WHAT IS MOLD?
Mold is a type of fungus that sprouts from tiny spores that float about in the air. Some molds and yeasts cause disease or food spoilage, others play an important role in the production of various foods, beverages, antibiotics and enzymes.
HOW CAN I TEST FOR MOLD?
If you go the DIY route while testing for mold, you will need to purchase a mold testing kit from a hardware or home repair store, take samples of the air and affected areas yourself, and then send these in to a testing facility, which will report back as to which type of mold is present. However this is not recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Professional mold testing companies will take samples of any areas of mold growth, identify precisely what type of mold is present, and recommend next steps for remediation.
HOW DO I REDUCE MOLD IN MY HOME?
It’s impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores in your home, but because mold spores can’t grow without moisture, reducing moisture in your home is the best way to prevent or eliminate mold growth. If there is already mold growing in your home, it’s important to clean up the mold and fix the problem causing dampness. If you clean up the mold but don’t fix the problem, the mold will most likely return. Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners, especially in hot, humid climates, to reduce moisture in the air. Keep air conditioning drip pans clean. Make sure drain lines are free of obstructions and flow properly. Keep the house warm in cool weather. Asthe temperature goes down, the air is less able to hold moisture and it condenses on cold surfaces, which can encourage mold growth.Open doors between rooms to increase circulation, which carries heat to cold surfaces. Increase air circulation by using fans and by moving furniture from wall corners. Check for leaks around the kitchen sink, refrigerator ice makers, and other sources of water. Check for leaks around basins and tubs.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MOLD TESTS AND ASSESSMENTS?
Mold testing is a test of a known visible or suspect condition to determine if mold is present and what type. A sample of the suspected mold is taken by one of two methods: tape or swab and sent to a lab for testing. If there is no visible evidence to be tested, an air sample can be taken indoors and compared to an air sample taken outdoors. If the indoor readings are significantly different from the outdoor readings, the difference will determine if a mold condition exists.
A mold assessment is an evaluation of the entire home or space to determine if mold is present, what conditions in the home may contribute to mold, and what steps must be taken to reduce the presence of mold in the subject area. A mold assessment can take several hours depending on home construction, size and features. Because mold cannot exist without the presence of moisture, a mold assessment will examine closely all potential moisture sources in the home, and look for elevated moisture readings. Moisture sources include, poor ventilation of attics, dryers, bathrooms, poor grading and roof leaks, poorly maintained humidifiers and AC systems.
(the information provided here is taken from the EPA and CDC websites)