If mold is growing in your home, you most likely will be able to smell it. Have you ever walked into a room that has a musty or earthy odor? You probably are smelling mold. Sometimes, you can see the mold on the surface of an object. In such cases, the item may be discolored or look as if it has smudges or blotches.
Often, you will not be able to see mold that is causing an odor. The mold could be growing behind walls, underneath carpets, or in other hidden areas. Mold growth is common in areas of a home that are damp or have suffered water damage. You should be especially concerned about the growth of mold if your home has had:
- a flood
- a sewer back-up
- an overflowing toilet
- leaking pipes
- a leaking roof
- leaking windows
- any other serious water-related problems.
Some of these situations can result in the growth of bacteria, which also can cause musty odors and health problems.
Once materials become wet, mold can begin to grow within 24 to 48 hours. If your home experiences a water-related problem, clean and dry any wet or damp areas as soon as you find them. If you live in a rental property, immediately report water problems to your landlord.
The earlier you can detect the growth of mold in your home, the better a chance you have to control it. Early detection and treatment are very important. If you smell a musty odor in your house, start looking for the source immediately and remove it as soon as you find it. Prevention and early detection may save you from paying much greater cleanup and repair expenses later on. If you own your home, damage from mold and the cost of removing mold might not be covered by your homeowner insurance. (Read your policy or call your insurance agent to find out.)