Importance Of Mold Testing
Ensure Your Home Is Safe
Every home has a certain amount of mold. Mold testing will be necessary to determine how much mold is present and what species of mold. Mold testing may also provide information regarding a possible hidden mold problem within the walls, source of the mold problem ,etc.
Buying A House
Getting a mold inspection before buying a home is beneficial as a general home inspection typically excludes mold. This ensures the home does not have any mold problems and you are putting your money in the right place.
Exposure to mold can cause a number of health issues. Starting from respiratory illnesses , irritation in the eyes, skin, and airways, etc. Mold can affect people in different ways, and it often causes no symptoms at all. Even nonallergic individuals can also get sick by living in damp indoor spaces.
Proof For Your Insurance Company
Mold remediation is usually a separate part of your insurance policy and home insurance companies are known for not covering mold on insurance policies, so you may want to have the inspection to prove to them there is indeed mold in the home.
What Happens During A Mold Inspection
Did a friend suggest that you get a mold inspection done? You might be wondering why it is essential to have one done and how the process goes. However, before we launch into the procedures, one thing you need to know is “what is mold?”
Once you understand what mold is and how dangerous it is to your health, you would know why a mold inspection is essential. Mold is a kind of fungus that thrives in moist places and reproduce in air-borne spores. There are over 400,000 types of mold.
While only a few dozen have proven to be toxic mold, mold exposure can not only lead to health problems, but it also damages your property. It is essential to check the growth of mold. The first step in preventing the growth of mold is to find it.
However, mold grows in hidden places,like behind the wall and under the carpet. So, you need a professional to find all hidden mold sources in your house.
Do you suspect the growth of mold in your house? You can call our professional experts to help you inspect for mold. You might be curious as to what inspectors do when they test for mold. We have given you the answer below.
Mold Testing: Air Samples
Air samples can be taken and analyzed in a variety of ways. The most common method uses a “spore trap” and is called a “spore trap sample.”Spore traps work by having a known volume of air pass impact a sticky surface as it passes through the spore trap sampling device. Most of the particles in the air also impact this sticky surface and consequently adhere to, and are captured on, this sticky surface. Mold spores comprise a subset of these ‘particles in the air’ and also are captured on the sticky medium inside the spore trap. When the spore trap is sent to the mold testing laboratory for analysis, the mold laboratory opens the spore trap, applies some stains to the sticky surface that the mold spores can absorb, and then identifies and quantifies the types of mold spores captured during the sampling process. There are other methods of mold sampling, including culturing or growing the mold spores captured from the air, but these are less commonly used.
Magnified under a microscope, mold spores captured on a Zefon Air-O-Cell spore trap.Source: Eurofins EMLab P& K
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Based On Square Footage
Another model inspection companies will use is based on square footage. The number I have seen a few times. $150 per 700 sq feet. They will usually round the price up, down or add $75 if the square footage is in the middle of the 700 sq feet.
So if for example, your home is 1800 sq feet it would be $375.
Home Environmental Testing Companies
An indoor environmental professional is an industrial hygienist who inspects a wide range of environmental concerns including bacteria, odors, radon, and mold. They determine the problem in the indoor environment and ways to improve the environment for individuals. So in a way, indoor environmental professionals are like a doctor of your home.
Environmental Analytics is an Arizona-based environmental consulting firm that brings an indoor environmental professional to your home to perform an on-site inspection.
Founder of Environmental Analytics, and sick building expert Michael Schrantz advises that you must be careful of companies who call themselves mold testing companies and dont do a proper job of testing. For example, some companies may only test for mold by taking a direct air sample by walking through your home.
While air sampling is beneficial, youre not going to be able to detect all mold through an air sample. Thats because not all mold is the same some molds are heavier than others. Some are stickier than others. If a mold is heavy, it wont stay airborne for a long amount of time and wont be detected by the air sample.
Schrantz suggests that in addition to air sampling, other mold testing needs to be conducted.
Green Home Solutions is another Arizona-based company that tests and inspects for mold, determines a mold remediation plan, mold containment, and mold treatment.
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Do You Really Need A Mold Inspection Or Testing
We are going to tell you something right away about mold inspections and mold testing that is going to make almost every other mold company and mold inspector squirm. Most other mold companies will not reveal the following, but we have been doing so for years because it is our mission to get good factual information about mold out there to combat all the misinformation and fiction that dominates our industry. Ready?
Limitations Of Mold Testing
There are many testing methods that can detect molds. They can be used to find mold particles suspended in air, in settled dust, or growing on surfaces of building materials and furnishings. Some methods can identify a portion of the types of live molds in a sampled environment, but these may also miss or undercount those are not live or wont grow well on the nutrients used to incubate the sample. Other methods are better able to characterize the total amount of molds in a sample , but not very good for identifying the specific types of molds. Even tests that are done well only give a partial estimate of the amount and types of molds actually collected in a sample or in the sampled environment.
