Should I Test for Mold?
Mold. We experience it everywhere. Mold spores are found in nearly every corner of our life. In our lawns and gardens, in our homes, in our offices, our workplaces, public places and everywhere in between.
So when does too much mold become a concern and when should your home or workplace be tested?
These are both very important questions that require detailed answers. In this blog, we’ll guide you through when you should have your space tested for mold, how you can test it, the dangers that can occur if interior mold goes untreated and the best mold prevention strategies.
What Is Mold?
While we may hear the word mold used in everyday speech, it’s important that we break down the elements of this omnipotent fungus.
Mold is a type of fungus that grows in the form of hyphae, which are multicellular filaments that create the mycelium of any given fungus. Hyphe (the singular of hyphae) acts as the main source for the vegetative growth of mold. The term mold is an umbrella term that actually encompasses a wide variety of fungi with the most common types being:
While these may sound intimidating, they are easily treatable in most cases. If you spot what appears to be mold within your home or workplace, it is highly suggested that you remove the grown fungi and then search for the cause of the issue.
Mold can come in a series of colors, shapes and textures. Whether the mold texture is a slimy bright orange, fuzzy black splotches or hairy white spots, the threat of mold remains pervasive within the indoors.
Spores Found In Dust
Mold is typically found in warm and damp places. Mold spores are a ubiquitous component found everywhere, including dust.
As we all know, dust is found in nearly every corner and crevice of our buildings. In fact, dust is laden on everything. With that being said, mold spores floating around is not a huge concern until they land on a warm/damp spot and grow into an annoying conglomerate of bacteria.
An overabundance in mold can result in significant allergies and respiratory issues. When this happens, it is important to treat the affected area as soon as the origin/ source of mold is visibly discovered.
It is appropriate to contact an expert when you suspect there is mold in your home from smells or bodily symptoms of mold exposure.
Where Can I Find Mold?
When spores attach to warm and damp surfaces, they begin to colonize into large collections of mold which can cause health issues that range between simple allergies to more severe respiratory issues.
This means that a large portion of indoor mold will be found in areas prone to moisture and dampness.
Mold spores can be found within the windows, walls and floors of rooms that are susceptible to substantial leakage from pipes or exterior moisture.
Mold growth can occur in a number of places but the most popular include the following areas:
- Bathrooms- around showers, bathtubs and toilets
- Kitchens- behind refrigerators, underneath sinks
- Laundry rooms- behind washing machines
- In or around air conditioning units
When Should I Test for Mold?
You should have your home or workplace expertly tested if you are looking to test the quality of indoor air or experiencing a musty, old smell that you suspect to be mold.
Another indication that you need expert mold testing would be if allergies or respiratory issues have heightened or there have been water issues and plumbing leaks within your home or office.
What Do I Use to Test for Mold?
There are several ways to test the air quality of either your home or work environment. Whether you want to inspect a suspected mold invasion that you cannot see by testing the air quality, or you want to verify that a stain is, in fact, mold, there are a number of sampling methods that can be done.
Here are the top tools to test the air quality in any given building:
The samples that are gathered can be sent to an expert and accredited laboratory for proper lab analysis.
What Happens If I Leave the Mold Untreated?
If excess quantities of indoor mold are ignored, the health risks increase. The presence of inside mold can exacerbate allergies and result in serious headaches or migraines and, in some cases, difficulty breathing.
Untreated mold can cause the following:
- Nasal blockage
- Frequent sneezing
- Watery, itchy eyes
- Chronic coughing
- Asthma attacks
- Irritated skin, nose throat and lungs
What Are the Best Ways to Prevent Mold?
While you won’t be able to get rid of all the mold spores in your home, there are ways to maintain moisture levels in your building to prevent and eliminate the overgrowth of mold hyphae.
If visible mold exists in your living space, it’s important that you remove it and fix the problems that are causing excess moisture.
Because you now know the areas that are more prone to cultivating mold, you can take the proper steps to prevent its growth.
Here are our tips for controlling interior mold growth:
- Keeping indoor humidity below 60%. This can be measured with a hygrometer and maintained with a humidifier.
- Open doors within your home to circulate air
- Use exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchens to remove moisture to the outside
- Check for leaks
We hope this article has provided some insight on the necessities of keeping your home or work environment free from mold growth.
If you suspect mold but can’t find the source, it’s important to get in touch with an accredited laboratory to have your air or mold sample professionally tested. At EHS, we are dedicated to delivering accurate results to ensure a healthier tomorrow.
Any questions? Please feel free to give us a call at (800) 347-4010.