Friday, June 21, 2024

How To Check Home For Black Mold

Addressing Moisture And Mould In Your Home

How To Test For Black Mold In 5 Minutes

Health Canada considers indoor mould growth to be a significant health hazard. The word mould is a common term referring to fungi that can grow on building materials in homes or other buildings. Damp conditions and mould growth in homes increases the risk of respiratory allergy symptoms and exacerbate asthma in mold-sensitive individuals. It is important to know how to identify, address and prevent moisture and mould in your home.

People living in homes with mould and damp conditions are more likely to have:

  • eye, nose and throat irritation
  • coughing and phlegm build-up
  • wheezing and shortness of breath
  • worsening of asthma symptoms

The level of concern depends on the extent of mould, how long it has been present and the sensitivity and overall health of the residents. Some people are more susceptible than others. For example, infants, children, the elderly and those with health problems such as breathing difficulties are more at risk from mould and dampness.

Any respiratory health concerns should be discussed with a physician if you suspect that these could be caused by poor indoor air quality. Your physician is best suited to determine if your symptoms may be related to environmental factors or some other underlying cause.

Health Canada recommends controlling dampness indoors and cleaning up any mould regardless of the type of mould presentFootnote 1.

How Does Toxic Black Mold Affect The Body

Although scientific research is plentiful and increasing, mold-induced symptoms are often misdiagnosed. The most frequent mold-related symptoms are respiratory, particularly allergies and asthma.

The symptoms of mold exposure vary greatly because your individual genetics play a role in how youll react if exposed.

Black Mold Is Attracted To Moisture

Another thing to know about black mold is that it needs moisture to live and thrive. For that reason, it is much more likely to occur in damp areas. Moisture can occur in many areas in the home, such as the attic, garage, basement, or bathroom. Of course, it can also occur in kitchens or any other place where moisture can gather.

One place that is harder to diagnose is the air vents. Condensation can collect in air vents, causing it to be a common spot for black mold. Black mold is found on window sills as well, due to the moisture that can collect there. If there is moisture and available wood material to consume, black mold has the potential of growing there.

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What Mold Looks Like

Molds are a type of fungus and can look like their fungal cousins, mushrooms and yeasts. Outdoors, molds can be seen gobbling up the dead organic matter on decomposing surfaces like fallen leaves and rotting logs indoors, house mold thrives in wet, humid environments like bathrooms and basements or anywhere that has recently flooded. There are thousands of types of mold, and their appearance can vary depending on the type of mold and where its growing.

The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum , is also sometimes found in homes and other buildings. This greenish-black growth can grow on fiberboard, paper, dust, and lint, particularly in areas that may have recently flooded or suffered other types of water damage. While black mold can certainly look scary, the CDC says that Stachybotrys chartarum isnt any more harmful than other types of mold.

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How Common Is Mold In Buildings

Identifying and Getting Rid of Black Mold

Molds are very common in buildings and homes. Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.

The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus. We do not have precise information about how often different molds are found in buildings and homes.

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How To Get Rid Of Black Mold

Depending on the severity of your black mold infestation, you can either clean it yourself or hire a professional. Hiring a professional is more expensive, but it prevents you from being exposed to the mold while trying to remove it. Youll probably want to hire a professional cleaner if you have wide-spread growth in multiple rooms.

If you choose to remove the black mold yourself, be sure to take the proper safety precautions. You want to avoid letting mold spores touch your skin or breathing them in by wearing:

  • Latex gloves
  • Protective mark, preferably a dust mask
  • Long sleeves and pants, or a full-body jumpsuit like a painters suit

Once youre dressed to tackle black mold, follow these steps to remove small infestations:

What The Results Mean

Regardless of how to test for black mold, there is some question of what the results mean. Neither the Environmental Protection Agency nor the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control have established levels that are considered safe. The CDC points out that if you or any family members seem to suffer ill effects that can be attributed to the presence of mold, you should leave the house if possible and invest in mold remediation.

However, even though no safe level has been established, if you have a black mold test performed before you clean up the mold, you can then perform another test to find out if the level is at least significantly reduced. If you have a professional perform the cleanup, make sure you get a test for the presence of black mold both before and after the cleanup. The mold tester should be able to advise you as to what level of mold in the home he believes to be dangerous keep in mind, however, no amount of mold is really healthful to breathe day in and day out. Of course, you can also consult with a doctor about whether or not any health problems you are experiencing are related to black mold in your home.

