How Fast Does Mold Grow And What To Do About It

cleaning mold

Mold is a serious problem for residential and commercial properties. In fact, water is the Number One destroyer of buildings and water is the source of mold.

So, how long does it take for mold to grow? What should you do about it?  Realize that our market area is lush for a reason.  Moisture is great for our landscape, mountains, lakes and streams, but not for our home.

In this post, we are going to answer just that, but first, we should discuss how mold starts.

How Mold Starts

Mold grows through two things: food and moisture. Food can be from dust, drywall, wood, or any organic substance. Moisture can be related to plumbing leaks, water intrusion, roof leaks, or even high humidity.

Therefore, mold can start growing in as soon as 24 – 48 hours of coming into contact with the right moisture level and organic substance.

Mold can easily continue to grow on materials and in the air if the conditions are right.

Mold on the ceiling

How Fast Does Mold Grow?

If items in a home continue to stay wet, including the air (i.e. high humidity), mold can persist and spread to other items.

Once started, mold can colonize in 3 – 12 days. From there, mold can become visible after 18 – 21 days.

What To Do About Mold

First off, prevention is key. A homeowner or commercial property owner should conduct yearly inspections. That way, leaks or moisture problems can be solved before it becomes a more serious issue.

In addition, a property owner should consider a mold test or inspection. Often times, mold can spread through the air causing a problem to go unnoticed. We conduct mold testing and inspections in the Tri-Cities of Tennessee area.

Before jumping in, we want to recommend to where the proper personal protection (PPE) equipment. This includes a mask and gloves, maybe even a full suit.

1. Find The Source Of Moisture & Make Repairs

The first step is to find the source of the moisture. Is my A/C keeping the humidity in my home below 50%? It is coming from a roof leak? Is there mold around my A/C? Or perhaps your window is leaking? Our mold inspections help you find the source of mold.

Next, you have to repair whatever is not functioning. If you do not stop the source of moisture, your mold problem will persist. Therefore, see if you can repair the issue yourself. If not, call a professional to repair it for you.

2. Calculate The Area Affected By Mold

After finding the source of moisture and creating a plan to repair the problem, you should calculate the area affected by mold. You can do this by opening drywall, removing carpet, or possibly checking inside ducts with a flashlight.

After viewing the area affected by mold, calculate the area affected. If the area is greater than 10 square feet, you will need to call a professional. If the area is smaller than 10 square feet, you can use some home remedies to clean the mold yourself. However, remember, you need to stop the source of moisture. Otherwise, the mold can return.

3. How To Clean Mold Yourself

After you stop the source of moisture (or schedule someone to make repairs) and you know the area affected by mold is less than 10 square feet, you can begin cleaning the mold.

The first step is to dry everything out. This might involve removing wet insulation, using a dehumidifier, removing wet carpet, or opening up drywall.

dehumidifer

Next, you will want to scrub the area down with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water. Some people might recommend bleach, however, bleach can be too harmful on us humans.

After scrubbing the area down with vinegar and water, run a dehumidifier and a HEPA filter through the room. You can purchase a nice HEPA filter/fan or just replace the filter in your air handler with a HEPA filter, just be sure to purchase the right size for your air handler.

Finally, check back in with the area each day. The mold spores should gradually disappear. If after a week the problem persists or grows, call a professional.

Once the mold spores are gone, you can replace the insulation or drywall.

If the problem persists after a week or more, or the mold grows, contact a professional to help you.

Final Thoughts

Mold grows through moisture and organic substances. It can begin to grow within 24 – 48 hours of coming into contact with the right conditions. Then, mold spores can become visible within 18 days.

An area of mold that is less than 3 feet by 3 feet can be cleaned by the homeowner. However, any larger, should be repaired by a professional.

After cleaning a mold issue, we recommend conducting mold testing to be sure all of the mold is removed. Have a question about mold?  Contact us.

You may have heard the word from your electricians or inspectors, but what really is a GFCI or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter? Well, as the name implies, if there is a ground fault, it interrupts the circuit. But what does a ground fault even mean?!

What is a Ground Fault?

You know when you learned in basic science class that electricity is a circuit of positive to neutral? A ground fault happens when there is some type of disconnect in the circuit causing a difference in the amperage from positive to neutral! Here is an example: If you plug in your toaster and the toaster malfunctions.

Instead of the electricity properly flowing back to the outlet (completing the circuit), the electricity flows through the toaster to the water. Or, perhaps, there was a utensil stuck inside the toaster.

What happens next?

If there is a break in the circuit, the electricity MUST find a way to complete the circuit. So, in the example above, the electricity goes to what is called a “ground”. This means, there is a surge in electricity that causes it to find electricity outside the controlled home electrical system.

