Testing For Mold: Ins and Outs?

Has anybody been through the process of testing for mold in their house?
Googling, I see services; I see do-it-yourself kits; I see mention of "Safe mold", "Bad-for-you mold", "Treat all molds as problematic..."
Lots of stuff... some of it apparently conflicting....
Unencumbered by any knowledge on the subject, my only thought is that I would not want to hire somebody to do the inspection that also does remediation, or has relationships with people who do remediation.... the old "Let us check your automatic transmission for free...." and all that.
Thoughts?
--
Pete Cresswell

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 3/3/2015 10:13 AM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

Interestingly, the county I live in recommends that homeowners *not* test for mold - unless they see or smell evidence of it. They don't recommend hiring a test firm or buying a test kit unless you see/smell something that suggests you may have a problem. That sounds to me as if they're hinting that a lot of these mold test companies will find mold even when there is none, because that's how they stay in business.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Per Moe DeLoughan:

That would be my suspicion - like the "Free inspection...." offered by disreputable automatic transmission shops.
--
Pete Cresswell

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 3/3/2015 3:04 PM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

I had a free termite inspection. They found none but I opted for treatment around the house as neighbors on both sides had infestations and I was tired of worrying about it.
The inspection was a joke as I had already covered the areas myself and thought I was more thorough. When the treaters came in, they referred to the inspector as the salesman. I thought that was funny.
Something like mold or radon, I'd do myself unless you like expensive remediation.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I think it would be worth trying to find out more about their motives, which I too think are good. . Can you tell us what county and state you're in?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 3/3/2015 2:37 PM, micky wrote:

My bad. It's actually the state health department, which I came to by clicking a link on the county site. Here's the page: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/mold/index.html
Should I test for mold?
The Minnesota Department of Health does not recommend testing for mold. Instead, you should simply assume there is a problem whenever you see mold or smell mold odors.
The EPA seems to hold the same opinion: http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.html
Testing or Sampling for Mold
Is sampling for mold needed? In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary. Since no EPA or other federal limits have been set for mold or mold spores, sampling cannot be used to check a building's compliance with federal mold standards. Surface sampling may be useful to determine if an area has been adequately cleaned or remediated. Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods, and interpreting results. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or other professional organizations.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I'm suspicious of the whole thing. Some people, especially with asthma, may be very sensitive to mold, but in general if you have a mold problem you smell it. Then you stop whatever moisture is enabling the mold to grow and you wash with bleach.
We have a damp cellar with foundation walls that sometimes leak. They're made of giant stones. In the summer it's damp and cool down there. I can smell the mold. But I don't see any reason to "treat" it. It would just come back again, anyway. Actually, on a hot summer day I rather like that damp, moldy air. It seems to open up my sinuses.
Ever since hurricane Katrina it seems that mold paranoia has become a big business, as though it were radon.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I work for a school district. We constantly have people who read an article about "sick building syndrome" or mold scares. Here comes the science. Mold spores are everywhere. I don't believe you could ever test for mold and not find any. They exist at all temperatures, humidity levels, and chemical circumstances. There are many types of mold and only a few are notably toxic.
In order for mold to be active, alive, and something that needs to be dealt with requires dark, damp, and something to eat. Eliminate any one of these and the mold goes back to a dormant condition. It isn't dead, it is dormant. A typical mold test requires testing both the outside and the inside, lab analysis of the filters, and careful scientific interpretation of the results. A typical cost is $3-5,000. What they are looking for has to do with any differences. Ones that we have had done usually report the indoor air quality is much better than the outdoors due to cleaning and filtration of the air. HVAC code requires strong percentages of outdoor air which instantly contaminate the filters with whatever is present outdoors.
Get the water problems solved and it goes back to dormant.
If you want true and understandable bullding science, I suggest spending your time here: <http://www.buildingscience.com/resources/more-topics/mold
Good answers about insulation, climate zones, proper flashing, etc.
On 3/3/2015 10:13 AM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.