home mold
causes of mold

10 Common Causes of Mold in Homes

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One of the most common forms of mold found in many homes is known as Alternaria.

You may know exactly what it looks like, typically characterized by its velvet-like texture and dark green and brown coloring.

Alternaria mold tends to grow where ever dampness occurs, and throughout the average home, this could be a number of obvious places.

It’s a hyper-allergenic mold, meaning long-term exposure can lead to respiration problems in the upper respiratory tract, nose, and mouth.

So if you’re wondering what the exact causes of mold could be in your home, we outline it all in this blog.

Common Causes of Mold in Your Home

Mold can grow just about anywhere but is most commonly found in areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, basements, cabinets, and near pipes or ducting areas. It only needs a few elements to grow and proliferate throughout your home, the key element being moisture.

Mold behind drywall may be one of the most common household problem areas as drywall, wood, and cotton are ideal food sources.

Ceiling mold is also highly common due to a lack of ventilation and accumulation of moisture.

If the temperature is right, there is a moisture source and enough oxygen, you can be sure mold will begin to grow and spread.

Here are 10 of the most common causes of mold in your home:

1. Persistent Humidity

If you live in an area where humidity is consistently high, you may have a problem with mold. This is only natural due to the high moisture content in the air.

This type of mold will most likely grow on walls, ceilings, in dark closets, under the kitchen sink, etc.

Mold caused by humidity is especially common if you live near the ocean or a large body of water and could also be worsened by a lack of ventilation.

Moisture build-up in the air indoors could massively increase mold growth, so make sure to ventilate your home well, especially in the warmer months.

2. Leaking Pipes in the Home

This is one of the most common causes of mold behind drywall and in under-sink cupboards.

Leaking pipes can also contribute to ceiling and wall mold, as a leak could be coming from the geyser or piping in your roof. If you notice a build-up of mold in any of these areas, the natural choice would be to check your piping for leaks!

3. A Leaking Roof

A roof which is partially damaged due to wear and tear or severe weather conditions can quickly lead to mold build-up in your home.

Over time, a slow leak can build-up a huge backlog of moisture in your ceiling or attic. This can eventually proliferate into mold that grows on walls and ceiling boards.

Make sure to check your attic or the tiles and facades of your ceiling for damage and potential leaks to avoid a mold problem in your home.

4. A Build-Up of Condensation

During the winter time, some homes may experience a build-up of condensation on cold surfaces due to the fluctuations in temperature.

Some of these cold surfaces include metal piping, concrete surfaces, floor tiles and even brick walls.

If you notice that condensation build-up is a real problem in your home, make sure to ventilate each room properly in order to remove the condensation.

Otherwise, these condensation pockets are prime real estate for mold spores and the proliferation of mold growth.

5. Poor Ventilation in Your Home

As we mentioned before, a poorly ventilated home is a magnet for the growth of mold and the spreading of mold spores.

The stagnant air throughout your home is one of the best environments for the growth of mold. So make sure to rid your home of it on a daily basis!

Steam created by appliances, cooking, and bathing creates humidity in your home, leaving surfaces damp and sticky.

Remove the moisture from your home and you’ll remove the likelihood of mold growth.

6. Wet and Damp Clothing

Picture this: you’ve just done a load of washing, taken it out of the washing machine, and set it aside to hang up later on. But you forget and the damp clothing sits for a full day, if not more.

Believe it or not, mold only needs 24 hours to grow and proliferate.

During the warm months of spring and summer, wet or damp clothing lying around your house can greatly contribute to an existing mold problem. So remember to hand your washing ASAP!

7. Home Flooding

Unfortunately, one of the realities you’ll face after you experience the drama of home flooding is mold growth.

Your home will typically take days, or even weeks, before it’s completely dried out after a flood, so this makes the ideal environment for mold to grow.

What’s more concerning is that this environment can also lead to the growth of dangerous, toxic mold known as Stachybotrys chartarum.

You will need to bring in a mold cleaning expert after your home has completely dried out for mold testing and a thorough inspection.

8. A Damp Basement

Due to the fact that they are below ground level, it’s only natural that a basement is exposed to higher levels of moisture.

