We love mold out there in nature. Mold plays a very important role in nature’s ecosystem. They’re responsible for the breakdown of dead leaves and trees and other organic matter that has died.
Mold is supposed to grow and thrive in nature because it has the things that it needs to grow and thrive like a food source (the aforementioned dead matter), the right temperature and moisture. However, what it’s not supposed to do is to grow inside our home, and mold is one of the things that could start growing on your bedroom or bathroom drywall ceilings as consequence of a water leak.
So let’s get one thing straight. Mold out there in nature is good and natural. Mold inside our home is bad and unnatural. It’s that simple.
On this page:
- What is Mold?
- What Causes Mold?
- Dangers of Water Leaks
- How Fast does Mold Grow on Drywall After a Water Leak?
- Dangers of Mold
- How to Spot Mold
- Can You Get Rid of Mold Yourself?
- Preventing Mold in the Future
- Get Free Quotes from Contractors
Unfortunately, dealing with it is not as simple as a lot of people think. If you’re already dealing with this issue right now, then you know that it’s an annoying and persistent issue. Worse, you could probably be dealing with its bad effects already.
It’s unfortunate that there’s still a lot of misinformation when it comes to this problem. An alarming thought is that a lot of people still don’t know the dangers of mold. They’re under the impression that it’s just a minor annoyance because of how disgusting that it looks. This is why we’ve listed these dangers in this article for you to understand that you’re dealing with a dangerous issue.
There’s also confusion between mold and mildew and this has to be addressed. They may look and act the same but there are important differences that you must know so that you’ll know how to deal with the situation. We’ll tackle these differences in this article.
What causes mold, anyway? There are different causes and we’ll talk about them in this article. However, it can be summarized into one general cause – water leaks. We’ll talk about that in this article as well. More importantly, we’ll talk about the dangers of water leaks that can add to the danger that it leads to mold.
There’s a good chance that you’ve spotted mold already since you’re reading this article. What if you only have a bad feeling about its presence and you haven’t really found it yet? We’ll tell you how to spot mold. This information is helpful if you’ve already spotted a colony because there’s a good chance that there are other infestations that you haven’t spotted yet.
It can grow in a lot of places. We’ll list down the most common areas where it grows. This can help you so you’ll know where to check.
One of the most common areas where it grows is on the ceiling. What causes it? We’ll discuss this very important information. A lot of homeowners are looking for information about this because it’s very common and noticeable.
There are a lot of people with one question in mind – can you fix the issue yourself? Short answer is yes, but it’s not recommended. We’ll tell you why it’s better to just hire a professional.
There’s a saying that prevention is better than cure and that’s accurate in this case. Unless you want to go through the mold removal process again in the future, it’s a good idea to know how to prevent it from growing again. We’ll give you handy prevention tips to prevent a repeat in the future.
These tips can be shared with you by an experienced professional. Speaking of an experienced professional, we highly-recommend that you hire one especially for a sensitive issue such as this one. We’ll tell you why it’s a good idea to do so.
Of course, cost is a valid consideration. You don’t want to spend too much money hiring a mold remediation expert. This is why we’ve put together a free service that can help you out. Read on so you can educate yourself on this subject and for you to find out how you can find the best professional that you can afford.
What is Mold?
It’s actually everywhere outdoors. This is because it doesn’t need much to grow and survive. All it needs is a food source, the right temperature and moisture.
Most homes usually have the first 2 already. This leaves us with moisture. Needless to say, your home is at risk if there’s moisture.
Mold vs Mildew
It can be confusing to differentiate the two especially since they’re both fungi. The main difference is in color. Mildew is usually white in color although it can also be grayish. This is why it’s often referred to as white mold. In addition to the color, you can also differentiate mildew by its fuzzy or powdery in appearance.
They do share another thing – they both can be harmful to your health. So either way, whether you’re dealing with mold or mildew, you have to do something about it.
What Causes Mold?
As mentioned, it generally needs 3 things – food source, the right temperature and moisture. Outdoors, it feasts on organic matter like dead leaves, plants and trees. Indoors, its favorite food sources are wallpaper, upholstery, fabric and wood. With wood a permanent fixture inside homes, mold won’t get hungry inside your home.
The right temperature is also needed. In this case, 70 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for it. It doesn’t grow and survive well in a cold environment. It thrives in a warm and humid environment.
This leads us to the last thing – moisture. There are rooms in our home that have moisture like the bathroom and the shower. This is why these rooms are susceptible to mold growth.
That’s usually not the problem. The problem usually happens in places that shouldn’t have moisture like in the attic, ceiling, basement, walls and more. So why do these places have moisture? It’s usually because of roof leaks, that can be caused by a range of things such as missing shingles.
Dangers of Water Leaks
Your main concern right now is how water leaks spark the growth of mold. It’s not just going to grow. It’s going to thrive. Before you know it, you have several square feet of infestation hiding inside the walls.
