What is Mold Testing?
Basically, mold testing involves taking a sample of either the air or a surface. This is either to determine (1) What kinds of mold spores are in the air of a room or home, or (2) The identity of the mold spores present in a sample of suspected mold, using a tape lift.
MOLD TESTING: Air Samples
The most common method of mold testing is by taking air samples using a “spore trap.” This is Disaster Recovery’s preferred method of mold testing. Using equipment specifically designed for this purpose, a specified volume of air is passed through the spore trap sampling cassette. The cassette contains a sticky medium which traps the particles in the air that pass through the cassette. This includes dust and/or mold spores. The spore trap is then carefully sealed, labeled, and sent to an independent testing lab in Washington state for analysis, along with a Chain of Custody form.
At the mold testing laboratory, the spore trap is opened and the testing begins. Special stains are applied to the sticky surface. This helps to identify not only the specific types of molds in the sample, but also the amount or quantity of each type of mold. A detailed report is generated comparing all of the samples submitted. Generally, this final analysis report is emailed to Disaster Recovery within 3 business days. This report can be very helpful in several ways:
- Perhaps your doctor has already identified that you are sensitive to specific mold toxins through blood testing. This report will be important to determine if your home is indeed the source of exposure.
- Are you are renting a home and suspect that there is a mold problem? This report can be proof to show the landlord that there is an issue that needs to be addressed.
- Not everyone is severely affected by mold; however, prolonged exposure can impact the health of young children and the elderly, or those with compromised immune systems.
- Are you purchasing a home and suspect that there may have been past water or mold damage? Air sampling can determine if the level of mold spores in the home are within safe levels.
- Perhaps you, or a professional company, has removed mold from your home. Air sampling at the conclusion of the project can confirm that there is no longer a high level of mold in your breathing space.
When hired to perform mold air sampling, Disaster Recovery always recommends taking at least two samples. (1) An outside sample will determine what is the normal mold count in your area at that time of year. (2) At least one inside sample should be taken in the area of concern. If your home has several levels, we recommend that you take an inside sample on each level.
Once the report is received from the lab, we compare the inside samples with the one taken outside. Is the mold count inside significantly higher than the sample taken outside? Then there is a mold issue in your home. This would be a good time to schedule a professional Mold Inspection. Disaster Recovery’s technicians have been trained to locate past or current moisture sources. They will determine what areas are affected, and what needs to be removed. They will generate a detailed Estimate for mold remediation services.
If you decide to hire Disaster Recovery to remove mold in your home, these are the basic steps:
- They will set up a Containment Barrier and Negative Air Scrubbers to avoid exposing the rest of your home during the project.
- The technicians will ask that you do not enter the contained areas until they have completed the work.
- They themselves will use Personal Protective Equipment, including gloves and respirators.
- They will remove any moldy materials, then safely bag them before removing them from your home for disposal.
- If there is still moisture present, drying equipment will be set up and monitored daily.
- Next, they will HEPA vacuum the affected areas, clean them with an antimicrobial agent, and HEPA vacuum the areas again.
- The areas will remain under containment with the Negative Air Scrubbers running for at least 3 days. This is to capture any mold spores that may have been released into the air during the remediation process.
- Final air samples will be taken to confirm that the mold remediation has been completed successfully. These will be sent to an independent testing lab. If the samples show that the levels are normal, the Containment Barrier and equipment are removed.
- Throughout the project, the technicians will take detailed notes, photos and/or GoPro videos to document the entire process.
MOLD TESTING: Tape Lifts
Sometimes it is hard to determine if an area in your home is actually moldy, or just soiled or stained. Common areas include baseboard trim, windowsills, etc. In those cases, a tape sample is can be helpful. A piece of clear tape is pressed against the suspect area to pick up a sample. This is placed on a glass slide, sealed, labeled, and sent to an independent mold testing laboratory for analysis. Within 3 business days, a detailed report is emailed to Disaster Recovery, identifying any mold spores that may be present.
If you have any questions about Mold Testing pricing, or would like to schedule an appointment, please call our Office: (307) 686-0078.
Wondering if you could, or should, do your own mold testing or removal? Please read our article: DIY Mold Testing Kits: Don’t Waste Your Money!