Mold Inspection and Testing
Why Check for Mold?
Mold is one of the worst enemies your home can have. Once growth begins, it can spread and grow on your clothes, furniture, interior surfaces, carpets and sub floors, and many other places. Mold growth can also cause deterioration of insulation, peeling paint, stains on the walls and ceilings and ruin the structural integrity of your home through fungal growth and rot.
Mold grows in areas with excess moisture, which can be caused by a variety of factors. If not treated properly and in a timely manner, it could lead to health problems. Causes of increased moisture in your home include:
- Heating and cooling systems
- Number of occupants
- Ground/atmospheric moisture
- Plumbing problems
- Roof, wall and window leaks/failures
- Long-term exposure to sprinklers
If your home is not properly insulated, ventilated or a leak occurs, this causes moisture to build up and creates an ideal environment for mold to live and grow. Slow leaks under sinks, behind refrigerators, in the walls and sub floors of bathrooms and around water heaters are common and can go unnoticed for long periods of time, creating severe mold growth. While not all molds are toxic, it can lead to musty odors, deterioration of your home and also aggravate people with allergies.
When to Inspect and Test?
Inspections can be preventative or needed when visible mold growth, health concerns and/or water leaks are present. Our certified inspectors have the skills and knowledge to identify any problem areas with a visual inspection and sampling of any potential mold growth. Samples are sent to our laboratory for analysis and a full report will be constructed based on the lab results, visual inspection notes, any recommendations and an estimate for remediation work in areas that have been found to have fungal contamination. Sampling includes Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) as well as surface samples in our basic mold inspection package. Specific sampling can be done based on the situation at hand.
A mold inspection may include the following:
- Professional visual inspection of the property or the area(s) of concern
- Surface and/or air sampling for laboratory analysis
- Other types of sampling (only if needed and approved)
- Moisture testing
- Leak detection
- Infrared thermal imaging
Types of Mold Testing (Sampling)
- Surface Sampling: Swab - Sterile swabs are used to collect samples from suspect surfaces. The swab is swiped over the target area and then stored in a buffer solution. After sampling, swabs are packed into an insulated sample chest with ice or frozen gel packs and sent to the laboratory.
- Surface Sampling: Tape Lift - Clear Adhesive 3M Brand Cellophane tape is used to obtain a sample from a suspect surface. Samples are then sent to the laboratory for analysis.
- Air Sampling - The cassette (spore trap) is used for collecting particles floating in the air. Ambient air is pumped (via a vacuum pump) through the tapered inlet slit of the Air-O-Cell Cassette. The cassette contains a collection media, to which particles from the pumped air attach. The cassettes are sent to an independent laboratory for analysis.
- Bulk Sampling - The removal of wall sections or other suspect items in significant portions is known as bulk sampling. Bulk samples are cut away, placed in plastic bags and sealed. They are then packaged into an insulated sample chest with ice or frozen gel packs and sent to an independent laboratory where they are examined for spores and/or cultured as needed. Bulk sampling is used to help identify organisms growing in porous materials. This type of sampling allows for accurate identification of spores. The spores may be quantified and defined as viable or non-viable. Samples may also be cultured to identify fungus types to the species level.
All samples are sent to an independent laboratory where they are analyzed and examined for spores and/or cultured as needed. These types of sampling are non-destructive and allow for spore identification and quantization. The samples can also be cultured so that the organisms can be speciated.
Post-Remediation Mold Testing (Clearance Testing)
Following fungal remediation, clearance testing/sampling is necessary to ensure that contaminants initially found in areas of concern have been removed and are at acceptable levels for occupants. Along with a visual assessment, surface and IAQ sampling are required to have complete clearance of an area(s) per industry standards. A certificate of clearance is issued in an area(s) that passes the clearance testing. This certificate is necessary to prove successful fungal remediation has been completed inside of existing containment areas and to document the area(s) remediated are safe for occupants to enter.