How to Test for Mold in the Home or Workplace

how to test for mold

If you’ve ever experienced a runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, coughing, or shortness of breath while in your home or workplace, mold could be the reason. If there is a musty smell that you can’t get rid of, that could be mold. Find out for sure. Once you know how to test for mold you can take steps to eliminate the source and improve indoor air quality.

What Does Mold Look Like?

You may see mold, also called mildew, as spots on walls and ceilings especially in the bathroom or rooms with high humidity. These spots vary in size and are usually black in color. Sometimes identifying these spots is easy. Other times they get hidden from view. And then there’s that musty smell that’s hard to miss. Either way, it’s time to test for mold.

A mold test kit is the most reliable way to find a mold problem in your home. It’s fast and affordable. It’s also important to find the source before it has a chance to spread. Mold needs a damp environment and temperatures between 40 and 100° F. In these conditions, mold forms and releases thousands of tiny spores that travel through the home. Where the spores land new colonies grow.

Where Does Mold Grow?

When mold is hidden from sight it’s harder to detect. Since mold thrives on moisture, likely places to look include kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. Mold forms on or near leaky pipes and windows, wet building materials, behind appliances, under carpeting—any place moisture can get, mold can grow.

The good news is a home mold test kit lets homeowners test for mold in their homes. They can also be used in the workplace. Order a do-it-yourself kit, use it to collect samples, then mail it to the lab and get results in 3-5 days. 

Having a professional mold test gets expensive and may require several visits. Sometimes it takes weeks to get the results. That means people in the building continue to suffer allergy-like symptoms. For those with asthma and other respiratory conditions, this is serious.

If the test determines a mold problem exists the next step is to get rid of it. 

Mold Test Kit - Test for Mold - Indoor Air Quality
Mold and bacteria have a negative impact on indoor air quality.

How to Test for Mold

A Mold Test Kit allows you to collect samples from your home or business. The test determines if there is a mold issue in the home and if so, is the mold toxic or allergenic? Both have health risks and must be eliminated. 

Read the How to Test for Mold Instructions

Before you use the Mold Test Kit read the instructions carefully. The instructions detail the quick and easy process of collecting samples and sending them to the lab. 

Identify an Area

Start with an area that you suspect has mold. This could be the HVAC return or vents. Also, behind the refrigerator or dishwasher or under the sink. Look for discolored areas or black marks on walls or grout lines in the bathroom tiles.

Collect Sample

Use the provided collection strip and take a sample from the suspected area.

Return Sample

Place the BioScan sample collection strip into the provided case, complete the chain of custody, then mail it to the lab in the postage-paid envelope, also provided. 

Get Results

The Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab) tests the sample to identify mold types and concentrations then emails a report as a PDF within 3-5 days. The report provides guidelines of what normal mold levels are. Shipping is included in the cost and there are no hidden fees.

Why Knowing How to Test for Mold is Important

Mold serves an important purpose in nature. Molds break down organic material such as dead leaves. In the home, however, they also break down wood, drywall, and other building materials. More importantly, however, they can make us sick, especially the species known as black mold. While rare, this mold type produces dangerous chemicals that impact health and causes chronic headaches and fatigue, even memory loss.

dyson tp04 Tower Pure Cool
Get cleaner, fresher air with the Dyson Pure Cool Air Tower Purifier.

Reducing Mold

Several products, such as air purifiers and special vacuum cleaners, are available to keep mold at bay. These products are for both residential and commercial use.

Bipolar Ionization

Bipolar ionizers release millions of charged atoms that surround mold spores in the HVAC ductwork. The ions form a cluster around it and trigger the process of oxidation which kills it. Bipolar ionizers also destroy viruses, bacteria, volatile organic chemicals, and reduce odors. Needlepoint ionizers attach to existing HVAC systems to clean air up to 2,400 square feet. 

Air Purifiers

Both commercial and residential air purifiers are available to clean air and reduce the risk of mold. These devices use carbon and HEPA filters to capture up to 99.97% of all allergens. Commercial grade air purifiers cover areas up to 700 feet so they can be used in restrooms, lobbies, waiting rooms, and offices. These devices use smart sensors to detect sound and motion in the room then adjust their performance accordingly. 

Vacuum Cleaners with HEPA Filters 

Vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters remove allergens from carpeting, rugs, upholstery, and furnishings. These machines reduce, not just mold spores, but all household allergens. In fact, a product such as the EON™ ALLERGEN upright vacuum can be used in homes or businesses and is certified asthma & allergy friendly® by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Get More Info on How to Test for Mold Test

Don’t wait for the problem to get worse. Find out if there is mold in your home or workplace and then deal with it. The first step ordering a DIY screening kit. If you’re ready, call 727-572-4550.