Despite these limitations, there are situations where mold testing by skilled investigators may be valuable for example, to justify remediation expenses or to document that cleanup has met expectations. In some cases, tests can also provide clues that may help find hidden mold, but the growth still has to be found by looking for it so that it can be removed. Experienced investigators should evaluate whether testing is warranted and if they are ethical, they should advise against testing whenever the problem can be corrected without it. Testing may be useful as part of an investigation, but it is never a substitute for a thorough visual inspection.
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How Much Does A Mold Inspection Cost
The cost of mold inspection can vary slightly from region to region, but the difference is generally pretty small. In fact, you are just as likely to find wider variations from one contractor to another in the same region.
As a rough guideline, a mold inspection costs about the same as a regular home inspection, the kind that is done when you purchase a new home. On average, mold inspection costs $300 to $400 for small to medium-sized houses . Above 4,000 square feet, the cost increases to the $700 to $900 range. Keep in mind that these costs are for inspection only and do not necessarily include testing. Skipping the unneeded mold testing can save you some money.
Some contractors that specialize in mold remediation will do a mold inspection for free, though they will obviously hope to be hired for the remediation itself.
Who Can Test For Mold
Citizens can find individuals or companies that perform mold testing by looking under Environmental Services in the Yellow Pages of their telephone book. IDPH recommends looking for individuals or companies that employ certified industrial hygienists or persons who work under the supervision of industrial hygienists.
Citizens also may search the Internet for individuals or companies that do this kind of work. The American Industrial Hygiene Association provides a list of its members at . Citizens may search the list of certified industrial hygienists by specialty, state and location .
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What To Do If You Have Mold In Your Home
What should you do if you see mold in your home? The first thing is to do some investigation. Mold is a sign of excess moisture. You need to determine the source of moisture and control or eliminate it. Moisture can come from many sources, including leaks, condensation, and ground water. Once you determine the source, take measures to correct the problem.
The Minnesota Department of Health created a fact sheet explaining why it does not support mold testing as a first response to indoor air quality problems. For more information about MDH’s stance on testing, visit Testing for Mold.
How To Remove Mold
- Wear old clothes and shoes that you can launder or throw away after the cleanup work.
- Wear special N-95 or P-100 respirators, in addition to goggles and gloves.
- Set an old box fan or a cheap new one in a window to ventilate the room while working. Throw it out when you’re done cleaning, because the spores are almost impossible to clean off. Tape plywood or cardboard around the window openings so the spores can’t blow back in.
- Wrap and tape moldy carpeting in 6-mil plastic, and double-bag mold-infested debris in garbage bags for disposal.
- To control airborne spores, moisten moldy areas with a garden sprayer while you work.
- Turn off your furnace and air conditioner and cover ducts and doors to contain spores.
- Keep your wet/dry vacuum outside when you vacuum.
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List Of Tests For Mold Associated Illness/ Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome
This is a list of tests that may be useful in the diagnosis of mold associated Illness/Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome due to water damaged buildings. I have marked those that I find helpful in bold. The others should be considered depending on the situation/patient. As I have time I will put a link for these tests to explain the test and what lab provides the test.
These tests are simply tools to help a practitioner better diagnose. The most important thing is still a good intake interview.
Can I Use A Self Test Kit From The Store
Though youre fairly certain it is mold, you still want to test for it.
You can do your own assessment by using home mold test kits. These do-it-yourself kits are sold with claims that they can pinpoint the presence of harmful molds that can trigger serious health problems.
However, home testing tools are not considered statistically accurate and they produce a large number of false positives. A false positive means the home test will claim you have a mold problem when you dont actually have elevated levels of mold.
If you are concerned enough, youd ideally contact a professional. They have the proper tools to conduct air sampling and lift sampling as the situation requires.
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How Is Mold Testing Done
Maybe youve noticed a moldy smell. Or youve had water leaks or spotted visible signs of mold. For many homeowners, the thought of having mold in their home is terrifying, but if youve seen the signs, its important to take the nextand safeststep, which is to schedule a mold assessment with a trained professional who can help you understand whether you have a mold problem and what you can do about it.
You might be wondering, how much time will it take? Will they pull up my rugs? Is the process safe? After youve scheduled it, what can you expect from your mold assessment? What about results?
Knowledge, says Robert Weitz, a certified microbial investigator and Principal at RTK Environmental Group, is key. A big part of scheduling and our investigation is education. We help our clients understand what were doing and why were doing it. Our inspectors are all well-educated and often have years of experience in environmental testing, construction, and other related fields. They understand how homes are built and how mold can cause them to deteriorate. And they are eager to share information.
