Question: I suspect we have basement mold. We moved in to our townhouse almost a year ago. In the past several months I have noticed that my daughter’s allergies are acting up a lot more, especially when we are in the basement. I too have been experiencing a lot of congestion and sneezing etc. when in the basement. I can smell a musty smell (nobody else can, but I can) and I cannot locate it. I can’t see mold, I’ve torn apart the house. My only guess is it’s in the carpets or walls. I notice you have a mold test kit to measure mold in the air. How accurate is it at picking up positive results i.e. does there have to be a lot of mold to pick up a positive (as I am the only one who can smell this musty smell so it would have to be a very sensitive test). Do you know of any professional companies that can come in and determine if we have basement mold?
Answer: Thank you for your question regarding basement mold. Our mold test kit is basically a DIY kit using the same air sampling equipment that a professional would use. However, the kit is not intended to replace the services of a professional. By a professional we mean someone qualified who will not just come and take air samples (which anyone can take) but will also troubleshoot the problem and offer solutions even if air samples are negative. By “negative” we mean having very low fungal counts since very rarely would there be no spores in the air at all. Basement mold is very common due the dampness found in most basements.
The equipment samples for airborne spores (and other particulates) and not for Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds (MVOCs). These are volatile chemicals produced by the metabolism of fungi and bacteria and are responsible for the musty smell. As for the accuracy of the equipment, there are a number of factors that can influence the results. For example:
- The type of mold present: some molds produce spores either enclosed in fruiting structures or in “wet” form which means these kinds of spores do not readily become airborne until disturbed during renovation or when they completely dry out. If these are the dominant types of molds present in your house the air samples could be negative.
- The time of sampling: the concentration of airborne spores at time of sampling could be low and hence the results could be misleading.
Basement mold can be controlled by reducing humidity in the basement. You can find professional companies listed on the following web pages http://www.moldbacteriaconsulting.com/business-directory/ and also http://www.moldbacteria.com/servicelist/index.html. You can also give us a call at 905-290-9101 for more information.