In the case of hidden mold, what you don't know CAN hurt you. These tips come from the EPA's "A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home." Although much moisture in your home can be handled by the homeowners themselves, as suggested by the EPA in their guide, when dealing with hidden mold, the EPA clearly recommends hiring a professional. When looking for the hidden mold in your home you can mistakenly, and dangerously, cause the mold spores to go airborn. Imagine peeling back wallpaper or ripping out wet drywall and not only do the mold spores go airborn and spread in more areas, but they get into your lungs and can cause respiratory issues. The following conten is an excerpt from the EPA's guide:
Suspicion of Hidden Mold
You may suspect hidden mold if a building smells moldy, but you cannot see the source, or if you know there has been water damage and residents are reporting health problems. Mold may be hidden in places such as the back side of dry wall, wallpaper, or paneling, the top side of ceiling tiles, the underside of carpets and pads, etc.
Other possible locations of hidden mold include areas inside walls around pipes (with leaking or condensing pipes), the surface of walls behind furniture (where condensation forms), inside duct-work, and in roof materials above ceiling tiles (due to roof leaks or insufficient insulation).
Investigating Hidden Mold Problems
Investigating hidden mold problems may be difficult and will require caution when the investigation involves disturbing potential sites of mold growth. For example, removal of wallpaper can lead to a massive release of spores if there is mold growing on the underside of the paper. If you believe that you may have a hidden mold problem, consider hiring an experienced professional.
Hidden Mold Cleanup & Biocides
Biocides are substances that can destroy living organisms. The use of a chemical or biocide that kills organisms such as mold (chlorine bleach, for example) is not recommended as a routine practice during mold cleanup. There may be instances, however, when professional judgment may indicate its use (for example, when immune-compromised individuals are present). In most cases, it is not possible or desirable to sterilize an area; a background level of mold spores will remain - these spores will not grow if the moisture problem has been resolved. If you choose to use disinfectants or biocides, always ventilate the area and exhaust the air to the outdoors. Never mix chlorine bleach solution with other cleaning solutions or detergents that contain ammonia because toxic fumes could be produced.
Please note: Dead mold may still cause allergic reactions in some people, so it is not enough to simply kill the mold, it must also be removed.
Contact Dutch's Mold Inspections & Removal Services if you have any indications that you could have hidden mold in your home.