You can also compare the results from one room to another by conducting air tests in several rooms. If you notice the mold level is much, much higher in your bedroom than in your living room or kitchen, that might explain why your sinuses act up every night.

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If You Use Bleach To Clean Up Mold

  • Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce a poisonous gas.
  • Always follow the manufacturers instructions when you use bleach or any other cleaning product.
  • Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
  • Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles during cleanup of affected areas.
  • If you need to clean more than 10 square feet, check the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guide titled Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, which gives advice on all building types. You can get it by going to the EPA web site at .

Cleaning For Mold Prevention

How to Check For Mold

Areas that are more prone to mold and mildew should be cleaned more often. Bathrooms, kitchens, and anywhere else in the home where water could collect are the important spots to watch.

If youre like me, you dont love cleaning the bathroom, but the right cleaners can make all the difference. Natural antifungal cleaners like tea tree oil and clove oil work well without toxic fumes.

Homebiotic, which is a probiotic for the home, also helps create an environment hostile to harmful microbes. Use these products regularly to prevent mold growth, not to clean a mold infestation!

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Home Mold Laboratory Viable Mold Test Kit: Easiest To Use

The Home Mold Laborator Viable Mold Test Kit provides accurate results. It also happens to be one of the easiest test kits to use, since the supplies are ready to use right out of the box and don’t require any preparation. However, bear in mind that because the supplies are prepared ahead of time, these mold test kits have expiration dates, which you will want to keep note of.

You can use this kit to detect dangerous growth colonies like black mold, but it cannot detect bacteria or fungus. There are three different testing methods you can use. All three testing methods require that you incubate samples for three to seven days to make sure you give time for slow-growing mold and yeast to appear.

Should you find mold growing within this time frame, you’ll want to send a sample to the lab for analysis. This company charges $50 per sample that you submit, which is more than some other companies. Additionally, it can take up to eight days to get a sample back from the lab, which is longer than most other companies.The easiest sampling method requires that you leave a petri dish in a room for an hour before sealing it up and letting it incubate. The second has you use a swab to determine whether the visible mold that you find in your home is alive or not. The last and most difficult testing method requires that you place a test kit on the air vent farthest away from your central air system.

If The Affected Area Is Large:

  • Take precautions to protect your health.
  • Consider hiring a professional to clean it up, especially if there is a large amount of mould or if the mould keeps coming back after you clean it.
  • A large amount of mould is often the result of a larger problem , which you may need a professional help to fix.

Once clean-up is done, be sure to fix the underlying cause to prevent more mould from growing again.

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Best Mold Test Kits 2021

Weve rated the best mold test kits for detecting spores around your home.

The best mold test kits are essential if you can see mold spores in your home or you suspect that theres an issue with damp. These handy kits allow you to swab areas in your home before sending off your samples for professional analysis so you can get on top of the problem.

If youre after one of the best black mold test kits, weve included some great options that are approved by the American Industrial Hygiene Association and are very easy to use. Treating black mold in your home is not only essential because it looks horrible, but it can also lead to health problems if it spreads. If left to its own devices, mold can devalue your home and cost thousands to fix.

The good news is that even the top-rated mold detection kits wont cost you a fortune, and many options in our guide are less than $20. Take note, however, that some kit companies charge you extra for the lab testing part of the process but some return your results in just five days.

Weve ranked the best mold test kits for how easy they are to use, any extra fees involved, and how quickly the results are returned. You can find a range of kits to choose from below but for other ways to monitor and tackle the air inside your home, head to our guides on the best air purifiers or the best dehumidifiers.

Worth The Cost Of Testing

Prior Knowledge You Need to Have about Black Mold Test

Mold can be a tricky problem to deal with. The first step in tackling your potential mold problem is to have a certified inspector visit your home to assess the mold damage or to bring a sample of your mold growth to an accredited lab for testing. At JSE, we specialize in laboratory and in-home testing to provide you with an accurate analysis of your mold growth.

Our mold lab offers quick turn-around times and has hygienists on staff to answer your questions. In-house lab services include mold spore analysis by direct exam for both bulk and air samples. Mold can be a pesky problem in any household. If you suspect you have mold growth in your home, contact JSE online or at to get your sample tested.

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Black Mold Eats Cellulose

One important thing to remember is that it is attracted to cellulose. Wood contains this black mold food, so it will commonly be found growing on wood around the home. Other materials that contain cellulose include drywall, wallpaper, and even some paint. So, black mold could easily also be found on the walls and ceiling, depending on the composition of them in your home.

