The presence of unsightly mildew in your home should not only prompt a clean up, but also an investigation as to whether it is toxic house mold. Because there are many different types of mold, it is important to take some steps to determine what you are dealing with so you know how to deal with it.
Step 1 - Causes
There are several requirements that need to be in place for mold to develop and grow and you can be relatively sure that you have toxic house mold if they are present. Mold spores are the first and most obvious of the requirements; these airborne particles are literally everywhere— their miniscule size makes it impractical to attempt to remove them from the environment. You will not even realize they are present if they do not find any sustenance to help them grow. This second requirement can range from the oil left behind when you touch an item to any organic fabric.
Certain temperatures tend to be required for mold to grow and this is often the same one that humans like to live in! Higher humidity can speed the growth of the mold. The final requirement is moisture and areas where there are high levels of moisture can be problematic. If you have all these aspects present then you should investigate further.
Step 2 - Indications
Toxic house mold adores warm moist areas which tend to be secluded so the first indication will often be a distinctive musty smell – like walking through a dense forest. Where you detect this scent but there is no visual indication of where it is coming from, you must investigate further. If you suddenly find yourself suffering headaches or flu-like symptoms while in the house but feeling fine when away from the property, this should be used as a prompt that something is amiss.
Unexplained watermarks on walls and ceilings should not be ignored as this can be a sign of mold growth. Peeling wallpaper or flaking paint is a sign of a moisture problem and the wall covering could be hiding mold. Water pipes that have sustained damage can result in a toxic house mold problem due to the presence of moisture leaking from the pipes.
Step 3 - Investigate
Though you should try not to disturb any instance of toxic house mold that you find, it is still important to protect yourself just in case. Put on some overalls, a protective mask and gloves before climbing into areas such as the attic or crawl space which can be breeding grounds for mold due to their lack of ventilation. Besides the reverse of peeling wall coverings, use the torch to check corners and edges for any mold.
Be aware that mold can range in color from pink to black but will take on the same uneven mottled look which can be of patches which range in size. Even a small patch of mold should be dealt with as it can lead to a larger problem if left to its own devices.