Studies show that roughly 70% of all homes have mold hiding in their walls. Mold can be harmless in some situations; however, in other cases, mold can cause severe allergic reactions, health complications, respiratory illness, and more. So, what can you do?
Running a test for mold is the perfect place to start, and we are going to show you just how to do mold testing in your home with ease. So, if you suspect your home might be hiding a dangerous secret, keep reading!
Before we jump into how to test for mold, you must understand what mold is and how it spreads. Mold exists inside and outside and can easily spread from the outdoors via clothing, shoes, pets, windows, AC vents, and more. When the mold spores attach themselves to an area with ample moisture, the mold can easily grow.
Fabric, drywall, insulation, carpet, wood, paper, etc., all support mold growth, so essentially, the materials that make up your home are all breeding grounds for mold spores. There are over 100,000 identified types of mold; however, there are nine types of mold most commonly found inside the home.
The way a mold behaves depends on the variety. Some of the household molds you will come across might be harder to test for and treat, so it is important to learn more about mold testing so you can eliminate the mold properly.
Cause For Concern
As we said, mold can cause various health issues to those living in a home with mold infestation. Mold allergies can cause a runny nose, red and itchy eyes, and skin rashes. Additionally, mold in the home can cause asthma attacks in certain people. Pets are also at risk for these symptoms, and in many cases, they will begin to show symptoms of mold allergies first.
Aside from the potential health dangers, mold can severely damage your home and its value. As the mold continues to grow in the home it will eat away at whatever it touches, including wood and fabric. Over time the structures will deteriorate, and eventually, they will become unsalvageable. This is why testing for mold and getting it under control in a timely fashion is so crucial.
Where Does Mold Grow
All molds need moisture to thrive, which is why mold in the bathroom and kitchen is so common. Cool, damp spaces like basements or attics are also hot zones for mold growth. If an area has a build-up of materials like cardboard or paper products rarely moved, such as in an attic or basement, mold can easily thrive feeding off those products.
If you live in a particularly humid environment, mold can grow in some surprising places as well. It is not uncommon to find mold spreading behind wallpaper or on drywall. These are two tricky areas for detecting mold because you cannot always see the mold spreading. Let’s take a look at what you need to do to identify if you have a mold problem.
What Does Mold Look Like
As we said, there are various types of mold, some of them look similar, and some can be trickier to identify. Trichoderma, for example, is a greenish-white creamy-looking mold that looks quite different than other molds. It is most commonly found in the bathroom around the tub or on wood and windows.
Other molds, such as Cladosporium, are black to greenish in hue and can often be mistaken for dirt or grime. Molds such as Aspergillus and Alternaria are a little easier to identify because of their signature fuzzy appearance. With that being said, the only sure way to tell if you have mold in your home is to do a mold test.
How to Test For Mold
A simple homemade mold test can help you identify if you have a mold problem in your home, the bleach test. For this mold testing, you will make a solution of diluted bleach 16:1 parts and head to the area where you think you see mold.
Take a cotton swab and saturate the tip in the bleach solution. Then, you will rub a small section of the area that you suspect is mold with the cotton swab until the area is clear. If when you check back, the spot has returned, it is most likely mold growth, not dirt or grime.
Visually you can see signs of mold that might be lurking behind walls and wallpaper as well. Warped or bulging areas that are soft to the touch are good visual indicators that you have a mold infestation behind the walls.
The smell is another indication that you have mold. Mold will often have an earthy, musty, or sour odor that does not go away even after cleaning an area. If an area has suffered from water damage, you will likely smell an odor if mold is present.
If you have genuine concerns about mold, you should consider professional mold testing even after your home test. Professional mold testing is done by reputable experts who will identify the type of mold in your home and come up with a plan to eliminate the problem effectively.
Putting Safety First
As you can see, mold can be quite dangerous to your health and the health of your home. Letting mold grow and go unchecked will, without question, lead to damages in the home. If you have concerns, start by doing a test for mold on your own, and then give us a call!