Sometimes a mold problem is easily evident to the human eye. You see mold growing on your bathroom ceiling or notice mold spots on the drywall in your basement. Other times, you may smell a musty mold smell, but not be able to readily identify where it is coming from. In that case, you need to play the detective and look for the source of the problem.
If you suspect a serious mold problem, it is a good idea to protect yourself from mold contamination before you begin your search. According to http://www.epa.gov/mold/pdfs/moldguide.pdf, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends a few things to help limit your exposure. To protect yourself from airborne mold, you can purchase a N-95 respirator. Many hardware stores carry these, and they cost around $12 to $25.
The EPA also recommends that you wear long gloves that come up to the middle of your forearm. You should not touch mold or moldy articles with your bare hands. If you are going to be using household detergent and water to clean an area, then normal household rubber gloves are sufficient. However, if you will be working with a disinfectant such as bleach, the EPA recommends using gloves made from natural rubber, such as neoprene, nitrile, polyurethane or PVC.
Finally, wear eye goggles that do not have ventilation holes to protect your eyes from mold spores.
Now you are ready to look for the mold source. The EPA suggests checking the following places for hidden mold.
- Back side of dry wall
- Back side of wallpaper
- Back side of paneling
- Top side of ceiling tiles
- Underside of carpets
- Underside of carpet pads
- Inside walls around leaking pipes or condensing pipes
- Surface of walls behind furniture (from condensation)
- Inside ductwork
- Roof materials above ceiling tiles
Be aware that this can be a hazardous situation in need of a basement waterproofing professional. For example, if you peel back a small portion of wallpaper and find an infestation of mold all along the paper, then do not proceed to tear off the wallpaper. Doing so will release a massive amount of mold spores into the air, exposing you and your family to this hazard.
Locate a reputable basement waterproofing company experienced in mold removal and remediation to handle this situation.
Ultimately, if your nose or your instincts are telling you that you have a mold problem, it’s wise to investigate the possibility and call in the professionals when you need help.