How clean is your home? Are there signs you have mold in your house? No matter how meticulous you are about regular cleanup, you may be powerless when it comes to some organisms, who’d like to share your living space. Mold is one of the most popular “neighbors” people try to fight with. Unfortunately, sometimes mold is hard to spot. It can live under the titles, behind the wallpaper or even deadly black mold on the carpets. Some are unlucky enough to detect mold behind drywall – which can be especially hard to find.
Unfortunately, one of the first signs you have a mold problem in your home, will be displayed through sickness and allergic reactions of you or other members of your household. Check out our guide to see if you suffer from any mold related symptoms.
What Are The Dangers Of Mold?
Mold lives virtually everywhere there is a surface, shade, and moisture. Meaning, there’s a 99% chance you have it in your home. The easiest type of mold to spot is mildew. It looks like small black spots on the walls and gout lines in your bathroom. Some people confuse mold with dirt and don’t do anything to get rid of it.
The mold produces spores, which float through the air and get into our lungs. There are several types of toxic mold.
Toxic means that the mold can cause damage to your health when you inhale a large number of spores.
Some toxic mold species from the above categories can cause allergic reactions while others can lead to death. All the above mold types can potentially live in your home.
How Can You Detect Mold?
What can you do if you suspect that you have mold? Mold testing allows you to identify the nature and extent of the mold problem in your home. So…How do you test for mold?
- Check for Yourself
The easiest way to tell if you have mildew or dirt is to apply a couple of drops of household bleach to the suspicious spot. If in one to two minutes, it becomes lighter, you have mildew.
Mildew appears on the surface while other types of mold can damage your home from the inside the walls. If you suspect mold formation, use a screwdriver to probe inside the wall. If the wood is soft and damages easily, you have fungi.
- Hire a Professional
The best way to find out if you have mold, where you have it, and what type is growing in your home is to hire a mold professional. Such experts know how to collect samples and where to look for them. The right collecting methods coupled with professional analysis lead to getting the most accurate results. However, hiring a mold expert is quite expensive (in some areas it can cost up to $1,000).
- Buy a Mold Test Kit
If you can’t find or check for the mold yourself and hiring a professional is too expensive, you can buy a DIY mold test kit.
These kits allow you to collect mold samples and send them to the laboratory for testing. They can help you find out what type of mold is present in your home and if the contamination is dangerous.
I’ve gone through several mold test kits and came up with the best 3 options. In my opinion, they can become a life saver for some people, who live in mold-infested homes and don’t know anything about it.
Pro-Lab Do It Yourself Test Kit – Under $10 for the test and $40 for the analysis
This kit allows you to use three sampling methods:
- Visual sampling – if the mold is visible, you use a swab to swipe a sample of mold and put it in a petri dish. Then you send the swab and the dish to the lab for analysis.
- HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) sampling – if you suspect you have mold in the HVAC system, you tape a petri dish inside the air vent, turn the fan on the highest setting and let it run for 10 minutes. Then you wait for the mold on the petri dish to incubate for several days (according to the instructions). If something appears, you send it to the lab.
- Air sampling – you place an open petri dish on the surface in the room where you want to check for mold. Close the dish after one hour and wait for incubation according to the instructions. If something appears, you send it to the lab.
- Three sampling methods
- Easy to use
- Quick lab analysis (about 5 days)
- The lab is certified by American Industrial Hygiene Association
- One test in each package (if you want to use all three methods, you need to buy three kits).
- Just one test may not be accurate. At least two are recommended.
Mold Armor FG500 Do It Yourself Mold Test Kit – Under $10 for the test and $40 for the analysis
This mold test kit also offers three sampling options, including visual, HVAC, and air sampling. You can use the kit indoors or outdoors. The test is straightforward and easy to use. In case the HVAC and air sampling reveal the presence of the mold, you can send it to the lab for analysis.
- Easy to use
- 3 sampling methods
- Respectable lab
- One petri dish in each package
- The lab results take up to 3 weeks.
DIY Mold Test, Mold Testing Kit – around $45 (analysis included)
Unlike the previous tests I reviewed, this one offers an adhesive strip method. This test is good if you see suspicious spots on the surfaces and want to find out if it really is mold and how dangerous it is. You swipe the adhesive strip over the surface and then mail it to the lab. Once the results are ready, an expert from the lab will discuss them with you and give advice regarding further steps.
- Easy to use
- 3 strips inside
- Free expert consultation
- Fair price
- No air sampling
- No HVAC sampling
If you have even the slightest doubts about your home being mold–infested, run the tests as soon as possible. Discovering mold timely is essential to staying healthy.
Also published on Medium.