How is mold tested for?
Mold testing is used to provide information about whether or not there may be a mold problem in a building, and if so, the extent of that problem. Some people test for mold themselves, while others hire inspectors or professional laboratories to carry out this work. A professional inspection should include air sampling since a review often only looks at visible signs, also known as surface contamination. Contamination can exist on surfaces without any apparent growth is present. Mold labs will use an agar petri dish culture technique to determine what type of fungi may be growing in or on your building materials.
The following types of tests are available:
A standard method is the tape lift test, where fungal spores from a suspected area such as a wall, floor, or carpet are collected on a sticky tape and then transferred to an adhesive Petri plate for culture.
Detection methods include:
A professional inspection by experienced mold assessors includes:
If you go in for testing of indoor air:
Several organizations in the United States and Canada offer mold inspection and testing training. The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) offers online courses through their e-learning center, which can be taken at your own pace. They also offer 4-day intensive classroom courses that provide further education about general types of biological contamination such as bacteria, viruses, and allergens and details on specialized areas such as water damage restoration and ergonomics/physical hazards in the workplace.
The Certified Indoor Air Hygienist (CIAH) designation is a national standard of excellence for individuals who want to become professional indoor air quality consultants in Canada. The program focuses on the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform comprehensive assessments of building interiors about their effects on worker health and productivity. Through classroom training and extensive project experience components, graduates will be well-versed in areas such as health and safety legislation; Principles and practices of IAQ investigation; Sampling methods; Laboratory analysis methods/reporting; Interpretation of test results relative to established guidelines, standards, and building codes; Risk assessment techniques; Remediation procedures/cost analysis; Case history development.
The International Association of Certified Indoor Air Consultants offers a professional designation for individuals involved in the profession of indoor air consulting. Certified Indoor Air Consultant (CIAC) is awarded to candidates who fulfill education and experience criteria and pass a certification exam covering specific areas that include biology, building science, chemistry, sampling techniques, methodology, report writing, and presentation skills.
In some cases, moisture meters are used by inspectors to check if there’s excess moisture in a home or business. This can be indicative of a mold problem but needs further investigation. As part of an inspection, it may also involve taking surface samples from walls or other areas where mold might grow on materials such as wood or drywall. In very severe cases, removal of parts of wall structures may be needed to access the source of water ingress that’s causing mold growth.