Homeowners should expect a highly trained professional to show up for the job, according to Weitz, who notes that he and his team perform independent testing services and not remediation or repairs.
Heres a closer look at what you can expect from an RTK mold assessment professional:
Where Does Mold Grow
Because mold and mildew thrive in humid locations, there are a few key places in your house to watch. High risk areas for mold include:
- Air conditioners
- Behind wanes coating
- Behind wood paneling
Bathrooms are another likely place. Mold can be present without being visible, but if you notice any fungi, call a mold removal professional to remove and sterilize the mold spot immediately.
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If You See Mold Testing Is Usually Unnecessary And A Waste Of Money
If you already see obvious, visible mold, you usually do NOT need a mold inspection or mold testing you simply need to remove it following industry standard guidelines as we discuss below.
There are many cases where a mold inspection and mold testing IS a good idea, and we discuss these below. We also discuss why home mold tests that you can buy at hardware stores are a waste of money.
Many consumers who call us already see visible mold and think they therefore need to get it tested to determine what type of mold it is, whether its toxic, and other characteristics.
Do you think most companies who inspect for mold care to reveal that testing is often unnecessary when they have an easy $350-$1000 mold inspection on the table from a worried customer who is misinformed? Obviously not. Of course, there are some companies and individuals who are truthful, and we commend them, but they are sadly few and far between and drowned out by the others.
Cdc And Other Government Agencies On Mold Testing
You may have come across a CDC article or seen other local government agencies that have made the broad statement that mold testing is not necessary or helpful when visible mold is present.
Here at Water Mold Fire Restoration, we do agree that we can typically go directly into the mold remediation process without mold testing being performed. However, we wholeheartedly disagree that it is not helpful. Mold Testing gives a much clearer picture of the state of the indoor air quality. It not only gives a baseline for the extent of the mold issue but it more importantly gives us an idea on whether or not rooms adjacent to the mold problem are also affected.
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Pt : Signs Of Mold In Your Home
If you notice a moldy smell in your house, theres a good chance you could have mold hidden somewhere.
Likewise, discoloration and growing dark spots on wood, walls, or flooring can be telltale signs of mold in the home.
Another sign that you could have mold is if you are suffering from unusual allergy symptoms. If theres mold hidden in your home, there will be mold spores in the air. When you breathe in these spores, not only will you notice a moldy smell, but your body will react with allergic reactions like sneezing, a runny nose, or sore eyes.
Hello I Recently Moved To Switzerland With My Husband In Our New Apartment I Knew I Had A Mold Sickness Issue Before So I Did My Best To Choose An Apartment That I Thought Was Free From Mold Later After We Moved Here My Doctor I Was Working With Wanted Me To Make Sure Our Home Didnt Have Mold So Long Story Short We Got An Air Test Done Before The Test Came Back My Doctor Told Me I Needed To Find A New Place To Live Because Of A Small Leak I Found Coming In From Our Patio Door When It Would Rain Hard It Honestly Confused Me So Bad Because I Didnt Think There Was An Issue Here But Then We Found A Testing Company That Did The Tape Tests And Air Tests All Through The House And Around The Leak The Tests Came Back And He Said Our House Looks Good From The Results But We Should Clean The Back Of The Toilet Tank From Where The Levels Seemed High In One Of The Bathrooms And To Change The Air Filter I Just Still Cant Seem To Find Peace Of Mind That Our Home Is Actually Mold Free Because Of What The Doctor Assumed Scared Me But The Results Say Otherwise He Said If The Numbers On The Tsa Are Over 200 Than Its A Problem But The Only Room That Was Higher Than 200 Is The Bathroom And He Did An Outside Comparison Test And It Was 32 Also Our Humidity Level Inside Isnt A Problem It Always Stays Between 20
I sympathize with your situation. Many of our clients find themselves in a similar situation due to information from their doctor. Very few doctors have any training or experience with mold testing. This often leads to recommendations and conclusions that are not well founded in building science or indoor air quality studies.
Your humidity levels are excellent, which rule out general mold growth due to poor ventilation and excess humidity. This would only leave a liquid water intrusion as a possible mold source. Thankfully, these are typically obvious and easy to identify. A small leak from a patio door would not likely lead to sufficient mold growth to impact the indoor air quality. This is why we generally steer clear of tape-lift samples. Identifying a small amount of mold behind a toilet or near a leaky door does not indicate an impact on your indoor air quality. Truly elevated levels of indoor mold spores are typically due to systemic humidity and ventilation problems or widespread water intrusions.
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