Household Mold, Mild, Moderate or Dangerous?
One of many concerns buyers have is mold. Many foreclosed and HUD properties that have suffered water damage, or banks doing absolutely silly things like not keeping the sump pump on causing extreme water damage in some seasons are an open invitation to severe mold problems. But too, sometimes a buyer sees a little mold and gets "overly concerned" though it may be the perfect home for that buyer's situation otherwise.
So, welcome to Mold 101. I'd like to share some basics about mold in relationship to buying a home, or, perhaps selling a home with mold issues.
What Home Buyers Need to Know About Mold
- Household Mold and Health Issues:
All houses have some mold, and mold is typically not a problem indoors, unless spores land on a wet or damp areas and begin growing. While mold is perfectly natural, some molds have the potential to cause health problems and also be destructive to a home's construction. Molds produce allergens, producing allergic reactions in some individuals, irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Allergic responses include symptoms that can mimic hay-fever, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common and sometimes immediate or delayed.
Molds can also spur asthma attacks in those with asthma who are allergic to mold. Additionally, exposure to some molds can cause irritation of the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Very rare in homes, but there are a few mold species that are outright dangerous to health and life.
- Mold Can (Over Time) Destroy a Home
Molds gradually destroy whatever it's growing upon. Prevent damage to your home and furnishings, save money and avoid possible health issues by controlling moisture and eliminating mold growth. This simple advice provides a brief overview; but doesn't describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure. For more detailed information consult a health professional, if you're buying a home, a mold inspection may be in order and consult with a licensed professional. You may also wish to consult your state or local health department.
- If you already own the home, the basics are as follows;
- The key to mold control is to control moisture in the property.
- If mold is a problem in your home, you should clean up the mold promptly and address water problems immediately.
- It is important to water-damaged areas or house-hold items are completely dried within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
Buying a Home and Addressing Mold Issues:
If you spot a little mold, bear in mind it cleans up easy enough with a spray of bleach water, and then the area must be dried completely, however, mold, even large amounts hidden in walls may not be obvious. If the sump pump has been off, and the house has had no ventilation in months, there could be more substantial mold issues.
When ordering inspections (highly recommended) there's a few options, have individual inspections just for what you think is a concern or a whole house inspection. If you are particularly concerned about mold, make sure you raise the issue with the inspector(s).
Who Should Clean Up the Mold in the Property?
Should a significant mold problem present itself, who should do the cleanup depends on a number of factors. One consideration is the size of the mold problem. If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch), in most cases, you can handle the job yourself, follow the recommended guidelines. If you have health concerns, consult a health professional before starting cleanup.
If you already have a mold problem - act immediately. Mold damages what it grows on and the longer it grows, the more damage it does. In the case of properties with significant water damage, and/or the mold growth encompasses ten square feet or more, you'll want a professional.
"If you choose to hire a contractor (or other professional service provider) to do the cleanup, make sure the contractor has experience cleaning up mold. Check references and ask the contractor to follow the recommendations in EPA's Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, the guidelines of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygenists (ACGIH), or other guidelines from professional or government organizations."
"If you suspect that the heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system may be contaminated with mold (it is part of an identified moisture problem, for instance, or there is mold near the intake to the system), consult EPA's guide Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned? before taking further action. Do not run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold - it could spread mold throughout the building."
If the water and/or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, then call in a professional who has experience cleaning and fixing buildings damaged by contaminated water.
Hope it's been helpful, and if you're looking at properties and real estate for sale in SW Ohio, my business partner, Marty Snyder ( a lifetime resident) and I sell dozens of homes every year, and comfortable with investors and first time buyers, and our knowledge of the area is helpful and enlightening for those relocating.
Text 513 292 9374 to Marty, call or email us for assistance .