Mold Testing to Find Mold
Not only can mold testing tell you if you have a mold problem somewhere in your home, but it can also help you to find it.
Mold often grows hidden away behind walls and other places. Mold tests can help you narrow down the location of hidden mold by telling you the places in your home with the highest amount of mold spores.
Mold Testing for Indoor Air Quality
You can have mold testing done to tell you the amount of mold spores in the air.
Sometimes you can be suffering the symptoms of mold allergies even if there is no mold growing in your home. This can be because of mold spores blowing into the home from outdoor mold or because there used to be mold growing in your home which left behind a build up of spores.
By testing for mold you can tell if there is an unhealthy level of spores in your house and find out if any allergies you might have are from mold or something else.
Mold Testing after Removing Mold
Mold testing can be useful after you’ve had mold removed from your home. Through testing you can make sure that the mold removal was a success.
Surface sampling can show whether an area has been properly cleaned of mold. Having air testing some time after the mold removal can also confirm that mold spores in your home’s air have been reduced to a safe level.
Multiple Mold Tests
A mold test gives you a snapshot of the amount of mold particles in a certain area at a certain time. But the amount of mold spores fluctuates over time and from place to place.
Because of this it’s a good idea to test at several different times and in different locations in your home. This way you will get a more complete and accurate picture of the mold problem in your home.
Types of Mold Tests
The three main types of mold tests are:
Ideally you should use all three types of tests since each have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Air Testing for Mold
Air sampling tests the concentration of mold spores in your home’s air. Samples are taken from the air and are later examined under a microscope.
Air tests can tell you if you have a mold problem even if you cannot find the mold growth. However the amount of mold spores in the air can change drastically in a small amount of time, giving varying results at different times.
Finding Mold During the Inspection
If you decide to do the mold inspection yourself then you need to thoroughly search for mold in every room of your house including the attic and the BASEMENT.
Special attention should be paid to areas around water sources such as near the shower or bathtub, sinks or pipes. You should check especially carefully the areas which have had any history of moisture problems in the past. During your search for mold if you do find any water leaks this can then lead you to where mold is growing.
Some common places where mold often grows is on substances high in cellulose such as drywall, under carpets, in insulation or in ventilation ducts.
If you cannot see mold in a room it doesn’t mean there is none there. Mold can often grow hidden from view behind walls, above ceilings, under floors or in air conditioning ducts. If you find small spots of mold on a surface it could mean there is a much larger mold colony growing hidden away on the other side.
Besides using your eyes pay attention to any odors. The smell of a mold colony can help you to narrow down where mold is hiding. Any health issues you notice which occur when you’re in certain areas of your home can also alert you to the presence of nearby mold. Symptoms such as sneezing and sore or water eyes can be tell tale signs of mold growth nearby.
Don’t Disturb Mold
If you do find large areas of mold during the inspection be careful not to disturb it if possible as this can spread spores or even MICROTOXIMS throughout your home. Large mold colonies should only be disturbed once you have set up the proper containment during remediation.
Sometimes you might find what you think is mold but what might actually be dark soot or just dirty spots. Look closely to be sure that what you have found is mold, disturbing it minimally if you need to examine it physically.
If you are unsure you can always use a mold test kit to verify. Testing can also be helpful if for some reason you want to identify the species of mold you have found in your home.
Finding Water Problems
The second stage of mold inspection after finding mold growth is to find the water problem that caused the mold in the first place. There is no point going to the trouble of finding and removing mold in your home if the water problem that caused it is not fixed and then soon causes the mold to return.
You should search your home for any water leaks or evidence of leaks. Besides stopping the leak or other water source you will need to take action to make sure it doesn’t reoccur in the future. Once you have found the cause of the mold in your home you will first need to fix it and then clean up any remaining moisture.
After Finding Mold
After you have found the mold in your home you need to determine the size and extent of the mold colony before you can begin to remove it. If the mold looks like it might be toxic you should think about having it tested to determine its species so you’ll know whether you can remove it yourself or whether you should hire a professional.
In either case you should not disturb any large mold colonies you find yet since proper containment should be set up before mold removal to prevent spores spreading throughout your home.
After the mold inspection you might feel mold testing is warranted if you couldn’t find any mold. Mold testing can either rule out the presence of mold or help track down its location if it’s hidden.
If mold was found and you decide you want to test the mold to find out its species, eg in case it’s toxic or to confirm it really is mold, then testing will also tell you what you want to know.
Once you have found all the mold in your home you’re ready to move on to thinking about the mold removal and remediation process.
After you have removed and remediated a mold problem you might want to perform the mold inspection process again to make sure that the mold clean up was successful.
By having mold testing you can find out if you have a mold problem in your home. Mold tests also measure the amount of mold spores in your home’s air and can identify what species of mold you have.
Professional Mold Testing
Ideally you should have mold testing performed for you by a qualified mold professional. Hiring a professional mold tester who is experienced in collecting mold samples and analyzing the tests will always give you the most accurate results.
Mold Test Kits
There are companies who offer mold test kits which you can use to collect samples yourself. This is a less expensive option than having a mold tester come out to test your house. The samples you collect with a mold test kit are sent away to a professional mold testing laboratory who will get back to you with the results.
Why You Should Test for Mold
The main reason you’d want to test for mold is, of course, to find out if you have a mold problem. So what are the clues that you could have a mold problem?
A Mold Smell
The first is a mold smell. If you notice a moldy smell in your home there’s a good chance you could have mold hidden somewhere.