It’s greenish-black, slimy, smells bad and hides in the dark dank recesses of your home. Stachybotrys is its scientific name but it is generally referred to as black mold and it is not something you want in your home.
The first clue that you may have a problem is a strange musty smell that you normally don’t have in your home. You or your family members may also have unexplained health issues that just won’t go away. In either case it is a good idea to do some black mold testing to see if you do indeed have a sick home.
There are two avenues you can go down when it comes to testing for Stachybotrys; a do it yourself home test kit or call in a professional inspector.
If you are going the do it yourself route there are different test kits you can buy. The first type requires that you locate where the mold is growing and take a sample. You can use a small knife or paint scraper to gather a sample that is then placed in the supplied petri dish. You then send the sample to a lab to be analyzed. One thing to remember when gathering a sample is that black mold can be very toxic so it is a good idea to wear rubber gloves, eye protection, and a mask.
You can also find black mold test kits that don’t require you to send your sample to a lab, giving you quicker results in identifying if you have a problem. They use a test strip and solution to determine if the mold is of the toxic variety. You swab the mold, place the swab in the solution and then rub it on the test strip. The test strip will change colors and the color tells you if it is toxic or not. Again, it is important to take personal safety precautions when doing this.
Sometimes it is nearly impossible to find any visual signs of mold in your home, but if the signs are there, musty smell and/or unexplained health issues, there are test kits for this contingency as well. These types of kits contain a petri dish with a special disk. Set the dish in an area of the house where you suspect you might have a mold problem and leave it for two or so hours. After the allotted time close up the kit and let it incubate for the recommended amount of time, normally around forty eight hours. When you open it up check to see if there is fungus growing on the disk. If so it needs to be sent to a lab for further analysis to see if it is black mold.
Professional inspectors will cost more but they will provide a more thorough inspection and testing regimen. They also can find exactly where the black mold is growing and provide the necessary expertise in removing and preventing future outbreaks.
If you suspect you have a Stachybotrys problem then the first step to fixing that problem is with a black mold testing kit. They are relatively cheap and will allow you to diagnose the problem and take the proper steps to protect your home and family.
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