Mold in attic spaces is usually black mold. White mold and other colors are less common but can be just as consequential.
Attic mold causes
Mold in attic spaces is seldom the result of liquid water from a roof leak or steam from a bathroom exhaust fan inappropriately exhausting into an attic. It takes enduring and uniform moisture to grow mold in attics.
Attic mold grows due to condensation of moisture vapor that escapes the house below. The attic condensation develops during cold weather. This is a common problem in cold climate regions where temperatures drop below freezing.
Mold in attic spaces can also grow in homes located in warm and tropical climate areas due to ambient humidity in the outdoor air that naturally ventilates through an attic.
Attic mold food
Black mold and other colors of mold cannot grow without a food source.
Wood building materials in attics can provide food sources for mold growth, especially if the wood is a man-made wood product. There are also airborne particles in the outdoor air that provide food for mold as they enter an attic through attic vents.
Another food source and perhaps the most common is dead skin cells sloughed off of humans down in the house below. The dead skin particles usually settle on surfaces indoors and we call it house dust. However, many of them rise up into attics through points of air leakage along with escaping warm air.
Due to ongoing moisture and an endless supply of food, mold growth always becomes progressively worse with time, thereby gradually increasing the likelihood of health issues for people living down below, as well as more expensive attic mold remediation cost.
Attic mold is a hidden health hazard
Because attics are rarely entered, most attic mold growth is unseen and therefore unbeknownst to the homeowners below. It is most commonly discovered by home inspectors during real estate transactions.
While mold in attic spaces is not growing in the occupied area of a home, spores from attic mold growth can be drawn down into the occupied area of a home each time indoor and outdoor air pressures change. This is why people experience intermittent symptoms without realizing they are being caused by attic mold.
Mold symptoms caused by attic mold exposure can include:
- Allergy symptoms
- Asthma symptoms
- ADD and ADHD
- Sinus infection
- Ear infection
- Memory loss
- Chronic fatigue
Inspecting for attic mold
Unlike the photos that are shown here, mold in attic spaces can be very subtle and difficult to see. It can also exist in certain areas of an attic space that are not readily visible. For these reasons a proper attic mold inspection is important.
In the third book of the DIY Mold Inspection series, I use actual attic mold inspection photos with easy-to-understand explanations to teach you how to perform your own attic mold inspection without the cost of hiring a mold remediation company, spending money on mold testing, or risking a professional mold scam. I’ll show you why and where to inspect for attic mold, and how to see hidden mold when it’s the same or similar colors as the surfaces it grows on.
Don’t waste money testing mold in attic spaces
I often get calls from clients who already bought a mold test kit that caused them to panic. I also get calls from people wanting me to do mold testing for them. In good conscience, I try to talk people out of paying me to do this work.
Mold testing is largely a waste of money. Knowing the species of molds you have in your home or attic is basically useless information. Your goal should be to find ALL areas of mold growth and safely eliminate them from your indoor environment.
Attic mold removal
Whenever mold is discovered, before proceeding with DIY mold remediation or hiring a professional mold removal company, the responsible thing to do is to become familiar with proper and improper methods of mold cleaning. You can do this by reading the book Do-It-Yourself Mold Cleaning and Prevention.
In this book I will teach you how to:
- determine if DIY mold remediation is your best option
- make your own mold remover solutions
- protect yourself from mold exposure while performing mold removal
- prevent mold spores from spreading further around your home
- avoid professional mold removal scams
- prevent mold from returning
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