Testing and Detection
How can I tell if I have mold in my house?
You may suspect that you have mold if you see discolored patches or cottony or speckled growth on walls or furniture or if you smell an earthy or musty odor. You also may suspect mold contamination if mold-allergic individuals experience some of the symptoms listed in "Mold Health Effects" when in the house. Evidence of past or ongoing water damage also should trigger a more thorough inspection for damp conditions. You may find mold growth underneath water- damaged surfaces (for example, wallpaper) or behind walls, floors, or ceilings.
In all locations, there is some outdoor level of mold. If sampling is carried out, an outdoor air sample needs to be taken at the same time as the sample indoors, to provide a baseline measurement.
Should I test my home for mold?
Reliable air sampling for mold can be expensive and requires expertise and equipment that is not available to the general public. Private home and apartment owners generally will need to hire a qualified inspector, because insurance companies and public agencies seldom provide this service. Mold inspection and cleanup usually is considered a housekeeping task that is the responsibility of a home- owner or landlord, as are roof and plumbing repairs, house cleaning, and yard maintenance.