Even though toxic black mold is a headline grabber, mold comes in more than one color and is often not visible. It can be on the inside of walls, collects in water-damaged basements and crawl spaces, and grows and thrives inside poorly cleaned humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and air conditioning units.
Mold and Your Health
The health concerns of mold consist of a wide range and cause respiratory and many other issues. While young children, infants, the elderly, and the immune-compromised are at the greatest risk, mold can affect anyone, causing everything from an allergic reaction to mycotoxicosis and many more serious diseases. According to the Mayo Clinic, the cause of nearly all 37 million sinus infections are from mold. Mold has been linked to both causing asthma and advancing asthma. Fortunately, mold can be removed if you know where it is located, which is why mold inspection is an important part of home maintenance.
Extensive Mold Damage
Health problems that go along with mold growth are not as common as many people believe, but that does not mean the mold is harmless. Left unchecked or unattended, extensive mold damage can require professional removal that can cost a few thousand dollars. Imagine a bathroom with poor ventilation. Mold builds slowly on the ceiling and walls, residents then scrub them clean every few weeks. But with poor cleaning habits this mold will take over and will begin to eat away at the drywall.The same thing happens with mold trapped the interior of your walls, until bad odors and discoloration require that you rip out your entire wall.
A mold inspection is a simple and important task that should be taken seriously and performed with regularity and/or when the situation demands. If you find water damage, and realize that people in your home are having respiratory and health problems, or if you realize that you have never had an inspection, it’s a good idea to get one done and as quickly as possible. The most basic inspections will cost approximately $300 for a mid-sized home, but more extensive inspections will cost more. These larger inspections should be done regularly to make sure nothing is left unchecked.
Mold Test Results from a Certified Mold Inspector
If mold damage is not due to the everyday beat down on an older home, you might need documented test results to reclaim costs from homeowners insurance, your real estate seller, landlord, plumber, or new home builder. A certified mold inspector is trained to search “every inch of your home” and can offer mold laboratory analysis of collected samples and a professional toxic mold inspection with full documentation. This inspector will test the wall spaces and floors, air, as well as those areas that might have caused the issue. These more extensive measures are a great idea if you live in an older home, if you suspect a problem, or if you have not tested in a few years.
Do-It-Yourself Mold Test Kits
A mold inspection test kit is easily available at any home supply store. These kits are great to use for regular tests to see if there are mold spores in your air. While these kits are certainly not a stand-in for mold inspectors, they offer homeowners the ability to do regular testing between professional mold inspections to keep you and your family safe. They can act as a warning system that can convince you to bring in a professional for a more thorough check. With that said, you should know that a single test result will not tell you much. Without a baseline for the amount of mold spores that are already in the air of your home, it can be impossible to perceive whether mold has taken root in your home. Plus, mold levels naturally differ throughout the day. Only with repeated testing will you be able to identify a mold problem. On the other hand, mold testing is often unnecessary: If you see or smell mold, you probably have a mold problem that needs to be fixed immediately.
Basic Precautions against Mold
The most obvious way to avoid issues is to keep a cleaning safe home. Allowing your appliances to degrade or get dirty is the most common way to end up with a mold problem. Clean your air conditioning units regularly. Standing water causes many problems, and the most common one which is mold. Similarly, dehumidifiers and humidifiers should be scrubbed down at least once a month with antibiotic soap. Leaking or dripping showers, pipes and faucets should be fixed as soon as you see there is an issue, and shower curtains and floor mats should be used regularly.
Mold sneaks up on you. It grows where you don’t see it and the problems do not occur until it is a huge problem. It causes health concerns that present themselves as asthma, colds, and other problems that might seem common or unavoidable, but are actually completely preventable. For this reason, for peace of mind, for your health, regular inspections are important and necessary. Recognizing and cleaning up the smallest of problems will change the way you live in your home, and leave a healthier lifestyle.