How Common Is Mold In Buildings
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.
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 Mold In 6 Steps
Mold infestations can usually be seen or smelled, but they can also remain hidden behind walls or under carpets. Testing isnt necessary if you can see or smell mold that is confirmation enough to call a professional and begin the remediation process. Testing for mold in the house may be necessary if requested by a health professional or needed for legal purposes, such as a lawsuit with a landlord. Another reason to consider testing is if you arent able to see or smell mold in your home but are having unexplained symptoms associated with mold. Always follow the instructions provided with a test kit , but this is generally what to expect:
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How Common Is Mold In Homes
Unfortunately, mold is very common in homes because it grows in areas with lots of moisture or where there has been flooding. According to advice from the CDC, most building materials are particularly conducive for the growth of some molds especially on wet materials like paper, cardboard, ceiling tiles and wood. But other common household materials like paint, wallpaper, carpet, clothes and upholstery also support mold growth.
Mold is particularly prominent around leaks in roofs, pipes or windows. You will most likely spot this nuisance problem in bathrooms, toilets, kitchens and basements. Mold can enter your home in many different ways. Whether this is through cracks and crevices, windows, open doors or via heating and air conditioning systems. It can also attach itself to clothing, shoes and pets and be brought into your home this way.
Tips To Keeping Surfaces Clean Of Mold Longer
- Keep humidity levels in your home low to discourage mold from developing. Using a dehumidifier or air conditioning helps to keep humidity levels hovering around the ideal mark of 50% throughout the day.
- Use a handheld hygrometer to measure your home’s humidity throughout the day.
- Always use exhaust vent fans when showering in the bathroom and when you cook in the kitchen to prevent the build-up of moisture and humidity.
- Ensure that your dryer has a vent and that it vents to the outdoors, not indoors.
- Use mold-killing cleaners in your bathroom to keep spores away.
- Avoid using wall-to-wall carpeting in areas that may become wet or moist, such as basements, bathrooms, and kitchens.
- Prevent mold formation by fixing leaks anywhere in your home as quickly as possible.
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Clean Out Coffee Maker
The moist interior of a coffee maker is prime real estate for mold and mildew growth. Clean the coffee maker by using a funnel and pouring white vinegar into the maximum fill line of the water tank. Run a cycle with the vinegar . Repeat if you spot a lot of mold or mildew at the top of the tank.
Run one to two cycles of plain water to rinse the vinegar from the coffee maker before making coffee again.
How To Test For Mold In Air
Mold is a fungus that can grow indoors as well as outdoors. There are countless species of mold, some of which are more harmful than others. Mold grows in dark, damp and warm areas, such as bathrooms or basements.
However, not all mold is visible.
Sadly, if you have mold in one area of your home, there could be spores flying around. Thats right, mold spreads and reproduces through spores, which can survive severe environmental conditions . So, if your allergies are agitated, it might be due to mold spores flying around in the air.
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Mold Testing Kit Concerns
As helpful as mold testing kits can be, sometimes they are not the best choice. Surprisingly, there isnt a standard for what is acceptable regarding indoor mold.
Naturally, mold is everywhere. When you perform a mold test sampling, youll find that mold is ubiquitous. The mere presence of mold does not automatically indicate a problem or a potential health risk.
How Easy Is It To Use A Home Testing Kit
Most testing kits follow a similar process that is quick and easy to follow. In most cases, you will just need to take these steps:
As you can see, this combination of materials will give you all of the tools you will need in order to make your house a healthier place.
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How A Mold Test Kit Works
Its possible to buy a DIY mold testing kit that can find mold on the surface and one that can find mold in the air at any hardware store or online. Some kits can do both. Often, kits that test for surface mold come with tools for collecting samples. Most require you to put the tools and the sample in a sealed bag and mail them to the lab that makes the product. If you want lab testing, the bag comes with an envelope thats already been addressed, and it can cost anywhere from $15 to $40. Lab fees arent always included in the price of the item. In fact, there are usually extra fees for lab analysis. One exception is the Healthful Home test kit, which comes with supplies for testing for Stachybotrys , as well as Aspergillus and Penicillus, which could be dangerous.
