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So You Think You Have Mold - How to Find Mold In Your Home

Updated: Dec 28, 2023

Often times, homeowners feel like there is mold in their indoor environments but don't know where to start looking. A trained professional is the best way to find the problem, but how can you help yourself and figure out what may or may not be lurking in your home?

Woman Drying Leaky Pipe

Start With Water Sources

Mold is a living organism, so much like humans, it needs some basics to survive and thrive. Those requirements are very similar to ours; food, air and water. Unfortunately, we also need the air mold uses and the food source are our building materials, dust and other organic things in our home that simply can't not be there. That leaves water. Control water sources, control the mold. For this reason, if going on a mold hunt, always start with where water is in your home. This can include looking at pipes from the basement, looking under sinks at drains and checking out old water leaks that were fixed. These areas can be hotbeds for mold growth in our homes and if you see something suspect, take pictures and investigate further!

Environmental Factors
Humidity based mold growth shown on pressure cooker

Even though humidity is a water source, this is often overlooked in our search for mold. Humidity levels above 50% can cause moisture to condensate on surfaces like your basement rafters and stored items and create an optimal environment for mold to reproduce and colonize on. This type of growth is considered "humidity based" and can be one of the fastest to become out of control, demanding attention in sometimes less than 3 days! Thes best way to check for this is looking at a surface with a flashlight shines along the surface, not directly at it. This will cause the powdery growth to be illuminated in a way much easier to see. If you suspect a problem, don't disturb the suspected growth though, as humidity based growth is ultra fine and when disturbed can put off millions of irritating mold spores instantly!

Showers and Baths

Black Mold shown on bathroom drywall

Inevitably, during the bathing process, we splash water out of our showers and baths. When a bathroom is built properly with the correct materials, seals and they are kept dry, mold is kept at bay. When we don't dry our water up or the bathrooms have regular drywall bordering our shower units, we can cause major issues that continue to get worse and worse. Because these areas are regularly exposed to water, they are more susceptible to worse molds like Stachybotrys or Chaetomium, both considered toxigenic mold. because of this, if you see signs of water damage on your bathroom drywall, it is very important to get in touch with a professional immediately.

Drywall/Plaster Damage

Sometimes there may be no visible growth or moisture, but instead, signs of a potential hidden problem. Look for water stains on ceilings, cracks or bubbling in paint or sagging in ceiling tiles. Caught early, these issues can be solved at the source, but let go for too long and major demolition may be required to rectify the contamination.

Much like anything with homeownership, regular and proper observation paired with ongoing maintenance can prevent mold contamination issues. Knowing how to find mold growth that can affect our families health and well being is an important chore. Make sure you set a schedule to inspect your home often and know what to look for so you and your family can be confident in the air you breathe.

Picture of John Naumann, Owner and Board Certified Indoor Environmentalist

John is an ACAC Board Certified Indoor Environmentalist that has helped thousands of people dealing with mold and air quality issues in the Greater Pittsburgh & Tri-State area. At Alpha Air Quality, we ensure that families are receiving accurate information, factual testing & assessments, as well as proper mold removal and remediation.  John is a top mold expert in the area and serves the community with excellence and experience!


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