When a home or building is infested with mold, the contamination can often be seen. It can exist along baseboards or on walls. At other times the mold may be hidden, such as within walls. In these cases, there may be musty smell or inhabitants may suffer from breathing or health problems. It is important to determine what type(s) of mold are present.
Because mold spores are float through the air, a simple way to determine if mold is present is to test the air of the home or building. Mold test kits can be purchased at hardware stores, home centers and online. Generally, a test should be done for each floor of the home or for every 500 square feet of space to be tested. An extra test kit should be used for an outside control sample.
If you can actually smell or see mold in your home, you obviously have mold infestation, and a test kit is probably not necessary.
To self-test for toxic mold, do-it-yourself mold test kits can be used to collect samples from suspected contaminated areas. The collected mold samples are then sent to a laboratory for analysis and identification. Self-testing mold testing kits are not designed to take the place of a professional Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Assessment. If you suspect that you have an extensive mold problem, a professional is needed for proper testing.
Consider having a professional investigate the situation under the following conditions:
- Where the building has plumbing or water leaks, including roof and basement leaks, sewer backup issues, heating and air conditioning problems.
- Where the inhabitants are of a particular risk group. This includes infants, the elderly, asthmatic, or those suffering from respiratory problems.
- Where there has been extensive water damage, and you need to know the extent of the damage for insurance purposes.
For small areas, you may be able to eliminate the mold yourself. But if the mold contamination area is larger than 10 square feet or extends to hidden areas, a mold remediation professional is needed.
There are two large risks in cleaning up mold yourself. First, you risk cross-contaminating other areas of your home or building. Second, improper precautions could make yourself or others sick, particularly if they fall into an at-risk group.
Suspect a mold problem? For a free consultation, call H&H Environmental at (888) 250-6653.