Testing For Mold In The House
If you suspect you have mold growth in your house, its important to determine the type of mold and severity of the growth with a mold inspection. In some cases, mold has been suspected of making people sick, causing allergic reactions, and leading to expensive repairs if left untreated.
Also, bear in mind that mold remediation only removes the symptom. Therefore, if you want to have peace of mind about the health of you, your family, and your home, then locate the source of the moisture leaking into your home and make those repairs as you clean up the mold. When testing for mold in the house, professional services are available to help you find hidden mold and moisture problems in your home.
How Can I Tell If I Have A Mold Problem
Any part of your home that gets wet is likely to be moldy. Check for:
- Leaks in your roof or plumbing. If water is trapped inside your walls or under your carpet, molds may grow there, although they can’t always be seen. See if your walls or rugs have light stains or a strong musty smell.
- Mold in your basement, especially if your basement floods because of rain. Moisture can also seep through your home’s concrete foundation and make the bottom of carpets or the inside of a finished wall moldy.
- Water damage around your windows or doors to the outside of the house. In winter, moist air can change to water on these cooler surfaces and cause molds to grow there.
- Mold on walls, ceilings, floors, carpets, books;or piles of newspapers. Smell these areas too; sometimes a musty smell is your only clue that you have a mold problem.
Your Bathroom Exhaust Fan Is On The Fritz
Mold is a particularly common problem in bathrooms with inadequate ventilation, says Yoel Piotraut, a managing partner at MyHome Design + Remodeling. A bathroom exhaust fan is an essential tool to keep toxic mold at baybut it wont work if its clogged or not running well. In fact, if its still steamy five to ten minutes after you get out of the shower, your fan isnt circulating enough air. It may need to be cleaned or replaced with a unit that meets the square footage of your bathroom. Piotraut also suggests cleaning the walls regularly with a bleach solution or other mold-killing product. These are the household items you use that could be poisoning your air.
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Where To Check For Mold In Your Kitchen
From long-forgotten leftovers in the back of your fridge to the not so easily forgotten dishes that pile up in the sink, there are ample surfaces for mold to take up residence in your kitchen. The added levels of humidity from using the stove and running hot water from the sink can cause kitchen mold to grow quickly. Some of the most common places to check for mold in the kitchen include:
Using A Mold Exposure Test
A mold exposure test is often the best way for you to check for mold on your own. You can pick one up at any home improvement or home supply store.
Simply follow the instructions on the box. Usually, youll just brush the surface where you think mold may be present, and send the test strip or brush in for a laboratory analysis. If mold is present, youll be notified.
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The Bottom Line On Testing For Mold
The cleanup procedures for treating mold are the same, whether it is black mold or another type, so it isnt always necessary to test for mold if you can see or smell it. But if you have a specific reason for identifying types of mold in your home or suspect you have mold but cant find the source, a do-it-yourself mold test is extremely easy to conduct.
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.
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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.
How To Test For Black Mold
Do you keep getting a whiff of something musty in your bathroom or basement? Afraid it might be mold? Learn about three of the most popular kits to test for mold at home.
Its no secret that damp areas of the home provide the perfect conditions for mold and mildew to grow. Whether your nose knows, or your eyes spy dark spots in strategic locations, you want to make sure.
Mold doesnt just eat away at your wood, wallpaper, or grout. Its spores get airborne and cause all kinds of health problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says enough evidence exists to link mold to upper respiratory tract symptoms like itchy eyes and runny nose to cough and wheeze in otherwise healthy people.
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What To Do About Mold In Your Home
For areas that have already fallen victim to mold, there is hope. We cannot stress this enough – your first action should either be a mold test kit, or a call to a professional service. Do not simply attack mold with bleach and expect it to disappear, because you’re likely fixing the symptom and not the root cause. When you know what you’re dealing with, you can then take appropriate action.
In some instances, common household ingredients can rescue you home. Mix a cup of bleach with a gallon of water and scrub the mold off your walls, carpet or ceiling. This will kill the mold, and allow you to repair or repaint the impacted area . This is usually fine for areas where you haven’t been allowing enough ventilation – simply remove the mold, repaint with a moisture or mold repellant paint, and remember to open doors and windows to prevent the area from getting stale.
If you have a windowless bathroom, mold will likely grow here. Having an air extraction fan fitted is relatively inexpensive, and can prevent moisture from staying within the room. Failing that, keep the door open as much as possible.
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.
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How To Know If You Have Black Mold In Your House
Mold isnt always visible. If you can see mold, its only a sign of the real potential health risk, which is the harmful types of unhealthy levels of mold in the air of your home or workplace.
Airborne mold is all around us in both the outdoors and indoors. The types and amount of mold is what determines the potential health risk. Most of us are typically accustomed to the varieties and amounts of mold present in our outdoor environments.
