How To Tell If Your Attic Has Mold

Humidity, HVAC condensation, and leaks in the roof can all contribute to moisture getting into your attic. Where there is moisture, there is mold. Here is how to tell if your attic has mold.

If you read news on mold these days, you would be right to become a tad concerned. There are reports about drug-resistant mold that cause lung infections in the vulnerable and how homes can become uninhabitable after a mold outbreak that starts from a slow leak. There's one piece of news about a family who racked up a $300,000 bill for extensive mold repairs and cleaning. 

Don't let any of these happen to your household. Protect your family at all costs and be in control. Start from where mold is likely to be present: the attic. 

Is mold in the attic common? Here's how to tell if your attic has mold.  

What Does Attic Mold Look Like?

But first, why is there mold in my attic in the first place? Let's investigate the root of the problem. Mold will grow virtually anywhere where there is moisture. That means mold could exist in the unknowingly wet fabrics you store in your attic, around leaky pipes, and old attic insulation that is overdue for an inspection.

Sometimes, you may not have a moisture problem, but an unsealed attic that lets mold in the air come in freely. The worst case is to be unaware that you both have water damage and gaps in your attic.  

What does attic mold look like? Look for black mold in the attic roof or white mold on wood in the attic, joists, and drywall. Mold can also be colored yellow, brown, and green. 

It's not always easy to spot attic mold but watch out for clues like water dripping from smoke detectors, frost on the underside of roof sheathing, pools of water, and rusty nails. If these are present, mold in the attic probably does too. Certified attic specialists recommend scheduling routine checks to ensure mold in the attic isn't allowed to thrive. Inspections are usually free with attic energy companies. 

What Does It Smell Like?

Apart from seeking visual signs of mold in the house, you can also utilize your sense of smell to sniff out the mold. Follow the scent trail of the mold with this guide.

It's common for people to describe mold presence as a mildew-y and musty smell in the attic. In other words, mold or decay is most likely developing if your loft smells musty. But did you know that various types of mold give off distinct odors? 

It's possible to have a pungent, tangy, or sour attic smell when a specific mold type is present. If the mold has spread and is rapidly increasing, it could have a fermented alcohol or rotting fruit smell.

Be aware when it smells like rain or a river inside your house. This wet and damp smell is a telltale sign that mold is growing and something, somewhere, is leaking. Perhaps, a roof leak has gone unnoticed. You can frequently find roof issues in the "valleys" of your roof. 

You may love nature, but a forest-like and earthy smell could mean mold is growing in walls, pillars, and damp wood.  

And, of course, the classic stale, musty, and smelly socks smell signals that mold has just started to develop.

How Does The Attic Feel?

When you walk into your attic, would you describe it as a hot, humid, and stuffy attic? This shouldn't be the case. Air should be allowed to move in your attic constantly, and it should feel breezy.  

What causes this stuffy and hot feeling? Failing insulation, an over-insulated attic, a faulty ventilation system where your home's vents point towards the attic, and blocked or insufficient ventilation are some of the major contributors to feelings of stuffiness in the attic and mold growth.

Having good insulation prevents excessive warm air from coming into contact with your cold attic, leading to condensation, water drips, and mold. On the other hand, when you have the right amount of insulation, it permits just enough warm air to dry out some of the moist air in your attic. Remember, the presence of moisture equals mold. 

In line with this, direct plumbing, appliance, kitchen, bathroom, and other house vents outside to stop moist air from entering your attic.  

To strike this balance and ultimately prevent mold from growing, it's best to seek the advice of certified attic professionals on suitably insulating your attic and having a proper ventilation system.  

How Do You Feel?

Aside from assessing the indoor air quality of your home, another way to test for mold in the attic is by evaluating your health. 

Can mold in the attic make you sick? Yes! Mold can result in issues like prolonged, unexplained coughing and sneezing, allergic reactions, and respiratory infections over time.

Asthma attacks, fatigue, watery eyes, runny nose, sore throat, and headaches are also symptoms of mold exposure. 

Is attic mold harmful? You may think you and your family are safe downstairs, and you could simply close the attic door. But mold spores can travel all the way down to your bedrooms, kitchen, and living room through the tiniest of openings.  

Is attic mold dangerous? It could be. Approximately 10% of Americans are allergic to mold. Few individuals know that they are allergic since mold allergies mimic seasonal allergies.

There are rare cases of fatal allergic reactions due to mold exposure. Make sure you and your loved ones won't be part of the unfortunate few. Have a mold inspection and attic mold removal as soon as you can.

What Does Your Attic Specialist Say?

From pointing out that innocent-looking frost buildup underneath your roof sheathing to recommending professional mold removal and mold remediation services, a certified attic specialist can support you in your goal to have a mold-free, adequately insulated, and well-ventilated attic. Avoid any attempts to clean mold in the attic yourself, as this poses a severe health risk. 

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