You have mold in your home. Wait- before you run out of the house screaming, please remember that mold is ubiquitous. The nice smell of fall leaves is actually the smell of decay and … mold. The real question with your home is this: do I have harmful mold spores in sufficient quantity to be a health hazard to me and my family?

A basic mold air test can answer that question by comparing the mold count inside the home to that outside the home (taken as a control sample).

All mold is not created equal. You may have heard of the term “black mold” before. Keep in mind that many molds look black or gray, and not all black-colored mold is harmful. The scare several years ago over “black mold” concerned a specific mold spore called stachybotrys. This particular spore, in large numbers, can cause health problems for many people (though not all), and it was unfortunately given the name “black mold” by the media, leading to all sorts of unnecessary worry.

A mold test will let you know if you have stachybotrys in your home, and more importantly, it will let you know if it is at a level that should concern you. Fortunately, in Louisville and Southern Indiana we rarely see stachybotrys, and when we do, it is usually in low levels. Occasionally, of course, the tests come back high, and the home needs remediation.

Remember that mold needs three things in order to grow: moisture, food, and heat. Mold is a fungi, and if you recall your biology classes, you’ll remember fungi do not produce their own food like plants do. Plants use chlorophyll and need light in order to produce their own food. Fungi, on the other hand, can grow in complete darkness. So in order to keep the mold (fungi) from growing, we need to remove at least one of the three required elements.

The most common element to remove is moisture. This probably comes as no surprise, since you know mold grows in continually moist places. If a mold test reveals elevated levels of mold, it is very important not only to remediate the existing mold (usually by removing it) but also to remove the source of moisture. Often this means identifying leaking plumbing or areas in the foundation or roof that may be allowing water inside the home.

So don’t worry too much about mold. If you are concerned, or if a member of your family is especially sensitive to molds, get a mold test to determine if there may be harmful spores in excessive quantity. And if so, have a professional remediation company come out to remove the mold and also to prevent future occurrences. It’s all fixable. At HomeTeam we provide an independent assessment and do NOT do any remediation, just to ensure no conflict of interest exists.

Coming up next: Finding Realtors in Louisville and Southern Indiana