsightly, it’s potentially dangerous, and simply cleaning it up without remedying the source will only result in the mold re-growing.
Mold in homes has many causes, including undetected water leaks in your walls, leaks from your roof, plumbing problems, and even from outside environmental sources, such as bringing in plants with mold issues, or tracking in spores on shoes. Unsurprisingly, mold is more likely to grow in homes after floods or severe water damage, and in humid climates. In Montana, however, home mold is most often caused by leaks in plumbing, leaky foundations, and roof leaks.
As you might guess, exposure to molds can result in respiratory irritation, coughing, and itchy eyes. In extreme cases, some people can get seriously ill, which is why remedying the problem is of utmost importance. In addion to causing sickness, mold can impact the value or sale of your home, sometimes even for the long-term. Depending on the extent of mold damage, the value of your home can be significantly lost. Just as you would not want to buy a home with mold damage, understandably buyers on the market are also weary.
If you’re buying a house or inspecting your own, know what to look for. As you inspect, take note of areas where the accumulation of moisture is probable. Pay special attention to signs of water damage in areas where water intrusion is likely. In our experience, these are the top 5 of the most common areas to find mold in a home:
- Near gutter downspouts that are not properly diverted away from the foundation or damaged gutters that are not carrying water and snow melt to a downspout and away from the foundation.
2. Behind insulation along rim joists in crawl spaces. These spots are prone to mold as moist air can get behind the insulation and then condensate on the cool joist surface. The insulation should be discarded and replaced with a spray foam product to prevent future mold growth.
3. In attics near improperly vented exhaust fans. Don’t look only at bathroom fans, kitchen exhaust hoods can be culprits as well. Also, another common attic issue is related to insulation being blown into the eaves without installation of baffles, a home inspector can check for this.
4. Under sinks inside vanities and cabinets. Because these areas are often out-of-sight, out-of-mind, they are often neglected. Leaking shut-off valves and drain lines that have bad gaskets or seals can result in slow leaks that cause long-term problems.
5. Behind washing machines and dryer appliances where either pipes have leaked, or are not properly connected. Again, this area is often out of sight and can be neglected, but the moisture sources, if leaking, can ultimately result in mold growth.
If you have concerns about one of these areas as you inspect, be sure to bring it to the attention of the company that you hire for your home inspection prior to purchasing the home. A qualified and experienced home inspector is a very important decision when it comes to your home purchase. A good home inspector will have the experience to identify other problems beyond these common issues that you may need to be aware of.
If you suspect more serious problems, feel free to call one of our experts who can help you with further identification and clean-up solutions. If a home has mold issues, they can typically be resolved and cleaned prior to taking possession of the home.
As you start your spring cleaning this season, even if you aren’t on the market or looking to sell, keep an eye out for mold issues as they arise so you can keep yourself and your family healthy. If you need assistance, call us, we’re here to help.