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How can I tell if I have mold in my home? Answers to your home questions

Whether you are trying to outfit your first tool kit or are trying to see if you have mold in your home, Lou Manfredini is here to help.

The TODAY contributor and host of "House Smarts" stopped by Studio 1A to answer viewer-submitted questions.

How often should I replace my smoke alarm?

It’s vital for everyone to have battery-operated carbon monoxide and smoke detectors on every room in your home. The batteries should be replaced every year, while the detector itself should be replaced every five to seven years. If you don’t know the age of your detector, throw it out and buy a new one. It’s not worth it.

Some manufactures have come out with 10-year detectors. When it starts to chirp, throw it away and get a new one.

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You’ll also notice that there are “smart” detectors available that will send you a text if it does. This is a great idea for anyone living alone. They can be a little bit more expensive, but it’s a very convenient, important service.

What’s a good first tool kit?

Life is too short to use cheap tools. Below is a collection of high-quality tools I recommend having on hand:

  • Carpenter Pencil
  • Utility Knife
  • Level Torpedo
  • Plier Pump/Groove
  • Wrench
  • Plier Set
  • Safety Glasses
  • Hex Key
  • Screwdriver
  • Short Hex Key
  • Claw Hammer
  • Tape Measure

This will cost you less than $200 — and you’ll have it for the rest of your life.

How do you know when you have mold in your house?

You can buy a mold testing kit for about $34. You take a sample, mail it in and a few weeks letter, you will receive the results.

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If you don’t want to wait two weeks, you can also buy a home testing kit. Swab the area where you think you might have mold. The kit will display one or two lines, each one indicating whether you have mold or not.

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