A ground could be anything from a human, to the Earth, to the literal grounding wire system of the house. These are the 3-prong outlets. 2-prong outlets are not grounded.

GFCI’s Action to Stop Ground Faults

Once a GFCI detects a ground fault by measuring the amperage given versus the amperage back to the neutral, the system turns off. This is detected within 1/40th of a second and stops human injury/shock!

Where are GFCI’s?

GFCI’s are now required to be in locations where water is located. This includes: kitchens, bathrooms, garages, and exterior areas.

How to Check for GFCI’s

You can look for your “push button” outlets in these areas. They look like the featured image of this post, however, they do take many forms/colors.

On the other hand, if you cannot find these push buttoned outlets, check your electrical panel. You might find them in there. In the case of the electrical panel, the GFCI breaker would cover the entire circuit of that room. I.e. the kitchen, bathroom, or garage.

Do not confuse your GFCI breakers with AFCI breakers, however.

What if I only find one GFCI outlet in each room? (or where water is located)

A GFCI is often connected at the beginning of the circuit. Therefore, it detects the amperage difference of any outlets down the line of the circuit so only 1 GFCI is needed.

To check if a GFCI is connected at the top of the circuit in a room, test the outlet with a button. Once the outlet is “tested” it should turn off all outlets down the circuit.

Testing GFCI’s

Your GFCI outlets and breakers should be tested MONTHLY! That’s right, every month. In doing so, you are ensuring the safety of your family by making sure the system is not faulty. You can test GFCI’s by pushing the test and reset button.

What if you do not have GFCI’s?

If you believe you are missing GFCI’s in a room or altogether, you might want to call an electrician. If you are handy, this is something you can YouTube to do yourself but be sure to turn off the electricity first!  Also, the International Residential Code (IRC) and the National Electrical Code (NEC) regularly update their recommendations, so don’t be alarmed if your inspector calls out a missing one.  And another note, your home inspector is NOT a code inspector, but rather we may use some of these updates as guides for our own safety checks.

A ground fault is one of “things” that you probably do not think you need until YOU NEED IT!

Do yourself and your family a favor… install and periodically test your GFCI’s for functionality.

If you want to read more about GFCI’s you can do so on the OSHA website.

An AFCI breaker is an acronym that stands for Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter. These breakers function by detecting if there is an arc in electricity and then shutting power off to stop the arcing.

You can tell if you have AFCI breakers by looking at your electrical panel. A few breakers should have buttons for testing and be labeled as “AFCI”. However, this should not be confused with GFCI breakers (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) that protect wet areas.

AFCI's in Square D electrical panel - White buttons are AFCI'S.
AFCI’s in Square D electrical panel – White buttons are AFCI’S.

Where should AFCI’s be installed?

AFCI’s should be installed or covering every living space that is not a wet area. This means your AFCI breakers should be installed in all bedrooms, the living room, dining room, den, etc., but not where water is located (bathrooms, garage, exterior, and kitchens).

How does an AFCI actually work?

These high tech breakers have many interior components that work together to determine arcing. In a nutshell, the equipment is able to detect the amplitude (size of power) over a period of time. If there is a short period of time where there is a surge of power, the AFCI is “tripped” and automatically shuts off the power! How awesome is that?!  Ever installed a screw into the wall and wondered what was in the wall that you might hit?  These AFCI breakers are designed to protect you and the house in the event this occurs.  Another safety tool that we recommend is the use of a stud finder with voltage detector built into the unit.

Things to remember

AFCI’s are not guarantees of success as AFCI’s are systems that can fail. Test your AFCI’s monthly by pressing the “test” button in your electrical panel.

Recalls

Square D (blue buttoned) AFCI’s are actually called out for Recall due to consistent failure. Check for recall. A tell-tale sign is if your panel is branded with Square D, and you have blue buttons on your AFCI breakers. Check the featured image of this post for what they look like.

What to do if your home does not have AFCI breakers

If your home does not have AFCI breakers, do not fret. It is common to not have AFCI’s in older homes, therefore, you are not required to upgrade. On the other hand, if you want to sell your home, the buyer of your home may request AFCI’s to be installed for safety reasons.

Speak with electricians for installing AFCI breakers in your home. The cost for installation should be a few hundred dollars.

Have more questions about AFCI’s? Send us an email or contact us at 423-747-4599!

Introduction to Home Inspection Limitations

What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is a visible examination of the home. It is important to note the word “visible”, and also further note that the inspection is only a snapshot of the home at a given time. Therefore, as Realtors and buyers, we should understand that a home inspector is only able to see what you see. Furthermore, more likely than not, you typically can view the house for much longer, rather than a home inspector’s typical 2-4 hours on site.

