Is there a way to have a house tested for mold or mildew problems? I wake up every morning all stuffed up. If I go outside or to the hog buildings I get cleared out. Our basement has gotten wet alot during the past 2 years. I cleaned and thew alot of stuff away last summer once it dryed up. Any suggestions on where to start?
I Googled home mold test kits, and there are certainly some available...I've seen them at Lowe's, and I am sure amazon will sell them. There are companies that have this service listed, too.
There are service companies that deal with mold abatement, sort of like the ones that remove asbestos. This could get very expensive and I do not know if I'd invite them in for a damp basement, unless you think the mold is climbing up into the walls and framing of the upper floor.
These guys will rip out wallboard, and you can end up with a lot of structural issues when they are done. This is why mold damage is excluded from many homeowner's policies now.
Then, there are companies that clean out ductwork, if you have central heat/air. The pulmonologist told me to get our ductwork cleaned out last week when I saw him, so I will be searching for that service soon, too.
If you are certain that you left some things that may have gotten damp at all in the basement, or that were there when other things were turning moldy on you, then the first thing I'd consider is getting that stuff completely out of the house envelope. Could the farm help spend an afternoon moving that stuff into a shed or somewhere where you can go through it and discard? If you have hired a housekeeper, she may want the job as an extra day or so of work from you.
Old books and anything paper will harbor a lot of molds, and fabrics can be really musty, too. My mom's basement was damp and moldy. I have thrown away everything I had that was ever in it, except some old farm tools and stuff that is displayed on the porch as decorations. Nothing from that space comes inside my house.
Whatever you do, don't work down there yourself, unless you wear really good dust protection.
How finished is the basement area? You might be able to use a Clorox washdown to inhibit a lot of it yourself, or, there are always those companies that do cleanup after fire and smoke damage that could be hired. These usually list in the yellow pages.
Just some ideas...if you find a good solution, please share it with me.
Have you gotten a dehumidifier down there yet. It will, at least, get rid of the water down there. Wear a mask when you're down there working with the damp and damaged stuff. It's not good on your lungs. Putting that damp stuff into an unused hog shed that has fans would be a good use for it until it is warmer outside. Sun can do wonders.
Then you and your DH will have to find out why the basement is wet in the first place. Is it drainage or water backing up? Try to prevent this from becoming a yearly routine. You'll feel better when everything is working properly.