It is important to understand how and why some ‘Mold Testing’ should be done. I will talk about ‘air sampling’, which is one of several types of sampling or testing that can be done in this post. Many companies will offer to do several samples for a seemingly economical price to help you find out if you have mold in your home. They will take possibly 3 to 5 air samples in various areas of the home and send these to a lab, usually back east from California, and get the results back in a few days to you with the lab report stating what the results are of the samples taken. There is a basic problem with this kind of ‘mold testing’ service.
If the samples come back with an elevated mold spore count compared to the outdoor sample that is taken, what do you do? The air samples will not tell you what the problem is to cause the higher mold spore count. At this point, you will then need to have your home inspected for potential moisture that may be present that would likely be the cause of this. You are now spending more time and more money to find this out.
What if the air samples come back ‘normal’, does that mean there is not a potential problem with mold? No, certainly not. There can possibly be elevated moisture in the home that can cause health issues but not be reflected in the air samples for a number of reasons. It is always best to have the inspection for potential moisture/mold issues done in conjunction with any mold samples/testing done so the samples can be evaluated in the proper context. There can be a number of reasons why air samples come back ‘elevated’ with mold spores or not. For example, the family pet can be a contributing factor for elevated mold spores depending on the pet.
Knowing where to take air samples is just as important. I always recommend to clients to do the Inspection to identify any problem moisture areas. If any are identified then these areas would be the prime areas to take air samples from to see what excessive or elevated mold spores your family are being exposed to. Of course, an outdoor air sample is always needed to compare the indoor samples to for proper analysis. I say this since not all companies follow that procedure.
Steve Mullins (i.e. Mold Detector)
CMC, Certified Microbial Consultant
Moisture and Mold Detection, Inc.