Mold is a naturally occurring part of the environment. It breaks down dead organic matter and develops on wet surfaces. If you are concerned about mold in your home, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from this harmful fungus.
At-home mold test kits
At-home mold test kits are a good way to detect spores and other evidence of mold in the air. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to use. However, you need to make sure you are following the directions to get results within 48 hours.
One way to make sure you’re testing the right things is to consider using a kit that uses lateral flow assay technology. This method tests for the presence of dangerous genera of mold.
The kit uses a swab to collect the sample and a special liquid to sanitize it. It then sends it off to a lab. Lab results can be obtained within a few days.
However, the most accurate at-home mold test kits require that you follow the instructions to the letter. If you don’t, your results may be inaccurate. Also, the results don’t show the species or quantity of mold that is present.
Other at-home mold test kits are a bit more expensive. You can purchase them at department stores, but they do not provide a self-analysis option.
Professional mold inspections
If you suspect that your home has a mold problem, you should get it inspected. Professional mold inspectors are trained to conduct a thorough inspection of your property. This can save you time and money.
Mold testing costs vary depending on the type of mold and the size of your home. A basic mold inspection can cost $200 to $500 for a small-to-medium-sized house. Larger homes can cost between $700 and $1,000.
During the inspection, the inspector may check behind walls, under plumbing fixtures, and other areas. He or she may also use a moisture-mapping device to find high levels of moisture.
In addition to the inspection, a professional mold inspector will perform laboratory testing to find out what kind of mold you have. These tests will help you determine what steps you need to take to make your home safe again.
The inspector will provide you with a written report that includes spore counts, color digital photos, and recommendations on what to do next. Depending on your needs, he or she will recommend a permanent or temporary solution to the problem.
Preventing mold growth
If you live in a humid climate, you may want to invest in a dehumidifier. This will keep the humidity at a healthy level.
Keeping your home cool and dry is one of the best ways to prevent mold growth. Air conditioning can help to lower the humidity levels in your home. Also, use air filters to help with ventilation.
Mold can grow on a variety of household surfaces, such as carpet, wood products, and ceiling tiles. These materials can absorb moisture and can produce a funky smell when mold starts to grow.
To avoid mold, make sure that all major water sources, such as toilets, sinks, and bathtubs, are properly dried after use. In addition, try to avoid placing fabrics, such as curtains, on floor areas that are frequently wet.
If you experience leaks in your home, take action as soon as possible. Leaks can create a perfect breeding ground for mold, which could cause serious health issues. The first step is to remove the source of the leak.
Health hazards of mold exposure
Mold exposure can cause a number of health problems, including asthma, allergies, and respiratory infections. The effects of these types of illnesses can vary depending on how long you are exposed to mold. If you are concerned about your health, you should consult your doctor.
Symptoms include coughing, nasal congestion, and wheezing. If your symptoms become severe, you may experience a fever. Some people may also experience a rash.
Mold spores can enter the home through windows, ventilation systems, or clothing. People with weakened immune systems are at greater risk for allergic reactions. They can also be harmed by exposure to mycotoxins, which are produced by some molds. These toxic compounds can cause serious illnesses.
Black mold is a type of mold that can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness for some individuals. Exposure to black mold can increase the risk of respiratory infections in those with asthma.
Inhaled microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs) can also irritate the throat and eyes. This can lead to headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.