Mold is a part of our natural environment. The fungus has a specific purpose in nature, to decompose and break down organic materials, such as plant debris, animal carcass, and dead trees. As relevant as the fungus is to nature, no one wants it in their home. It is harmful to the home’s structure and your health. This is why testing for mold in your house is important.
Testing for mold in a house starts with an inspection. You need to go from room to room closely inspecting the walls, windows, and other items in each room. Be more thorough in damp and closed rooms because fungus thrives in those conditions. Once you’ve spotted it, you can test it with a DIY kit, to identify the type of mold.
Our guide takes you through the inspection and testing process.
Mold comes in various colors and sizes. The fungus may be black, white, green, brown, or orange and usually furry in texture. It varies because there are different types of molds. The most common are:
Mold can grow anywhere in your home. It requires a closed, damp environment and starts in tiny spots. Initially, it may be hard to distinguish dirt from mold. But, we explain how you can do that.
We recommend you inspect your home for mold at least once a year. However, homes in areas with a lot of rain or humidity should be inspected every five to six months. The fungus grows in damp locations or where there is rainfall. Therefore, homes in such areas are more prone to mold growth.
Start the inspection by closely looking at the walls, window sills, doors, and other elements in your home. There are certain locations, you need to be extra vigilant while inspecting. These are:
Inspecting for mold is a bit tricky because the fungus isn’t always visible to the eyes. It can grow under the carpet or in the air vents. Therefore, you need to use your sense of smell also. The fungus has a distinct musty odor, which is easy to pick up.
Once you spot the mold, you can test to see if it is mold or dirt. To do that, make a solution of 1:16 bleach and water (1 part bleach and 16 part water). Dip a swab in the solution and dab it on the growth. If the spot lightens or comes back a little after you’ve dabbed it, you can assume it is mold.
You can now test the mold with a DIY kit. Follow the guidelines on the kit to determine the type of mold growing in your home. But note that not all kits are effective. Therefore, your best option is to call on a professional to identify and remove the fungus.
The harmful effects of mold on humans are no secret. The fungus releases tiny particles into the air, which travel throughout your home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the particles may aggravate allergies, asthma, and other breathing problems. It can even result in infection due to long-term exposure.
Furthermore, the fungus is harmful to your home’s structure. Once it starts to grow, it spreads from the walls and floors into the foundation of the home. It slowly weakens the foundation, which impacts the structural integrity of your home. If untreated, the structure will rot away, and the house can potentially break down.
This is why you must regularly inspect your home for the fungus, ideally every 6 or 12 months. Without it, you can end up having to spend a lot on home repairs while also putting the health of you and your family at risk.
Mold is not something you should take lightly. It has the potential to damage your home and impact the health of everyone that comes into contact with it. Testing for mold in your house is a simple process that anyone can do on their own. Once you spot it, make sure you take the best approach to mold removal or call a professional to do it for you. Tread carefully with the fungus as it is more harmful than it looks.
Belal Rizvi enjoys writing about home improvement and do-it-yourself projects. He is an avid learner of the mold removal and dehumidifiers industry and provides insightful information about it to the readers.