There are a number of places homeowners should check to determine whether a mold problem exists.
It would help to know that there are many types of mold that can grow, and each has its own preferred environment. The most common molds, however, thrive in damp, dark areas. Let it be known that the only way to check for mold is to look for it.
In most mold tests, an inspector would start by checking the basement for growth and leaks. Mold enjoys cool, damp environments and nearly all old basements are victim to mold growth to some degree. Furnished basements generally do not have this problem as they have been insulted and sealed to prevent this from happening. You will want to look around all potential openings or cracks near the inside foundation walls. Look for dark green patches of growth, it may look syrupy and black or fluffy and green like moss.
Pipes and under sinks
Move your search to the upper floors of your home during your mold tests, inspecting under all sinks and cabinets that may contain piping or access to the outdoors, such as washer and dryer hookups or around your toilet. Anywhere that moisture can build should be checked carefully, as this “liquid” type of mold, is some of the most hazardous found domestically.
Then take the search to the outside perimeter of your basement in your yard, where the foundation meets the lawn and connects to the underside of your home. Moisture can build up there to eat at your foundation. Most mold tests will reveal it growing under the edge of your siding where it meets the foundation. Be sure to check around your garden hose spigot as well.
Attic and crawl space
There is dry mold found in old books and stored clothes. Most people that have smelled these types of mold identify it as a “mildewy” or “musty” smell. Chemical mold tests on the material would reveal that it, too, is mold, and the smell is that of what could only be considered “dried up” or dead mold spores. You will want to check your attic and crawl spaces for this “dry” mold that may be white or yellow in color. Be sure to check around rafters and beams from top to bottom, and any old stored boxes.
In the case of flooding, simple mold tests will not help you all that much. As in a situation where an entire area of a home has been subjected to being submersed in water for a long period, the mold may not be visible, but instead live in the dark on the inside of your walls.
This is an extreme health hazard and if you suspect you have this problem, you should contact professionals to come do tests to ensure the safety of all that live in the home. In many of these cases, the only way to check for hidden mold is to remove parts of walls to see if there is growth on the inside. Hidden mold is invisible to the naked eye, and if left unchecked could create serious air quality issues in the home.
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