Do I need mold testing to make sure my home is mold-free?
Article by David Selter
The truth is that there is no such thing as a mold-free home because mold spores are in every environment, including your home. Humans have been living with mold since before biblical times. Even the Old Testament Book of Leviticus gives advice on mold removal (Leviticus 14:33).
But mold generally only becomes a problem when the right conditions exist that allow it to rapidly reproduce. These conditions include optimum temperature, a source of food, and moisture. Unfortunately, the temperature range that we keep our homes in is ideal for mold spores to begin multiplying, and the dust that is always present in the air and on the surfaces in our homes is an excellent source of food for mold.
However, the one thing we CAN control is moisture. Excess moisture, whether it’s from water seeping into your house from outside, a leaky pipe, or high humidity (generally 60% or higher) allows the mold spores to take advantage of the ideal temperature and the sources of food in your home and begin to multiply.
In general, mold becomes an issue when the concentration of mold spores in a home is greater than what is found outside. Although there are toxic molds that are found mostly where long-term moisture problems exist, most of the molds in homes are allergenic molds that some people will be sensitive to, and other people are not.
For some people, exposure to mold causes nothing more than itchy eyes, sneezing, and coughing. For others, it can lead to asthma attacks and lung problems. Although we never knowingly ingest or touch it, mold reproduces by shooting off spores. It is the mold spores in the air, that we then breathe into our lungs, which is the main problem.
So how do you know if you have a problem that warrants mold testing? The Environmental Protection Agency says that building materials that are damp or wet for just 24 to 48 hours can lead to mold growth. The first step for any flooding or Houston water damage would be thorough drying and water damage restoration.
However, if you’re unaware of any moisture problem your first clue may be an odor. That musty smell we notice in damp environments is from mold spores feeding on organic materials and off-gassing. Yes, it’s just as disgusting as it sounds.
So besides being really unpleasant, these odors are a good indication that you’ve got something going on in your home and you may need to take further action. A mold inspection by a licensed company can include mold testing, an assessment of the cause of the mold, and a remediation plan. Whether you plan to hire a remediation company or do it yourself, if you see signs that you do have a mold problem, a mold inspection can give you the guidance to do the job right. And when the mold cleanup is complete, follow-up mold testing can give you peace of mind that the job was done right.