Finding A Mold Problem
MDH does not recommend mold testing in many cases, especially as the first response to an indoor air quality concern. Instead, careful detailed visual inspection and recognition of moldy odors should be used to find problems needing correction. Efforts should focus on areas where there are signs of liquid moisture or water vapor or where moisture problems are suspected. The investigation goals should be to locate indoor mold growth to determine how to correct the moisture problem and remove contamination safely and effectively.
How To Test The Air Quality In Your Home
Use an indoor air quality monitor and other useful methods to test the quality of the air in your home.
Youve almost certainly heard us say at some point that the air inside your home can be up to five times more polluted than the air outside your home. Its a striking statistic given how much focus is put on outdoor air pollution, and hopefully, one that will help shine some light on prevalent Indoor Air Quality issues that most people are not aware of.
The actual amount of air pollution in each home in the United States is going to vary, and its going to vary a lot. Theres a wide array of risk factors that affect IAQ and which ones are relevant can change by state, county, or even by town. If you know these risks, you can probably estimate how much indoor air pollution affects your home. If you want some piece of mind though, you can always test your indoor air. At the very least, you’ll know what you’re dealing with. We did the research, and here are some ways to do just that.
Keeping Your Home Safe
Now that you know how to test home air quality, its a great time to get started doing it!
The easiest way to keep yourself healthy and safe is by finding out what harmful toxins are lurking inside your home and then taking the steps to get rid of them.
As you learned in this guide, home testing kits of all kinds are widely available and an air purifier is a great product to help combat any airborne pollutant issues.
Hopefully, youre now ready to take the next steps to ensure you have a cleaner, healthier environment inside your home that doesnt make you feel sick.
About Katherine Dyson
Katherine is the lead Staff Writer. She conducts in-depth research and interviews with industry experts in order to produce a wide range of content for the site. Her main role is to write helpful articles that aid people who are seeking to improve their indoor air quality and comfort.
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Products And Tools Youll Need To Test For Mold In Your Home
The only thing you need to test for mold at home is a test kit. In addition to the ones previously mentioned, there are several options available:
- Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit: This kit includes three tests. Your sample can be tested for an additional $40 fee, with results delivered by e-mail or via the companys app.
- MoldCheck Multi-Test Kit: This kit includes supplies to perform ten tests, which is great for an entire home or monitoring an ongoing infestation. However, there is no lab testing option, so you will need to find your own if you need identification.
- ImmunoLytics Mold Screening Test Kit: Perform eight tests with this kit. Each plate can be tested for $33 each.
- My Mold Detective: If you are looking for a more advanced mold monitoring option, the My Mold Detective is a reusable air sampling pump that collects samples in just five minutes. The device comes with four sampling cassettes that can be tested in a lab for $35 each.
- My Mold Detective Additional Samples: The My Mold Detective can be used again and again, so order as many samples as you need to keep tabs on your mold problem.
Can Air Quality Monitors Detect Mold
Weve all seen mold , but did you know that you may also be inhaling these tiny organisms?
Molds are a group of fungi often tucked away in warm, humid corners of your home. Despite their stationary appearance, molds have ways of getting airborne and into your lungs. To reproduce, these microscopic fungi release spores into the air. And if the mold dries out, fragments can break off and piggyback on existing dust in your air.
Once these molds enter the air, they can harm both your air quality and your health. Molds can prompt allergic reactions, and some toxic molds can even damage your immune system. For more information about mold, check out this article!
Given the way mold impacts air quality, you may be thinking: wow, wouldnt it be great if my air quality monitor could tell me about mold in my home? Well, ponder no more, as we are going to discuss the relationship between mold and air quality monitoring in this post. To fully explore this topic, we will have to first consider how air quality monitors measure the air in your home.
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The Best Air Quality Monitors For Mold And Your Environmental Protection
Is the indoor air quality of your home affecting you? It is important to monitor air quality because of the various health issues associated with air pollution, such as asthma. The good news is that modern technology has evolved enough for air quality monitors to be readily available to most people. They can even monitor for mold spores in the air. The question is, which one is the best choice?
What Can I Do To Prevent Mould Contamination
Moulds can grow almost everywhere and on any substance when moisture is present. Thus, the best method of prevention is to reduce the amount of moisture.