Is Black Mold Dangerous

Black mold developed its reputation for being toxic after eight infants became severely ill in Cleveland, Ohio, between January 1993 and December 1994. Each infant developed a condition known as idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage, or bleeding in the lungs. One infant ended up succumbing to this illness and passed away.

The CDC determined that these eight infants had been living in homes with extensive water damage and elevated levels of toxin-producing black mold. This led to many people asserting that toxic black mold was the cause and that it can potentially kill people.

However, scientists were unable to find a link between black mold exposure and the sickness and death of the Cleveland infants. While no evidence directly links black mold to particular health concerns, prolonged exposure can cause strong reactions in certain individuals with allergies to mold, weakened immune systems, or asthma.

Additionally, a variety of mold species produce mycotoxins, however, they are most dangerous when theyre eaten in large quantities. Research conducted by the CDC in 2019 determined that there was no current evidence to suggest that airborne mycotoxins cause disease.

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Testing For Hidden Or Airborne Mold

  • 1Use an in-home mold testing kit. In-home testing kits come equipped with their own instruments and instructions. Follow the kit’s directions. Submit the sampling to a local lab.
  • If you see mold in a visual inspection, a testing kit isn’t necessary.XTrustworthy SourceUnited States Environmental Protection AgencyIndependent U.S. government agency responsible for promoting safe environmental practicesGo to source
  • These kits can be difficult to use, and their results can be unreliable. Use them only as a last resort if other options aren’t available.
  • 2Use a borescope. A borescope can be helpful for inspecting spaces between walls.XTrustworthy SourceUnited States Environmental Protection AgencyIndependent U.S. government agency responsible for promoting safe environmental practicesGo to source Drill a small hole into a wall recently affected by water or moisture. Slowly insert the fiber optic cable end through the hole. Check the monitor for signs of mold. Continue to move slowly as you probe deeper into the area.
  • Borescopes distort the size and color of mold on the monitor. If you find areas of discoloration inside the wall, contact a professional for a second opinion.
  • You can also use a borescope to inspect air ducts, but there are drawbacks. The instrument only lets you see so far into a duct. If the duct makes a sudden 90-degree turn, you won’t be able to see beyond that turn.
  • How To Find Hidden Mold

    Renters & Black Mold Testing (Inside Secrets) | Twin Home Experts

    One concern many home owners and consumers have is finding hidden mold. Luckily these kits are rather successful at locating hidden mold growth, especially the HVAC air testing and the settling plate methods. If these tests detect mould but its not readily visible or if these tests dont detect it yet there is still a strong suspicion that it is present, it is best to just start doing a visual inspection of the entire house, starting with windowsills, refrigerator seals, around the bathtub, and in the basement. Other areas to look at include behind drywall, wall paper, and in any part of the home that is overly damp and has a consistently high level of humidity.

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    Protect Others And The Building

    If you decide to clean the mold yourself, it is important to protect yourself and the other people in the building. When cleaning a large amount of mold, consider the following:

    • Remove furnishings and items from the work area.
    • Enclose and seal mold material in plastic before carrying them through the home.
    • Cover air supply and return vents in the work area.
    • Use a fan to pull contaminated air out of the work area and exhaust it outdoors.
    • Consider renting an air scrubber to operate in the area .
    • Remove the outer layer of work clothing inside the work area and wash separately, or bag and discard the clothing.

    Does White Vinegar Kill Black Mold

    You can spot black mold even in the cleanest basement or bathroom, HVAC, attic, or any parts of the home where water collects and there is dampness.

    For individuals dealing with pre-existing health conditions, black mold can result in pneumonia. When you find a mold infestation in your home, use a mold testing kit to determine what type of mold spores are present in your home. Call in a mold removal professional for effective removal.

    White vinegar contains antibacterial and antifungal properties. It can be an effective and cost-effective treatment for the mold of many types.

    In a 2015 study, vinegar is found effective at treating Penicillium chrysogenum. However, it does not work on Aspergillus fumigatus. Both are the most common household molds.

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    When To Call Black Mold Remediation Expert

    If you spot black mold too late and it has covered a huge portion of your home, its removal can become dangerous because it can spread all over your home. In this case, call a seasoned mold remediation expert immediately.

    These professionals have specialized equipment, training, and experience to handle huge black mold infestation. They will ensure all spores are removed from your home and no regrowth occurs.

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