Mold poses a serious threat that is linked to various pulmonary diseases and other health concerns. It can cause eye, nose, skin, and breathing irritations among certain people. Studies have linked the presence of mold in homes with the development of pulmonary problems and asthma among otherwise healthy individuals.
Mold is everywhere. It lurks in various types of buildings, including residential homes. Mold grows in colonies, and it thrives well in damp and dark spaces with temperatures between 40 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The easy type of mold to spot is known as mildew. It usually leaves black spots on various surfaces, and these spots are often the first indication that tells you that your home has mold. Sometimes, however, mold can exist in your home without leaving any clues to its presence. This type of mold is airborne and can reproduce and spread through spores.
If these spores are not eliminated, they can survive for a long time, even under extreme environmental conditions. So, if you catch a whiff of these spores in the air, or if your allergies get agitated, then it’s time to test the air quality for mold presence in your home.
How to Test for Mold
Mold testing in your house is necessary if it is requested by a tenant, a landlord, or a health professional. Sometimes, the test is required for legal purposes. There is, however, no need to test for mold if you can spot it in damp spaces. In such a case, you can go ahead with the remediation process.
The easiest way you can test for mold is to have professionals do the work for you. They will take a sample from your home and submit it to a third-party lab to determine the type of colony present in your home and their concentrations.
You can also skip this process and test for mold by yourself. Thankfully, all it takes is purchasing a test kit and accurately following the laid down instructions. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that these kits can only point you in the direction of where the mold is present in your home. The results are often specific to where the test is done.
Steps for Mold Testing
1. Prepare the Room
The first step is to close all the windows and doors in rooms where you want to test for mold. This will encourage the concentration of spores and colonies without any disturbance. This process should be conducted at least a day before you begin testing for the mold – check the test kit for the directions of use.
2. Prepare the Mold Test Kit
Mold test kits come with multiple disks that have been treated with ‘microbial culture’ – a substance that promotes the growth of mold. These disks will help you collect the mold for testing if they are present in a room.
Ensure that you check the kit for guidelines on how long the kit should be left in the test room.
Unpack the kit and remove the lid from the plastic or glass petri dish. Included is a label that you can indicate the date or simply name it before you begin the testing process. Next, place the petri dish with the open side up on a flat surface inside the testing room. If you place it on the floor, it will be too low. Place it on a surface with the same height as a table.
3. Leave the Dish
Leave the dish in the room and close the door. Wait for up to 48 hours for the dish to gather mold growth. During this process, the petri dish should remain untouched. Minimize or completely cut off the traffic inside the room you are testing for mold. You can even mark the room “Out of Bounds” with a tape to keep your family members from disturbing the air in that room.
4. Close the Disk
After the 48 hours are up, close the disk with its dish. Use a tape to firmly seal the two to ensure that no spores collected will escape. For this, use a tape that isn’t difficult to remove. An electric insulating tape is a good example of a tape you can use.
Note the date and the duration of the exposure and stick the label at the bottom of the dish. Place it in a dark place, a closet, drawer, or shelf, and close the door, drawer, or cabinet shelf.
5. Leave the Dish Again
Leave the dish hidden in the drawer, closet, shelf, or wherever space you have it placed for up to two days. Thereafter, check if there is any mold formation. Usually, after 48 hours, the microbial culture in the dish will encourage the mold to grow, forming something similar to what you will find on food leftovers like bread.
If there is mold growth in the dish, you can have the kit sent to a lab to test for the type of mold present in your home and how to treat it. Some mold test kit manufacturers include a receipt for mailing the results. The lab will have the test done and send you the results after some time.
If, however, you don’t notice any mold formation in the dish, you can return it inside the drawer and leave it for a few more days. As the days go by, you can check for any signs of mold spots. Should five days elapse, or any number of days as directed by the manufacturer of the kit, you can conclude that there is no mold in that room.
If you still experience an allergic reaction or still smell a musty odor in your home even after several tests, perhaps you should have a professional help you test for the presence of molds in your home. There could be some spores hiding, which the test kit couldn’t pick up.
6. Wait for the Results
After submitting your dish to a third-party lab for testing, you will wait for up to eight weeks. During this time, it’s important to continue testing other rooms for molds if you have more mold testing kits.
Normally, since the removal of the various types of molds from your house is mostly the same, you can begin the remediation process immediately if the test result shows mold growth. You can reach out to a professional who will help you get rid of these pollutants efficiently.
Common Places Molds Hide
When you suspect the presence of mold in your home, the most common places you should first perform a visual inspection is behind appliances such as dishwashers and refrigerators, behind the wall where plumbing lines are located, under the sinks, old newspapers, and cardboards, in the ventilation ducts and under the carpets and rugs.
Reach Out to Us Today
If you notice some mold in your home or are looking to have a mold test done by a professional in Van Nuys, CA, and the surrounding areas, reach out to Restorerz - Emergency Services today. We offer fire and smoke restoration services, water damage restoration services as well as plumbing needs. Our team is always ready to help, and there is no type of mold damage restoration and removal process that we cannot resolve. Call us today!