Black mold refers to a specific variety of mold that typically appears in structures suffering from water damage. This fungus can cause various symptoms in people and animals, ranging from relatively mild to severe. Unfortunately, mold isn't something you can always easily detect just by looking, and you may not notice any unusual odors or other problems.
However, black mold can affect you even if you don't realize it's present in your home. While you don't need to test your air continually, there are certain situations where testing may be a good idea. Mold testing services can help you discover mold problems before they become too severe, averting costly remediation projects.
How Mold Testing Works
You can generally test for mold in two ways: hiring a certified mold inspector or purchasing a do-it-yourself kit. DIY kits can provide initial results, but you shouldn't necessarily rely on them for detailed information. Instead, using a swab kit on your own can help you understand if you may have a problem, in which case you should schedule an appointment with a professional inspector for further information.
Once you bring in an expert, they will test all areas of your home for potential sources of mold. Additionally, they'll send their tests to a lab for detailed information, helping you understand the severity of the problem, the specific types of mold present, and whether you have potentially hazardous concentrations of spores in the air.
Remember that "black mold" typically refers to Stachybotrys chartarum, a specific form of mold that can be very harmful to human health. Over types of mold can impact indoor air quality, however. Professional mold inspectors will check for these other mold types and help you interpret the results to know if you need to take immediate action.
When to Test Your Home
There are two situations where you'll typically want to test for mold:
- You can detect a persistent musty odor
- You've recently had a significant water damage event
In either case, it may be worthwhile to start with a do-it-yourself kit to check for signs of mold. If you get positive results, a professional inspection is your next step to determine the severity and extent of the problem. You should also call in a professional any time you can see visible signs of mold growing on walls, ceilings, or other parts of your home's structure.
Mold problems can often be more widespread than you might expect, so don't assume that the mold you can see is all that exists. You should always rely on thorough testing to evaluate any mold problem with your home so you can take the appropriate steps to restore your air quality.