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How to Detect Mold in Your Home

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Authored by Douglas Mefford in Home Improvement 
Published on 10-27-2009

Not every danger a person faces in life comes from some outside source or looming predator. Nor can one assume that, just because they are in their home, they are relatively safe. Creeping inside the walls or under the flooring can grow a toxic danger that can have serious repercussions on your health and quality of life. A simple growth of mold fungus somewhere in your home can bring you down.

It is very important to be able to learn how to detect mold in your home and eliminate the colony and its source of nutrient. Mold spores are microscopic in size and can be carried into your home on any breeze. Once inside, all it takes is moisture to give it a place to grow. Usually this miniscule danger grows best on cellulose containing materials such as paper or wood although it can form on almost any material. Any area that can collect moisture, especially bathrooms, basements, attics, air conditioning ducts, and water pipes running inside the walls are prime locations for mold growth.

The first step in detecting mold in your home is to make a visual inspection of the entire structure. The usual appearance of a mold colony is a cottony growth spreading across the surface of an object. Depending on the specific mold, the color may vary from white, to green, grey, pink, or even black, and will generally create a rough looking texture on the surface of whatever it is growing on. Since mold requires moisture one should be especially thorough in routine checks in basements and bathrooms.

While looking for these signs of mold growth you should also use your nose. Mold produces a strong musty, somewhat earth-like smell as it grows and releases more spores to spread the colony. Using your nose can often lead you to mold formations that may be in hard to see places in your home. You cannot go by smell alone since there are some molds, especially ones that prefer dark spaces like inner walls, do not produce a detectable odor.

The mycotoxins created by mold growth tend to affect the sinuses and lungs most noticeably. If you or your family begin to experience frequent or continual problems with nasal congestion and sinus drainage that causes frequent coughing or clearing of the throat, it is time to make a careful search for mold growths. The presence of toxic mold spores can also cause prolonged headaches and itchy, watery eyes. As well as their own toxic effects, long term exposure to these poisons can further weaken the body’s immune system and allow other viruses and bacteria to flourish in your body.

If you do not feel confident enough in your own efforts to detect mold in your home and remove it, there are professional options. There are do-it-yourself mold detection kits available at most hardware and home improvement stores. The simple instructions can help you quickly determine in there is mold growing in your home. A search of the phone book or the internet will provide contact information for local mold removal companies that can be engaged to rid your home of this insidious menace to good health and a safe home.

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