Five Subtle Signs of Mold to Look Out For

Did you know that the world is home to more than 100,000 identified mold species? However, scientists believe that many others remain unknown and await discovery. What they know for sure, though, is that many species are beneficial, while others can be harmful.

The thing is, molds are ubiquitous, meaning they’re everywhere; in the air, soil, and yes, even indoors. That’s why it pays to know the signs of mold growth. That way, you can address these fuzzy things before they wreak havoc on your home and health.

To that end, we created this guide listing the subtle indications of indoor mold growth. Read on to discover what they are (and what to do if they are in your home).

1. Non-Stop or Frequent Sniffles

One in four people with allergies has a specific allergy to molds. However, in the United States, such health woes affect about 10% of the population. Worse, half of Americans afflicted with it can get ill if they experience an allergy attack.

If you or another household member has a mold allergy, mold exposure can trigger sneezing. Eye irritation, nasal congestion, runny nose, coughing, and wheezing are likely, too. Moreover, you or your loved one may also develop an itchy throat.

Note that the health risks of mold in your home may extend to other non-allergic folks, though. Exposure to molds or their spores can make a person without a previous allergy allergic to them. That means molds have the potential of being the root cause of an allergy.

2. Headaches and Dizziness

Molds emit substances known as microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs). They release these in the form of gases into the air. Moreover, these chemicals are responsible for their stale and musty smells.

In addition, mVOCs (like other non-microbial VOCs) can cause adverse health effects, too. For instance, researchers associate them with symptoms including headaches and dizziness. Nausea and fatigue may also occur due to exposure to these gases.

So, if you or anyone in your household experiences those symptoms, you may have a mold problem at home. Consider enlisting professional mold services to inspect, confirm, and identify potential growths.

3. Warped or Spongy Wooden Materials

Humidity, the amount of water vapor present in the air, is a factor that promotes mold growth. The higher the indoor relative humidity (RH), the more favorable to these microorganisms. For example, scientists say that indoor RH levels of between 71% and 95% are ideal for molds.

High indoor RH, in turn, can arise from everyday chores, such as cooking or drying clothes indoors. However, it can also occur due to air conditioning, roofing, and plumbing leaks. Unaddressed water intrusion, such as flooding, can also make your home’s indoor RH rise.

All those high indoor RH causes can also result in costly water damage. For example, leaky pipes hidden behind walls, ceilings, or under floors can cause wood to warp. Over time, these structural materials can become spongy and soggy.

Note that molds also need organic materials to survive. So, water-damaged, moist wood gives them almost everything they need. All they require aside from that is oxygen, which is already present in your home.

Thus, water damage is one of the potential causes of molds indoors.

For that reason, having water-damaged wooden structures likely means you have molds, too. The sponginess you feel may be the fuzzy molds themselves. You may also spot them on squeaky floors, spongy walls, or warped ceilings upon closer look. If your home exhibits any of those symptoms, it’s time to call water and mold restoration experts. That way, they can help you track and fix the source of the water damage first. From there, they can carry out remediation to stop the molds from spreading further.

4. Moldy Food

Molds love to feast on the same food you eat, especially those with high water content. That makes fresh fruits, vegetables, unpreserved bread, and cheese their favorites. For that reason, it’s vital to keep these perishables covered or refrigerated.

Many mold species can grow on food within only 12 to 24 hours. That’s especially true for the unrefrigerated ones left at room temperature.

However, if they develop furry growths faster than that, your air may be full of mold spores. In that case, your home may be housing colonies in hidden or inaccessible areas. After all, the more of these “parent” molds you have at home, the more “seeds” they can release into the air.

5. Air Conditioner Smells Like Wet Socks

Your air conditioner works by pulling out moisture and heat from the air before cooling it down. In doing so, it creates condensation in the form of water droplets.

An AC component called the drain pan then catches the dripping water. From there, the collected moisture flows into a drain pipe connected to the pan. Finally, that pipe channels the fluids out of your home.

The fact alone that the cooling process produces water can trigger mold growth. For example, a lack of AC maintenance can cause the drainpipe to get clogged with debris. If that happens, the water can’t leave your home, and instead, collect or spill out the pan.

Unfortunately, mold spores can land on the drain pan and start reproducing.

In some cases, a musty odor reminiscent of wet socks can come from the AC unit itself. However, you may also smell it from the cool air itself. Either way, both indicate that you may have mold colonies growing in your AC or other parts of your home.

In that case, it’s best to get your AC checked by a professional contractor. That way, they can clean your cooling system and free it from molds and other contaminants.

Beware These Sneaky Signs of Mold

Note that aside from the respiratory signs of mold we listed above, some may also cause toxicity. After all, a few mold species produce toxic substances called mycotoxins. These are poisonous compounds that can make people sick.

That’s all the more reason never to ignore potential mold growths in your home. Instead, consider hiring a mold expert to inspect and remediate your mold woes ASAP.

Are you looking for other home and health guides like this? Please feel free to read our most recent blog posts on these topics then!

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