Mold. It is one of those silent, unwanted guests that you may find lurking in the shadows, or maybe in plain sight, around your home. If you can see, or suspect mold, fortunately, it is quite easy to test for mold around your home.
There are many tricks and tools at your disposal to assist with identifying potential areas where mold can develop long before it gets a grip on your home or property. All you need to do is know where mold tends to grow and prevent the conditions it needs from forming.
In this article, we will look at where mold hides, how to test for mold, and even share with you details on a few do-it-yourself mold test kits you can purchase online to do the job at home on your own without the need for a professional. So, first of all, let’s look at where mold can be found and go from there.
Where Mold Can Hide
The conditions have to be right for mold to develop and grow. This means that there has to be moisture. So, if you have locations in your home that are often damp and humid, or where condensation accumulates, these are key locations to monitor for mold. Also, if you can smell a musty scent or see patches of black, white, or brownish coverings, you have mold.
Here are some of the places to check to see if you may have mold hiding somewhere:
- In the kitchen, look behind your refrigerator.
- Under piles of newspapers, magazines, and cardboard.
- In the walls behind the drywall in spaces where plumbing pipes are located.
- underneath sinks and vanities.
- Behind wallboard located around leaking windows.
- in ventilation ducts.
- Under wet carpeting.
- if you have had a leaky roof, check under the backside of ceiling tiles.
- if there has been flooding of any kind, check behind the affected drywall.
How To Test For Mold
Testing for mold in your house is not difficult if you have the proper tools. This means picking up one of the many different types of mold detection kits available in the marketplace.
They all work in basically the same way. Mold test kits contain tools that you use to “sample” the air or surfaces. You mail your samples to a lab and in a few days, you will receive the results.
The kits cost one price and the lab tests are not always included in that price. For an extra fee, you can have the lab identify what type of mold spores are present in your samples.
The Search For Mold
Before you get to testing for mold at home, you need to take a good look around your home to first see if the conditions are present for the development and growth of mold. You also need to know what you are specifically looking for as mold can look a lot like dirt, grime, and other debris that collects in hidden spaces around your living area.
In this section, we will cover what mold looks like and how to determine if you have a situation that requires the use of mold detection kits.
What Mold Looks Like
Mold is a type of fungus that exists and can be found all around us. The tiny spores that float in the air help mold to spread from one place to another. However, moisture and a temperature between 40 and 100 degrees F are required for mold to take hold.
The most visible type of mold is called mildew and it begins life as tiny black spots but can grow to large colonies over time. The black color that appears in grout lines in showers and sinks backsplashes is mold.
The Difference Between Mold And Dirt
There is a simple way to determine what is mold and what is dirt. This simple mold test can be useful in places where mold looks like it could be dirt.
All you need is a swab dipped into diluted bleach (one part bleach to 16 parts water). Dab the swab on the spot you are testing and if that spot gets lighter in color, then you have mold. This is now the time to get a home mold detector kit as this won’t be the only place it will be found.
Why You Need To Test For Mold
Mildew is not going to cause much damage to your home as it is just a surface mold. But other mold types can lead to rot if left unchecked.
You can easily locate these problem areas with the use of a screwdriver. Just poke the screwdriver at an area you think may contain mold and if the wood is soft or crumbles, you have a serious mold infestation to deal with.
How To Properly Remove Mold
So, you’ve identified potential mold locations and have confirmed them through the use of a mold detector kit. Your next task is to remove the mold before it can cause any further damage to your home or property.
There are several special precautions you should take before and during the process. They include the following:
- Wear old clothing and footwear that can either be cleaned after you have completed the job or can be tossed out.
- Wear protective gear including goggles, gloves, and a respirator (N-95 or P-100).
- While working in a room, have an old box fan running in a window for ventilation.
- Any moldy carpeting you remove should be wrapped and taped in 6-mil plastic.
- All mold-infested debris should be double-bagged for disposal.
- As you work, moisten moldy areas with a garden sprayer to prevent spores from getting airborne.
- Turn off air conditioning and heating and cover ducts and doors to keep spores contained.
- When vacuuming, keep the wet/dry vacuum outside.
When you are removing mold, use soap and water. This mixture contains surfactants which will make the mold easier to remove. Once an area has been cleaned, spray it down with an antimicrobial spray. This will assist in preventing the mold from coming back and causing more problems within your home.
Why You Should Remove Mold
Aside from the potential damage caused by rot that develops from mold, some airborne spores can trigger allergic reactions. These spores are also irritants for individuals who suffer from any type of respiratory condition. This is why it is important to turn to professional mold testing when you suspect that there may be some mold growing in your home.
Mold Test Kits
We have mentioned that testing for mold in your home is not a difficult task. All you really need is a home mold test kit. Below, we have listed a number of these that are designed for testing for mold at home.
Mold Armor FG500 Do-It-Yourself Mold Test Kit
This home mold test kit is perfect for use indoors or outdoors and will produce results as quickly as within 48 hours. This specific home testing kit provides you with three different testing methods.
You can test for mold using the Indoor Air Quality Test Method, the Air Conditioning & Heating Sample Method, or the Surface Sampling Testing Method. Each of these kits comes complete with all you need including a petri dish, swab, and mold growth medium.
Testing Analysis Expert Consultation
This simple test for mold comes with three different surface tests and a quick start guide and a full booklet explaining the process to follow. The price of this test kit includes all associated lab fees and a detailed report on the findings (except in Texas).
To assist in putting your mind at ease and reducing your worries, expert consultation is also part of this package where the results will be explained to you as well as any follow-up needed.
Mold Detective MMD103 Test 3 Room
All you need is five minutes to collect a sample with this home mold detector. It comes with an air sampling pump, four air sample cassettes, a surface sampler, a mailing envelope, and full instructions.
There is an extra fee payable online for each sample lab analysis, but you will receive a complete report delivered to your door as a result. This kit will identify the types of mold present and will indicate what level of concentration there are at.
Airthings Indoor Quality Monitoring Multi-Room
Although this product will not detect actual mold spores in the air, it will tell you when conditions in the area you expose it to is at risk for mold growth.
The package includes the Airthings Wave, Wave Mini, and the Hub. With them, you can detect Radon, monitor air quality including humidity, identify mold risk, and be able to do these things 24/7. The Hub gives you access at all times to professional mold testing as part of your Smart Home system.
Thermo-Pro TP50 Digital Hygrometer & Thermometer
This is not exactly a mold detector but can identify excessive moisture conditions that could increase the risk of mold forming. It comes with a humidity meter that indicates dry, comfortable, or wet conditions.
Data measurements are constantly updated so that you will always see the most current temperature and humidity readings on the easy to see display. Highs and lows are tracked for reference purposes.
For more information about hygrometers, make sure that you check out this article.
Mold is all around us. However, it is easy to control the conditions that can lead to the development of mold. Should you have mold growing in your home, you can test for mold using one of the kits mentioned above to confirm this and then carefully remove the mold to prevent further damage.