How to Check Your Home for Mold
Summary: Video report by Tom Kraeutler on a home that’s suspected to have a serious mold problem. Learn what to look out for when examining your own home for signs of mold.
TOM: We’re standing outside a home in central New Jersey. The family that lives in this home has been suffering from a variety of medical conditions. They’ve had headaches, they’ve had nose bleeds and some members have even had difficulty breathing.
For years they’ve been looking for a medical cause for these problems, common colds and virus, but could it be something else? Could it be mold? Something that’s potentially deadly or something that really has no place in your home.
Mold grows all over your house, both inside and out. I notice all over the boards, there’s little black spots of mold. I’m going to take some scotch tape, I’m going to press it into the door jamb and slowly pull the tape off. By sending this to a lab, we’ll be able to tell exactly what we’re dealing with.
There’s one thing mold can’t survive without and that’s water and here’s where you’ll find it folks — on the outside of your house. Look around your house. Do you see what’s creating it? Notice how this slopes into the wall. What’s going to happen when it rains? Water’s going to go in towards your basement.
I see some things in this basement that are of pretty great concern to me. Look at the water stains here. They’re along this foundation wall. What’s worse is this. It’s right next to some sheetrock. What loves to grow is a potentially toxic mold called stachybotrys. You get enough of that stuff inside your house, it can make you really sick.
Here’s the sick house now. Air plus water paper equals mold problems like on the back of this sheetrock. I can’t wait to find out what’s on the back of this piece of tape.
When you’re looking for ways that mold gets around your house, one of the ways is right here. It’s your heating and air conditioning system. As this air distributes, it can carry mold spores with it. If you get a leak in this area, you want to take care of it right away before that leak starts dealing with you.
Here we are in a little girl’s bedroom. This window, right here, used to be totally covered with mold according to our homeowner. I still see that there’s some left up here in part of the frame. What we’re going to do is take a sample of this so we know what kind of mold it is. She’s been getting kind of sick and we’re concerned about her so we’ll send it to the lab, test it and then we’ll know what to do.
We’ve been tracking moisture in this house from outside in and there’s one place that all water vapor ends up in any house and it’s in the attic. There’s no doubt where all the water is going in this house. It’s going right here. I noticed, over here, that there’s a vent from the bathroom coming up basically dumping all of that hot moist steam whenever you take a shower right up into the attic. This insulation gets damp, staying wet like that and the air like it is here, can grow mold and that, again, can make you very sick.
That about wraps up our tour of this home and as you see, moisture was really the common thread throughout this entire process and the truth is, unless you get that moisture under control, you really could face some very serious mold problems. It starts like a little seed but if you don’t take care of it then, it blooms into an entire forest and that’s one forest that you can easily get lost in.