A first step in eliminating mold from the indoor environment is to determine the source of moisture. To control and eliminate mold growth, moisture must be controlled.
At The Building Inspector of America, we offer our clients a moisture evaluation. In this evaluation, a visual inspection of the building is augmented by moisture meter readings to map out the source of moisture intrusion. A moisture evaluation commences with an exterior inspection to identify construction defects and neglected maintenance issues which can render the exterior envelope vulnerable to water intrusion. Also included are identification of roof damage, roof and surface drainage, and malfunctioning lawn water sprinklers. Interior issues such as plumbing defects and water leaks, HVAC system operation, chronic condensation caused by inadequate insulation and intrusion of humid outdoor air into the dwelling are included in the evaluation. A report is issued to the client along with digital photographs highlighting the deficiencies found along with recommendations for corrective action.
In a more extensive version of the moisture evaluation, at an additional cost, thermal imaging is deployed to locate moisture impacted areas. This imaging is augmented by invasive moisture measurements of the interior wall cavities using 4-inch pins and probes.
After the moisture has been identified and eliminated then remediation can proceed. This is a necessary step in the quest to improve overall indoor air quality.
Our state licensed mold inspectors are eminently qualified to provide follow-on mold testing services. The testing serves three functions:
Air samples are useful in the assessment of exposure levels to people in an indoor environment. These samples can detect hidden sources of fungal growth and determine if spores are being aerosolized. There are two main types of air samples: culturable (viable) and non-culturable (also called “non-viable” or “spore trap”)
A viable test counts only living mold spores that are actively being reproduced. The test will not count the dead spores in the air. Viable testing requires a culturable media, where the spore can grow and then be analyzed in a laboratory. Viable air sampling is measured in colony forming units per cubic meter of air (CFU/m3). Viable tests take time for the culture to incubate, and they generally cost considerably more than non-viable testing. If all the spores collected in the media are non-viable they will not grow and therefore cannot be analyzed through this type of test media.
When budgets or time constraints are critical, non-viable spore trap samples are recommended over culturable (viable) samples. Non-viable tests count all spores collected by the test media. The collection media does not need a food source, and the test makes no distinction between viable (living) and non-viable (dead) spores, since mold spores have the same allergenic or toxic properties whether they are viable or non-viable. During non-viable air testing, mold spores are collected in an air-sampling cassette which has a sticky test slide located in the middle. The results of the test are presented in mold spores per cubic meter of air.
Surface samples are taken to determine the presence of mold growth on a surface, and if so, to determine what kinds of molds are present. Surface samples are taken by tape lift imprint, by swabbing the suspect surface, or by submitting a bulk sample of the suspect surface to the laboratory for examination.