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How to Identify Mold and What to Do About It

Wall covered in mold

Marks on the wall or a musty smell may make you suspect that your home has a mold problem, but it can be difficult to know for sure. Sometimes, if mold growth is small or hidden, it might look like harmless dirt on the wall or floor. While mold can have many different causes—like plumbing leaks, poor ventilation, or condensation—the only way to make sure it’s properly identified and completely removed is to contact a professional mold inspection and remediation service.

Problems with DIY Mold Identification

If your mold problem seems small, it could be tempting to look for a do-it-yourself mold testing kit to diagnose the problem. Unfortunately, most of these at-home test kits are highly inaccurate—so much so that insurance companies and the courts won’t accept their results. A wide variety of factors can make these tests inaccurate.

  • Faulty Materials—The test materials get contaminated by sitting on shelves in nonsterile environments, exposure to heat and humidity, or improper handling.

  • No Consistent Lab Standards—Most kits don’t include the control samples necessary for corroboration and don’t provide a controlled airflow to test for the correct number of mold spores. In addition, most tests only focus on growing mold but don’t account for the dead spores that can also negatively affect your health.

  • No Professional Accreditation—The majority of DIY mold kits aren’t certified by any accredited agencies or labs. Since these agencies provide chain of custody standards, kits without accreditation are often missing important data necessary for accurate results.

  • Misleading Marketing—Although many DIY mold kits claim to be able to identify the type of mold you have, this is rarely true without spending additional time and money to send your samples to a lab for analysis. And even if your mold samples are analyzed by a credible lab, DIY kits usually provide inaccurate results.

In addition to being inaccurate, DIY mold testing can be dangerous because you must gather your own mold samples. It may seem like a mask and gloves will give you enough protection, but unless you have the proper safeguards for your eyes, skin, and airways, mold can cause everything from eye and skin irritation to severe allergy and asthma attacks. When gathering mold samples, you could also spread contaminants and make the problem worse.

Related Topic: Types of Mold You Need to Know About

Proper Mold Identification

When you use a mold remediation company, you’re getting professionals who know how to accurately identify mold as well as knowing how to remove the mold and prevent it from spreading or returning. They’ll sample the air and various hard surfaces and then use those samples to grow cultures and find out what kind of mold you have and where it’s growing. Most importantly, they’ll use spore trap, swab, tape, or other kinds of testing kits that meet American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) standards to ensure accuracy.

Mold remediation specialists won’t just test the mold you can see, they’ll also look for concealed sources of mold. Locating hidden water intrusion and identifying sources of moisture allows them to see what may be causing or contributing to indoor mold growth. They’ll check obvious sources of moisture like leaking pipes, plus more subtle sources of mold-producing moisture like condensation in HVAC systems and ductwork. Unlike the DIY homeowner, these professionals have the proper tools to safely find and identify all types of molds.

Problems with DIY Mold Removal

There’s a reason molds are one of the most plentiful fungi on planet Earth—because they’re very difficult to control. Mold produces tens of thousands of spores, which are easy to spread and invisible to the naked eye. As a result, just the act of trying to dry out or clean an area with mold can spread spores through air vents to other areas of your house. Whether you use a commercially available mold and mildew remover, or create a DIY mix using vinegar or bleach, you’ll only be able to clean the surface, but not the source of the problem. And there’s nothing more frustrating than scrubbing down a huge mold colony only to have it come back later!

Professional Mold Removal

To ensure that your mold problem is handled properly, professional mold remediation and removal is your safest and most effective option. Mold remediation specialists like Rainbow International will make sure you get a proper mold assessment, to ensure the most effective treatment. They’ll seal off the mold-affected areas, control the humidity, physically remove the mold, and clean up afterwards. When the job is complete, they’ll make sure you know what caused the mold and how to prevent it from coming back. When you add it up, professional mold removal can help you save money by making sure the mold problem is completely eradicated the first time. To learn more about their services, contact Rainbow International’s mold removal team and let them help you and your family breathe easy again.