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How To Test For Mold

How you just performed your regular visual inspection of our basement or crawlspace and discovered musty smells? Maybe the bathroom or attic is starting to grow a bit musty. Whatever the situation, it sounds like there is a good chance you are dealing with mold. Unfortunately, these areas of the home provide the perfect breeding grounds for mold and it doesn’t take much or it to start growing and reproducing here.

At least if you are looking and made it this far you’re ahead of many. The real question now becomes what to do from here. Not all molds are necessarily bad or even dangerous.

Nonetheless, it can be smelly, and unsightly, and bring down the value of your property. In the worst possible scenarios, such growths can be lethal or even structurally damaging to your home. So, how do you know what type of mold you are dealing with and how dangerous is its presence?

Testing Mold

The truth of the matter is that testing mold can be as simple as buying a home testing kit. It can even be simpler if you get us on the job. Our highly trained professionals test and remove all species of mold. However, if you desire to do the testing and removal yourself that’s possible too. This is at least the case for small growths.

Some mold growths might not be as simple as scrubbing away at the growth. They may require the building of plastic tents and the complete removal of the infected materials. While mold should always be handled as quickly, safely, and efficiently as possible, you do want to take your time and make sure you choose a reputable testing kit.

With the kit in hand read through the instructions several times before testing. Some tests might need to be sent off and some might provide immediate results. Either way, when the testing is done, you are going to be presented with a negative or positive. Depending on the test, a negative will likely indicate non-dangerous mold as a positive reading will indicate the growth of a potentially dangerous species.

That’s right, not all growths are dangerous. Yes, all molds are unsightly, but the very presence doesn’t always indicate the need for worry. So, how to proceed with positive results?

Before Testing Starts

Like all living things, molds have needs that are vital to their growth. Moisture would be essential for mold and that’s why it’s commonly found in damp, dark areas. Sometimes, preventing growths can be as simple as correcting excessive moisture or immediately repairing a leaky pipe. However, mold can be tricky at times as well.=

There are many scenarios where mold is present in the home and it isn’t visible. That might be the very scenario you are facing currently. You might detect moldy smells but can’t visually locate the growth. It could be growing on the inside of the walls. These are the situations when you’ll certainly want to turn to a professional with the right testing equipment and methods.

It also does help if you know some of the common areas where often grows. Here are common areas you’ll want to look for:

  • Behind refrigerators
  • Under old stacks of firewood, newspapers, or cardboard
  • If mold is behind your walls it usually appears where there’s excessive moisture or plumbing pipes
  • Under kitchen and bathroom sinks
  • Air condition units and ducts
  • Under carpeting that is constantly or recently soiled
  • Mold can grow on the back side of ceiling tiles if the roof recently leaked
  • Mold can appear on the backside of drywall if exposed to water or excessive moisture

The Most Common Types Of Mold

Most informed homeowners don’t even know that there are various species of mold. Most just smell that musty smell or see dark, black stains and think of them as the same thing. Well, this is not the case at all. As was previously stated, some growths aren’t even considered dangerous, while others can be lethal in the right amounts.

It is the black mold or toxic mold that most people know. The technical name is Stachybotrys chartarum and you might be surprised to learn that it’s rather rare. With that in mind, it’s the mycotoxins that make molds dangerous. When any mold contains a high amount of mycotoxins, it should be considered highly dangerous.

So, what are the types of molds and how dangerous are they? This is likely something your in-home testing kit will cover, but just in the event that it doesn’t, you should at least familiarize yourself with the most common types of molds.

  • Mucormycetes: This species is commonly found outdoors in the soil during the summer and fall. It will be nearly impossible to completely avoid contact with this type of mold, but not to worry because it doesn’t hold potentially harmful properties
  • Alternaria: Similar to its name, this is the species that are most often responsible for the exacerbation of common allergy symptoms. Believe it or not, this is actually an outdoor species that is often brought into the home. Once introduced it can spread rather quickly
  • Aspergillus: The largest portion of this species is found in the air, but has been previously located in the soil, on compost piles, in stored grains, and on decaying plants. When introduced into the home it can potentially cover leather, building materials, and any moist area

In-Home Mold Testing 

Mold growths should always be taken seriously, especially when they are indoors. It is hard to completely rely on in-home testing kits, as it usually takes specialized equipment and a trained eye to determine whether mold is dangerous or not.

Therefore, mold is always best left to the professionals. We are more than happy to answer any questions or concerns you have regarding mold, spores, and its growth. All it takes is a simple phone call to our local offices and we can have someone out at the property immediately.

Contact our local office to schedule your free home inspection, which includes a written quote.

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