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.
What To Do If You Think Your Apartment Has Mold
If there is mold in your apartment, you need to notify your landlord immediately. You might also consider asking your landlord to bring in a professional mold inspector. Mold usually grows in difficult to see places, like behind walls or appliances, and the professionals will have equipment to detect it.
When You Find Mold While House Hunting
The key to finding mold is knowing where to look for it. Check dark, damp places for mold, like under cabinets and in basements, crawl spaces and attics, advises Tina Tyus, a real estate broker at Town Square Realty in Birmingham, AL, and author of So You Want to Flip Houses?
Even if you dont find mold, Tyus says a home inspector will be able to locate it if mold is present. And if its found, mold remediation should be addressed prior to closing, she says.
During the home inspection process, theres an inspection contingency period and buyers have options, according to Shawn Kunkler, a San Francisco-based realtor and author of Insiders Guide to Home Buying. If mold is discovered, he says this can be point of negotiation or the prospective buyer may be able to walk away from the home.
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How To Tell If You Have Mold In Your House
It can be hard to tell if you have mold in your house. Obviously, if you see mold somewhere, youve got a mold problem in your house, but mold can hide in walls, ventilation ducts, crawl spaces, and in other hard-to-see areas.
A common way to check for mold is to smell for it. A musty smell in an area of your home is often an indicator that there is some kind of mold present. Symptoms like a persistent runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing and throat irritation could also be indicative of mold.
In addition, anywhere that has been exposed to a significant amount of moisture such as water damage from flooding is a potential area where mold may be growing. Look for water where it shouldnt be, and check areas which may have flooded in the past.
Where Mold Is Found
Mold comes in various colors and shapes. The villainswith names like stachybotrys, penicillium, aspergilus, paecilomyces, and fusariumare black, white, green, or gray. Some are powdery, others shiny. Some molds look and smell disgusting others are barely seenhidden between walls, under floors and ceilings, or in less accessible spots, such as basements and attics.
Mold often grows on water-soaked materials, such as wall paneling, paint, fabric, ceiling tiles, newspapers, or cardboard boxes. Humidity sets up prime growing conditions for mold. Buildings in naturally humid climates of Texas, California, and the Southern U.S. have experienced more mold problems than residences in drier climates. But whatever the climate, mold can grow as long as moisture is present.
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Most Common Places To Check For Mold In Your Home
If you have allergies or a chronic lung disease like asthma, youre probably very aware of the effect mold can have on your health. But even if you have a healthy immune system and no allergies, mold can cause a variety of health problems coughing, wheezing, and throat, skin, and eye irritation, to name a few. Mold is everywhere and, though you cant fully control your exposure to it outdoors or in public spaces, you can check for mold in common places around your home and take measures to prevent and remove it.
What Should You Do If You Suspect There Is Mold In Your Home
Step 1: Stay Calm
First thing you should if you suspect there is mold growing in your home is not to panic. Mold damage is a common problem that occurs in almost every home.
If you can see mold or you have suspicions of mold in your home, its likely much worse than youd ever want to see.
Step 2: Get Tested
Next, you should contact a local home mold removal company. They can come out and do a mold inspection and air test.
Step 3: Hire Local
From there, you can be confident if you need any mold removal or if your home is safe. Either way, you will have peace of mind knowing what to do next.
If the test comes back that you do have mold, you will want to work with a local mold removal company to get the mold removed as soon as possible.
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Answer: Usually You Do Not
If you can already see it, you usually do NOT need to spend money on pre-testing mold. Plain and simple: you just need to remove it. Since no visible mold growth belongs in a healthy home and all mold should be removed the same way, there is usually no need to identify what types and concentrations of mold you have via testing.
If a so-called mold professional insists that you need to spend hundreds of dollars on pre-testing when mold is already visible, our advice is to be very wary because its often a waste of money.
The only time we recommend pre-testing when there is visible mold is when you need hard proof for a negotiation. For example, if you are buying a house that has some mold, its probably a good idea to get it tested/confirmed so you can negotiate the price down with the seller.
