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.
How To Test The Air In Your House For Mold: Step
With new technology, mold testing has become simplified for homes. The best places to test are the following spaces:
- In ventilation ducts
- Where leaks previously occurred
Go for a viable test kit to detect spores in the air. You can buy an easy test kit to use at home by searching the web. Be sure that it is for indoor use and conditions like yours.
Heres how to use your kit once your purchase it.
Tips For Mold Prevention
Wondering how you can prevent mold from affecting your home? Here are a few tips that may help you prevent mold from forming altogether.
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Poor Reason For Testing #5 To Determine If The Environment Is Safe
At this time, it is unknown what level of mold is safe or how much is necessary to cause health problems. Mold tests cannot measure all the molds in an environment or how much occupants are exposed to. Such testing can also miss evidence of problems and results may mislead or be misused. MDH recommends assuming that any visible amount of mold may potentially cause illness and advises that the best approach is to remove this potential threat as soon as it can be done safely. MDH also suggests that it is also reasonable to conclude that an area should be relatively safe with regard to mold, if all visible growth was removed, the surrounding areas thoroughly cleaned, and it remains dry and free of mold odors.
You Visibly See Mold Spores
Of course one of the most obvious ways to determine that you have mold in your house is if you can see it. The downside? If you see a ton of visible mold, it can be an indicator that you have a big problem on your hands.
“Once you see it, you’ve got a big mold problem because what you’re seeing is literally just the tip of the iceberg,” Kelly Hayes-Raitt, a housesitter and the former director of the HomeSafe Campaign in California, told INSIDER.
Simply scrubbing the visible mold with soap and a sponge won’t actually get rid of the mold. So if you see visible mold, you need to reach out to a mold remediation company or another expert to help you get things under control, including any leaks that may have caused the issue in the first place.;
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How To Remove Mold
- Wear old clothes and shoes that you can launder or throw away after the cleanup work.
- Wear special N-95 or P-100 respirators, in addition to goggles and gloves.
- Set an old box fan or a cheap new one in a window to ventilate the room while working. Throw it out when you’re done cleaning, because the spores are almost impossible to clean off. Tape plywood or cardboard around the window openings so the spores can’t blow back in.
- Wrap and tape moldy carpeting in 6-mil plastic, and double-bag mold-infested debris in garbage bags for disposal.
- To control airborne spores, moisten moldy areas with a garden sprayer while you work.
- Turn off your furnace and air conditioner and cover ducts and doors to contain spores.
- Keep your wet/dry vacuum outside when you vacuum.
Other Places In The Kitchen
Wooden cutting boards, trash cans, behind the stove and windows and window sills in the kitchen are like heaven for mold spores. They feed off of these places, so keeping them clean and dry is critical for keeping mold at bay.
To keep your kitchen mold free, be sure to:
- Ventilate when cooking and doing dishes by opening a window, using a fan, or both
- Wash the dishes every day, so they dont pile up in the sink
- Clean and dry the stove top, microwave, counters, cabinets, and window sills regularly
- Clean out the inside of your fridge and your fridge drip tray often
- Take the trash out every day
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A Qualified Environmental Lab Took Samples Of The Mold In My Home And Gave Me The Results Can Cdc Interpret These Results
Standards for judging what is an acceptable, tolerable or normal quantity of mold have not been established. Sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable quantity of mold have not been set. The best practice is to remove the mold and work to prevent future growth. ;If you do decide to pay for environmental sampling for molds, before the work starts, you should ask the consultants who will do the work to establish criteria for interpreting the test results. They should tell you in advance what they will do or what recommendations they will make based on the sampling results. The results of samples taken in your unique situation cannot be interpreted without physical inspection of the contaminated area or without considering the buildings characteristics and the factors that led to the present condition.
Extent Of Mould Growth
It is important to determine the extent of the mould problem in your home to help you decide on the clean-up procedure. An area of mould is considered small if it covers one square metre or less. There should be no more than three patches of mould, with the total area staying within one square metre. Many small patches of mould in one area or throughout your home are a sign of moisture problems that need to be investigated and corrected right away.
If ignored, small mould areas may become larger over time, so it is important to clean them up before the problem gets bigger. A small amount of mould may be cleaned up using proper procedures and protective equipment.
The area of mould is considered medium if there are more than three patches of mould , but the total area is less than three square metres. In this case, assessment by a qualified professional is recommended but in most cases a medium amount of mould may be cleaned up using proper procedures and protective equipment .
An area of mould is considered large if a single patch of mould is larger than three square metres. Health Canada does not recommend that an unqualified person clean up large areas of mould. You may need a professional assessment to determine why the mould is there in the first place and how to clean it up.
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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
Testing For Hidden Or Airborne Mold
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How Mold Affects Your Health
Mold produces irritants and allergens that can cause various reactions when inhaled or touched. Reactions to mold are often allergic symptoms such as sneezing, red eyes, runny nose and skin rashes.
Sensitive individuals may experience immediate reactions when in contact with mold. Others, on the other hand, might have delayed symptoms .
Individuals with asthma may have an especially hard time when in a room with mold. Mold can trigger asthma attacks while irritating the throat, lungs, nose and eyes.
People who dont suffer from allergies or asthma may also experience irritation in the eyes, nose, lungs and throat.