First, determine the source of the moisture, and eliminate the problem.
Keep the relative humidity between 30% and 50%. To accomplish this goal, prevention measures include:
- Vent showers and other moisture generating sources directly to the outside.
- Control humidity with air conditioners and/or dehumidifiers*.
- Use exhaust fans when cooking, dishwashing, or laundering or when cleaning large areas.
- Insulate cold surfaces to prevent condensation on piping, windows, exterior walls, roofs and floors where possible.
- Keep the building and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in good repair.
- Clean up any floods or spills immediately . See below for more information on cleaning, etc.
- For floors and carpets, remove spots or stains immediately. Reduce the amount of water used when cleaning carpets as much as possible.
- Do not install carpet around fountains, sinks, bathtubs, showers or directly on top of concrete floors that are prone to leaks or frequent condensation.
* It is important to remember that when using air conditioners and dehumidifiers to keep them in good condition. Empty any water collectors regularly so this water does not contribute to the moisture problem! If you use humidifiers, make sure that they are cleaned regularly.
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Treating The Affected Areas
Keep The House Dry To Prevent Mold Spores
So, lets imagine youve identified a potential problem area in your home. It could be that the bathroom fan is not venting well, and the bathroom is staying moist for a long time after you shower.
Or maybe youve had some recent water damage.
In this case, you know youre creating a high-risk situation for mold growth, and getting the moisture out of the air should be your top priority. A few ways to do this might include:
- Help circulate the air using tower fans The issue might be that you have a small, moist space with little air movement, like an unvented bathroom. You can use portable fans of any kind of move the air out and help get it into equilibrium with the room its connected to. By dissipating the moisture, you can keep one area from getting too humid.
- Invest in a dehumidifer to pull moisture out of the room You may have a room in the house that is just prone to dampness, like a basement. You can focus your efforts on just this spot using a room dehumidifier, which can be found relatively inexpensive .
- Make sure any vent fans are operating correctly. You can check by taking a piece of toilet paper and holding it up to the vent while the fan is running. If it sticks thanks to the suction, then you have good flow. If not, then you should investigate further, or call a heating and cooling specialist to have a look at what might be the issue.
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Improving The Quality Of The Air Indoors
When you know how to measure the air quality at home, you can use this data to make improvements to your home. The following solutions help reduce contaminants and remove them from living areas:
- Improve ventilation to push out indoor air pollution and bring in fresh air. Use exhaust ventilation to remove moisture from kitchens and bathrooms, and whole home ventilation to exchange air throughout the home.
- Whole house humidifiers and dehumidifiers work with HVAC systems to keep relative humidity balanced throughout the year.
- A whole home air cleaner or air purifier provides powerful filtration to remove contaminants from the air supply.
Monitoring For Mold In Indoor Air Quality Is Important
There are many types of mold, some of which are dangerous. The problem is that it is difficult to detect problems without the proper equipment. You can gain protection from VOCs and other pollutants as noxious as carbon monoxide, by monitoring indoor air quality. VOCs from mold can be tracked so that solutions can be found to avoid issues with health and other pollutants. You can get an indoor air quality monitor to begin.
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When Should I Test For Mold In The Air
The truth is not every mold issue calls for an air quality test. In fact, you should be wary of companies who tell you otherwise. They either dont have the proper expertise or are trying to trick you into spending more money than you need to.
Here are 3 ways to gauge when you should test your air:
1) There is no visible mold, but there are other signs of mold in your property: According to the Environmental Protection Agency , mold testing doesnt need to happen if you see obvious affected areas inside your property. Thats because the purpose of the test is to detect harmful levels of mold in the air. Here are some signs too look out for that may indicate you have an overgrowth thats out of sight. The most common triggers to watch out for, include:
- A musty or stale smell
- Recent water damage or leaks
- Spongy or bouncy feeling floors
2) Someone is experiencing health issues commonly caused by mold: Another reason to prioritize air testing is when someone spending time inside your property experiences certain health issues, but the cause is unclear. Again, this only applies if you have not uncovered visible signs of mold already. Check out this infographic via the Military Health system for common symptoms to watch out for.
