For homeowners and renters alike, no one likes finding mold in their home. While mold in the main areas in your house can be easily spotted, there are many places throughout your home that can attract mold. Areas such as basements, crawl spaces, and cabinets that may be less frequently used can attract mold which can grow unchecked for long periods of time. To avoid that, here are some common areas in your home in which you may find mold, how to prevent it, and what to do when you do find it.
Mold in your attic
Why does attic mold happen?
Attic mold is almost always the result of high humidity in the attic space. This high humidity causes condensation on the cold portions of the roofing materials (plywood or OSB) and results in mold growth on these surfaces. Attics should be designed with proper ventilation in mind. This would usually include low vents (soffit vents, bird-blocks, etc.) and high vents (roof vents, ridge cap vents etc.). Current code in Washington State requires 1 square foot of ventilation per 300 square feet of attic footprint. This is a general rule, but the type, location, and air-flow through the individual vents should be evaluated by a qualified inspector to determine exactly what has caused the deficiency that led to the attic mold growth. A neutral unbiased attic mold inspection will give you the information you need to find out exactly what the next step should be.
What does an attic mold inspection include?
Before attic mold remediation is even considered, the source of the moisture should be identified and documented and a plan to resolve the underlying conditions should be made. This can only be done by a qualified professional with experience in building science and building diagnostics.
Mold in your Bathroom
Where there is water, mold can grow. Unfortunately, that’s why bathrooms are a common area where mold can be found. Though mold in bathrooms doesn’t typically have extreme consequences, it can be a big trigger for allergies and damage your home over time.
Where you might find mold in your bathroom:
- Shower, tub, and surrounding walls: Mold and mildew between your shower tiles is another common hub for mold, as a result of their frequent exposure to water
- Fans: Your bathroom fan is supposed to prevent mold in your home. However, if a vent in this fan is leaking which sometimes happens with older or highly used fans, they can do more harm than good.
- Ceiling: As you probably learned in elementary school science, hot air rises. Humid air in bathrooms can linger on your ceiling, creating a place for mold to grow.
How to prevent mold growth in your bathroom:
- Frequently inspect your bathroom walls, tiles, and wallpaper to check for mold
- Increase ventilation
- Dry floors and rugs in your bathroom frequently
- Clean and reseal problem areas often
- Call a plumber when you have a leak, sooner rather than later
Around air conditioning and climate control units
Air conditioners and climate control units are another common place where mold grows in your home, because they reduce moisture in the air but collect moisture as a unit. Though the significance of the mold varies depending on the climate, it’s a common problem that can be reduced with some simple preventative measures.
What to do if there is significant mold growth in your HVAC system
- In mild cases, turning the system off and cleaning it can help
- If you are unsure, you should contact a professional to assess your air quality
- Testing can be done in homes, schools, office buildings, and more.
The prevalent presence of food and water in kitchens also makes them susceptible to mold. Standing moisture and leaks in your home are common culprits of mold build up in this area. If left untreated, mold in your kitchen can have both negative effects on your health and damage your home’s structural integrity.
Where you may find mold in your kitchen:
- Sink area, especially in corners, cracks, and behind the sink and near the faucet
- Kitchen Sponge
- Coffee Machine
- Pipes in the sink area
- Carpeted areas or rugs in and near the kitchen
- Dish rack
How to prevent mold in your kitchen:
- Clean up spills as soon as they happen
- Keep an eye out for leaks and fix them as soon as they occur
- Use kitchen fans and increase ventilation in your kitchen
- Clean dish racks, coffee makers, teapots, and other appliances that have direct contact with moisture frequently
- Change out your dish sponge at least every month
Exterior and Entry Ways
Areas of your home that connect interior to exterior are also big targets for mold. These areas can include windows, decks, siding, doorways and other spaces within your home. Both direct exposure to rain and the elements, as well as condensation that builds up within windows and other entryways can foster mold growth.
Exterior Areas in your home that are often subject to mold growth:
- Windows: Windows can be a huge target for mold in your home, as they are exposed to water and moisture. Mold can grow in the frames, interior, and window sills.
- Garages: Garages and other entry ways into your home are also hubs for mold because of their dark and moist nature.
- Siding: Your home’s siding can be susceptible to mold growth, especially in the Pacific Northwest. Mold can be found on the face of your home’s siding, and often in the cracks and on the edges of your exterior siding.
- Decks: Decks, both covered and uncovered, are also targets for mold in wet climates. Regularly cleaning and sweeping decks can help reduce their susceptibility to mold growth.
How to prevent mold from exterior areas of your home
- Clean your homes exterior regularly
- Check your gutters for leaks and insure they’re draining away from your home, and tending to any leaks or weak points ASAP
- Have good insulation in your home
- Do frequent inspections to insure the problem does not get out of hand
Mold in Your Basement
Where there is water, mold can grow. Mold thrives in wet, dank areas, which is why it can often be found in lesser traveled areas within your home. Your basement is one of these areas, especially in wet climates like the Pacific Northwest where air circulation may be poor and damp air is prevalent.
Common causes of mold growth in basements:
- Sump Pump Failure: A Sump Pump is a device that removes water that has built up in a sump basin, which is a device that helps to control exterior water run off. If this system fails or breaks, it can cause water damage and create a pace for mold to grow.
- Flooding: When heavy rains hit, it can be difficult to protect your entire home from water exposure and floods. If this water is not adequately removed from your home and carpets, mold can grow.
- Leaks: Floods don’t go unnoticed. Leaks, however, can cause a big accumulation of water overtime, and you might not always know that there is a problem until it escalates.
- Water heater failure: If your water heater lives in your basement, this can be another place where water leaks and mold can grow.
- Poor ventilation: If your basement is free of leaks but is still attracting mold, poor ventilation might be the culprit. Condensation can build up in your basement, causing a wet climate that fosters mold growth.
How to prevent mold in your basement
Prevention is often the best medicine. A few easy ways to prevent mold in your basement include:
- Increase ventilation
- Check the space often, especially after floods or leaks
- Fix leaks as soon as they happen
- If you have a serious mold problem in your basement, contact a professional
If left unchecked, mold can cause serious health problems for you and your family. While small incidences of mold can be fixed with ventilation and prevention, larger scale problems require a professional. To learn more about mold testing and inspection in your basement and home, contact Hawk Environment today.
By nature, crawl spaces are small areas under home that generally don’t see much foot traffic. Because the ground accumulates moisture, especially in the Pacific Northwest, these areas are often prone to water and mold. Mold can grow in any part of your crawlspace, and it’s most commonly found where the crawl space meets the baseboard.
- How to prevent mold from going in your crawlspace
- Be proactive from the beginning, and make sure materials are sound and sealed during construction
- Make sure drainage systems drain away from your house, not towards it
- Check HVAC ducts and other plumbing systems frequently to ensure they’re not leaking
- Increase ventilation and insure its working properly
If you’re worried about mold in your crawl space, contact a professional
If left unchecked, mold can cause serious health problems for you and your family. Mold accumulation in your crawl space can also cause damage to your home’s foundation in the long run. To learn more about mold testing and inspection in your basement and home, contact Hawk Environment today.
To learn how Hawk Environmental can help combat mold in your home, contact us today!