Wednesday, May 18, 2022

How To Check If There’s Mold In Your House

Worth The Cost Of Testing

How to find hidden mold in your home after Harvey

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.

How To Test For Mold

You probably dont need to do mold testing or buy a mold test kit, especially if the fungus is visible. Because the health effects of mold vary from person to person, the CDC says that if you can see it or smell it, it should be removed, no matter what type of mold is in your home.

While its not possible to completely eliminate mold in your house, you can prevent a build-up by cleaning up any wet or damp spots and fixing any existing water leaks.

Neither the CDC nor the EPA recommends doing routine mold samplingsboth organizations point out that there are no federal limits for mold in buildings, so people cant check their apartment complexs compliance with the law, for example. Plus, the testing can be expensive.

Checking For Visible Mold

  • 1Look for telltale characteristics. Mold often has a fuzzy appearance but can also look like a stain if it√Ęs growing on a wall or furniture. Its most common colors are black green, brown, or white. Mold can feel like cotton, leather, velvet, or sand paper. It usually gives off a musty or earthy odor. Also look for visible signs of possible water damage such as stains or paint bubbling. This could mean there is mold growth within the wall cavity.
  • 2Check the basement. This should be the first place you look. Its underground location makes it especially vulnerable to moisture and humidity buildup. After each heavy rain, look for and immediately treat any water seepage.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source Check the following spots:
  • Baseboards
  • Recommended Reading: Mold Growing In Bathroom Ceiling

    Can You Get Sick From Mold In Your House

    Yes. Those will allergies, compromised immune systems, asthma, or other such issues are at a higher risk as even minor, non-toxic molds could cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. Mold in your house is rarely life-threatening. However, prolonged exposure is far from ideal for a number of reasons.

    Mold Poisoning Symptoms In Humans

    8 Signs There

    Mold poisoning can cause a number of different symptoms, depending on the age of the affected individual, the strength of their immune system, and whether or not they have a pre-existing mold allergy. Here are a few of the most common signs and symptoms of mold poisoning in humans.

    • A stuffy or runny nose
    • Sinus issues or infections
    • Worsening or development of asthma
    • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
    • Skin itchiness, redness, or discomfort
    • Fever and shortness of breath
    • Rashes

    Recommended Reading: How To Clean Mold Off Bathroom Ceiling

    Smell The Basement For Mold

    If youve been noticing constant and strange smells in your basement, it may be a sign of mold growth. Mold has a unique odor, consisting of a strong, musty, damp, earthy, and tangy smell.

    The mold smell originates from the microbial volatile organic compounds it releases. The bigger this fungus gets, the stronger it smells. You can tell the smell is coming from mold as its odor is overpowering. And its especially potent when confined to one area.

    Moreover, if you or your family have asthma or allergies, mold can trigger your conditions. Thats because mold is a common allergen, and its smell can trigger allergic reactions.

    If youve been dealing with allergies at home, you may have a mold problem.

    How Toxic Is Mold

    Any mold that produces mycotoxinsthe myco refers to fungusis toxic, and it can be quite poisonous. One of the more alarming varieties is Stachybotrys chartarum: Dense, black, and usually present where moisture has been a long-term, unresolved issue, like a damp basement or in an abandoned home, this fungus can trigger a suite of health issues, like persistent headaches, diarrhea, breathing trouble, and more. But other types can also cause issues, warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention : All molds should be treated the same with respect to potential health risks and removal. These are the signs of mold that you should be looking out for. Plus, learn the other ways your house could be making you sick.

    Read Also: How To Clean Mold Off Bathroom Ceiling

    How Do I Detect Black Mold Inside My Walls In The First Place

    Peeling wallpaper can also be a symptom of mold. While some scruffiness and discoloration tend to eventually strike your wallpaper, unusual surface or peeling abnormalities such as crackling or bubbling can be a sign of wall moisture. And remember, a reliable precursor to mold is always going to be moisture. Make sure to pay attention to any warped areas that feel damp.

    To keep mold from growing in your cooling or heating systems, you can have a specialist check them regularly. Another indication of mold in the house is dark grout between bathroom tiles. Even if this type is most likely the harmless type, there could be flooding in the adjacent room or a leak in bathroom plumbing that could produce a more toxic fungus type that only professionals can remove. A sample sent for testing will let you know whether or not your shower is harmless.

    Mold could also be the culprit when you have pre-existent problems with breathing that after long periods at home seem to flare up. Many household species of mold wont affect persons that do not have issues with breathing. However, in individuals suffering from asthma, it could aggravate it. Consider a mold inspection and a doctors appointment if the problems with your breathing seem to get worse with no clear cause.

    How To Check For Mold In Your House Or Apartment

    How to search for hidden mold in your home

    Article Sections:

    Mold is the most common source of indoor air quality problems in houses and apartments.