This alone should convince you to take care of the leaks. Later on, we’ll talk about the dangers of mold itself. For now just in case you’re not convinced that you should take care of the leaking, here are other dangers of water leaks:
- Your home will be damaged.
Water will find its way around your home. It may start at a hole in the roof, but it will travel all the way around your home as it finds the path of least resistance. Don’t be surprised if it affects your walls and even your basement.
Soon, you’ll see water damage in your home. You’ll see spots. You’ll see parts of your ceiling sagging. Worse, it might be too late before you realize that it has affected your home’s foundation already. That’s going to be a very expensive and dangerous problem. You won’t get a good night’s sleep knowing that your home’s foundation has been compromised.
- It will lower your home’s value.
Of course, it goes without saying that a home with foundation issues will have a significantly lower value. It doesn’t even have to be that extreme for you to feel the ill effects. Even a square feet of water damage is enough to lower down your home’s value significantly. This is because buyers are smart nowadays. You may see minor water damage, but they will see a leaking roof, affected foundation, and hidden damages. It’s either they’ll ask for a price that’s way lower than what you’re asking or they’ll just move on.
- It can cause an accident.
As mentioned, leaks would have to go somewhere. In a lot of cases, it can leak to your floor and this will lead to puddles, and damage the subfloor and floor joists. One second you’re walking and the next second you’re on the floor with a bruised hip.
The danger is magnified if you have kids and senior citizens at home. Puddles can cause a very serious injury.
- It can lead to a fire.
The leak may find its way to your home’s electrical system. The wires can short and that can create a spark. A small spark can lead to a fire.
- You’ll pay higher energy bills.
This is because a leak can affect the insulation especially in your attic. Your HVAC system would have to work double time. This will lead to higher energy bills.
How Fast does Mold Grow on Drywall After a Water Leak?
A lot of homeowners are under the impression that mold takes years to grow. Generally speaking, all it needs is 24 hours. This means that a day after the drywall gets wet, mold can start growing. This is especially true in an attic or similar humid areas.
If that doesn’t scare you, then this will. It doesn’t take long for it to spread. All it takes is just a few hours. As soon as it takes hold of an area, it will release spores in the air. These spores will quickly turn to mold.
Dangers of Mold
As mentioned, mold is everywhere. Fortunately, not everyone is allergic to it. Generally speaking, it can only affect those who are sensitive to it. Here are some of the health-related dangers if you’re sensitive to it:
- Nasal congestion
- Eye, throat and skin irritation
The dangers could be more serious if you’re allergic to it. Think of the health effects above, but more serious.
You’d have to be really concerned if your immune system has been compromised or if you’re suffering from a lung or respiratory issue. Lung infection is a serious risk. Here are other more serious effects:
- Pulmonary hemorrhage
- Toxic mold syndrome
Children and the elderlies are also at risk. Most households have kids and/or elderlies so this is a real danger that you should be concerned about as a family man.
It can even affect your quality of life. It’s been known to affect sleep. It can even cause depression. Besides, how can you live pleasantly in a home if you see and smell mold?
It’s not just health-related dangers. As mentioned, water leaks can lead to mold and we’ve already listed the dangers of a water leak.
How to Spot Mold
In a lot of cases, you’d smell it before you see it. It has a distinct smell. It’s like you’re out there in nature, although not the pleasant smell that nature is known for. Think of dead grass mixed with decaying leaves that have been stewing in weeks-old mud.
In some cases, homeowners only find out that they have this problem if they’re already feeling the negative health effects. Obviously, that’s not an ideal way of finding out that you have mold.
Of course, don’t wait until you smell it before you try to spot it. This is why you have to know how to spot mold. This information can also help you if you’ve already seen an infestation and you want to inspect the rest of your home for other infestations.
Here’s how to spot mold:
- Start with the obvious places where moisture is present. These include the kitchen, shower, bathroom, basement, laundry room and the likes.
- Check around to see if you can spot them. Start with the bathtub, toilet, sink, walls, faucets and shower heads. Make sure to check hidden places like underneath the sink, behind the toilet, and the likes.
- If you see spots that shouldn’t be there, you could be dealing with mold.
Here are other places where you should check:
- In and around the refrigerator.
- In and around the stove and microwave.
- On the mattress in your bedroom and on the couch in your living room.
- Air conditioning unit and the HVAC vents.
- Plants inside your home.
- Inside your attic specifically in and around the insulation and in areas near the room where there’s possible leaking.
- Inside your basement specifically around pipes, foundation, sump pump and other moisture-rich areas.
- Inside your garage specifically in and around storage areas, garage door and windows.
- In and around the washing machine.
- Behind walls.
It’s also a good idea to check for water leaks since they’re the most common cause of this issue. Here are some ways to help you spot water leaks:
- You can actually hear the sound of water when and where there shouldn’t be any.
