However disgusting, mold is a naturally occurring home annoyance. All molds require moisture to grow, but mold spores are virtually always present in the air, both indoors and outdoors. Fortunately, an indoor air quality test for mold can spot trouble and allow you to act quickly. Here are four reasons to get one today.
1. MOLD OFTEN GROWS UNDETECTED
Mold grows in damp, humid areas. It may appear as a black, brownish, or white coating and can release a musty smell. Oftentimes, the odor is enough to raise suspicion of mold and should never be ignored. There are many common areas mold can grow unseen, including:
- Below sinks,
- Beneath or behind your refrigerator
- Behind drywall
- Near plumbing lines.
Mold can even thrive under stacks of cardboard, old newspapers, leaking windows, or under carpeting that was once wet. It’s common for mold to grow behind acoustic ceiling tiles after roof leaks. Mold can commonly be found in HVAC ventilation ducts as well.
An indoor air quality test for mold can detect spores and their concentrations. It can also verify the mold species so a professional can determine how to deal with it. Indoor air quality testing should be performed a service contractor familiar with air sampling and testing procedures.
2. MOLD CAN MAKE YOU SICK
Symptoms related to mold include:
- Chronic coughing or wheezing
- Frequent sneezing
- Watery eyes
- Running nose
- Shortness of breath
- Itchy/irritated skin
You might also notice a rash and experience symptoms of chronic fatigue. Toxic molds can affect concentration and memory.
Stachybotrys chartarum, or “black mold”, is rare, but the chemicals, or mycotoxins, it produces can be extremely hazardous. Breathing air contaminated by any type of mold spores worsens any respiratory illness. Those with compromised immune systems are at greater risk as well.
3. GET AN INDOOR AIR QUALITY TEST FOR MOLD IMMEDIATELY
Smaller moldy areas, within an area of about 3 x 3 feet, can often be wiped up. Larger areas should be handled by a mold remediation professional, especially if you’ve had water damage in your home. But if you’re going to clean mold on your own:
- On hard surfaces, use detergent and water to scrub the mold and thoroughly dry.
- Throw away any porous or absorbent materials, including carpet and ceiling tiles, as mold can grow in small empty spaces.
- Clean/dry any surfaces before caulking or painting over them.
- Avoid breathing in mold or spores; wear a mask or N-95 respirator.
- Wear other protective gear such as long gloves and goggles.
If there’s a leak or other plumbing/water problem in conjunction with the mold, deal with this immediately. The leak will continue to support an environment conducive to mold growth.
4. AIR QUALITY TESTS CAN SPOT OTHER ISSUES
When you perform an indoor air quality test for mold, you can also take the time to check for other problems. These include tests for dust mites, excessive pollen, as well as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be present in vapors or gases. Many chemical products used at home can release VOCs. Most cleaners, disinfectants, paints, fuels, furnishings, and building materials contain VOC’s.
VOCs are often associated with similar symptoms as mold exposure. Some can cause central nervous system, kidney, or liver damage. Formaldehyde, a common VOC, is a known human carcinogen.
- Prompt testing facilitates mitigating measures such as:
- Increasing ventilation,
- Using products more cautiously
- Discarding old VOC-producing items/compounds.
Lead, which can affect all body systems and has been associated with detrimental effects of exposure in children, and radon, a radioactive gas found naturally in the ground that can cause lung tissue damage, can contaminate your home. Air testing can find these in addition to combustion pollutants like tobacco smoke and carbon monoxide.
CONTACT THE AC HERO
We offer advanced air quality testing throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Familiar with the effects of poor indoor air quality, our team can also provide high-quality air filters and purifiers, air duct cleaning/sealing, and other mitigating measures to improve your health and well-being. Call (817) 631-2507 or schedule an appointment online, today!