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How to spot mold in a home

FALLBROOK – Homes are safe havens and relaxing spaces for their residents. No one wants to imagine the place they call home putting their health in jeopardy, but that's precisely the case for people who live in homes where mold is present.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said that molds are not usually a problem indoors; however, when they are, molds produce allergens, irritants and potentially toxic substances. Molds can become problematic when spores land on wet or damp surfaces and begin growing. If inhaled, those spores can cause allergic reactions in people with asthma who have mold allergies.

Even people without such allergies may suffer from irritated eyes, skin, nose, throat or lungs due to exposure to mold. Mold also can affect the home itself, as the EPA said that mold gradually destroys the things it grows on, potentially leading to costly remediation and renovation expenses.

Mold is sometimes visible in parts of a home. For example, mold problems in a bathroom may be recognizable when tiny black spots are present on surfaces that frequently get wet. Those areas may gradually expand from small spots and cover larger areas, such as windowsills and areas around the bathtub. Other signs indicating the presence of mold may be less recognizable though potentially just as harmful. It's one reason why it makes sense for everyone to learn how to spot mold in a home.

Learn what mold looks like. Not all molds are black. Some are white and look like thread, but they also can have a gray-brown or gray-green tint. When peeling old wallpaper, some people may notice orange, pink or purple growth on the newly exposed walls, and that's likely mold.

Identify problems with paint. If paint is peeling, bubbling or cracking, it's likely indicative of a mold issue. In such instances, contact a mold remediation specialist rather than simply painting over the affected areas with a fresh coat of paint.

Conduct a smell test. Most molds will emit a damp, musty odor; however, a lack of this distinct and unpleasant smell should not lead individuals to conclude they don't have a mold issue, as some molds do not produce an odor.

In addition, the EPA said that the smell of indoor molds can differ depending on the type of mold present in the home. Homeowners who have experienced mold issues in the past should not ignore a foul odor simply because it smells different from a previous infestation. Homeowners should contact a mold remediation professional if they suspect an unpleasant smell could be a byproduct of mold.

Mold can be harmful to homes and humans. Anyone who suspects their home has a mold problem is urged to contact a remediation specialist as soon as possible.


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