Most homeowners are aware of the dangers of mold. Even when mold is not readily apparent, it can be lurking in out-of-sight locations. Not only is this a situation that's hazardous for your health and for the health of your family, but it can also lead to expensive repairs in the future. Mold that remains unseen and unaddressed can spread throughout a house, taking up residence anywhere that the proper conditions for its growth exist. Once mold establishes itself, fighting back can be quickly become costly and difficult.
Mold inspections are one of the best weapons you have to keep the situation from getting this bad, but when is it necessary to schedule one and how thorough should it be?
What Does It Take for Mold to Grow?
Most molds have shockingly few requirements for growth. As a general rule, the three conditions necessary for mold growth are heat, moisture, and food. Since many molds can grow in the complete range of temperatures present in a typical residential home, the first requirement is almost always met. Nearly every organic material in a home, from wood to drywall to cotton and leather, can function as food for mold, which easily takes care of the final requirement.
That leaves moisture as the last piece of the puzzle, and mold doesn't require much to get going. Since mold spores are usually present in at least trace levels in most homes, it usually only takes a bit of water or extra humidity to spark growth.
Spot Inspections Should Be Performed Following Water Damage
If your home has suffered any form of water damage, then you need to schedule a proper mold inspection. This is true whether the damage is a major flood event in your basement or a minor pipe leak under the kitchen sink. Since the conditions for mold growth are so easy to achieve, it can potentially begin even if the damage from a leak seems to be contained and you dry the area quickly. This is the case because water can often soak into surfaces that are difficult to dry, and in enclosed areas, this can lead to an increase in humidity, which may promote growth on a variety of nearby surfaces.
New Homes Should Always Be Inspected
Any home you are considering purchasing should always have a thorough mold inspection performed. Some unscrupulous sellers may attempt to cover up the presence of mold, but more often, homeowners are simply unaware that they have a problem. Mold may exist as the result of previously unaddressed water damage, or it may have simply taken hold due to unusually high humidity in unused areas of a home. A proper inspection can help you to evaluate the cost of remediation and may also highlight other necessary repairs as well.
Consider an Inspection Following Major Repairs and Renovations
Finally, it is often a good idea to have a mold inspection performed anytime a section of your home has been exposed to the elements for any period of time. This may be the case if you've just had major renovations performed, if part of your house has been repaired after fire or flood damage, or if you've just completed an addition. Construction activities can allow mold spores to enter more easily from outside and may also provide moisture if parts of the structure were exposed to rain or humid outside air. An inspection can help you to confirm that this hasn't led to new mold growth and give you a chance to quickly and cheaply remediate problems before they become serious.
For more information or to schedule an inspection, contact a company like Common Sense Inspections.