Mold seems to crop up more often these days, and not just because 2017 has been an unusually wet year. Despite a busy hurricane season (remember Maria and Nate?), precipitation has been average. The reason mold is more prevalent now than before is because we are paying more attention to it.
The Wall Street Journal reported in 2013 that 47 percent of U.S. homes have “substantial mold or dampness.”
You could have ignored that number if the WSJ had not added: “People who are exposed to mold are 30% to 50% more at risk of asthma, coughing and wheezing, he adds. Mold exposure also has been associated with other health problems, such as bronchitis and respiratory infections.”
Not only does mold affect almost half of the U.S. homes, but it is also jeopardizing your health. Are you sure your home isn’t affected?
Here is a quick way to find out:
1. If You Can See Mold, Your House Is Affected.
There is no need to consult a mold specialist to be certain because “in most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary.” (The United States Environmental Protection Agency, EPA).
The U.S. EPA has published tips and techniques for mold removal for DIY homeowners. At the same time, the agency recommends hiring a professional if the moldy area is more than 10 square feet. Read the tips carefully before you take on the DIY project.
In most cases, it is better to start working with professionals for mold remediation. You can start out with an overview of the tips to hiring a mold remediation contractor.
2. If You Can’t See Mold, but Suspect Its Presence, It’s Time for Mold Testing.
Mold testing can confirm or refute your fears. It can also help you find hidden mold, assess the indoor air quality, and identify the type.
Although you can get mold test kits from Amazon, Home Depot, or your local supermarket, interpreting the results is not always straightforward. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. EPA recommends that “sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods, and interpreting results.”
The Agency Has Some Good Reasons for the Recommendation, Including:
- Air testing for mold produces results that can vary from a surface or bulk testing. For a first-timer, it can be challenging to decide which type of testing will be appropriate.
- The results may be misleading. Mold is already in your house. It’s everywhere. The whole raison d’etre of testing is to find out how severe the situation is. A simple “yes” or “no” isn’t helpful.
- Mold loves to stay hidden. Testing for mold in your drawing room will produce different results, then a test in your basement or attic.
Stay safe. Call a mold specialist instead of doing it yourself.
And that brings us to the $500,000 question: When should you be calling an expert for mold testing?
Call a Mold Specialist If You
Here we suggest four scenarios.
1. Notice a Damp Musty Moldy Smell.
2. Spot Water Leaks.
Water leads to mold. Call a mold specialist if you spot a leak in your plumbing or another water issue. Overlooked, water can catalyze mold growth so much that within three days mold can grow from barely detectable to pungently visible.
3. Are in Poor Health.
Have a cough, sneezing, or headaches taken hold of your health? Is your physician having trouble diagnosing your illness? Are these diseases refusing to leave your home? If you answered yes, you might have the mold to blame. Get professional mold testing going to be sure.
4. Are Selling or Buying a Property.
You wouldn’t want to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a house that’s infected and can make you and your loved ones unwell. Get it tested for mold. Ditto with sellers. The value of their property will increase in most cases if they have a certificate announcing that their home or office is mold-free.
Several kinds of molds infect buildings. Some of them are more dangerous than others. The most common of toxic molds is Stachybotrys, more famous by its other name, Black Mold. Different toxic molds are Aspergillus, Chaetomium, Ulocladium, Aspergillus, and Penicillium.
Mold testing and remediation can ensure no toxic mold is destroying your health, making a living in your home miserable, and ruining the value of your property. Get your home tested for mold. Team up with a professional because that’s the fastest, safest, and most reliable way to get correct results.