Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Random Fret

I am becoming reluctantly suspicious that we may have mold in the house somewhere. In fact, I know we had SOME, because it was visible in a corner of our bedroom ceiling, a corner that faces outdoors on both sides and is very very cold. ALso, we keep the heat really low in our room since we spend very little time in there, so I wasn't super surprised to see it creep up and I cleaned it with Lysol and it's gone. It was the garden variety type that appears in particular on the corners and edges of the white, newer type windows all winter long, the kind you just have to wipe away, and which the internets assure me is fairly harmless.

BUT. We have all been so lingeringly, stubbornly sick all winter with sinus-y issues and coughs, especially me and the baby (i.e. the only two who actually SLEEP in our bedroom, generally) that I am starting to think we should maybe have an inspection. I also worry about the bathroom area, because it doesn't have an exhaust fan (old house + two people not super inclined to do Projects beyond the kind requiring glue sticks and glitter) and I wonder if it's possible that somewhere behind that old plaster ceiling and walls there is just a hotbed of disgusting damp mold reeking havoc with our respiratory systems. If it were just me I'd probably continue to ignore it, as is my way, but since our kids are involved I feel a parental obligation to do something.

However, calling someone to investigate a suspected problem basically seems to me like TELLING them, "Feel free to claim there's a problem, whether there is or not, because I will never know the difference and now that you're here I will almost definitely whip out my checkbook and pay you whatever you require to save Mah Babies from this potential, unseen danger." You know?

Anyone have any suggestions of more concrete ways to feel at least Fairly Certain of mold, rather than just suspicious? Or stories of mold problems you know of that were happily resolved? Or stories of kind hearted contractors who came to check and then said, "Nope! All clear here; you guys must just have crap immune systems and will have this cold the rest of your lives!"

9 comments:

Tess said...

I've worried about mold occasionally too, ever since we found out that our master bathroom fan pushes the damp air INTO OUR ATTIC. Gah.

You might call your homeowners insurance agent and tell them you're interested in mold coverage; then they will probably provide an inspection that would tell you, objectively, whether you have mold currently or not.

OR, try going through your city, or an inspector who is not also a contractor.

Nik-Nak said...

I have helpful comments about the mold. I know my mom had a small leak in one of her bedroom ceilings and over time mold appeared. It is bubbly looking green/gray and raised around the edges. Scary looking stuff :( keep us updated!

Lisa said...

If you have a mold inspection, they should be able to definitively SHOW you that you have mold. As in, knock a hole in the wall/pull a piece of drywall off and show you that yes, its creeping up the inside of the walls or whathaveyou. I don't think there are a ton of contractors ripping people off in the mold business, because if you don't have it, they can't show it to you. At worst you get a couple holes in your wall, which even non-handy people can patch up.

saly said...

We, like Tess, just discovered that our bathroom fan was hooked up to nothing--unless you count our interior attic wall as nothing. We had a lot of damp insulation, but thankfully, no mold.

I would agree with trying to go through your insurance first.

Gah, why can't anything be easy?

jen (melty) said...

we bought mold test kits at HD. You follow the directions (just leave the canister open and undisturbed for X amt of time? I forget if there was swabbing involved) and then you mail it back to them. You pay postage but part of the price of the kit includes an analysis. We did have mold, but it wasn't the harmful kind. We also had a lot of "plant/generic mold" which apparently floats around pretty harmlessly. A mold inspection would probably be better. I did ours because I thought we were sick a lot too but no, just turned out to coincide with Kindergarten.

Scottish Twins said...

Shane's uncle is our contractor and he is a super guy. He has been really good to us and gives us great deals on the work he does. We can give you his info if you want it. He would never try to cheat you out of money.

Devan said...

I like the idea of calling your insurance. They should be able to provide you with an inspection. Hopefully, there is no mold!

Kelsey said...

I'm afraid I don't have any more helpful comment than I hope you can get it figured out painlessly. We have the dampest bathroom ever and I am pretty sure we'll find a big mess if we ever have it remodeled.

Anonymous said...

When we sold our first house the home inspection revealed black mold all over our attic. The source was from our upstairs master bath... The exhaust fan only went into the attic instead of outside. During the 5 years we lived there we had mold on the walls in the bathroom, but I was always able to clean it. But we never suspected it was a bigger problem. So in the midst of selling the house we had to hire mold removers to take care of the problem. They spent two or three days cleaning the attic and fixed the exhaust problem too. When they were done the attic was shiny and clean and looked brand new. And we were less $2000. It was expensive but could have been way more. Moral of the story: stay on top of house maintainence!!