Want A 100% Free Estimate For Your Mold Air Test
Now that you know when/how to do an initial air test and when to hire a professional company, youre ready to take the next step. The team at Mold Gone wants to help make things as stress-free as possible by providing you with a free estimate for your indoor air quality testing needs.
Why Choose Mold Gone for Your Mold Testing/Removal Project?
We know there are a lot of mold testing and removal companies for you to choose from in the DC/MD/VA area. Heres why youll get the best possible results for your money by choosing Mold Gone:
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How Should I Test The Air For Mold
Now that you know when you do need to test your air for mold, lets get to the how. As we mentioned earlier, air testing is a golden standard for detecting exposure to harmful levels of mold. Indeed, compared to other methods , it can produce the most accurate results but only when done right. A tests accuracy depends entirely on three things: how the test is conducted, how the samples are analyzed, and how the results are interpreted. In a nutshell, it all comes down to your decision on who will be doing each of these steps. Lets break down your options and what we recommend for getting the most reliable results.
1) DIY Air Testing Kit vs. Professional Mold Testing: As a property owner, one of the first things youre probably wondering is: do I need to hire a professional or can I save money and do-it-myself? Its a fair question, especially because hiring a mold testing company isnt cheap. DIY is certainly an option, and there are plenty of home test kits for sale in stores and online, along with tutorials galore on how to do all three steps referenced above. But theres a catch. If youre looking for definitive answers on whether or not you have harmful levels of mold in the air, where its coming from, and whats causing it, then DIY is probably not the way to go. Heres why:
Check The Level Of Mold In The Air
Mold accumulation in the house can affect the health of your family over time. Well, the truth is that mold spores lurk in the air almost everywhere, including inside your house. There isnt any specific tool to measure for mold in your home, but you can easily detect signs of moldy conditions.
If you see any black spores on your walls, then it could be a sign of mold. A room infested by mold usually produces a musty smell thats almost similar to that of dirty socks. Moldy houses also cause migraines, runny nose, and sore throats to the occupants. If you realize you have an infestation of mold, its best to hire an expert to diagnose the problem.
In conclusion, the air quality inside a house could become more polluted than outdoors. Depending on the geographical location of your house, air quality may vary.
Indoor air quality measurement is easy and fast. The essential aspects of testing in a home are humidity, temperature, carbon monoxide levels, mold, and radon accumulation.
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Conducting A Radon Test
Radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. This increases the level of precaution one should have against it because of its ability to remain undetected. It has long-term harmful effects, for example, lung cancer. It can enter indoors through floor cracks, walls, and the foundation of the house. Radon gas occurs due to the decomposition of uranium in the soil hence it concentrates on the lowest level of the house. It is detected using short-term radon kits, and long-term radon kits that can be obtained through online retailers.
Had Mold In Crawlspace Remediated 25 Years Ago Inspector Said Tiny Bit Of Mold There Now But Not Enough To Cause Our Ermi Result Over 15 No Visible Mold In House Proper We Didn’t Clean All Surfaces After Initial Remediation Could Enough Mycotoxins Remain From Then To Cause Current Ermi Score If So Do House Fogs Work Or Must We Clean Every Individual Item In The House To Get Rid Of The Mycotoxins
ERMI testing is not accurate and should not be used for residential mold investigations. Please read our article on ERMI Testing. ERMI testing cannot differentiate between spores from last week vs. 10 years ago. It also cannot differentiate between a systemic, long term issue vs. a single, one-time event. I recommend hiring a company that uses non-viable air sampling. This is the industry gold standard technique and can determine the current state of your indoor air quality.
In general, I do not recommend house fogging. It is far better to remove the contaminants than to attempt to neutralize them. Fogging can be useful when dealing with viruses or bacteria. In those situations, your goal is to kill the organism. With mold growth, we need to physically remove the spores from the home. Therefore, HEPA vacuuming and damp wiping are much more effective.
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Use The Smartphone You Already Have To Help Monitor
If you already have a smartphone, then you can more easily track VOCs with the help from one of Foobot’s smartphone air quality monitors. As previously mentioned, their state-of-the-art app allows users to accurately track VOCs from mold. The data and information you gain can be invaluable when it comes to how you approach improving your indoor air quality. Many homeowners know the importance of monitoring for carbon monoxide why not monitor for other pollutants that can be just as noxious?