Homeowners: Here is how to test for mold in your home.
If you think your home might have toxic mold, then you need to know if your home has mold. First of all, mold is expensive to eradicate. The longer it is allowed to live and grow and spread, the bigger that bill is ultimately going to be. Second, and most important, mold can create health problems for those exposed to it. Even healthy people can feel the effects. The children or elderly family members who share your own are even susceptible to respiratory issues and skin irritation caused by mold. If you think you might have mold, there are a methods to know for sure. Here are the options to test for mold in your home.
Home Test Kit
It is best to start the mold discovery tour of your home with an inexpensive molding testing kit. Because even if you cannot see or smell the mold, you may still have toxic spores floating in the air in your home. You can buy one of these kit online or at your local hardware or home improvement store.
Some kits will have you gather air samples from your home and send them to a laboratory. The lab will send you a full report. Other kits will have you take samples of different surfaces in your home and, again, have you send the samples to a lab for a full report.
You can use this report with a professional cleaning service to help you locate and eradicate the mold.
If you want more immediate results and someone to whom you can ask questions, you may want to hire a professional tester. Like the home test, the tester will take samples of the air and of certain surfaces of your home. They will be able to identify the type of mold, the likely sources, and what will be the effective next steps for getting rid of the mold.
In most cases, the company testing for mold will be the one to clean it out of your home. So, if you like to work with one person and don’t want to wait for results from the lab, this may be your best option.
The Sight and Smell Test
Before you purchase a home testing kit or hire a professional tester, you can go on the search for mold with just your nose and eyes.
Mold needs water to grow. So, start your search in the damp, humid places of your home. A good idea is to start in your basement and go up from there. Check the areas behind the washing machine and in and around any ducts. Find small, enclosed areas and hard-to-clean corners.
As you head to the main floors of your home, check all of your windows. Look under the sink and behind the refrigerator. Clean out your utility closet where you may have left a less-than-dry mop or bucket. Take a look at the ceilings. Mold is more likely to grow at the corners where the wall meets the ceiling and near vents. When you go into the bathroom, check near the shower curtains, sink, toilet, and fan. Take a close look at the pipes in your house. Mold can grow very easily near small drips and leaks.
Here is what you’re searching for:
- The smell: Mold has a distinct musty or earthy odor.
- The sight: Mold can appear like a dark stain on many surfaces. It will look like cotton or felt. It can be black, green, and white.