Kits that say they can test for mold in the air come with a way to get air samples. A petri dish with growing medium in it that you leave out in the air for a certain amount of time could be what you use. To make sure you follow the instructions that come with the kit you choose, read the instructions that come with it. In order to get your results, you send your sample to the lab in a bag and mail it. You can get them either through the manufacturers site or by mail. You may have to wait a few days or even a few weeks to get lab results from some kits.
Why Trust The Spruce
This article was written by Erica Puisis, who has been researching strategies to improve everyday life and health for The Spruce since 2017. To find the best options for at-home mold testing kits, she considered a wide range of products that include both self-monitored and lab-evaluated options. When comparing options, she considered the type of test, the number of samples for each kit, how long it takes to receive results, the cost of any necessary lab fees, and whether or not additional help is available from an expert. All of the at-home mold testing kits on this list that are lab-evaluated are handled by an AIHA-accredited facility.
In the research process, we also interviewed Dr. John Balmes, a professor of medicine at UCSF and professor of environmental health sciences in the School of Public Health at UC Berkley. He shared insights on the most common types of residential mold, as well as the conditions that are most favorable for its growth. In addition, we spoke to Elías Rodríguez, the Deputy Director of Public Affairs for Region 2 of the EPA, regarding testing guidance and the role that moisture plays in the development of mold growth.
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First Alert Mt1 Mold Detection Kit: Best Mold Test Kit For First Step Testing
First Alert is a well-known brand that has been providing safety products for your home for around 60 years. So its a brand you can trust. And its MT1 Mold Detection Kit is no different.
If you purchase this simple, no-fuss testing kit, you get six test taps to use on your surfaces, three polybags, a manual and a preprinted return envelope. Although this kit wont test whether there is mold in the air, it will get to the bottom of whether there is mold growing on your surfaces.
Costing under $20, this is on the affordable side of test kits. However, you do have to pay an extra $15 per sample you send to the lab for analysis. But despite the additional price, if you do decide to opt for this testing, you can rest assured it will be accurate as its conducted by a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health certified lab and youll receive your results within 5 7 working days.
How A Diy Toxic Mold Test Kit Saved Me Hundreds Of Dollars
Last year when I rented a fixer upper house in the Atlanta area, I got a good deal on the rent in exchange for doing some cosmetic work to the interior of the house. This should have been a red flag but, being an optimist, I jumped on it. Little did I know, the house needed more than a bit of lipstick.
After I ripped up the carpet, refinished the floors, and painted the whole interior, a foul odor still lingered. I tried everything to get rid of the smell from air purifiers to specialized cleaning solutions. Nothing seemed to work.
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The Best Mold Test Kits
Home»Mold Test Kits
Heres an uncomfortable truth: you could very easily have mold in your home right now and not even realize it. Mold spores are tiny enough to drift in through open windows or hitch a ride on clothing completely undetected. The good news is that, out of the more than 100,000 different species of mold on Earth, the vast majority of them are mostly harmless to humans, especially when theyre present in very small amounts. The bad news, though, is that certain types of mold produce substances called mycotoxins. As their name implies, mycotoxins are far from harmless!
Humans can suffer from a variety of health problems when they unknowingly inhale or ingest mycotoxins. And one of the most common ways that people come in contact with these nasty microbes is through undiscovered mold infestations in their home. Mold test kits, which are designed to detect traces of mycotoxins in urine or environmental dust samples, can be the key to discovering that your home or body is contaminated with mold. A good test is accurate AND quick not just one or the other. Fortunately, mold test kits by RealTime Laboratories are both!
