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Indoor Air Quality Program

Mold in the Home

About Mold | Health Affects of Mold | Detection of Mold | General Mold Cleanup Procedures | Additional Mold Resources


Detection of Mold

How can I tell if I have mold in my house?
If you can see mold, or if there is an earthy or musty odor, you can assume you have a mold problem. Allergic individuals may experience the symptoms listed above. Look for previous water damage. Visible mold growth is found underneath materials where water has damaged surfaces, or behind walls. Look for discoloration and leaching from plaster.

Should I test my home for mold?
The Arizona Department of Health Services does not recommend testing as the first step to determine if you have a mold problem. Reliable sampling for mold can be expensive, and requires equipment not available to the general public. Residents of individual private homes must pay a contractor to carry out such sampling, as it is not done by public health agencies. Mold cleanup is usually considered one of the housekeeping tasks of the private citizen, along with roof and plumbing repairs, sweeping and house cleaning. Another problem is that there are few available standards for judging what is an acceptable quantity of mold. In all locations, there are some outdoor levels of molds. If sampling is carried out, an outdoor air sample needs to be taken at the same time as the sample indoors, to provide a baseline measurement. Since the susceptibility of individuals varies so greatly, sampling is at best a general guide. The simplest approach is: if you can see or smell mold, you have a problem. Once you know the problem exists, follow the procedure given next. Unless the source of moisture is removed and the contaminated area is cleaned and disinfected, mold growth is likely to recur.