They are also more likely to contain greater levels of humidity due to a lack of ventilation or poor circulation of air.

As such, this combination of both dampness and increased humidity will lead to the growth of mold.

Water leaks from your home above may also accumulate in your basement. This is why you should keep your basement well-maintained in order to prevent a dangerous mold outbreak.

9. Foundation Dampness

If the slope of your yard has been landscaped in such a way that water fails to drain away from your house, you could have a mold problem on your hands.

Rainwater and garden moisture can slowly trickle and pool around the foundations of your home, contributing to the growth of mold on walls.

A landscaping expert can help modify your yard and its slope. Alternatively, drains can be dug out to direct water away from your foundations.

10. A Leaking Air-Conditioning System

Most homes throughout the country feature an air conditioning system, which can bring with it the growth of mold known as Mucor.

This is an allergenic type of mold which grows quickly into thick, white patches below leaking air conditioning systems or due to condensation build-up.

Make sure to check your air conditioner piping, ducting and filters to ensure there are no leaks or a build-up of moisture.

Looking for Mold Removal Specialists?

With over 25 years of experience in the industry of mold removal, we are proud to say we are one of the best in the business in Toronto and GTA.

If you’re looking for a free mold inspection, information on the causes of mold or mold removal tips, we’re happy to help!

Get in touch with Clean First for unrivaled experience, professionalism and mold removal expertise.

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how to tell if you have mold

7 Signs You’re Dealing With a Mold Problem

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What IS that smell?

If you’ve ever walked into your home and been smacked in the face with a musty or damp odor, there’s a strong chance you have a mold problem somewhere.

It can be tricky knowing how to tell if you have mold because you can’t always see it. Mold can hide behind or between walls, in hidden corners of the basement, or behind furniture that lives close to a wall.

Identifying a mold problem is important, though, as left untreated it will cause serious damage to walls, wooden frames, and your interiors. It can also seriously affect your health, such as causing chronic headaches or chest problems.

If you’re not sure whether you have a mold growth problem, answer these seven questions to decide if you need a mold removal expert to help.

How to Tell if You Have Mold: 7 Warning Signs

These seven warning signs will help you determine whether you have a mold problem. Ask yourself these questions to work out if you need a mold expert to clean your home.

1. Are Your Allergies Playing Up?

Do you have a chronic stuffy nose? Is your skin breaking out in rashes?

Allergy symptoms caused by mold can range from mild to severe and can appear even when there’s no visible mold. The spores from some mold types can be airborne, which will affect your breathing, irritate your eyes, or give you a ‘stuffed up’ feeling as your sinuses become inflamed.

If your symptoms are alleviated with an over-the-counter anti-histamine it’s likely that there is something in your environment causing an allergic reaction.

There are other factors to consider, such as a dust allergy, but if you’ve never had this problem before in your home it could be an indicator that you have a mold problem.

2. Is There a Strange Musty Smell?

A musty smell isn’t always a sign that you have mold but it can be a good indicator that there is something you need to investigate.

If there is a strange smell that’s started to become more apparent in a frequently used room, it could be mold.

If your attic or basement has a strong musty smell you should get it checked out, too. These rooms are prone to hiding mold problems that go undiscovered for years.

Remember to check your attic and basement at regular intervals through the year for signs of mold. Left unchecked, you may find it spreads without your knowledge until the problem becomes much more expensive!

3. Can You See Grime or Slime?

This might sound obvious, but if you can see mold then you’ve got mold. However, it comes in different forms and what you might think is just age-old dirt or a mild case of mildew could indicate the start of a more serious mold problem.

If you’re looking how to tell if you have mold, check the corners of rooms and your windowsills for dark spots. There could even be a slight shine to a wall as some mold types feel a bit ‘slimy’ to the touch.

4. Has Your Home Ever Flooded?

If you’ve ever had a flood in your home you’re at risk of mold. Even if you thought the floor and walls of your basement or ground floor had fully dried out, mold can be slow-growing over time and thrive behind damp plasterboard or wallpaper.