What Is Mold Remediation And How Does It Work
Mold remediation is the process of identifying and removing unhealthy levels of mold that have colonized in a home, office, school or other building. Over time, if untreated, mold can destroy a home by breaking down cellulose-based materials and causing a slow and messy decay. In the shorter term, a mold infestation can cause severe health problems.
If mold has been positively identified in your house, either by visual examination or through mold testing, remediation can safely remove it. Properly trained and equipped professionals use specialized equipment to keep mold spores contained while they remove contaminated materials and treat infested areas with antimicrobial spray.
Here’s an example of the steps involved in professional mold remediation:
- Contain work area and apply negative air pressure HEPA air purifiers to prevent cross-contamination. If spores spread, the colonies can easily regrow elsewhere in your home.
- Mist an EPA-registered antimicrobial to suspend and kill mold spores.
- Remove affected building surfaces.
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Finding And Eliminating Mould From Your Home
On this page:
Mould is a fungus whose spores are invisible to the naked eye. It gets into houses by the air currents, humans and pets. To grow, mould needs water and nutritive material, such as drywall or cardboard. When there is significant mould growth, it can lead to health problems. To learn more about these problems, read Health problems caused by mould.
Mold Caused By A Landlord’s Failure To Fix Leaks
Landlords in all states but Arkansas are responsible for maintaining fit and habitable housing and repairing rental property, and this extends to fixing leaking pipes, windows, and roofsthe causes of most mold. If the landlord doesn’t take care of leaks and mold grows as a result, you might be able to hold the landlord responsible if you can convince a judge or jury that the mold has caused a health problem.
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What To Do About Mold In Your Home
If you recently found mold in your home, you are probably searching the internet to figure out what to do. This step-by-step guide will answer all of your questions. Dont panic, it may take some time but you will get past this. The key is to educate yourself and do it right the first time so the mold does not return.
Please note that this page was written to help homeowners. If you live in an apartment or rental house, here is information about the landlord responsibility for mold.
I Have Mold Growing In My House: What Now
You’re getting your house ready to sell, and you notice a small patch of black or green creeping up your drywall in the basement. Your thoughts go right to potential respiratory problems and expensive renovations that a toxic mold problem could bring. But is it the time to panic?
Experts say several things should be noted immediately mold occurs almost everywhere, and not all molds are toxic. The severity of a problem depends on the comparative air quality of the indoor space to the surrounding area, and the severity of a leak or other source of moisture that could be causing the mold.
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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.
Where Does Mold Originate
Mold growth often begins in a high moisture area, such as standing water outside the shower or leaky windows. Once a source is identified, it should be fixed promptly and all the excess moisture removed, said Kimble. While many say bleach can handle a mold cleanup, it destroys the plant life itself but it waters the spore, or the seed, with moisture, which allows it to survive, he said.
Bleach may work on non-porous surfaces such as glass, metal or plastic, but not on porous surfaces like wood, concrete or drywall, where mold could easily seep into the material and stay alive, said Nardozzi.
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Contact Us About Mold
Report possible violations of environmental laws and regulations.
EPAs website provides information on mold, its effects on indoor air quality and health, and guidance for addressing mold issues in homes. Please read the following resources before submitting a question.
Please note:EPA does not inspect homes for mold or other general indoor air issues and cannot intervene in landlord/tenant issues. For information on state laws and policies to improve indoor air quality, please see the Environmental Law Institutes Database of State IAQ Laws. You can also find contact information for health and environmental agencies in your state on our Health and Environmental Agencies of U.S. States and Territories webpage.
If you are experiencing health effects that you think are attributable to mold or other indoor air issues in your home, please consult a medical professional. EPA cannot diagnose illnesses or their causes.
Search our Frequently Asked Questions:
- Visit our websitefor the full portfolio of Indoor Air Quality information.
If you still can’t find your answer, send us your questions or comments:
- Via postal mail or courier at the address below:
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|U.S. EPA/Office of Radiation and Indoor AirIndoor Environments Division||U.S. EPA/Office of Radiation and Indoor AirIndoor Environments DivisionWashington, DC 20004|
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What To Do If You Find Black Mold In Your Home
Experts weigh-in on removal and safety tips.
