When inspecting for mold, taking air samples is a must. Mold spores are tiny and can't be seen with the naked eye. Air samples, sent to a lab for testing, help identify the types of mold in your home, gauge the extent of the problem, and assess health risks. After mold removal, new samples confirm a clean environment.
Understanding Air Sampling
Air samples collect invisible mold spores. An air pump pushes air through a device, capturing these spores. InterNACHI inspectors often use this method.
Types of Devices
Three common devices:
Sample if you see mold, signs of growth (like dampness), or detect musty odors. Even when there's no visible mold, a few indoor samples can be taken as a precaution. Outdoor samples provide a baseline for comparison. Don't sample if someone's under a doctor's care for mold exposure, if there's a lawsuit regarding mold, or if it's not safe to take samples.
Where to Sample and Ideal Conditions
Sample where mold is suspected. In rooms with signs of moisture or musty smells, place the collection device about 3 to 6 feet off the ground. Sampling usually takes around ten minutes, but it can be quicker if there's lots of indoor activity or dust, like from construction. Ensure the area is closed during sampling, with windows and doors shut, and avoid using air exchangers or fans.
Extreme weather, like thunderstorms or high winds, can affect the sampling process. Rapid changes in air pressure can skew results by bringing in more spores. So, keep an eye on the weather when taking samples.
Air sampling is just one piece of the mold inspection puzzle. It can't confirm or dismiss a mold problem on its own. It's vital to combine it with visual inspections and other methods, like surface sampling, for a complete picture. Keep in mind that air sample results can be affected by various factors, so be cautious.
In a nutshell, air sampling is a crucial tool for comparing particle levels in different areas and for assessing air quality before and after mold cleanup. It helps homeowners create a safe and healthy living space.