How To Test Indoor Air Quality For Mold
Indoor air quality plays a significant role in the health of people living or working within a specific residential or commercial building. Some experts argue that the quality of air in your home can be up to five times more polluted than the outdoors. As such, addressing the issue of air pollution within your walls has never been more important.
Testing the quality of air in your Houston, Texas home is one of the easiest methods of guaranteeing your loved ones a safe living environment. Depending on the substance of concern, ways of testing air quality in your living quarters vary significantly.
Some homeowners simply install an indoor air quality (IAQ) monitor —an appliance that constantly checks for pollutants in your home. IAQ monitors are extremely handy in ensuring that the allergen and asthma triggers in your house are properly eliminated. They are, however, not known by many people.
Despite the greatness of IAQs, they fall short of detecting some substances. Some of the most common types of air quality concerns people contend with include the presence of mold, radon, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Mold is a common house pollutant that affects most homes found in damp regions and those with high humidity. Damp spaces act as predisposing factors to mold, mildew, and fungi.
Of course, you have seen mold on leftover bread that you forgot to dispose of. This type of mold is easy to handle. But airborne mold, which is less obvious, poses a greater threat to everyone’s health. To make matters worse, airborne mold cannot be easily detected by air quality monitors.
Lucky for you, mold testing can be easily done using a viable mold test kit. Armed with a test kit, you can collect samples from several spaces and have them tested. If the results are negative, you have nothing to worry about, but if they come out positive, you can send the results to a laboratory to determine the type of mold to better find an effective method of fighting it.
Which Type of Mold Test Should You Use?
Most hardware stores have a wide inventory of mold tests. These kits are inexpensive and easy to use, but they are almost entirely useless. Some of these mold tests are only designed to let you know when mold is present on certain surfaces.
For the less obvious type of mold—airborne mold—you should get yourself a viable mold test kit. The results are not instantaneous. It will take up to several days, and if the results are positive, you can have the molds tested for their type.
How to Use the Mold Test Kit
Having your home professionally tested is recommended if you are specifically concerned about mold presence. A mold test kit includes a petri dish and potato dextrose—the substance you will use to create the mold in the dish.
The duration of the test varies depending on the brand of mold test kit you have. Ensure that you follow the steps highlighted by the manufacturer. Nonetheless, here are the general steps to testing for airborne mold in your home:
- STEP 1 – Keep the doors and the windows of the room you will be testing for mold closed for 24 hours before beginning the test. This allows some potential colonies of mold to form without daft interference.
- STEP 2 – Unpack your mold testing kit. Inside is a petri dish with a lid and label. This plastic or glass component has been treated with microbial culture to facilitate the growth of pores.
- STEP 3 – Open the lid of the petri dish, position the dish on a flat surface, and leave it uninterrupted for two days. The duration varies depending on the manufacturer of the kits. During the process, ensure that movement into the room is limited to ensure that the air remains undisturbed.
- STEP 4 – After the wait time is over, close the petri dish with its lid and seal it tight with tape around where they meet. Ensure that the tape used is easy to remove when ready.
- STEP 5 – Scribble the date of the experiment on the accompanying label and fix it at the bottom of the dish. Then place the dish in a dark space such as the drawers and close it.
- STEP 6 – Check the dish after two days to determine whether there is any mold growth. If it is negative, well, there is no mold in your home. But if there is mold growth, then the same kind of mold is the one growing inside your living space.
NOTE: If there are no growths in the petri dish, place it back in the drawer and check after a few days again. Give it a total of five days (or as indicated by the manufacturer), after which you can safely say there are no molds in your home. But if the mold is present, you can send the results to a laboratory. If you used a professional for the test, they will leave with the petri dish and deliver the results on the type of mold present in your home later.
Meanwhile, as you wait for the results, you can continue testing other rooms if you have extra mold test kits.
Why Test for Mold in Your Home
There are several reasons as to why you should have a professional inspect your home of mold presence. The circumstances leading to the test include:
- Some of your family members, including children, are experiencing allergic reactions, asthma attacks, scratchy throats, runny noses, and headaches—among other symptoms.
- You suspect there is mold in your home.
- You smell musty odors, but there are no clues of mold presence.
- Your landlord or a tenant asks for evidence of mold.
- You recently had a plumbing job done.
- You need to ascertain whether your home is completely free of mold after its removal.
- You want a general assessment of the quality of air in your home.
Where to Check for Molds
After determining the presence of mold in your home, the next big question is finding out where the colonies are located. Molds are typically found in damp spaces since they require moisture to grow. Apart from humid spaces and leaking pipes, mold can also develop in hidden spaces, and to ensure complete removal, you must know where they are likely to grow.
The most common spaces where the mold can thrive without your knowledge include:
- At the back of the fridge
- Beneath book stacks or old newspapers
- Under the sink
- Spaces between plumbing works
- Ventilation ducts
- Under the carpets or rugs
- Behind any hidden spaces that were once wet as a result of flooding or water leaks
Quality air testing is vital to the health of every homeowner. The inspection is done by a professional who can also help you determine the type of molds available in your home. Since the removal process for molds is conventionally the same, sending the results for lab testing is often unnecessary. You can just have the molds removed in your home.
Contact Custom Comfort Air
There are many ways of improving the quality of air in your home. From installing dehumidifiers to air purifiers and scrubbers, you can easily get rid of molds or prevent their growth. For these services and all other heating and cooling needs, you can always count on the help of Custom Comfort Air in Houston, Katy, Sugar Land, Richmond, Bellaire, Rosenberg, and the surrounding area.
Read more about indoor air quality from the City of Houston. Reach out to us today for more information about our services and how to better improve the quality of air in your home.