WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MOLD SAMPLING
Does your home have mold? Short answer is YES, because it is EVERYWHERE!! Does your home have an ELEVATED amount of mold?? Ah Ha! that my friend is a different question. Mold Sampling is a great tool, but it is not the only or even the best to answer the question. A thorough professional inspection is the better place to start, because if you see Visible Suspect Mold, then chances are you need spend the money on the cure.
There are plenty of reasons to do mold sampling, and this blog cannot address them all, suffice it to say, when you call us, we will truthfully tell you if mold sampling is truly needed and what questions that would answer.
All of us already have two effective mold detectors: our eyes and our noses. If black or green discoloration is noticed that is fuzzy in appearance and is in a location that is damp or had been damp, it is almost certainly mold. It is Visible Suspect Mold) If a building smells musty, there probably is mold somewhere; the mold may be on boxes stored in a basement or in walls or in the crawl space. If you want to find mold, look for the presence of water or a location where water was likely to have been Mold is so small you cannot see it. So, the only accurate way to what is floating in the air do Air Sampling. In a case where there are patches of mold or you are not sure, then swab or tape lift sampling what you need to do. This is not a DIY project, you need to get the right professionals to sample your home for mold.
While there are inspectors who claim that they can visually inspect for mold without taking any form of samples for analysis, understand mold frequently hides in places where they can’t be found easily – places like behind the dishwasher, in the attic, in the crawl space under the house, and in the wall behind a leaky toilet.
Mold sampling is done for several reasons. One is to determine if there are toxic mold particles in a particular environment which can cause different irritations and allergies in certain individuals. (Your doctor may request this) Another reason is to determine the location of the source of the organisms. Another necessary use of sampling is to see if the contamination you see has cross contaminated other parts of the house. Also, to see if an effective remediation has to be carried out.
The truth is that we are always surrounded by a lot of these mold spores and organisms. However, problem arises when the level becomes higher than should be normally expected. By sampling, we can scientifically establish how high the level is, and take the necessary measures.
You need to know is whether mold is seen, and what kind, and the quantity, when the material is examined under the microscope.
Word of Caution:
Air sampling was developed to help identify the location of a hidden reservoir of mold. If the source of mold is already identified, air sampling does not provide additional meaningful information. Furthermore, safe, or toxic levels of airborne mold have not been established. An individual air sample for mold provides a “snapshot” of what was in the air during the few minutes of sampling. The results may not be indicative of the amount of mold that is in the air during most of the day.
Air sampling for mold should be done either to obtain an answer to a question that cannot be answered without the air sampling or to obtain data as part of a research project. The Center for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists do not recommend routine air testing for mold as the only indicator or whether the area is moldy or not.
DIY kits petri dishes you see in the big box store or online are nearly worthless to help you figure out what is going on in your home!!! They are best for scaring you!! Why?
As mentioned earlier, there are millions mold spores in all areas of our life and some WILL fall in that petri dish and start to grow. Does that that tell you if that is normal or abnormal? Nope.
There are several professional sampling methods that can be used, but we’ll briefly look at two of them.
Surface sampling is the most basic way of sampling mold. If there is mold visible in your house, part of it can be taken as sample for analysis to determine if it is toxic or not. This sample can be taken using a number of techniques.
One method (Tape lift) is to stick a Microscope slide with sticky media to the surface and peel it off, taking some of it in the process and dropping the tape in a plastic bag to be analyzed. Another method is to swab the area with a Specialized, sterilized long Q-Tip look swab, and swab a defined area, (i.e. 1 square inch) and send them samples in the bag for inspection.
Air sampling is another way to check for mold problems. It answers different questions. Because mold is not always visible to the eyes, air sampling allows the inspector to take samples and detect mold even in places the eyes can’t easily reach.
It also helps to reveal the amount of mold spores that are already airborne in the house. This is very effective because it is only when air volumes are sampled, and the results of surveys expressed in terms of volumetric measurements that scientific comparisons could be made, usually one square meter).
An effective way to carry this out is for the professional to take an air sample outside the home right in the open. Remember we said there are mold spores everywhere. By taking an outdoor air sample, you’ll be able to establish what you will take as your baseline, what the normal level of mold should be like in that area.
After this, the air inside the house will also be sampled. By comparing both the samples outdoors and the ones done indoors, we will know if the level of the mold indoors is normal or higher than the normal baseline. If the latter is the case, the next step is to solve the problem early.
At Mold and Mildew Solutions LLC, we know how important it is to get rid of mold while its effects haven’t become so damaging. That is why we use advanced equipment to take the most accurate samples in your home. We look forward to working with you.
If you are not in our service area, and you are an adamant Do It Yourselfer; Call Me at the office and I will share the only Home Mold test kit that I recommend. It more closely follows the methodology that IEP’s use. I sometime recommend it to those that are not on my service area and It helps them get a sense of what may be going on. You do have to follow the directions to a tee, if you want accurate results. They even have staff that can direct you to a professional if you need one.
Contact us today at:
Mold and Mildew Solutions LLC
AKA the Mildude, Lee has for decades