If your home has flooded in the past and you’re now experiencing symptoms of mold, check your house insurance policy. You may be able to have full mold cleaning and repair covered by your insurance, so it’s always worth checking.

5. Do You Get Condensation on Your Windows?

Condensation is a sign of too much water in the internal atmosphere of a house. You’ll notice it most on cold days but you can get condensation at any time of year.

The most common place to have condensation on the windows is the bathroom. To prevent mold from growing, make sure your bathroom is always well ventilated, especially after taking a shower or bath.

You need to install a way for the steam to easily escape and encourage air flow to dry the atmosphere as fast as possible.

Too much moisture in the air creates a damp environment over time, and this leads to mold growth.

6. Have You Had a Water Leak?

If you’ve ever had a water leak, whether caused by old plumbing or frozen pipes, there’s a chance that you have a mold problem.

If you haven’t had a water leak in your home that you’re aware of, but there is a damp and musty smell around areas of water in particular – such as washers, kitchen sinks, and bathrooms – it’s best to investigate for mold.

7. Do You Have a Chronic Cough or Headaches?

Mold spores can cause a chronic cough in people who otherwise show no symptoms of allergic reactions. A chronic cough should always be checked out by your physician, but if they can’t find a good reason for your problem the issue could be mold.

Black mold is a toxic form of fungus that can also give you headaches, dizziness, or affect your behavior such as shortening your attention span and focus. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and your doctor has ruled out more obvious causes, it’s essential to have a mold expert investigate as soon as possible.

What to Do if You Have Signs of Mold

If you can see mildew or mold on your walls and it appears to only be a small amount (less than a few feet square) try a bleach solution. There are many over-the-counter cleaning products designed to tackle common mold problems in the home, and any of these will do the trick on new mold.

If your mold has taken over, or you’re still experiencing symptoms of mold despite no visible evidence left following your bleach treatment, it’s time to call the experts.

Mold removal experts are trained in the safest and most effective ways to remove mold from your home for good, which will minimize the possibility of the problem returning.

Remember: once you’ve treated your home for mold, put steps in place to prevent recurrence. Make sure areas are well ventilated and consider using a dehumidifier if your home is in a particularly damp environment such as next to a lake.

Need Help? Ask a Mold Expert

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of the warning signs on how to tell if you have mold, it’s time to ask a mold expert to help.

An expert will have access to the best mold-cleaning solutions suitable for your property so you can get your mold problem under control in no time. Contact us today to find out how we can help you get your property clean and mold-free.

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mold removal services

Benefits of Mold Removal Services: Why You Shouldn’t DIY

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Do you have mold growing somewhere in your home?

It could potentially present huge health problems for you and your family.

At first, you might only have to deal with a cough, a stuffy nose, and eye irritation caused by mold. But prolonged mold exposure can eventually lead to serious complications that could cause an infection in your lungs.

It’s why it’s incredibly important for you to seek out a company that can provide you with mold removal services right away.

You might be tempted to tackle a mold problem on your own, especially if there’s only a small amount of it. But DIY is definitely not the right solution for mold growth in your home.

Check out some of the benefits of calling on the professionals for help when it comes to getting rid of mold once and for all.

Mold Removal Services Can Locate All the Mold in Your Home

The first thing that a mold removal company will do when you call on them for help is perform a mold inspection.

You might think that you know where the mold is located in your home. For example, you may have spotted it on a bathroom wall or down in a corner of your basement.

But before performing mold removal services, professionals will complete a thorough inspection to ensure that you don’t have mold growing in other places.

The mold on your bathroom wall or in the corner of your basement might just be a sign of mold elsewhere. And unless you’re able to remove all of the mold in your home, it could continue to have detrimental effects on you and your family.

You should make sure a mold inspection gets done to find any other signs of mold in your home.

They Can Remove the Mold Quickly and Clean Your Home

After a mold removal company has gone through the process of inspecting your entire house for mold, they will start mold removal and remediation.

If you only have a small amount of mold in your home, it won’t take the mold removal company very long to get rid of it. They also might not have to force you to leave the home while they treat it.

