How Can You Test the Air In Your House For Mold?
You’d know if you had mold… right?
Don’t be so sure. Some mold can be so undetectable that it is not even visible. It can travel unseen through the air in the form of spores and spread effortlessly through any home or building. This spread can lead to troubling health issues like:
- Respiratory illness
Spore test kits are one of the ways that technology has helped simplify remediation. Once you know where to check and have your test kit ready, you can get to the bottom of whether or not you may be dealing with an infestation. However, you’ll also need to know where to look or mold and how to remove it.
In this guide, we’ll share how you can test the air in your house for mold.
Where To Spot Mold In Your House?
Before we share how to test your home for fungi, you have to know where it can grow and how it travels.
Know How it Spreads
Mold finds its target by releasing spores, which spread through the air. This is how it travels and how it can become dangerous to our respiratory health. When you breathe in these spores, you may notice a scent, but you can also experience mild to severe health symptoms from the spores. This is due to the release of allergens and irritants, as well as mycotoxins.
It’s essential to find the source of the spores in your home quickly to avoid symptoms worsening due to length of exposure.
Know Where it Spreads
Have you ever smelled a musty aroma in a damp room? Mold is a type of fungus, and it can grow on just about anything. It thrives in humidity and warmth, making the bathroom and kitchen ideal environments for growth. Potential hotspots are the bathroom, the kitchen, and even the bedroom.
A common myth is that it can only grow on certain materials. Spores can spread on fabric, glass, paper, wood, and plastic in your home. They can even start to digest the material that they grow on.
Each mold type has preferences for where they like to grow:
- Aspergillus tends to grow on powdery substances. This includes food, dust, and drywall.
- Alternaria shows up where it’s damp. This could be a leak, a shower or bath, or under the sink.
- Cladosporium ends up on fabric and wood in cool or warm climates.
- Penicillium shows up in water damage with a blueish greenish hue.
Fungi like this can be of various colors, textures, and forms, so don’t rule something out as safe just because it doesn’t look like what you’re used to.
Know How to Spot It
It’s important to realize that mold is not always visible. This fungus can be detectable by smell, and symptoms, as well as appearance. It can smell musty and stale and cause respiratory symptoms and flare-ups like triggering asthma attacks. Sometimes, these symptoms may be the first sign to you that you could have mold.
How To Test The Air In Your House For Mold: Step-by-step
With new technology, mold testing has become simplified for homes. The best places to test are the following spaces:
- Behind appliances
- Under sinks
- Under stacks of paper
- Near leaks
- In ventilation ducts
- Where leaks previously occurred (under the carpet or above ceiling tiles or behind the drywall)
Go for a viable test kit to detect spores in the air. You can buy an easy test kit to use at home by searching the web. Be sure that it is for indoor use and conditions like yours.
Here’s how to use your kit once your purchase it.
Step 1: Preparation
This step is essential, as it quarantines the room to ensure that you are getting a true reading. Close off the room that you want to test for 24 hours before the test. This includes windows and doors, as well as any openings to the outside.
Step 2: Set the Petri Dish
Inspect your kit and open all of its parts. Remove the lid from your included petri dish and set it on a flat surface in the room that you want to check. It should be about a table length up from the ground with the open end of the dish facing up toward the ceiling.
The lab treated the bottom of the dish with a microbial culture that will attract the spores for the sample collection process.
Step 3: Wait
Leave the petri dish from your kit open in the room undisturbed for 48 hours straight. Read the instructions on your kit and follow them. They may vary from the general 48-hour rule depending on the individual company. A few ways to keep the sample undisturbed are:
- Prevent foot traffic in the space, which can disturb the air and bring in outside toxins
- Cover the gaps in doorways and windows with towels or painters tape
Step 4: Retrieve the Sample
At the end of the 48 hours, you can finally disturb the sample room. Replace the petri dish’s lid and tape the median area between the lid and the dish to seal the air with the spores in. You can use scotch tape, electrical tape, or even painter’s tape. The only danger of some brands or types is if they are too difficult to remove from the petri dish.
Write the date on the label (which your kit should include) and adhere to the petri dish at the bottom. Store the sample in a dark place with little sunlight, like in a drawer. You will be holding onto the petri dish as the spores slowly begin to grow into visible and detectable mold. This will give you definitive proof that the room in your home does have spores.
Step 5: Find Out The Results
Two days after collecting your sample in a room you think may have spores, it will be ready to check.
If You Have Mold
If you do have mold, you will see it starting to form in the petri dish. It will look like the type you might see on a rotten piece of food in the back of the fridge. At this point, you can even decide to send this sample to the lab for diagnoses by type.
Alternatively, you could work with a committed team like All Dry USA for extensive remediation services.
If You Do Not Have Mold
If you don’t see anything growing in your dish, you aren’t always in the clear. You may still be susceptible to spores.
Continue to store the sample in a dark place and check it daily until five days after initial collection. If it has still not grown, then you can throw the petri dish in the trash unless there are special instructions for disposal. Keep in mind that store-bought test kits aren’t the most cutting-edge form of detection.
The most guaranteed course of action is to work with an expert rather than trust one test kit. Trust your instincts. If you are experiencing symptoms of an infestation and smelling musty odors, call an expert like All Dry USA to run a professional test for you.
Mold is famously elusive and can differ in type. Professionals have extensive knowledge that can help them diagnose the type quickly and treat it at its roots.
Step 6: The Solving Stage
If you sent in your sample, you will get it back in about three to eight weeks. Either way, you can begin restoring your healthy indoor air immediately by contacting All Dry USA. Our expert team has the skill set to perform damage restoration and repair services for residential and commercial properties around the clock.
Our mold removal process starts with inspection and damage assessment. We then start the removal process, where we filter the air to catch spores, apply antifungal treatments to prevent new colonies, and more. After this, we clean the entire area, including any affected personal items like clothing, carpets, and furniture.
We then restore the site to its initial state with necessary drywall replacement or painting.
When dealing with an environmental health risk like this, it is important to know the facts. Having access to the right information can help you stop the spread sooner before irreparable damage is caused or anyone’s health is affected.
The best way to get all the facts about mold in your home is to call an expert. Reach out to All Dry USA to speak with a knowledgeable and passionate remediation team and let us make your life easier.