Is It A Cold?… Or Mold?: How To Tell And What To Do Next (Part 2 of 2)

At the root of all of these physical reactions is an elevated level of toxic spores. Luckily, there are steps that you can take to protect your home and family from these dangers.

A simple visual inspection of you home can give you a good idea of whether mold is present. Keep in mind, though, that it prefers dark, damp growing conditions so you’ll need to check basements, under carpets and pads, and in other somewhat hidden locations in addition to what is readily visible. If any water damage or leaks have occurred, the chance of mold increases. Mold growth will usually show up 24 to 48 hours after water saturation occurs.

Mold may also hide inside cabinets, behind drywall, under baseboards, or behind wallpaper. Check behind bubbled or peeling paint, particularly on windowsills, in basements, crawl spaces, and attics. Any substance that looks slimy, dark, furry, or otherwise suspicious may be mold. It will typically be accompanied by a musty odor.

If you do locate mold inside your home, the next step is to identify what type of mold you’re dealing with. Specially trained mold inspectors should be brought in to determine the type, source, and extent of your infestation. They will identify the mold by collection samples and sending them to a lab for further analysis.

Another more cost effective option is to purchase a home mold testing kit. These do-it yourself kits are able to detect the presence of mold and provide you with the data you will need in order to have the mold identified. These kits can be purchased online and even at some home improvement and “super” stores.

Inside the kit, you will find instructions explaining how to collect a usable mold sample. You will then be asked to send the specimen to a laboratory for testing. The laboratory will then determine whether the mold is benign, allergenic, pathogenic, or toxigenic.

Once the type of mold has been analyzed, you will then need to decide on their next course of action. If the mold appearing in your home is found to be toxic, a mold specialist may be your safest bet. A mold specialist will be able to safely and professionally remove the mold infestation. Some homeowners insurance will cover the costs of professional mold removal.

In most instances, mold removal is a simple process involving the removal of a small section of wall or floorboards at the source of the infestation. In more severe cases the process could require some substantial deconstruction and reconstruction. In this sort of situation, other contractors including plumbers, roofers, foundation specialists, etc. could be required in addition the specialists doing the actual mold removal.

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Because of the growing number of infestation reported each year, some states have passed laws and started programs designed to help to protect consumers from the damaging physical and financial effects of toxic mold damage in the home.

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