However, if you have Level II mold (mold covering 10 to 100 square feet of your home) or Level III mold (mold covering more than 100 square feet of your home), you will most likely be asked to leave your home.

Your mold removal company will then get to work as far as getting rid of your mold. Employees will wear protective gear while treating your home with specialized equipment.

After they have removed the mold, they will also work to clean your home for you.

One of the hazards of doing mold removal is that mold spores get sent everywhere in the air. While it’s impossible to eliminate all mold spores from a home, a mold removal company can get rid of most of them and leave your home as clean as it can possibly be as far as mold is concerned.

They Can Stop Mold From Spreading Throughout Your Home

The problem with mold is that, once it starts to grow inside of a home, it can spread very quickly.

This is actually why you shouldn’t ever try to DIY the mold removal process.

You could, in theory, scrape away the existing mold in your home and clean the surfaces it was on. But while doing so, you would likely kick up mold spores and encourage mold growth in other areas of your home.

A company that performs mold removal services can stop this spreading from taking place. They’ll contain the mold spores before using equipment to get rid of just about all of them.

They Can Figure Out What Caused the Mold

In addition to getting rid of mold, mold removal services will also do some digging around to find out what caused the mold to grow in the first place.

There are so many things that can cause mold inside of a home. You might get mold if:

  • You have a leaky plumbing pipe behind a wall or above a ceiling that needs to be fixed
  • You have a leaky roof that is allowing water to find its way into your home
  • You experienced a flood in your basement and didn’t have it cleaned up by professionals
  • You have a home that’s poorly ventilated, thus allowing humidity and condensation to build up in it
  • You have wet clothes or towels that are left out in your home on a regular basis

Once your mold removal company gets to the bottom of your mold problem, you’ll be able to take steps to prevent it from coming back again.

They Can Give Your Home a Clean Bill of Health

Before a mold removal company leaves your home, they should walk through and do a final inspection for mold.

They should also test the air in your home to make sure that you don’t have too many mold spores in it.

Mold spores are just about always in the air, so it’s going to prove to be impossible to rid your home of all of them. But the air quality of your home should be much improved by your mold removal specialists.

When they’re done with your home, they should give you a clean bill of health and tell you your home is safe again. They should also arrange to come back and test your home at some point in the future to ensure the mold problem doesn’t return.

Obtain Mold Removal Services Today

Did you find mold in your attic or another area in your home recently?

Rather than ignoring it, you should call on a company to provide you with mold removal services right away.

The longer you expose yourself to mold, the higher the chances of it making you sick. Mold also isn’t just going to go away on its own. You have to actively fight to remove it from your home with help from professionals.

Read our blog to find out more about the dangers of mold in your home.

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wall mold

Mold on walls – drywall or plaster

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While drywall is porous, plaster is not.

This means that mold will grow on the drywall, and often times on both sides since it is an organic porous material; in fact the rich carbon paper back that holds the gypsum together is the preferred food source for Stachybotrys to grow and decompose given enough moisture.

If you have visible mold on the exterior of the drywall, is almost certain a larger amount of mold growth is present in the back of the drywall.

There are no products that can guarantee the successful cleaning of mold on the drywall due to the porosity of the material. Often times, it must be cut off and removed.

Mold on plaster walls on the other hand are cleanable since it is not a food source, and not porous. The mold is usually feeding on your paint and dust. However plaster walls can contain paper backing and if moisture penetrates the back of the plaster, the walls will need to be removed.

You must always consult with a mold remediation specialist to ensure you can determine the extent of the contamination.

Call us for a free inspection at 416-791-8020.

 

 

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ceiling mold

I have mold in the ceiling – what should I do?

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Mold in the ceiling are caused by:

  • Liquid moisture
  • Airborne moisture

Liquid moisture examples are a flood, water pipe burst, exterior failure of building components, roof leaks or anything directly associated with water penetration inside building components. In these cases often the interior of the drywall or plaster will have a much higher amount of mold than the visible exterior components.

Examples of Airborne moisture is when humidity on the interior is above 60%, and as air evaporation tries to escape through poor insulated ceilings, condensation is created by the extreme differences of temperatures. Often this results in the interior corners of the ceilings creating mold on the surface of the components.