Healthy indoor environments will have mold conditions similar to or better than those in the surrounding outdoors. Over time, because of moisture , many indoor spaces develop unhealthy types and/or unhealthy levels of airborne mold that can be harmful to you or;your pets.;
These signs will help you know if you possibly have unhealthy mold conditions in your house:
- Allergic symptoms
- A damp or musty odor in one or more places
- Frequent headaches
- The air in the home feels different
- Your house has been flooded or currently has leaks
- You previously tried removing mold yourself
Take note of how you feel in and out of the house. If the symptoms disappear or decrease when youre out and about, then you might have a mold problem, yes, even if you cant see mold.
Household Molds That Can Lurk Inside Your Home
Mold is unfortunately, pretty much unavoidable in your home as most homes harbor some species of mold in its confines. Out of the 1,000s of mold species, there are some species that are more prone to growth indoors than others, and some that particularly grow inside homes.
There are six main species of mold that are commonly found inside homes, and each contain their own characteristics and potential health hazards.
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How To Detect Mold In Walls
If there is an area of your home where you think mold may be present in the walls due to smell, a strange appearance of the wall, or any other factor there are a few ways you can test this.
The simplest way is to probe the area with a screwdriver. If the area is soft or the screwdriver easily pierces the drywall, mold likely has rotted the surface away, and youll be able to see it once a hole has been opened up in the surface. Be careful when doing this and do not do it near any wiring or electrical outlets.
You could also use a fiber optic camera to look around inside after opening a hole in the wall, but at this point, you may as well hire a professional inspector. A professional inspector has the tools required to examine the wall thoroughly, and ensure that its mold free or detect any potential issues.
How Does Mold Get Into Our Homes
The more people who live in a home, the more likely it is that molds will grow inside it. This is because we release a lot of moisture in the air when we breathe. When we take long hot showers, cook with uncovered pots, dry clothes on an indoor clothesline, or use humidifiers, we also make more moisture for molds to grow. Storing wet firewood, watering many plants,;and storing many vegetables like potatoes and squash can make a mold problem more likely, too.
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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 .
How To Test For Toxic Mold
If you have mold in your home, your nose is one of the most inexpensive devises you can use to detect it. Mold smells, and chances are, you’ll be able to detect the distinctive odor that taints the air around moldy walls, carpeting and other objects. The struggle is in understanding when mold is dangerous to your family or home.
The term toxic mold is a little confusing. Some molds, like Stachybotrys chartarum or black mold, produce mycotoxins, toxic substances that cause health problems in some people. There is no direct link yet between mold-produced toxins and serious conditions like idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage in infants, but there are concerns that exposure to these toxins can exacerbate existing lung conditions and allergies, and possibly cause problems in otherwise healthy people. Common molds that aren’t considered toxic also have the potential to cause reactions in some people, which makes it important to get rid of any type of mold you find in your home as soon as possible, particularly if you suspect that someone in your family is having a reaction to it.
Mold can be scary. There are potential health implications for your family, and a mold outbreak can take a financial toll, too. Once established, mold can be very invasive, releasing millions of spores into your home. Many homeowners’ insurance policies now exclude or limit coverage for mold related problems.
First up, let’s learn a little more about household mold.
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Mold Toxicity: The Effects Of Living With Mold
Rapid growth and an overtaking of your environment are a few characteristics that can be used to describe the dreaded but common household issue that we know as mold. Mold is a fungus that can grow on almost anything, with the ability to thrive in many conditions but most specifically in warm temperatures and high moisture environments.
The versatility of mold allows for this fungus to grow in both indoor and outdoor environments, making it an invasive presence in both your outdoor area and most importantly in your indoor areas such as your home. When you are exposed to mold chronically, you can develop mold toxicity symptoms.
Mold has the ability to spread far and wide, as tiny microscopic spores are released from the source in an effort to allow additional mold to grow. As mold begins to reproduce, its effect on humans who have been exposed could be significant.
Sensitivities can plague some individuals when contact occurs between mold, with symptoms spurring into overdrive in some cases. The type of mold present can lead to variations of symptoms, with a rough estimate of 1,000 species of mold currently in the United States . The level of hazard existing to human health can significantly reflect based upon on the specific type of mold in the environment and can thus lead to a scary health effect called mold toxicity.
How Can I Test For Toxic Mold
If you suspect or fear toxic mold is growing in your home, you wont need any special tests. A test such as the viable test kit we learned about above will detect all kinds of molds present. By sending your petri dish to a lab, you can get a better idea of which types of molds that are growing and then take the correct actions.
The next step should always be to consult a professional for further tests and investigations. Test kits are more of a guidance than something to fully rely on.
Its also important to understand that simply because its called toxic mold, it doesnt mean its toxic to you. As we mentioned above, molds that produce mycotoxins can affect some individuals, while others wont be affected.
However, if you suspect that you have been exposed to toxic molds, your doctor can run a few tests. A blood test can help to determine if youve been poisoned by checking biotoxins in your blood .
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If You Need Help Finding Hidden Mold
If youre not sure whether you have mold somewhere in your home, we suggest calling a professional mold tester. He or she will come to your home and conduct air tests, which will detect the presence of mold. Most mold testers are engineers, so they will also inspect your home to help find where the mold is, and determine what caused it to start growing. Follow this link to get a list of professional mold testers in your area.