Even in hot, dry climates, homeowners aren’t immune to mold issues. For instance, mold can develop because of:
Too Hot for Mold?
- Sewage backup
- Leaks (plumbing, roof)
- Damp crawl spaces or basements
- Poorly ventilated dryers
Toxic Black Mold
Exposure to black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, can cause respiratory distress, eye and mucus membrane irritation, rashes, and headaches. Prolonged exposure can lead to nausea, vomiting, or even bleeding in the nose and lungs.
Black mold is common after flooding, especially if the water damage isn’t addressed right away. If a home is a foreclosure, for instance, that’s been vacant for some time, water damage may have gone unnoticed, and black mold may be present.
If you can see or smell mold in a property, or if you know that the property has a history of water damage, encourage your buyer to get a professional mold inspection. Such an inspection:
- Identifies the presence of mold
- Defines the size of the problem (usually in square footage)
- Identifies through testing what specific type of mold is in the home and how many mold spores are in the air
While only professionals should remove black mold, homeowners may remove non-toxic mold themselves.
In order to do so, the area should be cordoned off with plastic sheeting, and any pieces of plywood, drywall, etc., that are removed should be placed on the sheeting.
When disposing of the material, including any protective gear worn during remediation, it’s important to tightly seal the sheeting before disposing of it.
Always wear protective goggles, suits, and face masks when performing mold remediation.
Mold can be removed from hard surfaces by using a stiff brush to scrub it off after applying hot water, detergent, and bleach.
If the mold is on a porous surface, using water can actually promote mold growth, since the material will take in the water—and we all know how much mold loves water!
The area needs to be sanded and sealed with special-made sealants available at hardware stores once the mold is removed and the surface is dry.
Don’t skip the scrubbing and go straight to the sealant. Mold doesn’t need much oxygen to survive—some is anaerobic and doesn’t require any oxygen at all—so all a sealant will do is cover up a living organism, giving it more opportunity to dig deeper into the surface and continue growing.