Mold often grows out of sight, such as in wall cavities, due to know or possibly unknown water problems. Before you know it mold can cause your walls to deteriorate from the inside out. The other major problem mold can cause is a toxic environment due to spore contamination.
According to the CDC indoor exposure to mold is linked to upper respiratory tract symptoms including coughing and wheezing in otherwise healthy people. Children, the elderly and people who suffer from a respiratory disease or allergies are most susceptible to the health risks of mold exposure.
This is bad news, considering how easily mold can grow in homes. It only needs food (organic material like wood, paper or drywall) an ideal temperature (68 degrees – 86 degrees) and water. Very little water is needed – even relative humidity above 60% can drive mold growth indoors!
Here is the good news: with some persistence hidden mold can be detected in several ways. Follow these signs and methods to tell if mold is growing inside your walls.
If your home has been flooded, it wont take long before the water reaches your walls. Mold will grow in them if the walls and the surrounding area are not dried within 24-48 hours. Other water problems like leaking pipes or a leaking roof may also trap moisture in your walls. Even if the leaks are visible (occurring close to the walls) moisture can find it’s way deep into walls, providing mold a place to grow. Fix water problems immediately to prevent mold.
VISIBLE SIGNS OF MOLD
If the wall is rotting, it likely has moisture and mold behind it. In less severe cases, rot and mold might not be that noticeable. Take a close look at the walls and check behind furniture and along the baseboards.
Mold comes in many colors and textures, so it is important to recognize them. Depending on it’s age and the source of the “food,” mold can be black, green, grey, white or brown. Mold can even be orange, pink or purple shades when it grows behind vinyl wallpaper.
Another visible sign of mold is discoloration of walls. Even if the wall has been painted over, mold will still show signs on the surface if water damage inside the walls persists.
Be aware of other visible signs of wet drywall, such as:
- water stains
- dark rings
- deterioration like peeling, bubbling, cracking of the paint or wallpaper
- bowing, bulging or warping
- the wall surface feels sweaty, damp or wet to the touch
If you notice any of these sign son your drywalls, they most likely contain moisture and mold. Take action immediately as the longer you wait the more damage and mold will occur.
If you can smell mold but you can’t see it, it may be somewhere hiding in your home. Mold smells earthy, like rotting leaves or decaying wood in a damp forest.
If you think there is mold in your walls, smell the electrical outlets (safely, and after you have unscrewed them) This might give you slightly better access to the space behind the wall.
To best determine how much mold is in your walls consult a mold removal company. They can use inspection techniques and tools to determine the extent of the damage. Companies like PuroClean specialize in this.