Testing Mold without Testing Your Patience
Face it: mold is a headache of a problem. Mold growth is invasive, damaging, and relentless. We have years of professional experience removing and remediating mold across the McPherson area, so you can trust us when we advise you that early or regular testing beats ending up with an infestation gone unchecked any day of the week. When you’re ready to evaluate a property more carefully, a test can empower both you as a decision-maker and the expert technicians to devise prevention or treatment plans for any mold in your space.
When to Test for Mold
While mold growth follows predictable patterns, each environment, and potential infestation is unique. Sometimes mold is as obvious as a growing dark spot along the walls or ceilings in water-damaged areas. But more often, infestations begin subtly. However, there are telltale warning signs. And by knowing what to look for, you can arrange for testing before the problem gets out of hand. Here are some of the most common warning signs when deciding whether or not your home is due for mold testing:
- Exposure to water damage: maybe this is an easy one that goes without saying, but many are surprised by how fast-acting water damage can be. If any porous material or untreated, un-waterproofed surfaces in your home have been exposed to water damage, for instance via a flooded basement or a leaking roof, they are prone to kick-starting mold growth within just 24 hours. Mold is a living thing! All that extra moisture gives it the strength to root and grow.
- High humidity air: perhaps a bit less perceptibly, even high humidity air is capable of providing enough moisture to accelerate mold growth. Humidity becomes excessively problematic in low-ventilation areas. The recommended indoor humidity level for most properties is at or below 55%. If you are able to measure the humidity in your space using a simple sensor (called a hygrometer), and the levels exceed 55%, then it may be time for a test.
- Your nose knows: mold survives and thrives by consuming organic material. As spores eat away at building material such as wood or insulation they produce a distinct, musty smell. This scent can precede visible signs of mold. It is prone to lingering, so if a space begins and continues to smell like a pile of wet towels, trust your nose and order a test!
- An uptick in allergies or health issues: as mold’s presence spreads and negatively affects air quality, there is a chance mold may pass allergy symptoms or even respiratory issues to residents. Spore buildup has been known to trigger coughing, difficulty breathing, congestion, skin irritation, or worse. For homes with very young or elderly residents, it becomes even more critical to schedule a test right away. The earlier you begin a remediation process the greater chance you have to reduce lasting effects.
- When appraising, buying, or selling new property: there are always plenty of boxes to check when new real estate is involved, but do not forget mold testing. When buying or appraising a property, whether as an investment or a future home, testing for mold is a step you shouldn’t skip. Protect yourself as a buyer and make sure that you are making an informed decision. A mold test can help uncover unruly areas in a space that are prone to excessive moisture. As a seller, having tested for mold shows thoroughness and improves buyer confidence.
What about At-Home Test Kits?
If you have evidence of mold, you may feel like skipping straight to an at-home test. Self-testing kits can be ordered online or from stores, but many experts advise you to save your money here. Self-testing brands are not created equally, and many are not considered statistically reliable even then. Skip the chance of false positives and hire an expert who can provide more accuracy.
What to Expect from Your Mold Test
Maybe you’ve called for a test straight away because of visible mold. In other cases, specialists may call for tests after performing an inspection. The testing stage allows experts to uncover and provide more specific information, regarding both the quantity and quality of mold affecting your property. When it comes time for a test, trained mold removal technicians have a few methods at their disposal:
- Tape swab testing: this test is ordered when it is deemed important to determine the specific type of mold present. Mold spore counts are more important to remediation strategy, but identifying the mold variety may be valuable in situations where health has been affected.
- Lift tape testing: a sticky tape is used to obtain a sample from a surface affected by mold. That tape sample is attached to a glass slide and sealed in preparation for a lab microscope. Then a microbiology lab will calculate the spore count, which can be extrapolated to the affected area.
- Air sampling: air samples are taken from inside the home in suspected affected areas, usually from both open-air and wall or ceiling interiors. Then a sample is collected from outside the home for comparison. Air containment samples are then reviewed by a microbiology lab to determine spore count.
At Lamunyon, we are happy to make testing recommendations and determine the best methods for your environment. We also offer additional mold services in McPherson such as:
If have any queries regarding any of the mold services, feel free to call us!