Keeping the house dry can be harder than it appears. While it can be challenging enough to make sure that your home is watertight in every area — the roof, the gutters, the walls and the basement — it can be harder still to control moisture generated internally in the bathroom and kitchen. Unless you have excellent, professionally designed ventilation in these spaces, moisture can quickly get behind drywall and into false ceilings. Moisture buildup usually comes with one serious risk — mold.

Mold in homes isn’t a rare occurrence. For this reason, testing for mold should be a routine part of your home maintenance plan. ┬áIt’s always a good idea to find out about a mold situation through the report of a mold inspection company, rather than through the report of a doctor attempting to explain allergies and respiratory illnesses in the family.

DIY mold testing kits are generally unreliable. If the hundreds of dollars that it costs to have professional inspections done seems unreasonable, you can read up on how to perform visual checks yourself. You’ll need to learn to look closely at every part of the bathroom, kitchen, attic and basement, including areas enclosed by drywall and false ceiling constructions.

If there’s only a little mold

If you see the beginnings of mold growth in parts of your home, you should immediately have a sample tested at an online laboratory. It’s important to test samples at multiple locations across your home.

Many households make the mistake of attempting cleanup before testing. It’s important to know how dangerous a mold variety your home has. Some types of mold can cause structural damage, and others can be toxic enough to require hazmat suits for safe cleanup.

You should invest in a couple of dehumidifiers. They may be able to remove the source of the problem. If the mold growth as you see it seems to be in an advanced stage, you need to look into hiring a mold removal service. It’s important to do your research before you hire someone. Many governmental agencies warn consumers against services that use poor business practices.

Call your insurance company

If you do have dangerous mold, you need to ask your home insurance policy vendor about their rules. They may be able to cover it.

It isn’t generally a good idea to do such work yourself

While a thorough cleanup may seem simple enough, the toxic dust released during such a process can be a serious health risk. It would be hard for a regular person to find the protective gear needed.

The idea to take away is this — routine mold inspections are vital as a way to catch infestations early. Early detection is important. In some cases, advanced infestations can require partial demolition, something that can be very expensive.