How to Determine If You Have Mold in Your House

Mold can overtake moist or humid regions of a home, paving the way for serious health problems such as asthma attacks, respiratory infections and allergies. Toxic black mold can bring about even greater health dangers. If you fear that your home may have mold, you can do a preliminary examination before hiring a professional to come in and perform a more formal inspection. If you indeed have mold, you will want to act quickly to remove it.

Step 1

Examine any regions of your home where moisture may collect. Check out your basement (if applicable), cabinets, closets, attic, ceiling, roof and any other dark or potentially damp locations. Look specifically for signs of thick white powder or slime, always moist and varying in color (it may appear, black, white, gray, yellow, dark green or even pink).

Step 2

Notice any signs of musty odor, best described as a thick, sour aroma. A musty odor is a sure-fire sign of mold, and can accompany toxic as well as nontoxic strains. If you find it easier to breathe outside of your home than inside, or if you just feel a greater sense of wellness outside of your home, this can also point to mold invading your lungs.

Step 3

Look for water damage. Check for leaky pipes, damp carpeting, holes or cracks in your insulation through which rainwater may enter. Even if you cannot physically see signs of mold, water damage always indicates mold if left unattended, because mold spores travel constantly within the dust inside your home, waiting to come into contact with moisture. Smell the water damage up close and see if you notice traces of mold's trademark musty odor, as described in the previous step.

Step 4

Walk from room to room (and especially in areas where you suspect mold), carrying a relative humidity sensor. These devices are available at home improvement stores, and can instantly tell you if you have a likelihood for mold. If a particular room or section has a much higher relative humidity level than other rooms, or if relative humidity in any room nears or exceeds 70 percent, you either have mold or have a high likelihood of developing mold in the very near future.

Step 5

Purchase a home testing kit online or at your local home improvement store. Some of these test kits allow you to make a determination immediately, while others require you to collect dust in a petri dish and send the sample to a laboratory. Follow the directions on your selected mold detection kit.


Chris Anzalone

Chris Anzalone has been writing professionally since 2001. He is a former staff writer and associate editor for Opposing Views, a popular news media website that tackles issues of the day from multiple perspectives. Anzalone holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California at Riverside.