If you have asked yourself this question before, you are not alone; we receive calls from South Florida homeowners quite often asking the same question just because they are not sure. Your home may have a musty smell, or you could be experiencing mold symptoms such as runny nose, headaches, or allergies. One thing we cannot control is the fact that we live in a humid environment in South Florida and the likelihood of mold growth is much greater in a humid climate. However, you should not be living with mold in your home as mold could affect the quality of the air you breathe
If you called South Florida Water and Mold Restoration and asked “how do I know if I have mold?”, we would ask you if there was any kind of water damage, flood or water leak in the property. If you did experience a water intrusion, we would ask if the area was properly dried with the use of dehumidification and air movers (fans) immediately after the water intrusion. If not, there is a good chance mold could have developed as mold only needs a food source such as drywall, cabinetry or flooring, and moisture to grow and amplify. If you can visibly see mold on the walls, floors or cabinetry, it may be too late to salvage the building materials as porous materials contaminated with mold cannot be cleaned.
One more factor to investigate is the possibility that mold has contaminated the air you breathe. When mold grows, it forms mold colonies which can release microscopic mold spores into the air and, as the air is circulated in the HVAC/duct system, the mold is also being circulated. This means that a mold problem in the Kitchen could cross contaminate other parts of your home by traveling through the HVAC/duct system. If this occurs, the HVAC and duct system may require mold cleaning and sanitization.
Another type of mold problem which you smell and may not see is referred to as a humidity driven or lack of humidity control issue (aka condition 2). We live in a humid climate so we need to make sure the inside of our homes are not humid and we do this by keeping the humidity low by using an HVAC system to cool the area. The humidity inside a property should be between 40-60%, if it goes above 60%, the possibility of mold growth is likely. If you have this type of mold problem, it’s important to have a licensed HVAC contractor inspect the system. Typically, with a condition 2 mold problem, you may see a white or green light dusting on your clothes or furniture or you may not see anything. This means that mold is forming in the air due to the moisture content from the high humidity and the mold is settling onto surfaces. A mold remediation for a humidity driven mold problem is a full wipe down of all surfaces with an antimicrobial solution and HEPA vacuuming all surfaces.
The most accurate and reliable way to know the extent of your mold problem is to have an air sample taken; this is referred to as an air quality test. At a minimum, a sample of the affected area is taken, and a sample outside the property. Once the air sample is taken, it will be sent to a 3rd party laboratory to determine if the mold spore count is elevated and the type of mold species. Usually, the test results come back within 24-48 hours of the air sample. It’s important to note that a mold remediator should not be conducting mold testing. Always hire a state licensed mold assessor to test for mold, and a state licensed mold remediation company to safely remove mold, never use the same company for both as it could present a conflict of interest. As a side note, I have received many calls from homeowners who purchased a mold kit from home depot to determine if they have mold and they would tell me it came back positive for mold. Don’t waste your money, the home depot mold kit is not accurate, and since we live in a humid climate, it will grow mold almost anywhere you place the kit.
If you receive the test results from the air quality test, please contact us at South Florida Water and Mold Restoration 954-923-3340 or email us to schedule a free consultation to discuss the best approach for a safe and effective mold remediation. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.