How accurate are air mold tests? It is the most accurate way of testing the presence of mold in a sample of ambient air. It can determine if the quality of the indoor air, in which we are breathing, has been affected or not. No other test, except air mold test, can tell about the growth of mold on a particular surface.
There are many people out there who have no idea about how badly mold can affect their health. The mold spores are the small particles present in the air that can spread easily and quickly.
These airborne spores are small enough that they aren’t visible by the eyes without special equipment therefore, if they aren’t visible, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t there.
Generally, the mold and bacteria grows in moist conditions. Many of them are harmless but, some are highly toxic and dangerous and should be removed rapidly. The most dangerous molds are aspergillus, acremonium, and stachybotyrs.
Mold or mildew are often caused by the water damage or leakage in the houses mostly in the rooms, bathrooms, or basements having greater chances of leaks and flooding thus, leading to mold contamination.
A person being frequently subject to mold contamination can have multiple health threats like asthma, allergies, chronic Bronchitis, and problems with nervous system or circulatory system.
Luckily, you can protect yourselves from such exposures by determining the presence of mold particles in the air you are breathing in by means of an air mold test.
An air mold test or air sampling test for mold is a way of examining the quality of indoor air. It will tell you about the presence of mold as well as its growth in the indoor air. Therefore, an air sampling for mold is a golden way out of protecting yourself as well as your house from its harmful effects.
As mentioned earlier, the mold produces spores which are hidden or invisible. The only way to identify the mold spore particles is through microscope.
The air mold tests use microscopy to test the presence of mold in the air. The most accurate way to test for mold presence is a non-viable air sampling for mold. This method is known as a ‘spore trap analyses.
In this method, an environmental expert will collect the sample of ambient air using a calibrated air pump. This air is then stored upon a non-viable medium called “Cassettes”.
The mold spores present in the air are attracted by these cassettes and get stacked to it due to a sticky coating of glass slide. Therefore, as the mold spore enters, they are directly subjected to the glass slide medium.
These cassettes are sent to the laboratory where an expert environmental professional or mycologist will analyze the presence and growth of the mold spores.
The mold spore sample slides undergo a mold lab test at various magnifications between 100x to 1920x to determine all the dominant and indicative particles collected. Moreover, the particle counting, if necessary, is performed at 400x, 480x,720x, 1000x, up to 1920x.
Additionally, polarized light, dark field methods, slide preparation chemicals and stains are also used in different cases.
An air mold test or spore trap analysis should be the very first test done after getting some mold spores in your surroundings. This is the more accurate way to detect the exposure to the mold and is mostly performed in the indoor environments.
These tests not only detect the presence of mold spores but also provide complete information about the growth of these spores in a particular fragment of air.
Such kind of information provided by these tests make it clear how accurate are the air mold tests.
They serve as a starting point in removing mold contamination from the surrounding. It can capture every single detail of a mold spore. However, this air testing gets failed while detecting slightly bigger molds such as Chaetomium Globosom etc.
In that case, you might have to get witched to some other extensive techniques. Most often, an “outdoor baseline” air sample is conducted by the expert in whom he compares this sample to the indoor sample. Such technique will let you know which species are abundant in the area.
There various kinds of air tests for mold. The best way is air sampling that is used to identify the indoor pathogens and assess their quality and growth. The two major air tests for mold are:
A viable air testing is used to reveal the exact genus and different species of the collected microorganism in a sample.
In this procedure, a sample of air is taken in a growth media and placed in a Petri dish. The sample is kept under strong growth conditions until colonies are formed there so that the genus and specie of the sample microorganism can be revealed.
We all know that there are thousands of different mold species. Some of them are highly toxic and dangerous to health. Therefore, by performing a viable air mold test, you can determine about the exact mold specie and let you know whether you are exposed to toxic mold specie or not.
However, as this process involves culturing, the results are obtained after a long time. It is also expected that the sample organism may not grow depending upon the growth medium provided. Therefore, viable air mold tests are not 100% accurate.
In contrast, the non-viable air test for mold is less time consuming and the results are obtained sooner. In this process, no culturing takes place and these are the most reliable for the residential mold testing.
