We live in an apartment, and since a couple of months, my girlfriend suffer from all sort of lung/breath/throat problems. ( Multiple visits to the Doctors give the same result: she has nothing, might be allergy. But she also have been tested for allergies, and nothing to declare in that part )

Since a couple of weeks, I also start to have throat problem, and I'm someone that have a natural good heal, I'm almost never sick.

Even if we see nothing, and keep the place clean, I'm starting to think that there might be mildew or fungus in wall, roof, or anyplace that we can't inspect visually, and lead to a bad/toxic air.

How can we check if we have that kind of problem without opening the walls ?

2 Answers 2


There are many DIY air quality test kits available, that might be the best place to start. This one checks for bacteria on HVAC filters and vents. This one from AirLab actually samples the air to test, though it is a bit pricey.

You could also call a professional to come in and test the quality of the air in your home, this can be expensive so I would recommend a cheap DIY test first. If the DIY test shows contaminants or inconclusive results, then I would call in the professionals.

You might want to discuss this with your landlord, as they might be responsible for testing and/or removal of the contaminants (depending on your local laws).

  • perfect answer. I know of no better way. Mar 25, 2011 at 17:14

Before spending money on the air quality test kits, use some very powerful sensors you already have: your nose, eyes, and hands.

Go around all edges of your floor, ceiling, and wall. Smell for musty odors, feel for damp areas, and look for discoloration.

Even if you find something small it might be evidence of a larger problem underneath. Spend extra attention near window sills and doors.

This shouldn't be the problem in most homes today but another source of bad air could be your sinks. Make sure the P-trap is correctly installed and there isn't a problem with the plumbing's vent stack that would lead to sewer gas leaking into your house. Does your sink stink?

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