If you’re in the position to buy a house, and all this news about the potential threats of toxic mold is putting you on edge, then there are some basic facts that you’ll need to know. Over the past few years, the home buying and selling community has been filled with talk about insurance and liability issues involving stachybotrys chartarum, also known as black mold or toxic mold. There have been some extreme cases, in which homes have needed so much repair work as a result of the mold or mildew that the houses were actually burned. Now,these are extreme cases of course, and most houses, if they have mold at all, do not fall into this category, so there’s no need to panic. While toxic mold can be a serious problem, in most instances you can prevent its before such drastic actions become necessary.
Some home buyers test air quality before closing on a home. In the past, air quality testing was ordered primarily to detect radon gas, but mold tests are becoming more common. Your home inspector may not perform mold tests, but can probably help you find someone who does. The cost of mold inspection varies, but with the growing popularity of the concern, there has been an increase in service providers, some of which can be found on the internet.
If you are concerned about toxic mold, an air test might help you to feel better about your new home. Talk to your real estate agent or your attorney to determine if a special contingency should be inserted in the contract that will allow you to back out of the deal if toxic mold is detected and cannot be thoroughly eliminated. While this may sound farfetched, it is in fact becoming more and more common among new soon-to-be homeowners.
If you’re looking at a house, and there doesn’t appear to be any kind of serious threat, that is, you can’t see any mold or mildew, but you notice a musty smell, you’ll want to look over some things, perhaps before having an inspector come in. This could save you money and time. All you need to know is what mold and mildew look like. What are the signs?
It’s important to remember that molds and fungi reproduce by releasing tiny spores into the air. This is often what causes the musty odor and is the main reason why unventilated places such as basements and cellars are primary targets for growth. Spores that are lucky enough to land on moist objects may begin to grow, and depending on the amount of moisture and time that they are given, their growth will either increase or decrease. There are thousands of different types of mold and we encounter many of them every day, inside and out. You’ll want to keep in mind that all molds are not toxic.
Here are the facts. Toxic mold produces hazardous byproducts, called mycotoxins. While individuals with asthma and other respiratory problems may have reactions to many types of mold, mycotoxins are likely to trigger health problems in even healthy individuals. These toxins are believed to be linked to memory loss and to severe lung problems in infants and the elderly. So you can see that they are nothing to mess around with. Also, floating particles of mold are invisible to the naked eye, so you can only see where they might have landed if they’ve begun to grow. Loose mold particles that accumulate on items within a house are easily inhaled and can be a constant irritation to the people and pets that live there. The most talked about toxic mold is Stachybotrys chartarum (or Stachybotrys altra). This slimy, greenish-black mold grows on moisture-laden materials that contain cellulose, such as wood, paper, drywall, and other similar products. It does not grow on tile or cement.
With this in mind, you should inspect your future homes, and if you are having any kind of doubt, then you’ll want to have an inspector come in and check for spores. Cleanup procedures for mold and mildew can be costly, so it’s important to figure out if there’s a problem from the get go. Problems that are discovered early on are less difficult to manage than those which are left to neglect. This is why it’s a good idea to check your home before you buy it. It’s also a good opportunity to learn how to keep up with mold and mildew elimination, which you might have to deal with further on down the road.
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