What you need to know about Mold Testing
Moisture and mold in homes go hand in hand. Mold requires a source of moisture and a food source to exist. Moisture intrusion, in an external wall cavity creates an environment that allows mold to attack the structure, causing wood rot, insect infestation, finish failures, and mold growth. Moisture, in its vapor form, allows mold to grow in places of your home that you probably don’t even know exist. Besides causing your home to rot, mold growth potentially impacts the health and well-being of the people within. These reasons are why Certified Moisture Testing offers mold inspections. We know where to look for moisture intrusion and the mold it causes.
Frankly, mold and its spores (seeds) are everywhere and enter EVERY home every time the wind blows, or you open a window or door. If the spores find a combined food and moisture source that it likes, it will sprout like a plant seed and begin to colonize. It will also begin to reproduce and create more spores to expand its physical existence. The spores are what cause allergies, asthma, eye and skin irritations, and occasional deaths. Children, the elderly and people with immune system disorders are more susceptible to mold reactions.
What is an acceptable level for mold?
There are thousands of species of mold, each generating spores. However, there are primarily just 5 species that can dramatically affect the health of some people. The good news is most people are not affected by mold and can live a healthy life in a moldy home. The bad news is that if you are one of the unfortunates, your life can be miserable at home. That’s why there is no national acceptable level for mold. Each of us have different tolerances.
Mold testing- What’s involved?
We often get questions from people who have purchased a petri dish test kit at the local hardware store. Usually, the test results they receive are not good. The collection instructions require the petri dish to remain exposed for days to allow spores in the air to land in the dish. This exposure time allows doors and windows to get opened and the wind to blow outside spores into the home during the collection time. Those collected outside spores will tell the homeowner they have a mold problem, when they may not have one.
We at CMT, use air quality comparative testing to determine if there is a mold problem inside the home. Air quality testing is simply collecting the mold spores in a specific volume of air, both inside and outside of the home. We then use unbiased labs to determine the species and their quantities of spores found in each sample. If the lab results show species on the interior and not outside, or if the results show higher spore counts on the interior of species found both inside and outside, there is very likely a source of mold in the home. While we are doing the air sampling, we visually inspect the interior of the home to possibly identify locations of visible mold. Remember, we know moisture and know where to look. If the air sample results show interior mold, you now have a starting place to begin the cleanup and stopping the cause of the moisture.
What to do next if mold is found?
Check our next blog.