    With the average American spending 90% of their time indoors, according to the EPA, the presence of mold is something everyone should be concerned about.

    Over time, exposure to mold spores can produce the following signs and symptoms:

    • Musty, earthy odors
    • Asthma or allergy symptoms while indoors
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Skin rashes

    How to Check for Mold

    To check for mold, look for discoloration on surfaces with a slimy, fuzzy, or powdery texture.

    Mold can sometimes grow in hard-to-spot places, such as behind wallpaper, inside vents, or in an attic or basement.

    Start by inspecting your house or apartment for leaky pipes or any other signs or sources of moisture. Mold always needs moisture to grow, so look in areas and surfaces that have been recently exposed to water, humidity, or condensation.

    When you check for mold, youll want to answer these 3 questions:

    • Do you have mold?
    • What caused it?
    • Where is it located?

    With answers the questions above, youll have a much higher chance of successfully getting rid of the mold and keeping your house or apartment mold-free in the future.

    If you discover mold growing in your home, its important to take steps promptly to find and remove it.

    If You Suspect Mold in Your House or Apartment

    Here is a list of common places to check for signs of mold:

  • Ventilation ducts and plumbing lines
  • Recommended Reading: Black Mold Uv Light

    Top Tips For Controlling Mold

    It’s impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores in your home, but because mold spores can’t grow without moisture, reducing moisture in your home is the best way to prevent or eliminate mold growth. If there is already mold growing in your home, it’s important to clean up the mold and fix the problem causing dampness. If you clean up the mold but don’t fix the problem, the mold will most likely return.

    Following is some advice for reducing moisture throughout the home with specific tips for the areas most prone to dampness and mold growth:

    Around the house:

    In the kitchen:

    • Use exhaust fans to move moisture outside whenever you are cooking, washing dishes, or cleaning.
    • Turn off certain appliances if you notice moisture on windows and other surfaces.
    • Check for leaks around the kitchen sink, refrigerator ice makers, and other sources of water. Repair if necessary.
    • Empty and clean refrigerator drip pans if necessary.

    In basements and crawl spaces:

    In the laundry room:

    • Vent your clothes dryer to the outside.
    • Make sure the vent is clear of obstructions, such as lint, and that there are no holes that leak air. If the vent duct is damaged, replace it with a metal duct. Have the duct cleaned at least once a year.
    • Avoid leaving damp clothes in the laundry basket or dryer. Wash and dry them promptly.

    In bathrooms:

    Moisture: Investigating And Solving Problems

    Mould will grow indoors if moisture is present. Moisture problems in homes may result from:

    • daily activities such as showering or bathing, washing clothes or cooking, if exhaust fans are not working properly or are not used
    • infiltration of water from the outside when there are cracks or leaks in the foundation, floor, walls or roof
    • plumbing leaks
    • moisture condensation on cold surfaces
    • flooding due to weather conditions
    • inadequate ventilation.

    Moisture indoors accumulates when it cannot be vented outside and becomes a problem when building materials become damp or wet.

    Moisture problems are preventable.

    Unless the cause of the moisture problem has been identified and solved, mould will reappear. Once the moisture problem and its causes have been identified, they must be fixed. To prevent future problems, measures should be put in place to control sources of moisture in your home, for example:

    • Ensure rain, irrigation water and snowmelt drain away from the house by sloping the grade away from the building.
    • Keep eavestroughs and downspouts clean of debris and ensure that the outflow runs away from the house and not into neighbouring foundations.
    • Repair plumbing leaks promptly.
    • Use exhaust fans, ventilation and air conditioning systems to vent moisture outdoors.
    • Use moisture tolerant materials in areas likely to get wet .

    Run a dehumidifier in damp areas such as basements or if you observe that moisture is condensing on cold surfaces such as window panes.

    Read Also: How To Clean Mold Off Bathroom Ceiling

    Tips On How To Remove Mold From Home

    The first step is to locate and confirm the presence of mold. In addition to looking for the obvious discoloration spots, you can have your home tested for mold. According to homeadvisor.com, the average cost to test for mold is $834. However there are home mold-testing kits available for $10 to $50.

    It is quite important that you remove the mold the moment you discover it, because the spores can affect the quality of air in your home. It is always advisable to hire a professional to remove the mold, but if you do it yourself, use an OSHA approved respirator, gloves, disposable coveralls, non-vented goggles. Listed below are a few tips on how you can remove mold from your house:

    Remove moldy materials

    If not properly disposed of, moldy materials may stir up spores, which can spread into your house. Because of their microscopic size, a square foot of wall can have over 3,000 million mold spores. You have to use the appropriate equipment and follow the safety procedures so as to protect yourself from the spores.