However, a home inspector does have knowledge, experience, and tools to help him/her evaluate certain components and know where to look for issues.

Now that you know what a home inspection is, what are home inspectors not allowed to do since an inspection is only a visible snapshot of the home?

Not Allowed to Risk Safety

If anything is deemed unsafe, an inspector must not inspect that portion of the home. This can include, but is not limited to:

  • Ponding water in a crawlspace
  • Animals in the attic
  • Exposed wiring in the attic

Non-Operational Systems

If the home’s systems are not readily operational, such as a pool heater, A/C, or oven, an inspector is not allowed/does not have to try to operate the system. A home inspection is not technically exhaustive in this instance, meaning the inspector cannot spend 15 minutes taking apart an HVAC unit in order to understand why it is not working.

Touching/Repairing Certain Items

Most home inspectors will try not to touch or operate certain items they do not have to. For instance, taking off an electrical panel is critical to determine the electrical health of the home.

On the other hand, shutting on/off plumbing shut-offs next to toilets or under sinks may not the best idea. Operating shut-off valves is not required in a home inspection, and often times, operating shut-offs can break them causing them to leak.

Furthermore, if we talk about taking off outlet covers, technically a home inspection is visual so this does not need to be done.

Home Inspector Standards of Practice for the State of Tennessee

Ultimately, a Home Inspector’s Standards of Practice tell us what is required of a home inspection. Tennessee has home inspector licensing, they have minimum SOP’s, however, home inspector associations have SOP’s that are considered to be of “higher standard.”  Below are the details of to be licensed in the state of Tennessee as well as other valuable information.

 

TENNESSEE

Home inspectors in the state of Tennessee are regulated by the Department of Commerce and Insurance.

They have a very helpful “How to Get a License” page that gives the following requirements:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • High school or GED
  • 90 hours of a commissioner-approved training program
  • Pass the NHIE
  • General liability insurance of at least $500,000
  • E&O Insurance (no minimum)

Forms and Downloads can be found here.

Contact Info:

Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance 

500 James Robertson Pkwy
Nashville, TN 37243

Phone: (615) 741-2241

If you’re reading this, you know how competitive the housing market is in the Tri-Cities area of Northeast Tennessee and statistics are continuing to set new records month after month. As more and more people leave California, Oregon, Washington, New York, Florida and many more.  More and more buyers are waiving their home inspection to make their offer more attractive. Even when a buyer is granted either a home or sewer scope inspection, it often comes with a no contingency clause, but could be an excellent resource for education in advance of your purchase to know what your needs and risks may be after closing.

In our biased opinion, we really would like to see the market equalize a bit so that buyers can have a professional and thorough home inspection done before making one of the largest purchases of their lives.  A pre-purchase inspection is still the best line of defense, but there are still options available for consideration.

If you waived your inspection, you might be asking yourself, “what are my options?”

While we cannot roll back time for your transaction, we can still give you the same quality and thorough home inspection you would have received before closing on your new home. More and more clients are finding that a post-closing inspection allows them to find the unknown deficiencies in their home so they can begin to prioritize what they need to do to keep small problems from becoming significant problems.

Whether you’re buying, selling, building, or have already closed on your home, EYEdentify Home Inspections has you covered. We take pride in our work, and we value the relationships that we build with our clients. For a free, no-obligation quote, give us a call today at (423) 747-4599 or click here to schedule your inspection:

As a home inspector, I will be the first to admit that home inspectors are human and can make mistakes.  Even the most experienced home inspector who is always on their best game can miss something. So how does it happen? What should you do? Is there a chance you can get this resolved? And […]

Getting a home inspection isn’t just for finding a house’s defects; it’s also there to help buyers avoid repairs or maintenance that could cost more down the road. Buying a new house may be one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. Hiring an expert can help ensure that everything goes smoothly for both you and the seller.

What’s in my Report?

A typical home inspection report usually contains an overall assessment of the property’s condition, followed by a list of items that need attention (i.e., repairs). In most cases, if an inspector finds something wrong, it’s usually nothing major. If it is (i.e. hazardous issues like radon or asbestos), your inspector will be sure to bring it to your attention so you can address it immediately.

More often than not, an inspection report is used to asses a home’s value. For example, if you’re charging $100,000 for a home, and needed repairs that added up to $1,000, you could sell it for $90,000 at a fair price. Alternatively, if you’re purchasing a home, a home inspection report can act as a negotiation tool to try to haggle down the price.