If you think there might be a problem with indoor air pollution caused by airborne molds, then test for them. Here's how to do so.
Have you ever walked through a bathroom and wrinkled one's nose because the air smelled stale? While it may sound strange, it's common for toilets to smell foul due to the buildup of moisture and bacteria. To keep these odors out of the home, it's essential to regularly clean and disinfects the area.
Sometimes, a musty smell is not always present. It could be caused by something else. If you're concerned about a musty odor, you can find out if there is a problem.
RELATED: The Dark, Dirty Truth About Household Mold (and How to Get Rid of It Yourself)
You can buy a reliable, easy-to-use indoor air quality (IAQ) monitoring system for about $150.00. These systems are designed to monitor the air quality inside your home. They do not require any special training to operate. Most plans include an alarm button, so you will know if the air quality drops significantly. Some also provide information regarding the source of the problem. For example, they may indicate whether the foul odor comes from cooking fumes, cigarette smoke, pet dander, dust mites, or something else.
Before You Begin
Mold needs water to grow, so it thrives where there's lots of humidity. Leaks from plumbing systems, for instance, often cause mold to form and should be fixed immediately. If you see any visible mold anywhere in the house, follow these steps to remove it safely. Or hire a professional mold remediation service.
There are several familiar places for molds to hide, which are often hard to spot. Here are some of the most common hidden places for molds to live:
- Behind the refrigerator
- Under stacks ofnewspapersorcardboard
- Behind the drywall in walls that house plumbing pipes
- Under sinks
- Behind the wallboard surrounding leaky windows
- In ventilation ducts
- Under carpeting that had been soaked by water at some point (flooded, cleaned),
- If there was water damage on the backside of the acoustic ceiling tile, then repair it.
- Flood damage behind drywall
There are three main types of household mold.
While there are hundreds of different types of mites, most people are concerned about Stachybotrys chart arum, which is commonly referred to as "toxic" or "black" mold. This type of mold is relatively uncommon, but it's among a group of mites that produce toxins that can cause a dangerous home environment. Regardless, any mold can become a serious problem if left unchecked. For safety reasons, all mold growth detected by a viable mold test should be dealt with immediately.
Here are some of the most common types of molds that can be found in homes.
- There is a wide variety of different types of molds. Some molds cause allergic reactions and irritate people's lungs. Other molds can grow on foods and make them unsafe to eat. Still, different kinds of molds can cause serious illnesses. For example, certain strains of molds can produce toxins that affect the brain and lead to memory loss. These molds are called mycotoxins. They can also trigger severe headaches and nausea. Even though molds can be dangerous, they are instrumental. Molds are part of nature's ecosystem. Without them, plants would die. And without plant life, animals would starve. Because of this, scientists believe that molds play a significant role in keeping Earth healthy.
If mold appears in the dishes, observe whether it grows.
After two days, check the Petri dishes for any sign of visible fungal growth. If there is visible fungal growth, it will appear similar to the fungal growth you would see on old food in the refrigerator.
- If there aren't any signs of mold after five full working days, you can put the kit back into its original location and discard it. It didn't find mold in the first place.
- If there is mold in the dishes, you can take them to the laboratory recommended by the manufacturer to identify the kind of mold and the appropriate treatment. You'll also need to pay for the analysis. Some kits come with envelopes for sending samples.
After step 7, consider further testing if you're unsatisfied with the results.
You may take up to eight weeks to get your results. During that time, you might be able to detect mold by using an air quality monitor. However, if you're unsure whether mold is growing in your home, you'll need to purchase additional mold tests.
Long-term mold exposure may pose health risks.
People living near water often get sick from waterborne bacteria and viruses. They may experience diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, headaches, body aches, chills, fever, coughs,
- Chronic coughing or wheezing
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent sneezing
- Irritated or itchy skin
- Watery eyes
- Running nose
- Chronic headaches
- Skin rashes
- Chronic fatigue
- Diminishing memory and concentration (related to toxic mold)
If you want to be sure that your house doesn't contain any dangerous mold levels, follow these steps to identify them. You may also want to invest in an air quality monitor to keep track of the air quality in your house.
FAQs About Mold Testing
Because of the complexity and importance of learning how mold inspections are done, there may be some lingering questions. If you're having trouble finding answers, consult the Mold Inspection FAQs below.
A. Mold and mildew are two different things.
Mildews are always flat or powdery and usually come in white or gray. They can be any color, including black, green, blue, or red. Molds are often raised, fuzzy, and sometimes come in different shapes and sizes.
Mildew is usually found on surfaces where moisture collects, such as walls, roofs, and furniture. It's not harmful when it stays on these surfaces. However, if it gets into your house, it can cause serious illness, including respiratory issues.
A. Black Mold is a dark grayish-green film growing on wood surfaces.
Black mold can grow anywhere, including indoors. It is often associated with dampness and humidity, such as in bathrooms, basements, kitchens, and laundry rooms. Mold grows best in warm, humid conditions. When exposed to air, it produces spores that float through the air until they land on something moist, germinating into new colonies.
A. Mildew looks like moldy grass.
Mildew is usually gray or white but can be greenish-yellow or brownish-black. Mold has a soft texture and may appear powdery.
A. Yes, a person can be tested for exposure to molds.
Some tests are designed to determine whether you're sensitive to indoor air quality (IAQ), but these aren't always accurate. Your doctor might be able to evaluate your symptoms and perform a blood test or prick test to get a better idea of your sensitivities.
A. Yes, mold testing kits will detect mold growing inside wall cavities.
Removing mold on the wall can be essential to fixing any issues with your home. You should make sure that you know what type of mold is present before you start removing it. A mold testing kit can help you identify the kind of mold that is present in your house. If the mold spores inside the wall are entering the air, then they will be found by the mold testing kit. Otherwise, the equipment may not see mold growth inside the wall.