    Excessive levels of contamination may require that you discard absorbent materials such as carpets, wall paper etc. To avoid airspore becoming airborne, professionals seal off the affected area with tape, and use plastic sheets to seal doorways and vents. They also use air movers, dehumidifiers and HEPA air scrubbers to eliminate moisture and dry out the air and surfaces.

    Heating, Insulation and Ventilation

    Find and fix interior plumbing leaks

    Check the ductwork

    How Do You Get Black Mold Out Of Clothes

    How to Detect Black Mold within Walls?

    White Distilled Vinegar An excellent mould-killer, diluted vinegar can be worked directly into the stain or you can pre-soak the clothing in a bucket of water mixed with one cup of vinegar. You can also add 1-2 cups of vinegar to your washing machine per cycle to kill any mildew odours and brighten your whites.

    Read Also: How To Clean Mold Off Bathroom Ceiling

    Water In The Foundation

    Look out for a build-up of water around your homes base. This can lead to foundational problems for your home if there is a lot of water. At your homes foundation, gathering rainwater can be prevented by sloping your yard outwards from your foundation. In the same line of thought, damp basements are another culprit. Usually, there is no good ventilation in basements. This is an indication that basements could contain higher humidity or moisture amounts compared to other rooms in the home. Also, basements are often colder which means more condensation occurs which leads to humidity and basement.

    What Causes Mold Sickness

    The toxins in your system from breathing in mold spores add to the total amount of toxicity in your body. We call this the Total Body Burden. When your burden is high, you start experiencing symptoms many which are seemingly unrelated.

    For most people, toxins get flushed out from the body when eliminating waste.

    For some, the toxic load is so high that its too much for the body to eliminate them all efficiently. For others, they may have poor detoxification processes or they may even recycle or reabsorb these mycotoxins back, as the body tries to eliminate them. Genetics plays a huge role in this difference from person to person

    In short, multiple symptoms happen because, as we say in environmental medicine genetics points the gun, and then the environment pulls the trigger.

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    Air Conditioning And Heating Vents

    You probably prefer your bedroom to be at the optimal temperature for you to get a good nights rest. While using the AC and heating unit are fine , its possible for mold to grow in the vents.

    To prevent mold from contaminating your bedroom, you should:

    • Use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air
    • Dry up any condensation you find on the walls and windows
    • Invest in a mold-resistant mattress or, at the very least, a waterproof mattress cover

    Looking For Signs Of Mold In Your Home

    How To Test For Mold In Your Home | Best DIY Mold Test Kit to Use | Mold Testing

    Mold can occur anywhere it finds a damp location where it can feed upon the organic components in your building materials. When looking for mold in your home, its important to keep an eye out as well as a nose out for possible signs. Often times mold can hide behind furniture or appliances, making it more likely for you to smell the mold than see it for the first time.

    Black mold will have a strong earthy, dirty, and musty smell and is the laymans term used for Stachybotrys mold. This type of mold can have a particularly strong smell making it more noticeable when starting to form. Unfortunately, mold only needs water, organic matter, a dark environment, and time to grow, meaning its often found in places that arent heavily trafficked in the home.

    RELATED:Everything You Need to Know About Household Mold

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    Can I Just Get Into The Wall And Use Bleach To Clean It

    It may be tempting to get into the wall and spray everything with bleach by yourself. However, if you have never done this before, it is better to call someone licensed to deal with mold. This is especially true if you have never gone into the wall and dont know how to detect how extensive the mold damage is. Leaving the eradication of mold to professionals will save not only your health but also your sanity. A professional team will have all the protective gear, detection tools and methods necessary to get rid of all the mold in your home.

    When Should I Check My House For Mold

    It is recommended to check for house mold if you:

    • See growth somewhere in your house
    • Smell musty or or mildewy odors
    • Have a situation where you or someone shows signs up allergies indoors
    • Suspect regularly occurring moisture somewhere in your house.

    View an actual mold in house report to see what comes back after you analyze your house mold.

    Recommended Reading: Mold And Skin Rash

    Testing For Mold In Your Home

    If you hire a professional mold inspector to come to your home, theyll take samples from three areasthe air, the surface, and surrounding dust. They send these samples to a third-party laboratory to find out the concentration and kinds of mold in those particular areas.

    However, this procedure takes time and isnt cheap. Fortunately, testing for mold in your home is a relatively easy task that can give you faster results and save you money. If youve done everything you can to prevent mold but still have reason to think the air you breathe is compromised with mold spores, check strategic locations for visible signs of mold.

    Common areas of mold growth include:

    • Areas around plumbing lines, even behind the drywall
    • Below sinks
    • Coils of HVAC air handlers or ductwork
    • Between the furniture and exterior walls, particularly in basements or concrete block houses

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