How to Identify Mold Damage

Mold can be a major problem for many residential and commercial building owners. In fact, some people live in buildings that are infested in mold without them even knowing! Aside from it damaging the walls and the ceiling, mold can cause serious illness to you and other occupants. It’s important to be able to identify mold in the dwelling and to act immediately upon it before it worsens.

Smelling a Musty Odor

If you smell an odor of stale, old moth balls or mildew, chances are that you have mold living somewhere in your building. Mold produces gasses that are odorless, but some types of mold have a distinct smell. If you aren’t able to see the bacteria, you shouldn’t ignore the scent. Mold grows in hidden places, like inside the walls, ventilation ducts and under carpets. Chances are if you smell that distinct mildew smell, then you have mold present.

Smelling it means that you are inhaling it into your lungs, which increases your risk of respiratory infections. You may think you are experiencing signs of allergies, when in reality it is your body reacting to the mold. Difficulty breathing, digestive problems, exhaustion, migraines, sore throats, sinus infections and inflammation are all signs that toxic mold has entered your body. Action should be taken before the problem worsens.

Seeing Mold Growth

It may sound obvious, but visible mold growth is a pretty good indicator of the problem at hand. You may have to look closely and in between crevices to see it. The tricky part for some is confidently spotting mold versus dirt and soot.

There are many different types of mold to look for. The most common types in a home, according to HGTV, are black mold, cladosporium and aspergillus. Aspergillus is described as an allergenic mold found in food or AC units and is the most common isolated species found in homes and offices. On the back of toilets and painted surfaces you may find a black and green speckled mold known as cladosporium. Black mold, or stachybotrys, is often found in wicker, hay paper or cardboard under very wet or high humid conditions.

Even if the mold is small, it should not be ignored. Mold can take days or weeks to grow and can spread quickly, so it is best to act as soon as you identify it.

Signs of Water Leaks

Water leaks in a commercial or residential building can lead to mold growth. Leaks in pipes and roofs are probably the most common and can create moisture problems. Luckily, these kinds of leaks may be easy to find as they can cause visible water damage or cracks in the walls. Stains on the ceilings or around other parts of the building that are yellowish are good indicators of water intrusion as well. If you notice paint coming off  the wall in a specific area or any bulging, there is most likely moisture building up between the wall. Any type of rust, deterioration or warping can also point to moisture or water problems.

Some water leaks are completely unidentifiable. Hidden leak inside wall cavities or in the attic may not be as easy to spot out. If an unknown leak occurs, it could be standing for a long time which will definitely foster mold growth. Not only is this damaging to your structure, but it increases the likelihood of your exposure to mold.

Test for Mold

If you are experiencing anything listed above, then you need to call a restoration company as soon as possible. A company like East Coast Environmental Restoration can help identify which type of mold, if any, is living in your home or commercial building. Precautions and preventions will be taken for any water leaks or flooding, and proper cleaning will be performed on any visible mold. This will alleviate any musty odors and ensure that your home and your lungs remain healthy.

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