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Where Should You Check for Mold Growth In Your Home? The Most Common Locations to Inspect for Indoor Mold Growth

Unless you have been completely removed from society, there’s no doubt that you have heard about the dangers that indoor mold growth can pose. If you suffer from allergies or you have been diagnosed with a chronic lung issue, such as asthma or COPD, it’s very likely that you are well-aware of the adverse effects that exposure to mold spores can have on your health. Individuals who are otherwise completely healthy and who do not suffer from allergies can also experience adverse health effects when they are exposed to mold growth.

They symptoms of mold exposure vary and depend on several factors, but can include:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Throat, eye, and skin irritation

And those are just some of the adverse effects that can be associated with mold growth. The ideal way to prevent these unpleasant symptoms would be to completely remove yourself from them; however, that isn’t possible. Why? – Because mold spores are literally all around us. Of course, they’re outdoors, but they also travel indoors, and when they do, as long as moisture is present, they can grow, and you can end up having a serious problem on your hands.

Though you can’t completely eliminate mold spores, you can detect, treat, and prevent patches of mold growth. In order to do so, performing routine inspections around your house is highly recommended. But where should you look? Below, we’ll outline some of the most common locations around the house that you should check for mold growth on a regular basis, and we’ll share some of the measures that you can take in order to remove existing mold growth, as well as to prevent the development of future mold growth.

What is mold and why does it grow inside?

Before we dive in and explore how to detect, correct, and prevent indoor mold growth, it’s first important to understand what mold is and how it grows indoors.

Mold is a broad term used to describe a collection of funguses. No one knows how many species of mold there are; however, all of them sprout from airborne spores. The spores are microscopic, meaning that they are not visible to the naked eye, and they are always floating in the air around us. In nature, mold isn’t harmful; in fact, it’s quite beneficial and necessary. That’s because mold consumes dead organic matter – trees, plants, leaves, and even animals – and puts the nutrients from those elements back into the ground so that they can be reused by other organic elements; mold is kind of like nature’s recycler.

Though mold is necessary outdoors, when it grows indoors is when it can become problematic. Mold reproduces via microscopic spores. Those spores circulate through the air, travel on currents, and land on surfaces. That means that they can travel indoors via open windows, doors, cracks in building materials, and even on pets, shoes, and clothing. However they make their way inside, those spores will continue to float about the air until they find a surface to land on. If that surface is organic in nature – made of cellulose materials – moisture is present, and the temperatures are above freezing, it’s very likely that those spores will start to reproduce until the point that they grow into clusters. The clusters will continue to produce spores, those spores will circulate through the air, they’ll land on other surfaces, and the cycle continues.

Why is indoor mold growth dangerous?

If mold is beneficial in nature, why is it dangerous when it grows inside? There are a few reasons, actually. Firstly, mold feeds on the surfaces that it lands on, and as it consumes those materials, they can weaken their structural integrity. Additionally, mold spores are a known allergen and pollutant and pose several health risks. In individuals who suffer from allergies or who have been diagnosed with chronic respiratory conditions or weakened immune systems, inhaling mold spores can exacerbate existing symptoms or lead to the development of new symptoms. Even individuals who are otherwise healthy, however – who don’t have allergies, who have strong immune systems, and who do not have chronic respiratory conditions – can also suffer from adverse effects when they are exposed to mold.

The effects of mold growth can potentially be damaging to your physical and mental health. While the symptoms vary from person to person and depend on a variety of factors, some of the side effects that may be experienced as a result of mold exposure include the following:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Chest tightness
  • Irritated eyes, throat, and skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Listlessness

Mold exposure can also increase the risk of developing lung infections, but in individuals who have pre-existing conditions, as well as people who are otherwise healthy.

Where does mold usually grow in the house?

In order to prevent the risks that are associated with indoor mold growth – structural damage and health complications – being able to locate and identify it is essential. So, where exactly does mold grow in your home? Any area where moisture is present and the temperatures are above freezing can be a hotbed for mold growth. Some of the most common locations for mold to grow around the house include:

  • Showers and tubs. Some of the most common locations for mold growth to occur in the home is showers and tubs. Obviously, these locations are exposed to moisture on a constant basis, making them the prime location for mold. Check around fixtures, grout, shower curtains and doors, under floor mats, and even underneath shower bottles and washcloths.
  • Sinks and toilets. Two other locations where mold growth commonly occurs is in and around sinks and toilets. This is due to the fact that these fixtures utilize water and produce humidity. Look around the faucets, along the base, inside the toilet tank, around the floor, and any other location around your sinks and toilets.
  • Walls and floors. Mold feeds on cellulous materials, making walls and floors prime locations. That’s because wall and flooring materials, including sheetrock, plaster, wood, carpeting, carpet padding, and insulation, are all cellulous; hence, mold can easily gobble them up and further spread.
  • Anywhere moisture is present. Check any location in your house where moisture is present. Of course, this includes bathrooms; however, other common areas include kitchens, laundry rooms, garages, basements, and attics. Essentially, anywhere that has a high moisture content or where humidity and poor ventilation are problematic, there is a chance that mold growth can occur.

Can you prevent mold growth?

While there is no way to completely eliminate mold spores, as the spores are microscopic and are floating all around us all the time, there are ways that you can minimize the risk that those spores will turn into clusters and spread further.

Examples of some of the things that you can do to minimize the risk of indoor mold growth in your home include the following:

  • Make sure to keep locations well-dried. Wipe down showers, tubs, shower curtains, and doors. Make sure that countertops, underneath sinks, around toilets, and anywhere else moisture may occur are keep dried.
  • Clean up spills quickly and thoroughly. This includes spills like drinks, as well as pet accidents. If they aren’t properly cleaned – especially on carpeting – there is a marked change that mold growth will occur. Blot up spills, use shop vacuums to withdraw as much moisture from the carpeting as possible, and set up fans and open up windows to ensure proper airflow.
  • Inspect your appliances and plumbing pipes and fixtures for leaks on a regular basis. This includes inside and around dishwashers, washing machines, hot water heaters, and any other fixture, appliance, or plumbing pipes.
  • Use a dehumidifier. If the moisture levels in your home are high – whether because you live in a tropical climate or because of poor ventilation – make sure to invest in a dehumidifier. These appliances remove excess moisture from the air. The less moisture there is in the air, the less risk of mold growth; furthermore, keeping the humidity levels in your home under 50% will help to increase your comfort.
  • Hire a professional mold inspection company. Sometimes, mold goes completely undetected. It can grow in walls, under floors, and in other inconspicuous locations around your house, totally unbeknownst to you. As such, hiring a reputable mold inspection professional on a regular basis is highly recommended. A licensed and experienced professional will use the most state of the art equipment and advanced tools and technologies in order to determine if dangerous levels of mold spores are present in your home.

Looking for a Mold Inspection Company?

If you’re looking for a reputable mold inspection company, get in touch with MI&T. As the country’s leading mold and inspection business, we have the knowledge and skill that you can count on to detect mold growth in your home – and to provide you with the tips that you can use to correct any mold, if present.