How Do I Know If I Have A Mold Problem?
If you think your home or office might have a mold problem it’s time to do a little detective work. First, consider your symptoms or those of your loved ones. When you leave the suspected area do the symptoms dissipate? Do you smell anything different when you enter the area (a musty smell for example)? Are there any visible signs of mold growth (even a little) like shown in the pictures? Carpet, drywall, wood and insulation should be checked. Do you or have you ever had a water leak in any part of your home? The source could be rain, plumbing, an appliance, a/c drain line or even high humidity from a malfunctioning a/c system.
If you don’t see any visible signs of mold in house, don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet. Unfortunately, there are many places for indoor mold to hide. For example, indoor mold can be behind baseboards, under carpeting, in the ventilation system, or behind drywall. You should also be wary of any area that has been wet at one time but now appears dry; even non-living mold spores can cause adverse health symptoms. While hidden mold is more difficult to detect, it can often be recognized by odor. If you suspect you might have a mold problem, the next step is to contact a certified indoor environmentalist (CIE) for testing OR you can contact Brian at Apex at 561-214-2983 to assist you with this process.
Mold Testing Techniques
Testing is an effective and recommended way to discover if mold is present, how much mold is present, and what types of mold are present. Having said that, please realize that these tests should be used as an initial screening procedure and that further testing may be needed to fully characterize your environmental conditions. There are two main test methods available that are very easy to use.
The Air Sample method usually utilizes a culture plate (or petri dish) that must be refrigerated until time of use. It is then left open in the test area for about an hour. Live mold spores that are in the air then settle on the plate and will grow on the media over the course of 5 to 7 days. The plates are sent to a test lab where they are carefully examined. This method allows for the specification of different types of live molds at the genus level and can show how severe the problem is based upon how many colonies grow on the plate. It is important to note that this test method is a “snapshot” view of live airborne mold spore in the location tested. But mold spores can be released intermittently, based upon activity levels in the area, relative air pressure, and other variables, so the air sample snapshot may not reflect the true nature of the condition. Also, mold spores don’t have to be live to cause health problems, and dead ones won’t grow on the plates. Finally, molds grow at different rates. Slow growing molds (like Stachybotrys) could become hidden on the culture plate by the more rapid growing molds
* Portions of the excerpt above came from NationalAllergy.com website.