Inspecting for Mold When Visual Confirmation Can't be Made...
Often times a Mold Assessment or Mold Inspection can be a difficult challenge when visual confirmation of mold can't be made.
When working on a project where the clients are experiencing respiratory symptoms and musty/mildew odors are encountered or when Indoor Air Quality Results are elevated, but wall, ceiling and floor finishes are in place, no water damage is visible, no positive identification of a source or a problem can be made, and especially puzzling, no visual confirmation of mold can be made, a systematic and consistent approach must be performed to identify the source of the mold. This approach is refered to as "mold mapping."
Mold mapping is performed by placing and collecting air samples on a grid system or can be performed by analyzing each room of a building. When performing this type of testing, all interior and exterior doors and windows should remain closed and HVAC systems should be turned off for at least 24 hours, when resonable, to allow unsettled and disturbed airborne spores to settle. In some cases, cleaning should be performed prior to mold mapping to help produce optimal results.
When this technique is performed properly and consistently with no limitations on the sampling locations, a map can be created to show elevated locations of mold spores. There should be little disturbance to areas during the testing, all doors and windows remain closed, air movement systems remain off and building occupants vacate the premises with the exception of the inspector performing the tests. The area being tested should be drawn to create a map of the area and the rooms within. Once test data is received from the lab, the map can be populated with the total spore counts.
The map data can be analyzed to identify areas and/or locations of possible concern. The locations of concern should then be inspected using reasonable exploratory and invasive measures to identify hidden mold locations. If the mold location can be identified, the area would then be cleaned and/or abated as necessary. If mold still cannot be visually confirmed then the area or room should be reasonably cleaned and retested.
Once the inspection, abatement and/or cleaning process has been completed, the mold mapping technique should be repeated to verify success of the cleanup. If other areas of mold can still be identified then the entire process should be repeated until all contamination levels have returned to normal.
Mold mapping can be a costly approach due to the amount of testing and potential follow-ups that are required, however, it may be the only technique to identify the possible location of hidden mold. Typically this approach is taken in areas where the cost of an entire abatement far exceeds the cost of the mold mapping approach, for instance, large fully finished basements where multiple sources of possible water infiltration are available, such as foundation walls, bathrooms, and overhead leaks.
If you or someone you know is interested in a Mold Assessment in the Capital District Area, contact Bald Eagle Inspection Services, LLC at 518-488-2538.
Home inspections and mold assessment services serving Saratoga, Ballston Spa, Malta, Clifton Park, Schenectady, Troy, Albany, Rensselaer County and more.