A professional inspection can determine the cause and provide a solution and plan to remove the mold in the ceiling.

Call us for a free inspection at 416-791-8020.

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attic mold

I found mold in the attic – what should I do?

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Attic mold is caused by excessive moisture; there are many factors that can cause moisture inside of an attic.

  • Lack of ventilation
  • Improper connection of bathroom exhaust vents
  • Attic bypasses
  • Roof leaks

All attics come in different sizes, roof peaks and layouts. Mold growth can also vary in size and deterioration. It’s very important to find and correct the cause of mold in the attic. You will need a trough inspection by a qualified professional to determine the exact cause or causes and generate a plan in how to correct it permanently.

Is it safe to live inside the house since I have found attic mold?

The attic is usually NOT part of the living space unless is finished, so the answer is YES. There is no cross contamination of spores to other areas unless disturbed or spread by workers or anyone working in the attic.

What’s the cost of attic mold removal?

It really depends on the size of the mold contamination and the work that is needed to correct the moisture issue that caused the deficiency. Most attic mold removal work starts at a cost of $500 and up depending on items already mentioned above.

If you think you have attic mold,  call us for a free inspection at 416-791-8020.

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mold on carpet

I found mold in my carpet – what should I do?

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Most carpets manufactured today are made of nylon fibers (polypropylene).

Polypropylene is a type of thermoplastic polymer resin (plastic), and therefore a non organic and not a food source for mold or bacteria to decompose. We use the same material in many other household products like, food containers, toys, microwaves, etc.

Mold on the carpet is usually on the dust accumulation on top of the carpet or in the backing of where glue is binding the fibers together and can be a organic source of food.

Typically if water damage to the carpet is attended rapidly and comes from a clean water source, and not sewage or other grey waters, the carpet can be salvageable and only the under pad needs to be removed and replaced.

We recommend consulting with a carpet cleaner to ensure it can be disinfected on both sides of carpet. You can also use benefect to remove mold in your carpet: http://www.benefect.com/US/mold.php

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I found mold on my wood floors – what should I do?

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wood floor mold

Wood floors require large amounts of moisture present for several days before mold can grow. After small water damage most people attempt to dry the wood floor and assume all is well; however after a few days discoloration or visible mold will appear and grow on the edges of the flooring.

Mold on wood floors is always worse than what you can see visually. Wood floors retain moisture underneath between flooring, underlay and substrate creating large amounts of humidity and fungal growth. The longer it is undetected, the larger the mold growth on the wood floor.

Do not attempt to remove the mold on the flooring yourself before consulting with a professional. We can detect the extent with simple moisture readings or thermal imaging.

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mold on concrete

I found mold on the concrete of my basement – what should I do?

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Here’s the good news – Mold does not decompose concrete, so in this type of situation black mold is growing on the dust in the concrete. Efflorescence is more likely the culprit. Efflorescence simply stated, is when concrete inside a foundation gets excessive moisture, minerals and calcium deposits form a white powdery substance as it dries (sometimes confused for mold). Mold can and will decompose the minerals and salts and the added dust and humidity will activate further mold growth.

If large amounts are found do call a mold remediation contractor to ensure you do not spread the spores or contaminate other areas while attempting to remove the mold.

However small amounts of mold in the concrete can be removed by you by using a concrete cleaner.

If you’re unsure if it’s efflorescence (white fuzzy powder), see the following image:efflorescence

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Mold on insulation

I found mold on my insulation – What should I do?

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Unless you have paper backed, or wool insulation, mould does not decompose fiberglass insulation.

Most often mould is found on the dust in the insulation, sometimes like the picture above the dark areas are dust caused by thermal bridging (air infiltration) and not mold.

It’s always safe to discard the insulation to prevent the dust to develop fungal growth if moisture develops.

Tip: If the darkness looks fuzzy, slimy or smears when pressed, it is mold and you SHOULD discard it. Large amounts of mold in the insulation require professional remediation and should not be removed without proper precautions to ensure safety

If that sounds like you, call us for a free inspection at 416-791-8020.

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