Mold testing is important for protecting indoor air quality in a home or at a place of business. If you're afraid it's time to start testing for mold, you should understand the steps in the process. Most testing follows these five steps.
Contacting a Professional
You can identify mold by using your basic senses, such as sight and smell. You can spot patches of black, blue, or green stuff growing on surfaces. Likewise, you can notice musty smells that don't go away, especially during humid weather.
What you shouldn't do is get hands-on with mold, even for testing purposes. Mold poses significant health risks, especially to individuals who have respiratory problems. Stirring it up, particularly by getting up close to it, is a bad idea. A professional has the necessary training and personal protective equipment (PPE) to safely check for problems.
A mold testing technician will secure samples of the suspected mold. They can scrape suspected mold into secure containers for transportation. Also, they can use lift tape to collect and secure samples. If the mold is deeply embedded in materials like particle board or drywall, they might also cut out pieces for testing.
Looking for Potential Sources
While taking samples, the technician will also look for signs of potential sources of mold. For example, they'll search for spots where water is either currently pooling or appears to have recently collected. There could be staining along the walls or floor that indicates an environment where mold could thrive. Even if these locations don't appear to have mold, the technician will likely collect some samples. They will also mark the locations as potential culprits so you can explore remediation options.
A mold testing company will analyze the collected samples. They will try to identify the specific species of the spores by observing them under a microscope. If visual identification proves to be challenging, they may also use PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing to try to identify the DNA of potential mold species. Although the two problems are biologically unrelated, PCR testing is similar to the process that medical labs use to analyze swabs when they think people have an illness like strep throat.
If testing for mold yields positive results, the company will provide basic recommendations. Depending on the types of mold present and the severity of the problem, recommended treatment options could range from applying strong cleaning solutions to the affected areas to removing and replacing damaged building materials.
Contact a local mold testing service to learn more.