Maybe your property has suffered from recent water damage, maybe you’ve just begun to notice a funky odor in your bathroom, or maybe you’ve seen some visible signs—no matter how the scenario begins, it can only end with one terrible realization: you’ve got a mold problem!  Mold is one of those things that can happen to anyone; all mold needs to grow is an undisturbed place to grow where the humidity is above 50% . . . which, especially in the summer, is pretty easy to find.  Mold doesn’t just grow in visible areas, however, and there are some tips and tricks you can use to locate your mold problem before you call in a professional mold inspector.

Searching for Signs:

While mold is famous for having a musty and easily-detectable odor, that odor can be managed by your HVAC system or even covered by other scents (plug-ins, potpourri, scented candles) that you use in your household.  It is a good idea to have a look around, especially in places that are susceptible to mold colonization like your kitchen cabinets and bathroom areas.  Mold may appear as speckles, fuzzy growth, or other discolorations ranging from black to brown to green, depending on the strain involved.  Mold can show up as stains or discoloration of your grout and while this may be easily cleaned off, may indicate a more widespread problem.  Any place where there is excessive moisture should be suspect—but that doesn’t mean that you should ignore other areas.  Mold loves to grow in the spaces between the walls, or in closets, basements, attics, and even the space between the floors.  If your insulation gets wet, it is a prime candidate for mold growth.  Be sure to check your closets, especially in rooms adjacent to water lines, pipes, and other plumbing.  If you spot any water damage or discolorations, it’s a pretty good bet that you’ve got a mold problem. 

Knowing how to check your property for mold is a good skill to have whether you are a renter, homeowner, or are looking at a new property that you might move into in the future.  Mold can be dangerous to your health as well as damaging to the property, so it’s good to know what you’re getting into.

Here’s a quick checklist that may help as you go looking:

  1. Use a flashlight—even if it’s just the one on your phone.  Mold often likes to grow in dim corners and other disused spaces.  One of the reasons it is so successful is that it goes overlooked.
  2. Look Outside—many mold problems begin outside the house!  Look for damage to the roof, walls, and foundations.  Any cracks or other damage may serve as a point for water to enter, causing both water damage and mold.
  3. Look Inside—look for areas with visible discolorations, or existing water damage.  Sniff around for mold’s musty odor.  If you can smell mold, it’s definitely a problem—even if you can’t visually confirm it.  Prime areas for mold include: inside kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room cabinets, anywhere with exposed plumbing, and closet interiors. 
  4. Check Your Windows—mold likes moisture, and when the indoor climate doesn’t match the outdoor climate, condensation often forms on windows and nearby walls.  Keep these areas clean of dust (which feeds mold) and deal with condensation issues if possible. 
  5. Check Your Vents—your ventilation system’s filters should be replaced regularly to avoid buildup of dust, dirt, and mold which can be re-circulated throughout the house.  Don’t forget the vents in your bathroom and above the stove!

These are just a few tips and tricks to help you find mold in your home.  Of course, once you do find mold, it is always best to let the professionals handle it.  Hiring a professional mold remediation team ensures that your mold problem will be taken care of at the source.