- You see water stains and damage.
- The water pressure is not the usual.
- There are damp areas that you can’t explain.
- Your water bill increased.
The best way to spot mold is to hire a professional. A trained professional has the skills, equipment and experience needed to spot it even in places where you wouldn’t even know to look. As you can see, there are a lot of potential areas where it can grow. A lot of these areas are hard and unsafe to access so professional help is needed.
It’s also a good idea to contact a professional if you spot mold. First of all, they can determine for you if it is indeed mold. Of course, they can help you remove it.
Can You Get Rid of Mold Yourself?
Yes, you can, but it’s not recommended. We’ve already listed down the dangers of mold. Why would you try to get rid of it, exposing yourself in the process?
Besides, there’s a good chance that you’re not trained for it. While we’ve already told you how you can find and spot it, it can prove to be a challenge.
You can get rid of smaller infestations although it will require a lot of elbow grease. You can make your own solution to try and remove it by mixing 1 part of bleach with 8 parts of water.
There are important things to consider:
- You have to protect yourself especially if you’re dealing with toxic black mold. A trained professional has the right equipment to protect himself. You still have to protect yourself even if you’re dealing with non-toxic species. You have to wear throwaway clothes and shoes. You should also wear gloves and goggles together with a P-100 or N-95 respirator.
- You have to seal off the infested area. This is to make sure that the spores don’t fly and land elsewhere to start a new infestation.
- You have to take care of the ventilation. A strategically-placed box fan will do although you’d have to throw it away once you’re done.
- You have to worry about the wires as you work through the walls. You might end up damaging the electrical wires.
- You also have to worry about the disposal. If you don’t do it correctly, you can end up starting another infestation.
- There’s also the issue of replacing the drywall or ceiling that has been affected.
Needless to say, you can remove it in theory. However, these concerns show that it’s better to just hire a professional.
Preventing Mold in the Future
There’s no point in removing mold if you’re just going to let it return. The reason why we’ve put this comprehensive article together is to make sure that you’ll know everything there is to know for you to understand it, fix it, and prevent a repeat in the future.
Here are some tips to prevent another infestation in the future:
- Keep the level of humidity inside your home as low as possible. You can invest in a humidity meter so you can regularly check to make sure that it doesn’t go past 50%. Keep the level low the whole day and that will go a long way. On that note, make sure that you check several times a day at different hours.
Running the air conditioner can also help keep the level low. You can also invest in a dehumidifier for the sole purpose of dehumidifying your home.
- Check for leaks regularly. You already know the dangers of water leaks. You already know that it can introduce moisture into your home to start a mold infestation. Hence, you already know that one huge key to prevent an infestation is to prevent leaks from happening.
Make sure to check your roof, windows, walls, and other leak sources regularly. If you find a source of a leak, have it fixed immediately.
- Dry up wet areas immediately. It could be because of a leak. It could be because of a flood. It could be because you spilled something. Whatever it is, it can start an infestation.
Time is of the essence here. It can be a huge challenge if it’s because of a flood. You have to dry the whole area within 48 hours or else, you could be looking at a massive infestation.
- Use a mold inhibitor. Consider having your house repainted using paint that has this capability. You can start with the new drywall that you’ll install after removing the infested ones.
- Clean the bathroom and kitchen regularly. These are prone to an infestation because they’re always wet. There are mold-killing over the counter products that you can buy and use.
- Ensure a good air circulation in your home. This is especially true in humid areas. Installing exhaust fans in strategic areas will help a lot.
- Have your attic and basement checked by a professional. These areas are not checked regularly and they’re perfect breeding grounds. An experienced professional can check and may recommend the installation of a dehumidifier and a foundation drain. The insulation may be checked as well.
It sounds like a lot of work. Fortunately, an expert can help you get started. He can educate you on these prevention tips and can even get you started on the right track.
Get Free Quotes from Contractors
It’s a must that you ask for quotes from contractors. In fact, you need to ask several contractors for their quotes. Don’t make the mistake of hiring the first contractor especially if he knows that you’re not talking with other contractors. That’s the easiest way to pay more money that you should have.
Whatever you do, don’t pay for a quote. It has to be a free quote. You’re not yet committing to their services so it doesn’t make sense for you to pay for a quote.
You also have to make sure that you’re getting quotes from qualified contractors only. They should be licensed and trained. This is to make sure that they’ll do a good job.
It can be time-consuming to do all these things which doesn’t help you considering that what you have is an emergency. This is why we’ve put together a free service that can help you get free quotes from contractors.
All you have to do is to use the form that you see on this page. Complete the form with the details asked and then send it. The best contractors in your area that specialize in mold remediation will receive your details with the understanding that other experts received your details. This is why they’ll be encouraged to send in their best quote.
You can expect to receive around 4 of the best quotes from the best contractors in your area using this free service of ours. Try it today!