No matter how clean and tidy you keep the home your kids are growing up in, something unwelcome may be growing as well: mold. CNN Money has reported that there is mold growing in 30% of even new homes, and Farmers Insurance has reported that mold-related claims have increased by 1,100% in the last decade. So what do you need to know about mold? Here are the questions you should be asking.
Where In My Home Can Mold Grow?
There are many ways mold can enter your home—through open doors and windows, HVAC systems and vents, and more—but most mold spores aren’t a problem, since they naturally occur indoors and outdoors at low concentrations. But certain conditions in your home can cause mold to grow, damaging your house and creating health risks for your family.
Mold is most likely to grow in moist places such as bathrooms or around leaking pipes and windows. But the reason many people never know about their mold problem until they get a professional inspection is that mold often grows in crawl spaces and basements. The goal of professional inspection and mold removal services is to not only get rid of any mold that is currently growing, but also to identify the conditions allowing that mold to thrive inside.
What Are the Health Risks of Mold in My Home?
Certain molds are more toxic than others, but mold can cause a range of health problems from itchy eyes and cold-like symptoms to permanent lung damage. People with asthma and allergies are at elevated risk; about a fifth of the asthma patients in the U.S. can link their condition to mold or dampness in the home, and 10 to 20% of the worldwide population has mold allergies that can cause serious reactions. A mold inspection can include indoor air quality testing to help you determine if the mold might be creating unsafe health conditions in your home.
Should I Take Advantage of a Free Mold Inspection?
There are many companies who offer free mold inspections, which can seem like a tempting offer. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? But these companies can be unethical, preying on your ignorance and desire to keep your family safe. Their inspection may be designed to convince you to pay them inflated mold removal costs for unnecessary services.
If a company offers a free mold inspection, do some research before you decide. If the company is certified and reputable (the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List are great places to start), then by all means take advantage of a good deal. But in the long run, you should be willing to pay for a thorough investigation and mold inspection report.