The next tool in your mold inspecting kit is your nose. Do you smell that? Mold growth will most often have a musty or earthy type of odor. Molds release countless microscopic spores, which travel through the air and produce a distinct smell. This is why some mold investigators actually use dogs to sniff out the more harmful types of toxic mold like the notorious stachybotrys chartarum – a mold that may be found in homes with water damage.
A third trick to discovering if mold is growing in your home is to invite a friend or neighbor who is mold-allergic over for tea! If their symptoms return then you probably have mold! Of course I’m only joking, but if you find that someone visiting your house begins to experience headaches, or difficulty breathing then it may be due to mold contamination.
If there is any evidence of past or ongoing water damage then this should alert you to the possibility of mold contamination. Mold may be growing behind walls, ceilings or floors. All water-damaged surfaces should also be examined underneath.
Reliable air sampling for mold is an option if you don’t see or smell anything but you or your household continue to experience health problems. This requires more expertise and should be performed by a certified mold investigator.
In conclusion, the easiest way to handle a suspicion of mold contamination is, “if it looks like mold and smells like mold, then it probably is”.