Guide For Using Your Senses To Detect The Presence Of Mold In Your Water Damaged Basement

After your basement has sustained water damage after being flooded, you may suspect that mold has started to grow. If you are concerned about the adverse health effects of mold, you may want to find out for sure. To do so, use the following guide for using your senses for detecting it in your basement. 

Smell The Air

The first thing you can do to inspect your basement for signs of mold is to smell the air. However, if you have any respiratory problems, you should either wear a mask or have someone else complete this phase of the examination so you are not potentially breathing in any spores.

To begin the inspection of your basement, stand in the middle of the space. Inhale deeply and slowly, being aware of any strange odors. Then, walk along the walls repeating the slow inhalations. 

Take notes of where the odors seem their strongest. It may be helpful to have a rough sketch of the room so you can easily mark their locations. 

When mold is present, you may detect an earthy, musty smell. However, this odor could also be caused by rotting wood or mildew. 

After you are finished smelling the entire basement, review any notes or markings on your sketch. These will give you a good starting point for the rest of the inspection. 

Be Mindful Of Any Odd Flavors

Using your sense of taste does not mean going around licking the walls. However, since your sense of smell is connected to your sense of taste, you may have odd flavors in your mouth while breathing the air.

While you are smelling the basement, take notice of any odd flavors detected in your mouth. They could be slightly metallic or earthy. One way to describe the taste indicating the presence of mold could be the flavor of an unwashed potato skin.

On your sketch, mark the areas where you notice any unusual flavors. More than likely, they will coincide with the odors you noted in the previous section.

Visually Inspect The Surfaces

After smelling and tasting the air, walk around the basement and visually inspect all of the surfaces. This includes examining the support beams, walls, floors, and any items left in the basement after the flood.

Turn your sketch over and make notes on any discolorations you may see. Look at these areas closely to see if there is any fuzziness or rough texture. This could mature mold growing.

Also, look at any white or greenish chalky areas. While these could be caused by mildew, they could be caused by the beginning stages of mold growth.

Touch Any Suspicious Areas

Either after or while visually examined the surfaces, the last part of the inspection is to touch any suspicious-looking areas. If you are uncomfortable doing this with your bare hands, you may want to wear disposable gloves to protect your skin. Make sure they are tight enough to allow you to feel the surfaces.

Use your first two fingers to gently press down on any areas that seem raised or furry. When you apply pressure, you may see water seep to the surface.

After pushing down, use your fingernail or a flathead screwdriver to scrape the surface. If any mold is present, you may create a green or black smear that is wet. When you do this, the odor may slightly increase as spores are released.

After inspecting your basement, you may confirm your suspicions there is mold growing. If so, you can either try to remove it yourself or contact a water damage company to do a more thorough job for you.


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