Let’s face it, most homeowners cringe at the mere thought of mold.
Nobody wants to deal with the foul odors, slimy green patches, or health complications that can arise from it. Unfortunately, we all come face to face with it at some point, but is there a reason to worry in the meantime?
We’ll give you the answers to the 8 of the most commonly asked questions about mold and let you decide for yourself.
- How concerned should I be about mold?
Mold is part of the natural environment and mold spores are everywhere – the breath you just took likely contained several of them. So, you should be aware of its existence, but not worried about it. Typically, mold does not present a threat to most people; it all depends on the circumstances, which brings us to our next question…
- When should I worry about mold?
Although the presence of mold spores is to be expected and tolerated, you should start to worry when those spores start to land on water damaged organic surfaces (wood, paper or cloth) and mold starts to grow. That’s when the real trouble begins and things can quickly get out of hand if not addressed in a timely manner.
- What about “Black Mold” (or “Toxic Black Mold”)?
Usually the term “black mold” or “toxic black mold” refers to the Stachybotrys genus of molds, which, in severe cases of exposure, is suspected of causing extreme reactions like vomiting, nausea and bleeding of the lungs and nose in certain individuals. According to the CDC, the term “toxic bold” is inaccurate and although certain molds are considered toxigenic (meaning they release mytoxins), the mold themselves are not toxic or poisonous. Risks associated with molds that can produce mytoxins should be considerd the same as other common molds that grow in your home.
- How can I correct a mold problem?
Two things need to be done to address an existing mold problem: fix the water issue that presented the perfect breeding ground for mold and then clean up the mold. If you don’t fix the water issue first, the mold will return again and again until you do.
- Do I always need to get a mold test?
A mold test is not necessary if the full extent of the mold contamination and the cause of it are obvious to the naked eye (example: your home suffered water damage from a flood and mold developed as a result).
- When does it make sense to get a mold test?
If you suspect a mold infestation in your home that you cannot visually confirm, getting a test will put your mind at ease. Getting a mold test is also a good idea during large mold clean-up jobs: one before clean-up begins and another after it’s done to confirm that the threat is gone. If you’re purchasing a new home and you see something that you suspect is mold, getting a test done is definitely a good idea before proceeding any further.
- Is there a test that can detect all airborne allergens & pathogens in the home?
No, you will need to have a general idea of what you are looking for in order to find it. There are some allergen tests out there that can pick up multiple irritants (like dust mites and animal dander) that are commonly found in homes.
- Should I use a home test kit or hire someone?
It is recommended that you hire a professional to determine whether you have a mold infestation in your home as Consumer Reports found that mold test kits are often unreliable. The mold investigator will look into your home’s background (flood history, etc.), check for visible signs of mold, etc. to determine whether or not you have a mold problem.
Photo Credit: Angela Schmeidel Randall