Mold can grow on virtually any organic substance or building material, comprised of wood, wallpaper, drywall, carpet, paint, adhesives, fabrics, ducting and insulation. Mold is in the air everywhere and when it lands on a damp organic substance it may begin digesting and growing. This produces microscopic spores that are released into the air, while the destructive organism eventually damages the materials on which they feed and grow.
Mold testing is an imperative part of the restoration process. It allows us to determine the types and concentrations of mold spores that are present in each tested location. Mold spores are microscopic to the eye, so without proper testing, it may be impossible to accurately determine if a contamination is present and what it’s true dangers may be.
Mold Testing Methods:
- Air Sampling: This is the most common form of sampling to assess the airborne level of mold spores. Sampling of the indoor “suspect” location(s) will be compared to an outdoor “baseline” location to determine if an elevated level of airborne mold spores is present. If the results indicate a higher level of indoor mold spores compared to the outdoor baseline, there is a higher probability that an indoor contamination may exist.
- Surface Sampling: A swab or tape lift is taken on a “suspect” location to accurately identify what type of mold may be present. This testing method is typically utilized to determine if discoloration on your homes buildings material is in fact, mold. These results will better inform us if a mold remediation is necessary.
- Wall Cavity Sampling: A small hole is placed in the drywall, sheetrock or plaster and a thin tube is injected. This allows an air sample to be pulled from the wall cavity, behind the wall. This test will help indicate if any mold spores are present behind the wall, which are are not visible and may not be picked up by an air quality test.
Does Mold Cause Odors
Often times mold spores will release an odor that can be detected when you’re close in proximity. This is typically a damp and musty odor, similar to forgetting your clothes in the washing machine, for an extra for a day or two. However, not every mold scenario will release a strong odor, so if you’re concerned there may be mold present, mold testing may be the best approach, to help determine if a mold remediation is necessary.
How Air Samples are Taken
Air samples are extracted in several ways. In most cases, technicians utilize a “spore trap.” Mold testing with air samples in Phoenix is a straightforward process, when performed correctly. These traps capture a volume of air, that is collected inside the cassette, where it sticks to a slide. The cassette is hooked up to a pump that has the ability to draw in a certain volume of air. The data is collected onsite and then turned into a 3rd party accredited laboratory, where it is analyzed and reviewed.
How are Air Samples Analyzed?
This analysis is what allows us to then determine the type and concentration of mold spores that are present.
During spore trap non-viable sampling, air is drawn over a clear slide, which is contained inside a cassette. The slide contains the mold spores, as well as any other airborne particles that could have been picked up and drawn into the cassette. This method is called “impaction,” and it’s the art of drawing in mold-laden air for examination. A lab can determine how many spores exist in a cubic meter of air, determining how severe a mold infestation is.
Once this is analyzed, the lab can determine the genera of mold. While direct visual examination is limited to common molds—like Aspergillus, Penicillium or Stachybotrys (toxic black mold) — close-up examination, at a laboratory, can depict diverse mold types. Some types of mold may be underreported, but the process is generally effective in pinning down an area’s potentially, multiple mold spore types.
When is Air Sampling Recommended?
Mold testing via air samples in Phoenix and the rest of Maricopa County can be an effective method in many situations. Especially if you feel the indoor environment may have suffered water damage. Mold can grow over a relatively short or long period of time, and it can be “hidden” in many different locations. Mold can grow inside HVAC systems, behind walls or baseboards and in attics. Understandably, it can be difficult to locate. This is one of the many reasons a mold test may be the best starting point, before considering a mold remediation project. There’s no point in spending thousands on a mold removal if it can be avoided by a simple test.
Is Mold Testing the Safest Route?
Mold can affect everyone differently and the last thing we want is for you, your family, or friends to be at risk. Hiring a mold testing firm to perform testing can help cut to the chase and let you know for sure if there’s actually an issue. If you suspect there may be a mold issue, at your property, don’t wait, call us today, 480-656-3999. You may currently be exposed to dangerous spores that you aren’t even aware of.