Will Mold Make Me Rich?
“I just wasted $40,” I complained.
“What, dear?” My husband, Chuck, turned the page of his newspaper. He didn’t seem to notice that it was the day before yesterday’s.
“I bought this test to see if our house has mold, but it doesn’t.” I looked around the neglected living room. Would dust count as a serious health hazard?
He glanced at me. “Do we want it to have mold?”
“Yes, of course. We could have a nice settlement.”
“Settlement?” he asked.
What part of settlement didn’t he understand? “This $40 was supposed to be an investment toward the insurance money, enough so we’d never have to work again.” I hated getting up in the morning.
“That would be nice,” he said, putting aside his paper. I knew he didn’t like the stress of his job, but we didn’t like his reaction to stress, which was either to walk around the house giving us orders to do pointless tasks like putting shoes away or to say everything a the top of his lungs and then insist- loudly- that he wasn’t shouting. Once in awhile, when things were really bad, he would sing oldies but insert meowing for the words.
“And how else would be explain all the medical problems we’ve been having?” I asked.
“What medical problems?”
“Your memory lapses for one thing.”
“What memory lapses?”
“See?” I said. “That one right there.”
“Stop it,” he said, picking up his paper again.
“And you broke your leg last month.”
“I broke my leg in a go-cart accident.”
“I’m sure a good attorney would be able to prove that your lack of coordination was due to mold inhalation.”
He shook his head.
“You’ve also been having a lot of gas lately.”
“That isn’t caused by mold either.”
“How do you know? Are you a doctor? But the point is, if we had mol in the house, we’d have to move to a house with a pool.”
“Really?” Chuck set down the paper and looked around the room. “What’s that up in the corner? Isn’t that mold?”
“That’s what I thought. But this test says it isn’t. It’s not in the air particles.”
“What else could it be?” he asked.
Just then, our 16-year-old son, Bill, came down the steps from upstairs.
“Hey, son, does that look like mold to you?” Chuck asked.
“You mean that cobweb?” he answered.
“That’s a cobweb?” I asked.
“I think so. Hang on.” He went into the kitchen and came back with the broom. After a moment of waving it upside down in the corner, he held out the results to us. “Yeah, it’s a cobweb.”
Chuck and I looked at the cobweb, back up at the clean corner, and back at the cobweb.
“You just wasted $40,” Chuck agreed, and went back to reading his paper.
What to do if you really suspect you have mold:
Mold is a major health issue and can really lead to respiratory problems. It also means you have a moisture problem and that you will have to use a dehumidifier to make sure the mold doesn't come back once it's clean. Before you call in the professionals, there are home remedies you can try.
Bleach and a scrub brush is as basic as you can get. But you may also have to do some remodeling. For example, if the mold is on an outside wall, it could be an indication that your roof is leaking into the interior of the wall. Apply the bleach first with a spray bottle (four parts water to one part bleach), then a sponge and repeat.
This process could take about three weeks. Use the spray bottle two days in a row. Do not worry about the paint or wall paper - you're going to have to redo it anyway. On the third day, use the sponge. The currant crop of mold should be dead, but repeat the process two weeks later to kill off the spores.
Now you can repaint the room, using Kilz or another primer similar to it.
Caution: You should have the mold inspected or tested to make sure it isn't toxic. (Not all mold is.) You should also make sure the area is well-ventilated to avoid breathing the bleach fumes or mold spores. Also, because of bleach fumes and mold spores, you may not be able to use that portion of your house until it is finished.
If you have any questions about home repair, please consult a professional sooner rather than later. Trust me on this one.