When Should I Get A Mold Test Done and How?
Mold is a fungus that grows in wet humid areas. It can be hazardous to the body and cause you to feel sick. Headaches, difficulty breathing, coughing, and sneezing are a few of the side effects of mold exposure. You should consider a mold test if you :
- Perceive evidence of molds such as a moldy smell or mold manifestations
- Specify the type of mold in your home
- Discover all the possible areas of mold growth
- Test the quality of indoor air based on the concentration of mold spores in it.
Once you suspect mold is in your home it is crucial that you get it tested. There are three different tests you can choose from.
Air sampling – how do you test for mold spores in the air?
There are numerous ways for collecting air samples and their analysis. The frequently used method involves a collecting device that traps the spores by allowing a known volume of air to pass through it. The spores are trapped onto a sticky medium known as a culture dish. The culture dish with its sticky medium, containing the trapped spores will be sent to the laboratory for the analysis.
This method of air sampling is least detrimental to the spores and allows more precise identification of mold species. In the laboratory, the dish is taken out, and a few drops of stains are added to the medium containing the trapped spores. The spores then absorb the stain and become visible when observed under a microscope. Another less common analysis method is to allow the spores to colonize/culture and then observe different colonies of mold.
One frequently asked question is – are air tests for mold accurate? A single mold test from the air is not very accurate. This is the reason why professionals in this field do multiple air sampling. The air sample mold tests give an idea about the spore’s concentration in the environment. As the concentration of mold spores fluctuates from time to time and area to area, therefore, the professional will perform mold testing over a course of the time period (at different intervals), and from particular places in your house. This helps to yield results with higher precision.
Surface Sampling – what surfaces to include in mold testing?
Surface sampling is basically the collecting of spores from the multiple common surfaces such as counters, walls, etc. The spores are collected mostly by two techniques:
- Swabbing: The swab test employs cotton made swab to scrub the surface to be tested. After wiping different surfaces, the swab is sent to a lab.
- Tape lifting: A proportion of tape is cut and is pasted on any areas to be tested. The tape is then pulled and placed on a microscope glass slide. This slide is then sealed and sent to the microbiology laboratory.
These techniques are pretty self-explanatory. The samples are then sent to the lab for examination under a microscope to detect the presence of mold spore. Surface mold testing does not give the true representation of the concentration of mold spores. Surface sampling is performed along with the air test for mold. The reason being, during the rainy season, or around damp, moist conditions, the scattering of suspended spores in the air, is diminished. The mold spores tend to settle on the surfaces of various household objects. As a result, air sampling may not yield complete coverage.
Yet another method for mold testing is the bulk testing method. In this small section, various sample materials are taken and forwarded to the laboratory. The microscopic examination of spores on the material taken is observed. A spore absorbing dye/stain is added to make the spores visible under the microscopic lens.
If mold is detected then you can continue on the next steps of removing it. Hire a professional to come and properly eliminate the mold.
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