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How To Test for Mold in Your Home

When Should You Test For Mold?

It is time to test for mold if you are having persistant health problems without a known cause or smelling unknown things. Chances are, molds are already dominating your living space.

How do you test for mold in your home?

  • Visual Inspection

Because mold cannot live without moisture, sources of moisture should be one of the focal points of your investigation. Have a thorough visual inspection of your structure. This includes the attic, crawl spaces and basement.

  • Examine the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems

    Check out the moisture content of floors, walls and ceilings. Look beneath surfaces and all water-damaged areas. This can be made easier by using a non-invasive moisture meter.
    Test the humidity in the indoor air, using a calibrated meter.

  • Specimen Collection

    A mold inspector does this kind of mold testing. The training they have will ensure that, throughout this portion of the inspection, there is consistency in collection protocols. In the process, minimizing the possibility of sample contamination.

The specialized equipment used for mold testing allows them to collect specimens from:

  • Indoor air

    Primarily, these samples test and determine airborne mold spore counts. Proximate outdoor air is also tested. In special cases where the species of mold needs to be identified, a collection plate with a growth medium is placed in a viable impactor, or microbial particle sampler, in which one hour of spore settling time is replicated in five minutes.

  • Wall interior air

    Moisture meter readings of an elevated moisture content of the wall material make it a candidate for this type of testing. The paper covering, drywall, is vulnerable to consumption from mold growth. Air sampling pumps set at 15 liters per minute, draw air from the wall cavity for two minutes and for a total of 30 liters.

  • Carpeting

    Carpet samples are collected with a system developed as a sampling and analysis technology for the enumeration and identification of both total and viable fungal spores in dust. The system involves sweeping carpeting with a vacuum. The collected dust can be analyzed for total and viable fungal spores, as well as allergens.

  • Small pieces of contaminated material

    Sometimes it is necessary to remove and test a small portion of the material affected. These are collected without marring appearances, whenever possible.

  • Water from drain pans or cooling towers

    This will be an indicator if there is mold contamination in the immediate water source or if it is from the main source.

What Do I Do with My Collected Mold Samples?

After the collection procedure is accomplished, the right samples should be microscopically examined by a certified laboratory, allowing testing of the kind of mold sampled.

This is necessary because unmagnified appearances may not be reliable indicators. Certain colors may suggest the presence of a toxic mold. For example, the purple and green sheen sometimes associated with Stachybotrys. Note that many varieties may not always exhibit the same colors.

Black mold, white mold, green mold and any other kinds all require scrutiny along with scientific methodology to ascertain if the sampled mold is a genus known to produce mycotoxins.

If you are budget wise and conscious of the money spent on mold testing, don’t be alarmed. You only pay an analysis fee for the samples sent to the laboratory. There is no charge for those not sent.

Those that are not sent would be placed in a special culturing area. Their mold growth progress will be noted visually and documented to serve as reference for any future mold problems.

For the mold samples to be tested in the laboratory, a “chain of custody” form should be completed by the mold inspector. The specimen media will then be carefully be packaged and sent.

Three days after the laboratory receives the samples, the microscopy technician will send a written report about the findings and results of the testing done. This report will be immediately forwarded to you.

Having finished the testing, you will then know for sure if you have mold growing in your home. You can then take the necessary steps needed in removing them.

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11 thoughts on “How To Test for Mold in Your Home

  1. I’m concerned with the fact my husband is considering buying us a home that we looked at that is covered from basement to roof in mildew or mold. We have only been approved for a minimal home mortgage, which leaves us two choices. Get an ok home in the dredges of the nearby small “city” or buy a home in a nicer section that needs lots of work. He thinks it’ll be a breeze to kill this problem then cover it in KillzIt then simply repaint. I am so worried to be eventually living in this house, and also of reselling it down the road after we have rehabbed it. Is mold testing pricey? I know he’s going to want to do this all himself because of cost, is self testing even possible? Help!

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  4. We have what we think mold smell that sometimes we can smell and sometimes we can’t, we also have a very damp area that has completely turned blach and ate away at the molding and about 2iches of carpeting from the wall? we are renters what do we do? and what rights do we have?

  5. my basement was recently flooded twice. There was possibly 2-3 feet of water in my basement. I had wall to wall paneling in the basement. I have hired someone to remove the paneling. I am afraid of mole. Should I be worried about mole spores coming into other areas of the house? Should I hire a
    professor?

  6. If your going to hire a mold inspector, do NOT get one that does remediation.

    You want to hire a company that does only inspections to ensure they have your best interests in mind and not their own.

  7. My motor died In handler upstairs. When tech came out opened it there was mold growth all over the wall in unit. He said this is what u are breathing in. I said take care of it. He said it a extended warranty cost 109.00 $ . I said still have two yr left warranty he close cover ddid not take care of problem because I would not pay extra fee.

    Need help I have a funky smell in house
    thxs deb

  8. I have blackness along the baseboard of the bedroom. I thought it was mildew. I called maintenance In my apartment complex. They came and sucked excess water from one corner of bedroom. That corner is behind a room that have a water heater. It had a leak, and water come in underneath the closet into bedroom. Apartment manager put new carpet and padding only in the area where is flooded: 3×5 area. The flooring was not clean where I saw abblack something on the wooden carpet strips and of course the base board. After two days, I’m smelling a funky smell and along with a perfumed spray they carpet cleaners used.

  9. Hello,
    I have 2 boys, ages 5 and 8 that have had a persistent wet cough for approximately 3 months(with an attending runny nose) , and have recently started vomiting in the middle of the night. The house that I am renting has 3 areas of the roof that have been known to leak in very wet conditions. The worst, and most hidden, is in the ceiling above the closet in the boys room. The landlord still hasn’t addressed the issue, and I am concerned that this could be a mold reaction. I also noticed that the younger boy has had flushed cheeks, and the backs of his hands appear red. Am I off base, or should I be worried? The doctor didn’t seem to have an idea of what might be wrong, and suggested OTC nasal spray. Any thoughts are welcome.
    Thanks

  10. Me and my spouse live @ Montecillo @ cranbrook 13913 Ella Blvd 77014, we have been having maintenance issues throughout the lease of staying on this property, it seems things only get handled when we take action upon higher management, but now I’m reaching out to seek an health inspector or someone close to it, due to the fact me and my spouse have a child that lives here and we’re concerned about his/our health and living, there’s an odd smell, [mold-like, wet sheetrock] and the property management only seem to seek the issue in fixing the problem by saving money and doing the cheapest way as possible, and it continues to get worst, we both have been patient but now it’s too the point were we are coughing and having headaches might be towards the point were we will have too seek medical attention to be on the safe side.

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