Testing for Mold and Keeping Your Home, Building or School Safe
Since it is impossible to see every area where mold is present, a professional mold inspection by IAQ Consultants of Seattle will document the full scope of your potential mold problem. We will determine the root cause of the mold, identify all the affected building materials and determine the level of contamination. We will also reveal if toxic mold is present. The only way to determine if toxic mold is present is to conduct scientific testing. Do-it-yourself kits are not reliable and have many limitations.
When you should test for mold:
⦁ After a flood, leak or sewage back-up
⦁ If a basement or other area is damp
⦁ When mold is visible on your ceiling, wall, floor or belongings
⦁ If there’s a foul or musty odor
⦁ If people or pets are experiencing allergy-like symptoms
⦁ Before purchasing or selling any home or property
10 Facts Everyone Should Know About Mold
1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints.
2. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
3. If mold is a problem in your home or school you must clean up the mold and eliminate the source of moisture.
4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
5. Reduce indoor humidity to 30-60% to decrease the chance of mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and dehumidifiers; increasing ventilation and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dish washing and cleaning.
6. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
7. Clean mold from hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles that are moldy may need to be replaced.
8. Prevent condensation: reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls or floors) by adding insulation.
9. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., bathrooms, drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
10. Mold can be found almost anywhere; it can grow on virtually any substance providing moisture is present.
Mold Allergy Symptoms:
How do you know if you have a cold, seasonal allergy or a mold allergy? It’s not always easy to determine, as many of the symptoms are the same. Signs of a mold allergy and symptoms of mold exposure include:
⦁ Runny or stuffy nose
⦁ Itchy eyes, nose and throat
⦁ Cough and postnasal drip
⦁ Watery eyes
Mold and Asthma
If you are allergic to mold and have asthma, your asthma symptoms may be triggered by exposure to mold spores and can sometimes be severe. In addition to the usual symptoms, you may experience acute coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. To reduce asthma attacks caused by mold have your home or office environment tested for mold to see if your indoor environment is the cause. Also, speak with your doctor about managing your condition.
Mold Inspections and Testing
IAQ Consultants of Seattle:
- We are an independent "test only" company with no conflict of interest
- We don’t perform remediation, fix or install filters (nor do our family members and friends)
- We won’t try to sell you any product
- We receive no kick-backs from any companies.
The recommendations we make always have your best interest in mind.
IAQ Consultants of Seattle's mold inspections may include:
- Evaluation of the history of the property with regard to mold or moisture issues
- Visual inspection of all areas included in the scope of the inspection
- FLIR brand thermal imaging
- Protimeter moisture meter readings
- Borescope inspection of hidden areas
- IAQ readings of temperature, humidity and other factors
- Air, swab, tape, direct and cultured sampling
- Complete report of findings including photos and laboratory results
- Professional interpretation of the results and recommendations
- Remediation protocol plan, if needed
We only use advanced instrumentation during our mold inspections. We want to find the underlying moisture source, so we use the latest FLIR brand infrared cameras and scan your walls looking for potential hidden moisture sources.
Questionable areas are further investigated with professional moisture meters. Often we discover a hidden moisture and mold problem that needs to be further investigated prior to performing a mold test. We may use a video borescope to look inside a wall, underneath carpeting or inside duct work.
Once we evaluate the problem we can recommend the best places to collect samples, if needed. For example, if we find a discoloration that appears to be mold growth, we may collect a surface sample for confirmation and identification. Surface samples collected may include tape-lift, swab or bulk, depending on field conditions.
Air samples may be collected under normal conditions, or with the air disturbed. We may also recommend inner-wall sampling, which collects air from behind drywall-based walls.
What you get with most other mold inspections:
Someone comes out and collects a mold test in the middle of the property and one outside as a comparison. These mold testers (usually remediation contractors) will email you the laboratory results with no interpretation. They will give you no recommendations for corrective measures, or worse, hand you an over-inflated proposal for their company to do the work.
What you get with an IAQ Consultants of Seattle mold inspection:
Our mold inspections go beyond basic mold testing. It truly is an inspection. Our goal is to find any indoor mold growth. Air samples can be useful, but they do not tell you where the mold is growing. They also don’t tell you why the mold is growing. We take the time to do a thorough visual inspection of the property, which is the cornerstone of a complete mold inspection.
What sets IAQ Consultants of Seattle apart?
If you search online for black mold testing or mold experts, you’ll come up with long list of companies that offer an assortment of mold services. Some of those companies have very little experience. Even worse, some companies have many years of experience doing things wrong. IAQ Consultants of Seattle provide the best technical expertise and unsurpassed customer service. There are many mold inspectors, but very few mold experts.
8 Points One Should Know About Mold Before Seeking Mold Inspection
- Mold in your house can cause unpleasant odors, damage to walls and floors, and even a host of health problems. The first step to eliminating mold in homes is to understand the most common areas for mold growth.
- The most common types of mold include aspergillus, cladosporium and stachybotrys atra (also known as black mold).
- Aspergillus is a fairly allergenic mold that is commonly found on foods and in home air conditioning systems. Cladosporium is typically a black or green "pepper like" substance that grows on the back of toilets, painted surfaces and fiberglass air ducts. While this mold is nontoxic to humans, it can trigger common allergy symptoms, such as red and watery eyes, rashes and a sore throat.
- Mold that appears to be orange or red in color is typically found outdoors, given its nature to thrive on decaying plants or moist wood. This type of mold, which can appear slimy, is harmless and should only be removed for aesthetic purposes.
- White mold is not technically a type of mold, but the good news is that this typically indicates the mold is only in the early stages of growth and can easily be treated.
- Household mold primarily thrives in damp, humid areas, such as basements, showers and areas around heating and cooling appliances. Mold in homes can also occur in carpets, ventilation ducts and crawlspaces. The best way to guard against mold in your house is to ensure there are no active leaks or areas where moisture is collecting regularly.
- In addition to being unsightly and causing unpleasant odors, mold can cause health problems. Mold-related symptoms can include sneezing; itching skin; skin irritation; watery, itchy eyes; and headache. If you experience any of these symptoms and suspect they may be related to mold in your home, you should take immediate steps to remove the mold.
- By regularly inspecting common areas for mold in your home to ensure there are no leaks or other sources of moisture that could contribute to mold growth, you should be able to steer clear of the expensive and unhealthy problems mold in houses can cause.