The RealTime Labs Difference Heres what makes our mold test kits so special:
Who Is Most At Risk For Health Problems Associated With Exposure To Mold
People with allergies may be more sensitive to molds. People with immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections. Individuals with chronic respiratory disease may experience difficulty breathing. Individuals with immune suppression are at increased risk for infection from molds. If you or your family members have these conditions, a qualified medical clinician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment.
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Mold Armor Fg500 Do It Yourself Mold Test Kit
The Mold Armor kit includes a test swab, petri dish, and a bottle of mold growth medium. You can use this single kit in one of three waysto test the air for mold spores, to test air quality in your HVAC duct, or to test for surface mold.
To use the kit, pour the growth medium in the petri dish, replace the lid, and allow it to gel for one hour. Then, either allow it to remain open to the atmosphere for an air quality test, tape it to your air duct for a HVAC test, or use the swab to remove a sample from a surface and apply it to the growth medium for a surface test.
If after 48-96 hours mold begins to grow in your dish, you may choose to send it to a lab for analysis. With a price tag of under $10, this mold test kit is affordable. But the lab fee is an additional $40.
Indoor Air Quality Monitors
An indoor air quality monitor is an electrical device that measures the level of pollutants in the air. You simply plug it in, place it on a stable surface, and let the unit read the number of particles in the air.
The best indoor air quality monitors on the market can detect a variety of substances, including allergens, carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, ozone, mold spores, PM2.5, radon, VOCs, and more.
If you want a long-term solution for home air quality testing, then this is a good choice. Otherwise, you can perform an individual sampling of substances using a home testing kit mentioned next.
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What To Look For In A Mold Test Kit
Youll want to make sure that you buy the best mold test kit for your needs. A DIY mold test kit is great to have at home as mold testing is serious business.
The best mold test kits are those that perform multiple tasks and not only detect mold. You dont want to make a mistake that could taint the results. Also, youll want to assure that lab fees and extra reports are covered in the total cost of your mold detection kit.
Make sure every tool to collect samples, like an air pump, petri dish, adhesive strips, and swabs are included. The best mold kits dont require additional purchases or make you pay for extra test materials.
Mold Test Kit: Indoor Air Quality Test For Mold
Mold Test Kit: Mold is a rapidly-growing fungus that can be found, at some level, just about everywhere in nature. In areas that are regularly dark and damp however, mold levels can become problematic when it get into your indoor environment. An indoor air quality test for mold may be needed identify if this is happening in your home or building. This kit includes lab analysis for molds, return shipping, and lab report. There are no hidden fees, unlike most other kits on the market which will charge for return shipping of your samples to the lab and for the lab analysis for your sample. Also included at no additional cost is the identification and concentration data for the types of mold found, and one sample collection device for 1 surface sampling location!
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Mold Can Happen To Anyone So It Shouldnt Be A Source Of Shame For A Homeowner Conversely If A Person Shows Symptoms Of Mycotoxin Exposure They Shouldnt Immediately Rule Out The Possibility Of A Mold Infestation In Their Home On The Grounds That I Keep My Place Clean
Ive heard a lot about black mold being dangerous. What is black mold, exactly? Can your test kits tell me if Ive been exposed to black mold? Black mold is the common name given to Stachybotrys chartarum, a certain variety of microfungus known to produce trichothecene mycotoxins.
While its not commonly found in nature, this type of mold has a real knack for setting up shop inside the walls of man-made structures. Black mold infestations are usually a result of water damage or long-term moisture buildup inside of an enclosed area, so bathrooms, basements, and attics are particularly vulnerable to black mold growth. And trichothecenes have been associated with acute and chronic respiratory issues in humans, including nasal inflammation, excess mucus secretion, and olfactory system damage. They may also negatively affect the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and protein, thus wreaking havoc on the entire body.
Black mold can be scary to think about, but the good news is that all of our test kits are capable of spotting trichothecenes in a given urine or dust sample. Black mold may be good at hiding, but our Real Time Laboratories is even better at seeking!