The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina brought mold into the forefront in media depictions of the interior of devastated homes covered from floor to ceiling with mold. Depending on where you live in the United States, mold will have varying degrees of impact if you are buying or selling a home. Add mold to your list of potential hazards in a home you’re considering purchasing or selling, but don’t overlook asbestos, lead and radon as other hazards in your quest to determine if mold poses a problem.
Mark Nash author of 1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home offers tips on what buyers and sellers should know about mold in residential properties.
- Health problems from indoor mold produce allergens. Allergic responses include hay fever type symptoms such as red eyes, runny nose, sneezing and skin rashes. Some molds can also irritate eyes, lungs, nose, skin and throats of both allergic and usually non-allergic people.
- Mold spores can be spread by heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems (HVAC). Do not run your HVAC system if you suspect that mold spores have entered it or mold is growing on intake or out take vents.
- Mold created by sewage requires professional attention. If raw sewage was in the water that created mold in a dwelling you should contact a professional who specializes in sewage based mold clean-up.
- What to wear when cleaning up mold. You should wear an N-95 respirator available online or at home centers. Wear long disposable gloves that can hold up when using chemicals like chlorine bleach. Wear goggles to protect your eyes from both chemical irritants and mold spores, select styles without ventilation holes.
- How to prevent mold occurrences. Keep air-conditioning and refrigerator drip pans clear of standing water or condensation. Monitor water lines in furnace humidifiers and refrigerators. Vent appliances and exhaust fans that produce moisture to the outside. Do not vent bathrooms fans to attic or crawl spaces. Open windows in non-vented rooms that have excessive moisture build-up, even in winter months. Check water supplies for leaks to sinks and toilets and any other appliances that use water, including the hot water heater. Insulate pipes to reduce condensation. Clean and dry bathtubs and areas with poor air circulation, wear condensation or water accumulates.
- Don’t overlook hidden mold sources. After removing known mold sources in kitchens and bathrooms, mold can hide behind paneling and wallpaper, ceiling tiles and in and under carpeting. Mold is commonly found on the rear of drywall even after the room side has been cleaned properly. Plan on discarding drywall, carpeting and ceiling tiles that have visible mold.
Environmental Protection Agency:
Mold Resources: [http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/moldresources.html]
What to Wear When Cleaning Moldy Areas:
Hidden Mold: [http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/hiddenmold.html]
Mark Nash’s fourth real estate book, “1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home” (2005), and working as a real estate broker in Chicago are the foundation for his consumer-centric real estate perspective which has been featured on ABC-TV, CBS The Early Show, Bloomberg TV, CNN-TV, Chicago Sun Times & Tribune, Fidelity Investor’s Weekly, Dow Jones Market Watch, MSNBC.com, The New York Times, Realty Times, Universal Press Syndicate and USA Today.
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