One mold species, in particular, can be more hazardous than others Stachybotrys chartarum. This species is generally referred to as black mold or toxic mold. Despite the name, this mold is actually more greenish in color and is gooier in texture compared to other species.
Black mold can grow on surfaces high in cellulose and low in nitrogen. These include fiberboards, paper, dust and lint. This mold requires constant moisture in order to grow, so its commonly found near water damage, leaks and after floods.
While mold, in general, isnt toxic or poisonous, some species such as black mold can produce toxic byproducts. One of these is called mycotoxins. However, little research is available as to how it affects peoples health .
Window Moisture: What Your Windows Are Trying To Tell You
Window moisture is indicative of a larger problem. Over time, this moisture can lead to mold, mildew and eventually rotting of the trim and window framing. Just to be sure though, check for leaks around your window. Obviously, this would just occur during rainy weather. The moisture from that leak could then show itself again as condensation on the inside of your window. In most cases, a leak is not the issue, but it is a good place to start.
More than likely, your windows are telling you that there is too much humidity in the home. This is a problem that is more prevalent with older, single pane windows. It is caused by condensation, in which the moisture in the air condenses when as touches a cold surface , much like a cool glass of water that sweats on a hot day.
There are a couple ways to approach this problem. If your windows are of the old, single pane variety then perhaps replacement windows would be a good option. Energy efficient, dual pane replacement windows can create an insulated buffer that will substantially reduce or eliminate condensation –not to mention the benefits of energy savings and ease of operation that you will also enjoy. Installing storm windows over single pane windows is another possible solution.
If replacing your windows is not viable at this time, you can try to reduce the humidity levels in your home. There are a few ways to go about this.
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How Do Molds Get In The Indoor Environment And How Do They Grow
Mold is found both indoors and outdoors. Mold can enter your home through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. Mold in the air outside can also attach itself to clothing, shoes, and pets can and be carried indoors. When mold spores drop on places where there is excessive moisture, such as where leakage may have occurred in roofs, pipes, walls, plant pots, or where there has been flooding, they will grow. Many building materials provide suitable nutrients that encourage mold to grow. Wet cellulose materials, including paper and paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood, and wood products, are particularly conducive for the growth of some molds. Other materials such as dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation materials, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery, commonly support mold growth.
What Mold Smells Like
Mold has a damp, musty scentsimilar to what youd smell after opening an old book. In general, smell is not a good way to determine if there is a mold problem, says Laureen Burton, a staff chemist and toxicologist for the Environmental Protection Agency . The smell of indoor molds can differ depending on the type of mold, the surface on which its growing, and its source of moisture. Plus, she says, some people dont notice a smell at all.
The mold smell is caused by microbial volatile organic compounds , which are substances that are naturally produced by molds as they grow. The health effects of inhaling mVOCs are largely unknown, says Burton, although exposure to some mVOCs has been linked to symptoms such as headaches, nasal irritation, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.
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If You See Mold Testing Is Usually Unnecessary And A Waste Of Money
If you already see;obvious, visible;mold, you usually do;NOT need a mold inspection or mold testing you simply need to remove it following industry standard guidelines as we discuss below.
There are many cases where a mold inspection and mold testing IS a good idea, and we discuss these below. We also discuss why;home mold tests;that you can buy at hardware stores are a waste of money.
Many consumers who call us already see visible mold and think they therefore need to get it tested to determine what type of mold it is, whether its toxic, and other characteristics.
Do you think most companies who inspect for mold care to reveal that testing is often unnecessary when they have an easy $350-$1000 mold inspection on the table from a worried customer who is misinformed? Obviously not. Of course, there are some companies and individuals who are truthful, and we commend them, but they are sadly few and far between and drowned out by the others.
What Are The Pros Of Air Sampling Formold
1. As a screening mechanism.; If significant levels of airborne particles are found, which have not already been found by a visual inspection nor in bulk sampling it may mean that additional, more thorough or invasive building inspection is warranted. But keep in mind that the absence of airborne particles in a screening check is no guarantee that problematic mold is absent in the building.
2. As a cross-check in clearance testing. Mold air testing may be performed after remediation to ensure that the mold levels have been properly reduced to acceptable levels.
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Common Types Of House Mold
Wondering what types of mold are the most common in houses and which ones you should be concerned about? Lets discuss a few of the most common types of household mold now.
- Cladosporium Cladosporium is one of the most common household molds. It usually grows in a greenish-brown colony, but can also be nearly black in color. It is rarely harmful unless you have a mold allergy, but may cause minor issues like toenail or fingernail infections.
- Penicillium Penicillium is sometimes called green mold, as it is usually dark green in color. It tends to grow in large, consistent patches on the walls. As the name suggests, penicillin is derived from some kinds of this mold. However, some kinds of penicillium mold may be toxic to humans and animals.
- Aspergillus This type of mold is usually greenish-white in color, and may be more raised with a more cloudy appearance than other types of mold. It is not harmful, unless you have a weakened immune system, in which case it could infect the lungs or sinuses.
- Alternaria Alternaria mold is usually greenish-white, but can also appear in black patches, so its sometimes confused with black mold. Alternaria can be a factor in exacerbating asthma, particularly for those who may have mold allergies.