Mold is a fungus found both indoors and outdoors with an estimated number of species ranging anywhere from ten thousand to three hundred thousand. Mold grows best in a moist, damp, humid environment. Mold reproduces by releasing spores that have the ability to survive in more dry conditions where they wait for the right conditions to grow into mold. This aspect of mold growth is important because if the visible mold is removed, and the moisture problem is not corrected, the spores will settle and once again produce mold. For these reasons mold can commonly be found in basements, bathrooms, and any place where there is constant high humidity or water accumulation.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) does not currently recommend having mold tested. It is not necessary to test due to the fact that there is no standard of how much or what type can become a health hazard. Testing cannot accurately assess the risk of mold. Another reason not to test for a specific species of mold is because mold testing can be expensive and the removal technique will be the same regardless of the type of mold tested.
The Simplest Way to Test for Mold is
If you see if, you have it. If you can smell mold; you have it.
This is a good rule to go by, but like all other rules, there are exceptions.
There are five general situations where mold testing may be necessary. An inspection will indicate if there are elevated levels of mold in the air, and if so, where it is located. For that reason, if someone smells mold but cannot find it; an inspection will be helpful. If there are plumbing leaks or other water issues and there is a suspicion of mold in the walls, an inspection may be in order. After finding mold and having it removed, homeowners may want to get an inspection to verify that the job was completed thoroughly. If a member of the household has mold-related symptoms like coughing, sneezing, or headaches, a doctor may recommend having a mold inspection to see if it is the root of the problem. The other two scenarios where mold inspection may be a good idea are mainly for legal purposes. For example, if there is a dispute between a landlord and tenant about the presence of mold, a test will help. Also, during a real estate transaction an inspection may be performed to protect either party.
Small amounts of mold in the shower or damp area in the home is not uncommon. In most cases, it can be treated early with products such as Tilex or other mold treatment products that are available at home improvement stores. Just remember to find the source of any excess moisture and humidity. Remember the spores are always present waiting for moisture.
When dealing with mold, ask yourself this question: Is there any type of mold that I would not treat based on testing results? The answer is certainly no. There are a handful of situations where an inspection can prove helpful, but other than those few exceptions there is generally no need to have one done. Just treat the situation promptly.