Detection of Mould

How can you tell if you have mould in your house?

You may suspect that you have mould if you see discoloured patches or cottony or speckled growth on walls or furniture or if you smell an earthy or musty odour. You also may suspect mould contamination if mould-allergic or immuno-compromised individuals experience some of the symptoms listed in health effects when in the house. Evidence of past or ongoing water damage should also trigger more thorough inspection. You may find mould growth underneath water-damaged surfaces or behind walls, floors or ceilings.

Should you test your home or workplace for mould?

Generally you can use our DIY kit for small outbreaks or we can carry out such sampling and assessments. Mould inspection and cleanup is usually considered a housekeeping task that is the responsibility of homeowner or landlord, as are roof and plumbing repairs, house cleaning, and yard maintenance.

If sampling is carried out in a home, an outdoor air sample also must be collected at the same time as the indoor samples, to provide a baseline measurement. Because individual susceptibility varies so greatly, sampling is at best a general guide.

The simplest way to deal with a suspicion of mould contamination is:

  • If you can see or smell mould, you likely have a problem and should take the steps outlined in How Should it be Fixed?.
  • mould growth is likely to recur unless the source of moisture that is allowing mould to grow is removed and the contaminated area is cleaned.

How can you prevent indoor mould problems in your home?

Inspect your home regularly for the indications and sources of indoor moisture and mould listed above.

Take steps to eliminate sources of water as quickly as possible. If a leak or flooding occurs, it is essential to act quickly :

  • Stop the source of leak or flooding.
  • Remove excess water with mops or wet vacuum.
  • Whenever possible, move wet items to a dry and well ventilated area or outside to expedite drying. Move rugs and pull up areas of wet carpet as soon as possible.
  • Open wardrobe and cabinet doors and move furniture away from walls to increase circulation.
  • Run portable fans to increase air circulation. Do NOT use the home’s central airconditioning if flooding has occurred in it or in any of the ducts. Do NOT use fans if mould may have already started to grow -- i. e. more than 48 h have elapsed since flooding.
  • Run dehumidifiers and window air conditioners to lower humidity.
  • Do NOT turn up the heat or use heaters in confined areas, as higher temperatures increase the rate of mould growth.

If water has soaked inside the walls, it may be necessary to open wall cavities, remove baseboards, and/or pry open wall paneling – this is a job for an accredited assessor or remediator.

Consult an experienced, accredited remediator if you are unsure of the area affected - your health is more valuable than the potential saving you may make.