Question: My question regards the cost of testing air for mold. I have mold problems in two closets in my home and in a couple of corners in the house. I also get alot of moisture build up at the bottom of my windows that has also caused some mold. At the beginning of the year I installed a Conservation voltage regulation(CRV) unit on my furnace but as winter is coming again the problem still seems to be there and I think my daughter is experiencing health problems over this. My home is only 11 years old. How much does testing air for mold usually cost?
Answer: Testing air for mold is very simple and does not have to be expensive. A homeowner or property manager can save money if they could initially test the air themselves before calling in a professional. This does not mean that a professional is not required for testing air for mold but should only be hired to resolve complex problems not simple air testing.
For most people, testing air for mold themselves (using the same tools used by professionals) in their homes is all they need to identify if mold is present in excessive amounts.
Testing Air For Mold
- Settle Plate Method: This method involves exposing agar plates to the air in the room or rooms to be tested. The agar plates can be exposed for a duration of 1-4 hours and then covered and shipped to a laboratory for mould counting and identification. The cost of this test is very low. However, since this method is not very efficient in terms of air sampling, it’s not generally recommended.
- Andersen Air Sampling Method: This method is similar to the settle plate method but instead of opening the agar plates and leaving them for airborne spores to settle on the agar by gravity, the method utilizes a pump to impact the air onto the surface of agar. Since the air is drawn into the agar surface (similar to how we draw air into our lungs) the method is very efficient. This method requires the person doing the sampling to be trained in aseptic techniques since it’s very easy to contaminate the agar plates and subsequently ending up with false postives. Since, it requires training and experience in aseptic techniques, it’s not recommended for non-professionals.
- Non-viable Air Sampling Method: This method involves impacting air on an inert sticky surface using a special air pump. The method is very efficient in sampling for airborne particulate. The method does not require any special training other than following the instructions on how to fit the sampling cassette onto the pump and how to switch the pump on.
Non-viable Air Sampling Method
To determine whether the spores inside the house originated from outside or are from mold growing inside the house an outside air sample is collected for reference.
- Species or types of mold spores that are found on the inside air sample are also found on the outside air sample – this is referred to as normal ‘mirroring’ or ‘trapping.’
- The number of mold spores found inside the house or building should not be greater than the number of mold spores found outside. Also, the types of mold spores present in the inside air should be similar to those found in the outside air. Some types of mold spores when detected inside (and not outside) even in very low levels could indicate a problem. For example a few spores of Chaetomium, Stachybotys, Ulocladium, and Fusarium are indicative of excessive moisture in the building and possible hidden mold growth. In this case a professional would be required to perform further investigations to locate hidden mold growth if any.
Doing Your Own Air Testing For Mold:
It’s fun doing your own air testing and it’s easier than vacuum cleaning the carpet or doing laundry.