Should You Test the Air in Your Home for Mold?

Molds are microscopic fungi That grow and reproduce rapidly. Mold can be harmful. It can damage and even ruin materials, such as paper, cardboard and fabrics. More importantly, mold can affect your health and your family’s health. Molds can cause allergic reactions and illnesses, depending on the type of mold, the amount and degree of exposure and the health condition of a home’s occupants. Pregnant women, infants, the elderly and people with a respiratory disease or a weakened immune system, are at risk when exposed to mold.

The first thing that comes to people’s minds when they suspect mold is to have the air of the house tested. This involves collecting an air sample and sending the sample to a laboratory for analysis.

The recommended first step is having a professional investigator check your house for mold. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Industrial Hygiene Association do not recommend testing the air for molds in single-family dwellings and similar buildings as a first step.

An air sample test does not pinpoint sources of moisture, tell you why you have a mold problem or suggest ways to fix it. A trained investigator determines causes and suggests ways to remediate and repair problems. The inspector can determine the extent of the mold. The larger the affected areas, the higher the concentration of mold in the indoor air. In the majority of cases, the homeowner has everything needed to proceed to remediate the problem.

In a few cases, mold is strongly suspected but is not seen and you are not prepared to start taking walls down. The moldy odour may also be occasional and you are unsure whether mold is a problem. Testing the air may be justified.

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