I just moved into a new house and my son and I have been experiencing tightness in the chest and asthma. When we leave the house and are out and about; the symptoms are gone. Our bathrooms have no windows and the exhaust fans are in the ceiling. I assume since the house was built in 2006 that the fans are vented through the attic roof, but I was wondering if it could be causing mold in the attic. Our symptoms are of concern, since we know something in the house is making us feel sick. Do exhaust fans need to be cleaned regularly?

  • The OP accepted their answer without further comment once being made aware that new carpet will off-gas.
    – Mazura
    Nov 4 '14 at 3:56

Exhaust fans are made out of metal and plastic. Very very hard for mold to grow there. Mold will pick out a more organic material - like drywall. You should clean your exhaust for dust every year or at least check on it but not for mold.

I doubt if you have symptoms coming from your house that it is your exhaust or attic. Now attic could have mold - I don't know - but it wouldn't have a great affect on you unless there was air blowing into your house from attic or the problem was absurdly bad. But going up to the attic is 20 mins of your life - so just do it so you have peace of mind.

I would look at the shower area or ceiling and then check out other parts of the house. I wouldn't discount it being something other than mold either.

  • 2
    Could it be the new carpeting? We are frustrated by our constant symptoms. There is no visible mold but we are thinking of getting a mold inspection. Do you think that might help?
    – nycgirl56
    Oct 31 '14 at 4:28
  • 1
    Many many people are allergic to the chemicals in new carpet. I had a friend that had to have carpet removed because his wife couldn't be in the house. Definitely something to look into.
    – DMoore
    Oct 31 '14 at 6:30
  • 1
    It could also be new furniture, they sometimes contain fungicides that can affect some people. Oct 31 '14 at 9:27
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    New carpet could be a possibility. Many of today's modern home furnishings have chemicals used in manufacturing that some people are sensitive too. Carpeting, hardwood floor finishing products, furniture finishes, funiture components, paints, etc. can all have chemical compononents that could be bothersome.
    – rjbergen
    Oct 31 '14 at 12:27

Mold inspections will always reveal some mold somewhere. Go for it, but don't expect that to be the end of the story. I know people who have moved to escape 'mold' allergies, symptoms remained. It's not that you can't be allergic to mold, just that there are many other things it could be.

Look at dust, pollution, pests, pollen, and CO. Carbon monoxide will kill you a lot quicker than mold. A CO detector is cheap, so get one. If you suspect dust, HEPA vacuum and a good air filter would be worth a shot. Rats/mice, get rid of em.

Bathroom fans are typically (I think by law) vented to the outside via a duct. If yours aren't, that's a problem, but probably not related.

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