Mold Inspections, Mold Testing Naples, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Marco Island Florida.
Mold Inspection and Testing Overview
By Bruce Lunsford, Licensed Home Inspector
This is intended to provide a brief overview of the differences between Mold Testing and Mold Inspections.
Able Home Inspection performs Mold Testing and Mold Inspections in Naples, Fort Myers, Marco Island, Cape Coral Florida areas and more.
Mold inspections are primarily visual in nature. They may involve some basic testing such as humidity and moisture testing. While valuable and informative, they are not in depth and no destructive or detailed testing is involved. A thorough mold inspection should include inspecting the attic, removal of any access panels, etc.
Mold testing on the other hand is more involved and may include one or more testing methods. The most common testing methods are Swab sampling, tape lifting and air sampling.
Tape lifting and swab sampling are primarily used to verify a suspicious substance is mold, or to identify the species of mold. They are the least expensive methods of sampling or testing. The information provided is somewhat limited compared to air sampling. The information is mainly useful for symptom diagnosis and confirmation of suspicious areas. In real estate transactions, sampling is often helpful in proving to a seller that the stain in question is in fact mold.
Air Sampling is the preferred type of testing. This method provides the most information and is my preferred testing method. This method will often reveal hidden mold problems, but this of course cannot be guaranteed. Air testing involves using a calibrated air pump to move a known quantity of air through a special impact collection plate.
Microscopic analysis of the air sampling collection plate will not only give you the species of mold present, but can give you an accurate quantity of mold in the air. No other testing method measures how much mold is in your home or building. This is by far the most useful test available.
This type of mold testing generally requires at least 2 samples. One inside and one outside. 2 samples are necessary for comparative analysis. In other words, if the mold count inside of the home is about the same as the count outside, you probably don’t have a mold in air issue inside of your house.
Why is mold in air testing the most valuable? Because the negative health effects of mold are usually caused by the spores and other allergens released by the mold into the air. Inhaling, or coming in contact these spores or toxins is what causes negative health effects.
NOTE: Pursuant to Florida law, if greater than 10 square feet of mold are found during the test / inspection, you will be referred to a licensed mold remediation firm.
For more information on any type of testing please contact us.
Ten Mold Facts for Homeowners, Landlords, Tenants, and Employers
Homeowners, landlords, tenants, and employers should use these ten mold facts to cope with mold in homes, apartments, and workplaces.
1. Airborne mold spores are everywhere both indoors and outdoors. Resident and employee health is at serious risk if there are elevated levels of mold spores indoors, as compared to an outdoor mold control test.
2. The most dangerous indoor molds are Alternaria, Aspergillus, Chaetomium, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Mucor, Penicillium, and Stachybotrys. Laboratory analysis is required to identify specific mold species.
3. Mold spores can cause serious health problems even if the spores are dead or dormant (inactive while waiting for more moisture to resume growth). Even the smell of dead or dormant mold can make some mold-sensitive persons ill.
4. It is impossible to get rid of all mold spores indoors. Some mold spores will always be found in house dust and floating in the air.
5. The mold spores will not grow into mold colonies if there is insufficient moisture. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If organic materials are wet for more than 24 hours, mold growth can begin.
6. Mold grows by eating and destroying organic building materials and other cellulose-based materials such as carpeting, upholstery, and clothing. The longer that mold grows, the more mold damage to the building.
7. Cellulose is the main substance in the cell walls of plants (and thus of wood), and it is used in the manufacture of many organic building materials such as drywall, plasterboard, plywood substitutes, and ceiling tiles.
8. Mold can grow hidden and undetected inside wall and ceiling cavities; beneath wallpaper, paneling, and carpeting; and inside heating and cooling equipment and ducts, attics, crawl spaces, and basements.
9. Mold growth is often the result of a structural or construction defect, or of maintenance neglect, that allows moisture to enter the building.
10. The owner or employer must first fix the water problem (roof leak, plumbing leak, high indoor humidity) that enables the mold to grow. Effective mold remediation requires killing the mold with an EPA-registered fungicide, removing it, and treating the cleaned area with an EPA-registered preventive fungicidal coating.