How to Test for Mold in Basements
No homeowner wants to deal with mold in their basement. It’s gross, inconvenient, and poses serious health risks to you and your family. It often leads to headaches, sinus congestion, and severe respiratory issues. When left unchecked, it can cause irreversible damage to your property as well.
However, the only way to get rid of mold is to deal with it head-on once it’s growing in the basement. We’ve compiled this expert guide to help you get rid of your basement mold. We’ll explain how to find and test for mold in your basement, either through an at-home test or professional visit.
How to Find Hidden Mold
Before you can test for mold, you will first need to identify it. It might be highly visible. However, there is also the possibility that growth is hidden. This process looks different for every property, but there are several universal signs.
Mold grows in moisture-rich environments, which includes places where leaks have occurred. Before you begin your search, take a moment to go over your home’s leak history.
Look for areas where leaks have occurred or are currently occurring and learn how to identify mold with the following tips.
Identifying Spores by Odor
Mold has a distinctive smell that makes it easy to find. This smell is so strong that it may resist deodorizers, sprays, and other masking efforts.
When looking for mold, especially in spaces where visibility may be an issue, use your nose to guide you to the source.
Identifying Spores Visually
Another way to find mold in your basement is through a visual inspection. When looking around, thoroughly examine the walls, ceilings, and floors.
Areas of the ceiling directly underneath your upstairs kitchen or bathroom may be target areas, as they are more likely to experience a leak.
Here are colors and patterns to look for:
- Black and green patches or streaks
- White areas with orange spots
- Stains with a yellowish tint
- Slimy textures
Here are some places you can expect to find spores:
- Inspect any areas or the basement that are near pipes. You should also look behind heating elements and inside basement closets. Double-check the backside of your basement stairs, especially the lower treads or risers.
- Sometimes mold grows in hidden areas, such as in the insulation and drywall. If you suspect growth in these hard-to-reach areas, you may need professional assistance.
- Always be on high alert when it comes to organic surfaces, especially in finished basements. This includes things like carpets, furniture, and any other surfaces where moisture may congregate.
Obtaining a Sample for an At-Home Test
Once you have identified the source(s) of mold in your basement, it’s time to obtain a sample. Keep these steps in mind
- Open your test kit and read all the instructions carefully. Procedures for collecting a sample may vary between manufacturers.
- Correctly seal off all of your samples and label them per your kit’s instructions.
- Mail off your sample to the lab, where it will undergo testing. Results may take a few days or a few weeks, depending on the lab, manufacturer, and other factors.
Tips for Sample Collecting
To prevent dust and other particles from moving around and affecting the sample, make sure to:
- Turn off airflow to the area you’re testing at least 24 hours beforehand
- Minimize traffic and close all windows and doors
What About Home Kits?
At-home testing kits have grown in popularity in recent years. However, it’s important to note that they aren’t infallible. It’s still possible for these kits to incorrectly identify mold and leave spores behind.
That’s why we recommend hiring a professional team to visit your basement and take care of the problem quickly.
If you are concerned about mold in your basement, get in touch with a professional that specializes in mold removal.
At All Dry USA, we have the resources and expertise to clean and restore your basement before your spores grow out of control. Call us today for a free consultation and to get the mold out of your basement for good!
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