Compared to viable tests, the non-viable tests are cheaper and fast processes. They provide a simple test that tells about the genus and the amount of the mold found in the sample. This makes it easier to determine about the fungal contamination.
However, it does not provide anything information about the exact specie of the mold. Only genus is revealed.
Some other ways to test mold are:
This kind of testing involves taking mold samples from certain surfaces such as:
A cotton swab is rubbed against the moldy surface and then sent for lab testing.
A piece of clear tape is placed tightly on the moldy surface and then removed. The tape after removal contains the mold which can be tested.
The next is bulk sample which involves removing a piece of the contaminated area. The removed area is then sent to the lab for examination. The sample can be piece of furniture, or wall etc.
Another best way to identify mold is the dust sampling. Actually, it is the more accurate way of finding what has been happening in your house.
A dust sampling collects dust by means of special dust cloth or special vacuum canister.
The dust samples are then sent to lab where different tests are conducted such as ERMI (Environmental Relative Moldiness Index) or HERSTMI-2 (Health Effects Roster of Type Specific Formers of Mycotoxins and Inflammagens-2nd Version).
On average, an air mold test costs somewhere around $300 to $1000. However, some services cost $700.
Additionally, the mold removal process will cost you around $1000 to $3000 on average.
The air mold tests are the most accurate ways of getting rid of the toxic molds in your houses. However, if you can’t pay their cost you can also perform the test at home.
Also when dealing with a landlord in case of a lawsuit, it is more appropriate to check for the molds in your house. All you’ll need is a mold test kit. These kits are vastly available on Amazon and Home Depot.
These kits only help you to know whether the mold is present in your house or not. Once the mold is detected, you should call a professional to remove it.
The following steps will help you in performing the experiment at home:
Choose a particular room which is out of use. Once selected, close all the windows and doors for 24 hours before the testing is done. The closed areas gather maximum mold spores without being moved.
Unpack the test kit. Remove the lid from the dish and place the dish open on the table. Be mindful of not placing it on floor.
Leave it open for 48 hours to collect samples. Don’t touch it during this period.
After 48 hours, close the dish by keeping the lid back on it. Try to close it tightly so that no mold can escape from it.
Place the dish in a closed and dark spot I-e cupboard, shelf or a drawer for at least two days.
After two days open it and check it for any signs of spore’s growth. By the time, the spores would have started growing and would have the color similar to old food.
If such signs are noticed, then the mold is present there and it has reached maximum growth.
8.Send the dish to lab for further examination of the mold species and call a professional for its removal.
- Wait for the results to come. It might take few weeks.
10.If no signs of mold growth are seen, leave the dish in the dark spots for few days. Still, if it’s not showing any signs then there is no mold in your house.
The air mold tests are accurate enough to determine the presence of mold in indoor air as well as provide detailed information about its growth, species and genus. These tests are used to detect and remove the toxic mold layered in your houses.
These tests have various types and are performed in laboratories under the supervision of professional lab experts. Also, you can detect the mold presence in the air at home using particular test kits.
Here are some questions that are asked frequently about the accuracy of air mold tests which are as follows.
You can perform a viable air mold test or a non-viable air mold test in a laboratory to determine if any toxic mold test is present in the house.
Yes, air purifiers help in detecting mold in the indoor air. They capture the mold spores from the air and cease there further growth and reproduction.
On average, an air mold test costs somewhere between $300 to $1000 dollars. Removal of mold charges is somehow higher.
No, they do not kill mold. However they can prevent it by reducing the humidity in the house. Mold spreads quickly in the presence of water. But what if water gets scarce.
You’d need to undergo an air mold test if you are dealing with health problems or allergic reactions as these are strongly linked with the indoor contaminants.
An air mold test usually take two to three hours depending upon the number of samples collected and the size of house.
It might take few weeks to get an accurate written report as a result.
Mold isn’t something that should be ignored. Sometimes, mold can lead to huge problems like health problems. It gets birth particularly in moist areas of house. Once discovered, mold should be immediately removed from the house. The most accurate way is performing an air mold test.