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Identifying The Mold Growing In Your House

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

There are hundreds of thousands of molds. Their spores float through the air and enter your home. There they land and if they are lucky they find a food source. This could literally be food, but it could also be the drywall (they love the paper), wallpaper (they love the paste), or other material that we don't consider to be food. There they will stay until moisture and warmth come together and they can grow, colonize, and multiply. This is usually when we notice them, but some molds are merely irritating and others are toxic. There are 50 different kinds of toxic molds and they can and do cause major health issues. Here is a little help so you can identify the mold growing in your house.

Looking At The Mold.
Once you have seen the mold you can identify how it is growing and what color it is growing. For many who are concerned with black mold any dark colored mold scares them. However, black mold is actually greenish-black and there are a lot of molds that are black, brown, and gray in color. The truth is that while knowing a color can direct someone who has a large base of knowledge it isn't going to make a diagnosis of what type of mold you have growing in your house.

Two molds can look the same and even be growing side by side. It isn't until it is placed under a microscope that one can identify the mold. However, it still requires knowledge of the many different kinds of mold. However, this leads you to a couple of options.

Picture Comparison.
While the best option is to have a professional check out a sample of your mold or do a complete inspection of your home and the area that the mold is growing. They will be able to give you the best identification possible.

It is also possible to look at some pictures on the Internet to help identify the mold. You shouldn't count on this for 100% diagnosis of the mold types that you have. There are several mold directories that may help.

If you have your own microscope you can get a better look at the mold. You can then compare the mold as it looks under the microscope with molds on this site. This still won't be a guaranteed diagnosis, but it will be better than an analysis made with the naked eye.

Hiring Professionals.
With so many different kinds of mold out there, you aren't going to be able to look at it and figure it out. You can however, hire a professional. He or she will come to your house, look at your mold, and take some sample where they will then be evaluated under the microscope. Knowing what kind of mold you have can give you peace of mind, but it isn't always necessary so you will have to decide.

Airborne Mold Kits.
Often you can rent an airborne mold test or kit to find out how much mold is floating in the air at any given time. Your aim here is to find out which rooms have more mold spores. One problem with this is that the mold releases spores at different times of the day and this test can be very unreliable because it is based on the idea that there should be more mold present in one location than another.

Test Kits.
There are also test kits that you can buy. The first option is to buy a test kit that will let you grow the mold you have and compare the colors and looks in order to try and identify the mold. This can be difficult and can often lead to mis-diagnosis.

The other option is to take the samples yourself and send the results to a lab for testing. Whenever handling mold you should make sure that you are wearing rubber gloves, goggles, and a mold specific respirator to protect yourself. If you are dealing with toxic mold this is even more important! To find out the best ways to protect yourself read the article What to Wear When Removing Mold From Your Home.

Some test kits offer both options. You can then find out for sure after the lab period. It should be noted that it is important to clean the mold up as soon as possible and waiting a long time for a lab result before cleaning up the mold is a bad idea.

Toxic Mold.
There are 50 molds that have been labeled "toxic", but at the same time any mold can cause health issues. Some people are allergic to mold and have sever reactions when in contact with it. If it is growing in the home that can lead to long term symptoms and illnesses. Additionally, there are other responses that people have including respiratory problems, headaches, and even lowered immune system. It is important to take care of the mold no matter what kind it is.

As a Rule Of Thumb.
While it isn't something that can be easily identified, as a rule of thumb the most toxic of molds (including black mold) have a strong odor. This doesn't mean that if your home has a strong smell that you have toxic mold, but you should try to get rid of it as soon as possible if your mold does indeed have an odor.

Black Mold.
Many people assume that they have black mold based on the color. However, black is the most common color of mold. In fact, there are 15 different types of "black mold" that are toxic. These molds have a greenish or purplish hue to them and are not just "black".

As a whole it should be noted that it is important to clean the mold up as soon as possible. While it is good to know what kind of mold you have, it isn't worth waiting. Hiring a professional is the fastest way to get results, but you can also do it yourself. You may want to clean up the mold as you wait for the results.



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