Mold isn’t always a bad thingbut it’s still not an organism you want growing unchecked in your home. “Some molds are very benign,” says Leslie Andersen, vice president of training and launch at restoration company Paul Davis. “And some are really good: Think about bleu cheese, or penicillin, or mushrooms, or beerall of those have molds in them.” But if you find a musty smell in your basement or see a patch of fungal growth in a water-prone area of your home, that indicates a mold you’ll want to removeespecially if it’s hazardous black mold.
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Taking Care Of Your Mold Problem
1. If you have been suffering anyillnesses that wouldnt go away like allergies, itchy eyes, sore throat,headaches, fatigue, etc., go see your doctor and explain to him that you havemold in your home. Knowledge about the mold will help him to correctly treatyou. Here is more on the symptoms of mold exposure.
2. Have your home tested by a trainedmold tester. Many people make the mistake of cleaning up the mold withouttesting. It is important to know the type of mold your dealing with, and howbad the problem is. Most mold testers are engineers so they can give your homea thorough inspection to find all the mold. If its a small problem they mayrecommend cleaning it yourself, and will give you advice on removing it. If itslarge job and a removal service needs to be hired, they will oversee the cleanup and supervise the removal process.When the cleanup is done, they will come back and test again to make sure theremoval was properly done. Make sure if you hire a removal company that youdont pay them until the final testing comes back showing the home is clean.For a list of licensed mold testers in your area, follow the link.
4. Contact your insurance company andfind out if mold removal is covered in your policy. In many cases it is,depending on the cause of the mold. This article on homeowners insurance andmold explains it well.
10. Be proactive in the future aboutmold prevention. Here is more information on preventing mold.
Indoor Mold After A Weather Event
Many South Carolina residents are concerned about indoor mold as a result of severe weather disasters. As part of our commitment to assist those who have been affected, DHEC has compiled the following information to guide decisions regarding mold in homes and workplaces.
If you’re experiencing any issues with flooding, below is an important resource number to be aware of.
- Mold Hotline: for general information.
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Once In The Home Heres What To Expect From A Professional Worth Their Salt:
- Proper safety gear should be worn when dealing with mold. A high quality, high filtration face mask is a must, as are vinyl or neoprene gloves. A full protective suit is recommended when using harsh chemicals and for larger mold remediation projects.
- Mold professionals seal off the work area, often using plastic sheeting, so that mold spores do not become dispersed throughout the home.
- Mold professionals use expensive, professional equipment such as HEPA air scrubbers, HEPA vacuums, commercial-strength dehumidifiers, etc. Regular handymen wont have that stuff.
- After mold is physically removed from its source, the air should be cleaned of airborne mold spores using HEPA air scrubbers and air exchange
- When vacuuming and using air scrubbers for mold remediation, the filters used should be HEPA . Only HEPA filters are designed to capture particles as small as mold spores. Regular filters will not work, and could make the problem worse.
- Mold professionals usually discard moldy porous building materials such as drywall, insulation and baseboards. These materials are relatively inexpensive to replace and difficult to impossible to restore to their previous uncontaminated condition.
- Mold professionals will use an antimicrobial chemical to clean any remaining mold and mold stains after demo.
- Mold professionals often use a sealer or encapsulant to make the treated areas more resistant to water damage and mold, and also to help with odor control.
Protect Others And The Building
If you decide to clean the mold yourself, it is important to protect yourself and the other people in the building. When cleaning a large amount of mold, consider the following:
- Remove furnishings and items from the work area.
- Enclose and seal mold material in plastic before carrying them through the home.
- Cover air supply and return vents in the work area.
- Use a fan to pull contaminated air out of the work area and exhaust it outdoors.
- Consider renting an air scrubber to operate in the area .
- Remove the outer layer of work clothing inside the work area and wash separately, or bag and discard the clothing.
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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.