Mold is a serious problem for homeowners as it can cause health complications ranging from mild allergy symptoms to life-threatening illnesses. It is important to take immediate action if you suspect mold contamination as it can be lurking in the air, on the ground or outside your home. Having an idea of what and where to look for can help you locate hidden mold. However, you need to take precautions when doing a mold inspection to avoid inhaling the spores or spreading the contamination to nearby areas. In this article, we will be discussing what it takes to do a mold inspection by yourself and the right procedure for eliminating a mold problem.
How to Inspect Mold in Your Home
Mold is more likely to grow in crevices or hard to reach areas before becoming visible. Mold requires moisture to grow and can easily be found in hidden spots which are damp and humid. Some of the most common spots where mold growth can go undetected are below sinks, in ventilation ducks, under carpeting, behind your refrigerator, behind the drywall and around leaking windows or plumbing. Mold can assume many colors so you can always look for green, black, white or brown patches around hidden spots in your home.
Mold growing inside a home is often accompanied by a musty or earthy smell. It is usually the first clue of hidden mold if you cannot see any visible signs. It is important to inspect your home thoroughly if you notice a musty odor coming from any of the rooms. The difference in the air quality is often distinguishable when you are entering a particular room or walking into your home after spending some time outside. Others may also experience allergic symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, wheezing which comes about because of inhaling the mold spores accidentally. You might also feel itchy when mold spores encounter your skin.
Mold test kits are widely available from online retailers and home improvement stores. However, not all test kits work the same as they are from different manufacturers. You can always learn how to use the test kit by reading the accompanying manual or getting information from the manufacturer’s website. It is important to note that the entire process may be shorter if you use a quality mold testing kit. If the performed test identifies the presence of mold in the air, you can send the testing materials to a lab where further tests will be done to validate your findings.
Environmental Health and Safety Considerations
There is a high risk of respiratory exposure if the process of mold inspection causes mold to become airborne. Invasive procedures used to examine mold growth in a wall cavity, breaking up porous moldy materials and actively peeling off wallpaper can stir up mold contamination in your home. Because of this reason, having personal protective equipment protects you from the potential danger of mold exposure.
Respirators will protect you from inhaling airborne mold, dust or spores. An air-purifying respirator contains inhalation and exhalation valves that filters the air you breathe when working around a contaminated area. A full-face respirator equipped with a HEPA filter cartridge is recommended when you expect high levels of mold spores, airborne dust, or long-term exposure to mold.
Special goggles and safety glasses protect the eyes from dust and small particles when conducting a mold inspection. It is also important to put on gloves as they protect the skin from coming into contact with mold allergens. Mold remediation experts recommend long gloves that extend up to the middle of your forearm and is made from strong natural rubber.
Dangers of Doing a Mold Inspection by Yourself
People who have no background skills and experience to carry out mold inspection can be exposed to mold spores or spread the contamination to other areas around the home. Any disturbance on contaminated surfaces increases the risk of mold exposure, which may cause respiratory irritation, skin disorders, chronic cough, and other mold-related illnesses. While mold test kits may be useful in detecting mold, not all of them work the same as they often give incomplete or inaccurate results of a mold test.
Although you can do mold inspection by yourself, there are many risks involved as it may affect your health and other people around you. Calling in a professional mold testing team can be a daunting task for many homeowners who are worried about the cost of remediation. However, understanding the risks associated with a mold inspection and remediation guarantees a clean, safe and healthy living space for you and your family.