Home Evaluation

Below you will find a summary of the most common problem areas that may contribute to mold growth.

Exterior

  1. Basement Windows – Water can enter a basement through a window that is improperly maintained, or that is lower than the level of the ground.
  2. Gutter Downspouts & Extensions – Gutters can be very beneficial, but water must not be allowed to drain or pool near the foundation of the home. Gutter extensions should be used to get the water at least 4 feet from the foundation.
  3. Bushes/Plants/Shrubs/Flowers – Bushes, plants, shrubs, flower beds or tress should not be planted, or allowed to grow, too close to the home. Water may infiltrate into the foundation or exterior walls promoting mold growth.
  4. Windows – Windows must be maintained to prevent moisture from seeping into the wall space. This can be through poorly installed windows, bad seals or condensation during colder months.
  5. Gutters – Gutters must be maintained to prevent from being clogged. If drains are allowed to backup, water could enter the home.
  6. Chimneys – Chimneys must be evaluated and maintained to assure that they are not cracked and that the roof penetration is properly sealed to prevent leaks.
  7. Roofs – The most common routes of moisture intrusion into a building, especially those buildings with flat roofs, are roof leaks. The leaks may be from an old decaying roof, weather related damage, bad flashings, gutter or canale leaks. Close attention should be paid to seals around all roof penetrations.

Living Room  

  1. Dogs/Cats – Pets quite often contribute mold and yeast (Candida) to homes. It is recommended that your pet be tested to determine if they are contaminating your home with mold or yeast. This can be easily accomplished through a basic “tap test”.
  2. Carpeting – Carpets can hold mold within the fibers and if a carpet stays wet for greater than 48 hours, mold will begin to grow. If possible, hard, non-porous flooring is recommended with area rugs, rather than wall to wall carpeting.
  3. House Plants – House plants can contribute to mold contamination within a home if water is allowed to stand for greater than 48 hours.
  4. Windows – Windows must be maintained to prevent moisture from seeping into the wall space. This can be through poorly installed windows, bad seals or condensation during colder months.
  5. Fish tanks – Fish tanks may be an issue if the humidity near the fish tank is allowed to reach levels greater than 50%. High humidity can lead to mold growth.
  6. Chimneys – Chimneys must be evaluated and maintained to assure that they are not cracked and that the roof penetration is properly sealed to prevent leaks.
 

Kitchen

 

  1. Trash can – Trash cans contain everything that mold needs to grow (warm temperatures, moisture, food). Trash should be taken out daily to prevent mold contamination.
  2. Windows – Windows must be maintained to prevent moisture from seeping into the wall space. This can be through poorly installed windows, bad seals or condensation during colder months.
  3. Dishwasher – Dishwashers can be a source of mold if they are improperly installed or leaking. Periodically the dishwasher should be pulled out to examine if water is present.
  4. Kitchen Sink – Kitchen sinks are a source of water and can lead to mold growth through food scraps in the garbage disposal, leaks around the sink, leaks around the water valves and leaks around the drain.
  5. Refrigerators – The water line leading to the ice maker can leak, leading to mold growth in the wall or cabinetry surrounding the refrigerator. The drain pans of refrigerators may also contribute to mold growth if moisture is often present.
  6. Gas Stoves – When a gas stove is lit, water vapor is created. This water vapor can contribute to humidity in the home. If this humidity exceeds 50%, mold can grow. When using the gas stove, the exhaust fan should be turned on. Ensure that the fan vents outside and not into the room or attic.
  7. Skylights – Skylights, as with any roof penetration, are prone to leaks. Skylights should be inspected yearly to ensure that they are not leaking. Laundry Room

Laundry Room

  1. Water Valves and Drain – Water leaks from the wash machine water valves and the drain are common. These sources of water may lead to mold growth.
  2. Wash Machine and Dryer – Leaks from the washer, improperly vented dryers (especially those that do not exhaust to the outside) and front loading washers that do not completely drain may lead to mold growth.
  3. Windows – Windows must be maintained to prevent moisture from seeping into the wall space. This can be through poorly installed windows, bad seals or condensation during colder months. Opening a window while doing the laundry can reduce the humidity in the laundry room, preventing mold growth due to high humidity.
  4. Exhaust Fan – Using an exhaust fan can reduce the humidity in a laundry room, preventing mold growth from high humidity.

Bathroom

  1. Bathroom Sink – Plumbing leaks in the water supply or in the drain pipes can lead to mold growth. Additionally, high humidity in cabinetry below the sink may allow mold to grow on the cabinetry.
  2. Sink Grouting – If the grouting around a sink is not maintained, water will seep into the cabinetry and mold will begin to grow.
  3. Toilet Water Valve – The toilet water valve may begin to leak over time, leading to mold growth.
  4. Flooring – Carpet should never be used in a bathroom. Hard, non-porous surfaces should be utilized such as ceramic tile, linoleum or sealed concrete.
  5. Windows – Windows must be maintained to prevent moisture from seeping into the wall space. This can be through poorly installed windows, bad seals or condensation during colder months.  Opening a window while taking a bath or shower can reduce the humidity in the bathroom, preventing mold growth due to high humidity.
  6. Bathroom Exhaust Fan – Using an exhaust fan can reduce the humidity in the bathroom, preventing mold growth due to high humidity.
  7. Shower Grouting – If the grouting in and around a shower or bathtub is not maintained, water will seep into the wallspace and under the tub or shower pan and mold will begin to grow.

Bedroom

 

  1. Carpeting – Carpets can hold mold within the fibers and if a carpet stays wet for greater than 48 hours, mold will begin to grow. If possible, hard, non-porous flooring is recommended with area rugs, rather than wall to wall carpeting.
  2. Clutter - High humidity or flooding combined with clutter may allow mold growth. Also, piles of wet clothing can lead to mold growth.
  3. House Plants – House plants can contribute to mold contamination within a home if water is allowed to stand for greater than 48 hours.
  4. Windows – Windows must be maintained to prevent moisture from seeping into the wall space. This can be through poorly installed windows, bad seals or condensation during colder months.
  5. Cardboard Boxes – Cardboard and paper products are like candy for mold. If they get wet, mold will grow. Items should be stored in tight plastic or rubber bins.

Basement

 

  1. Basement Flooring – Water seepage into the basement through the floor can provide the necessary moisture for mold growth. Flooding of basements is also a large concern.
  2. Basement Drain/Sump Pump – Quite often sump pumps are used to remove water from the basement floor.  If water is allowed to stand in the basement, mold will grow.
  3. Cardboard Boxes – Cardboard and paper products are like candy for mold. If they get wet, mold will grow. Items should be stored in tight plastic or rubber bins.
  4. Heating, Ventilation and Cooling (HVAC) Systems – These systems can spread mold contamination throughout a home. If they are in a basement or crawlspace, this contamination is even more likely. To prevent contamination the filters should be changed every couple of months, preferably with a MERV 11 rated filter. Ensure that condensation from the Air Conditioning unit is properly drained and that no water is able to pool in the ducting. Also ensure that there is no debris in the ducting.
  5. Water Heaters – Although water heaters do not often leak, they are typically kept in areas that are not often inspected. When they do leak, they may leak for a long period of time without being noticed, resulting in mold growth.
  6. Basement Walls – Water seepage into the basement through the walls can provide the necessary moisture for mold growth.