Mold and mildew can be a serious problem in any home, and it is not to be taken lightly. If left on its own for an extended period of time, it can cause irreparable damage to a home and its foundation, which can cost thousands of dollars to repair or replace. In our last blog we talked about how a good way to identify any potential mold in your home is to use a home test kit that you can buy from a store or online. These tests aren’t always 100%, so it important to take the results with a grain of salt. But if you are on the fence about any mold within your home, it can help you be more sure about bringing in the pros to mediate the problem.
In this blog, we’ll give you some tips on how to use one of these test kits to get the most accurate reading possible.
– Pen or marker
– Tape (electric or scotch)
– Painter’s tape
– Mold test kit
The first thing you’ll want to do is before the test even starts. Go around your home and make sure you close any windows or openings, and make sure they are closed for 24 hours before starting the test. This eliminates any unwanted drafts which could blow away any present mold spores.
Take the mold test kit out of its packaging. In most kits you’ll find a petri dish with a substance in it that is used to culture microbial spores. This culture helps the bacteria that lands on it grow, which makes testing and sampling easier and more accurate.
Take the lid off of the petri dish and place it on a surface that is about table height. You’ll want to leave the dish there for at least 48 hours, or for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer of the test. It is important to not touch or disturb the dish. With this being said, you will want to avoid this room as much as possible when performing the mold test. If possible, try to avoid the room completely while testing, and place painter’s tape on doorways and windows to help prevent unwanted draft from entering the room. You’ll want to remind family members and guests that area of your home will be temporarily off-limits until the test is complete.
Once the allotted time period has passed, you’ll want to place the lid back on the petri dish. Seal the lid by putting a layer of scotch tape or electrical tape around the lid where it meets the dish. While you want the lid to be adequately sealed, it is good to keep in mind that you’ll want to avoid using tapes that are difficult to remove, like duct tape.
Write the date on the label in the kit and attach it to the bottom of the dish.
Put the sealed petri dish in an area with a limited amount of light, such as a closet or a dresser drawer. Light can be damaging to bacteria collected in the sample.
After two days have passed check the petri dish for any signs of mold and bacterial growth in the dish culture. If there is mold present, it will usually look like mold that typically grows on old food.
If you can’t find any signs of mold growing in the petri dish, put it back in a dark spot and keep checking daily. If after five days there are still no signs of mold, it means the kit didn’t find any signs of mold in the room. Feel free to discard the dish in a trash receptacle. However, if you feel the dish may have read incorrectly, call a mold remediation company to perform a test.
If you do find mold in the dish, you can send the dish to a lab (typically the lab recommended by the manufacturer of the test) to determine what type of mold is in the area. You’ll typically send the sample and payment for the test in the envelope included with the test.
After you mail in the sample, tests can take as little as three weeks, and sometimes up to eight weeks to process. During this time you can test other areas of the home for airborne mold spores. It is important to test all areas of the home, because all areas of the home can be prone to mold and mildew growth.
Here at Clean Earth Restorations, we consider ourselves as your local mold remediation specialists. For more information on how to properly test your home for mold, or if you do find mold in your home, give us a call at 619-284-4239, or contact us at cleanearthrestorations.com.