Mold…it’s disgusting, it causes health problems, and unfortunately, it can be an all too common part of living in the South. Thanks to our mild temperatures and plenty of humidity, it’s all too easy for mold and mildew to proliferate down here. When mold makes its way indoors, it causes all sorts of problems, especially for family members are sensitive to the spores mold releases into the air. Depending on the mold in your home, an outbreak can become unsafe. In some cases, it can become so dangerous that major steps must be taken to make the home livable again.
Unfortunately, mold can also be sneaky about where it thrives. It has two basic requirements for survival: a warm environment and a source of moisture. This narrows down the areas where it is likely to be in your home, but a lot of us have an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality about this home invader. If you start having allergy-like symptoms that improve when you leave your home, you may want to do a check to see if mold is wreaking havoc with your indoor air quality.
Here is a list of the hidden places mold and mildew like to set up home.
Ok, this hiding place isn’t so secret, but it is a place that we sometimes overlook when it comes to household cleaning and inspections. All it takes is a small leak in a pipe to produce enough moisture to involve mold growth. Be sure to check under your sinks at least once a month to prevent a small problem from becoming a mold hangout.
Also not the most secret of hiding places, walls are among the most common areas for homes to set up shop. It can take a significant outbreak, however, before homeowners see any visual indications of mold – usually, respiratory issues are the first sign. If you suspect you have mold growing on your walls, you may want to bring in a professional. Someone who has experience with this type of infestation will be able to handle the problem with minimal damage to your home.
Many of us trust that our windows will keep the outdoors where it belongs…namely, outdoors. But windows that have weather stripping issues, or frames suffering from rot, can become homes for mold. You may have to look for it, as it sometimes likes to hide under the windowsill or in the tracks of the window.
Under Your Carpet
Carpet may offer a soft support for your feet, but when it comes to air quality, it causes all sorts of problems. Among the issues related to this flooring material is mold growth. Carpet and the padding usually associated with it suck up moisture like a sponge. If liquids end up on the carpet, flooding occurs, or if the carpet is too heavily steam cleaned, an environment for mold growth is created and boy, does mold love living in the carpet.
Instead of using carpet in your home, opt for rugs. They’re easier to clean and can be aired out to remove moisture.
In the Basement
That “musty” smell that is so common in basements? Often it comes from mold or mildew. Because basements tend to be moist, they make a perfect environment for mold growth. One way to prevent mold from taking hold is to invest in a dehumidifier. Taking the moisture out of the air is like putting up a sign that says, “No mold allowed here!”
In Your Attic
Another home to the familiar “musty” smell is the attic. This environment can be a perfect place for mold to grow if there is enough moisture…and all it takes is a roof leak. Once water begins to find its way inside, and possibly into insulation, it won’t take long for mold to set up house and grow like crazy.
Behind Ceiling Tiles
Another “out of sight, out of mind” location, ceiling tiles are a hidden spot that can promote mold growth. Fortunately, it’s easy to detect moisture leaks on most popular types of ceiling tiles. Once you see a leak, however, it’s important to act fast before the mold has a chance to take hold. Fix the leak, replace the damaged tiles, and you are likely to prevent a mold problem.
In the Front-Load Washing Machine
It is not unusual for homeowners to completely overlook this location as a source for mold problems. Who would think that the machine which cleans clothes could contain a mold farm? Unfortunately, it’s true. Front load machines can often hold onto moisture longer than their top load counterparts. If you close the door while moisture is still in the machine, mold has a perfect growing environment, which leaves your clothes smelling, well…like mold.
The easiest way to prevent this problem is to keep the door open when the machine is not in use. This allows excess moisture to evaporate before mold can get the chance to grow.
Up the Chimney
When it comes to mold growth, not many people see chimneys as a danger zone. If there is damage to the masonry, however, and water begins to seep in, mold can take hold. Because we tend to overlook this area, mold outbreaks in a chimney can become a big problem.
Signs of a mold issue in the chimney usually include white, crusty deposits around your fireplace. This type of deposit usually mineral build-up from water, not mold itself, but if the water is around, there’s a good chance that mold in hanging out in there as well. A chimney sweep will be able to help with this issue.
In the Air Conditioner & Ducts
Unfortunately, one of the secret hiding spots for mold growth is your air conditioner system and related ductwork. Usually, growth in these areas comes from a lack of proper maintenance. Air conditioners that routinely have clogs or have never had their coils cleaned can suffer from a mold outbreak. The same goes for ductwork – dirty filters can create a fantastic environment for moisture buildup and mold growth.
Think mold has taken up home in your HVAC system? Give us a call at (205) 871-8111 to schedule a maintenance checkup.