Active fungal growth in indoor environments is potentially hazardous as it may lead to exposure and adverse health effects. The following indicators may confirm and determine the extent of suspect contamination: source sampling of contamination, presence of moldy odors, persistent water incursion, or the accumulation of organic debris. In the absence of the above, air sampling data may be evaluated to characterize potential sources. Because of the ubiquity of fungi, samples collected from suspect areas may be evaluated against samples collected from non-suspect areas and from outdoors. Identification of fungi to genus level is necessary in this evaluation to determine if indoor air is influenced by interior contamination.
Do-it-yourself kits can be unreliable and the methods may be inappropriate, so it is highly recommended that you use a qualified and trained mold inspection company perform the service. A professional water damage inspection may be performed to search for what’s causing mold to grow, where it is, and what to do about it.
When to test for mold:
- If your residence, commercial property, or building has had a flood, leak, or sewage back-up and third party restoration scope evaluation or clearance documentation is necessary (e.g. related to garment, content, HVAC, and structural contamination)
- If you are experiencing foul moldy or musty odors
- If you intend to purchase or lease a commercial property
- If an individual(s) has been diagnosed with a disease that is or may be associated with a fungal exposure (e.g., hypersensitivity disease and aspergillosis).
- If there is evidence from a visual inspection or bulk sampling that the ventilation system may be contaminated. The purpose of such air monitoring is to assess the extent of contamination throughout a building
- If the presence of mold is suspected (e.g., musty odors) but cannot be identified by a visual inspection or bulk sampling (e.g., mold growth behind walls)
- To identify specific fungal contaminants as part of a medical evaluation or occupant risk evaluation (e.g. occupants are experiencing symptoms which may be related to fungal exposure)
- To evaluate the sources of airborne contamination
- Crawl spaces, for example, may have a number of unrelated fungal sources that are not readily observed
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