All of our inspections start out with two air samples, an inside vs. outside comparison. This type of mold testing will see what say what type of species of mold is present and how much of it. Since there are traces of mold spores in every area, taking an outside sample will set baseline for what is acceptable. In general, the inside sample should be relatively similar and in most cases lower. We always take this initial air sample from the area of greatest concern. Outside of the initial two samples you may be recommended additional samples. Here is a brief description of the different types of samples, including an overview on mold test kits you see offered at hardware stores like home depot and lowes.
General Air Samples
Just like the initial 2 air samples that each client receives, general air samples are taken using a spore trap and air pump combination. The sample is taking air from general living areas to see if elevated conditions exist or not. Other than taking a sample in an area that looks to be a source of a problem, these types of samples are mostly used to see how far a problem has spread. Mold Inspection Atlanta always starts with general air samples because our main concern is what is happening with the air that you breathe in on a regular basis.
Cavity Air Samples
Another type of air sample that is offered are cavity air. These are done using a probe to check within walls, vents and other specific places. These are usually recommended when our inspector finds a wall holding moisture or displaying some type of damage that indicates a problem. The sample is taken by making a small pen sized hole so a probe can get access to collect the air. This is the least invasive way to either confirm the source of a problem or identify a problem that has not yet caused general air issues as of yet.
Physical samples can either by collected by a swab or tape lift. These are recommended mostly because certain species of mold are not easily airborne, including toxic black mold. Obviously we always want to identify if that is present whether it is airborne or not. Physical samples can also help distinguish whether or not it is a surface mold or one that is coming from the inside out. These samples could distinguish the difference between a wipe down or full blown mold remediation. The one downfall of these samples is they only give a present/absent on the species, no quantity.
Mold Test Kits
Similar to the physical samples, these kits do not offer any quantity on the species of mold present. Since the most common problems people deal with are elevated common species rather than toxic, knowing the species is usually of little help without air samples. Since there are normal amounts of mold growth everywhere just about every one who uses these kits in their home will see some type of growth. Without the knowledge of an inspector, most people find themselves back at square one after getting the kit analyzed.
If you are unsure of whether or not the symptoms you are experiencing indicate a mold problem that requires professional intervention, mold testing by a third party inspector is the best route to take to get the answers your looking for. These tests are very accurate and will either eliminate the need for a professional restoration or at the very least consolidate the work area and make sure you are not paying for any unnecessary steps. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment please contact us at the method you prefer.