A mold test can be performed at home using a variety of methods. Some are as simple as growing a sample in a Petri dish. Others use air samples to measure the number of spores in a particular area. The results of a mold test are used to determine remediation options. The equipment you will need to carry out the test at home will depend on your chosen method. The main components of a home mold test kit include Petri dishes, swabs, tape, and a growth medium (usually potato dextrose).
A non-viable air sample is a collection of air samples examined under a microscope to determine the presence of living contaminants. The results are categorised according to the genus and species of mould. Non-viable air samples are collected from indoor and outdoor environments and are often taken from a building's attic, basement, or crawlspace. This type of sampling is not very accurate and, therefore, is not recommended for many situations.
Viable air sampling is better if you are concerned about toxic moulds. Likely, air samples are cultivated on a petri dish or growth medium and are used to identify the type of mold in an area. This is a more accurate mould detection method, but it takes longer and is more expensive. However, it is important to note that this type of testing has proven to be the gold standard in residential mould testing.
The best mold testing method is the one that yields the most reliable results. Viable sampling is more expensive and will require a longer turnaround time. But it can give you a more accurate result. However, the downside to this method is that it cannot differentiate between common mold species, such as black mold and grey mold. Non-viable air sampling can be done the same day as viable samples. In addition, non-viable selections are more accessible to transport and process.
While air samples may be the easiest method to collect, they are not the only source of evidence for a mold infestation. The technique must be done in conjunction with other strategies for confirmation. Several factors may affect the concentration of spores in the air, making it difficult to determine which type of mold you have. When you're in doubt, consult with a professional. Consider a more thorough mould inspection method if the mold-infected air is too high or too low.
A non-viable air sample should be accompanied by a visual inspection, leak history, and occupant complaints. Airborne particles vary from minute to minute, and an "ok" result should be considered suspicious. For instance, the airborne levels of spores may be higher in some parts of the house than in another. Additionally, particle levels will vary with temperature, humidity, and mechanical disturbances.
A Mold test can be done on a single swab or bulk sample. A Bulk Sample is the best option if a material has dark spots and is suspected to be infected with mold. To get a mold reading, you must collect a portion of the material for testing. You can also order a sample by performing a Tape Lift or Swab Test. A bulk sample is the best option for large samples.
When performing mold testing, a quality lab is the first step. They follow strict quality standards to ensure the results are as accurate as possible. Technicians at a certified lab have a Bachelor's degree and undergo rigorous training. Most samples are double-analyzed to ensure accuracy. Additionally, most bulk samples are sent within a few days of receipt. This means you don't have to worry about the bulk sample being returned for several weeks - it can be mailed any time, no matter how far away the lab is.
A bulk sample will only tell you how much mold is present in an area. If you suspect a mold infestation, you may also want to collect an air sample in the exact location. This way, you can make correlations between the types of mold in the bulk sample and those in the air. If the samples are the same, you can be sure they're infected with the same type of mold. In addition to the bulk sample, you can test a mold sample for fungi, bacteria, and viruses.
A bulk sample consists of a piece of material with mold growth and is generally 2 x 2 inches in size. If it is large enough to be a bulk sample, you should have the lab cut it to an appropriate size.
A spore trap is a mold sampling device used to collect air samples. It captures the airborne spores and sends them to a laboratory for identification. Spore traps can collect samples in a room or area up to 1,000 square feet. The results of the mold test can take several days. However, the process is highly accurate and can save you a great deal of money.
The number of spores per square meter is the unit used to estimate the amount of fungus. It is important to note that spores in the air vary from season to season and week to week. This means that spore concentrations can be significantly higher in certain parts of the year than in others. In addition, the number of spores per cubic meter of air is inaccurate if the sample is too small. This is why a professional mold inspection is highly recommended.
Indoor samples are typically higher than outdoor samples. This is because people bring things from outside into their homes. Therefore, indoor spore counts are likely to be higher than expected. Basements and crawl spaces often suffer from air quality problems. In contrast, the home’s upper levels are usually free from these problems.
Instascope tests are the best choice if you want immediate results. Instascope enables you to pinpoint the source of the problem and check adjacent rooms and areas for elevated levels. Traditional spore traps can take weeks to diagnose a problem, requiring multiple trips to the property and waiting for lab results. You can use the Instascope to conduct a follow-up mold test if the readings are elevated.
As with any test, the results of a spore trap should be understood about the results of your home inspection. A home inspector specialising in mould testing should be consulted for an objective evaluation of the air quality of your home. The test results will list the number of mold spores and the types. Each lab will organize the information differently. For example, our lab separates spores into three categories: allergens, fungi, and fungi.
The outdoor and indoor spore counts can be very different. However, the outdoor counts are not constrained by the outside weather. In winter, the spore count is generally low. However, the spores of some types of mould can be washed away from outdoor surfaces by rainy weather. In addition, the evaporation process may cause mold spores to rise in the air.
The spore count comparison is a simple way to compare the number of molds in your home or business. This simple method provides accurate results without needing to culture the fungal spores. Although some mould spores are similar (Aspergillus/Penicillium) and can be counted together, others do not share a common characteristic and are counted as part of a larger group.
If you do not see any visible mold, the total spore count is of limited value and will not give you an accurate picture of the actual problem in your home. It is best to compare individual mold spore counts. It would help if you also considered the spore counts of the different types of molds in your home. For example, in December, Basidiospores are present in high numbers outside and the home air. If you had a high spore count of Basidiospores in your indoor sample, it would not indicate a real mold problem. However, it would mean that the spores had floated through a doorway.
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