About Mold Testing

The presence of mold in homes, schools and business is of growing concern in the United States. But before you can stop it in your property, you first have to find it. Mold inspections and mold testing are the means to locating indoor mold problems. Most often they work best in conjunction with each other, however, there are instances when certain questions can be answered with one or the other alone.

Mold Testing Methods

There are several different ways to test (or sample) for mold, many of which will be explained on this page along with what each method accomplishes. The following information will help you better understand the various mold testing services that Doodlebuggers Service Network provides and what you can expect to learn from the results of each one respectively.

What Is Mold Testing (sampling)?

The primary objectives of mold sampling are to:

  1. Confirm or rule out the probability that mold is originating from a suspect condition indoors
  2. Assess the potential for property damage caused by mold without invasive procedures
  3. Assess the potential negative impact of mold on indoor air quality

Mold testing involves collecting samples in order to:

  1. IDENTIFY the types of mold present
  2. QUANTIFY the levels (amount) of molds present

The three most common types of samples used in a mold inspection are:

  1. Surface samples (testing mold growth on surfaces)
  2. Air samples (testing airborne mold spores)
  3. Dust samples (mold DNA analysis)

Surface Samples

The purpose of surface sampling is to evaluate whether a suspected stain, discoloration, blemish, or other irregular appearance on a surface is mold.

When Should Surface Samples Be Taken for Mold Testing?

Mold should not be growing on any construction materials or your personal contents indoors. Therefore, seeing visible mold growing indoors is enough to confirm that there is a mold problem. A surface sample should be taken if and when your primary objective is to positively identify the specific types of mold present on a surface and whether it is viable or non-viable (alive or dead). Call us to see if Surface Samples are relevant to your situation.

NOTE: The results of a surface sample applies only to the specific surface from which the sample is collected, and are not appropriate for conducting risk assessment or airborne mold spore levels. However, some mold warranty protocols require before and after surface sampling to confirm proper results are achieved.

Air Samples

The purpose of air sampling is to evaluate whether or not an elevated or unusual mold condition exists indoors when such a determination cannot be by visual observation alone.

In a non-invasive inspection it is not always possible to visually determine if a “suspect condition”, such as water stains or high moisture in ceilings, walls, floors, is a mold problem or not. Testing the airborne mold spore levels provides valuable information in identifying hidden mold issues, assessing the scope of property damage and cost of abatement, and in evaluating potential health risks associated with exposure to high levels of mold contaminated air. Call us to see if Air Samples are relevant to your situation.

ERMI Dust Samples

ERMI LogoAccording to a recent survey by the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) using a patented indoor mold testing technology developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 75% of homes with a history of water intrusion tested positive for 26 specific molds that are directly linked to asthma and other respiratory illness. The test is called the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index, or ERMI, and just one gram of dust will show if these 26 molds are in your home, office or classroom.

The purpose an ERMI dust sample is to provide a single-sample solution to determine whether a building has an elevated mold burden which may be an indication of a current or prior water intrusion event that resulted in mold growth, and an increased risk of respiratory illness.

When Should the ERMI Sample Be Taken for Mold Testing?

An EMRI sample is ideal for identifying mold problems:

  • If you have bought or are considering buying a property and there is no visible indication or disclosure of a mold problem or prior water intrusion event.
  • If you had a mold or water intrusion episode in a building that was remediated but no post-remediation clearance test was done.
  • If you are experiencing health problems and you suspect your symptoms are linked to exposure to high concentrations of mold.

ERMI mold samples report individual quantifications of each mold species and sub-species found in a building that are linked to water intrusion and various respiratory diseases such as Asthma, Chronic Sinusitis, and Infant Wheezing. Then “scores” the sample to determine the level of mold exposure to occupants of the building.

The ERMI panel includes 26 mold species that are known to thrive in water damaged homes and 10 species found in all homes, with or without water damage. Each species and group of species is enumerated from DNA extracted from dust collected in the building.

Concentrations of each of the 36 molds are then used to derive an “ERMI score” which rates the over-all moldiness of the building compared to other buildings tested by the US-EPA. ERMI scores range from approximately –10 (low moldiness) to 20 (high moldiness). Homes and and other buildings that receive a high ERMI score are more likely to have unwanted indoor mold growth than those that receive a low ERMI score.

What are the advantages of an ERMI Test?

In addition to the simplicity of taking only one sample, the ERMI offers several advantages over traditional mold screening methods. Carpet dust acts as a reservoir for mold spores and is more representative of mold levels over time versus short term air samples. The use of mold-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction (MSQPCR), a highly specific DNA-based method for quantifying mold species, allows for increased precision as it is based on a biochemical assay using calibrated instrumentation. Call us to see if ERMI Testing is relevant to your situation.

Doodlebuggers Service Network Inspectors carry multiple certifications and licenses from one or more of the following certifying bodies:

American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC) – promotes awareness, education and certification to Indoor Air Quality Professionals and establish credible Council-certifications that provide lasting value to IAQ professionals, their clients and the public. Only ACAC certifications are fully accredited by the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB).

The CESB was created in 1990 by the engineering and technology communities as an independent body which accredits certification programs organized and operated consistent with sound credentialing practices tailored to the needs of engineering and technology specialties.

The State of Florida/Department of Business & Professional Regulation – The Department of Business and Professional Regulation is responsible for licensing and regulating mold assessors and mold remediators. The Department’s Bureau of Central Intake and Licensure processes applications for licensure and refers complex applications to the mold-related services licensing office for final review. Doodlebuggers Service Network only uses mold assessors licensed by the State of Florida.

In addition to qualifying for these prestigious industry certifications and licenses, Doodlebuggers Service Network Certified Mold Inspectors are required to meet rigorous standard practices and annual re-certification credits to maintain their certifications.

Disclaimer
This website was developed primarily to provide general information about mold and services offered by DOODLEBUGGERS SERVICE NETWORK with respect to mold inspections, mold testing, and other indoor environmental testing. This site is not intended to be a resource for medical advice or information concerning health matters. The information being disseminated in this site is believed by DOODLEBUGGERS SERVICE NETWORK to be the most recent and most reliable information available at the time. Neither DOODLEBUGGERS SERVICE NETWORK nor its principles or employees warrants all of the information contained herein to be 100% factual. For proper medical advice you should always consult a physician or other qualified expert.

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