Most often mold testing requests come from people wondering if they have a mold problem? Because there are no visible signs of mold growth. However, you have a gut feeling something is wrong. You may be experiencing things like strange odors, mustiness, frequent illnesses, headaches & fatigue when you spend time indoors. Mold testing when mold is visible is a common practice by many mold professionals, especially franchises. We are going to break down the differences of when a mold test is needed and the types of testing that can be performed.
Testing for mold is NOT necessary when there are visible signs of mold growth. This approach is verified by the EPA. Any other recommendation is a greedy scheme that is not necessary. Unfortunately, it is a common practice in the mold industry. However, all mold professionals universally agree, that if mold is visible it should be safely removed. Thereby validating our approach. Because it is irrelevant to test the type of mold or the spore count when the decision for remediation has already occurred.
Certified instructors with 30+years experience working as an Environmental Air Quality Industrial Hygienist frequently proclaim to no longer even test for mold when the visible mold is present. Why? In their words “you should handle all visible mold assuming it is toxic.” In other words, safely remove the mold according to EPA and industry standards, then post-test to ensure the premise is free of contamination. In conclusion, If you know you see mold, spending money on a lab to confirm what you have already seen is an unnecessary expense.
We DO recommend testing in situations where there is not any visible mold. Yet there is an odor or the occupants have reoccurring health issues. Also, we recommend pot-testing after a remediation project has been completed. This ensures that all mold has been properly removed with no spores becoming airborne. While pre-testing for mold is much of the time is not necessary, post-testing is. Because the knowledge of the air quality after remediation services is vital to your health. Therefore, verifying that mold counts are within a safe range is our highest priority. Because this also confirms the quality of our work.
We feel that the knowledge of the air quality after remediation services have been performed is very important and helpful. For us, we want to know that mold counts are low and within a safe range before we leave your property. This matters to us as it confirms the quality of our work. Therefore we will be performing our own post-tests after every job.
When choosing a mold professional, the last thing many property owners think about is the conflict of interest. This is a practice that is common. However, it is highly discouraged by all leading certification organizations. This is for the protection of the customer. What keeps a company from defrauding the test results? Thereby, preventing themselves any additional time or money. To learn more about this conflict of interest. Check out Ben Fetzer’s (owner of Fresh Start) article, “Conflict of Interest: Mold Testing & Remediation”.
In selecting your mold professional take precautions to ask what type of testing will be done. How many areas and if they will inspect the entire property. Many times price-driven promotions offer a quick 2-3 sample test with a basic lab report. However, they do not offer a thorough mold inspection of your property. Nor do they provide you with extensive knowledge & information. Formal mold inspection of the property is a must for all real estate sales transactions.
There are two primary types of mold testing available. Air testing is the most known form. Alone, air testing has disadvantages. It is best when completed in conjunction with surface testing. When choosing a mold professional to be sure to ask if they use multiple testing types during their analysis. Also, we recommend taking multiple samples throughout the areas of concern to ensure accuracy.
Air testing is useful for initial site testing, especially if mold or fungal growth is not visible. By using a professional air sampling device designed for the rapid collection and analysis of a wide range of airborne aerosols. These include fungal spores, pollen, insect parts, skin cell fragments, fibers, and inorganic particulates. Air enters the collection cassette, the particles become impacted on the sampling substrate, and the air leaves through the exit orifice. Thereby, collecting on a special glass slide inside of the cassette, called “the trace.” We send all the cassettes to the lab for detailed analysis and testing results.
To find the amount of mold growth and spores deposited around the home. We collect samples by swabbing or tapping surfaces. Also, areas where dust collects, without disturbance, provides an accurate reading of what is in the air. Like with air testing the results can vary. Because mold spores don’t spread evenly across surfaces of the home. They can change over time. Unlike air testing though, surface tests can’t identify the exact concentration of mold spores in the air.