Most of us know about mold. A lot of us know that mold is not good. But what many people might not know is that mold can be growing in your own home without you even knowing. Recently my father was renovating a bathroom in his home and was replacing some plumbing, when he discovered there was a large amount of mold growing under the floorboards, due to a leak in the o-ring on the toilet. The problem will require replacement of the floor boards in the bathroom, but if it had been left alone it could have caused more extensive damage.
If you’ve ever walked into a room and noticed that it smells musty, it could be a feeding ground for mold and mildew. Mold and mildew are fungi that break down components of whatever they grow on, and they thrive in environments that are moist and humid. Mold can release microscopic spores into the air that are hazardous to human and animal health. However sometimes it is harder to notice when mold is growing.
The good thing is that you can test for mold throughout your home, even if you don’t smell mustiness. The best way to do this is to buy a mold testing kit and look in specific areas throughout the home to determine if you need to contact a mold removal service.
Where to Look For Mold
Mold requires moisture to grow and survive, so the first place to test would be areas in the home with high levels of moisture. If mold or mildew is visibly present in any of these areas it is pertinent to clean it immediately and to test surrounding areas for hidden mold. If you feel the mold is more than it should be, or if you are unsure on proper mold cleaning techniques, call your local restorations company about mold cleanup. Here at Clean Earth Restorations, we pride ourselves in being experts in the mold and mildew cleaning and restoration field.
Here are some key areas to check first when testing for mold in your home:
- Underneath stacks of newspaper/cardboard
- Behind the refrigerator
- Behind drywall in areas that contain plumbing lines and pipes
- Underneath sinks
- Behind and under the dishwasher
- Around leaking windows and behind wallboard around the windows
- Ventilation ducts
- Underneath any carpet that had at one point been wet, or carpet near sources of moisture
- The back of acoustic ceiling and roofing tiles, especially if the roof at some point leaked
- Behind drywall near sources of moisture
How to Use a Mold Test Kit
You can purchase mold test kits at almost any home improvement store, or online. However not all test kits are the same, and some are only able to test for mold in surfaces. You’ll want to get a kit that can test surfaces, as well as test for spores in the air. These kits can cost $20-$45, and the testing process can sometimes take a few days to complete. Once the tests are complete you can typically send the test kit to a lab that will test to see what kinds of mold are present in the testing sample. Additional analysis like these that are performed by a lab can usually cost $40-$70.
Something important to note is that the United States Environmental Agency (USEA) does not endorse any home mold and mildew test kits, and recommends getting your home inspected and cleaned by a professional restorations agency. With this in mind, if you do purchase a home test kit, it is important to take the results with a grain of salt. When it comes down to it, if you think there are any traces of mold in your home, the best thing to do is call in the pros and let them take care of everything for you. For all things mold and mildew related give us a call at 619-284-4239, or contact us at cleanearthrestorations.com.