Mold: A Growing Concern
I know, that’s a cheesy title (ok, I’ll stop J). We’ve been hearing the “M” word for quite some time now, and we’ve had so many customers ask us over the years to perform mold testing that we’ve decided to start offering this service. Neil Saltzman, the owner of Structure Tech, went through training in 2007 to start testing for mold. We now offer mold testing in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and any other surrounding city that we normally service for home inspections – see our home page for a list.
Mold can grow in places where water leakage has occurred, such as roofs, pipes, walls, plant pots, or where there has been flood damage. Many building materials encourage mold growth once they get wet. Wet cellulose materials, like paper and paper products, ceiling tiles, drywall, wood, and wood products are all conducive to mold growth. Many building materials can support mold growth once water is introduced.
Some mold problems are obvious – you will see it growing. You can also look for areas that are consistently wet, or have been wet due to flooding, leaky plumbing, roofing, and areas of high humidity such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens. Other mold problems are not so obvious. If you do not have any visible mold, but your home has a damp, musty smell or visible water stains, mold could be growing in areas you cannot see, such as wall cavities or the ductwork of a heating/cooling system.
Mold cannot be identified by the human eye, and there are thousands of species of mold. Our job is the first step, which is to collect samples and have them analyzed by a laboratory. After we receive the results, we’ll tell you if there is cause for concern.
• Air Sampling – Air sampling always includes inside and outside samples. If mold amounts inside the house are significantly higher than outside, it is an indication of a potential problem. Air samples are taken by pulling air through a collection device with an air pump. The collection cassette is a spore trap impactor that uses slit impaction as the collection mechanism. This method is an industry recognized and reliable method that allows superior mold spore collection. We receive results in about four days.
• Swab or Bulk Sampling – For visible mold or stains, a swab is used to collect a sample of the mold. It is moistened with a preservative and sent to a lab for analysis. If there is a loose piece of drywall or ceiling tile with mold on it, we can send in a piece for analysis. Again, we receive these results in about four days.
We can take floor samples to be tested for allergens such as dog, cat, cockroach, dust mites, and mouse. These samples take one week to get results back.